The desire for “escape” is often felt within the mechanized repetition of a monotonous metropolis—in seeking refuge/relaxation/recovery, city citizens attempt to temporarily remove themselves from the urban environment: they hide themselves in artifi cial shrubberies or travel across the bridges at the city’s periphery to seek an area which has not yet been tarnished by the urban sprawl.

Escape from the metropolitan machine, however, is not only attained beyond the urban fringe: the most effi cient getaway is one which can be attained instantaneously, within the walls of the city. This relaxation is gained by perceiving one’s own stationary position relative to the ceaseless fl ow of the city: It is resting within an eddy as a raging river goes by. It is stopping for conversation or walking against the grain within a massive crowd. It is watching people run about their daily lives while sitting within the confi nes of a comfortable café. It is schadenfreude.

The Mid-Block Refuge creates an instant retreat within the city—it is a shell of safety within a torrential metropolis. While its walls provide a sense of solitude, this protection is drawn from the chaos of the surrounding city.

Studio: Design I | Critic: David Smiley | Fall 2007
Plan, Plan Section, Concept Comparisons
Section Development
Panel Development
Rendered Section
View from Interior
Piezoelectric tiles harness the energy of the bustling metropolis during the day...
...providing power for an illuminated haven at night.