Architect John Barradas‘ Longest Night Solstice Towers Project had tower two (or “thing two” as John and Ciappa & Marinelli Builders like to call it) nearly framed to its top out height when I came by for a look this past Friday, February 14th. Tower one’s electrical rough-in is coming close to completion (the wiring job looks very nice), and it’s quite an interesting sight at night with the lights on.
The pictures from February 14th (at the end) contain shots inside tower one and two- tower two’s layout is slightly different (accommodating the elevated path and entry at a different orientation for example), but the functions are the same on each floor- kitchen/living on ground, two separated bedrooms on second, master bedroom and bath on third, and a laundry and storage area on roof level with a terrace.
Tower two has a distinctly different feel being closer to the sidewalk and street, and the view is altered now from inside tower one, however, what I find most interesting about this project is the way in which concepts in other forms of art synthesize within the design. Architecture is a difficult art form since the end result must serve specific functions and be able to accommodate different living and/or working preferences, so it’s fascinating seeing it pulled-off like this. A door is an opening, a window is an opening: the openings are intended to lose the sense of what you would call “the middle ground” of a perspective, a term commonly used in photography and painting. John uses Edward Hopper‘s “Rooms by the Sea” (1951) as a reference, where the open door goes straight to the sea, with nothing in view in between, which is the design intention of using doors on each level.
Another theme is an idea coined by Colin Rowe, in his phrase “grid, frame, lattice.” It’s a way of thinking about the built environment as parts of a whole, in the geometric interpretation. We have a city “grid,” we have individual lots with buildings, our “frame,” and within that frame we have “lattice”: the joists that make up the flooring, the studs that form the walls, the structural elements that form the building. Downtown Ithaca is our grid, the square footprint, symmetry, and situating of the towers represent the intended frame, the floor joists will be left exposed to reveal the lattice, the fencing around the frame is a lattice, the vertical strips on the outside are a lattice, etc.. Architects have a term, “parti,” which is meant to describe the root idea or inspiration of a design, and I never fully understood what that meant until I came across this project.
Around February 11th: