2016 Skyscraper Competition
Disintegration of the brain in our increasingly aging population is addressed relentlessly in medical research but largely neglected in environmental experiment. Our lifespan has been elongated due to a growing body of knowledge in health and medicine, and still a third of seniors will live with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. Plaques and Tangles is driven by an investigation into the formal, spatial, and societal potential of extended memory care in the vertical environment.
Typical retirement communities and full time care facilities are developed as sprawling patterns in remote corners. Within this proposed Manhattan context, the project gives dementia a physical urban presence and offers an opportunity for a dynamic community. A programmatically rich and site sensitive armature is systematically populated by a flexible, structural unit. The aggregate’s inherently radial patterns produce a legible datum while formally reflecting the sponge-like quality of plaques and tangles common to an Alzheimer’s brain.
Two primary lobbies serve as cultural hubs for residents of the building and local community members alike. They include space for theaters, galleries, restaurants, and commercial development. One wing is reserved for outpatient care and further medical research into memory loss and recovery. Residential units are designed as one or two person dwellings, however equal space is reserved for communal gathering and reflection. Transportation systems in the building are exclusively elevators and escalators to maximize mobility of residents.
The structural unit is intended to multiply and mutate, as need rises and medical knowledge progresses. Plaques and Tangles seeks to create an architectural system that considers the complexities of overpopulation and maximizes prosperity in the final stage of life.