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Afsarmanesh Architects won first place at the Long Island Cinema Center Competition organized by suckerPUNCH. Their three turn concept is an architecturally eloquent investigation into what constitutes a cinematic experience. The essence of the design can be elaborated by three terms, equally immanent to both architecture and cinema – image, motion and space. Three frames facing the river provide different treatment of those motifs.

Within the first frame a large screen equipped with hologram technology  projects the faces of people entering the Center. The faces are overlapped with the image of Manhattan, creating a film-like experience. Set in a scenography of an actual city, simultaneously shot, edited and presented, the story follows its hero-the common man. To paraphrase Bachelard, the design creates a lived existential metaphor that structures the being , leading to the Cinema Center becoming integrated with our self-discovery.

The second frame is a screen for the open auditorium located on the roof of the lower indoor space. It gives the building a quality of an urban attractor, constantly generating movement.

By treating the third frame as a void, the proposal uses notions of emptiness and negative space to create a window with a view of the city. Rather than to fill it with mass, the building encompasses space, blurring the line between object and urban fabric.

The circulation is realized in a three turn spiral. The theatres are connected in corners by large escalators. Offering views of the city leads to visual joining of indoor and outdoor spaces.

Not architecturally conceited nor condescending to emerging visual effects of the film industry, the design balances economic demands and attractiveness with communicating the fundamentals of film-making.


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