Throughout the Gateways to Chinatown design process and analysis of the Canal Street Triangle, the team at JBA continually was impacted and confronted by dialectic design inputs. Local residents, and tourists. Fast vehicular traffic, and leisurely pedestrian flows. Notions of history, and forward thinking towards modernity. Eastern cultural values, in a western city. Desire for green space, encompassed by a dense urban landscape. Recognizing the need for an iconic statement and symbol, while not building structure which lacks context.
Through the recognition of these seemingly opposing design drivers, the team came to the conclusion that they are not in fact contradictory, but productive elements and complementary to one another.
From the onset of the project the team was inspired by Chinese tradition and historical structures. Thousands of years of history of timber lattice Dougong structures made for the perfect starting off point for the project formally and programmatically. A simple interlocking stick structure was devised. By simply stacking, adjusting and alternating the placement of each member, the timber structure allows for flexibility in construction and design regardless of one specific Gateways site.