Met[a]Life

New York City, New York

Drawing inspiration from past, present and potential future states, we imagine a solution set expressive of contemporary design and construction capabilities, adaptive to the realities of a dynamic climate, and referential to the imprinted memories of place. Our approach to the problem affords us a mechanism through which to explore the relationships of regional industry resources, materials and methods, and advanced digital design and fabrication techniques.  Contrasting the typical approach to designing for Net-Zero Energy, our team explores the philosophical approach outlined by Kiel Moe of Harvard GSD.  Rooted in the science of Thermodynamics, our proposal approaches energy performance within the construct of maximizing energy potential rather than minimizing intake and use.   Our response to the dialogue of historicism seeks to interject a scenario where an unapologetic focus on our future doesn’t preclude an apparition from the past existing within an experiential frequency just beneath the surface.  Envisioning a temporal response to the changing context of contemporary life, we imagine a future where the Met Life building evolves in sympathetic reverberation with the surroundings, flexible and adaptive to both presently anticipated and unforeseen circumstances demanding unique responsive morphology.

A rigorous approach to understanding the present condition presents a journey across multiple ideas, allowing us opportunity to weigh criteria we established as a means of comparative analysis.  Filtering concept iterations through our established criteria set allows us to understand the ways in which our design decision might affect all stakeholders, and we elect to proceed with solutions and processes that add value for everyone.  Despite tangential explorations into the idea of climate and user-responsive ferrofluid skin systems and banking precious metals into the façade itself for investment during an increasingly tumultuous economic period, we selected a solution that allows us to push the boundaries of what is possible tomorrow and in the future within the realm of performative design and stretch the understanding of materials, while responding to the constraints of reality today.

Our aspirations to respond to the design brief and guidelines focusing on performance, constructability and contextual climate response were further influenced by self-imposed challenge of conducting research into certain topics through the mechanism of the design competition.  This solution offers real benefits today that will extend longer into the future, because of the inherent flexibility in the system.  Rather than focus only on present-case context and rely upon climate data that is 30 years old, we propose a system that is optimized for our projected environment, and that grows from a design process and methodology that allows the rationale to be applied in other unique circumstances.  It is an approach that can be generalized in application and result in unique solutions.

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