The United States Post Office was established in Revolutionary America as one of the first civic institutions founded through the Constitution. The tenets of the Post Office were to provide low-cost and universally-accessible correspondence, both private and public, to the newly formed American electorate. Originally intended to inform the voting public through the circulation of news, the Post Office continues to enact this legacy of civic literacy and political agency. To work within the unique architectural heritage of Columbus, we propose as a site for architectural intervention the colonnade of the Columbus, Indiana Post Office, designed by Kevin Roche in 1970. The proposal seeks to re-engage the public ethos of the Post Office, celebrating it as a crucial artifact of civic empowerment, and re-imagining it as a space that strengthens social and political agency within a community.
Within the 200' by 16' dimension of the colonnade, the chairs, the lights, and the table will create a series of outdoor rooms within this new town hall. Constructed of 2’ x 8’ sheets of white powder-coated steel on light trestles, the table will be white slab that simply floats in the space, claiming a monumentality in its scale and blankness. The surface, empty and neutral, formalizes the political agency of a community’s voice, creating a space of dissemination, persuasion, and rhetoric. The lighting will be construction site fluorescent tubes, arrayed above the table, supported within a scaffolding of pipe bracing and cables hung from the overhead beams. The sequence of lights, ordered yet provisional, will play against the scale of the columns, emphasizing the temporary nature of the project and its ethos of process and transitional use. TABLE-TOP is an opportunity to reimagine the relationship between architecture and political engagement, using space to frame and enable an expanded definition of citizenship, belonging, and participation. The abstraction of the white surface of the table, the clustering of chairs, and the scaffolding of fluorescent lights will create a totalizing environment, transforming the monumental colonnade into a luminous space of exchange, leisure, and social engagement.
TABLE-TOP Competition Entry, in collaboration with Brittany Utting.
2018-19 Exhibit Columbus, University Design Research Fellowship