March 21, 2008

The Narratorium

Studying Space...

The Narrative...

And so, storytelling becomes slowly forgotten. People run from one activity to the next, forgetting the process, and thinking only of the destination. So much easier to watch a movie or read a book, but the sacrifice we give for that is the loss of human interaction, the spiritual connections between the human souls, from which we gather life.
There must be a place to revisit all this, to gather people together again and show the importance of telling their own stories and experiences to each other directly. Giving people a reason to come to that place, while at the same time, placing them in the storytelling framework, where the stories are evoked from within themselves and passed on to others, without anyone knowing anything of it.
So, there is this space, on the corner of Broadway and Madison, in the city of Portland. Where people reside to one side, go to a flower-shop on the other, watch a theater performance or visit the Oregon Historical Society across the street. But most of all, people just run by on weekday mornings as they are late for work, or sit in their car in the afternoons stuck in traffic, only thinking about one thing, how to get home faster for dinner and some ‘personal’ time.
On the corner of Broadway and Madison is a place…
Bottom levels take the people off the sidewalks and place them in their current time, into this place. Middle levels engage them to find their own stories and exchange their stories with others as well as watch and listen to others passing their own stories to the rest. Top levels are where the residents reside and collect the stories of the lower floors. The residents collect these stories and then filter them down to the public, to the middle and lower floors through the circulation areas (middle area) of the building.
First Levels:
On the first level, as you are passing the building, following Madison, you enter a coffee shop that begins at one corner, where you enter, and then it follows the Broadway sidewalk and becomes a shop, where you exchange your things with others, exchanging clothes or antiques. The shop then becomes a beauty salon, on the side bordering the building. Then, the side that is bordering the existing apartments is a small alley way where the stories are displayed as art and this art work merges into the circulation space (in the middle of the building) and you can follow it up, along with the ramps, to the middle levels…
Middle Levels:
Looking over Broadway Street is the daycare center. Overlooking that, a couple of feet higher, is a platform for board games, where people can sit and relax, overlooking the city and watching kids play. The perimeter area of the middle floors is where activities take place such as resting, playing games, eating, or watching the kids. In the middle is the circulation place (ramps) with the platforms of those ramps dedicated to public speaking. People sitting in the perimeter can watch the person speak. The walls of the circulation space are filled with written and recorded stories.
Top Levels:
Following the circulation space up, you end at residential units towards the back walls that border the apartment building. Closer to Madison and Broadway, are their studios where they watch the people below, people on the street and create art or written work from the stories they overhear down below, from the city. Then, they bring that work down and display in the circulation areas for the people below to experience and learn from.
The coffee shop on the bottom faces the circulation area, where you can see all the way up to the top levels, where the artwork on the bottom floors changes to books as you follow people going up the ramps. The shop and the hair salon can see up into the upper lounge areas. The game room looks down into the daycare center. The daycare center faces the streets and looks down into the hair salon and the shop. The lounge overlooks all activities based on where you are sitting and is a transition into the residential levels on the top. The residential area overlooks down into all the places and has connection into the circulation areas.