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CARVED BY THE SUN

Design III - Fall 2020

Carved by the Sun is a schematic house for two scholars to live and study at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. The site is on Stewart Avenue, sitting more than one hundred feet above Fall Creek Gorge. Next to the home is Carl Sagan’s house, which, in this proposal would become a museum. As a mimicry of the gorge, the house naturally is made out of stone, expressing the heavy and authentic qualities of the site, initially discovered through the site analysis. The stone system consists of rough and smooth textures telling a story to the people living there, interlocking like lincoln logs. Wooden systems to represent the voids are built the same but are thin, and light. Programmatically, the house is organized by and according to the light, specifically at sunset. According to this ruleset, the studies, kitchen, dining spaces, and bedrooms are organized radially along the southwestern facing cliff, all oriented to experience the sunset in unique and controlled ways. By understanding these programs as separate volumes to a main living corridor, the house’s geometry allows the light at sunset, in specific moments of the year, to seep in through the cracks of the stone, painting the floors and walls of the living corridor. This corridor becomes an empty void, a canvas, to be painted by the sunset. The house to become a dichotomy of  experiences: light and shadow; mass and void. Spatially, each program in the house inhabits and explores these concepts uniquely, to create a multitude of spaces that define an experience much more than a house. Conceptually, the void of the living corridor mirrors the condition of the gorge, a void between ancient stone monoliths, in which light carves into. Through this understanding, the house is a product of the site, its materiality, and its feeling.

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