North Shore S.I. Social Condenser

Year_Semester: 2017 Fall 

Course Number: ARCH-400

Course Name: Resilience Studio

Department(s): U.G Architecture in collaboration with GCPE (PSPD)

Location: North Shore, Staten Island

For further information please click here.

Community Partner(s)/Collaboration(s): Make the Road, El Centro del Immigrante, NYC DEP

Student Participants : 

Flasz Nathalie 

Mallol Wolfshchoo Ivanna 

Wang Chun

Donelly Kathleen

Jackson C. Behre

Wu Yizhou (Annie)

Perezanta Cammp Mariana

Wang Joy



Kuz, Zehra 


With the term ‘social condenser’ the constructivist architect Moisei Ginzberg (1892-1946) was referring to a spatial idea that architecture can transform and influence social behavior. 

The belief that architecture explicitly shapes human activities is unproven but if the concept is true, the design of public spaces as a positive force could break down perceived social hierarchies of the users and promote socially equitable spaces.

The studio proposes to investigate the role of a public facility, such as the PUBLIC LIBRARY, in the context of an underserved, endangered coastal community. Based on new studies, public libraries are seen as a platform for empowerment and contribute to the human capital system. 

Studio will explore: 

  • How can a public library combine and address interrelated aspects of urban life?
  • How can we re-think/re-invent the public library as an urban infrastructure, hardware alike, in order to facilitate the use of the social and information network to empower the community?
  • How can a public facility project participate in addressing environmental challenges and restoring local ecology?

Landing image:

  1. Analysis: Annie finds out the most vulnerable demographic group: immigrant single mothers with young children
  2. Library Campus is composed by wellness center, coffee shop, child care center, public park and public pool
  3. Through section Annie explores the relationship of parts to the whole and to the existing-to-remain skyline
  4. The selected site is a sliver of land, long narrow and hardly adaptable for any other use or development
  5. Ivana’s innovative program shuffle and spatial development
  6. Ivanna seize the opportunity to integrate an innovation center into the library complex: here the local auto mechanics further train for more sophisticated technologies as well as for electric cars