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Theatrical Urbanism

Seeing the city through the lens of theatre and time can be an effective way of comprehending an urban setting. This project is centered on a proposal for a heritage center located on the waterfront area in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood. The design is an example of outdoor theatrical urbanism that conceptually extends and bifurcates Metropolitan Avenue, which visually connects Brooklyn to Manhattan. This new reading and perception of the street is intended to elevate one’s attentiveness to the surrounding setting, while also highlighting the area’s industrialized past.

Through the imitation of industrial facades, the construction of the proscenium is focused on the representation of a historical street appearance. While the play is performed, the two-street scenography is meant to take the viewer to a time that is reminiscent of Williamsburg at around the turn of the century. The views of the stage from the seating area are precisely projected in alignment with Manhattan’s skyline, with the city serving as a backdrop. Additionally, this theatrical orchestration optically creates a mechanism that joins the shores together emphasizing the memories of the area’s first ferry line.

  • May 15th, 1919 - The waterfront north of North 7th street.

    All photographs from W.R. Harrison/Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal Reconstruction Survey (1918-1919). Property of Philip M. Goldstein. Retrieved from this page.

  • July 16, 1918 - North 6th Street.

    All photographs from W.R. Harrison/Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal Reconstruction Survey (1918-1919). Property of Philip M. Goldstein. Retrieved from this page.

  • December 12, 1918 - North 6th Street & Kent Avenue.

    All photographs from W.R. Harrison/Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal Reconstruction Survey (1918-1919). Property of Philip M. Goldstein. Retrieved from this page.

  • 1918-1919 - 88 Kent Avenue & North 9th Street and Kent Avenue.

    All photographs from W.R. Harrison/Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal Reconstruction Survey (1918-1919). Property of Philip M. Goldstein. Retrieved from this page.

  • 1918-1919: North 5th Street & Kent Avenue.

    All photographs from W.R. Harrison/Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal Reconstruction Survey (1918-1919). Property of Philip M. Goldstein. Retrieved from this page.

  • Aerial Photo  of the site from Google Earth
  • Personal Photo
  • Personal Photo
  • Personal Photo
  • Personal Photo
  • Personal Photo
  • 1807
  • 1880
  • 1905
  • 1965

1776 map -1807: New York Island. American and British Army Position, August 27, 1776. Published by Dentu, Imprimeur-Libraire. Davidrumsey.com
1880 map –    1880: Atlas of the Entire City of Brooklyn, published by G. W. Bromley & E. Robinson.  (New York Public Library)
1905 map -1905: Insurance Maps of the Brooklyn City of New York. Volume Four, Published by the Sanborn Map Co. (New York Public Library)
1965 map -1965: Port Facilities at Port of New York. Office of the District Engineer New York District, Corp of Engineers – 1965 edition. Property of Philip M. Goldstein.

  • Axial view down Metropolitan Avenue looking towards the entrance, where the vanishing point highlights the main facade of the poché wall. The picture plane illustrates concave and convex surfaces that create the illusion of the front facade’s edge visually protruding towards the viewer at the center and protruding away on both sides. 
  • View from the intersection of River Street and Metropolitan Avenue looking down the alley with a proposed market place on the right. The rendering communicates the play of scale through the repetition of arches, illusive perception of the front facade of the wall structure, underside of the elevated edge points of convex/concave surfaces that allow access to the underground circulation. 
  • Moving through the entrance the viewer confronts the seating area on the other side of the poché wall. The rendering also depicts the viewing tiers and the ramps leading to circulation within the tall structure. 
  • The view of the first proscenium. The spectator is meant to locate himself/herself in the middle of the industrial atmospheric scenery of New York at the turn of the century.
  • The view of the second proscenium. The focus is on the representation of historical street appearance. 
  • The theatrical orchestration depicted in this rendering optically creates a mechanism that joins the shores together emphasizing the memories of the area’s first ferry line. The farthest point into the water is a lighthouse that serves as an observation tower; a visual obelisk. Monumental appearance of the structure is meant to commemorate and celebrate the maritime history of the site, as the welcoming, inviting point to the land, as a point of connection.
  • Physical models in progress
  • Physical models in progress
  • Physical models in progress
  • Physical models in progress
  • Physical models in progress
  • Physical models in progress
  • Physical models in progress
  • Physical models in progress
  • Physical models in progress

Olga Zakharova

Oz2@princeton.edu
Olgazakharova712@gmail.com

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Faculty Advisor
Cameron Wu

Contributors:
*Special thanks to Dominic Bush for tremendous help with historical research and for “The Letter From The Past”