Clouds AO has been selected as one of four finalists for the Gateways to Chinatown design competition organized by the NYC Department of Transportation, Chinatown Partnership and Van Alen Institute. This new structure and public space will be located on a triangular traffic island at a key pedestrian node bounded by Canal Street, Baxter Street and Walker Street. The marker is designed to serve as a portal to Chinatown in lower Manhattan. It's iconic lunar shape will become a destination for tourists and residents alike, invigorating New York City's oldest Chinatown district.

Figure 1: Curvilinear gate form as viewed from various points along the site, gradation from thin crescent to full oval, similar to the phases of the moon

Based on ancient Chinese cosmology dealing with cycles of time, the form of the gateway is generated by two interwoven circles. The softly curving surface creates a spiral movement with an interplay of light and shadow (陰陽; Yin and Yang). The design reimagines the contemporary moon gate typology not only as an entry point, but also an icon to celebrate cohesiveness of community. As people walk around the site its silhouette transitions from thin crescent to full oval, like the phases of moon.

Figure 2: Two interwoven circles create movement of light and shadow

Figure 3: Front and Side Elevations

The site is envisioned as a key to unlocking hidden experiences within Chinatown. A digital network of interlinked beacons located within cultural sites, parks, restaurants or ping pong parlors, allow visitors to have a new and multidimensional experience of Chinatown.

Location: New York, NY
Date: June 2017
Project Team:
Design Architect: Clouds Architecture Office
Project Designers: Masayuki Sono, Ostap Rudakevych

Structural and Civil Engineering: Arup
Lighting Designer: Tillotson Design Associates
Landscape Designer: Terrain Landscape Architecture
Graphics / Multimedia: Kudos Design Collaboratory

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