ODA New York has released images of its proposed “Dragon Gate” pavilion for New York’s Chinatown, seeking to act as a symbolic gateway to the famous Manhattan neighborhood. Using modern materials and forms to invoke symbols of traditional Chinese culture, the scheme seeks to capture Chinatown’s remarkable duality: a community of tradition resistant to change, yet one regarded as a uniquely contemporary phenomenon showcasing New York’s inclusive diversity.
Situated on a triangular traffic island at the intersection of Canal, Baxter, and Walker Streets, ODA’s scheme seeks to activate a currently-underused pedestrian space. The Dragon Gate consists of a triangular form adhering to a three-dimensional, gridded structure formed from interwoven, tubular, bronze steel inspired by bamboo scaffolding. As the structure densifies, selected pieces will be painted red to create the illusion of a dragon in mid-flight.
The scheme seeks to respond to its urban context by facilitating a series of pedestrian nodes and connections through the site. As a two-way standard gate would fail to accommodate the site’s multi-directional pedestrian flow, a series of arches has been created to permit several access points, all feeding towards a central gathering area. Infusing a green aspect to the existing gritty surroundings, climbing plants will creep upwards along the steel structure from the pavilion’s base.
More than a strategic urban intervention, The Dragon Gate seeks to evoke a deeper, more significant relationship with Chinese culture. The structure’s association with bamboo references the material’s cultural significance: a sign of longevity, vitality, virtue, and luck. Where the structure densifies at the heart of the structure, strategically-placed red paint creates the impression of a dragon in mid-flight, evoking the famous Chinese symbol of strength and good fortune. Meanwhile, The Dragon Gate’s ascending curves echo the upturned eaves of traditional Chinese roofs, while its arches recall the ancient fortified city walls found throughout China.
Beyond a practical intervention on an ignored pedestrian island, The Dragon Gate is a celebration of diversity, and a message of support for a longstanding community of immigrants at a time of rising nationalism across the globe.
News via: ODA