“Architecture from a moving frame of reference”, West Side Highway, New York, USA, Photo © Sarah Riviere

“Architecture from a moving frame of reference”, West Side Highway, New York, USA, Photo © Sarah Riviere

West Side Highway Hotel, New York

This diploma project for a hotel on the West Side Highway in New York uses a camera that I modified to take photographs using the photo–finish technique (a technique used to photograph a close finish at the racecourse). Effectively with this camera some information that can be held on a standard photo is lost (eg. the static background) but additional information of a temporal nature can be captured in the image.

Within the camera the film winds forward over time as the long-duration photograph is taken through a narrow slot. I used the camera as a drawing instrument, as a tool for posing questions so as to develop a specific idea, and ultimately to propose an architecture for the site.

An eight metre working model was constructed as an instrument for testing the consequences of architectural decisions on the guests' experiences of driving to their hotel. In the model the guests arrive by car along the West Side Highway, turn off and come to a halt at the building. The route of the car is given by the steel rail, which is marked with a scale to locate the camera.

The modified camera rolls along the rails on a trolley, moving at the appropriate speed, then slowing down as it passes the building and turns off the highway. As it moves, it "films" the relevant parts of the proposed architectural context and hotel building, constituted within three elements: the initiator, the mediator, and the locator.

The architecture is developed by allowing relevant relationships to be discussed and proposed by locating them within these repeated photo-finish images.

Architecture from a moving frame of reference”, West Side Highway, New York, USA, Fotografie © Sarah Riviere

Architecture from a moving frame of reference”, West Side Highway, New York, USA, Fotografie © Sarah Riviere

Architecture from a moving frame of reference”, West Side Highway, New York, USA, Fotografie © Sarah Riviere