White House Redux Competition, 2008
The President of the United States is the symbolic figurehead of an entire nation. The building in which he/she lives should be as inclusive as the principles on which this country was founded. Just as a sponge absorbs its environs and filters ineffectual material, the new White House should engage and apply the organizational patterns and logic of the immediate context. As a national symbol, the White House should be an identifiable place, realized through a unique formal expression.
This project proposes that the new White House go beyond iconographic simplicity. The White House should operate symbolically through process; starting with the generation of the design, the organization of the program and the performative capabilities of the building envelope.
The building is split into a house and a multi-floor office tower, connected by a bridge that crosses the implied intersection of the axial corridors established by L’Enfant. This proposal was generated through a series of contextual mappings of park, building and circulation along these axial corridors; which are coded and re-appropriated as surface pattern and formal deformation.
The surface of the building is composed of similar, yet individually unique pre-fabricated modules that opportunistically adjust parameters, such as depth and aperture, according to internal and external conditions. Each module acts as a sponge, absorbing and storing collected rain water. Tunnels originate at some modules, cutting through the building, providing light and transposing the traditional relationship of interior and exterior.