on the site of 190 bowery, lives the historic germania bank building. the building acted as an economic and cultural landmark for the immigrant german community of the area, and was designed in the beaux-arts style to uphold ideals of wealth and growth. all throughout the project, the relationship between nature, the public, and the history of architecture in new york are in dialogue with one another, and ask the public to take part in that conversation, all while learning about the natural world that they don’t have day to day access to. the juxtaposition of the old and the new, the dark and the light, the heavy and the weightless, all put in tension the experience of public space in a building that at one point was a landmark for a new community in the city. the darkness and obscurity placed in the scale of the space such as the germania building elicit the sublime as well.
the site of the bowery itself has always had a mercurial past. when asked about the bowery, even today some new yorkers say they wouldn’t go there. home to the elevated subway line, or the el, the redefinition of ground and traversing public space has defined the bowery’s flighty character and underlined an element of unexpectedness.
the floating stair supports the circulation through this in a way that is not disruptive to the conversation being had. the overall speaks to our consciousness and understanding of nature and history as people living in new york city, and the transient and delicate quality of becoming a part of that ecosystem.