Motivated by the desire to adapt the mat type to atypical, topographically varied site conditions, this project proposed the integration of verticality into a horizontally-privileged system. Using analytic geometry and parametric surface modeling tools, we maintained the quality of an isotropic grid in plan projection, but pulled apart lateral components of the building to introduce a more hierarchical section. In breaking the homogeneity of spatial flatness and unbiased circulatory organization, we created the stratified mat-- a modified horizontal type that responds linearly to non-flat site conditions.The stratification of the tubes produces periodic segments of sloping floors which allows for the introduction of a secondary circulation system alien to the typical mat building, whereby stair wells and elevator cores are inserted into the rhombic voids as shortcut routes to elevated parts of the building. The snaking coil took the role of primary programmed circulation space, continuous but with varied levels of spatial articulation. The rhythmic alternation between sloped and level floors orchestrated a spatial sequence adapted to suit functional needs-- stepped interior promenades on long ramping surfaces, auditoria at two major nodal intersections establishing privileged axial relationships, and reading rooms, meeting rooms and cafeteria spaces on level floors.
Iman Fayyad is an M.Arch candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.