Smout Allen

Marcus Todd Film Enclave

West Side Railway Yards, 515 W 33rd Street, Manhattan, NYC

The project describes a new cinematic landscape, which draws threads of film production, consumption and housing together into a complex and multilayered public space in Manhattan’s far west side Set over a 13-acre rail yard, seven large new soundstages for New York’s booming film industry are hung beneath a fragmented artificial landscape, containing within its depth the city’s ‘bureaucracy of film’, and accommodating knots of dense set-based housing above. The proposal challenges the orthodox and generic redevelopment scheme which is currently awaiting construction, to provide an alternative, infrastructure-based, framework for the site. It proposes an architecture that is not tall and shiny, but instead horizontal and fuzzy.

The design engages with cinematic techniques using optical and spatial strategies to build syncretic enclaves within the artificial landscape. Strategies of controlled and forced perspective, reflection and superimposition work in service of the programming, to enrich the architecture. Previous work on ‘Hitchcockian domesticity’ informs the design of the housing component of the scheme, with the contingent nature of film set construction reflected in the clusters of housing.

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