Smout Allen

Rebecca Fode L.E.S Quarry

Public Plaza, 1257 Avenue of the Americas, Manhattan, NYC.

The proposal explores a speculative scenario within Manhattan’s Lower East Side, in which the marble formations below ground exceed the value of real estate above. In an attempt to preserve the threatened existence of neighbourhood Tenement buildings from developers a group of local activists initiate mineral excavations, quarrying marble from below the Tenements. The excavation rapidly expands, eating away the ground below the city, a series of subterranean tunnels spread along the veins of Manhattan‘s Inwood Marble formation, connecting open excavations in between existing structures and revealing the city from below.

Located on a cliff edge within the Lower East Side Quarry, the L.E.S. Quarry Tenement Museum utilises its unconventional siting. The design explores quarrying techniques combined with innovative construction methods. Incorporating valuable Tenement fragments within the building itself, the museum also provides access to a series of spectacular ‘Quarry Edge Walks’—a journey through the L.E.S. Quarry, past retained Tenement fragments and new highrise developments, offering dramatic views and experiences throughout.

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