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The history of this island, now known as Roosevelt Island, has had a profound impact on its evolution over the decades. Originally called Blackwell’s Island, it was owned by the Blackwell family, who were instrumental in the abolition of slavery and the women’s suffrage movement. Eventually, the island was sold to the government of New York, with the hope that it would be used as a place for public welfare institutions. The island was subsequently renamed Welfare Island, and it was initially used to house hospitals and other public welfare institutions. Unfortunately, corruption within these institutions led to the island falling into disarray, and it became known as Damnation Island due to the suffering that took place there. Despite this dark history, the island’s mission of housing institutions for innovation and public service remains the same today. Yet, the island’s history is in danger of being forgotten. In response to its history , this design aims to bring attention to the island’s past and to highlight how design can appear simple at first glance but become distorted upon closer exploration. The design pays homage to the Four Freedoms monument by Louis Kahn. On its north face, the building has a simple rectangular and symmetrical facade that is elegant and honors the monument. However, as you move around to the south face of the building, the geometry becomes distorted, symbolizing the obstacles and passing of history. These unanticipated changes reflect into the floor plans and different programs as you circulate. The south face also honors the emerging architectural style on the site. Overall, the project seeks to create a building that reflects the island’s complicated history while looking towards the future with optimism.

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