Organization Name: Vionna Wai & Cheuk Kei (Chucky) Hui
Project Title: Queensboro Bridge Community Center
Project Location: Long Island City, Queens, NY
The Annual NYC Student Masonry Design Competition is sponsored by The Associated Brick Mason Contractors of Greater New York and the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 1 New York. The prompt was to design a community center for housing complexes in the city. The design should encourage social encounters in the area while integrating itself into the urban environment.
We decided to situate the project in the Queensboro Bridge area because of the Queensbridge Houses, America’s largest public Housing, in Long Island City, Queens. The area has incredible site conditions, such as the bridge and the water view, that were not engaged with the neighborhood. We wanted the community center to integrate into the unique site condition by becoming an amphitheater, café, library, and pool to engage with the Queensbridge Park, Queensboro Bridge and East River. The proposal explores geometries that are inherent to brick, traditional roman arches and hybrids derived from the intersection of groin vault and barrel vault, to create innovative structural and lighting conditions.
This design concept generates feasible solutions acknowledged by Borough President Gale Brewer for improving affordable housing spaces. It exemplifies how one may encourage social interaction in a neglected urban setting. Modern construction is dominated by the use of glass and concrete. However, most urban areas are brick buildings. The Queensboro Bridge Community Center introduces the use of modern brick technology that can be better integrated into an existing brick community such as most affordable housing projects.
We are B. Arch Students at CUNY City College’s Spitzer School of Architecture. Chucky and I met in our first year of college, where we discovered our shared goals. As a result of our different upbringings, we always wanted to make a difference in people’s immediate living situation as builders and designers of society. Taking advantage of the academic environment, we push for innovative solutions for affordable housing and sustainable design. We take the initiative to enter in design competitions where we can explore and develop our solutions for urban problems. This is the second time we entered and won top prize at a competition sponsored by The Associated Brick Mason Contractors of Greater New York and the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 1 New York. Although, our academic careers are coming to an end, Chucky and I hope to bring all the knowledge and experience into the working environment.