The Hanging Gardens of Utah

MCM Partnership

2013 Sixtynine|Seventy Urban Ideas Competition Entry

In Collaboration with:

An undulating veil cloaking the pious city
Project Team: RenanteSolivar, OrodAris, Dennis Tang

The Hanging Gardens of Utah was a submission to an urban design project set in Salt Lake City. The intention of the competition sought to rethink what interstitial circulation spaces meant in urban city centres. The competition hoped to bridge gaps between different socio-economic and cultural groups, thus creating an artistic and cultural amenity within the downtown. A small competition team assembled to complete this entry. My role encompassed with scripting the design in Grasshopper for Rhino whilst finalising the visualised components of the design.

From the competition brief, the proposal intervenes two blocks within Salt Lake City’s downtown: blocks Sixty-nine and Seventy, to which the competition receives its namesake. The design cloaks the two blocks, literally bridging between the various existing buildings across the site. The veil shifts in porosity to allow for openings over existing public spaces.

The main parti for the proposal involved shifting the vertical striations of urbanity and turning them to their side; by doing so, the circulation axis rotates along with it. The shift then creates a delamination of hierarchy in the urban landscape.

Because of the undulating texture of the veil, the heightened peaks of the veil open to create openings. With plantings lining the upper decks, lower ground planes, as well as the columns through a series of planters, the design begins to resemble an overgrown garden.

From the shifting levels, many of the lifts create pockets to allow for platforms of program and gathering spaces, all stacked above the existing fabric of urbanity in the downtown.

The nature of the proposal instigates public interaction with the project itself. The shifting porosity of the veil allows for shifting light qualities, as well as a shift in the walkability of such surfaces. The cloak itself transforms from roof to to path to surface seamlessly.

The scale of the proposal is home to a large collection of programs, ranging from public piazzas, to parade avenues, to performance spaces, just to name a few. The Hanging Gardens of Utah was a design to create a different way to think about public spaces as a piece of architecture.

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© Dennis Tang 2017