Condensed Stacks Level
Council Chamber/Archive Lobby Level
Reading Room Level
Archival Reading Room
Council Chamber/Archival Lobby
American City Halls were built with out the knowledge of perhaps the greatest democratic Space, the Pnyx in Athens. This is because James Stewart did not properly label his illustration of the space in the Antiquity of Athens due to the sites ruinous condition. It was not until the turn of the twentieth century that archaeologist were able to identify the site as the Pnyx, Athens' ancient democratic assembly space. The primary pattern book of the neoclassical has therefor misinformed generations of city hall designers, citing Stewarts' Pnyx illustrations as a "The Odium of Regilla," a theater for drama.
The Pnyx looks radically different than any democratic assembly space in America. It is open with a strong visual connection back to the Agora, the city center. Such an urban condition allowed the democratic process to be on display to the rest of the city, representing the openness and accessibility of self governance. The ideas of the Pnyx should be brought into our contemporary democratic urban conditions. We must look back to look forward while noting that our democracy is not direct like the ancient Athenian Democracy.
Jackson's current council chamber sits in an opaque Greek Revival building. The base of my proposal rests on the notion of pulling the council chamber out of its current condition into a new transparent and accessible building on the north side of the block, allowing the new council chamber to straddle the municipal square and the typical urban fabric of Jackson. At the macro level this the building acts as a threshold creating a porous boundary between the plaza and the street by freeing the ground plane with a field of columns. The structure also holds a municipal archive which creates a literal connection between the intake of knowledge and the democratic process with a void that connects the council chamber with the archival reading room. The lobby of the archive also doubles as the council chamber which would ideally give the citizenry that visits the archive a sense of owner ship over the council chamber. A stage for public events or dissidence loosely holds the north end of the plaza. This stage is circular to create an omnidirectional condition of access, representing the notion that any one from any where is welcome to occupy the stage in anyway they please whether it be for political dissidents or appreciation.
Year: 5th Year 2nd Semester
Type: Cultural, Public Space, Urban
Program: Council Chamber, Archive, Square
Location: Square Nine Jackson, MS
Scale: 70,000 sq ft