Subject to Change

Pittsburgh, PA
Jeremy Ficca, Francesca Torello
Fall 2019

This project foregrounds architecture’s existence through time, reexamineing architecture’s historical preoccupation with permanence. Through material and function it questions what the experience of a temporary building should be, and how a permanent one can exist on timescales other than its own.

The studio project consists of two complementary components, a temporary large-scale worship space for use during the 5-year restoration of Notre Dame cathedral, and a cultural center, intended to liaise with the existing crypt viewing space and to house educational and artistic content relating to the history and reconstruction of Notre Dame.

The church element is constructed out of gabion, with a light-weight tensioned roof. These elements are functional and evocative, speaking the language of the crypt underneath and borrowing the rose window of Notre Dame through a forced perspective skylight.

The cultural center takes over the existing parking structure, and uses methods of cut and insertion to turn the space into a contemporary art gallery. The entrance takes the vertical space of the old parking ramp, extending the gabion in a connection between surface and below, and a long winding ramp guides one down. The barrel vaults on the riverbank are vestiges from the Hotel Dieu brought back and utilized as circulation and lightwells in a kind of architectural archeology.