The People’s Palace
Harvard Graduate School of Design 
Cambridge, 2022
Instructor: Angela Pang

This project tests the architectural hypotheses about shared space, by considering the most extreme public expression for a building: a people’s place. It proposes to provide a space of relief for everyone, acting like large living rooms for the inhabitants of the city, they combine elements of pleasure, education and distraction, as well as a space for the public to organise. The project imagines a catalytic insertion into Boston’s Charlestown neighborhood that serves a diverse array of consituencies. Charlestown is an old by splintered community, with an uncertain future in the face of creeping gentrification.

To frame an alternative future for the urban fabric and city infrastructure, this project builds over and under, crossing past the site boundaries underneath the Tobian Memorial highway. Bridges and highways are structures that connect, but also reveal gaps. For this project, the abandoned underspaces and gaps of the city are explored in proposing a new “underpass” as the people’s palace. A new “underpass” that extends into the city on one side while dissolving into the highway on the other, bridging the gap between the scale of buildings of either side of the site. Whole program blocks are fragmented into separate smaller volumes of spaces to create more intimate interactions through scale and courtyards. In this way, programs are housed in invididual volumes that allow for intentional interactions. The large roof deck acts as an intersecting plane that distinguishes programs. The dispersed spaces underneath the expansive roof dispersed area for the users of the elementary school, while the spaces above allows for more public uses.