Nina Rappaport, editor of Constructs and publications director at Yale, helped organize a charrette to determine the future of Eero Saarinen’s Bell Labs in New Jersey. The particular organizational logic of the building, conditioned like Kahn’s Salk Institute by conceptualizing functional labs as collegial communities of scientists (and architecturalized as such), presented both opportunities and challenges to the charrette participants. The friction caused by the typological specificity of the building parallels our interest in defining and then tweaking contemporary and emerging market-driven types.
Equally interesting were the proposals to “fill in” the geometry of parking lots and ring road with housing and other program. There is something very intriguing about creating an dense urban fabric for the Saarinen building after the fact. Imagine finding Saarinen’s masterpiece hidden inside Palmanova or another similar ideal Renaissance city.