High Mobility on Roosevelt Island

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High Mobility on Roosevelt Island

Marie Stafie @ Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture Paris-Malaquais (ENSAPM)



Roosevelt Island is one of the islands of the New York City Archipelago that possess at the same time the characteristics of an enclave but also those of a place turned towards an innovating future. This yearning for innovation on Roosevelt Island can seem recent and specific to our time, but actually existed a long time before, starting with the early utopias and fantasies of the 60s and 70s.


In the optic of transforming this enclave into a proper urban core, a strategy is developed, based on those past intuitions, claiming that we need continuance between past and future in our cities. This strategy takes the mobility, transportation and infrastructural objects as keys to develop this urban area : they represent the front doors of the island and designate the vital support of a reconnection with the territorial context. They reveal the power of the mobility and its omnipresence from the large scale till the very detail of the machinery, absorbed by the architecture.







Who influences you graphically?

I have various graphical influences, and I use them according to the project, to what image I want to communicate of it and which type of representation suits it best. Among them, I’m inspired by Rem Koolhaas in his early drawings, Peter Cook and Archigram for the use of photomontage/collage combined with 2d representations. I also take inspiration in contemporary architects such as SANAA for their pure graphical touch. I’m also influenced by what I see in academic publications, architecture magazines etc… but I never decide to stick to one kind of representation, or graphical style so I don’t feel trapped into a trend.


What defined the selection of drawings through which you choose to reveal the proposal?

For this project, I designed at urban and architectural scale a project which takes impulse on past ideas, fantasies, utopias and use them in a contemporary way to lead future urban developments. I felt I had to use this main intention not only in the project itself, but also in the graphical representation of it.


That’s why I used axonometric views, plans, sections but also photomontage/collage, non realistic perspectives, diagrams… I wanted to explore how the graphical choices help understand this dialogue between past, present and future, without producing too ‘vintage’ or too ‘futuristic’ images.


How important is the diagram as a tool for communication?

Being able to represent in an abstract way architecture, environments, concepts, or complex organizations is fundamental. Diagrams help the understanding of the project, and therefore its right communication. They show the essential of the project, and simplify its main features, which considerably helps its communication to another architect but also to someone not practicing it.


What is your take on colour?

Depending on the project, and on the image you want to convey, color is a main tool. It’s never really easy to use it, because you have to find multiple colors matching together, but also that are able to create a certain atmosphere that corresponds to your own vision of the project and its purpose. So wether you’re dystopian, optimistic, realistic, surrealistic etc.. color is a powerful tool that helps in many ways creating an environment to your project. It’s also a good reading guide ; in this project for example I used the color as an indicator, each color corresponding to a specific component or group (transportation, public space, intervention, indication…). Color is what unifies all the graphical production together, it has here a diagrammatic usage because it helps reading the whole project and not just one image at a time.


What was your concept/project development in relation to the production of images- which did you develop first and how do these link and influences each other?

I started with the urban strategy, therefore with urban plans, sections and a strategical axonometric view which indicated each architectural situation I would develop in my proposal. This main document influenced the different plans, sections, diagrams and images I produced for each situation.

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Then I chose to develop at closer scale one emblematic situation in which the representation adapts itself to the change of scale. This directly follows the project’s intention that places mobility at urban scale but also joining the very detail of architecture, so in order to make this transition of scale and concept more evident, I adapted the graphical tools I used at large scale and transposed them at a closer scale.

What programs did you use?

I used Autocad for the technical drawings, Rhinoceros for the 3d and axonometric views and perspectives, Photoshop for the photomontage/collage and Illustrator for the final touch on every document.




Marie studied architecture at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture Paris-Malaquais, during which she spent one year in Rome at the Faculty of Roma Tre, and another working for DATA Architectes in Paris before graduating in June 2017 under the academic supervision of Jean-Pierre Pranlas-Descours, Adrien Lambert and Margaux Darrieus. Marie is currently working and enrolled to get her post graduate certification to practice architecture in her own name.



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