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Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Year: 1988-1989
When selected to develop a master plan for the Pittsburgh Technology Center and to design a new facility for the Carenegie Mellon Research Institute, we were challenged by the president of the university to develop a design addressing the “knowledge revolution” and to represent Pittsburgh’s revitalization as the first postindustrial city. Historically, architecture has been about overcoming nature through symbolizing the structures and cosmological attitudes of a given society. Today, science is addressing a new problem: overcoming knowledge. Without simply representing or symbolizing this problem, we designed the CMRI to describe man’s ability to overcome knowledge. To address this challenge one must reconceptualize architecture and the way in which we occupy space. 

The fundamental structure for this development is the Boolean Cube, a geometric model for computer processing. Each building is made up of pairs of cubes. Each pair contains two solid cubes and two frame cubes of 40- and 45- foot dimensions corresponding to office and laboratory modules respectively. Each pair can be seen as containing the inverse of the other as solid and void. The overlap of two solids or two frames creates both imprints and traces. Where the frame cubes are placed inside the solid cubes, the frames leave voids in the interiors of the buildings. These voids form atrium spaces between the office and laboratory cubes where scientist interact.



Model photos