My concept for Story Corps centers around oral tradition and primal, elemental human nature involving communication. I began with the idea of a campfire as a gathering point, a place where ancient people huddled in the dark. The fire provides a sense of security, intimacy, solidarity, and belonging as well as a forum to share stories. Visually, the movement of light and shadow, and the draw of the light itself, creates a focal point of place. We become relaxed and mesmerized by it while we are warmed by the flames. In more recent tradition, the campfire is a venue to share tall tales, roast marsh mellows, and relax from our daily activities. I believe these impressions are fertile ground to enhance the concept and goals of Story Corps.
Story Corps primary mission is to engage the public in conversation and record this interaction to share and archive; sharing the story, meaning, and experience with others.
The floorplan was ideated from the necessity of working with or around the many pillars in the space. I decided to use the pillars as pivot points for the interior walls, some of which are mobile to allow different configuration for the space. “Fixed” programmatic spaces were then placed around the perimeter; a café area, office and conference space, etc. to create accessible interest. There is a large skylight over the primary entrance which is covered in translucent words that abstractly outline the intended vision for Story Corps with light and shadow. Visitors are then drawn into the building, discovering the program as they move through the space.
The main spaces are neutral toned and elemental in scale, activated by light. A reception area greets visitors as they enter, providing information about the space and Story Corps as well as registering guests that want to participate in a recorded conversation. From the foyer, the large curved wall invites people further into the space, where a wide, zigzagging hallway implies the flickering rhythm of the light beyond. Offices and administrative areas lie towards the right, while a curved wall ushers visitors into the main, rear space. I intended this space to be an aesthetic exhibition area as well as a performance/conference area, where visitors can observe the moving skylight installation, sit and converse around “fire pit/fountain” tables, see a performance or lecture, enjoy their refreshments from the café or wait for their turn in the recording areas.