May 8, 2019 | Atlanta, GA
Phuong “Karen” Tran, rising senior in the Bachelor of Science in Architecture program received a 2019 Lyceum Fellowship Competition merit award for her submission titled, “Immersion…”
In the beginning of the 2018 fall semester, Julie Kim, Associate Professor and Associate Chair in the Georgia Tech School of Architecture, assigned an article to her Vertical Studio class by Juhani Pallasmaa titled, “Light, Silence, and Spirituality in Architecture and Art.”
Tran was inspired by the article as she began work on her project for the semester. In “’Immersion…,’” Tran says, “a sanctuary arises from darkness, light, and human emotions.”
The 2018 competition, titled “A Sanctuary,” asked students to explore the site of Angel Island, located in the San Francisco Bay, which was formerly a home to the West Coast Immigrant station. In contrast to Ellis Island, immigrants were housed in barracks on the island and suffered from difficult living conditions. The station closed in 1940, and as the competition overview notes, “…the island was seen as a mechanism to exile immigrants in geo-political limbo – there was never a Statue of Liberty welcoming them.” The competition proposed that participants design a new arrival center that would provide a welcoming place of sanctuary to new immigrants.
“’Immersion…’ spawned from a series of abstract charcoal drawings that crafted different spatial experiences,” Tran said as she described her project. “I thought of light and of darkness as materials of space when I drew the charcoal drawings. They were my way of answering the question: “Where does the building disintegrate and we are only left with emotions that light and silence must offer?” From these charcoal studies, I found four essential dimensions that the interplays of darkness and light offer. The four dimensions are of the past, of the future, of time, and of self. I perceived these dimensions to be different worlds for people to immerse into and lose sight of reality—a haven for the mind, body, and soul.”