— Adam Marcus/Variable Projects
This series of drawings reimagines nine American city halls as networks of individual rooms sized according to the spatial algorithm of social distance. Each drawing maintains the outline of the building’s floor plan, reconfiguring the interior as a recursive enfilade of domed chambers sized six feet in diameter. This dimension reflects the new paradigm of social distance that governs public space during the coronavirus pandemic.
These buildings represent the nine American cities with the highest population densities, a metric that corresponds with greater vulnerability to outbreak. As a typology, the city hall is the quintessential public institution—literally the space of local self-government. The interior dome, a spatial element so often associated with architectures of democracy, propagates at the scale of the individual, creating a labyrinthine network of isolated yet linked chambers. The space between these rooms becomes a poche of variable thickness that modulates separation and connection throughout the building. The architecture reflects the spatial protocols of this current moment, but it also suggests new formats and possibilities for collectivity and assembly that might lie within the distributed, fragmented nature of our polity.