Masters of Architecture
New York, NY

Masters Thesis | Spring 2019

Nick Gelpi


Through the study of Isamu Noguchi’s playgrounds, Aldo Van Eyck’s Amsterdam Orphanage, and Mark West’s Jacket and Liner technique for fabric forming concrete, our thesis studio was tasked with creating a seemingly oxymoronic building; A concrete Kindergarten in New Orleans Audubon Park. Through the use of physical models and intensive research, I was able to recreate the protrusions and bulges from West’s work and reinterpret them, as well as Noguchi’s signature play mounds, into the form of the building at varying scales. Noguchi’s work, Lunar landscape, and West’s fabric formed concrete come together to create a conceptual playground cube, which was then used as a starting point for the design of the building.


By using techniques of fabric formed concrete, The overall building is able to the softened to allow for a more welcoming and safer space for young school children to inhabit. Scaling this down creates domed skylights in rooftop mounds to draw playful light into many of the buildings spaces. Fusing Noguchi’s play mounds with these techniques produces areas for play in the school’s interior courtyard, while the overall organizational strategy of Van Eyck’s Amsterdam Orphanage drives the layout of the building. By Creating non-conevntional spaces for learning and play, young children’s minds can be challenged and given a jump start in their cognitive development.


The 2 story project features 10 classrooms for kindergarten children, a library, lab space, reading room, cafeteria, administrative spaces an interior playground and large courtyard space