Lost Not Found

East Village, Manhattan

The project proposes a transient space for lost and found objects, a database and portal connected to the new L Train station at 14th Street and Avenue A. 

The Lost + Found portal is a new structure between grounds: a space for the misplaced, lost between the public and private domain, the personal and the political, social engagement and poetic disengagement, competing identities, all which constitute the complex territory of [the] city. Shifting the view 90° from the proto-corner to emphasize the ground plane, Lost + Found, as an exploration and translation of figure and ground, not only implies the relationship of above to below, but also the threshold, and the in-between: a transitional space of objects and people, transforming states of moving through the city. It considers the essential notions of inhabiting the edge: threshold / transition / transformation, expanding and extending both above and below ground.

The portal includes a database terminal and reception center to receive lost articles (collected weekly from the portal), and accommodates one attendant, known as the MTA Secretary of Misplacement. It is accessible from and connected to the subway station [under] and street level [above] in proximity, merging the two. The structure articulates cycles of dispossession and reclamation within a city space. The pattern is symbolic of the city’s continuous losing and finding of itself.

Site and circulation become not a fixed destination, but an experience along the way. The threshold calibrates transformation, a change from one state to another.

Thinking about the act of breaking the ground within a very hard urban surrounding is indicated and experienced through very small cuts, almost as though each hidden entrance leads one down into a separate layer of the urban fabric. 

The project uses the ground, cut and threshhold as a volumetric, sectional strategy and structural system carving and cutting into the ground. It transforms, modifies and translates the system with programmatic continuities and discrepancies. The Lost + Found shelter provides a space to deposit and receive lost articles, as well as a database terminal. This added transportation portal must relate to the new subway entrance on 14th street, and mediates the flow of people and different speeds and modes of traveling through the city.