Poetics of Movement was a project assigned to the second-year architecture and interior design students at the University of Cincinnati. Students were asked to choose a piece of poetry, music or art and design a building for public use that captures the essence of the chosen piece. The result was a center for dance and art, focused on accentuating the relationship between two, and creating an environment where dancers and artists can draw inspiration from each other.
Architect: Emily Krogstad
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Status: Concept

The inspiration for this project was the song Motherboard by Daft Punk. The instrumental song takes its listeners on a journey through landscapes. At first the music is light and airy, as if you are underwater or in a jungle, but the music takes a dramatic turn to a much darker, cave-like setting. By the end of the song you are brought back to the same pleasant scene where the song began. These concepts were translated into a space separated into a light and a dark zone. These spaces were also thought of in terms light and heavy, with the bright area of the building raised on stilts and the dark area descending underground.

In the first iteration of the project, the light zone was inspired by being underwater, with a fish tank wrapping around the front façade and roof. The path of travel would bring you down into the dark portion first, and have you work your way up to the bright portion. The bright portion would be flooded with light, with two walls of windows and sunlight passing through the fish tank. You would then travel back down to ground level, completing the loop.

The final design thought of the light portion as being more like a treetop canopy, instead of like being underwater. Planks of wood and glass wrap around sides and top of the building, creating shadows similar to light shining through trees. Instead of traveling in a loop, the final design takes more of a serpentine shape.

The building consists of dance practice space, an art gallery, an auditorium, and a large outdoor patio. You enter the building through the art gallery in the dark portion of the building, which features art inspired by movement. A screen stretches from the basement to the top floor of the building, showing videos of dancers collaged with abstract art. The screen can be seen from practically any place in the building and reaffirms the connection between dance and art. From the gallery you can descend downwards to the auditorium or travel upwards to the light section.

The three levels of dance practice space are in the light portion, with staggered floorplates that allow dancers to see each other from all levels. The space includes two facing mirrors, creating the interesting visual effect of an infinite reflection. This effect emphasizes the idea of dance being a visual art, as dancers can feel like they are contributing to the canvas as they see the visual impact made by their movement.

Emily Krogstad
Emily Krogstad is a third-year interior design student at the University of Cincinnati. Emily was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs before moving to Ohio for college. Her passion for the arts stems from her life-long love of dance and has since expanded to include music and design in all forms. While choreography had always been her primary form of creative expression, she dabbled in song-writing and fashion design as a child before setting her sights on interior design in high school. Emily is currently doing her second internship at Corgan in Dallas and is hoping to be back in the Chicago area for her third internship this upcoming summer.