Uni Design: a system of cubes
The Uni structure is based on a system of open-faced cubes. The cubes stack, lock together, and can be installed in different configurations or heights to create an inviting space for people to gather in public. Each Uni cube has an interior dimension measuring 16″ on a side, providing shelf space for approximately 10-15 books or other materials. Each cube also has a cover element that can be used as a bench, a table, podium, or a display surface.
When all 144 cubes are deployed together, the Uni becomes a form that reflects its parts: a striking eight-foot-high cube.
In the early evening or in bad weather, these cover elements can be re-inserted to close up the Uni and transform it into a surprising new form. Overnight, the Uni can be further secured with a locking, waterproof cover.
In 2011, we partnered with Höweler + Yoon Architecture and Professor J. Meejin Yoon of MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning to design and fabricate the first Uni. A team of MIT students—James Coleman, David Costanza, and Alexander William Marshall—working under the supervision of Prof. Yoon, fabricated the Uni using new tools and technologies to create an innovative, sustainable and flexible system. This work was supported in part by a HASS grant from MIT.
The result was an attractive, durable physical structure that we will use for many years to bring books and programming to New York communities. The project also resulted in a design that can be replicated for neighborhood groups, municipalities, libraries, schools, and other institutions and organizations seeking to bring books and learning experiences to new locations.
Photos from Sep. 2011 fabrication by Thena Tak, HY Architecture:
Höweler + Yoon Architecture, LLP, with Prof. J. Meejin Yoon of MIT (Eric Höweler, Meejin Yoon, Parker Lee, Ryan Murphy, Thena Tak, James Coleman, David Costanza, and Alexander William Marshall).
David Costanza, Alexander William Marshall, and Meejin Yoon, with help from James Coleman, Cyrus Dochow, Parker Lee, and Thena Tak.