Rear Window, Boston Chinatown Film Archive 2010

Rotch Travelling Fellowship Competition

Extending the vertical surface of the exhaust tower located within the site, the entire building is a screen for outdoor cinema. The linear footprint creates a buffer between Chinatown and the adjacent expressway, but is not a barrier: walkways cut through the film archive drawing the public in. Elevationally, one slips behind (and into) the movie screen.

The building is clad in glass laminated with liquid crystal polymer that changes from transparent to translucent when applied with an electrical current. Curators can control projectors with short throw lenses, individually or in series, to illuminate the façade, projecting not only films for the summer festival, but also exhibits, new research projects, interactive displays, and workshops. In addition, films shown in the indoor theater can be observed projected in reverse from the expressway.

The LCD glass creates privacy for the researchers working in the building, but, because it is their primary projection surface, it also makes public and exposes their work. The identity of the film center is created by animating its archives, and these projections create visual mash-ups that propel exploration. The building is extroverted, opening up to display on every surface, engaging the public. Cinema and live action become interchangeable.