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The Black Market

Brooklyn, New York

Jason Joseph

Thesis: Evasive Exchanges

Pratt Institute


The Heist

An act of infiltrating the built environment by using a counter-space to form evasive exchanges of plan and section. An illicit temporal condition wherefrom the programʼs boundaries and borders are in an unclear and unstable state. The 'heist' can become a set of rules and scenarios used in the design process to cultivate unique and provocative spatial relationships. 

Manhattan Transcripts

“There is no space without event, no architecture without a program”, Bernard Tschumi explains in his Manhattan Transcripts. They are a device for analyzing the city. The Transcripts are a means of putting experience on paper in a cinematic structure. As a precedent, Tschumi's transcripts help identify methods of representation and analysis of film making and cinema as they relate to architecture. 

Film Analysis

After studying heist film, it was clear that characters use architecture as a mask to infiltrate space and manipulate the built environment. Be it walls, stairwells, foundations, windows, HVAC, etc., and the characters have a strong understanding of how these building elements are used in the context of how one operates in the space. When you temporarily adjust the structure, its function or experience in the space can start to adapt and take a new shape. This is where interesting programmatic exchanges may take place in a innovative way. What if architects could create temporal-spatial conditions or 'heists' to manipulate the built environment to adapt with time? Heist films can be characterized into three groups: hijacking, stealth, and blitzing. The idea of hijacking space is to create reciprocity or sequences of events and spaces that can become interdependent and fully condition each other’s existence. Stealth heist is a sequence of indifference where events and spaces can be mostly independent of each other. Blitzing is an operation that causes spatial conflict. Spaces and events occasionally clash and contradict each other. These ideals can start to create a heist as an organizational logic and enhance the cinematic experience of walking through architecture.

Design Language

The heist is an essential spatial experience that blends, smears, and isolates provocative
moments during program exchanges. The idea of experiencing space must be a cinematic one;
a sequence of moments in time that, in their totality, create a collective societal experience.
Within the process of infiltration, the heist also produces and exploits perforations in the different programmatic spatial conditions. The program becomes armatures for creating gaps and
layering public and private experiences.

Potential relationships between two programs, circulation, and different spatial conditions are
presented in a heist infiltration. The infiltration of these elements happens from a strategically
placed force or point of entry that disassembles and redistributes between two or more physical
condition. The infiltration, disassembly, and redistribution become a particular kind of spatial
operation, one that cuts through architecture in ways of obliques and diagonals. The spatial
infiltrations then root themselves forming new hybrid conditions.

Within the heist narrative, the built environment is both obstruction and accomplice as you
experience space. The spatial heist operates in continuous present time, and successful
evasion depends on the new exchanges to shift and emerge, as the ability to re-read and react
to the evasive context becomes an essential sequence in time. It forms erratic landscapes
offering concealment at one frame in time and presents exposure and apprehension the next.
The sequence of infiltration was dramatic exaggerations when analyzing spatial relationships in
heist films. The cinematic quality of the heist emphasizes the precision of infiltration and planning of the sequence of moves through space in time. The thief creates different socio-psychological maps to understand and breakdown vaulted space and the relationships to its dwellers. The architectural elements within the heist films are deconstructed to allow for a greater understanding of positive and negative space.

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