Greg Stringer


Informed by the tradition of paper lanterns, beacons are living, ghostly apparitions that reflect their surrounding environment and entice people to enter the border of their neighborhood habitat.


Cities continually reinvent themselves. This city does so at an accelerated pace.

Our city is an organism that envelops multiple and diverse elements. Architecture should reflect this complexity. Buildings/objects must adjust and react to their environments as living creatures do. The countless layers of unknown history, thought, and memory occurring through the years and fleeting moments require a living palimpsest to mirror and affirm our daily existence.

Chinatown(Manhattan) has no viable gate to signify its border. The ancient world developed ceremonial gates for their walled cities. A physical gate is not a relevant symbol for contemporary Chinatown. The growing community would surround and swallow it. Every neighborhood, every borough, retains a unique identity that will certainly change over time. A new gate must adapt to and signify these fleeting, and at times, imperceptible changes.

Our urban identity must be reaffirmed in an immediate way, one that is true and present to our daily existence. A porous gate or collective hive of living beacons that float and coexist with the shifting border will reflect with colloquial integrity. They will be animated creatures that entice exploration within and around their shifting borders.

Boundaries enable us to celebrate other. The earth as System is beyond human control. This island, transformed by the minds and hands of humanity, is not a machine but a living organism.

I immersed myself in Chinatown and developed a narrative that would inform a viable, albeit fantastical solution to the shifting border of Chinatown Manhattan. My research included walking and observing throughout the area extensively and researching the history of the growth of the neighborhood.

People in and around the periphery of the neighborhood (Chinatown specifically)

User Scenario
A user would encounter a solitary beacon or groups of beacons either in close proximity or at a distance.

In a gallery situation, a prototype would have imagery projected on a Tyvek skin from the inside with a short throw projector. The beacon will be approx the size of a microwave or small television (although more organic in form) with a bass wood frame skeleton.

There will also be an accompanying Maya animation depicting the scenario in the Chinatown environment.

To let the idea take on a life of its own and be what it wants to be.