julien leyssene / design & construction
MARBLE CANYON  |  Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens, NY
Entry for 2014 Folly Competition sponsored by the Architectural League of New York & Socrates Sculpture Park.
MARBLE CANYON proposes a 12’ x 12’ x 12’ cube of rammed earth that is designed to erode over the course of a year, revealing a hidden concrete lookout stair from within as it disintegrates.
Rammed earth is rarely used in the northeastern climate as its physical characteristics are not ideally suited towards durability without additional protective measures from the elements. MARBLE CANYON embraces that failure.
A single, functioning antique water pump stands adjacent to the cube, connected to the East River thirty feet away. As curious minds begin to pump the handle, a gush of water is drawn through concealed piping to the top of the cube. The rammed earth is designed to hasten erosion in key locations, as less clay & portland cement and a higher concentration of sand mixes with the loam to lessen its binding capacity. As visitors pump, water collects in a concealed depression at the top of the cube and pours through one of 3 pre-formed pathways, encouraging de-sedimentation in predestined paths. Runoff from the installation is collected in a drainage basin at the base and uses gravity to return the water to the adjacent East River via a drainage pipe.
As the continuous flow of water begins to carve into the layers of the earth, large glass marbles are revealed from within the earthen walls. While providing a stunning display of glimmering light, they also strike the perfect balance between desirable souvenir object and utilitarian aggregate. Children and adults alike are encouraged to continue pumping in order to take home a marble or two as a reward for their efforts.
Over time, a concrete lookout stair is unearthed through the smooth canyon walls. The once massive and impenetrable block is continuously transforming itself towards a human scale and, more excitingly, encourages climbing - rewarding the visitors efforts with a new previously unattainable vantage point over Socrates Park and the views beyond. The stair is proposed as a non-code compliant sculptural element that can be climbed as an interactive sculptural element should Socrates Sculpture Park choose to allow it.
MARBLE CANYON is the ultimate folly - existing simultaneously in the landscape, the past, the present, and as a future ruin waiting to be unearthed.

MARBLE CANYON  |  Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens, NY

Entry for 2014 Folly Competition sponsored by the Architectural League of New York & Socrates Sculpture Park.

MARBLE CANYON proposes a 12’ x 12’ x 12’ cube of rammed earth that is designed to erode over the course of a year, revealing a hidden concrete lookout stair from within as it disintegrates.

Rammed earth is rarely used in the northeastern climate as its physical characteristics are not ideally suited towards durability without additional protective measures from the elements. MARBLE CANYON embraces that failure.

A single, functioning antique water pump stands adjacent to the cube, connected to the East River thirty feet away. As curious minds begin to pump the handle, a gush of water is drawn through concealed piping to the top of the cube. The rammed earth is designed to hasten erosion in key locations, as less clay & portland cement and a higher concentration of sand mixes with the loam to lessen its binding capacity. As visitors pump, water collects in a concealed depression at the top of the cube and pours through one of 3 pre-formed pathways, encouraging de-sedimentation in predestined paths. Runoff from the installation is collected in a drainage basin at the base and uses gravity to return the water to the adjacent East River via a drainage pipe.

As the continuous flow of water begins to carve into the layers of the earth, large glass marbles are revealed from within the earthen walls. While providing a stunning display of glimmering light, they also strike the perfect balance between desirable souvenir object and utilitarian aggregate. Children and adults alike are encouraged to continue pumping in order to take home a marble or two as a reward for their efforts.

Over time, a concrete lookout stair is unearthed through the smooth canyon walls. The once massive and impenetrable block is continuously transforming itself towards a human scale and, more excitingly, encourages climbing - rewarding the visitors efforts with a new previously unattainable vantage point over Socrates Park and the views beyond. The stair is proposed as a non-code compliant sculptural element that can be climbed as an interactive sculptural element should Socrates Sculpture Park choose to allow it.

MARBLE CANYON is the ultimate folly - existing simultaneously in the landscape, the past, the present, and as a future ruin waiting to be unearthed.

DUMBO LOFT RENOVATION  |  Dumbo, NY
Project architect for apartment renovation in Dumbo. 

DUMBO LOFT RENOVATION  |  Dumbo, NY

Project architect for apartment renovation in Dumbo. 

SOHO ROOFTOP  |  CROSBY ST
Managed construction for renovation to a rooftop in SoHo for a digital design firm.

SOHO ROOFTOP  |  CROSBY ST

Managed construction for renovation to a rooftop in SoHo for a digital design firm.

APARTMENT RENOVATION  |  Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, NY
IN PROGRESS  -  Design and construction of renovation to a brownstone apartment, connecting second floor unit to the third floor unit.

APARTMENT RENOVATION  |  Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, NY

IN PROGRESS  -  Design and construction of renovation to a brownstone apartment, connecting second floor unit to the third floor unit.

APARTMENT RENOVATION  |  Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
Photographs by Cameron Blaylock.
Assisted with construction of apartment renovation.

APARTMENT RENOVATION  |  Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY

Photographs by Cameron Blaylock.

Assisted with construction of apartment renovation.

POET’S HOUSE  |  Syracuse, NY
Assisted with construction. Project completed with PARA-Project. All images ©2013 PARA-Project.

POET’S HOUSE  |  Syracuse, NY

Assisted with construction. Project completed with PARA-Project. All images ©2013 PARA-Project.

LAKE HOUSE  |  Skaneateles Lake, New York
IN PROGRESS - while at PARA-Project

LAKE HOUSE  |  Skaneateles Lake, New York

IN PROGRESS - while at PARA-Project

HUNTINGTON HALL  |  Syracuse, NY
Project completed with PARA-Project. All images ©2013 PARA-Project.

HUNTINGTON HALL  |  Syracuse, NY

Project completed with PARA-Project. All images ©2013 PARA-Project.

ELENCHUS  |  Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens, NY
Entry for 2013 Folly Competition sponsored by the Architectural League of New York & Socrates Sculpture Park. 
Awards: Selected by the jury as a finalist. 
Publications: The Architecture League of NY
Fallen tree branches are collected and accumulated from all New York City parks from now until May 2013, and are stockpiled at Socrates Sculpture park. Formwork is constructed out of plywood for the inner shells of the walls. A rebar structure is erected with a dual function - to provide reinforcing for the concrete, but also as structural support for the cantilevered branches. The bottom row of branches are installed, with the cut ends of the branches flush against the plywood. The formwork for the outer shell is formed out of a mixture of sand, dirt and hay. Each row of branches is subsequently installed, with the earthen formwork deepening as required. Some of the lower branches will be completely engulfed by the temporary earthen formwork.   
Concrete with recycled glass aggregate is poured between the plywood and earthen formwork. The earthen formwork is power-washed away using water from the adjacent East River, leaving the concrete between the exterior branches dirty and imperfect. The plywood formwork is removed and the inner shells are ground down and subsequently polished, creating a perfectly smooth surface of exposed ends of branches, concrete, and the shimmering glass aggregate.

ELENCHUS  |  Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens, NY

Entry for 2013 Folly Competition sponsored by the Architectural League of New York & Socrates Sculpture Park.

AwardsSelected by the jury as a finalist. 

PublicationsThe Architecture League of NY

Fallen tree branches are collected and accumulated from all New York City parks from now until May 2013, and are stockpiled at Socrates Sculpture park. Formwork is constructed out of plywood for the inner shells of the walls. A rebar structure is erected with a dual function - to provide reinforcing for the concrete, but also as structural support for the cantilevered branches. The bottom row of branches are installed, with the cut ends of the branches flush against the plywood. The formwork for the outer shell is formed out of a mixture of sand, dirt and hay. Each row of branches is subsequently installed, with the earthen formwork deepening as required. Some of the lower branches will be completely engulfed by the temporary earthen formwork.   

Concrete with recycled glass aggregate is poured between the plywood and earthen formwork. The earthen formwork is power-washed away using water from the adjacent East River, leaving the concrete between the exterior branches dirty and imperfect. The plywood formwork is removed and the inner shells are ground down and subsequently polished, creating a perfectly smooth surface of exposed ends of branches, concrete, and the shimmering glass aggregate.

CALAIS LAND PORT OF ENTRY  |  Calais, ME
Project completed while at Robert Siegel Architects. All images ©2009 Robert Siegel Architects.
Awards:U.S. General Services Administration Design Excellence Award, 2010AIA NY State Design Award, 2011GSA Project Management Award, Outstanding Project Team, 2011Metalmag Architectural Award, Honorable Mention, 2011
Publications:Architectural Record, September 2008Architect Magazine, May 2010Eco-Structure, March 2011

CALAIS LAND PORT OF ENTRY  |  Calais, ME

Project completed while at Robert Siegel Architects. All images ©2009 Robert Siegel Architects.

Awards:
U.S. General Services Administration Design Excellence Award, 2010
AIA NY State Design Award, 2011
GSA Project Management Award, Outstanding Project Team, 2011
Metalmag Architectural Award, Honorable Mention, 2011

Publications:
Architectural Record, September 2008

Architect Magazine, May 2010
Eco-Structure, March 2011