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Alphabet City


Urban design

Built environment

This is an exploration of 2D graphics, typography, negative space, iterative gestural models, and ideas about the workings of the city street. Alphabet City allowed us as designers to imagine and build a city utilizing personal and collective ideas about the places we inhabit and the ways we interact with them. Over the course of 6 weeks, everyone who was part of this project made a building of their own to later on put them together to make a city.

My alphabet

First, this font was designed by gathering inspiration and references from different typographies and graphics found in the CalArts library.


Gesture models 

I brought my alphabet to 3D space by making a set of three gesture models. From these gestural models, feedback was given on the possible uses that the inhabitants of the city could give to these spaces and the way in which they would interact with different elements within the environment. At this stage, it was decided that this would be a festival center for the city.

Digital model

From this, the letter "G" was chosen to make the final model at a 1/4 inch scale. Adjustments were made to the letter and several tests were made on 3D models until a final design was chosen.


Final model

To build this model, a cutting machine was used to cut 32 black triangles, 32 transparent triangles, 22 white triangles, 15 black translucent triangles, 15 white translucent triangles, and 6 reflective triangles (122 triangles in total). Each triangle is unique and placed in the corresponding order they make up the Alphabet City Festival Center.


Once it was put together, the ACFC joined the city's skyline. In the same way, a set of people was created at 1/4 inch scale to reflect the diverse population that inhabits the city. As part of the exhibition, a brief audio tour of each construction in the city was prepared. Below you can listen to the audio tour of the Alphabet City Festival Center narrated by Alexandra Tejada.

ACFC Audio Tour
00:00 / 01:03
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