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2024 Rotch Runner-Up: Nathan Karlsen

Karlsen Headshot Cropped BW

After finishing his MArch at Wentworth Institute of Technology in 2021, Nathan moved to New York City for professional practice. As he currently works on commercial and residential highrises in downtown Manhattan, he simultaneously seeks a balance between architectural practice and continued independent exploration and research. Over the last few years, he has engaged in a variety of competitions, including a proposal titled “Now Decker” published in the BSA virtual exhibit “Co-creating Boston’s Future-Decker,” and prior Rotch Travelling Scholarship competitions, becoming a finalist in 2021.

View Nathan's Preliminary Entry

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Preliminary Competition Entry

From Store Front to Street Front
A new tenancy model

As our cities continue to change rapidly, it has exposed the unhealthy architectural life cycles of our turbulent retail leases and their tethered three-dimensional architectural realizations. The paradox between ephemeral tenancies and their permanent storefront and interior fit-outs is not only economically and environmentally irresponsible but leaves behind vacant shells that diminish the life on our streets. By rethinking this typology and its associated storefront, a new tenancy model is imagined, one that embraces change and creates an urban spectacle and energy in its shifting.

View Nathan's Final Entry

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Final Competition Entry

(Re) Framed Landscapes
An urban boardwalk to [Re]Frame our current context

In urban environments, progress is often hidden behind walls of scaffold and revealed only when deemed ready for use. With turbulent economic and social conditions surrounding construction, these phases usually last months, if not years, creating long-lasting barriers within our communities. This disconnect between infrastructure and the people it serves hides transitory stages behind a curtain of progress. By reframing this narrative, a more transparent and honest process is imagined.