Eager readers of the podcast website and the show notes that accompany each episode of the pod might remember some links that were attached to our first episode about MX3 and development in the Ironbound. Those links led to two YouTube videos, with each of those videos showing a graphical representation of what the proposed buildings would look like in the Ironbound. I initially had found these links on the Newark subreddit. I was impressed by how succinctly and how jarringly those videos showed the change that would happen to the skyline and view from the Ironbound if the tall buildings were built. That’s when I saw the name “Myles Zhang” for the first time. I began to do some digging around through my networks to find out who this Myles was and what his relationship to Newark was. After a month or two of asking around, one of my friends (and a listener to this podcast) told me to check out the new exhibit in the Hahne’s building and that he would be there talking about it. I went, and I was astounded. I was astounded by this young architectural student (still in college at the time) who was one of the driving forces and designers of this exhibit in one of the most prominent public spaces in the city.
Background & Articles:
Website Mirroring the Hahne’s Exhibit: click here
Newark Metamorphosis Maps: click here
Essay on Newark Changing: click here
Watercolors and Photos by Myles: click here
3D Model by Myles of the Panopticon: click here
Myles Zhang—Myles is a Newark Native. From the age he could first speak, he drew the urban architecture around him. His past work documented the impact of urban renewal on Newark's built environment. His current project describes Newark's history of incarceration and possible interpretive reuses for the old Essex County Jail, one of the city's oldest buildings and abandoned since 1971. Myles is currently studying for a Master's degree in Architecture and Urban Studies; his thesis examines the darker history of buildings as tools for social coercion and surveillance.
“The time, in New York City, a week after cousin Phuong died in the car wreck, I stepped onto the uptown 2 train and saw his face clear and round as the doors opened, looking right at me, alive. I gasped—but knew better, that it was only a man who resembled him. Still, it upended me to see what I thought I’d never see again—the features so exact, heavy jaw, open brow. His names lunged to the fore of my mouth before I caught it. Aboveground, I sat on a hydrant and called you. ‘Ma, I saw him,’ I breathed. ‘Ma, I swear I saw him. I know it’s stupid but I saw Phuong on the train.’ I was having a panic attack. And you knew it. For a while you said nothing, then started to hum the melody to ‘Happy Birthday.’ It was not my birthday but it was the only song you knew in English, and you kept going. And I listened, the phone pressed so hard to my ear that, hours later, a pink rectangle was still imprinted on my cheek.” Ocean Voung, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous