jacob t. middleton, aia


    10. breaking character
    09. cruising rhyolite
    08. performitory
    07. purple plushy catwalk
    06. holly haus
    05. chronicles out west
    04. at journey’s end
    03. made in asherton
    02. intakes/outtakes
    01. a sanctuary
    05. sashayed away
    04. the vanya project
    03. topdog/underdog
    02. drowning
    01. the tempest


  1. jacob t. middleton is a Texas native based in New York City. he holds a Bachelor of Architecture from The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture and has studied at New York University Tisch School of the Arts in the Graduate Department of Design for Stage & Film. his work has been featured by Columbia University School of the Arts, Spectacular+Texas Architect Magazine, ISSUE by UTSOA, and Archisource.
  2. jacob is an architect at Dattner Architects. previously he has collaborated with Bates Masi ArchitectsClickspring Designdots, Overlay Office, and Magic Architecture, among others.
  3. he is interested in creating work at a variety of scales that investigates performance, explores bad taste, embraces low culture, and questions existing typologies.


  1. jtmidd2021(at)gmail (dot) com
  2. instagram
  3. linkedin

a sanctuary

storytelling through architectural promenade

Angel Island, often referred to as the “Ellis Island of the West”, is a politically charged site with a dark history. The Angel Island Immigration Station was constructed in China Cove in the year 1905. Here in China Cove, the United States government would control the influx of immigrants coming from the west for several decades.

The immigration station dealt primarily with Chinese, Japanese, and other Asian immigrants who sailed across the Pacific Ocean. These individuals, seeking to gain entry into America, were inspected, interrogated, disinfected, and detained. For certain individuals, this detainment process could last as few as two weeks, but some people experienced detainment for longer than two years. The treatment of these individuals was dehumanizing, brutal, humiliating, and inhumane. Because of this, many detained immigrants passed away within the walls of the immigration station in China Cove and several of these individuals took their own lives. In 1940, the immigration station’s administration building was destroyed in a great fire. That same year would be the last time immigrants would pass through Angel Island for processing.

Today, Angel Island is recognized as a California State Park and attracts tourists from around the world, but the site’s haunted past is often overlooked.

a sanctuary is sited directly adjacent to the existing foundation of the former administration building. The existing foundation is symbolic of the pain and suffering that occurred on this site while the sanctuary symbolizes hope and new beginnings. In an attempt to reclaim the history that has been lost on this sensitive site, an occupant passes along this foundation before entering into the sanctuary space. Directly engaging with the history of place forces one to consider their own journey and that of those that came before them.

project information
location: angel island, california
date: 2018
type: research, cultural, competition

project team: jacob t. middleton



compress; as visitors enter into the building, they file into a very cavernous space which admits traces of light through small slits and clerestory windows. Symbolizing the fear and subsequent bravery of immigrants, this space is used primarily for individual reflection.

ascend; after contemplation, one is faced with a series of spaces that filter light through wooden scrims. As more and more light permeates the building, a sense of hope arises and one is able to rise above ground level.

release; upon reaching the main gathering space, occupants are thrust into a very bright and open auditorium with panoramic views facing the San Francisco Bay. The bright performance hall celebrates new beginnings and calls one to question the experiences that brought them here.

  next ︎︎︎