In reaction to the complication of systemic design processes used in previous projects, the goal here was to simplify — paint with a large brush & let the complexities develop with the project. Preliminary site analysis presented the need for diagonal access across the site & a preservation of open space in the existing square. Pairing these needs with a demanding program & height limitations forced part of the building to expand out in a dramatic cantilever. The spatial qualities here were best suited for the Artek furniture showroom.
The rest of the building is a play of light & views. Skylights penetrating the ground plane allow diffused light to bounce off angled walls into the subterranean library / archives. Light & views also transverse programmatic separations creating a more active & dynamic spatial experience.
Course: Arch. Design IV
Instructors: Philip Tidwell
This project was a winning entry in the TIMBER New England Design + Fabrication competition resulting yearlong financing for research and development and material testing. This research culminated in the M2X3 installation at the Urban Timber: From Seed to City exhibition at the Boston Society of Architecture (BSA) Space.
‘M2X3’ is derived from the Roman numeral marriage marks scribed in corresponding pieces of lumber centuries ago during traditional New England timber-frame assembly. MMXXX (2030) is the year the world’s population will shift to majority urban dwellers. Recognizing New England’s traditional wood-building vernacular while exploring the potential of contemporary engineered lumber, M2X3 seeks to craft a new tectonic system of wood joinery for application in urban midrise construction.
Contemporary engineered lumber reduces a massive material into thin sheets, or particles, and reassembles the pieces, gaining additional strength while using less material. However, the end product is similar in form and assemblage to traditional timber framing methods. That is, members are joined via passing connections, bolts or pegs, and joints.
M2X3 replaces these joinery techniques with a laminated veneer system which merges structure and surface, taking advantage of the material qualities of multiple thin layers of wood. These layers of veneer peel from major vertical supports bending to form secondary ‘arms’ of horizontal surfaces and perpendicular spans. These arms reach internally to merge with the layers of other members resulting in a seamless system. The exterior cladding joins at the vertical support, leaving a gap between the interior system for glazing.
Components are modulated through a series of 5° bends which, can combine in endless configurations resulting in undulating systems reacting to site and climate constraints or opportunities. The M2X3 is a progressive tectonic system that will excite people about the next century of New England timber construction.
In translating M2X3 to the BSA gallery space the overarching goals were to give BSA visitors a true experience of the assemblage, versatility and spatial character. To accomplish these goals we combined units in different configurations, providing dynamic views of connections and the ability to interact with the installation throughout. The spatial effect builds a sense of enclosure (as it would be experienced in midrise construction) while also filtering and reflecting light and allowing ample views both out of and into the gallery space.
Fabrication & Installation
After being selected as competition finalists, bending tests were conducted to determine timber’s ability to achieve complex curvature in varying board widths. While the initial proposal called for a bent LVL system, testing led to a hybridized LVL & Glulam assembly which better utilizes the inherent properties of the material & manufacturing processes. The standardized members were bent with adjustable jigs allowing for fast and simple production.
Exhibit Opening Photographs: David F. Nicholson
This project utilizes the devices of visual depth and complex organization to examine an alternative form of cohesion missed by modernists and formalists alike. This alternative cohesion is accomplished through the use of a rigorously layered system of grids to establish a typical repeating floor plate. The system is then ‘glitched’ to create new forms of visual and spatial configurations based on vastness and highly focused views. In doing so the project proposes a new monumentality based on aggregation – whereby, an icon becomes a blurry figure. This outcome is only achievable through the loosening of systemic norms.
Course: Arch Design V
Instructor: David Ruy
Inspired by organic materials’ inherent relation to the earth’s surface, Surface to Sukkah, sought to emulate the growth & transience of natural materials, parallel to the weeklong Sukkot festival. This concept is accomplished in two ways - formally & materially.
Formally, Surface to Sukkah began as a strip of earth. To create enclosure which adhered to the religious, structural & site requirements, the surface heaved & folded. In the process, walls a roof, & seating areas were established with varying levels of visual perforation.
The choice of sheathing material was poetic, wood framing was enveloped with a layer of semi-porous burlap, partially coated with sprayed-on terracotta*, dried by the sun. The terracotta erroded over time & through climatic cycles eventually returning to the soil. In this way, the sukkah grows from the ground surface & returns until the next year.
Collaborators: Jeffrey Lee &
Competition: Sukkah City STL
* This is a process we developed & to our knowledge a first for this materials application
Material constraints guided the form of the Surface One Chair. Limited to 100mm x 52mm sheets of birch veneer the challenge was set -- how can a chair be formed from these single surfaces? Through lamination, heat & vacuum pressure the veneer was bent to the tightest possible radii. A series of cuts produce the backrest & revealed the legs. Steel was used minimally for reinforcement & to increase the seating height.
Course: Furniture Design in Finland
Instructors: Julie Tolvanen & Matti Kankkunen
This project began with in depth research in the domestication of military drone technology. In 2012 Rodney Brossart became the first person arrested on American soils with evidence provided by drones — his crime, one of the oldest in history, cattle theft. While this arrest occurred in North Dakota, research eventually lead to the Arizona and Sonora border. This region is ripe for investigation into the militarization of the country at large. In 2006, the largest border fence was constructed between Mexico and the US. This was done despite warnings of increased migrant deaths. In fact, the fence purposefully channels migrants away from cities with high latino populations (within which they can blend) and into harsher desert environments. This blockade is enforced by Border Patrol agents whose number continue to increase despite varying reports on their effectiveness.
Military technology has further increase the surveillance of this border region. Fort Huachuca, known as the eyes and ears of the military is located in southeastern Arizona. This base is also home to Aerostat and drone surveillance operations. Four hours drive west of Fort Huachuca is the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Test Range. While these militarized zones have clear spatial implications on the terrain of Arizona, what is less tangible is their effects on the airspace overhead. The military has been criticized for their tactics of appropriating land in the past, however, the same has not been true of their appropriation of airspace. This is done through demarcating Special Use Airspace (SUA) which prohibit commercial and recreational flights to enter these zones. SUA’s use range from live munitions testing and training to drone surveillance flight paths.
Assessing an SUA map of Arizona, one will quickly notice that nearly the entire border zone is reserved for military operations. Coupling this with Fort Huachuca’s twenty year plan, we see that the intention is to create an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) corridor connecting their base with the Barry M. Goldwater Test Range. This essentially means Arizona will be the first state to have its entire border reserved for SUA allowing increased drone surveillance.
The Meteorological Infrastructure project imagines the repurposing of existing oil pipelines and the introduction of new pipelines and atmospheric watering stations as a new water infrastructure to combat desertification and aid in human migratory flows. Migrants currently use pipelines as a navigational tool, knowing that they lead north and to major urban areas. Furthermore, their constructed easements and private properties mean it is less likely to run into Border Patrol Agents. However, this channeling does lead to target areas which can be monitored in a similar fashion to how border patrol currently monitor the major roads in the area. Through dispersing the pipeline into a network with nodes placed 3-12 miles apart, migrants will always be within a days walk to a water source. This dispersal to 500 nodes also provide a challenge to surveillance due to quantity. At night when the Border Patrol Agents switch to thermal imaging cameras , the water infrastructure comes to life creating corridors of mist which mask migrants thermal image under the pretense of fighting desertification.
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Course: Arch. Design VI
Instructors: Stephen Meuller
Architecture & fashion rely on the performative (theatrical & functional) nature of material assemblages. In the Fold explores the performance of complex surfaces at the scale of the human body. Through the production of generative diagrams assessing connection, arrayment, lofted form & repetitive geometries a system was devised which rigorously adheres to the complexities of human figure & motion.
Material explorations paired with digital fabrication techniques further refined the surface geometries. The final design is a paneled system able to flex with the body’s motion.
Collaborators: Chun Liu
Course: Performance Enhancing
Instructors: Chandler Ahrens & Robin VerHage-Abrams
Photographs: Jeffrey Lee
Editing: Christopher Taurasi
For centuries lighthouses have guarded the threshold between land and sea. Built on sturdy ground with its gaze fixed out into the water, lighthouses embody a broader intersection of systems; light/dark, sky/ground/sea, visible/unseen. Historically lighthouses were simple fires built on a peak demarcating the edge condition between land and sea with the dense smoke during the day, and the flame’s glow at night. Just as fire is the poetic transition from matter to light, lighthouses similarly have inhabited the landscape emerging from the ground to project out an immaterial beacon – light. In reimagining the lighthouse typology we sought to intensify the quality of these traditional signifying elements through dissipating the massing and incorporating emergent materials – Vantablack and retro-reflective coatings.
Day & Night
The performative transition of a lighthouse throughout the day is critical to its perception as a beacon in the landscape. Both the massing and material choices were developed to create intensity in day and night lighting conditions. During the day, the Vantablack coated top of the lighthouse appears as a contrasting dark mass levitating in the sky. In the absence of light the retro-reflective lower portion is activated by the rotating light emanating from the cubic mass, sandwiched between earth and sky.
Ground & Sky
This conceptual massing emphasizes contrasting qualities of ground and sky while the reticulated structure articulates the chaotic nature of energy as it coalesces and manifests as a beacon of light. In this way the lighthouse becomes part of the sky while still belonging to the ground on which it sits. It appears to weightlessly lift the inhabitable space through the volumetric densification as the structure moves from the ground upward.
Land & Sea
At the edge of order (land) and disorder (sea) the lighthouse’s structure becomes a commentary on this interaction between the pure geometry of the inhabitable cube and the chaotic reticulated framework that supports it. Sited at this threshold the arrangement becomes critical to how the lighthouse accentuates the duality of chaos and order. From the shoreline fragments of the structure begin to congregate as they crawl up the cliffside until eventually forming a more contained chaotic gesture. This continues vertically as it increases in density along the way until finally it reaches beyond the threshold of chaos and results in a pure form, a cube.
Introspective and Projective:
The ruptured cube also emphasizes the connection to the sea by opening toward the Costa Concordia resting point. Internal views and projected light are directed toward this moment to emphasize the lighthouse as a memorial to the tragic events.
THERMAL IMAGING MASK
This project is set in the near future where domestic drone surveillance is the norm. Thermal imaging and facial recognition software have merged and anonymity is impossible even under the veil of night. This thermal imaging mask circulates water through spiraling tubes inhibiting thermal and facial recognition while allowing person-to-person visual interaction to remain. A rotating solar panel collects and stores energy during the day. This energy is used to power a small (2”x1.5”x1.5”) water pump which keeps the water circulating.
BODY TEMPERATURE REGULATOR
This device is intended for nomadic laborers traveling through differing climates in search of work. The lightweight thermally insulated pack houses a water vessel, small solar-powered water pump, solar panel, compartments for found thermal mass, tubing and a temperature regulating collar. As the nomadic workers prepare their camp for sleep and the cool evening, they load their packs with stones or other thermal masses which have been warmed throughout the day. As they lay down to sleep, water circulates through the tubes passing over the insulated thermal masses and into the temperature regulating collar. This collar rests on major arteries circulating large quantities of blood throughout the body. The collar warms the blood and in turn the core body temperature. In the morning, as the nomadic laborers prepare for a day under the grueling sun, they collect new thermal mass. By this time masses have cooled throughout the night. This cool mass is placed into the compartments in the pack and a shoulder mounted solar panel again begins to pump water, this time cooling it as it passes over the thermal masses. The nomadic laborers are able to regulate their core temperature as they toil through their workday.
Barack Obama’s usage of digital media in his political campaigns and presidency has been emblematic of the new digital era. By creating a building that reaches out the community, and is ever-changing in nature, we can create a forum of social-urban interaction and an active extension of the President’s legacy, rather than merely a monument.
In this reimagined presidential library typology the standard spatial allocation is shifted from being predominantly physical objects to digital data storage. This shift will free up space for the institution to better support public outreach and community programs.
This digital typology will also provide an educational infrastructure and framework for outreach and community programs. Additional programmatic spaces are accessible 24 hours a day and will provide access to computer and internet services to those who do not currently have access. A business incubator supporting digital and Technological startups will also be housed in the presidential library. Community classrooms will provide space for job training or general public classes.
In a more traditional sense, the cultural institution will provide a place for the exchange of knowledge, thecreation of dialogue and debate, and last but not least anurban niche to read and write.
There is already much debate regarding the location of the presidential library, by embracing a digital typology centralization is nullified. In this case the Chicago location can serve as a hub and administrative space while information is readilyaccessible worldwide via the internet.
Variable Environments was an investigation into building system integration, thermal enclosure & analytical software. The design consisted mainly of a prototypical façade system for a generic box building located in Helsinki Finland. The team identified performative goals that were then parametrically modeled. The manipulation of the façade systems & the integration of analysis software provided feedback which was used to tune the façade system.
Considering the climate & available daylight in the region, the team set out to design a dual facade structure with an operable shading system capable of blocking out harsher western solar rays while allowing in the maximum amount of sun & thermal heat during the cold winter months. The System incorporates a thermal cavity which captures solar heat activating a precast concrete panel & the floor slabs. Users have individual control over the environment via operable exterior windows & dampers in the precast panels.
Collaborators: Jeffrey Lee &
Course: Environmental Systems
Instructor: Chandler Ahrens
In current architectural practice, the building envelope is a reactive construction. That is, the envelope responds to existing environmental conditions & separates them from the desired interior conditions. Performative Skin questions whether a buildings envelope can be a proactive system able to separate interior from exterior, but also capable of benefiting the overall building performance & incorporate self-sufficient systems of energy production.
The tectonic nature of the performative skin assemblage is a lightweight steel structure integrated with 100 housing units & other mixed use program. At times the skin merges with the standard building envelope to form a double layer façade. Elsewhere alternative enclosure systems are plugged into the frame based on solar or wind orientation or other programmatic drivers. These systems include solar & wind energy production, shading or screening mechanisms, thermally active masses, ventilation & evaporative cooling, food production, phytoremediation, water catchment, etc. In doing so, categorical divisions between façade, wall, floor & roof are blurred.
Course: Arch. Design III
Instructor: Pablo Moyano
This three-part introduction to architectural design transitioned from the scale of a studio desk to a path through landscape & finally to a building.
The initial study was a system devised of two units, a cone & a frame. These units combine creating an adjustable module — the assemblage of these modules, in turn, create a larger system of enclosure. The hexagonal cone is able to rotate within the frame — orienting an aperture toward specified views. The tapering edges of the frame allow the enclosure system to undulate in relation to site, desired path or enclosure.
As such, the system evolved from a method of maintaining visual connections with studiomates, to a screening mechanism along a path for birdwatchers, to assembly & support spaces for annual hot air balloon races. In this last phase of the project the cone & frame increased scale to produce inhabitable space while functioning similarly to their initial premise.
Course: Arch. Design I
Instructor: Catalina Freixas
Systemic Sections began with the derivation of a geometric system from a biological organism, the invasive parasitic dodder plant. Next, in depth site analysis was conducted using analytical software. Site mappings were produced based on seasonal wind & solar radiation conditions. From the mapping, a site with the least ideal conditions was chosen to intervene in hopes of creating a more pleasant environment.
The geometric system was then abstracted into a wire model providing a structural logic. The logic, derived from the dodder plant, was based on attractor points (representing host plants) which were connected via branches which spiraled & bifurcated (representing the dodder). This structural logic was adjusted to mapped site conditions producing a building.
Course: Arch. Design II
Instructor: Chandler Ahrens
WaterSHED investigates the processes of flooding and water management in support of local dependence on Tonlé Sap Lake. A constructed terrain, organized around an integrated water purification system, serves as a constant hub in the otherwise temporal landscape. This floating terrain merges recreation and education to incentivise public engagement and establish communication among the numerous floating villages. As multiple WaterSHEDs are systematically installed at key locations around Tonlé Sap, the proposal will inverse the current unsanitary and unsustainable practices by providing an array of water purification resources and opportunities for active public education.
Acting as an economic corridor, Tonlé Sap is seen as an opportunity for financial stability by 1,200,000+ people. Due to the extreme conditions of flooding, access to infrastructure and resources are limited. This often leaves inhabitants relying on basic methods of survival along the lake edge. Unsanitary processes of resource and waste management are a major threat to vegetation, fish and wildlife; and contribute to cycles of degradation approaching epidemic.
The current living habits around Tonlé Sap are polluting the water and saturating it with trash, gas slicks and human waste. In recent years damming practices and more extreme high and low water levels have expedited the exploitation of the lake and adversely affect fish migration patterns. In response, WaterSHED becomes a center for preventive education and access to the most basic human right, clean water. Education about harmful pathogens is not widely available to remote villagers who depend on the lake water to provide bathing, drinking, eating, transportation, and economic sustenance.
Addressing the lack of knowledge regarding access to the shared resources of Tonlé Sap, WaterSHED establishes habit-building approaches through immersive educational activities, which are programmed throughout the floating terrain. As visitors depart with newly garnered knowledge of sanitation and sustainable water management and fishing practices, a system of micro-biorestoration serves to reestablish the lake as both an environmental and economic resource. By providing a constant place of activity, the spread of education becomes paramount in changing the behaviors that are currently degrading the lake.
Viewing prevention as the best means to improve the quality of life in the remote floating villages, all programmatic elements are focused on active and immersive education. Organizing around constructed wetlands, which treat contaminated water, volumes are situated along two flow-courses stemming from the anaerobic digester — this chamber is fed by public restrooms and return grey water. One armature extends toward public learning and recreational courtyards, while the other branches to private courtyards housing community resources such as a bathhouse, a purified water cistern and a health clinic.
Constructed wetlands highlight the purification process (and need thereof) by meandering through an intense terrain typically unavailable to lake residents. They also divide the floating platforms creating intimate spaces and contrasting exposed public areas which house the swimming pool, fish hatchery, bleacher seating, small library and maker-space. Dual research-living units located at each transect provide spaces for visiting scholars who can distill the greater context of educational resource to the local visitors.