June 13, 2012

Thesis Final Booklet

Here is my Final Thesis Booklet: Click Here to View!

May 3, 2012


I realized after the midterm that I need to re-evaluate the reasons for my building form, and make the presentation stronger in terms of the story that I present to reviewers. Going back to my first post, I looked at some of the guiding factors that have pushed me to this point. The inspiration of the grapevine has been in the back of my mind throughout the term, and reading back why I found this plant to be inspiring in the first place has helped me make the connection to what the project is focused on today.

From my earliest concept model, I had this idea of wrapping the building with nature as a grapevine wraps around solid built forms like fences and posts in order to grow tall. In order to build healthy communities in tower forms, you have to bring nature upwards and “wrap” the spaces with connections to natural light, air, and access to plants and agriculture.

Vines also dictate how the planning of the spaces were decided, keeping the “stem” as the central circulation and the “fruits” as the public spaces on the edges. The fruit of the vine is considered the heart or life of the vine and could be a metaphor for the heart of the site, which in this case is the central market. Vines create beautiful canopies, filtering in light as the perforated screens would do.

In terms of structure, the forms are made up of simple steel framed buildings that would have 30′ x 30′ bays across the site, 16″ columns and 14″ deep beams. A layer of concrete goes on top of the steel floor plates and a standard rain screen assembly for the exterior wall panels. I had previously thought about using a wood composite product for the facade, but I have been looking into terracotta panels that may work better.

I need to work on my sun shading devices and how the graphic of the perforated metal looks. I also want to figure out my tectonic model and give it some material quality to study the daylighting of the atrium, cafe, and housing spaces.

March 23, 2012

Project Intro

Project Intro

March 16, 2012

Photo Collage

March 14, 2012

Winter Final

After our final review, I realized that my presentation board wasn’t expressive enough of the ideas I have to overtake this site with food, agriculture, and green spaces. They wanted to see more, which makes me grateful to have another term to explore and push this project to the next level.

In terms of the natural resources on the site, I see next term as a chance to look at sunlight and it’s effect on where garden and agricultural space should be intended. I plan to draw out a few shading studies of where shadows hit on the site to exclude those zones as primary growing space. Sunlight is essential to our lives as well as natural organisms, so I would like to ensure that every plant and user on the site has access to natural daylight and fresh air, also pushing the shading screens to be more integrative. Another resource here, related to growing food, is waste and how we can move cycles through the site to reuse compost to heat the building or to fertilize the plants.

The spacial organization on the site is working well, but the shaded outdoor spaces need to be developed and the massing could be more connected. I may push pieces of the central “gem” to extend throughout the district and make the massing more expressive of this pushing and pulling strategy to show the interlock of building structures.

Experiencing the space through different textures, light quality through perforated screens, elevated terraces, and connections to gardens is the goal that I had in creating the photo collage perspectives. I think it gives an exciting look at how lively the site could be, but it could show more of what happens at different times of the day or seasons of the year.

The facade is not pushing the interlocking idea as well and needs more opaque systems versus solely glass. The ground floor could show more through perspectives of how an arcade of overhead trellises can create shelter for pedestrians and how this extends throughout.

Related the that, the building tectonics need to be further described in my perspectives. I will be working next term to push these interlocking L shapes and overlapping of materials to show the layering of different processes. The first layer is people, the second layer is site and nature, the third is food and tangible products that create waste, and last is sunlight. How the structure works as a system will be defined through cantilevered concrete slabs with structural steel columns, curtain walls, and a wood composite paneling to wrap the exterior.

I was playing around in SketchUp before the final and wish I had shown my ideas more through graphics that I do want the site to be integrative of community gardens and urban agriculture. Here’s a snapshot of that concept I’m playing with.


February 22, 2012

Façade Studies

February 17, 2012


In exploring the façade treatment for my building, I have discovered a few sources of inspiration for the layering of materials and textures. I want to create beautiful patterns of light for the large gathering spaces such as the restaurant, art museum, market. I started looking through my pictures from previous site visits and I was drawn to the amount of tree canopy and light patterns coming through the foliage. I want to create some kind of screen to filter light, based on this idea, possibly using perforated metal in warm grays or copper.

February 15, 2012

Midterm Scheme

Here are a few quick drawings from the midterm pin-up on Monday, giving an overall idea of what my goals are in developing the project. I received some great feedback on what aspects are working and where improvement needs to be made. The major piece of advice that sticks out from the conversations I had, is to choose one thing and zoom in on it. My project has gotten extremely complex with a variety of functions such as housing, food production and restaurant venues, art classrooms and gallery space, as well as the educational aspect on how to grow local food as sustainable practices in the city. Because my initial interest was in food, I have decided to take this on whole-heartedly and to make this the central focus for my thesis. Art, retail, and housing can become secondary pieces that only support my development rather than taking center stage.

A few other things I need to consider in further design development is how my building connects to the spaces, paths, and buildings surrounding it by drawing a large context map and overlaying my ideas. Next, I need to develop the “gem” of my project, or the aspect of food and urban agriculture, figuring out exactly how this works from beginning to end and how people will use these spaces. (specific details) In zooming in on the “food” component, I need to put to rest the other parts by simply suggesting housing above with plugged-in floor plans from precedents that show spaces that prove to work well. Then I could color code the overall floor plans to differentiate uses, allowing myself the freedom to make the “gem” something special within the project and leaving the housing to be something quieter and less designed.

February 6, 2012

Booklet Revised

Thesis Booklet Draft

February 6, 2012

First Stab at the Site Design

Concept: The design idea focuses on how the process of food and art production occur on site and create interactive spaces for residents and visitors to exchange ideas and products. I think this could be emphasized further in my thesis project in terms of the actual building design, making it very clear how the massing of the scheme works to bring out this idea in an interesting way.

Urbanism: The project design is emphasizing a connection to the larger urban vision by maximizing the density on the site, utilizing the strong corners of urban retail, and keeping the building heights at a reasonable scale to the existing buildings around the site. The large boardwalk and public plaza I am proposing responds to the social aspect of the project, reaffirming the fact that this site will be a great place for gathering singles, families, and elderly.

Project Development: The program needs to be altered to adapt to a larger scale, adding retail at the ground floor as well as an increase in housing. The emphasis of my thesis project will be on designing the urban agriculture, art center, restaurant, and gallery spaces.

Sustainability: I need to further investigate the sustainability aspect to this project, but I am interested in looking at the full cycle of where food goes on the site. There could be a way composting fuels heat for the building?

Next Steps: The part of my scheme that seems most successful is in keeping the emphasis horizontal in a landscape-like way to produce food. The boardwalk connection to the farmers market and the solar orientation of the buildings seem like elements that work well, but I need to see exactly how the shading of surrounding structures will affect this.

The next step will be to zoom in to what I am truly passionate about for the project, and to research it. For me, this means figuring out exactly how to grow food, how to sell it, how it is recycled, composted, stored, etc. and understand how this process can work for a resident of this complex as well as someone working for a restaurant harvesting food on site. I also plan to investigate the way art is produced in the same way, and to see how these processes can interact with outdoor spaces.