Please click on this link http://youtu.be/Bs-Qtxf1Jpc to view an introduction to my thesis project. Enjoy!
This year’s thesis project was the most challenging studio I’ve ever had. It challenged me in ways that I had not been challenged before. I embarked on the very difficult task of trying to connect humans to places and architecture to the landscape-via a pedestrian landbridge building that could teach children the importance of our relationship with nature. The idea is a bold one and I feel good about the final product and the progress I made throughout the year on this project. The final review went well and the feedback I got were suggestions for minor changes in the way people actually get into the building. However, the major concept was strong and it drives the idea that there are better ways to develop and grow along the waterfront in a more sensible manner-in harmony with nature.
This midterm’s review was mainly focusing on 2 important technical aspects of our Design. Structure and Enclosure were the two aspects that were further developed. Below, you will find plans that show how the post and beam structure work as a system for the main armature of the building. You will also find that the inspiration for a “pilotis” (Stucture Case Study) system was drawn from a basic corbusien system where he used the pilotis or column as the main structure that would then free up the facade from any vertical gravity loads imposed on the shell with lateral reinforcement in a core. For my design, the post and beam structure is reinforced laterally through a series of moment frames that are positioned at every other bay to create a rythym of thick frame structure. The structural concept was developed in hand with the enclosure as well. Like the structural grid, the enclosure is a radiating broken down set of vertical panels (that make up a double skinned facade. The double skin glazed facade creates a light, transparent, and inviting facade that also protects the internal environment through the use of 4 glazed panes of Low-E values with insulated assemblies to increase its thermal resistance. This double glazed facade not ony protects from solar heat gains, but also provides passive ventilation that user’s may manually control during the times of the year where ventilation is needed. (wall section detail2) In addition, the enclosure responds directly to prevailing wind patterns throughout the site so that the building essentially captures and harnesses fresh outdoor wind and funnels it into the indoor spaces to improve indoor air quality levels while lowering demands on HVAC systems. In these diagrams (Vasari_Wind_Solar), you will also find that the building orientation is optimally positioned to recieve daylight form the south to decrease the need for artificial electrical lighting within spaces.
Post Review Reflections:
So, after my review some of the feedback that I got was that I needed to further address the 40′ cantilever and to increase the beam depth in the floor framing. This could be somewhere in the 4′ range as there is a green roof, Live Load, and Dead Loads to address. Also, It was noted that I need to look into adding more opaque surfaces on the exterior shell since it would be impractical to enclose the whole building with a double skin facade. This could also give the North and South facades different characteristics that would further enrich the user’s experience both in the outside and inside. Moving forward, I want to revisit the structure to further refine its qualities in the interior spaces along with the daylighting excercises that we will perform in the next coming weeks.
This final/midterm review, I was made aware of some areas that need to be conveyed in a more effective manner so that the ideas are clear and my objectives are legible. The form of the building is a complex one and so additional pieces of information should be added to future presentations so that the audience may grasp better my design. Sections combined with perspective drawings may be the most effective tools to convey the design ideas and especially in areas like the atrium where there are intersecting roof planes and at the gallery on the first floor. The gallery on the first floor is ramped and so a section could be useful there. Also, the pedestrian connection from the land bridge to the waterfront needs to be developed further. In addition, the site design also needs to be worked on since there are still elements missing to tie the whole thing together like cohesive pedestrain paths and design. I’ve been working on the structure, parking, general circulation, and producing sections that are critical for the site and building. For the early Spring term, I hope to resolve these major site issues and also develop the interior spaces fully (especially the greenhouses) so that I can move forward to the more technical issues that will be addressed this next quarter.
This is a post pin-up reflection for the 4th week of the quarter. My current scheme was a thoughtful attempt at addressing some important issues of the project, but has much development to go. Here are some of those issues that still need to be resolved or improved upon.
Concept: The concept for my project is Reemergence. It is a concept that I feel is strong in the sense that it captures well what this project attempts to do- bring back to life the native habitats we once destroyed. While the concept is a good one I feel, the conceptual model still needs more development.
Urbanism- My latest urban design proposal addresses key issues: connectivity, density, diversity of activities and magnetic nodes of attraction. I established a complimentary axis that works off of an established proposal for a pedestrian connection into the Rose quarter via Clackamas st. This pedestrian connection makes its way into the site, but fails to tie the larger buildings together. For that matter, I established a transverse axis that works with the clackamas axis that connects with one strand the rose garden, the coliseum and my site. This idea I feel is a strong move that makes wayfinding within the rose quarter much more legible. Things that need to be improved upon is parking and an urban design phase schedule so that a sequence of developments may be planned accordingly.
Project Development: I have made several changes in my program that have increased commercial pieces to improve the economic viability of the thunderbird site, however, I believe given the nature of how public the Center for Urban Ecology is, I will have to add more so that a broader range of commercial activities may be offered on site.
Sustainability: I have preliminary solutions for district level solutions that I need to refine. One of them is heat recovery (Shared Thermal Energy System) which captures out flows of energy and brings it back into a building for heating and or cooling.
Next Steps: The parts of my scheme that hold the most promise are: the promenade, the waterfront plaza and the exhibit that overhangs into the river. The promenade was a strong idea because it opens the site up for public use. It is a gesture to the public that they are welcome and anyone is allowed to circulate through the site regardless of their interest in the center for urban ecology. The exhibit also holds promise since its U-shaped 3 piece design holds a theme that is very strong. The 3 pieces is a reflection and exhibit for the past, the present (exhibited by the view of downtown and of the future where children will display their visions for a future. The parts that needs the most attention is the circulation and topography. The steep slope of the site needs to be addressed appropriately with either a ramp system or stairs that make up the character of the circulation. Also, the stepping down of the building is also a very big challenge that needs to be developed further.
Biomimicry Excercise Reflection
The biomimetic excercise that was undertaken during these last 2 weeks was a very challenging task. First, because this was the first time that I began the design process with a focus on the micro scale. Typically, I start from the macro and like an eagle flying high, I circle the site from above and slowly zoom in to the building and then its details last. For that matter, this excercise was somewhat troublesome.
However, it did help to refine my ideas about a biological structure that will be carried on to the next phase of design. I came to narrow my focus to the structure of the DNA Double Helix and was able to extract principles that could be of use in the next phase of design. For example, the idea that the DNA strand is the common building block of all living organisms (human and nature) is a concept that is very appealing to me and that has strong relevance to this project. Moreover, the DNA as a structure is very strong, versatile and has the ability to move in multiple axis (X,Y,Z). Although it can move in all directions, it presents a massive headache in trying to model and resolve the connection details for the structure. This was one of the major issues I ran into while I was building the structural model of the double helix. Although the DNA strand is very strong and versatile, the enclosure for it was also very difficult to design and resolve. A skin that is transformable is a very difficult design problem and at this point, it is probably best to restrain the structure to 1 or 2 axis so that a skin may be easier to obtain. Another option is to make this structure only into a pavillion with the ability to give overhead protection, but not to enclose a space. This space can be the outdoor classroom that connects the users with the river, riparian forest, and views of downtown portland. Also, the roof forms that undulate as a result of twisting and turning become difficult to resolve. This roof skin also has to be very flexible and tranformative like the double helix walls. Although, the curved undulating forms were interesting they were difficult to resolve in physically modeling them.
In reflection, I would like to carry on some of the fundamental principles of the DNA strand – adaptability and transformability. A structure that has the ability to move and trasform is a very appealing way to resolve some issues of energy efficiency. The elevation diagrams show how the roof structure can move and tranform into different forms to increase daylighting levels or heat gains from solar exposure and can alos do the opposite. It can shade the building while it collects rainwater.