Final Design

The new museum and lodge at Fort Ancient serve as an extension of the site.  Acting as an appendix, the new buildings add to the historic site without taking away from the natural beauty of the Native American mounds.  Pushing the building outside of the sacred enclosure created by the mounds leaves the character of the original site unchanged.  Placing the buildings below and outside of the mounds creates a new experience for visitors, who must experience the site, the mounds, the land before they stumble upon the museum and/or lodge.  The roofs of the buildings become new viewing opportunities for visitors, who can walk out and look back on the mounds or look out to the river beyond.  In this way, the new buildings bridge the past, the present, and the future:  experience the history of the land, move out to the modern musuem, and look out to the future.   The simple geometric addendums contrast with the natural landscape within which they sit.  The simplicity of the forms allow the buildings and land to be seperate distinguishable elements but easily coexist.

The buildings are sited in the valley at the southern end of the site.  This allows  the  windows in the museum to have the best exposure, with the northern side of the building buried in the earth, reducing the heat loss.  This is also a major drainage area for the site.  A significant seasonal creek forms in this valley.  To make good use of drainage water, the roofs of the buildings will collect water and use this grey water as a water feature as well as for running toilets and other such maintenance needs.    Placing the buildings facing the valley will alllow visitors to enjoy the view of the creek and give a visual connection between both forms.

With these new buildings, new circulation has been formed.  When entering the site, a vehicle will drive next to the mounds, starting the experience of the land from the moment they enter.  Vehicles will follow the contour of the land all the way back to the museum, where they will park on axis with the lodge.  Pedestrians have the option to walk on a new path, which like the buildings, goes outside of the mound enclosure.  This allows visitors to experience a different view of the site than they did in their vehicle.  This path also cuts through the building, melding the building to site.  The lines of the building extend through the site, creating new viewing lookouts that mimic the roofs of the museum and lodge.  Ramps guide the circulation within both masses.    A ramp cuts into the mass from the roof and guides the visitor into the space.  Utilizing ramps gives every visitor, handicapped or not, the same experience.

The intention of these new buildings is to exist in  the historic site without competing with the beauty of the mounds.  Visitors should come to this site to see the mounds, and understand the magnitude of these structures; any other structure should be secondary.  This new lodge and museum accomplish this by hiding themselves behind the site.  Visitors must walk through and truly see the site before they come upon these structures.    Addition without subraction will allow the site to be enjoyed and appreciated for years to come.

Design Development

Schematic Design_Annslee Stevenson

Case Study_Annslee Stevenson

Vertical Landscape Urbanism by Studio Hp As + L.E.FT

I chose to analyze an urban residential project in Holmestrand, Norway whose form plants itself within the landscape. This project is an interesting example of how architecture can use the given topography to enhance and give form to a given design.  The architects took inspiration from ancient French and Norwegian caves that were built in cliffs such as these, giving ancient cave-dwellers access to the water below.  The main form of this project is an elevator shaft that bridges the top of the hill to the coastline below.  From this main spine the private villas sprout, capturing views for the inhabitants from within the cliff.

This project can be a foundation for the new Fort Ancient design.  The zone I have chosen as a location for the new building is a steep cliff that bottoms out into the river.  Using the idea of planting the building within the hill can be a foundation for my conceptual design; this will leave the mounds and other possible archeological sites preserved for future study.  This will also create a new experience for visitors, who must walk the entire site before they come to the museum/lodge center.  This will capture the views off of the steep incline and become the anchor of the site for new visitors.

Fort Ancient Site Diagrams