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Dina Elawad_Final Design

The Fort Ancient site is one of mystery and history, and it is a shame that the site is covered up by dense vegetation, weeds, and no clear walking path.  My building design aims to correct this problem by creating a controlled site experience.  Through anchoring multiple viewports around the site, it becomes clear to the visitors that there is something magical and significant about the mounds surrounding the site, and the gateways they create.  My building is designed to be a memorable, and significant monolithic component of the site without demanding the attention that should also be allocated to the mounds and their history.

Through the strategic and specific division of my building, five view ports are created that lead to the gateways of the mounds, and back to a central point that directs the view to the second site (the DIG).  These five viewports also help to division the programming of the building, allowing for two stories on the northern pieces, that incorporate the major components of the building (the lodge and the museum) while the smaller portions allow for a cafe, lookout box, and some staffing areas.  The parking is underneath the building, allowing the site footprint to be minimized, and forcing the visitors to walk up into the central courtyard to experience the gateways before entering any part of the enclosed structure.

The second site, “the DIG” is a sub-area within zone two that allows for a secondary museum experience.  Here archeological digs can be practiced and a children’s dig area can allow for hands-on learning about the mounds and the site itself.

Overall, the “GATEWAY” focuses on delivering a quality and thoughtful directive to visiting the mounds, without overbearing or dominating the mounds themselves.

Andrew Scott Campbell

The design of Ancient Hills is derived completely from the processes performed by Fort Ancient’s Natives and the resulting topography of the thousands of years of drainage they created.   The interpretive canopy “mound” spans over the primary functions of the building with thousands of interweaving wood joists.  The top blends into the hillside with a vegetative roof; open slits allow beams of light in from the outside to create a diverse outdoor-indoor relationship.  It’s also blended in with the chaotic placement of the tree-trunk columns that support it’s over-arching canopy.  Cantilevered views project out from the side of the green roof to control light and to provide a hilltop view to people that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.  It’s interweaving paths bring the viewer above the roof to experience the full scale of the natural mounds and then back down below to contrast the volumes.

Presentation Board:

Model Images:

Vanishing Vocabulary – Physical Models – Museum Portion

Vanishing Vocabulary – Physical Models – Path Instances

These path instance studies explore the various ways in which the architectural interventions can interact with the path, and cause changes in it. (The “path” that is represented is not literal in form, as the interventions are, because the path itself is merely a clearing of the natural vegetation, led by the curve of the topography – thereby keeping the path relatively level)







Vanishing Vocabulary – Final Presentation Boards – Details

The diagrams notated on the section axonometric of the living units highlight how the units, with the high thermal retention lent by embedment into the earth, can make very efficient use of solar gain in the winter. The earth surrounding the units will also help them remain cool in the summer, providing that the sun is blocked by shading. The diagrams also highlight that the units are lifted off the ground so that self-composting toilets can be used, eliminating the need for difficult and odorous traditional sewage treatment, in this remote location.

The exploded axonometric highlights the “bundled” variety in structural elements, which are embedded into the earth-side.

The repeated pattern accenting the walls of the museum portion is derived from the native basket-weaving process, a ceremonial element of the culture. The pattern is applied to metal sheet material, varying in depth and sometimes piercing entirely through. These patterned sheets are located on either side of the concrete massing walls that anchor the composition into the “dug” hillside.

Vanishing Vocabulary – Final Presentation Boards – Primary Rendering

Vanishing Vocabulary – Final Presentation Boards – Lodging

The chosen lodging site stretches between a particularly inviting portion of the riverbed, and a wooded, enclosed, more private place among the earthworks, where a quiet path passes from a small clearing, between two unassuming mounds, down the hillside.

The lodging structure speaks to the form of “pile,” as the small individual living units, embedded into the sides of earthen terraces, are based from and cascade off of the larger, more stabilized, central community units, which suggest interdependency.

Vanishing Vocabulary – Final Presentation Boards – Path

The site path notated is the same area of topography highlighted in the site board. The lighter spots along the path are the locations of architectural interventions. The instances that are illustrated are assigned to their locations based on the needs of that specific spot of the site. For instance, a place that juts out as an overlook might have an intervention meant for sitting, resting, and looking at the view, whereas a spot where the topography undulates tightly and is very active might have a simple intervention that merely marks and accents the path.

The elements are meant to accent the path in such a way that visitors spend more time interacting with it and the surrounding natural site, recalling the cultural element of an individual spiritual connection with the earth.

This increased time and appreciation should encourage visitors to explore the site thoroughly – a desire which will be further spurred by the smaller paths that branch off of the interventions, leading deeper into site elements like mound, field, and river (these smaller paths are notated on the site board).

Also, the dramatic difference between the massive scale of the museum and the delicate scale of the interventions, will recall the idea of monumentality being eventually buried beneath the earth, leaving only small bits revealed – vanishing into the terrain.

As one travels down the pathway, the architectural moments are placed carefully so that the one being left will disappear from view before the next one appears. This recalls the idea that, as a new cultural idea develops, the one it is replacing vanishes. (This portion of the design also relates directly back to the case study done on the Creative Zone in Beijing. One of the primary concepts of the Creative Zone was, like a traditional chinese garden, for there to be one view per step. In the pathway implemented on the Fort Ancient site, each step brings a different view of the interventions, as the focus from one to another progresses.)

Vanishing Vocabulary – Final Presentation Boards – Museum

Placing the museum down the hillside, just below the mounds, at the point where the main road cuts between two of them, highlights the rather subtle earthworks. It calls attention to the mounds, which currently go so easily unnoticed by the many that casually drive through the site every day.

Though all parts of the intervention speak with the architectural language of the dialogue between “dug” and “bundled”, the museum portion of the intervention uses this language to speak of “passage,” the form most related to the “ceremony” aspect of the Hopewell’s mounds. The road’s passage through the museum site and mounds, the museum’s circulation path undulating through, in, out, and between the open and enclosed spaces and elements, and the circulation’s passage beneath the tunnel of the road, all emphasize this conceptual form.