Vanishing Vocabulary – Final Presentation Boards – Site

The terrain of original site plan (top) was modified in two locations. It was terraced off into steep terraces at zone 1 (notated by “A”), the location of the museum and the place where the main road enters between two dramatically sloped mounds. It was also terraced, but more gradually, at a site just between zone 2 and 3 (notated by “B”), near the river, where the lodging is placed.

The complete site plan (main image) includes the forms of these two structures, and shows the topography-conforming path accented by the string of architectural intervention moments stretched between. The lightened portions along this path are the places where the interventions would occur.

(Off of the site plan are photos representing the primary conditions of the existing site – open field, wooded path, and views out.)

Layer Explorer

layer 1 title

Fort Ancient is an archaeological research site that is outlined by the Indian mounds. In its culture, there are many aspect of the idea of “layers” at this historical site. In archaeological practice, researchers dig down the layers of earth to discover ancient artifacts. Native Americans built mounds by putting layers of earth on top of the dead person’s dwelling. History of the site is told through the layers of dirt made of various compositions. The idea of “layers” is important in the physical and visual interaction with the site experienced by the researchers and the Native Americans.

As a result of searching for the most effective way to educate the visitors about Fort Ancient by taking advantage of the nature of an architectural experience, I arrived at my design “Layer Explore.”

Built along the slope, the building is made by layers that sit on top of one another and creates stepping that form interior and exterior spaces due to their gradually varying shape that are based on joined hexagons. To get to the entrance of the museum “exploratory layers,” you approach down the layers on the outside steps facing the gorgeous view that Fort Ancient offers on the hillside. Then you enter inside the “exploratory layers” and the journey begins.  The exhibit is interactive with artifacts sitting on the layers on the perimeter, and the artifacts become newer and newer as you go up the layers, correlated to the layers of earth surrounding these sculpted layers that house the discovered artifacts.

The researchers’ village is made of multiple hexagons as well. However, in order to create the sense of the present world, all the buildings sit on top of a flat land in a configuration where they are apart from one another, which also creates privacy and separate functions of everyday life.

Schemes Layer 1 and 2
Schematic design
Prefinal Site plan
Prefinal Exploded Layers
Prefinal layer formation diagram


To not build inside the mounds or on the plateau is to miss out on the opportunity to showcase Fort Ancient’s historical significance–that one has to excavate the plateau before building.  Therefore, the proposed museum is inside a 100’ by 100’ excavation that starts ten feet deep into the ground.  There are three main exhibit halls that are each 2 additional feet deeper into the excavation so the deepest you are is 16’ deep.  The approach to the museum is guided by mounds of the dirt that come from this excavation.  When leaving the museum, you are in direct axis to the lodge which you cannot see from the museum’s entrance.

As you approach the lodge, you realize you are getting a visualization of how deep you were in the excavation since the lodge is 16’ in height, the top of the lodge being the level of the plateau and the bottom of the lodge being the level of the excavated site.  The lodge follows topography lines while the museum follows a rigid grid system similar to that of a real excavation.  The lodge, while it serpents along the topography lines, can be  contained inside the excavated site since they are the same volume.  The lodge’s point of interest is that the rooms are glazed to view the mounds on the south as well as view the topography on the north.

Vanishing Vocabulary – Concept (In Process Images) – 2

What about the vanished hopewell culture is evidenced in the mound site that is their lasting monument?

The architectural vocabulary of their building techniques can be succinctly summarized in the actions of “digging” and “bundling.”

The essence of the structures left on the site are in the forms of “passage” and of “pile.”



The mounds were primarily a ceremonial construction, as will be the museum portion of the intervention project. But there are two more aspects to any culture, including the ancient native americans’: individuality and community.

Though each of these areas of culture are distinct, they are irrevocably interrelated. Therefore, if the intervention is to accurately interpret and represent the vanished culture, the implementation of them across the site, must equally satisfy each, simultaneously.

Vanishing Vocabulary – Concept (In Process Images)

The Hopewell ruins at Fort Ancient are evidence of a culture that has vanished. The society’s people have passed away, the artifacts been buried, and the structures declined. But furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, as new cultures develop and new ideas come into favor, the old culture’s viewpoint – its particular way of interpreting the world and its interactions – is lost. As a ceremonial and social site, Fort Ancient strongly embodies such degradation.

Conceptual sketch – “Vanishing into the terrain”

Conceptual sketch – “Vanish”

Conceptual sketch – “Degraded form buried in the earth”

Kate Thompson Final Presentation

Bogenschutz Fort Ancient

fort ancient is a world heritage site for one reason; mounds. in designing a building to house the artifacts and cultural history of these mounds, it need not compete with but enhance the specimens, responding to the mounds without becoming them. Visitors enter the site at the beginning, leaving their cars behind and walking a series of pathways and ramps that lead through and around the mounds eventually leading to the museum. The museum itself is a series of ramps that converge at the center, below ground level where they can view the site they’ve come to experience through a glass floor. The constantly changing levels and diagonals provide not only constant views throughout the building but also to the outside, looking past a series of semi-transparent panels. these panels encase the structure responding to programmatic and environmental conditions. The final sequence leads visitors back to what they came for, the site, through an overlook stretched out from the end of the museum.

Final Project

A booklet of the final presentation will be submitted by email, which including description, images and diagrams.

Final Presentation (Julie Martin)

The purpose of the redesign of Fort Ancient was to create a new and slower experience of the site in order to encourage the visitors to gain a greater understanding of and appreciation for the history of the Hopewell people, the magnitude of their accomplishments, and their natural environment. The main design question therefore became: how can a new and modern master plan and structure not overshadow the historic and natural site, but enhance it? The concepts of the natural world and the built environment were analyzed, compared, and then connected theoretically. These ideas were derived until three concrete forms that encompassed all of the ideas—the building, the path, and the folly—emerged.
The building and sites along the paths are spread out around the site in order to create a broad experience. The proverbial oscillation between the main built form and the natural environment became manifested in the literal wave-like pattern of the path. The visitors leave Route 350 and drive along the winding road adjacent to the river, becoming immersed in the wooded scenery. They reach the building where, on a linear path, they are directed through a museum and research facilities in order to first be introduced to the meaning and history of the site. Here, in the concentration of program and activities, is the oscillation heightened. The path to the entrance weaves in the x direction and also climbs in the y direction. The parceled pieces of the form continue this path and the constant earth sheltering- cantilevering- earth sheltering action completes the undulation in the z direction. When the visitors emerge at the top of the hill, they are presented with a wide-open meadow and the beginnings of paths to the follies.
Again, the path weaves throughout the site, following the topography and literally slowing the experience by decidedly not taking the most efficient path. The trails outline many of the mounds and stop at follies along the way. Inspired by the English gardens, the follies are representative of history. At Fort Ancient, they are reenacted Indian villages as interactive teaching tools for families; a sacred monument to the only burial mound on the site; a shelter around the current archaeological dig. Whereas the main building houses a museum where the facts are fed to the people, the follies are meant to be more experiential and personal. Each person comes away with a different but greater understanding of the site, its importance, and its connection to people today.
Although it is not completely known how exactly the Hopewell Indians used the site or the mounds, it is certain that the site was a social environment for the ancient people. As of now, the site does not draw many regular visitors, has an uninspiring building, and an inadequate amount of paths or interesting sites along the paths. It is the hope that this design would not only teach the public about their ancient ancestors but also bring visitors regularly to the park and restore the social nature of Fort Ancient.

Final Presentation_Scott Betz

The Fort Ancient Mounds are nondescript to most who visit the historic site: the mounds are belittled by our current societal capabilities, hidden by the thick wood, and downgraded by the grandeur of other world heritage ruins. The awe of Fort Ancient lies in its topography: the amazing amount of dirt and gravel that was carried by basket up a long and steep hill from the river below. The goal of the Fort Ancient Museum and Lodge is to provide a contained datum from which visitors can better understand the massiveness of the mounds’ construction.

Starting from the drive into the site, the visitor is able to see down the straight road that leads them to the museum to see just how flat and long the site is. The tower at the end of the alley helps the user understand the scale of the site as the tower appears small at first and grows as they draw nearer. Parking is in small separated pockets along the road so as to keep the cars visually subdued and forcing the visitor to continue their trek down the straight axis on foot to the museum. The North elevation of the museum is subtle s as to not visually compete with the density of the woods. The curve of the façade continues the smooth fabric of the mounds. The visitor can see other visitors apparently floating far above the valley on the picnic area on the roof of the southern-most portion of the ring. The visitor can either walk out onto the ring to the overlook or they can walk through the density of columns down into the museum. The museum building is a junction of two rings: the horizontal concrete ring for private and the tilted glass ring for public. It is a junction between research and education. The floor plans are linear and intended to guide the visitor through the narrative the museum has to tell. The visitor of educated and then is presented with a panoramic view of the hillside and river below. This is to help the visitor understand just how large of an undertaking the mounds’ construction was: how far the massive amount of dirt and gravel had to be carried. The user moves through the café, still in the panoramic suspended glass ring, and the gift shop, at the intersection of the glass and concrete rings, before moving back up into the site to experience the site with the new understanding and appreciation for its awe.

The overnight rooms are separated into small, secluded huts that are scattered about and stuck onto the hillside. The massive museum ring and tower are ever present overhead as a wayfinder that is representative of a modern mound. It is a circle, a hearth, a center, constructed atop the hill below which the researchers and weekenders reside for the nights. The axis of the entry road is carried in steps down to the river. Along the axis are circles which denote junction of paths. The first circle at the tope of the hill is a junction of cars, a turnaround. The next circle is a junction of knowledge, a junction of the glass and concrete rings, a junction of research and education. The next circle halfway down the hill is a junction of footpaths, a junction between the resident researchers and weekend adventurers. The last circle at the bottom of the hill by the river is a junction of canoers, bikers, and hikers, a gateway drawing them up into the site.