Monthly Archives: December 2013

Hubbard – Final

Maragos P5

My project represents the solid foundation needed to unify the various demographics surrounding our site. Facing extremes both in age, and income the proposed multi-residential complex must be more than a focal point between the residents. It must become a bridge between economic, racial, and age barriers in order to unify this divided area. The three minerals represent these three barriers, which this program seeks to challenge in order to provide a new sense of safety, community, and rigidity to this hectic intersection. In plan, the crystalline exterior shells provide ample community space within the first three floors.  As the building ascends however, the central space is divided into several individual crystals with nothing but a visual connection.  This strategy allows for both the largest amount of programmatic communal spaces (i.e. swimming pool, restaurant/bar, convenience store, library, theatre) and individualized living units, which cater to the varying resident demographics.  This gradient of from public to private represents human nature to wish to be surrounded by like individuals while providing opportunity for interaction across social classes. Sky bridges connect the three structures at varying floor heights.  At the moments of intersection between bridge and building lie the most important communal spaces, allowing for the unification of the otherwise separate social circles at the threshold of their separate complexes.

The site is triangulated according to individual gardening plots and the central promenade, which flows under the three sky bridges. Where site meets structure the land elevates to meet the building at a higher level than that of the surrounding site.  This allows for the effect of the crystalline structure to be puncturing through the site as a means of providing a more dramatic visual assurance of the conceptual mineral ossifying from the earth.

Both the buildings and the site were shaped by hand, but structurally supported through the varying use of Grasshopper Lunchbox tools. In this way, the exterior space frames and trusses are able to provide a realistic solution to the sculpturally difficult massing system required to accurately define the calcification I was aiming for.  The other application of parametric software exists within the engineered façade system.  Essentially it is a system of varying apertures and extrusions set within a diamond grid that is designed according to the solar radiation graph of the massing surface to which the strategy is applied.  Through the use of Vasari solar analysis tools and Grasshopper image based pattern making, the final structural and intelligent façade strategy was made possible.

The CNC project provided a physical example of a few of the designed panels tessellated together. This type of approach provides concrete proof that the system can exist outside of the virtual realm in which it was created. It is a powerful tool in an ever-growing focus within the contemporary architectural field.  Modern craftsmanship is then redefined through the meticulous 3D modeling process and subsequent programmed tool paths used to power the CNC process.  The craftsman must adapt to applying the same in-depth approach to modeling by using the computer as a virtual extension of their trained hand.  An aspect that is almost entirely new is the possibility to construct models through the use of mixed media rapid prototyping processes. Thus multiplying the complexity and possibilities the modern craftsman must understand in order to successfully create parametric constructs.




Luu Boards

Luu P5

In today’s society, it is all too common to ship our elderly family members to nursing homes when they become unable to take care of themselves.  This practice is irresponsible – it allows the younger generations to maintain their independence, but forfeits the quality of life for the older generation.  Human beings are social creatures, so it is no wonder that people in nursing homes often die earlier and more unhappy.  They are lonely, isolated, and removed from their loved ones.  There must be a better way to respect our elderly in their last years.

In many Eastern cultures, nursing homes are almost unhead of.  Instead, the elderly move in with their children, forming multi-generational households of grandparents, parents, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren.  This family structure has many benefits.  Young children can develop more personal connections with their older relatives, rather than viewing them as a little more than a particularly friendly stranger.  Adults maintain relationships with their parents throughout their lives, and most importantly, the elderly can live a healthier lifestyle by being cared for by the people they love while still remaining a part of active society.  However, in the West, an individual’s independence is of crucial importance as well, and the concept of a multi-generational living situation and personal independence seem contradictory.

This is how my design developed.  I started by designing the unit of my building.  These similar units are built adjacent to each other, but with very little construction, have the ability to convert into one large unit, with one communual living space, a split-use kitchen, and two wings for personal bedrooms and bathrooms.  This allows a family to buy one unit, and purchase the unit next door for their elderly parents.  The two households can live independently for several years, but when the elderly couple can no longer live by themselves, the unit can be converted into a multi-generational home with minimal disruption to all parties involved.  There are six different single-household units that can covert into three different multi-generational units.

I arranged the units to form my building.  One concept that had been very important for me from the start was providing ample outdoor space, both public and semi-private, that could allow the elderly to engage with other residents of the complex as well as the surrounding community.  However, I found this a challenge, given the communities and the traffic surrounding the site.  I needed to find a solution that would create a safe community within the site, but that would also allow pedestrian access into the the area from the neighboring community.  Thus, I decided to shape the building to create a buffer between pedestrian circulation and the busy streets of Reading Rd., Gilbert Ave, and I-71.  The shape of the building also created a central courtyard that, while created for the residents’ usage, also allows for circulation from the surrounding communities of Pendleton, Mt. Adams, and the Horseshoe Casino.  A single loaded corridor connects all the units and faces the courtyard, which allows residents to observe the community space, even if they choose not to physically engage with it.

While the main outdoor space is the central courtyard embraced by the building, I also introduced the concept of vertical gardens.  These were created to foster a semi-private outdoor environment for those residents who were more comfortable in a small-group environment rather than a larger group full of strangers.  Also, vertical gardens  provide a level of comfort for people who are not quite as mobile.  Many elderly like to garden, but bending over can be painful, or even impossible.  Hanging gardens provide an ease of mobility that is applicable to the community I was aiming to serve.

These vertical gardens encouraged me to develop a skin for my building.  I allowed the apertures of my units to define the rhythm of my building, but the vertical gardens did not create the same aestetic.  Therefore, I developed a diamond panel that could tesselate to cover the outdoor spaces.  This panel included fins that not only served as a shading device, but also would form a trellis for vegetation.

I programmed one of these panels for CNC production with the plan to vacuum form the mold and form a more cohesive skin.  However, the physical mold was very delicate and I suspected it would not survive vacuum molding, so instead, I developed a digital model.

The Parametric Approach to Building Design

Earlier this semester we studied the effectiveness of and need for parametric design. One of the first things we learned about was the negative and positive principle ­that are included with Patrik Schumacher’s coined term “parametricism”. On the negative list he describes that there are no rigid forms, no simple repetition, and no collaging of isolated, unrelated objects. On the positive list he describes that all forms are soft, all building systems are differentiated, and all systems are correlated. The positive effects of parametric design are extremely rewarding, and this quarter I implemented several parametric design techniques into my design to help my project blend into it’s surrounding environment, become energy efficient, and create a comfortable, interactive space for it residents.

I decided to take a traditional design approach to the form of my buildings. By taking information from wind and solar studies I developed a form that would maximize southern exposure to the residential units and provide ventilation across the site and into along the building faces. I used a more parametric approach in designing my building’s individual floorplans and interior spaces, as well as my window organizations and site layout.

In developing my floor plans, I used a footpath simulation provided by DepthMapX that mapped virtual agents walking through the building for a period of 10,000 timesteps. The maps below show these calculated paths, with red being the most heavily trafficked areas and blue being the least. You can clearly see the improvement in the final floorplan, showing much less unused or in this case “wasted” space.

Layout 1                                                             Layout 2

DepthMapX was able to define spaces that were going to used the least, or in some cases not at all. By using this information, It was easy to redesign my floorplans to guide users throughout the building, and prevent large, awkward, unused spaces.

I took these images one step further in developing the interior of this building, this time by implementing them to create the three dimensional surface of a sculptural, acoustic ceiling. Because these colors show the most heavily trafficked areas, I used this map in creating the form of my dropped ceiling. By using rhino I was able to create a surface form the image, with the lowest points of the ceiling being the lowest trafficked areas. This effect would create a ceiling paneling system that would come down and touch the ground at points that were the least used, defining a sculptural surface that users would walk past and be able to touch and interact with, without it being in the main path of traffic.

In the final portion of which I implemented Paratmetrics into my design, I used Autodesk Ecotect to perform sun and shadow studies on my building facades to highlight areas that would have the greatest sun exposure throughout the year. From these images I was able to organize a window scheme that would maximize my buildings efficiency without sacrificing natural lighting throughout the interior spaces.

Benjamin Koontz – Final Boards

David Rieck UNITE Social Housing

LINK: Final Boards