For February I have decided to turn my attention to performance spaces. I designed this unusual barn-like structure to be an outbuilding for a large estate where the owner could host small parties of up to 25 people for music or dance performances. The barn contains a ballet studio as well as a recital hall with an adjacent bar and lounge area. Bathroom facilities are also included as well as an outdoor patio space complete with a fire pit and outdoor seating.
The inspiration for this building came from Lewis Carol’s Alice In Wonderland and the fantasy world that the book manages to portray. Around the building you will see various characters and scenes from the book integrated into the architecture of the building. As much as the building is about Alice and her adventures, I also wanted to express the frustration associated with the performing arts, specifically music and dance. Both music and dance strive for perfection, and the practice associated with those disciplines in attempt to achieve that perfect performance can be very frustrating if not maddening. The player/dancer in a way can morph into Carol’s Mad Hatter. I attempted to express that frustration through the building’s architecture by incorporating all of the ugly, overused and disappointing architectural elements used by many top architects and designers today into the building. Keep in mind this is a totally subjective list, but for me these details just irritate me.
My worst of list of Architectural Elements
1. The barn door and its overuse in residential design
2. Netting as railing or guardrail
3. The beauty/ugliness of Concrete
4. The work of Paul Rudolph and Brutalist architecture in general
5. Peekabo windows and dangling feet (found often in Japanese architectural photography)
6. The fireplaces of Le Corbusier
In this barn you are surrounded by all of these unpleasant architectural details that are acting as silent witnesses to your daily practice routine. Such annoyances could either inspire you to rise above the unpleasantness of your surroundings or all that visual frustration may end up driving you mad making you give up music/dance altogether. This building is all about taking risks, it comes with a warning label associated with its construction. In a way the building serves a commentary on art as well; that it is better to buy what you don’t like rather then things that speak to you. It needs to pinch and hurt a bit, in order to have a lasting meaning. Pleasantness doesn’t inspire or push you forward, and in the end you may end up liking what you initially disliked. Initially I thought that I was going to hate this building, but ended up really liking the building despite all of its irritating details. The building was as much about embracing change and being open to new experiences as it was an exercise in design.
The town of Stonington, CT recently acquired land adjacent to historic Mystic Seaport and on that site plan to construct a boathouse to serve as the permanent training facilities for the local high school’s crew team, as well as meeting the needs of local boating enthusiasts. I submitted this boathouse design for the design committee’s consideration. The program called for locker rooms, boat storage facilities, and a training space/event space to be available for the crew team’s needs. The design needed to fit in with the historic buildings found on the Mystic Seaport property as well as look appropriate for the community at large. Below are photos of my final design. I offered two material options for cladding the boathouse, a horizontal clapboard design as well as a shingle style design. The clapboard option while traditional was actually executed in a very modern way by spacing the individual clapboards an inch apart leaving gaps between the individual boards. (see photo below) I borrowed this technique after first seeing it executed on a small music studio project in Maine.1 From a distance, there is no perceivable difference between a normally clapboard clad structure, but up close the building takes on a very modern aesthetic.
1. Long Studio/30×40 Design. 6 Aug 2017. ArchDaily website. Accessed Aug 6, 2017 http://www.archdaily.com/877088/long-studio-30×40-design-workshop
I am devoting July to the study of pavilions and their importance to the architecture profession. In the absence of large scale commissions, many architects have devoted their efforts into creating temporary exhibits that showcase their talents. These pavilions tend to be either part of a festival/conference or sponsored as an annual event such as the Serpentine Pavilion in England. I created a more permanent pavilion for the city of New York. This pyramid pavilion is integrated into the Highline park system and allows the wanderers to take in changing art exhibits sponsored by the larger museums in the city. The pavilion contains 8 mini art galleries representing different genres of art. The pavilion also features a roof top deck with coffee bar. Surrounding the pavilion is a plaza/park where passers by can stop and take in nature in the city. The plaza is anchored by a well known art piece that pays homage to the pyramidal design of my pavilion.
This week I thought that I would feature a boathouse. For those in design school this building is probably familiar to you. Most design schools ask students to create a simple building such as a boathouse to learn and gain experience with spacial planning and the layout of bulky objects, such as skulls which are stored in the boathouse. This example also introduces students to concepts like building typology, the idea that certain structures have an innate look/appearance that identifies their use to the world around them. Using architectural elements the designer can evoke the image of building through the thoughtful placement placement and utilization of those elements.
Many famous architects have gone on to design boathouses in their careers, so I thought I would include a couple examples for reference. Below are two examples of famous boathouses design by Frank Lloyd Wright and Robert Stern Architects. Although the two boathouses are very different in style and appearance, there are common elements which both share that help to define the building type. The large roof overhang being the most apparent shared trait.
I created a more modern boathouse but it still retains the characteristics that give a boathouse its unique look. A typical program for a boathouse would include space for boat storage/repair, a function room, meeting space, and possibly exercise space as well as fulfilling the required ADA bylaws and parking requirements for the location, which I sited on the Esplanade in Boston. Photos of the design can be found below.
The previous church project inspired me to something grander. This cathedral located in the heart of the city was inspired partly by H.H. Richardson’s Trinity Church in Boston. It is a complete fantasy project and the design of the church reflects that fanciful attitude, but despite the fairy tale image the cathedral has all of the elements to make it a fully functional religious building. I opted to elevate the cathedral above ground level for a couple of reasons. In the city center surrounded by skyscrapers the cathedral would tend to get lost, crowded out by its larger neighbors. Secondly, historic president dictates that religious architecture tends to be located atop of hillsides or mountains (to symbolically elevate the building’s importance. Early ziggurats and the Greek Parthenon follow this tradition.
The building’s brick base consists of 2 floors housing the administrative functions of the diocese, from Sunday school classrooms, a food pantry, offices for the clergy and cardinal, as well as a large function room, and space for housing the church archives (genealogy records, etc). I also included a branch of the Vatican Bank in the cathedral to address the diocese’s finances.
To reach the cathedral one enters at the ground level and either take the elevator or climb the grand staircase that rises through the building exiting at roof level. One then enters into the cathedral via the giant bronze doors. An alternate ingress route is to climb the outside staircase to reach the roof located on the rear side of the building. From the roof deck you have a good view of the city center.
The cathedral itself is slightly unorthodox as it places the main dome over the narthex rather than the transept. Also breaking tradition, the campanile is attached rather than detached from the cathedral. Parishioners can climb a spiral staircase/ or take the lift to reach the top of the bell tower for an even better view of the city and a close up look at the bells. A small stair was also placed inside one of the dome’s support columns to reach the drum of the dome. From there you can climb a latter to reach the twin spires at the very top of the cathedral for the best view of all.
This is my first attempt at ecclesiastical architecture (something new and different for me) and the results of my efforts are this church complex for a fictional congregation. The complex has a bell tower, chapel, function and religious education spaces, a food pantry for the needy, as well as an area for baptisms utilizing the on-site pond. In addition to the rooms already mentioned, the church also has a confessional space and choir rehearsal spaces as well as a private study for the local minister. The building is completely handicapped accessible with both an elevator and handicapped ramps. Parking is in the rear behind a row of trees and a stone wall. I named the church the Shepherd church as the Sunday school wing of the complex is shaped like a dog’s head (shepherd) symbolically pointing the way to enlightenment. The church pews echo that shape and reflect the massing and tectonics of the church.
Hello again readers,
This week I bring you a design for a performing arts center. My arts center has 2 concert halls along with a restaurant offering ocean views and the option of outdoor dining on the deck. Additional spaces include an intermission lounge and a third floor roof garden that patrons can enjoy between acts. The main entrance is on the second floor accessed via a ramp. Once at the lobby level you can take stairs, escalator, or elevators down or up to your concert hall. The larger of the two concert halls was designed to hold 550 people and has balcony seating while the smaller venue (more of a recital hall) holds 350-400 depending on how many movable tables are brought in. The main hall received a customized lighting scheme using ceiling and floor based lanterns to illuminate the theater. Musical symbols were also incorporated into the design and served as the driving influence for the elevations. I also experimented with incorporating a sculpture into the design using Calder’s La Grand Vitesse which resembles a dragon drinking from the nearby reflecting pool.
Hello again readers,
My last post on the Hyperloop project inspired me to create a design for the station based on the requirements spelled out in the initial design spec. Below is my version of the Hyperloop terminal for the City of Los Angeles.
A Brief Movie Documenting a Visit to A Hyperloop Station
This post is kind of a lark project. I initially planned on designing a government intelligence building (i.e. Fusion Center) that also had secret rooms as part of its program, and I imagined that those spaces might be used by secret societies. With some research on the topic of secret societies, I decided to abandon the government use of the building altogether and make the sole client the secret society, a headquarters project as it were. I chose the Illuminati as my client, as they are the most well known secret society (at least in the 15-16th century). Using their symbols as a starting point, the end result is a 4 floor complex, that ultimately has a public restaurant on the ground floor while segregating the society’s private spaces from the public eye. In keeping with the secrecy surrounding the client I can’t reveal the plans. My building dovetailed perfectly with another project in Poland designed by Perspektywa creating a town green space where the retail/housing component could be serviced by the restaurant in my building. The two projects also formed a town green/commons space that could be used by both parties.
The roofline of my building from a distance may appear like a house was dropped on top off another house. This iconic image from cinema must have bubbled up to inspire. You may also see an iconic symbol from ancient Egypt in the roofline as well which speaks to the mythology surrounding the secret society.
So without further adieu here are some photos and a brief movie of the project.
Below is a quick movie that pans around the featured design.
Click play button to view
This mountaintop ski lodge was an early project I designed a few years back that I just got around to updating. The lodge has a restaurant, lounges, game room, and spa facilities along with overnight accommodations available for rent. Access to the lodge is via gondola with additional chair lift access for skiers. The ski lodge also offers shopping at the ski shop and lodge gift shop. The lodge is spread out over 4 floors with elevator access to all levels. There are 4 fireplaces in the lodge to warm up guests after a long day on the slopes. In the off-season, the lodge serves as an observatory to admire the mountain views.