Update Site and Building

Now we have a more complete program and idea of what this class is trying to accomplish.  We are working on a Folk Art Museum for Knoxville.  We were allowed to a large degree to determine what moves we wanted to make for the program and other elements.  For the crafts that I wanted to display in the museum, I took inspiration from the rails at the back of the site, and decided to work with woodcraft and metal. My original idea was to work with the language of the industrial brick buildings found nearby on Jackson Ave and Gay St, using a load bearing brick and concrete structure.  Into this structure, I began to carve away portions, and in their place, I inserted a lightweight system that would be articulated on the facade with a wood and steel system evoking the nearby rails.  In the carved areas, the balconies created would become sculpture gardens, a continuation of the gallery program.

This work is from my last review–many things will be changing between now and the final.


New Site

We have a new site now and a very rough program–enough to put together a very diagrammatic visualization of what the buildings will be.  This site is in downtown Knoxville, right where the city fabric has broken down from the more revitalized portion of downtown to our more post-industrialized site at the corner of West Jackson Ave and Gay Street.

Haiti Project 2

The second house designed by my teammates and myself was a home for a young professional Haitian expatriate, returning to Haiti after living in the US or another country for some time.  Like before with the other house, we were designing for natural ventilation, blocking the harshest sunlight to discourage too much heat gain, and using local materials, designing ‘low tech’ solutions for the local craftsmen to make.

The angle of the roof and the trellis, as well as the part of the home that ‘steps out’ were designed to meet some of the conditions and the design that was created for the site.  The inside of the house was designed hierarchically, with the more private space containing the restroom and bedrooms appearing to be more enclosed, and the other part of the house, which includes the living, dining and kitchen flowing together in more of a free plan.

The roof form responds to several separate issues: The structure is framed from lightweight timber to allow for movement in an earthquake prone region.  The three panels of the roof come together at a single point to allow water collection–this would need to be channeled through the use of gutters and a downspout leading to a rainwater collection tank.  We did not close off the structure under the roof, but left it open, using simple louvers to block sunlight, and a mesh bug screen behind.  By doing this, air will continue to move through the space, while the heated air can escape through the open roof structure by means of a convection current and aided by the specified ceiling fan.

Haiti Project 1

For the Haiti Studio this semester, our goal was to design a community that will be built in the Fond-des-Blancs region of Haiti.  The studio was split up into 7 teams, and each team was to produce two houses based on needs for different residents of the community.

This first house design was for a project of the client’s that he calls CALEB–this is meant to be a community program that will train young adults to be leaders in the community and hopefully influence the next generation of Haitians.  The program for this house called for accommodations for up to six or eight young adults, who will live in the house for three years before they graduate and the next class will move in.

In our design for the Caleb house, we designed for eight residents, with the young men in one wing of the home and the young women in the other.  The central area was designed to be more open and inviting, as shown in the rendering, the porch facade will open up and allow natural ventilation to flow through the space.  Because of the great expense to import items for the space which might be prohibitive for some Haitian people, we encouraged low tech solutions which can be made by local craftsmen, like the custom folding doors which we also gave millwork specifications for in our drawing sets.

Design Presentation

I am in a design presentation class this semester, and we are working on several techniques to make a stronger visual presentation for other projects.  Here are a couple of projects that I have done this semester for that class.

The first one is an investigation into the concept of motion on a page.  We started by placing the grey and black rectangles on a page in order to show movement through the page.  Then we were to take letters in the second half of that project and try to show the same motion on the page and also to have a similar presence and proportion to the work on both sides of the page.

The second project required us to take an existing building and find an article about it and pictures from a book.  Then we were to create two magazine spreads from that article and pictures.  The building I chose was the New York Times building by Renzo Piano.  There was an article in Architecture Week, written by Michael Crosbie, that I used for the text, and pictures were taken of the Times Building by Michel Denancer.

Haiti Studio

This semester, I am involved in a studio at UT that will be designing a community on a site in Haiti.  This follows a semester when another group designed a secondary school, not far from the site, which is under construction right now.  The primary residents of the community will be the teachers who work for the school, but there will also be space for the community to have more residents and to grow with time.  I will update here later, but we also have a blog as a class which should be updated soon:  haitiutk.squarespace.com


Check it out and follow us there.



Swiss School of Engineering

For my materials and methods class last semester, we were asked to work in groups to take an existing building and modify it in terms of structure, facade, environmental systems and other changes.  My group took the Swiss Engineering School for the Wood Industry in Biel, Switzerland by Marcel Mieli and Markus Peter.