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Alec Hembree

Contact ALEC HEMBREE Address: 619 Clarendon Street Syracuse, NY 13210

Tel: 901.361.6469








Acoustic Interference Brief: As a response to the Syracuse Center of Excellence Biomimicry Challenge, the acoustic façade seeks to push the concept of biomimicry from a solely “visual” typology to a design that engages other physical senses. Based on the means by which a cicada produces sound, the design transforms the Syracuse Everson Museum of Art into an interactive sound experiment.

ACOUSTIC INTERFERENCE Facade: The placement of the installation on the exterior and interior of the Everson Museum of Art provides an opportunity for the faรงade to act as both a means of public interaction as well as a display of art.

ACOUSTIC INTERFERENCE Sound: The cicada produces sound by collapsing and un-collapsing a ribbed plate on its body. The acoustic façade generates sound similarly through the pushing of curved metal plates, which “pop” when they change form. Tubes of various lengths located behind the plates amplify this noise and create a variety of pitches. The activation of sounds by users or electronics from either the outside or the inside provides the potential for a new type of environmental projection in a low-energy region.

ACOUSTIC INTERFERENCE Projection: Both the visual and sensory interactivity of the design proposal were tested at the Biomimicry Challenge event as well as through the video capabilities of the Urban Video Project’s projectors in Syracuse. The user interactivity proved successful amongst the participants at the event and the design’s use of auditory rather than visual cues was noted as a unique approach. While biomimicry may not be a typical design approach, it is important to consider various means of achieving sensory goals.

Glass Mosque Brief: Designing a glass mosque in New York City is controversial from both an external, political viewpoint and an internal, religious viewpoint. This project contends with the challenges of glass as a superficial and structural material, the public and private realms as important to Islam, and the spreading of knowledge as a potential shield against harsh political climates. This collaborative design attempts to utilize the potential of glass as a means to enhance or restrict visibility to balance the needs and beliefs of users.

GLASS MOSQUE Use: The prayer hall, or musallah, the ablution, or cleansing, facilities, and most other parts of the mosque typology require opaque and publicly inaccessible enclosure form the outside. The cubic form of the prayer hall is elevated within a dense structural framework and is rotated to face Mecca. Support programs are located adjacent to the prayer hall and visually separated from the structural framework. The density surrounding the mosque houses library stacks of Islamic literature and seeks to provide an opportunity for the public to gain greater knowledge about both the religions and current political climates.

GLASS MOSQUE Material: The design seeks to showcase glass as a structural material as well as a surface treatment. For the parts of the mosque, glass frosting technology is emphasized for its ability to diffuse sunlight, restrict vision, and generate important religious surface patterns. The transparent glass of the stacks symbolizes the need for greater awareness and understanding of foreign religions and cultures.

GLASS MOSQUE Urbanity: The current tensions created by differing religious values necessitate visual and symbolic removal of the mosque typology from the immediate context, Render by Sara Martin ‘14

primarily for the protection of users. By keeping the lower level of the building free of built structure and opening it to public use, the upper building attempts to secure the mosque spaces from direct contact with the public. Meanwhile, the glass as a primary material keeps the building symbolically

Render by Sara Martin ‘14

Render by Sara Martin ‘14


Villa Quadrangle Brief: A design proposal for the place of residence of the Syracuse University Chancellor, the Villa Quadrangle creates adjacency but not overlap of the public and private realms. Situated near the Syracuse University main campus, the design proposes a network of interconnected pathways similar to those of a quadrangle that become intertwined with the public and private zones of movement within the residence. Programmatically, the house represents a linear progression from a lower, public entry space to a higher, private living space. Formally, the project suggests the potential for a greater tie between students and higher faculty.

VILLA QUADRANGLE Public-Private: In section, the residence’s three formal tiers represent the decreasing level of public-private overlap as one moves from the lowest level to the highest. Key to the project is the central courtyard that provides an enclosed student space and further develops preexisting desire paths through the site. Because the courtyard space is below the “private” level of the chancellor’s house, the central space remains programmatically public.

VILLA QUADRANGLE Pathways: Located on a corner adjacent to several main campus buildings and a small public green space, the site provides an opportunity for design to re-link and develop the intersections of existing walkways around the site and informal pathways through the site. The massing of the interior residence spaces then follows the designed movements and becomes integrated into the network through physical overlaps and overpasses.

VILLA QUADRANGLE Form: The form of the residence arises from the concept of allowing the chancellor to gain visual connection between the residence and the campus. Therefore, the largest windows are situated in the most public settings, with the upper level views smaller but more directed. In addition, the linearity of the massing belies the interior movement flows.

ArtBeat Kunsthaus Brief: Designed for the Near West Side, an economically depressed sector of Syracuse, NY, the ArtBeat Kunsthaus attempts to provide a place for visitors and residents of the city proper to experience local art exhibits and for locals of the Near West Side to display the developing identity of the region. The kunsthaus, or “art house” is part of a collaborative effort to design an artists’ colony integrated within the context of Syracuse’s Near West Side Initiative, the Connective Corridor, and the Onondaga Creekwalk project.

ARTBEAT KUNSTHAUS Form: The gallery exhibition areas comprise the primary mass of the building, and support programs utilize the “in-between” and the “underneath” spaces. The gallery forms follow the functional goals of bringing dispersed daylight to the interior. Beneath the gallery masses a café, rehearsal space, and an indoor-outdoor performance space enable public use of the grounds. A wide, gently sloping ramp invites procession from ground level to the galleries.


Access Points: Modes and Direction of Travel

The collaborative artist’s colony design attempts to connect with the existing Onondaga Creekwalk infrastructure


and build on the transportation network created by the


Model by ARC 307 studio, Fall 2011

Connective Corridor system. Strategic locations were chosen for the placement of artist residences, communal structures, and the kunsthaus. The design Near West Side

and programmatic arrange-


ment of the kunsthaus enables


Syracuse University

Warehouse RedHouse

its use by any residents within personal or public transportation access.


Delavan Art Gallerires La Casita



Habitate for Humanity

The Gear Factory

Landmark Theatre

King & King MOST


Everson Art Museum 601 Tully

Syracuse University

S.A.L.T. District/Arts Schools Attractions Site Churches From the Ground Up Residences Parks Transportation Hub Pedestrian Movement (Direct Paths) Vehicular Movement (Direct Paths) Open Access Point Closed Access Point

ARTBEAT KUNSTHAUS Objectives: Because the kunsthaus is intended to provide something for every member of the surrounding communities, sufficient un-programmed outdoor space, multi-use indoor-outdoor space, and specific indoor space is included. On the ground plane, undulating surfaces invite local play and active use, a covered “amphitheater” space creates opportunity for public display, and an indoor café becomes an extension of the nearby Armory Square retail district. On the upper surface, galleries displaying work from the artists’ colony invite other visitors to experience both the art and the region.

Dynamic Intersection Brief: Detroit, Michigan is well known for its failing infrastructure as well as its historical reliance on the personal vehicle for inter-city transportation. This transportation hub, designed for the outskirts of Detroit and building off of existing and new public transit networks, seeks to increase awareness and use of public, rather than private, means of movement. The center also physically connects bus routes, rail lines, and pedestrian movement along arterial roads.

DYNAMIC INTERSECTION Function: Built on the site of a current underused Amtrak station, the hub seeks to internalize transportation in order to allow greater public accessibility to these means. Therefore, the project utilizes the existing railroad bridge in order to arrange movements vertically. The lowest level of the building caters to all bus systems, including Greyhound, local, and city-wide buses. The middle level provides waiting space for Amtrak trains and for a rail-bus proposed for the main arterial boulevard. The upper level serves as a short-stay hostel for travelers passing through the transportation hub.

DYNAMIC INTERSECTION Transportation: Detroit’s transportation infrastructure, originally centered around the automobile, is deteriorating, leaving a opportunity to create greater public mobility. Whereas the People Mover downtown currently fails as an elevated, closed-loop system, this transportation hub creates a network by bringing multiple systems down to the pedestrian level. Site Plan: 1/256”=1’

DYNAMIC INTERSECTION Design: The elongated design and structural display of the hub represents not just the functional necessities of the Amtrak platform and bus depot but also the current value of public transportation. Because commuting into and out of Detroit is of highest importance to the city’s current economic base, the hub as a design represents the necessity for efficiency.

Translating Thought INVESTIGATIONS IN METAL Tiresias: The statue investigates the use of metals at a small scale to create detail and contrast in art.

Rapier: An interest in ancient swordsmithing let to the creation of this rapier. Elements of the handle, pommel, and guard mimic older techniques.

River Stones: A simple investigation of the nature of liquid metal formed the mental image of stones underwater in a river.

Solid Liquid: This progression of solid appearance to “frozen liquid� appearance was created by dropping melted solder wire from increasing height over a bucket of water.

INVESTIGATIONS IN WOOD Infinite Chair: The idea arose from the conceptual idea that the chair could be used no matter what side rests on the ground plane. The chair is functional and infinite in its ability to accommodate any height or body type.

Attic Wall: This design-build project uses extra wall and ceiling space as a fun bouldering wall. The climbing wall pushes limits of space and can be expanded.

Monowheel: As part of an ongoing personal investigation into human-powered locomotion, the pedal-powered monowheel presents the challenges of building a large wheel and a mechanical drive from wood.

Alec Hembree Architecture Portfolio