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Alexis G. Cortes Fall 2011, City College of San Francisco, Instructor: Andrew Chandler

Architecture Design Studio 2 Portfolio


“What Is Architecture?” Write-Up This course started with a question that even though it was asked last semester in DSGN 101, a good amount of time was taken to produce an answer: “What is Architecture?” The assignment was to, in our own words and experiences, describe what architecture was as well as interpret someone else’s definition of architecture. My first thought when I heard the word architecture, I thought buildings whether they were simple structures or very intricate/detailed. After having a lecture about what architecture was and hearing everyone’s input as to what architecture was as well as took certain experiences from ARCH 48, 20, and DSGN 101 all of which had asked the same question at the beginning of the course in order to produce my response to what architecture is.

Alexis G. Cortés ARCH 102 T, R: 9 A.M. – 12 P.M. Instructor: Andrew Chandler What is Architecture?

Architecture is an art of manipulating space and a reflection of the architect himself. An architect

considers the use of the space being created for a client, whether it’s a space to inhabit or an office space, etc. Not only is the purpose of the building put into consideration, but an architect also considers the style he/she would like to utilize to create this structure. The building is a representation of the person who is creating the overall structure, it’s not just a building that’s being made but at the same time, a statement is being made about the architect in terms of style and ideals in terms of how he/she builds any structure. Le Corbusier says “Architecture is the masterly, correct, and magnificent play of masses brought together in light”. There is so much to comprehend and master when it comes to architecture, successfully mastering concepts in architecture will result in a successful final structure. The whole structure must be considered, not only just the exterior and that would also be the same for the interior of said structure. Le Corbusier was not only an architect but also a designer, so he focused on the entire structure, inside and out. Pieces used in the interior should coordinate with the style of a structure.

2012 Architectural Education Summit Agenda After viewing “RSA Animate- Changing Education Paradigms” via YouTube and identifying the model of Architectural education, make assumptions and stating what works and what doesn’t work, the next task was to create an agenda for the 2012 Architectural Education Summit that would accommodate the vital points for discussion in regards to architectural education and the change that would take place for the next five years. The vital points that were brought up in this first agenda regarded standardized testing for licensure as well as “should there be a change in the cirriculum for architectural degrees?” and improvements to the licensing and accreditation process and if those processes would represent the academy. Personally, the big challenge in making this agenda was that there was a time constraint, the summit starts at 9:30 A.M. and ends at 5:00 P.M., there is a so much material to cover in terms of architectural education, licensure and accreditation that to classify topics more important than others proved to be a huge challenge. Another aspect of the agenda that did not quite work is that the time is the first thing a summit member would focus on afterwards making the person wonder when is the summit over or if there is sufficient time to cover such important topics.

2012 Architectural Education Summit Friday, November 16, 2012 9:30 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.

Meeting called by: AIA California Council Attendees: AIACC, CAF, AIAS, ACSA, NAAB, CAB, NOMA, OWA, CA Community Colleges, Community College League of CA, AAAE, CA Dept. of Education, and others [9:30 A.M. – 10:30 A.M.] [10:30 A.M. – 1 P.M.]

[1 P.M. – 2 P.M.] [2 P.M. – 4 P.M.]

[4 P.M. – 5 P.M.]

[Introduction]  Welcome: Marian Clark  Discussion overview [Discussion]  Changes in standardized testing  Change in curriculum for Architectural degrees  Should all schools follow the same curriculum for architecture in terms of courses needed to be taken  Addition of architectural programs in schools [Lunch] [Discussion]  Improvements to the licensure & accreditation process  In what ways can these processes closely represent the academy and marketplace? [Wrap-Up]  Q&A Panel: All Speakers


Revised Summit Agenda

Gesture Model [2” Cube Limit]

This revised summit agenda had a few changes from the first agenda in that the times were moved to the far right side of the page and in a lower sized font which makes the topics discussed in the summit the forefront of the agenda.

The inspiration behind this gesture model is the fact that I’ve done archery for three years. However, in making this model I did have a challenge because of the size constraint: a 2” cube limit, normally if I’m making a model of any sort, size constraints typically never come up.

More topics were added that I felt were of importance for discussion however, while more topics for discussion is a plus because more would be covered the time frame still proves to be a detriment in the development of the agenda and the topics picked for discussion. Prior to making the revised agenda groups were made in the studio to compare agendas and merge ideas to produce a more effective agenda for the summit. What my group had agreed on was that the structure of the summit in this agenda is a meeting that lasts eight hours and is just a panel of representatives would be boring and members would expect the end of the summit, the same would go if the meeting was all on presentation and not a combination of the two. Combining presentations and a panel of representatives proves to be more effective because there are use of visual aids and not just representatives speaking with no visual aids so members can comprehend and internalize what’s being discussed.

Personally, I feel that there are more things don’t work on this model as opposed to what works on this model. What doesn’t work on this model is that the shape of the model looks too literal to the inspiration behind the model as well as the model looks too simple for any message or emotion to come across to someone who looks at this model.


Journey Write-Up Whenever walking to a certain location for an event, I never considered the concept of a journey from point A to point B. In describing the journey from the parking lot to the location for the 2012 AES, I flashed back to hikes that I always did in a park back in New Jersey in which as I walked I took time to connect with where I was; connect with the landscape, listen to the sound of the river as I walked. For this journey there was an option of whether the journey can be done in a group or individually and I left that choice up to the members of the AES because I wanted to let the members make their own choice as to how they would like reach the site for the 2012 AES. If I had given them only one method, one path to arrive at the location, to me it would seem that I’m controlling everything from the instant the members step out of their cars. The program definitely emphasizes the attendees to connect and be a part of the natural environment and in respect to that my thought process was attendees have their own ways of reaching the site and their own ways of connecting with the environment so I decided let them decide how they want to get to the site; in a group or individually and at what pace they would like to take.

The program points out that the structure for the 2012 AES should allow attendees to connect and be a part of the natural environment. But that connection should not just be established within the structure, the connection should be established the instant the attendees step out of their cars. From the parking lot, the attendees can either in a group or individually start their hike southeast towards the ravine to not only have the attendees go through just a two mile walk but to ease the attendee’s state of mind and as previously stated, connect and be a part of the natural environment; to gain an appreciation for the landscape for any and everything that the attendees will be seeing and experiencing. Upon arriving at the ravine, the attendees will walk down halfway into the ravine; nature has layers that many people may or may not be aware of and actually appreciate. The attendees of the summit will walk along the ravine and finally make the ascent to the center in which the summit will take place. The overall purpose of this walk/hike is to further establish the attendees’ connection with nature and ease the attendees’ state of mind prior to the start of the summit.

Site-based Gesture Model (1st Iteration)

This first iteration incorporates manipulated matboard and hemp cord. The key point in the program that I wanted to emphasize was that the client wants “activities to occur under shade but open air when possible”. I decided to have the model on one side of the site because I wanted the members of the summit to be able to look towards the horizon in consideration of another point within the program which is “Private Contemplation” in which the client “wishes to the provide places for individual meditation. The overall model is simple with a small level of complexity through the use of the hemp cord as connection to maintain the curvilinear shape of the model. What was recommended for the next model was more pieces and complexity The biggest challenge for me in making gesture models for the site was that being given the site and the program, I automatically thought “make a building with rooms, doors and windows”. Struggling with not actually producing a building in my opinion, proved to be a bit of a detriment in the result of this first iteration.


Site-based Gesture Model (2nd Iteration)

For the second iteration, I went with “complexity by addition”. The model has as an upward movement as well as a representation of reaching to the lower elevation of the site as opposed to a piece of the model being dug in to the earth in the first iteration. In terms of progression from the first and second iteration, there is slightly more complexity and more direction as stated above. What does not work in this model is that more direction can be made in the model not just an upward or downward movement. What also started to become apparent in this model is by incorporating only two materials for this model, I was starting to feel a slight constraint in what could be done since the matboard can only be manipulated so much as well as the hemp cord serving only as a connection to keep the shape of the model in place. Recommendations made for the next model were more complexity, more pieces and attempt a different material.

Site-based Gesture Model (3rd Iteration) In this third iteration, it became very apparent that I was stuck with hardly any changes made to from the second iteration. Positives for this iteration were that there is still an upward direction and the model still has a representation of reaching over the lower elevation. What did not work for this model is that the model essentially looked the same with one change that didn’t prove to significantly change the model much less add any complexity. While the hemp cord may be complex portion of the model, the hemp cord alone can’t boost the complexity of the model. Recommendations for the next iteration were to add more pieces, change the direction of the model as well as attempt to incorporate a new material(s) to the model to boost complexity.


Site-based Gesture Model (4th Iteration) Personally, this iteration was my strongest because there was complexity not only in the hemp that was used, but also because of the move made to add more pieces that not only let’s the model have direction looking up to the sky and also reaching to the lower elevation of the site. In this model, the addition of aluminum wire was added in an attempt to incorporate a new material which became a detriment to the model in that the hemp “connections” lost purpose as well as it’s complexity. While this may be my strongest, I feel that it could be stronger in the addition of different material and let the model have more direction, my issue is that this model is too repetitive and minor changes added after each iteration. The option was given to incorporate the model into the earth as opposed to having the model continually be a pedestal on the land. My reason for the model being a pedestal is because I never really considered incorporated the model into the earth.

Charcoal Drawings A new media was introduced in this project by means of producing the site and model through charcoal drawings. As stated in the lecture, the intent of the model can be represented in charcoal just as well if not more than a threedimensional gesture model. Producing the gesture models on 18”x24” paper and charcoal allows the architect to share his/her ideas with the client. If the idea isn’t conveyed on to paper then the client would not be able to share his/her input to the architect. The benefit to charcoal drawings is that it can be the premise for another iteration and also layering drawings can show complexity and development of a model through using varying thicknesses of lines and well as different tones that a three-dimensional gesture model can’t produce.


Mid-Term Learning Portfolio  

ARCH 102 Midterm Learning Portfolio Progression from "What is Architecture?" to "Site Gesture Models"

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