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alma d. padilla-iriarte 619.710.6176

alma d. padilla-iriarte 619.710.6176

These projects are a compilation of work created during the five year architectural program at Cal Poly. The large-scale projects are theoretical proposals, situated in various locations. The medium and small-scale projects are built works and images that investigate and present architectural concepts at a human scale.


|x| between the lines



conscious space

urban loom


mercato novoli

ad chair


sketch / ink photography

|x| between the lines


Inhabited sliver between the US and MX San Diego/Tijuana Border This thesis seeks to separate us from the idea of viewing a wall as a physical barrier, and instead, wants us to understand a wall as an experiential, inhabitable space. The San Diego-Tijuana border is constantly remaking itself, which allows for a third space in between the two cities to respond and develop from this existing conditions. Currently, this third space is only ephemerally inhabited by the filtering of people, materials and ideas that, when combined, start to define this borderland culture. The site is located in a sliver of unclaimed land adjacent to the Mexican border at the southern-most point of California. It is caught between the actual and the virtual. The sliver of land results from the discrepancy the virtual borderline as defined by google maps and the actual built wall. It is a space where everyone is simultaneously legal and illegal. The program derived as a response to the site, a place for a bi-national culture to officially exist. The spaces are divided in eight categories, seven of those represent the seven vices (lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, pride, envy and wrath); and the eight is a transformable space that lets the users personalize a place of their own. The city is built from both sides, it becomes a vertical screen that collects, assembles and filters materials, people, and goods, allowing them to coexist in this city of viced voids.

San Diego


love booth detail

secondary structure rotating tracks ball bearings static tracks electrical supply

love booth

drinking well recycled chain link fence

drinking well

recycled sewer pipe

recycled billboard

horizontal structure

programmatic spaces

horizontal structure

main vertical structure


Physical ModelsThe development of this thesis was explored through both drawings and models. The context model (at the top) allows for a better understanding of the site and the scale of the surrounding buildings while the section model (on the right) allows for a close up into the individual spaces and the human scale in them. Both models were made with materials that were found, donated or recycled. Fig.1 Energy storage. Energy is stolen from both neighbor countries through the use of “diablitos”. Fig.2 “Peeping tom” points. Surveillance takes place on both sides of the sliver. Roles are overturned Fig.3 Bank which shares the swiss bank secrecy code. One in which citizens from all over can come and acquire their identification number.




urban loom


Shipping Container Hotel Miami, FL

An undulating loom weaves together a collage of systems, weaving a connection between the fluid movement of the urban life with the rigidity of the shipping container. Due to its location, the project allows for a strong interior-exterior interaction between people and the surrounding environment. The hotel becomes a transitional space, a loom in which people’s movements and meetings are woven and intertwined. The slight undulation of the façade opening towards the city allows the entrance to be the threshold of a new experience. The program is divided into two sections, the public functions are located at the bottom and the private functions are place on top of the tapered structure. The structural members act as a loom ,allowing the opportunity for the animated tubular façade to express itself in this bustling location, weaving in and out of the shipping containers.

aluminum tubes


secondary structure


connection device

vertical circulation hotel rooms restaurant gallery space lobby communal space




level 1

level 13


section AA Fig.1 Interior view, showing main structure connection to shipping container. Container acting as a space for interaction. Fig.2 Facade acts as exterior hallway parallel to interior space. Provides visual connection through facade gaps.

aluminum facade

steel structure

vertical and horizontal circulation

private and public spaces (shipping containers)

Perspective section of outer hallway

mercato novoli


Developing the new center of Florence

Florence, IT alma padilla-iriarte rachel janzen alyssa tull The Novoli area is an example of several areas of development occurring outside of the historical Florentine center, with this expansion there is a desire to encourage inhabitants and visitors to utilize these new urban sub-centers. The mercato Novoli project calls for a study of the old city center so that the essence of the city can be translated into this new district. This new development should respect the old, it should complement it rather than copy it. The program is composed of several spaces celebrating Florence’s food culture; a culinary school and its dormitories, a hotel, a daily market, and a set of restaurants seek to satisfy the needs of locals and visitors. The market space is at the heart of the program, circulation flows into this area and then is dispersed throughout the rest of the spaces. The circulation paths eventually arrives in the two main towers, which house the culinary school, the dormitories, and the hotel.

conceptual rendering exploration of circulation

conceptual rendering exploring market space and urban garden

hotel lobby restaurants culinary school auditorium market initial sketch

section AA



level 3-6

connection at level 7



Bookshow Installation San Luis Obispo, CA

Berg Gallery, Cal Poly Architecture Building studio 400 collaboration White, the fifth-year book show for Studio400, was woven from 80,000 square feet of plastic film. The overarching design idea, developed from twenty initial conceptual designs, was to create a surface that could present the thesis books, and at the same time provide a temporary, interactive, and inhabitable space for the visitors to read them. The Berg Gallery, in Cal Poly’s Architecture building, was transformed in three days into this reading environment; one in which reading became an experience out of the ordinary. The books were placed in the center of the structural rings, whose location was determined by the gallery’s existing structure. Different woven modules were used to connect the space between the hanging columns, the surface was constructed at an intermediate height, making it feasible to occupy the spaces above and below it. This created an inhabitable structure and surface that continuously responded to, and was reshaped by, the forces placed on it by the users.

conscious space


A modern confessional San Luis Obispo, CA

Conscious Space is a furniture piece that is more than an intermediary object between a person and a surface. It is a modern confessional that focuses on the inner space of the furniture rather than its exterior. The idea of a confessional acting as a porous interstice; an interstice that is altered by multiple users. In a typical confessional there is a linear sequence to follow: you confess, you are listened and you are given a penance. It is a give and take space, one in which you leave with something (penance). In the evolved confessional the linearity is inconstant, and can be altered and modified through the interstitial; the users might or might not get something in return. It is the idea of leaving our confession to the . unknown or, if chance permits, to another user

pore studies





introduce your confession in opening

upward-downward motion, level 1



twist, level 2

twist, level 3



upward-downward motion, level 4

slide out the receiver



obtain confession




Analysis of a space San Luis Obispo, CA

alma padilla-iriarte brita spano matt cerrina This first-year project focused on the analysis and exploration of a given site in order to create a parasitic response. A series of investigations revealed the most common circulation paths, the number of visitors, the time spent on the site, and the different views from and off the site. The intent Parasite was to create a point of interest; making visitors aware of their surroundings. Designed as a series of irregular shapes that together composed a rectangle, this site specific intervention framed multiple views that would typically go unnoticed. These frames within a frame also exploited different opacity levels in order to promote parasite-visitor-site visual interaction.

AD chair San Luis Obispo, CA dana manea


alma padilla-iriarte

This fabricated piece allowed for an investigation of material and functionality at a human scale. The AD chair was an experiment of the relationship between the visual, the tactile and the functional aspects of design. In order to achieve a more comfortable seating, we studied the shape our body takes on the seat itself. After a series of trials, we decided on a subtly curved surface for the seat for the seating and the back, taking advantage of woods’ malleable qualities.

The two types of wood used were poplar and pine.

sketch / ink


During my study abroad in Florence, I took an introductory art course that widened my exploration of media and allowed me to capture places through studies of light, shade and shadows. Sketching allows me to capture specific details or spatial qualities that sometimes can be missed or overwhelmed in photographs. Top left- water and black ink. Studies of light, shade and shadow. Florence, Italy Bottom left- pencil. Kundert Medical Clinic by Frank Lloyd Wright. San Luis Obispo, CA Right- water and black ink. Brunelleschi’s Piazza la Annunziata. This perspective drawing was made of one of Florence’s most iconic piazze, as an exploration of the way light inhabits the space. Florence, Italy



Photography, as well as sketching, allows me to capture stories. It is type of external memory where I can collect a sequence of images that together compose a series of moments in my life. These three images capture different experiences in my travels. Top left- Hanging Closet. Taken in Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood, a district filled with little artisan shops and restaurants. Rome, Italy. Bottom left- Amazonian Sunrise. Taken during a 5:00am canoe trip in the ecuadorian amazon. Cuyabeno, Ecuador. Right- Christmas Evening. A panoramic view taken from Gaudí’s Parc Guell. Barcelona, Spain.

alma d. padilla-iriarte 619.710.6176

architecure portfolio almadpi  

Compilation of work during architecture program during 007-012.