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architecture p o r t foli o

atalie ruhnke iowa state university 2018

atalie ruhnke email: linkedin: Atalie Ruhnke portfolio: instagram: @ruhnke_by_design

obje ct iv e

I strive to design with the human experience as the epicenter of the project, both at the scale of the individual as well as with the surrounding community. Shifting between digital tools and analog methods of making, I work to discover and implement innovative solutions with the goal of designing and representing spaces with regard to their social, cultural, and political context.

expe ri en ce Summer 2017 HNTB Denver Project Office

Architectural Intern | HNTB Corporation

Spring 2017 Iowa State University

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Compiled and scopes of work from consultants on the team into a cohesive Validation Report for the client Provided graphic support to teams in multiple offices

autocad, rhinoceros, grasshopper, revit, VRAY (rhino), adobe photoshop, adobe illustrator, adobe indesign

a d ditional s k ills

sketching, model making, photography, multi-media representation, public speaking

Miller Grant

Produced graphics for a colloqium on computation and architecture Collected information from articles to assemble a timeline on computation in architecture

Spring 2017 Iowa State University

t e chnical s k ills

m e mberships

American Institute of Architecture Students | Fall 2015- Present

College of Design Peer Mentor | TA Design 115

Iowa Women in Architecture | Fall 2015 - Present

Advised first year design students in preparation for their application into a professional program Served as a TA for the introductory Design 115 course

Spring 2015-Spring 2016 Iowa State University

College of Design Orientation Leader

Iowa State University New Student Programs | Spring 2015 - Spring 2016

Completed over 100 hours of training on leadership, cultural awareness, and service Represented Iowa State University as I assisted new students and their families during their orientation

educ at io n Iowa State University

Architecture - BArch Professional Degree Anticipated Completion: Spring 2019 GPA: 3.69

Notable Coursework / Experience

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Study Abroad | ISU College of Design Rome Program | Spring 2018 ARCH 558 | Sustainability and Green Architecture ARCH 321 | History of the American Cities CRP 291 | World Cities and Globalization

awar ds | publ ic at io n s Professional

ArchDaily | “The Best Student Design-Build Projects Worldwide 2016” | September 2017

Iowa State University

James H. and M. Suanne Stange Scholarship Recipient | Fall 2017 Richard F. Hansen Prize Competition | Honorable Mention | Spring 2017 Iowa State University Deans List Honoree | Fall 2014 - Fall 2017

DATUM | Student Journal of Architecture | Spring 2018

i n terests

a d ditional e m ployment

Travel Painting | Making | Art Dance Community and Volunteer Work

Pizza Hut | Driver, Server Summer 2015 ChaBones Steakhouse | Hostess, Busser 2013-2014




Des Moines Water Works Expansion


Through the Fog

Ames, IA


Ames, IA

San Francisco, CA






Additional Works

Ames, IA

Ames, IA


Des Moines Water Works Expansion Des Moines, IA

Academic | Fall 2017 Professors Blake Fisher and Kevin Wagner | Substance Architecture The focus of this studio was to consider the intersection of architecture with infrastructural systems, specifically within the history of the industrialization of agriculture in the state of Iowa. An emphasis was placed on reasearch and examination of the existing agricultural practices, geography, and environmental systems that are integral to the context surrounding the Des Moines Water Works facility. The goal was to increase the nitrate treatment capacity of the Des Moines Water Works. The necessity of the addition is the result of increased levels of nitrate, a biproduct of agricultural practices and field runoff in the Raccoon River, a source for potable water distributed throughout Des Moines. The relationship between the facility and the city of Des Moines was taken into consideration, as was the location of the site within a floodplain. The resulting addition accommodates the research and implementation of a viable water filtration system based in the origins of Iowa’s landscape.

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Though convenient for the sourcing of water to be treated, the location of the Des Moines Water Works within a bend of the Raccoon River poses as a risk. The surrounding low lying areas are subject flooding events that occur frequently as well as socalled hundred-year floods, with water levels that would breach the current flood mitigation provisions. As we have witnessed such major flood events in the United States in 2017, the concern

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of the risk was imperative to address. Focusing our view to the state of Iowa, flooding events are both more numerous and more disastrous as a result of more direct water runoff into streams and rivers. This is a consequence of the changing of the state’s natural prairie landscape, dotted with wetlands, over 90% of which parcelled off with the land to be farmed or constructed upon.

Wetlands, like those proposed in this insertion at an infrastructural scale are inherently beneficial in terms of flood mitigation and water decontamination. Allowing the river to flood, a natural and unpredictable occurrence, the wetlands distribute the floodwaters acroos a wider range, slowing the velocity of the water as it makes its way downstream. This deceleration in combination with the plants, substrates, and

organisms within the wetland ecosystem work together as a natural filtration systemt o remove nitrates and other contaminants permanently. This natural proccess then reduces the strain on facilities like the Des Moines Water Works and reduces the need for temporary, chemical treatments that only perpetuate the need for similar processes as the contaminants accumulate downstream.


a) b) c) d) e)

a) diversion dam b) lock c) vascular plants d) shallow water e) basin containing liner and substrate

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In order to construct wetlands that could be researched and utilized as a viable decontamination process, a level of control of water level and flow would be necessary. Allowing this oversight of a body of water would be achieved with a series diversion dams and locks that divert water into the tiered basins within the low lying areas surrounding the previous facility.

Implemented in three phases, each would address contextual considerations in addition to increasing nitrate filtration capacity. As a bookend of Water Works Park, one of the largest urban parks within the United States, adjacent to Gray’s Lake, and in close proximity to downtown Des Moines, the project site offers potential for connection and public engagement that is, in its current state, unrealised. The relationship the addition has to the public, and the linking of these disjointed sectors became additional factors to the progression of the addition.

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Phase one consists of the initial employment of the wetland | lock | dam system and the administrative and analytical spaces it requires. A research facility accompanies the new infrastructue, secluded from the public interaction to providethe privacy and control for research conducted. The relationship between the public and the campus is improved with a new entrance. Maintaining the security of the interior of the facility, the entrace

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borders one side of Water Works Park. It serves as an invitation for the publicinto the communal space facilitating presentations, education, and discourse regarding the operations of the Des Moines Water Works. An extension of existing paths within the park, an overlook allows the park visitors to experience the reintroduction of the wetland ecosystem.

Phase One Program of Functions

Phase One Circulation

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Phase One wetland public overlook.

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(A) Phase One entrance and communal space

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(B) Phase Two outdoor public space



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Extending the structure across a second dam along the river bend allows for analysis of the water quality from the wetlands from phase one. In addition, the expansion traverses both the river and Fleur Drive, a major arterial roadway into downtown Des Moines. This acts as a bridge between Water Works Park and recreational areas such as Gray’s Lake, neighborhoods currently forming to the east, and the cultural zone of the city.

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With such landmarks as the Des Moines Public Library and Pappajohn Sculpture Park, this sector of the city is currently unaccessible from Water Works Park. Stretching the modular ribbed structure to facilitate this connection, the form provides an opportunity for a flexible outdoor public space to be used for activities including recreation and outdoor events. This space would, as a result, activate the northern border of the park.

Phase Two Program of Functions

Phase Two Circulation

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(A) Phase One research laboratory


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(B) Phase Two research laboratory and public walkway - above dam


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In its entirety, the Des Moines Water Works expansion allows the banks of the Raccoon River to flood naturally into the surrounding wetlands. These wetlands, while increasing the nitrate treatment capacity of the facility also increase the knowledge of both the importance of protecting and reintroducing wetlands and the benefits they have on the quality of our water.

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Architecture and Landscape | Lilienthal Glider School and Chamber Music Venue Ames, IA Academic | Fall 2016 Professor Mikesch Mueke

SHEAR investigates the intersection of architectural elements with the natural landscape while facilitating the activities of two programmatic functions. The first provides space for the storage and operation of Lilienthal Gliders, early, non-motorized contraptions invented by Otto Lilienthal in his pursuit of human flight. The second program calls for a small music venue to accommodate both the rehearsal and performance of an ensemble of chamber musicians. Situated within a beloved recreational area in Ames, Moore Memorial Park, the landscape is both celebrated and used as a tool to facilitate the functional requirements of the dual-program. 24 | SHEAR

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Moore Memorial Park consists of several significant elevation changes. Orienting the structures in response to the topography allowed for the utilization of the land for both acoustical and flight purposes. Those

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operating the Lilienthal Gliders would have ample altitude for takeoff and an expansive area to land in their flights averaging approximately 270 feet in horizontal range.

The two spaces housing different programmatic elements are nesting forms, implying a whole that has been split apart. This implication considers then the two structures as two parts of a whole rather than independent forms. The torsion of the building shapes toward each other emphasise the idea of the whole. The split or “SHEAR� was a solution to the acoustic and

privacy concerns of the music venue and glider workshop. In separating the forms, an intermediate space is formed that acts as a gathering space between the two programs. A flexible space, the negative space acts, for example, as a reception space for performances as well as an extension of Moore Memorial park between the two structures.

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In collaboration with music students at Iowa State University, we were able to get insight into the requirements and elements that make music spaces suited for the musicians. The result is a music venue comprised of two elements. In the first, the rehearsal space, privacy, variability, and storage were concerns brought to light by the musicians. Embedded into the hillside, the earth provides an acoustic barrier between the interior rooms and the public park above. Submerging the structure, the form disappears from the view of the park visitors. The conical shape, angled roof, and varied placement of walls create rehearsal 28 | SHEAR

rooms with varied floor area and volume according to the different acoustic properties of different instruments and ensemble sizes. The irregular shape also eliminates flutter echo as a consequence of parallel and perpendicular walls. Separated by a public walkway, the performance space rises above the hill as the ground falls away. This rise can be seen throughout the park, peaking curiosity of the park occupants and indicating that it houses activities of importance as the pinnacle of the musicians’ hard work in the form of a performance.

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The hillside proved to be crucial in the workshop and takeoff point for Lilienthal Gliders. The descending land not only provides gliders with the elevation necessary for a successful flight, but allows the gliders to be loaded into the workshop with ease and without the assistance of mechanical lifts. This linear circulation increases the efficiency of the process of loading,

repairing, and taking off. As the ground falls away from the workshop entrance, an occupiable space is formed on the level below to be used for additional glider storage, spectators, park visitors, or those attending a performance in the neighboring structure.

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Adjacent to the performance venue, the intermediate space acts as a lobby and intermission space. The glider workshop rising above the intermission space is visible to those below, serving as an exhibition of the gliders inside, while giving those working on the gliders separation to conduct any repairs or modifications. This multi-use space accommodates those visiting the music venue, spectating the flights, and relaxing within Moore Memorial Park. 32 | SHEAR

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Through the Fog San Francisco, CA

Academic | Spring 2017 Professor Leslie Forehand

The central focus of this studio was to examine an environmental condition, fog, and explore ways to harness and utilize this weather phenomenon. Studying MIT’s fog harvesting research in Chile, we were tasked with implementing a way to extract and use water in a mixed use project situated in San Francisco. A location in California, infamous for its history of drought, alternative methods of water collection were explored.

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The western facade of the mid-rise building is comprised of a vertical greenhouse enclosing a hydroponic system. Oriented to the west, the facade faces perpendicular to the direction of the fog as it rolls eastward down the hill and toward the bay. The broad surface area is ideal for maximizing the amount of fog that can be condensed and harvested. The system also acts as a screen, shading residents from harsh western sunlight.

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A paneled system of screens condense the water into droplets which can then be collected and distributed to the hydroponic system or stored in cisterns. The plants that grow as a result of this system provide an economic opportunity to the residents in the form of a market space on the ground floor. Another result of the glass-clad hydroponic system, heat, can be converted into useable form as it rises. This heat can either be directed into the residences through the central core or expelled out of operable panels of the facade.

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Plastic bag mesh Water channel

The panels themselves are made up of frames between which a mesh of polyethylene is stretched. Polyethylene is a material easily acquired from recycled plastic bags, a container banned from being used within the city of San Francisco. Water drips down the non-absorbant material, with the panels angled

slightly to use gravity to collect the condensation in channels within the frame. The shape of the frame allows water to be transferred while acting as a barrier to insects and other pests. Panels can be replaced as needed and fitted into the existing framework. | 41

A gathering space under the hydroponic system provides views of the bay to the north in addition to the experiential quality of occupying the space underneath a mechanized system of plants. 42 | Through the Fog

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Architecture and Landscape: Observatory Ames, IA Academic | Fall 2016 Professor Mikesch Mueke

The insertion of architecture into an ever-evolving natural landscape was a focus of this studio. Within that topic, the multi-sensory experience of those interacting with this intersection were investigated. Inspired by maps by Harold Fisk documenting the erosion of the banks of the Mississipi River, Riparian is a nature observatory embedded within Brookside Park in Ames, Iowa. Referring to the space between the riverbank and the water’s edge, Riparian in its stepped form allows for a wide range of ways to experience the riverbend.

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The sections of these wireframe studies investigate the ability to utilize level change and excavation in the creation of variable occupant experiences.

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In this series of wireframe images, the perspective studies explore the different experiences of occupants in relation to the views of the park.

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Overlooking, looking across, walking along, touching, and existing below the river stimulate the senses of the occupant in countless variable combinations. Made possible by the changing levels, familiar experiences such as looking out over the water

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from a bridge or walking along a boardwalk are emulated alongside the less frequent experiences of the occupant’s reach being level with the water and the sensation of looking up to the surface of the river from below.

The series of different experiences is accessible to all park visistors. Inclined ramps connect to the existing network of walkways within Brookside park, rising above or cutting through the earth.

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2 X 2

Public Space Analysis Ames, IA Academic: Spring 2016 Professor Nicholas Senske Collaborative Effort of the 2019 BArch Class Published in ArchDaily and Archinect

TwoXTwo was the result of a student-led collaborative effort of the Iowa State University Department of Architecture class of 2019. Taking on a design-build project from conception to construction, we sought to maximize the use of the College of Design atrium with a multi-use public space.

Named one of the “Best Student Design-Build Projects of 2016” -ArchDaily “TwoXTwo is an in-depth exercise towards an understanding of public space through the rethinking of formal proportions and conventions of program and privacy.” “The final assembly appears as a kinetic and continuous surface that incorporates various spatial qualitiessuch as inclines, overhangs, ledges, and pockets.” -ArchDaily “Constructed almost entirely of 2x2 lumber and deck screws, the 25-foot-by-20-foot ‘TwoXTwo’ project has transformed the college atrium by offering new opportunities for group interaction and individual activity.” 50 | 2 X 2

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TwoXTwo was constructed in two hundred layers. To maximize the efficiency of our labor, we began construction in the middle and worked our way in the left and right directions simultaneously. The pieces of the layers were drawn from 200 contours taken through the class Rhino model and converted into autocad files. From the autocad files, a team took inventory of each piece, noting the measurements of each angle, miter, and dimension. The effort of the documentation team produced multiple books consisting of each layer and its corresponding inventory to be used by the fabrication and assebly efforts.

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Within our architecture class, like cogs and gears, each student assumed a role that contributed to the finished project. After the Rhino model was finalized, my role involved formatting the contours into separate autocad files to fit into the workflow of the documentation team. I then began annotating the documents and began answering questions as to the formatting and commands used to produce consistent documents. In answering enough questions, I assumed a leadership role, editing documents annotated by members of the team and providing one final check for consistency before printing. In addition, I was the point of contact to coordinate with the scheduling, fabrication, and assembling teams to ensure that the work produced was on time and accurate.

Design Scheduling

Documentation Fabrication Assembly 5 WEEKS

After the design was finalized, the project was realized using a phased system of documentation, then fabrication, then assembly.

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Photography by Iowa State University Photographer, Christopher Gannon

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During TwoXTwo’s three-week residency in the atrium of the Iowa State University College of Design, it succeeded in accommodating more users and more types of users than the previous arrangement of tables and chairs. Suitable for individuals, groups, and gatherings, the design-build project was utilized for work, rest, socialization, and play.

After its exhibition at the college of design, it was deconstructed carefully and reconstructed at Iowa State University’s Reiman Gardens. Visible from the main roadway to the University, the second location allowed TwoXTwo to be experienced by a greater audience than originally intended.

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a n a l o g










d i g i t a l

The following pages contain work that I have produced within the academic setting as well as material produced by my own volition. What is shown are the products of both digital and analog experimentation and representation.

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Study of Saint Pierre at Firminy and its connection to water infrastructure

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Rome Study Abroad || Palatine Hill Sketch

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Rome Study Abroad || Torre Argentina

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Rome Study Abroad || Piazza del Popolo

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Rome Study Abroad || Collage Workshop

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Rome Study Abroad || Collage Workshop

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Atalie Ruhnke - Architecture Portfolio  

The academic portfolio of Atalie Ruhnke

Atalie Ruhnke - Architecture Portfolio  

The academic portfolio of Atalie Ruhnke