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august petersen | undergraduate portfolio

Reader’s Retreat


Canyon Residence


Mural Park


Centerville Cabin


C4 Advertising


Glenn Hall


“Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.� -Mortimer J. Adler

Reader’s Retreat A Quiet Place to Read

270 sq. ft. tiny house designed as a sanctuary for the avid reader fall 2010 individual project


Comfortable Secluded Modern Quiet Open 270 sq. ft.


north elevation

progression of form


book shelves lounge reading

desk reading

bathtub reading


“The home should be the treasure chest of living� -Le Corbusier

Canyon Residence Residential Renovation & Remodel

1600 sq. ft. great room renovation for a local couple fall 2011 team members: August Petersen Kelli Dahlgren duties: spatial layout selection of furnishings all hand drawings specification package


Project Brief The project objective was to create a great room renovation with minimal alterations to the existing architecture. The space has several obstacles including arrogant proportions, an over exposed living area and irregularly placed amenities as a result of a construction error made by the original designer. The project was done freehand with an emphasis on informal presentation techniques.


minimal opening

asymmetrical/sculptural opening

Wall Variations

opening frames view


View from Foyer

Great Room

Limited Exposure The house is located on a sloping site that faces the Canyon Oaks golf course. The great room has panoramic views of the canyon below that can be experienced as soon as one enters the house. The views from the foyer are intentionally limited to create a greater sense of intimacy in the living areas.





“And certainly the history of public sculpture has been disastrous but that doesn’t mean it ought not to continue and the only way it even has a chance to continue is if the work gets out into the public.” -Richard Serra

Mural Park Public Sculpture

Public sculpture fall 2010 individual project


Mural Park Mural Park is a public sculpture derived from an existing wall mural. The project objective was to manipulate a flat wall painting into a three dimensional space. The chosen mural is a compilation of aerial photographs of the California central valley. By wrapping the mural overhead, the sculpture inverts the perspective of the original mural. Looking up the sky in turn yields a view of the ground.



“context is what gives a building its meaning. And consequently change in context causes change in meaning.” -Robert Venturi

‘Iconography and Electronics Upon a Generic Architecture: A View from the Drafting Room’ by Robert Venturi, published by MIT Press, 1998

Cntrvl Centerville Cbn Cabin

1100 sq. ft. cabin in an abandon mining camp spring 2012 individual project


Project Brief Underneath the sloping hills and canyon walls lies a history rooted in industrialization, dredging, clear cutting, and abandonment. After the discovery of gold in California in the mid 1800s individual miners, and later mining companies, spread throughout northern California in pursuit of riches. One of the earliest settlements in Butte Creek Canyon was a mining company in the late 19th century. A dam was constructed roughly 6 miles upstream of the site to power the dredging equipment. The dredging dramatically reshaped the creek and left huge deposits of river stone along various dredging locations up and down the creek. After the miners settled in the canyon, large logging companies moved into the area, specifically the Butte Flume and Lumber Company, and the Sierra Lumber company. These companies created an extensive network of artificial flumes that ran from several miles upstream to Chico, or to the Sacramento river where they were further distributed. These flumes diverted water from the creek and cut a large path into the side of the cliffs, dividing the landscape. The cabin proposed sits on an artificial clearing, most like left as a result of an abandon work or campsite. The design seeks to evoke the industrial history of the site while creating a more harmonious relationship with the natural world.


second floor

first floor

Space When creating the initial spatial layout for the cabin special attention was paid to the connection to the site. In an area that has been so greatly affected by the relationship between humans and the natural world, a strong connection between the clients and the surroundings had to be established. The void between the two forms serves as an implied space, creating an outdoor room shaped by the flanking masses. The space is left uncovered, exposed, and completely undeveloped with the exception of concrete pavers. By creating a void between the two cabin halves the user must physically interact with the environment to get from once half to the other. There is no shelter, no safety; a constant reminder of nature’s presence in our lives.

Form The forms chosen for the cabin reflect the historical vernacular. The mining and logging communities were comprised of several small buildings constructed in a modest, puritan style. The buildings were constructed quickly and cheaply (the lodging companies provided the lumber and workers built the dwellings). The structures were abandoned after the lodging stopped and the cabins have since deteriorated or been destroyed in forest fires. The covered bridge pictured below is one of the few remaining structures.


Materiality The material choices for the cabin harmonize the existing pallet of the site. The materials are locally sourced and reflect the location’s torn history. The Cor-Ten steel that clads the exterior is a contemporary interpretation of the rusted corrugated roofs of the abandoned cabins. The exterior is treated as one continuous folded plane. The mill work for the cabin is built from soap treated white oak. The white oak is abundant in the surrounding area and at lower elevations in the canyon The gabion retaining wall is filled with local river rocks from Butte Creek. There are several clearings with large river stone deposits as a result of the dredging that occurred along the creek.


White Oak

River Stone

Furnishings The furnishings choices for the cabin reflect the polarities of the locale. The furnishings are mixture of industrial and hand crafted; mechanical and natural forms.




“Design is a plan for arranging elements in such a way as best to accomplish a particular purpose.� - Charles Eames

C4 Advertising agency

6000 sq. ft. corporate office spring 2011 individual project


Project Brief C4 Advertising is a fictional advertising agency poised to move into a vacant office space in San Francisco’s “Media Gulch.” The space is designed to be an uplifting hip work environment with an open plan and plenty of space for collaboration. The entire core of the office is designed to be constructed with 18” demountable partitions. The varied colors of the partitions creates a retro striped effect similar to a stack of magazines.


Demountable partitions are used in 18” modules to create vertical bands similar to a stack of magazines. The color selections including “TIME” magazine red is a subtle homage to the print industry

contract rooms to core

circulation divides core


proximity to collaboration

5. 1. 9. 6.

7. 10.



12. 8.









1. Reception 2. Waiting Area 3. Marketing Dept. 4. Creative Dept. 5. Productino Dept. 6. Copy Room

7. Pantry 8. Collaboration Room 9. C.O.O. Office 10. C.E.O. Office 11. C.F.O. Office 12. Conference Room

collaboration room


reception & waiting area


private offices

“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” - Winston Churchill

Glenn Hall Senior thesis

42,000 sq. ft. adaptable reuse of a post war educational building fall 2011 individual project



Project Brief After the end of World War II in 1945, America experienced a large expansion in population as a result of soldiers returning from war to start families. In response to the baby boomer generation, there was widespread development and expansion nationwide both in the public and private sectors. At CSU Chico specifically, the university expanded its facilities to accommodate the wave of new students. Chico State built 75% of the major campus buildings seen today during this post war period from 1949-1969. As these buildings age their function and purpose needs to be reexamined. Glenn Hall, constructed in 1958 is one of many post war buildings on campus that is still utilized. Glenn originally housed three different departments on each of its three floors but today it houses the College of Business exclusively. Glenn in its current configuration suffers from an inefficient plan, mismatched rooms sizes and types, lack of technology, lack of student areas, and has outdated and inefficient building systems. The proposed design intends to remedy these issues and create a flexible interior that can adapt to unforeseen changes.


Postwar buildings on campus

Sylvester’s Cafe - 1956 1.

Acker Gym - 1961 8.

Modoc Hall - 1962

Shurmer Gym - 1956 2.


Siskiyou Hall - 1958 3.

Langdon Hall 1967 10.

Glenn Hall - 1958 4.

BMU - 1967 11.

Shasta/Lassen Dorm - 1959 5.

PAC - 1967 12.

Taylor Hall - 1961 6.

Whitney Dorm - 1969 13.

Meriam Library - 1969

Physical Science - 1961 7.



Creating a flexible program Upon investigation, the major problems facing the existing Glenn Hall and many other post war institutional buildings is a dramatic shift in the program over the building’s lifetime. By targeting the program, the lifespan of the building can be dramatically increased. The solution is a low commitment interior where systems and spaces can be easily rearranged and replaced without damage or major expense.












Inefficient plan

Energy Use

Current plan is compartmentalized Poor space organization

Site Use

Water Use

Mismatched room sizes and types

Inability to adapt to various teaching methods Room size determines class sizes

Lack of technology

View technology as an integral part of design Easily upgrade and maintain equipment

Program (Macro)


Learning has changed

Increase in informal learning Students are teaching themselves Online and virtual learning

Inefficient building systems

Reliance on artificial lighting Poor circulation and air quality Lack of sustainable technologies

Smart Lighting


On Module


Air Quality


Aesthetics Materials


Lighting controlled by smart systems. Switches can change without rewiring

All room layouts based around column spacing module

1. 2.

Demountable partitions


Underfloor Air


Raised Access Floor



Ability to build and change rooms between semesters

Changing vent locations requires no new ducting

Ability to scale technology without damage to structure



3rd Floor


2nd Floor

1st Floor

solar study of existing building

Center atrium section


Student Huddle Rooms

Media:scape furniture solutions

Huddle Room Configuration

Computer lab Configuration


XS Lecture

Small Groups

Medium Groups

= Classroom Modules

Large Groups

Easily Reconfigures into Multiple Rooms








august petersen


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Undergraduate Interior Design Portfolio

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