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benjamin connolly


PORTFOLIO selected works

Curriculum Vitae Maritime Museum Pavilion Dalhousie Commons Solid/Void House Kind of Blue Interior Biotope Installation Hydrostone Community Theater

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Benjamin Connolly Education

curriculum vitae

26 Caribou Ave. Ottawa, Ontario Canada K2S 1M8


Bachelor of Environmental Design Studies - Honours Architecture Dalhousie University 2012

Honours Double Major - Urban Design/Planning & Studio Fine Art University of Waterloo (Enrolled 2008-2010)



1st Place [Team] - Dalhousie Structures Week Competition (2011) Pula Art Show Fundraiser - “Kind of Blue” (2011) Dalhousie University Entrance Scholarship (2010) Edward J. Cuhaci & Associate Architects Inc. Scholarship (2008) University of Waterloo Environment Entrance Scholarship (2008) Stittsville Lion’s Club Scholarship (2008) Waterloo Faculty of Environment Dean’s List (2008 - 2010)

2D 3D Visual Physical Manage

AutoCad, Vectorworks Rhinoceros, SketchUp Creative Suite, Lumion, Toucan, V-Ray, Thea Modeling, Lasercutting, Drawing PC/Mac OS, Microsoft Office

Work Experience

Shoalts & Zaback Architects Ltd. - Kingston, Ontario October 2012-April 2013 Intern Architect/Junior Designer

David Mailing Architect & Associates Inc. - Ottawa, Ontario May-July 2012 Intern Architect

Public Works & Government Services Canada - Ottawa, Ontario August-December 2011 Asst. Architectural Project Manager

DAC Architects International - Ottawa, Ontario April-June 2009 Carpenter’s Assistant

Dalhousie University - Halifax, Nova Scotia March 2011 & 2012 School of Architecture Admissions Committee


David Mailing - David Mailing Architect & Associates Inc. Principle, Architect, MRAIC 1.613.836.4040,

Dr. Roland Hudson - Dalhousie School of Architecture Assistant Professor 1.902.494.6135,

Christopher Kaltenbach - Mark Magazine Contributing Author/Architecture Critic

Colin Goff - PWGSC

Architect, Project Manager 1.613.990.4078,



Boat-Building Pavilion for the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

“I think the really complex works of architecture... ought to be able to deal with this question of reflecting a certain identity,

without reducing things to just that.” Kenneth Frampton

Nova Scotia’s cultural history of boat-building has crafted a coastal identity melding directly into the built environment of Halifax and the surrounding towns and outports. In an effort to preserve this identity for future generations, this project looked to propose an addition to the existing Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on Halifax’s harbourfront. The pavilion was programmed to specifically consider ways of educating the public on the theories and realities of boat-building by creating a pavilion to house demonstrations and workshops on the subject, while counterposing the historical artifacts in the current museum. The concept considered how to portray the boat-building process in a way that would invite Nova Scotians to take ownership of their cultural heritage. To facilitate this, the pavilion sought to provide a complete view of the workspace. From this idea emerged a parti that bridged the gap between the site’s two docks, as people revolve around the drydock construction space in the center. The formal arrangement and building construction attempted to evoke an architectural language that relates to immediate surroundings and the broader culture of boats in general. In discovering how this could be portrayed, I looked toward the Canadian coast line in search of found objects that would provide a point of departure. A portion of broken boat hull (left) washed along the shores of the Ottawa River became a restoration project that ultimately led to the skin-on-ribcage form of the architectural essence. Physical drawing investigations into the hull helped the project through design development.

Viewing decks Aperture for audience Expressed on curve Diagrid parameter Audience projections for viewing Panel extents


THE ANATOMY OF ARCHITECTURE Communal School for Engineering and Architecture at Dalhousie University

“All my room pieces... really have to do with observing. There is a sense of puzzlement in just looking at them and thinking: We live in that kind of place.

How do we function physically within a place like that?� Rachel Whiteread

“There is a kind of complexity which comes from taking an otherwise completely normal, conventional, albeit anonymous situation and redeďŹ ning it, retranslating it into

overlapping and multiple readings of conditions past and present.� Gordon Matta Clark

Dalhousie’s Sexton Campus is the site of the university’s faculties for Engineering, Architecture and Planning - a highly technical group of subjects associating in all aspects of cutting edge technology, as well as the built and natural environments. However, the individual groups of students are highly segregated within their own subjects, rarely interacting or exchanging ideas, the very essence of what a university should strive to foster. This project addresses this problem by proposing a new Dalhousie Commons on the Sexton Campus to facilitate an open-source educational experience that seeks to expose the nuances of various groups in the hope of creating a more collaborative environment for all students.

The Sexton House was the lone existing structure on the site - an old, underused dwelling-turned-office from the original university construction. Instead of demolition, I considered its history in the context of promoting education in the built environment as an artifact within the university’s community. From this evolved a proposal to deconstruct it holistically, rather than erase it from memory. In preserving the essence of this house, themes of Montessori learning and self-exploration emerged as the ideal parti. Contemporary art theories within Rachel Whiteread’s commemorative concrete bas-reliefs, Maya Lin’s ephemeral environmental investigations and Gordon Matta-Clark’s building cuts dictated moves in considering strategies for altering perceptions in the built environment.

The new building form seeks to counterpoint the age of this artifact by subtly rising from the ground to create a protective shell around it. As the planes approach the House, implied offset cuts are pulled through the house to remove material in a manner that links the forms of the new and old together. The literal section cuts subsequently inform the placement of student labs, classrooms, design studios and common areas to surround it and open up viewplanes directly into the Sexton House in an effort to invite critical academic discourse in the art of building. It invites a full sensory experience and promotes a ďŹ rst-hand, self-initiated school experience.


























Housing Proposal for Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

The UNESCO World Heritage site of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia served as an incubator for a contemporary housing studio. A town with an extensive history into the culture of outports, this studio presented the issue of sensitivity in design to both direct and indirect surroundings, asking how modern theories in housing could be incorporated into a village with some of the most restrictive building regulations in the world. Construction within extreme site and environmental considerations was also explored, as Lunenburg sits on one of the steepest settled slopes in North America and engages the full seasonal range of Eastern Canada’s weather. The studio was taught by Brian MacKay-Lyons and dealt heavily with regionalism in architecture and the use of buildings as representative of a local identity. The project was supplemented by housing case studies, site visits to the village of Lunenburg as well as important landmarks in the built history of the region, a complete massing model of the entire town of Lunenburg at 1’:1/8” (measureing approximately 12’ x 8‘ x 2’), and received guest criticism from contemporary residential architect Julie Snow.

My concept sought to use the original 1800’s subdivided four-square houses of the local vernacular, and to remove one corner on each floor to introduce outdoor programming. This exploration is supported by a rigid steel frame that uses moment connections to produce a minimal structure that allows for large interior spaces. Taking advantage of the “Nor’Easters” common to the region, the public and private facades respond to the heavy weather by using a copper paneling system to slowly patina over time, an act of architectural performance art that creates a narrative of time and memory passing in a town that fervently holds onto its history.



Art of Emotion.Emotion of Art

“Don't play what's there, play what's not there.”

Miles Davis

Kind of Blue was an art project inspired by Miles Davis’ songwriting on the best-selling jazz album of the same title. In this album, Davis broke from the common use of standard chord progressions and instead wrote only the modal scales of the music - essentially a framework. He gave the musicians no notes to play, only the key of the section. He then asked them to improvise the specific notes during recording. The entire album was recorded as an experiment of composition and improvisation. This project sought to emulate the structured improvisation of the album in a visual medium, suggesting a similar artistic language. Drawing studies began exploring ways of establishing an emotional connection with the viewer through abstract techniques of applying media, that could be skewed to simultaneously be representational of the subject matter. It began by compiling photographs of each of the seven musicians who worked on the album, and then developing drawings for the contours of their faces. With a rough outline of the faces, ink was literally thrown at the pages in various consistencies from multiple distances and allowed to drip freely down along the grooves of the paper. A single streak of color was added to provide emphasis to the most distinctive part of each face.



Design/Build Freelab

“I imagine the inside of a crowded commuter train to be a space connected by an invisible rubber net composed of sensations, such as sound, smell, body temperature and people’s mutual gazes. That close-knit net — which both expands and contracts — connects the relationships invisible to each of the fellow human beings encompassed by it.”

Naoto Fukasawa

Interior Biotope was an art/architecture installation looking into the immeasurable qualities of space sensible at only micro levels. Commissioned as a two week design-build studio through the Dalhousie Architecture School’s Freelab program, the group of seven students and one professor launched a study into the experience of spaces through sensory perception.

Through drawings, objects and maquettes students identified the main entrance of the Medjuck Architecture Building as the site of our spatial intervention. Addressing the spatial and behavioural tensions of this threshold, the group attempted to reinterpret the transition between the private interiority of the School of Architecture and Planning with the public domain of Spring Garden Road.

The theme revolved around the cultural heritage of Nova Scotia’s netmaking industry. Students were introduced to the history, function, materiality and weaving of fishing nets as a vital, decades-old industry throughout the east coast. Through first-hand instruction we were taught how to weave nets, place borders on nets and splice rope under the supervision of a master net maker in Dartmouth. This knowledge was subsequently applied to conducting tensegrity tests into the materials, weaves and knots. Identifying this as a base of research, we proceeded to investigate alternative materials; choosing to substitute twine with stretch film, due to its cost per linear foot, elasticity, strength and aesthetic characteristics. From this material we were able to weave approximately 538 square feet of net, shaping a particular structural, surface and programmatic investigation.

This freelab sought to bring the entrance of the Dalhousie School of Architecture down to the human scale through the use of hand-weaving a net and then manipulating its shape. The form sought to create a sense of place and tranquility within this new environment; precedence was taken from the Salix willow tree, which softly suggests interior and exterior spaces without any permanence. A series of complex curves was established with anchor points throughout the net to blur the perception of wall/roof/floor.



Hydrostone Community Theatre

“There must be eyes upon the street, eyes belonging to those we might call

the natural proprietors of the street.” Jane Jacobs

The Hydrostone Community Theater was an infill project sited in one of Halifax’s oldest historic neighborhoods. The program called for a small, intimate theater with seating for approximately 100, as well as supporting areas to accommodate the actors and audience. The intent revolved around designing a building that would present itself smaller than it really was, allowing it to fit in physically with the surrounding urban fabric. The massing was extruded from the streetscapes in both axis, extrapolating their heights to obtain a similar size. An exploration into the relationship between façade and street presented an opportunity to develop an undulating wall that would connect the building scale to the human scale for passers-by. The parti was developed as a box within a box, providing a scheme that gave the required noise barrier from the community by sinking the theater in the center of the remaining program. Hollistically, these surroundings became a point of departure in blurring the relationship between actor and audience. The audience is directed through a procession that literally frames them to the streetscape, allowing them to engage momentarily as the actor and subtly nudging them out of their comfort zone to gain a deeper appreciation of the role of the artist.

Site Envelope Absolute limits

Height Consolidation

Implied planes of height, introduced as an extension of the surrounding buildings.

Facade Continuation

Implied planes of surrounding facades, projected through the site to achieve initial massing.

Development of massing used the initial negatively produced form to project out at the corners of the lot, receding back into its own space along the streetscape. These passages seperate the audience and actors from the common entrance, keeping the building envelope within the established criteria of limits. The auditorium exists as the box within the box.

Entrance Ticket Booth Kitchen & Green Room Change Rooms Washrooms Stage & Wings Audience Chamber Mech./Elec.Room Reception OfďŹ ces Receiving & Storage Shipping & Parking Lot Line

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