BRIAN PATRICK BETZ ARCH. 8510 M. ARCH. II
Site: Astro III Movie Theater
A long out-of-commission commercial area located in the lower downtown area of the city of Clemson, Astro III was primed for reinvention: the parameters of this project dictated the creation of a new affordable housing scheme, populated by three bedroom/two bathroom family homes. By this metric, I designed a home that would respond to conditions dictated by the site itself, the town at large, and the greater concerns of home building in upstate South Carolina.
Ammenities of the Site Nearby Local Ammenities
Nearby Consumer Ammenities
Larry W. Abernathy Waterfront Park
By means of the Keowee Trail, the site is accessible to Larry W. Abernathy Waterfront Park, which itself is connected to nearby Lake Hartwell. The park plays host to a number of Clemson public events, such as annual picnics and luncheons. Itâ€™s also the only public boat dock within the city limits.
A CATBus stop is situated at the entrance to the site, allowing for free public transportation opportunities both within the city limits as well as to neighboring cities such as Seneca, Central, and Anderson.
Nearby Jaycee Park and its surrounding hiking trails are a short walking distance from the site.
The Astro site is situated along College Avenue, just past downtown Clemson proper, facilitating pedestrian transportation access to the greater city and university campus. Barring football home games and routine peak hour traffic, motor vehicle access to the site is easily achieved.
HAIKU HOUSE : MARK II
HAIKU HOUSE : MARK I
WHERE THERE IS ABSENCE, A CONNECTION LIES IN WAIT. GO THERE, TOGETHER.
HAIKU HOUSE : MARK III
GEOMETRY EXTRAPOLATION DIAGRAM
WITHIN, NOT BESIDE. AS MUCH A PART OF THE SPACE AS ESCAPE FROM IT.
Schematic Design A WALL IS A DUAL. IT MENDS US TOGETHER--AND; IT PUSHES APART.
NEIGHBORS COMMUNIITY OUTSIDERS
2" Slope Walkable EPDM
Wood Plank Cladding Vertical Furring
Rigid Exterior Insulation
1/8" Barrier/WRB SLT7 Floor Plate, 9.61" CLT
ROOF TOP DECK
3/4" Custom Aluminum framing w/ 4" louver 1/8" Waterproofing membrane
1/4" Glass window pane SLT9 Column, 12.17" CLT
SLT3 Floor Plate, 3.9" CLT 4" 650 Waterproof Membrane
2x4 Southern Yellow Pine Treated Sill Plate Concrete footing
Design Development AXON AND MATERIAL ASSEMBLAGE DIAGRAM
“THE TOWER”: STRUCTURAL CLT PLANES ACT AS THE WALLS AND FLOORS OF THE UPPER RESIDENTIAL AREA OF THE HOME, WHILE ALSO ACTING AS THE CENTRAL UTILITY CORE FOR THE WHOLE HOUSE. AREAS EXPOSED TO THE ELEMENTS ARE PROTECTED BY A WOOD CLADDING SYSTEM.
“THE ROOF”: BALANCED CLT FLOOR/ROOF PLATE, SEALED BY WALKABLE EPDM AND FLASHING, TO ENCHANCE THE WEATHER PROOFING OF THE REST OF THE HOUSE.
ENCLOSURE”: PREFABRICATED CLT COLUMNS AND BEAMS ASSEMBLED INTO STRUCTURAL FRAMES AND GLASS ENCLOSED WITH CUSTOM ALUMINUM FRAMES “SLAT WALL”: FRAMED TIMBER MEMBERS SUPPORTED BY LIGHT STEEL FRAME THAT ALLOWS FOR CEDAR SLATS TO CREATE A LATERALLY ORIENTED CURTAIN WALL--THIS IS TURN SHIELDS THE EAST DECK
precast kit_phase 1
rise over run
a research + design exploration for precast concrete solutions
BRIDGE SPANNING UNIT
RAMP SPANNING UNIT
RAMP/BRIDGE ASSEMBLY UNIT
TRAIN STATION ASSEMBLY UNIT VERTICAL SUPPORT CONNECTION
ADA Requires a 1:12 slope ratio which works out to be one foot of wheelchair ramp for each inch of rise. For instance, a 20 inch rise requires a 20 foot wheelchair ramp.
a narrative of design tessellation: a covering of an infinite geometric plane without gaps or overlaps by congruent plane figures of one type or a few types.
in the beginning, tessellation geometry was the signpost that directed the shape of this project; through angular exploration of a regular hexagon, i developed an evolving morphology of tessellation shapes. These polygons were continually analyzed, allowing for more complex variations to be derived and extrapolated upon. once the tessellations were developed, practical application of the shapes came into play: enter precast concrete. established parameters for architectural application in this project provided context for the next stage of development. options included: a new trainstation; municipal infrastructure; pedestrian intervention. i focused my design through the lens of pedestrian wayfinding: developing a ramp system conforming to ADA SPECIFICATIONS to allow for all forms of pedestrian access. to develop this design using the medium of precast concrete, the tessellation piece was adapted into a kit system: the piece itself would at once be a lynchpin of the design, joining with other precast parts to build the design, while simultaneously informing the angle of the ramps with its details. in time, the notion of the kit was expanded to provide alternative uses for different variations of the piece, in order to create an all encompassing design system. throughout the process of casting these elements, successes and failures took place that would necessitate further development of the shape of the design, maximizing its effectiveness in its ultimate form. ideas involving the nature of the material and its application for this purpose would be revisited and reinterpreted, as to account for full-scale construction practicality, geometric and asthetic consideration, and a holistic understanding of precast concrete. this exploration is the story of process, development, assembly and construction logistics.
this phase of the kit would utilize tens of several groups of the tessellation piece to create the ramp. the system is supported by correlating interlocking support pieces affixed to ground beams. the spanning pieces were extrapolated from comparable hexagonal geometry and would support the decking of the system.
mold pour set cast
this phase of the design expanded the role of the kit to be that of a multifunctional design system. the tessellation piece evolved in two different directions:
in one, the piece acts as a planar element, playing off of the fractal nature of its geometry. at different scales, it at once becomes a landscape paver, a wall skin, and an overhead ceiling fixture system. in the second, the tessellation adopts a variation of the geometry established in phase one: while maintaining the sliding joint design, it eschews the side-by-side connection system in favor of variably angled connection joinery that locks in with long spanning precast beams in order to create arches, bridges, and ramps. this allows for a more conservative piece-based system, relying on the tessellation piece for its unique structurally qualities while relegating the spanning to more simplistic construction elements.
trial by casting
after the second phase of design development concluded, i now had a scheme in place for a precast concrete kit developed for a variable ramp and spanning system, i began exploring the system in prototype through scaled rockite cast models. it was during this phase that new design issues became apparent that were not perceived during the digital design phase. accordingly, the design required a further level of development in order to respond to the real-life construction concerns inherent to the casting process. case number one was the first attempt at casting the developed ramp kit, directly applying the design of the second phase into prototypical form. rockite was pour into a layered mold made of laser cut acryllic plates. immediately after the rockite had hardened, the first issues with the were made apparent: the expanding rockite had a tendency to bond with the mold itself after it had hardened, resulting in the destruction of the mold; additionally, its gripping joints became too big to lock in with its respective beams. the mold was attempted several more times before design revision became necessary.
2 the internal gripper of the phase 1 piece were co-opted into case number two, simplifying the piece into a long spanning beam system
case number two was the first departure from the tessellation design that had informed the geometry of the piece thus far in the project. the design became a fusion of the spanning beam and the gripper teeth of the tessellation--simplifying the kit into a ramp beam (1/12th slope) and spanning beam. the piece would be able to lock into place through its “teeth,” using gravity and compressive forces to lock into place.
the spanning beam rests upon a pedestal raised above the ground
diagram detailing acryllic plate mold system
mold could not survive expansion of rockite during extraction
“crane” lowering tessellation beam into position
angular incongruity of gripper teeth making itself apparent
while the beams themselves were able to lock into place successfully--after a bit of applied force--during an experiment designed to emulate the action of a crane system lowering the piece into position, the piece revealed itself unable to be installed, as a result of the orientation of the gripper teeth, which were positioned at such an angle which would be impossible for a crane to position and manipulate. although the teeth themselves proved to be viable, in order for the connection to work, their utilization strategy needed to be reworked.
for case number 3, the design returned to the language of the “keystone” tessellation; the gripper teeth were redesigned and positioned atop of the tessellation piece, so the beams could be lowered directly on top of the piece, locking into place. the width of the keystone piece was also extended, so that when the ramp beams were installed it would serve as the required horizontal landing, as dictated by ADA Code Compliance. remains of destroyed plate mold and failed casts
aftermath of three dimensional mold attempt
two casting methods were employed in the exploration of this design: the plate mold (as seen in case one and two) and a three dimensional mold made of laser cut acryllic plates that locked into place with one another and stood upright. the three dimensional mold proved unable to remain airtight, resulting in a compromised casting, while the plate mold (in addition to the usual expansion/removal issues) revealed a new issue: the triangular geometry of the beam’s teeth wouldn’t mesh with the keystone’s corresponding slot. for the gripper to work, its geometry needed to be changed.
my investigation into these three failed cases revealed a common thread in their narrative: the teeth were always amongst the most difficult details to cast, and install--but why?
i realized that the answer lied in its geometry. casted shapes with acute angles proved more diffuclt to remove, as during the expansion process, they have a tendency to push and grip the sides of the mold, often breaking off with it during the removal process. if i wanted the gripper to work, its geometry would need to lean in the opposite direction. i simplified the geometry of the keystone and the gripper teeth, reviving the hexagonal geometry seen in earlier phases of the design. a wide bay area on the sides of the keystone allowed for more â€œwiggle roomâ€? for the beams to find their landing and lock into place while being lowered in. once the piece was successfully protoyped at a large scale, it cemented itself as the final design for the system.
axonometric construction detail
concrete base plate is brought to the site with rebar reinforcements set in
concrete ramp beams concrete base plate rebar reinforcement concrete column metal concrete pour box metal joiner plates crown keystone
concrete pour box is set up on site; concrete is poured with metal joiner plate attached set in precast concrete crown is lowered by crane onto support column and affixed to joiner plate precast concrete keystone is lowered by crane onto crown precast concrete ramp beams are lowered by crane and locked into keystone
ada detail elevation
by designing the slope of the system around ada specifications, the kit fosters egalitarian inclusion amongst its users
beam crown keystone