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Clemson University Master of Architecture II

brian patrick betz

A Design Manifesto: My philosophy has always been that design is the unique relationship between a problem, and a solution. In some ways, the problem becomes more beneficial to the process than the solution. For while a solution brings you to an end, a problem brings you to a challenge; a true opponent to be overcome. And in the wake of its defeat, you may perceive to have found your solution, but like Pandora’s box, more new and interesting problems will arrive to take its place. I


Table of Contents




An entrance way into a proposed underground art gallery beneath the famous Vista of Columbia, South Carolina, the Stair Tower is a vertical counterpoint to the sprawling park space in which it resides. The tower beckons visitors of the park to approach and explore, acting as a node of enticement within the newly revitalized city. Tectonic wooden slats create a shell over its structure, allowing the wind to penetrate the space, and carry with it the natural scent of its timber frame. A fleeting glimpse of the park is presented to visitors, before beginning their descent into the space below. As they step deeper, the slats begin to thin and recede with the stairwell, before disappearing over their heads entirely, just as the gallery experience begins. The tower--and the tunnel design of which it was a part of--was given Honorable Mention in the 2011 AIA Columbia Design Competition.

ARCH 252: Prof. Nicholas Ault Spring 2011



Rendering detailing transission from entrance into stairwell

Top Image: Rendering of Pedestrian Site Entryway Bottom Image: Rendering of Pedestrian Stairwell Circulation into Gallery

Left Image: Isometric Rendering of Stair Tower Right Image: Axon Diagram of Stair Tower

Background: AutoCAD drawing of Stair Tower



Photograph of Stair Tower Model in the Context of Art Gallery

Master Plan



A development plan for the trendy Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, this project sought to revitalize and develop the area from the ground up. Using Steven Holl’s Beijing LINKED HYBRID project and the HIGH LINE park of New York City as sources of inspiration, I designed a plan that would weave together the various programmatic features of a neighborhood--commercial, residential, public space--through a multi-elevational pedestrian green way; achieved through cylindrically supported platform systems, raised natural inclines, and the very roofs of the buildings themselves. Allowing for unique circulatory opportunities, relaxing vista experiences, and a clean break from vehicular traffic below, the Williamsburg Green way seeks to expand the realm of urban interaction at the pedestrian level by utilizing the under used vertical elements of the urban condition to create opportunities for pedestrian interaction and circulation, achieving a renewed sense of unity for the community therein. This project was one of five completed during my stay in New York City; each project was developed, designed, and executed within one weeks time.

STUDIO NYC: Prof. Dave Lee Summer 2011



Render detailing the Vista experience of the Greenway

Top Left to Bottom Left: Diagram detailing Green way Platforms, Interaction at a Retail Level, Interaction with Raised Green way, and Interaction at a Residential Level Top Right to Bottom Right: Rendering Detailing Retail Program, Rendering Detailing Raised Green way Weaving Through Residential Program


Eagle St.

Freeman St.

Green St.

Huron St.

India St.

Java St.

Kent St.


Top Left: Diagram Detailing Green way Platforms Bottom Left: Diagram Detailing Raised Green way

Right: Plan View of Site Plan

Urban Intervention XV


An urban intervention for the Poblenou neighborhood in Barcelona, Spain, my partner Lori Race and I developed a programmatic system that allowed for the creation of new public spaces through the transformation of the existing urban fabric. “Urban Pockets,” as we came to call them, involved an investigation of the under used vertical void spaces that populated the neighborhood. We developed a system comparing building heights versus their available horizontal space--settling on a ratio of 2:1 height versus width--in order to determine the best “pockets” for intervention candidacy. Once the analysis was complete and the “pockets” were chosen we began our intervention scheme. A civic center--complete with library; reception area; exhibition hall; association rooms; administration; and ludoteca--was introduced. Designed to better establish a sense of community and interaction amongst the residents of Poblenou, the “pockets” (which contain the aforementioned civic spaces) were woven together through a network of pathways and spaces within the heart of the neighborhood. A metallic mesh serves to define the interior spaces, wrapping and weaving from pocket to pocket. The end result was a realistic vision of viable space developed out of the blight of the void; turning the in-between spaces into community nodes.

ARCH 354: Prof. Toni Montes Spring 2012



Rendering detailing Pocket Space

Address: 63 C. De. La Ciutat de Granada Ground Floor: Supermarket>Residential Entry Corridor>Commerical Space Pocket Potentiality (1-10): [5] Residential corridor and commerical space could feasibly be transformed into a street level access corridor to the third story pocket space

Address: 169, corner of C. De La Ciutat de Granada/C. De Pallars Ground Floor: Residential Pocket Potentiality (1-10): [2]/[10] While a ground oor public access pocket cooridor seems to be out of the question, ceding the rooftop area to create a privatized pocket space (exclusive to the residents of the building) seems a more than viable option

Top: Diagram detailing Potential “Pockets”

Address: 162 C. De Pallars Ground Floor: Garage space Pocket Potentiality (1-10): [10] Utilizing this ground oor space as a public entry way into the pocket space one story up could turn this structure into a nodular focal point, beckoning the public at large to explore the space above

Address: 154 C. De Pallars Ground Floor: Mixed usage; residential entry corridor anked by two commericial spaces Pocket Potentiality (1-10): [6] Through precision surgical intervention (proposing through the center commercial space) a public entry corridor could be achieved, promonading the user into the pocket space above

Middle Row: “Pocket” Diagrams Bottom Row: Blind wall Diagrams

Address: 90 C. De Badajoz Ground Floor: Mixed usages; commercial>residential entry corridor>bar Pocket Potentiality (1-10): [5]/[10] While achieving a public corridor through such a high density (in terms of overall usage) space would prove challenging, it is not impossible; as a private pocket, the intervention would be as simple as putting a door in the hallway

Address: 107-109 C. De Pujades Ground Floor: Open space, void with no infrastructure Pocket Potentiality (1-10): [10] This space could easily be tted into a public pocket access point with the least amount of intervention.

Right: Axon Diagram detailing the Mesh, “Pockets,” ground pathway, and their place within the neighborhood


XX Top Left: Diagram detailing “Pocket� and Blind wall connection overlap Top Middle: Diagram detailing buildings removed for Intervention Space Bottom Left: Rendering detailing intervention Space pathway

Bottom Right: Axon Diagrams detailing the Program Space within the Intervention

Top Left: Rendering Detailing Pocket Space Entry way Bottom Left: Rendering Detailing Transitional Circulation within Pocket Space

Top Right: Model of Pocket Space Entry way Bottom Right: Model of Pocket Spaces



Top Left: Rendering Detailing Pocket Space Bottom: Rendering of Poblenou with Pocket Intervention

Top Right: Model of Pocket Space




Case The largest body of water within the Chicago city limits, Lake Calumet--formerly a post glacial lake that drained into nearby Lake Michigan--is a historic industrial and shipping area, active since 1889, when the community it was original apart of--Hyde Park Township--was annexed by the city of Chicago. Owing in part to its connection to the Calumet River, the lake was initially known as a major shipping hub; a commercial gateway into Lake Michigan. A remnant of this heritage exists in the form of the Port of Chicago, located at the lower end of the lake. As time went on, the lake took on a decidedly industrial character: various steel mills and other manufacturing plants began to open shop along the banks of the lake and river. The landscape began to change accordingly, with parts of the lake having been transformed into landfills; steel slag and other contaminants would corrupt the soil surrounding the lake, rendering the lake side area effectively ruined. As brown fields began to accumulate--due to the neglectful practices of the very industries most hurt by such an environmental calamity--the lake fell into disarray: industries dried up as a result of the poisoned soil; natural vegetation withered and died; the lake’s industrial heritage became forfeit, no longer able to sustain factories, manufacturing plants, or even space reserved for public use. In 2010, the hazardous chemicals present within the Lake Calumet area would warrant its addition to the federal Superfund list of sites in need of contamination clean up. Since then, the city had begun to implement reclamation efforts designed to decontaminate the lake area, returning it to its former glory as an industrial hub, while simultaneously creating new green spaces for public use.

Concept The Lake Calumet Dredging Apparatus (LACADREA) will champion these efforts. Adapting the famous kinetic sculptural language of Dutch artist Theo Jansen, LACADREA harnesses the prevailing winds of the Chicago skies to walk the lake bed, seeking out the brown fields that plague the embattled body of water. Once located, massive dredging wheels are lowered into the ground, digging into the earth, conveying the poisoned soil into a sophisticated system of turbines and basins. When LACADREA reaches maximum capacity, it returns to the lake proper, where container ships rendezvous beneath its massive frame and acquire the newly cleansed soil recovered from the brown fields. The soil is stewarded away, returned to the edges of the lake, and used to re-shape the area at the city’s discretion. In time, Lake Calumet will be revitalized: new industry will settle along the lake, allowing for an influx of new jobs and commerce for the city at large. Public parks will be established and shaped, balancing the renewed industrial heritage of Lake Calumet with the creation of fresh nodes of enticement for the city of Chicago.

ARCH 351: Prof. Criss Mills Fall 2012



Oblique rendering of LACADREA, showcasing its scale and function as a container ship sails beneath it to collect decontaminated soil




250 ft

200 ft

150 ft

100 ft

50 ft

50 ft

Top Image: Rendering of Top Deck of LACADREA Bottom Image: Rendering Showcasing Circulation of LACADREA

100 ft

150 ft

200 ft

250 ft

Top Middle Image: Diagram Detailing how Dredger Works Bottom Image: Diagram Detailing Size and Leg Motion of LACADREA

300 ft





350 ft



Vertical Bracing

Lateral Suspension Bracing


Dredge Frame

Storage Basins


400 ft


450 ft

500 ft

550 ft

600 ft

Dredging Wheel

650 ft

Bottom Image: Diagram Detailing Complete LACADREA Dredging Process

Top Images: Precedent Study of Leg Bottom Image: Sight Map of Lake Calumet

Right Image: Axon Diagram of Dredger

Product Design



With a focus on designing a solution that could be implemented around the Lee Hall architecture building, my partner Lewis Mackey and I designed a railing intervention to be crafted and installed onto the existing balcony railing in the senior design studio. The current railing--unable to be permanently augmented due to Lee Hall’s place on the historic building registry--has fallen below safety code standards, resulting in the indefinite closing of the balcony. Recognizing the loss of such a useful and beloved space, we crafted a prototype of a railing intervention that could be installed and removed (per historic registry requirements) without modifying the existing railing to which it would be affixed. In addition, a raised bannister attached to the intervention allows for the balcony to be brought up to current safety code requirements, allowing for the reclamation of the balcony itself. Given the nature of designing a product, we proposed our intervention as a potential alumni-supported initiative, where donors could put forth the funds necessary to create a true version of the installation--crafted of metal rather than wood--and in return have their names engraved on a placard to be affixed on the intervention in their honor.

ARCH 424: Prof. Robert Silance Fall 2012



Photograph of the Intervention installed on the existing rendering


Design Process


Top Line: Site Photographs

Middle Line: Digital and Physical Model Images

Bottom Line: Construction Photographs of Railing Mock-Up and Intervention


Final Product


Photographs of the Intervention Installed within the Mock-Up and at the Site


Education Experience Clemson University

Aug. 2009 - May 2013

Clemson ,SC Bachelor of Art in Architecture, Minor in English GPR: 3.5

AIA Columbia Design Competition

May 2011

Honorable Mention for work on tunnel design

Summer Studio, New York City

July. - Aug. 2011

Study Abroad, Barcelona Spain

Jan. - April 2012

AIAS Clemson Chapter Member

Aug. 2010 - Present

Barcelona Architecture Center

Skills Rhino, SketchUp, AutoCAD, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Drawing, Hand Modelling, Hand Coloring, Sketching




Brian Betz Design Portfolio  
Brian Betz Design Portfolio  

A portfolio documenting a selection of projects showcasing my best, most varied architectural projects from my undergraduate design educatio...