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Catherine Kao Portfolio BArch 2014 Rhode Island School of Design

Table of Content


The Labyrinth Design Principles | Fall 2010


Blossom Architectural Design | Spring 2011


Megaform Advanced Studio | Fall 2012


Posco Modular Green Smart School Advanced Studio | Spring 2013


Wu Zhen Theater Internship at Artech Architects Inc. | Summer 2011


Foundation Drawings Freshman Foundation | Fall 2009 and Spring 2010

CATHERINE KAO 2 College Street Box. 747 Providence, RI +1 510-409-6069

EDUCATION Rhode Island School of Design Providence, RI Bachelor of Architecture, 2014 Bachelor of Fine Arts, 2013 Miss Porter’s School Farmington, CT | 2009 High School Diploma University of Hong Kong Hong Kong, China | 2008 Career Discovery in Architecture Summer Program

DESIGN + WORK EXPERIENCES Barrie Ho Architecture/Interior Ltd. Architecture Intern | Hong Kong, China | 2013 Participated in the conceptual design of Nanhai Hotel in Shenzhen, China and proposed ecogreenhouse at the St. Paul’s Convent School in Hong Kong and the design process of recycled bike furniture for SMART Hong Kong Jozy Chen Photography Photography Intern | Taipei, Taiwan | 2012 Assisted in stage setting, lighting, and photoshooting for television programs, fashion magazines, and movies produced by one of the largest studios in Taiwan AGC Design Ltd. Architecture Intern | Hong Kong, China | 2011 Participated in the design process of Asia Society Hong Kong, a collaborated project with Tod Williams & Billie Tsien Architects of New York Artech Architects Architecture Intern | Taipei, Taiwan | 2011 Mastered model making in different scales and paticipated in major competition with projects including Wuzhen Theater in Wuzhen, China and the National Palace Museum in Chiayi, Taiwan Primerica Institute Advertising Intern | Taipei, Taiwan | 2010 Assisted the advertising department in designing brochures to attract prospective students C.Y. Lee & Partners Architects/Planners Architecture Intern | Taipei, Taiwan | 2008-2009 Experienced model making and created image library databases for projects and materials


VOLUNTEER + OTHER EXPERIENCES Gendo Taiko at Brown University Photographer | Providence, RI | 2012-present Documented performances with photography and edited photos for the Japanese drumming club at Brown University Made in Taiwan at RISD Event Chair | Providence, RI | 2011-present Collaborate with Brown University and Johnson & Wales University to promote Taiwanese culture awareness in Providence Fubon Charity Foundation Volunteer Leader | Taipei, Taiwan | 2007-present Initiated reading programs to stimulate interest in literature for underprivileged native children in Taiwan

SKILLS Computer Auto CAD | Rhinoceros | VRay | Grasshopper Adobe: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign Artistic Model making | Woodwork Photography: film & digital | Painting: oil, ink, gouache, watercolor | Figure drawing Language Native fluency in Maindarin Chinese Native fluency in English


The Labyrinth Design Principles | Fall 2010 This project explores design principles common to architecture, and landscape architecture. Projects are selected to provide a basis for discerning and investigating both the differences of focus suggested by the three disciplines and their common concerns. Two interrelated aspects of design are pursued: 1) the elements of composition and their formal, spatial, and tectonic manipulation and 2) meanings conveyed by formal choices and transformations.




Stage One: The Knot Each student was assigned to a knot and asked to study its logic. I was assigned the “Rolling Hitch”. The logic of this Rolling Hitch is very simple but it needs a pole or another rope to be tied to it otherwise it doesn’t work. The transfer of material to paper made my life easier. The stiffness of paper kept the knot in shape without a middle support. Using vellum paper, I came with up a cube-like paper knot that was later used in the next stage



Stage Two: Aggregation+ Grounding Selected final knot acting like a module with an aggregation potential was then developed into a 20 by 20 by 20 inch mass. My module, two connected cubes, has an end that could attach to another module and there are two ways to aggregate them. On a side note, a ground was developed using pastries as a source during a charrette. The mass and ground had to form a relationship



Stage Three: Enclosure With the mass, the students were asked to take the logic of the mass and turn it into a enclosing functional space. Here, a small portion of the aggregation is taken apart, introducing a “hinged“ structure to work with the enclosure. The rule of the original knot remains



Stage Four: Programming + Site The enclosure needs to have some programming to the space and to be sited. Since the new hinged modules have to flexibility to adjust their angle, the enclosure can be transformed from roof to wall to floor, forming a living environment. The advandage of the hinged aggregates also allows the enclosure to be easily positioned at a sloped site. The space forms a corridor to link from the cliff to the waterfront



Finale: The Labyrinth The space is divided into three parts: the threshold, the private, and the public. The threshold, connecting with a bridge, invites people into the labyrinth. The private refers to the main living space for the individual. The individual has the option to expose to the outdoor space by crossing the bridge to the public space near the water




Blossom Design-Build Project | Pawtucket RI | Spring 2011 A design/build community garden and pavilion for the Chinese Community in Pawtucket, Rhode Island The first phase involves the exploration, organization, and definition of a proposal within a specific site. Students develop site analyses and conceptual investigations to inform the design process. The second phase teaches through material studies, detailing and full-scale construction. Architectural elements are integrated into the given site, culminating in a fully articulated built structure. It requires an enormous amount of discipline, communication, coordination and teamwork. Working collaboratively, students combine their individual skills to solve complex architectural issues.




Seventy Architects One Project Working in six assigned sections, the studio began with seventy-two individual site proposals. As the construction phase of the studio neared, the seventy-two projects were compiled into eighteen, and then six, which were presented to representatives of the constituent communities for feedback, leading to the final design



Design: In Studio To develop the final proposal, the studio worked via a series of twelve-hour charrettes to compose a master plan and project timeline. The built proposal began with a set of construction drawings, scale models, and detailed studies that were then brought on site to use as a working reference. The studio emphasized material considerations of construction and detailing of the final design through drawings and full-scale mock ups



Build: On Site Full-scale fabrication gives students the opportunity to develop hands-on skills and gain practical experience. With only six weeks to complete the project, management has become an integral part of the studio experience. Responsibilities were divided between construction, model building, design details, and drawing documents. Challenges like these provide the real world experience that solidifies an understanding of the relationship between design and construction




Megaform Urban Planning Project | Istanbul TURKEY | Fall 2012 Bigger than a Building: Reconsidering Megaform in Istanbul What distinguishes the most filmsy pair of shoes from mere consumer goods is that they do not spoil if i don’t wear them, they are objects and therefore possess a certain “objective” independence of their own...It is this durability that gives the things of the world their relative independence from men who produced and use them, their “objectivity” that makes them withstand, “stand against” and endure at least for a time, the voracious needs and wants of their living users.- Hannah Arendt, Labor, Work, Action This studio will consider the notion of megaform as a way to critically respond to magaprojects and regional development. Recently, Kenneth Frampton has written about megaform as an urban landscape which “stands against” the agglomeration of the megalopolis and its built environment. Megaform involves a set of issues that are regional and urban at the same time, such as infrastructure, transportation networks, as well as development with its public and private agents and actors. Yet megaform is also architecture and its architecture may be located in its ability to stand against a growth determined by mere consumption and use. In this studio, we will explore the architecture of megaform by developing design proposals for a new transit station in Istanbul.










The Site The retail/commercial on ground level is the main program that activates the life of the street, however, they serve for different types of pedestrians such as the locals near the residential, office workers near the commercial district, and the visitors near the ferry terminal.





Activating the Historical Axis To create a direct access at the ends of the historic Namik Kemal linking the archaeological dig site and the new life waterfront by placing a megaformed transfer station and mixed use programs that run parallel to the street. When you arrive in the city, you either experience the historic Yenikapi or the new life of waterfront first.



The Urban Fabric The urban fabric of the Yali neighborhood continues opposite side of the street and merges into the institutional or educational area where a high school, city archive, and a park. Without interfering the continuous urban fabric, the megaform sits on top of the existing site and can be easily accessed from Yali, the archaeological dig site, the institutes or the ferry terminal on ground level or the pedestrian walkway located on the second level of the building.


POSCO Modular Green Smart School Collaborated Project | Sejong KOREA | Spring 2013 It is here that architecture can charge the modular (in our case POSCO Modular School). Our RISD Studio just might be able to develop new steel components, but ways of interpreting and finding great and innovative uses for POSCO’s steel components – that we will do. Intelligently repurposing, meaningful repetition, modularity well situated in place and culture, use transforming construction, building type interpreted though steel – this we will do. An architectural manual for the deployment of POSCO systems, this we will do. A series of proposals for safe, culturally sensitive and climate sensible school reconstruction in China, program specific new and repurposed schools for Korea (creative arts, performing arts, design and technology) – this we can do. POSCO staff would be encouraged to participate in the studio and invited to explore the school in its entirety. Finally: Branding, RISD can be a key Design Partner in contributing ideas and a greater creative identity for POSCO.




Over/Under: Social Landscape Our building serves two roles, being an academic institution and a community park. In the current condition, Korean society no longer has space for interaction between people, which was the key space in traditional society. By redefining the home base as a highly interactive space, we want to bring back traditional and social values. In a bigger context, the school acts as a park which can be an outdoor learning space for students and also a community gathering space for the surrounding neighborhood.














Liberal Arts

Facade Material Study

Classroom Distribution








Wu Zhen Theater Wu Zhen CHINA | Summer 2011 Section model at scale 1:100 (metric) This model was made during a summer internship at Artech Architects in Taipei, Taiwan. This project is located at Wuzhen, a town within the watery region of southern China; the design program is to attempt to create a multi-functional theater that blends into this charming scenic town. The space is to acommodate a large theater of 1200 seats and an experimental theater of 600 seats. Through the combination of the two theaters, more usage possibilities may be created. The south side building mass is floating on top of the water surface to form a “lotus blossom” image and to echo with the watery region scene. The building layout takes “two lotus flowers on one stalk” as the concept to spatially combine the two oval shape theater spaces. The interlocking area of the two becomes the common backstage and produces the “locking in forms, linkage in heart” spatial layout.







Foundation Drawings









Catherine Kao Portfolio