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cecilia concepcion portfolio


cecilia concepcion portfolio


bridging the gap

design studio 5 (urban design)

dos fabricas design studio 4

inside/outside design studio 2

counter composition

summer 2019 constructed environments

collision

design studio 3

object-ground relations design studio 1

exhibition space threshold mark foster gage architects

penkridge hall

mark foster gage architects

mediums: watercolor art studio

writing: lessons from celebration history/theory 1

community-based work sedpi and generalitat valenciana


bridging the gap

group project with kushal durairajan and maria ugarte critics: stephen slaughter and valeria cedillos programs used: rhino, vray, photoshop, illustrator 1

GROUND PLAN


BRIDGES PUBLIC SPACE RENDER

Bridging the Gap was an urban design proposal that aimed to be a dynamic and inclusive community in the city. Located between the Ohio River and a steep hill in Cincinnati, the project aimed to create a neighborhood that works against the systemic racial issues brought about by decades of exclusionary urban planning practices. This proposal incorporated the use of inlets to expand access to the water into the site, and bridging elements that serve as public spaces and facilitate connections between mixed-use programs.

DESIGN STUDIO 5

1/3s AXONOMETRIC

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PARK PUBLIC SPACE RENDER

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ADJACENT WALNUT HILLS NEIGHBORHOOD SITE MAP


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RIVERFRONT PUBLIC SPACE RENDER

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With a mixed-income residential program, the project also included ground-level commercial program spaces, as well as a “campus” that incorporated not-for-profit groups, educational organizations and innovation labs that can help create “micro publics” where both residents and daytime visitors can engage one another.

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PROGRAMMING CONCEPTUAL DIAGRAM

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DESIGN STUDIO 5

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Commercial

Located next to a steep hill and Walnut Hills, a neighborhood that was cut through by an interstate highway in the 1970s and experienced a commercial and population decline in the late 20th century, the project sought to recognize this history, and respond to work against its consequences.

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PROGRAM ALLOTMENT

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PROGRAM / JOINT RELATIONSHIP

commercial

residential

not-for-profit

commercial

education innovation lab ED

innovation lab

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PROGRAM JOINERY DIAGRAM

residential commercial campus: not-for-profit campus: education campus: innovation

landscape urban interventions

ZONE 5 joinery pedestrian sidewalk riverfront bikelane riverfront boardwalk

ZONE 4 planes permeable paving road network

constructed wetland culvert

ZONE 3 secondary network

inlet bioretention basin ZONE 2 primary network

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EXPLODED AXONOMETRIC

ZONE 1 site


PIERS PUBLIC SPACE RENDER

Using urban joinery (for the building massings), urban vector (streets), and urban planes (public spaces), as well as a storm water management system (bioretention basins at the perimeter, and cisterns/culverts by each of the inlets), Bridging the Gap was a group project in an online-only semester in the year 2020 that sought to provide solutions to unjust urban practices through hybridization and program-mixing of these various systems.

DESIGN STUDIO 5

SITE AXONOMETRIC

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dos fabricas

group project with carlos acosta perez critic: dylan baker-rice; consultants: reid freeman (facades), alfonso oliva (structures), bob kearns (mep) programs used: rhino, vray, lumion, photoshop, illustrator, 3d printing, casting 7

GALLERY SPACE


GROUND PLAN

DESIGN STUDIO 4

LONGITUDINAL SECTION N-S

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3-PART CHUNKS (L-R): GALLERY, RECYCLING ROOM, WASTE-TO-ENERGY / INCINERATOR

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STRUCTURAL “CHOISY” VIEW


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N SUN PATH, FLOODING AND WINDS DIAGRAM

Dos Fabricas is an industrial structure that incorporates two processes — a recycling and waste-to-energy facility, together with an educational component of a public gallery. The juxtaposition between industrial processes that deal with garbage and art combines high and low culture elements that bring another perspective to what these facilities can be for the local community and the city. Recognizing the future flood plains in the Brooklyn Navy Yards, the project embraces this and welcomes the water into the site

DESIGN STUDIO 4

SITE CONTEXT AND VIEWS

boundaries to create a new ecology. The building is also lifted to allow the various processes in the building to continue uninterrupted in the future. Using bioreceptive concrete and classical architecture elements such as arches, Dos Fabricas is a proposal that anticipates the aesthetics of a ruin by finding a connection between nature and infrastructure — not as a place that needs to be demolished or forgotten (a “not in my backyard” mentality), but as a place that brings nostalgia, beauty, and purpose.

BIORECEPTIVE CONCRETE WITH FLOODING SIMULATION

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ROAD PERSPECTIVE

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CREEK PERSPECTIVE


ENTRANCE HALLWAY

DESIGN STUDIO 4

RECYCLING ROOM

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inside/outside

critics: erich schoenenberger and joseph giampietro programs/methods used: rhino, keyshot, photoshop, illustrator, cnc milling, laser cutting, 3d printing

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MASSING ON SITE MODEL


DESIGN STUDIO 2

GROUND PLAN

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CIRCULATION STUDY MODEL

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COURTYARD


COMBINED MASSING AND CHUNK MODEL

Situated in Red Hook, Brooklyn, this proposal for a maritime middle school incorporated multiple courtyards with interlocking spaces that combine and break apart. Inspired by an investigation of private and public spaces through a grid of sine waves, Inside/Outside created overlaps and in-between spaces, and evolved into a dynamic learning environment that respects the need for both shared and individual learning for the students.

library courtyard

gym

learning space

learning space

courtyard

shared learning space and circulation courtyard

gym

courtyard

combination classrooms indoor pool courtyard

backstage auditorium

DESIGN STUDIO 2

LONGITUDINAL SECTION

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counter composition critics: jefferey roberson and george louras

programs/methods used: rhino, photoshop, illustrator, laser cutting, manual model-making

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MASSING MODEL


STUDY MODELS

CONSTRUCTED ENVIRONMENTS

MARKET

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HALLWAY WITH WATER FEATURE

MASSING MODEL WITH ROOF

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UNFOLDED ELEVATION


HALLWAY WITH GREEN WALLS

Using Theo Van Doesburg’s Counter Composition VI painting as the basis for the plan, this flower market was an adaptive re-use of a lumber yard in the Lower East Side fronting Sarah D. Roosevelt Park. It used elements of earth, air, and water to create an interior that exudes lightness, which contradicts its harsh exterior.

PLAN DRAWING

CONSTRUCTED ENVIRONMENTS

UNFOLDED ELEVATION

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collision

critic: thomas leeser programs/methods used: rhino, photoshop, illustrator, laser cutting, 3d printing, airbrushing

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CHUNK MODEL


STUDY MODEL

DESIGN STUDIO 3

MASSING AND CHUNK MODELS

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CHUNK MODEL


FLOOR PLAN DRAWING AND MASSING ON SITE MODEL

Following the logic of angles in a game of pool, Collision was a rethinking of the fire stair as a dynamic circulation that generated larger program spaces and smaller private residential spaces. Stemming from a study on the relationship between two buildings through circulation in Brooklyn, the project evolved into a study of the creation of public and private interior environments.

DESIGN STUDIO 3

DIAGRAMMATIC COLLAGE

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object-ground relations critic: alexandra barker

programs/methods used: rhino, photoshop, illustrator, cnc milling, laser cutting, 3d printing, casting and mold making

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COMPOSITE SITE MASSING MODEL


COMPOSITE OBJECT MODELS

Object-Ground Relations focused on designing through an iterative and recursive process of making. With a series of abstract exercises, the project created formal, spatial, and material relations by producing a physical object derived from casting negative and positive records of familiar objects.

DESIGN STUDIO 1

GROUND PLAN DRAWING

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exhibition space threshold firm: mark foster gage architects (client confidential)

programs/methods used: rhino, zbrush, keyshot, photoshop

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KITBASHED THRESHOLD


A threshold proposal for an exhibition space (client confidential), this piece used trompe l’œil and kitbashing of various classical forms, fauna, and pop cultural elements. Intended as a flat doorway in 2D, the design aims to create a sense of depth and volumetric qualities.

MARK FOSTER GAGE ARCHITECTS

KITBASHED THRESHOLD

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penkridge hall

team project with carnation kng and esin karaosman firm: mark foster gage architects programs/methods used: rhino, keyshot, photoshop, autocad 29

PENKRIDGE HALL


Penkridge Hall is a residential retrofit project in England that incorporates fan vaulted architecture and a dynamic formal language through the stairs and railings.

UNFOLDED STAIRS LASERCUT DRAWINGS

930 mm

581.3 mm

2735 mm 2153.7mm

MARK FOSTER GAGE ARCHITECTS

STAIRS ELEVATION

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BOTANICAL MURAL ELEVATION


Inspired by the client’s fascination for Pre-Raphaelite art, proposals were made to echo the color palette and patterns from historical works such as William Burges’ and natural history.

MARK FOSTER GAGE ARCHITECTS

BOTANICAL MURAL ELEVATION

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mediums: watercolor critic: eileen escueta

methods used: water color, ink

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BASILICA DI SANT’ANDREA MANTUA


NOTRE DAME DU HAUT

Formed as a painting exercise with watercolor and ink as mediums, this series depicted various architectural periods from the Romanesque to the Modern.

ART STUDIO

KARLSPLATZ STADTBAHN

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writing: lessons from celebration critics: catherine ingraham & bart-jan polman

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CELEBRATION PREVIEW CENTER IMAGE BY BIBER ARCHITECTS


The American dream has stereotypically depicted itself as a white picket fence home located in an ideal town. Its inhabitants are supposedly satisfied with their lot in life and are happy living within their community. However, the realities of achieving this dream entails the pursuit of property value and is not always without its pitfalls. The representations of this difficult dream reflects itself in Celebration, the suburban development project located in Osceola County in the state of Florida. Using the design dichotomy of duck versus decorated shed from Learning from Las Vegas by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott-Brown, this paper argues that Celebration, Florida is all mere representation of the impossibilities and realities of the American dream, thereby manifesting itself as a duck. Comparisons will be made between the town and Las Vegas—which lies on the complete opposite end of the American dream—on their representations, including their buildings’ exteriors and interiors, and sense of order through the existence, or lack thereof, of established regulations. Project: Celebration, Florida Fashioned after American family values, Celebration was borne out of the Walt Disney Company’s vested interest in creating more public spaces. This suburban town was the result of the desire of the company’s namesake to build a model town that was more controlled in its planning and where these public spaces were plenty, unlike what Southern California had become (Ross, p.49). It also came from a nostalgia for the return to the glory days of American pre-war small towns (Pilkington). The company had regarded Disneyland, a marketed fantasy space, as the remedy to this growing concern. In 1965, Charles Moore, the renowned postmodernist architect, remarked in the Yale journal Perspecta that the future of the creation of public spaces may well lie with public entities like the Walt Disney Company (Ross, p. 49). In the 1990s, this dream had finally broken ground and held similarities with the Main Street of Disneyland, “an evocation of the past,” minus the literal presence of the company’s mouse ears in this small town (Marin, p.4). Text: Venturi and Scott Brown’s Learning from Las Vegas Working in the midst of institutional modernist architects, Robert Venturi and Denise Scott-Brown advocated for attention to be paid on more conventional architecture, including the symbolic landscape of suburban sprawl (Wagner). Seeing the problems of form-follows-function, they had argued that “symbolic and representational elements may often be contradictory to the form, structure and program with which they combine in the same building.” (Venturi, p. 87) Co-written with Steven Izenour, Robert Venturi and Denise ScottBrown’s Learning from Las Vegas used the comparative method, through the duck versus shed dichotomy, to emphasize image over process or form The text defines a duck as “where the architectural systems of space, structure and program are submerged and distorted by an overall symbolic form.” They had named it as such in honor of the duck-shaped building in Long Island that sells ducks and duck eggs. The book further describes this type of structure as being the symbol itself. Following the principles of early Modern architecture, “form follows function,” the message or the symbol affects both the space and plan. On the other hand, a decorated shed is where the systems of space and structure are directly at the service of program, and ornament is applied independently of them. A decorated shed, therefore, is the conventional building that applies symbols. (Venturi, p. 87) With a postmodern approach, the latter type was championed by the writers, and was further expounded in their analysis of Las Vegas Strip that represented a return to pre-modern architecture. (Kohlstedt) Representations of Celebration, Florida The early promotional material for Celebration advocated for an old-timey America, where the adverts read as “neighbors greeted neighbors in the quiet of summer twilight (Piepenbring).” Other billboards consisted of text such as “Isn’t this reason enough for Celebration?” and “The destination your soul has been searching for” with “Celebration, FL” written at the bottom (Piepenbring). The former billboard featured an image of two girls mid-air on swing sets. The latter featured a parent lying on the descriptions grass playing with her toddler. HISTORY/THEORY 1

Usually located on Route 192, which is a major Central Florida east-west traffic corridor, these billboards were considered as “nonstandard real estate advertising (Ross, p. 3).” The town’s seal also shows another picturesque image of a little girl riding a bike, a dog chasing after her and a fully grown tree and picket fence in the background. Even the town’s website to this day shows images of American front porches, decorated with the country’s flag, and descriptions that it is “not a town but a community in every positive sense of the word. While the population is diverse, the residents share a strong community spirit and a desire for a friendship with their neighbors (Celebration).” Many, however, would beg to differ with this statement, especially with its claim to diversity—Celebration has a 91% white population as of 2017 (Suburban Stats). Images of picturesqueness has always been the town’s way of representing itself. Across the main road from a postmodern office block designed by Aldo Rossi lay the temporary preview center that had been designed by Biber Architects. Acknowledging the irony that there were no houses at that time to preview since none were built yet to inspect, the group had strongly put forward moving the preview center as “creating an image even more than the reality.” They had wanted to create a “mirage of homes, an illusion that could inform and entertain (Biber Architects).” This preview center portrayed these illusions through a trailer that was surrounded by full-size billboard enlargements of watercolor renderings of some of the home styles in Celebration: Colonial, Coastal and Victorian. All three billboards stood in real 3-dimensional front yards that had been complete with items typically found in a white-picket fence household: grass, fences, mailboxes, sidewalks, streetlights and bicycles. In this regard, the temporary preview center embodied a literal “decorated shed:” the billboards act as the ornament, which represents what Celebration could be, and the trailer acts as the space and structure behind it for administrative concerns and sales queries. The eventual structures and homes in Celebration, however, would not follow this almost too literal manifestation of decorated shed. The eventual elaborate Preview Center for realty sales, was designed by Charles Moore. His last project during his lifetime, this building was the tallest structure in the town and was topped off by a stair-wrapped tower. This was a nod to the earlier years of settlement in Florida when such towers were utilized to beckon newcomers to town and served as a vantage point for them to choose their lot upon which they will build their home (Ross, p. 15). This tower, however, was only purely for show as it is inaccessible beyond the second floor. This is not the only tower that in itself served as sole ornament—the watertower at the entrance off route 192 was also inaccessible. Other structures in Celebration that were built by famous architects are the movie theater by Cesar Pelli, the Suntrust Bank by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott-Brown, the Town Hall by Philip Johnson, and the post office by Michael Graves. This list of architects that had contributed to Celebration is joined by Jaqueline Robertson and Robert A.M. Stern whose firms had developed the full build-out master plan of the town (RAMSA). They had also developed Celebration’s “background buildings,” including the mixed-use apartments and office buildings (Barnes). Following the look of more traditional American towns, the developers had visited Charleston, South Carolina, and East Hampton, New York as a basis for the town (RAMSA). Other inspirations were also Beaufort, New Orleans, and Savannah to create the look for what the town was to be—complete with town squares, verandas, gables and front porches (Pilkington). As mentioned earlier, the choice of these precedents were borne out of a nostalgia for pre-war America. This was largely in part a tourism strategy, an invite for non-homeowners to visit a Disneyland that was “real,” a Disney town where people actually live in (Flower). With these representations coming from Celebration, it is arguable that the entire project is not a decorated shed but a duck, in which the spaces and program are affected by its overall symbolic form: the “American dream.”

LESSONS FROM CELEBRATION

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However, this American dream does not always fulfill itself in a picturesque manner—as manifested in the realities that Celebration actually faced when the project had begun. Perhaps what was unexpected among the developers of Celebration was the negative and curious attention that the town received even from the early days. For the homeowners’ perspectives, many reported a sense of betrayal from the promises of Disney and the New Urbanist tradition that the town was following. This tradition was an approach to life that was reliant on neotraditionalism. According to Yankelovich Clancy Shulman, neotraditionalism is not a rejection of [...] the ‘Me Generation’ values [...] but the synthesis of the best parts of the two previous value systems, combining the security and responsibility of the 50s with the individual freedoms and personal choice of the ‘Me Generation.’ (Ross, p. 27). Following this, the American dream gave two betrayals to the residents of Celebration. The first betrayal was the financial insecurity experienced by homeowners. The pursuit of a dream home largely promoted in the aforementioned advertisements and preview center for prospective buyers had brought their checkbooks with the hope of drawing a number that was chosen though some had not even seen a single floor plan of the houses in Celebration. The prices that they had paid for their properties were also more than what many of these buyers could afford—on average generally more expensive than other counties in the Orlando region. For example, the average price of a production home (considered to be smaller than the average lot in nearby counties) in Phase One was estimated at $220,000, which was twice the median for a single family home in the region (Ross, p. 32). These eventual homeowners unfortunately deemed themselves “house-rich and cash poor” as they had failed to consider further expenses: taxes based on land value and house value, assessments and maintenance fees, and their mortgages. This was also a result of the sales hype during the Phase One lottery where little attention was paid toward the fine print of Celebration’s sales brochures (Ross, p.33). Homebuyers had expressed concerns prior to moving in, with one mulling over “potential structural defects, and imagining that his house might simply fall apart some day (Ross, p. 32).” This betrayal further manifested itself when the residents had actually moved into their homes. Following a series of messy overpricing, recruitment of underpaid and unskilled construction workers (who were also on illegal immigration status), and the general issue of building housing designs in an industry that had not built such styles for a very long time, it was inevitable that the interior of these Celebration homes showed a stark difference with its facades. “Mostly everyone knew there was a disparity between the ‘body’ and the ‘dress’ of the housing (Ross, p. 47).” Residents who were barely getting by, given the price of their property, were unable to fully furnish their homes. Additionally, common defects included lopsided floors, doors hanging askew, water stains on the ceiling, as well as cheap outfitting of much of the townhouses and bottom-of-the line appliances and fixtures that the homes came along with (Ross, p. 31). The buyers had unfortunately paid more for what they had received—a home that could not live up to its price and plans. It is not unlikely that the property owners were made to believe that the exorbitant price they had paid was for pure symbol: the promise made by Disney of what American life should be and not what it actually is. Much of the marketed fantasy of Celebration is further contradicted with negative media attention paid towards Celebration even today. News of a reported suicide and the occasion of the town’s first murder in its 14 years of existence as of the year 2010 contribute to shattering the fantasy that the town wants to represent itself as (Pilkington). The town was also not immune to the economic collapse of America. This resulted in the shut down of the town cinema, and the foreclosure of 40% of the 106 properties sold in a six month span in 2010 (Pilkington). The second betrayal was to the neo-traditional synthesis of balancing security with individual freedoms and personal choice. The existence of Celebration’s infamous “Pattern Book,” a lengthy and strict guideline divided into three sections and an appendix, allow for very little variety and promote a largely conformist and uniform community. Designed to 37

maximize the value of Celebration to customers, the pattern book’s many rules supposedly reduce the negative externalities within the community (Stringham). The first section illustrates how the pattern book should be used and introduces the two following sections: community patterns and architectural patterns. The former defines the principles for placing houses on their sites (Estate, Village, Cottage and Townhouse district lots) and controls the basic massing of the houses. The latter describes the principles of each of the architectural styles and provides the key elements for those parts of the house that are visible from a street or public space (Celebration). From each of the districts’ rules for setbacks and zones, to the size of the windows and porticos of the houses, all the way down to the specific types of plants that could only be placed in the landscape, the plan of Celebration has created an image of itself of a seemingly highly scripted reality. Even attempts at variety, through the signages in Celebration, actually comes from a single uniform source, the New York design firm of Pentagram (Ross, p. 15) Apart from conformities in the architectural styles and general layout of Celebration, social conformity also held a looming image over its residents placed upon them by outsiders. Not unlike the premise of the film The Truman Show, in which a man discovers that his entire life has been staged, “there was still an unwritten script that its residents would feel some pressure to follow, as if they were unwittingly playing the role of cast members (Ross, p. 300).” In some interviews of the women of Celebration, a few of them remarked on tourists asking them directly if they had felt that they were like a character in the movie called The Stepford Wives. This film was about the opposition of males, particularly their husbands, to feminist ideals—reducing them to mere tools that are compliant to their husbands’ desires. The image of the Stepford wife has also come to represent a conformist mentality typically triggered among new residents of highly zoned suburban housing such as Celebration (Ross, p.300). Despite these aforementioned issues regarding the disparity between what was promised to them and the realities of Celebration, it seemed that one of the most primary concerns of both the developers and the residents of Celebration was maintaining the high values of their properties and of the entire town itself. With residents trying to keep media attention away from the unfortunate state of their homes, a major component in keeping the town afloat was continuing the “show—” true to Disney fashion: it was important to have a constant flow of tourists not only for them to see the homes in the community but also to make purchases at the stores, located in Downtown, Celebration. Located deep within Route 192, Downtown, Celebration is not easily accessible from the road, yet the tourists come anyway in this “open community [...] private, without gates (Shearmur, p. 22).” Amidst the failures of the American dream to deliver on financial security and individual freedoms, perhaps what matters the most to these representations of this dream in Celebration is ultimately consumer satisfaction, not unlike Las Vegas (Stringham). In this scenario, the consumers not only includes tourists, but also the residents and the developers (Frantz). Representations of Las Vegas Similar to the not easily accessible location of Downton, Celebration, “Las Vegas on the basis of its location, climate, or resources alone, had no reason to exist in the first place (Al).” This was because it was “isolated, hundreds of miles away from major cities, on all sides cut off by lunar-like mountain ranges.” (Al) Even so, Las Vegas “was built in a day, or rather the “Strip was developed in a virgin desert in a short time (Venturi, p.18).” It was born as a classic Western railroad town, but also became a base for horse thieves, a military fort, a Mormon stronghold, and a resort city. It had even attempted to strip away from its reputation as Sin City by closing off its brothels and clubs in order to house the workers of the Hoover Dam (Al). However, Las Vegas eventually decided to become the rebellious entity that it is known for today instead of conforming to the rest of the nation or the “ideals” of what America should be. This was because Las Vegas had understood that there was also a larger profit to be made by being Puritan America’s “Other (Al).”

LESSONS FROM CELEBRATION


Unlike Celebration, with its strict zoning rules laid out in its pattern book and representations of conformist America, the rebelliousness of Las Vegas was also fuelled by the “libertarian” state regulations of Nevada— ranging from taxes to marriage, which are “conducive for business (Al).” In 1941 in the Mojave desert, the El Rancho was Vegas’ first self-contained casino complex with a swimming pool, entertainment and lush landscaping. It was originally intended to be built as a motel (portmanteau for motor and hotel) standing on Highway 91, yet a casino was added on to it upon the suggestion of the friends of Thomas Hull, a California hotel operator and the owner of El Rancho. Like the mindset of the architect of El Rancho, Wayne McAllister, “Las Vegas was not hung up on achieving an integrated identity (Al)”. This can be seen in Venturi and Scott-Brown’s observations along the Strip, in which differentiation can be seen in their tables of comparisons of signs from hotel-casinos to wedding chapels to gas stations; even the latter had to compete for attention with its own large signs, given the density of a variety of establishments. Thus, Las Vegas not only established itself as Sin City but it also epitomized sprawl, advertising, and shopping centers (Trufelman). Although Las Vegas does not have a strict and strong sense of order with regards to its zoning and architectural patterns like Celebration, the differentiation of products brought about by the various companies’ advertising techniques did not fully warrant that there were no commonalities among the Strips’ casinos. There was a sense of order, but not one that was established by a governing body—except for the civic order of the streetlights that establish a sense of consistency on the space of the highway (Fig. 8) (Venturi, p. 20). On the other hand, the signs and buildings off the highway “embraced both consistency and inconsistency [..] cooperation and competition, [and] the community and rugged individualism (Venturi, p. 20.)” The civic order thus allows for change and variety among the individual enterprises, as compared to Celebration’s pattern book that restricts homeowners and developers from doing so. Regarding the architecture of the Strip, Las Vegas buildings had established themselves as decorated sheds. Regardless of the sign in the front, the back of the building is styleless because all attention is paid toward the front (Venturi, p.35). This was the dominant design philosophy of the first architecture of the strip: “build a false front, as long as it is a spectacular one (Al).” The signs, positing the exteriority of the buildings, did not have to truly reflect what the interior was. In the case of the hotel-casino, the interior of the building behind the sign had a quality of an “oasis,” serving as a stark contrast with its exterior hostile environment (Venturi, p.49). Celebration and Las Vegas both have disparities between the exterior and interior of their buildings. However, the former acts as a duck rather than a decorated shed because of its direct claims to represent the American Dream in a perfect and picturesque manner, and the aforementioned failures of the project to do so—not unlike the failures of this American dream itself. On the other hand, although sign and architecture had a symbiosis in Las Vegas, the buildings on the Strip had never claimed to truly be what the signs portrayed: it had outright pretended to be “an escape from everyday life (Al).” It was merely for people “to have fun with architecture that reminds them of something else (Venturi, p.52).” Deemed as pleasure-zone architecture, Las Vegas has always been reflective of the changes in American society. At the time of 1950s suburbanization, casino developers framed gambling within images of suburbia and had consequently tainted the American dream (Al). Las Vegas had even initiated trends in the American life, with the Strip popularizing suburbia through its images of pools, which are an almost necessary component for the hotels in the area. With Las Vegas’ sense of individual order being fueled with consumerist ideals, it is not a surprise then that the city has faced many changes. Buildings have been regularly torn down to make form for new structures. The Strip’s signs have also become obsolete only to be replaced by “the next new thing,” but constant to Las Vegas has always been the building with its respective program behind the sign. With Las Vegas’ false fronts, it still finds its relation to Celebration in its Disney-like theme parks that feature castles and pirates, New York HISTORY/THEORY 1

skyscrapers, Venetian Canals, Eiffel Tower, toy castles and erupting volcanoes (Al). Unlike the residents of Celebration, Las Vegas had intentionally put on a show and had become a more adult-appropriate Disneyland, which is a “digest of the American way of life” and “the perfect model of all the entangled orders of simulation [...] a play of illusions and phantasms. (Marin, p. 8). Unlike Celebration’s representations of nostalgia for an America that never was, Las Vegas has always been undergoing change and never lingered for the past. Las Vegas emphasized America’s entrepreneurial spirit. Though it had begun as an exception to the Puritanical values emphasized in mid-twentieth century America, the Strip had become the country’s stronghold for the “experience economy (Al).” Again, this, perhaps, is what the American dream truly is all about, of capitalist development and not of picturesqueness. Impossible Dreams “The good life in Celebration had been an elaborately staged illusion, and now the show has ended (Ross, p. 303).” Paralleling the impossibilities of the American dream, Celebration’s representations of itself as the community that the country’s citizens have been searching for has been thwarted by questioning views on the desire to create a utopia (Frantz). The disparity between the homes’ interiors and exteriors also reflects the failures of this dream to ensure the residents of the security and status in life that they long for. This shows that Celebration, despite its strict attempts of creating a sense of order through its architectural and community patterns, has distorted itself into a duck: the exterior and interior of Celebration’s homes have merged to become mere images of a dream that is being constantly misrepresented, shattered and questioned. Ideals of consumerism then, come into play as the reality of what the American dream truly is all about, and this is more aptly reflected in Las Vegas, the city with little to no regulation yet follows a complex and individualist sense of order manifested in establishments that follow a “building behind sign” or decorated shed architecture. In the words of Steve Wynn, a casino tycoon, “Las Vegas exists because it is a perfect reflection of America [...] it represents all the things people in every city in America like. Here they can get it in one gulp.” References

Al, Stefan. The Strip: Las Vegas and the Architecture of the American Dream. The MIT Press (Kindle Version), 2017. Barnes, Joseph. “Celebration, Florida – Lessons Learned – Using Retail as an Amenity.” Barnes Design & Development Management, Barnes DDM, 28 Mar. 2018, barnesddm.com/news/2018/3/28/celebration-florida-les sons-learned-using-retail-as-an-amenity. By, David L. “Pleasantville.” New York Times (1923-Current file), Sep 19, 1999, pp. 2. ProQuest, https://ezproxy.pratt.edu/docview/110108978?accountid=27668. “Celebration.” RAMSA: Robert A.M. Stern Architects, LLP, www.ramsa.com/projects/project/celebration. Celebration Pattern Book. Second ed., Celebration Co., 1997. “Celebration.” Celebration, Celebration Front Porch, 2017, www.celebration.fl.us/. Craven, Jackie. “Celebration, Florida - Disney’s Plan for an Ideal Community.” ThoughtCo, Oct. 16, 2018, thoughtco.com/celebration-florida-disneys-ideal-community-178231. “Current Celebration, Florida Population, Demographics and Stats in 2017, 2018.” SuburbanStats.org, suburbanstats.org/population/florida/how-many-people-live-in-celebration. Flower, Joe. “Celebration: Technostalgia.” Well, New Scientist, Jan. 1996, people.well.com/user/bbear/celebration.html. Frantz, Douglas, and Catherine Collins. Celebration, U.S.A.: Living in Disney’s Brave New Town. Owl/Holt, 2000. Kohlstedt, Kurt. “Lessons from Sin City: The Architecture of ‘Ducks’ Versus ‘Decorated Sheds.’” 99% Invisible, 99% Invisible, 26 Sept. 2016, 99percentinvisible.org/article/lessons-sin-city-architecture-ducks-versus-decorated-sheds/ Marin, Louis. “Utopic Degeneration: Disneyland.” Georgia Tech, Georgia Tech, homes.lmc.gatech.edu/~broglio/1101/marin.html. Piepenbring, Dan. “Celebration’s Invalidation, and Other News.” The Paris Review, The Paris Review, 5 Jan. 2017, www.theparisreview.org/blog/2017/01/04/106375/. Pilkington, Ed. “How the Disney Dream Died in Celebration.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 13 Dec. 2010, www.theguardian.com/world/2010/dec/13/celebration-death-of-a-dream. “Preview Center Celebration, FL.” Biber Architects, Biber Architects, www.biber.co/architecture/preview-center-celebration-fl. Ross, Andrew. The Celebration Chronicles: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Property Value in Disneyś New Town. Verso, 2000. Shearmur, Jeremy. “Living with a Marsupial Mouse: Lessons from Celebration, Florida.” Policy: A Journal of Public Policy and Ideas, vol. 18, no. 2, 2002. APAFT, search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=200207507;res=IELAPA. Article available on https://www.cis.org.au/app/uploads/2015/04/images/stories/policy-magazine/2002-wi ter/2002-18-2-jeremy-shearmur.pdf Smith, Barry, et al. The Mystery of Capital and the Construction of Social Reality. Open Court, 2008. Stanwick, M. S. “Books: The Celebration Chronicles: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Property Value in Disney’s New Town.” The Canadian Architect (Archive: 1955-2005), vol. 45, no. 2, 2000, pp. 36. ProQuest, https://ezproxy.pratt.edu/docview/1431325229?accountid=27668. Stringham, Edward P, et al. “Internalizing Externalities Through Private Zoning: The Case of Walt Disney Company’s Celebration, Florida.” The Journal of Regional Analysis & Policy, 2010. ResearchGate, www.researchgate.net/profile/Jennifer_Miller21/publication/260229544_ Internalizing_Externalities_Through_Private_Zoning_The_Case_of_Walt_Disney_Company’s_Celebra tion_Florida/links/0c9605303f0509934f000000.pdf Trufelman, Avery. “Lessons from Las Vegas.” 99% Invisible, 9 Apr. 2018, 99percentinvisible.org/episode/lessons-from- las-vegas/. Venturi, Robert, et al. Learning from Las Vegas. The MIT Press, 1972. Venturi, Robert. Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture . Second ed., The Museum of Modern Art, 1977. Wagner, Kate. “Robert Venturi Made Suburbia Matter.” CityLab, CityLab, 2 Oct. 2018, www.citylab.com/design/2018/10/robert-venturi-effect/571639/. Wachs, Audrey. “Celebration, FL Is Ruined by Mold and Shoddy Construction, Residents Say.” Archpaper.com, The Architect’s Newspaper, LLC, 23 Jan. 2017, archpaper.com/2016/11/celebration-fl-mold-shoddy-construction/.

LESSONS FROM CELEBRATION

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community-based work: microfinance and financial literacy social enterprise development partnerships inc. | 2016-2017 | various provinces in the philippines

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VIEW FROM A TRICYCLE - GUIUAN, EASTERN SAMAR


FINANCIAL LITERACY TRAINING AND FACILITATION

Social Enterprise Development Partnerships, Inc. (SEDPI), based in the Philippines, is involved in conducting research, training, and consulting work in the areas of microfinance, financial literacy, and social entrepreneurship. My work was mostly focused on capacitybuilding for the Farmers Entrepreneurs Association (FEA) and Guiuan Savers Entrepreneurs Credit Multipurpose Cooperative (GSECC) in Eastern Samar and surrounding provinces. These areas were badly affected by the 2013 Super Typhoon Haiyan.

SEDPI

FIELDWORK SURVEY FOR FINANCIAL INCLUSION, AND MICROFINANCE TRAINING SESSION

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community-based work: english literacy generalitat valenciana / ceip rico sapena | 2018 | castalla, alicante, spain

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CEIP RICO SAPENA


TYPICAL CLASSROOM SETTING

Through the Generalitat Valenciana’s Auxiliares de Conversación en Inglés program, its first ever in 2018, my assistant teaching post was in CEIP Rico Sapena in the rural town of Castalla, Alicante, Spain. Focusing on primary school students ages 6-12, my activities involved conducting and assisting in classes for reading, writing, speech, and arts and crafts to improve their English proficiency as well as to cultivate cross-cultural understanding.

GENERALITAT VALENCIANA

CLASS MATERIALS AND STUDENT WORK

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Profile for Cecilia Concepcion

Cecilia Concepcion Portfolio (Version: March 2021)  

Work at Pratt Institute GAUD; Studio projects, research/writing, work prior to pursuing architecture; Professional work at Mark Foster Gage...

Cecilia Concepcion Portfolio (Version: March 2021)  

Work at Pratt Institute GAUD; Studio projects, research/writing, work prior to pursuing architecture; Professional work at Mark Foster Gage...

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