AN EXPLORATION OF DESIGN CLAIRE HICKS
CONTENTS 01 02 03 04 05
tectonics . . . . . 2 where earth meets sky . . . . . 11 museum of architecture. . . . . 24 cantina on the corso . . . . . 45 chakrasana . . . . . 70
ARCH 2510 | Architecture Foundations I Prof. Robert Silance Fall 2016
With this project I was introduced to four tectonics â€“ each being taught as more of a process or a system for development rather than a form. I was challenged to take each of these operations and, through iterations, explore their properties and test their boundaries to arrive at a multitude of ways to advance a form. Since each tectonic was specific in its properties, yet extremely developable in scheme, I found it made sense to approach each project with a set of parameters. This allowed my projects to be able to carefully and precisely evolve in a specific direction and thus, gave me the freedom to deeply explore each tectonic.
CARPENTERâ€˜S ELLIPSE This exercise developed upon the idea of parametric modeling in its most basic sense. The first phase included the creation of a hand-crafted drawing of a series of ellipses utilizing mathematical parameters to adjust each width and length. The following phase highly emphasized the use of iterations in the design process while still drawing upon the parameters explored in the beginning phase. I created 9 digital drawings, subtly tweaking each ellipse with the goal of morphing a very two-dimensional drawing into appearing more three-dimensional.
digital ellipse iterations analog ellipse drawing (left)
RULED SURFACE In this exercise I explored how curved shapes and surfaces can be created and molded by simply employing a series of straight lines. I began by creating a series of hand-drafted study drawings experimenting with different boundaries, line weights, and line spacing. My final drawing explored the parameters of curved boundaries and light line weights. I then took 5 of these boundaries as parameters and translated them onto sheets of acrylic, using string as a means of connecting them. Through this model, I was able to explore and compare the relationship of two-dimensional design with three-dimensional design and the strengths and limitations of both.
analog ruled surface drawings final ruled surface model (right)
PAPER FOLDING Through this exercise I explored how a design can be furthured through the manipulation of a specific material with specific parameters. I created two folded structures â€“ both made out of a single sheet of paper without using glue or tape. Because no parameter restricted the size or type of paper used, I experimented heavily with these factors. Through iterations, I became interested in how a folded structure changes as the length of its crease pattern is increased. Many of my experiments began to curve, turn and twist as they grew in length. My final two crease patterns were 9 feet and 6 feet long.
folded plate model (crease pattern, 6ft)
curved crease model (crease pattern, 9ft)
SHAPES CARVING SHAPES This exercise introduced the Boolean Operation – using intersecting shapes to essentially carve one volume out of another. Using a 12”x12”x12” cube as a base, I was challenged to experiment with this operation. I began by using four rectangualar prisms, strictly positioned at right angles and minimally piercing each face of the cube, yet creating a complex void at their intersection – hidden from the outside. Through many iterations, I began to add new prisms, while also shifting and manipulating the existing four in an attempt to make the complexity of the inside more visible from the outside.
initial iteration; carving process analog boolean manipulations drawing (right)
ARCH 2510 | Architecture Foundations I Prof. Robert Silance Fall 2016
Following the tectonics studies, I chose to further explore how a Boolean Operation can be manipulated in order to fit a specific program â€“ this time, viewing the void as inhabitable space. The objective for this project was to design a mountainside pavilion with program parameters including a framed view to the east and of the sky, integrated seating, and two entrances. Using the Boolean Operation, I was able to be purposeful and specific with each space I created. This process forced me to view void as space to be experienced; thus, I was challenged to only carve voids that could be used, leaving no unnecessary spaces.
RE EARTH MEETS SKY
boolean form iterations
Like my original Boolean project, I began with a simple shape and used a series of smaller intersecting volumes to carve doorways, steps, seating, and voids out of the original block. Through this method, I found that the act of manipulating the structure to fulfill its requirements came to be quite simple. The pavilionâ€™s form became directly correlated to its spacial properties.
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longitudinal section roof plan (left)
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light study (7am, 12pm, 7pm) axonometric joint detail (right)
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My final design occupied the top of the site given â€“ to maximize lateral views and minimize obstructive topography. The pavilion meets the ground with the help of two structural columns below its south overlook. I wanted to create a visual void between the geometric form of the pavilion and the smooth topography surface.
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MUSEUM OF ARCHITECTU
A R C H 2 5 2 0 | A r c h i t e c t u r e F o u n d a t i o n s II Prof. David Lee Spring 2017
The spring semester of my second year introduced the concept of designing based on a precedent as well as site analysis for an urban environment. The semester’s objective was to design a “museum of architecture” in the city of Charlotte, NC. With this project, I was presented with a more complicated, and thus more realistic, program. The semester was split into three “phases”: site analysis, precedent studies, and museum design.
CHARLOTTE ANALYSIS The project began with an analysis of Charlotte, NC, which would later become the context for my upcoming museum design. The analysis focused on 9 blocks within the heart of the city, with the future building site in the center. My studio was able to take a day to visit Charlotte to document the site and become aware of the reality of its urban context. This phase pushed me to become familiar with the cityâ€™s organizing system â€“ providing me with a logical basis on which to compose my design. physical site model analog site plan (left)
MUSEUM OF ARCHITECTURE
From there, I individually conducted a series of analyses for the site – studying lines of sight, traffic patterns, and shadows. Through these studies, I was made more aware of my site’s placement within the city’s urban texture. I became interested in how my project could capitalize upon this – becoming site-specific and intentionally placed. lines of sight taken from different points on the project’s site
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traffic + circulation
shadows 9 am
DESIGNING THROUGH PRECEDENT The second phase of the semester focused on learning how to approach designing a museum. The museum was to be a “museum of architecture”, with the purpose of displaying exhibits of architectural models, drawings, designs and mock-ups as well as function as a museum-worthy piece of architecture itself. It was to be built on the Charlotte site studied previously and was not to exceed 30,000 ft². As a means of introducing the fairly new concept of museum design, I chose to study Steven Holl’s Cite de l’Ocean et du Surf – a 51,000 ft² museum in Biarritz, France. I was intrigued by Holl’s museum and how it fit seamlessly into its site and museum typology. Its form is suggestive of an ocean wave – relating to its context in a purposeful way. This was something I wanted to emulate in my own design.
back of house
precedent program analysis
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photographed by Iwan Baan
formal mechanism daylighting circulation
museum of architecture
cite de lâ€™ocean et du surf
ANALYTICAL APPLICATION I then chose to craft a series of models studying how elements such as circulation, daylighting, formal mechanism, and site placement affect and are affected by the design of my precedent. With this, I began to think about how these elements could possibly be translated into my own design and created another series of models exploring the same four concepts, but this time fitting my own museum parameters. I ended this phase of the project by morphing the precedent into an original parti for my own museum â€“ creating both a model and a diagram. Through this exercise I became interested in the idea of a partially submerged building â€“ allowing its roof to slope downward and meet the ground, becoming an inhabitable ramp. site placement
MUSEUM OF ARCHITECTURE
parti development parti model (left)
MUSEUM OF ARCHITECTURE
MUSEUM OF ARCHITECTURE The third and final phase of the semester focused on the design of my own museum. Using the knowledge of the site in Charlotte as studied in the first phase and the precedent and parti analysis as studied in the second phase, I was able to create conceptual models of the basic form of my museum. From these, I chose to develop a scheme with a sloping roof walkway that could help incorporate the site as a pathway between 3rd Street and the adjacent elevated railway. The roof also acts as an urban pocket â€“ inviting passersby to congregate and collect, and ultimately be able to engage with the museum in both intentional and unconscious ways.
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SITE PLACEMENT My site placement analysis from the previous phase heavily influenced the development of my museum’s design. By projecting the heights of surrounding buildings onto the project’s site, I was able to create a set of contextual geometries for my design to follow. I used these as parameters when designing the form of my musuem – ultimately providing the orientation and angles that helped shape the building’s sloping walkway.
form development site placement model (left)
MUSEUM OF ARCHITECTURE
FLOOR 2 â€“ ENTR
BACK OF HOUSE
BACK OF HOUSE
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ENCLOSURE SYSTEM To further understand the logistics and functionality of my design, I then constructed a half scale hand drawing of a wall section depicting the curtain wall and wooden louver system that I developed to run the length of one of the museumâ€™s main facades.
analog wall section (8ft)
MUSEUM OF ARCHITECTURE
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ARCH 3500 | Intro to Urban Contexts Prof. Berrin Terim Fall 2017
The objective for this project was to design a cantina within the dense urban context of Montepulciano, Italy. Because this was essentially an infill project, and thus was limited as far as building form, I chose to focus on the essence of each space – how they feel when occupied, and how they relate to the purpose of their initial program. My design ended up centering upon daylighting – both as a means of carving from my initial building block to create the form of each space as well as governing the program placement within the building. Throughout the project, I began to explore the relationship between daylighting and essence of space – how the two can inform each other and become intertwined.
NTINA ON THE CORSO
DISCOVERING THE ESSENCE This project is set Montepulciano, Italy – one of the oldest provinces in southern Tuscany. Because Montepulciano began as a medieval city, its urban layout is quite dense. The project’s site, however, is located in a peculiar vacancy within this density – sandwiched right between Via Ricci and Via del Pie Al Sasso – allowing the project’s design to become fully immersed within the city’s urban fabric.
Because the project had very little specific restrictions or parameters, it was made evident from the beginning that the cantina’s design should focus on the essence of each space – how it feels when occupied, and how it relates to the purpose of the space’s initial program. The design was viewed as a series of events, rather than a collection of programmed spaces.
The assignment was to design a new cantina on this site. No square footage or strict program requirements were imposed. The only parameter assigned was the inclusion of the following spaces:
As a way to begin the project and as a way to attempt to capture the essence of the city that could be reflected in my design, I studied Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities – specifically the way he chooses to illustrate each place he encounters. Each city is described not in quantifiable attributes, but in memories and senses, in feelings and in metaphors, thus revealing the deeply personal connection one can have with a city, a building, or a space.
- a large gathering space for visitors to casually drink wine - a smaller, intimate wine tasting room - a “wine cellar” for the wine to be stored and age - a retail area, where wine can be bought
Intrigued by this approach to defining a place, I sought to write about my own imaginary Montepulciano in a fashion similar to Calvino’s.
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IMAGINARY MONTEPULCIANO cities + memories Proceeding four days to the east, you come upon the city of Montepulciano. With spindling streets and teetering towers, the town is vaguely reminiscent of a spider’s web – precisely woven and incredibly delicate, yet surprisingly resilient. A web that began as a modest place of respite, and grew outward over the years, but not in scale or in stature. The city can not very well be described in one way, for its essence embodies far more than can be recorded on this page. The true city of Montepulciano lies in the feeling of the dew that collects on the cobbles in the morning. The faint yet sweet smell of the miles and miles of vineyards that sweep over the countryside. The patterns of the birds that flock overheard and nestle in the ramparts and steeples. The sound of sleepy shop owners and vendors opening their windows and unlocking their doors at the break of dawn. The taste of a fresh pastry, bought in a cramped and cluttered bakery, that is still warm to the touch.
Really, the town of Montepulciano is less a collection of buildings and more a collection of senses – of feelings and of memories.
cities + touch From the moment you enter Montepulciano (and arguably a little before), the air of the city seems tangible – like you could grip it in your palm with ease. It is not as soft as the air in, say, Caggiole or Montefollonico – but rather, the altitude makes it feel hardy and firm – as though it has been deliberately placed and put to good use. An air that you must slightly push through, yet supports your body and seems to simultaneously pull you along with it.
cities + smell Arguably, the strongest sense of the city lies in its smells. Here, I will attempt to record some of the most reminiscent scents that I experienced within the city’s walls:
The faint aroma of perfume spilling from an open window in one of the narrow-streeted neighborhoods. Rubber scraping the cobbles and salty sweat as bicyclists whirl past. The fresh and crisp, yet faint smell of Montepulciano grapes baking in the sun’s heat. The scent of sorbet – of raspberry, of lemon, and of toffee – being eaten by a family sitting on the lawn of the main piazza.
cities + sight In the daytime, sunlight illuminates the city in such a way as to frame the buildings’ tops and cast the bottoms in deep shadow – creating the illusion of two separate entities within each structure. The dimness of the city’s paths seems to draw the eye upward – towards the rooftops and the sky. However, the shadowed streets themselves yield quite an interesting set of views as well. One’s eye can only travel as far as the winding voids allow – inviting one to notice the details of their immediate surroundings and ultimately urging the city to be swallowed in small bites.
cities + taste
Montepulciano is the taste of an aged and delicate wine. Of a group of street performers dancing in the piazza. Of a slow and dewy morning. The taste of Montepulciano is not necessarily constrained to that of edible substance, but rather, of the flavors that emit from the activity of the city and of its occupants. The essence of each movement, of each song, of each bite, of each conversation adding a unique seasoning to the city itself.
cities + sound Deep chimes emit from the bellows of the church on the quarter of every hour. Children giggle and squeal as they skip along the cobbles and mothers groan as they follow. A guitarist strums a buoyant tune in the doorway of an abandoned shop. The winding cobbled streets and lofty stone towers seem at complete odds with the city’s rich saturation of sound. Montepulciano is a city that begs for silence, but is never appeased.
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CARVING DAYLIGHT After writing about my imaginary Montepulciano, I was intrigued by the potential of the “cities + sight” section, specifically the line: In the daytime, sunlight illuminates the city in such a way as to frame the buildings’ tops and cast the bottoms in deep shadow – creating the illusion of two separate entities within each structure. The dimness of the city’s paths seems to draw the eye upward – towards the rooftops and the sky. To begin my design, I translated this segment into a section drawing – focusing on how light could enter the building and flow throughout the spaces, leaving some brightly lit and some in shadow. I used curved scoops as a way for form to allude to its purpose – in this case, a literal means of scooping daylight and letting it pour into, onto, or around each space. carving light process diagrams “imaginary cantina” section (right)
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In an attempt to study light and the ways in which it could fill the site, I crafted a series of subtractive charcoal drawings to help gain a visual and diagrammatic way of understanding its potential. I overlayed potential â€œscoopsâ€? that acted in each scenario as means of channeling the light. carving light process diagrams
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To further my design, I began making hand crafted contoured section models out of cardboard. With this method, I was able to be purposeful with each section â€“ building each individual layer upon its predecessor. study models
THE DESIGN My final cantina design centered around two light wells – tapering inward to act as a funnel. One faces the East and the other faces the West. This way, light can be used in different ways throughout the day – utilizing a full range of sunlight. Curved walls accentuate these wells, allowing daylight to cascade smoothly and elegantly from one space to the next.
final model, light well detail final design – bird’s eye view (left)
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PROGRAM AS A RESULT OF DAYLIGHTING In my cantina design, light governs program placement. The large, open, public spaces are located at the top of each light well. I wanted these spaces to be bright, comfortable, and welcoming. The more intimate spaces, such as the cellar and the intimate tasting room, are located within concave masses that help make up the light wells, thus shielding it from the “funnel” of light. I wanted these spaces to feel more quiet and free of distraction. The focus of these rooms are on the wine. The retail space pierces through one of the light wells, allowing it to be both on top of and within the curve, and thus acting as a type of “in-between space”. This area is meant to be free and welcoming for the masses, but also with a focus on the wine. The curve that makes up the East light well is cut at eye level just before intersecting the retail space, allowing for visitors to, at one point, be able to simultaneously see upwards towards the open balcony and downwards to the cellar (indicated by the orange figure).
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INTIMATE TASTING ROOM
LARGE GATHERING SPACE
LARGE BALCONY SPACE RETAIL
west elevation Via Ricci
ELEVATIONS + MATERIALS The cantinaâ€™s facade is to be composed of bush-hammered concrete, to help reflect the rough and weathered texture of its surrounding neighbors. Its interior is also concrete, but smooth, with some timber inlays in a few locations to bring some variety and warmth. Cold, heavy concrete highly contrasts with the channelling of light utilized in this building, thus providing a unique juxtaposition carried throughout the cantinaâ€™s experience.
Via del Pie al Sasso
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WINE STORAGE D
N 25 â€˜
INTIMATE TASTING AREA
floor 4 â€“ entry
OPEN TASTING AREA
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Summer 2017 | Research | Design Topology Lab Lead Designer: Joseph Choma Team: Wilson Marshall, Claire Hicks, Sarah Nail, Joe Scherer Dimensions: 16’ x 12’ x 12.5’
This research suggests a means for fiberglass to transition from being a secondary component to a primary building material by developing a process that allows the material to fold like paper. By selectively coating resin on fiberglass cloth, parts can fold along fabric hinges. The innovative technique eliminates the need for any molds or fasteners, while allowing for infinite variations and flat-packing capabilities. After numerous small scale studies, the work transitioned into a larger inhabitable proof-of-concept built artifact. The first of these artifacts is called “Chakrasana” – an accordion arch based on a variation of a folded plate structure. The lightweight, 400 pound, pop-up pavilion was designed, fabricated by hand and installed by five people within 30 days.
FORM DEVELOPMENT + RESEARCH As a simple first “phase” of the project, our team began with a series of folded paper studies. The ease and availabilty of the medium warranted many iterations – allowing the form to mature quickly. Fiberglass mockups of the paper models were also created during this phase. This allowed us to be able to obtain a more realistic sense of each form’s feasibility. During this phase, research was conducted regarding: - different folding techniques - the translation of digital, 3D forms into crease patterns - the structural integrity of modified torus-shaped forms - the act of folding a crease pattern that twists on itself
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Several material mock-ups were built of an accordion arch based on a variation of a folded plate structure. These were presented at the 2017 JEC Future of Composites in Construction Conference in Chicago. After these studies, the work transitioned into a larger inhabitable built artifact, installed on the campus of Clemson University.
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Two 54 yard long rolls of 33.3” fiberglass cloth were stitched together using a full flat felled sailing seam to create one continuous 32’ 10” x 21’ 9” sheet, with zero material waste. All the edges were precisely sewn to prevent sharp, rough or frayed ends.
Using a painter’s masking tape, a crease pattern was drawn on the fabric surface. The intricate pattern was composed of a total of 875 folds, where each accordion fold had a depth of 5”. All the planar portions of the structure were then painted with resin.
After the resin cured, th revealing a crease pa
he tape was removed, attern of fabric seams.
The structure was folded along the fabric seams and compressed into less than a 12â€? width. The flat-packed structure was then easily carried by four individuals and transported to the site.
A light scaffolding was constructed on the site in one day. Then, the folded fiberglass was placed above the scaffolding with a team of five. After another day of applying resin to each of the creases, the scaffolding was removed, resulting in an extremely thin, lightweight structure, spanning 16â€™.
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