PERCEPTIONS CRISTINA CASTREJON
ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN
â€œIn memorable experiences of architecture, space, matter and time fuse into one singular dimension, into the basic substance of being, that penetrates our consciousness. We identify ourselves with this space, this place, this moment, and these dimensions become ingredients of our very existence. Architecture is the art of reconciliation between ourselves and the world.â€?
01 DIMENSIONAL COLLAGE UNIVERSITY STUDENT CENTER SPRING 2016
02 NICHOLTOWN 40K LOW-COST HOUSING PROTOTYPE FALL 2014
03 DIRECTED MOTION URBAN STRATEGIES FALL 2014
04 FLEXIBLE LEARNING ADAPTIVE REUSE PRIMARY SCHOOL FALL 2015
05 OTHER DRAWING PHOTOGRAPHY WRITING
01 DIMENSIONAL COLLAGE
UNIVERSITY STUDENT CENTER ORANGEBURG, SOUTH CAROLINA A new student center on the campus of South Carolina State University, this project aims to create a new common ground for the students and faculty, as well as the surrounding community of Orangeburg. This project applies the premise of a collage, by creating multi-dimensionality within the overlap of layered spaces, that speaks to individual perceptions. *COMPLEX PROGRAMMING *MASTER AND SITE PLANNING *ENGAGING COMMUNITY VALUES *TECHNICAL RESOLUTION In collaboration with Alexandra Williams
Applying the concept of a collage, the student center is comprised of three layered volumes, which shift and rotate based on the axes of the site. The program of the volumes are divided based on these same axes; social, public, and academic. Where these three volumes are layered, the overlap is extracted and creates voids between the volumes. Within this void, a circulation spine composed of stairs, ramps, and a series of lounge spaces connects the three volumes.
LEVEL -1 _ SOCIAL VOLUME
LEVEL 1.5 _ MEZZANINE _ PUBLIC VOLUME
LEVEL 1 _ PUBLIC VOLUME
LEVEL 2 _ ACADEMIC VOLUME
Within the interior of the volumes, the stepping circulation spine, along with a stepped mezzanine level, provide for interior vertical layering. Carefully placed, these layers coincide with the voids between the volumes to offer a select few vantage points which give unique visual glimpses to the numerous activities happening within the entire building. This enhances the sense of community inherent in the student center. where chance encounters can occur.
To convey the image of a solid top volume resting on the light transparent ground level volume, while still allowing sunlight and ventilation into the spaces, a perforated metal panel system was used for the skin of the top volume. These perforations, working with an inner storefront system, allow for sufficient brightening of the spaces while still appearing solid from the exterior. Operable panels within the metal skin allow for users to control the visibility and airflow for certain areas of the second volume. These panels will also show activity happening within the opaque volume.
02 NICHOLTOWN 40K
LOW-COST HOUSING PROTOTYPE GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA A housing prototype for residents of Nicholtown, a low-income subdivision of Greenville, South Carolina, this design explores low-cost alternatives to residential living. The concept for this house is interweaving and overlapping spaces, to accomodate the three residents of the home and their large extended family. *SPACE PLANNING WITH LIMITED SQUARE FOOTAGE *BUDGET CONSCIOUS PROJECT +USE OF TOPOGRAPHICAL ELEMENTS
(1060 SQUARE FEET) 1. KITCHEN 2. DINING ROOM 3. LIVING ROOM 4. BEDROOM 5. BATHROOM 6. COURTYARD 7. LAUNDRY
SLEEPING EATING PUBLIC SPACE
The community of Nicholtown has a “porch culture” very important to its residents; in this case, the idea of a front porch has been transformed into a central courtyard that the house is focused around. All of the clearly defined programmatic elements of the house flow into each other, and out onto the courtyard to create the idea of interwoven and overlapping living spaces. For the residents, this allows large gatherings to occur within the living spaces without having to expand the house.
A. CORRUGATED METAL ROOF B. 2X8 RAFTERS C. WOODEN CLADDING D. FURRING STRIPS E. PLYWOOD SHEATHING F. 2X4 STUDS + BATTING INSULATION G. 1/2” GYP BOARD H. 2X10 FLOOR JOISTS I. WOOD CLADDING J. WOOD I-JOISTS + BATTING INSULATION K. CONCRETE SLAB COURTYARD L. CRUSHED GRAVEL M. CMU FOUNDAATION WALL N. RIGID INSULATION O. CRUSHED GRAVEL P. CONCRETE FOOTING
C D E F
In attempting to keep costs of the home low, the idea of passive solar heating and cooling was explored. The house is placed into the treeline of hte property, to allow for natural shading on the house. The shed roofs are also oriented to face the direction that will best allow winter sun light to enter the house at optimal areas, while still blocking hot summer sunlight.
03 DIRECTED MOTION
GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA Through the use of urban strategies, this project looks to provide a greater connectivity for the community of Nicholtown, located in the heart of Greenville, SC. This initiative seeks to intertwine the residents of Nicholtown with those of the surrounding areas by enhancing and creating experiences along the connecting Swamp Rabbit Trail. *WORKING WITH PUBLIC SPACE AND LANDSCAPE *LARGE SCALE URBAN PLANNING *COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT In collaboration with Lindsey Watson
Nicholtown is bordered on its southwest side by the Reedy River and the Swamp Rabbit Trail. While the trail is frequently traveled by runners and bicyclists, it is not often utilized by other members of the surrounding communities. Additionally, the adjacent river is polluted and unusable despite its visual prominence along the trail.
As the most prominent natural element which connects all of Greenville, addressing new methods of cleaning the Reedy River is the first step in a successful revitalization of the Swamp Rabbit Trail. Secondly, the creation of nodes of activity along the trail which appeal to multiple types of users would encourage movement toward the trail and pull users along as they seek out other experiences.
Extensions of the Swamp Rabbit Trail into the heart of Nicholtown will provide a connection between the residents of the community and the trail, as well as safe designated areas for walking and biking within the community to account for the lack of sidewalks.
The first node of activity along the trail is a familyoriented park located on the hill which separates Nicholtown from the Swamp Rabbit trail at its existing Baxter Street entrance. This centralized location utilizes the natural topography to create a dynamic atmosphere which promotes movment. Park users are enticed to move up and down the hill while naturally occuring storm water runoff is redirected for use within the park as it is diverted from contributing to further river pollution.
By altering the existing topography of the hill and creating specifically located swales, the stormwater runoff can be directed into several retention pools along the pathdown the hill to the river. It can then be filtered and interacted with, rather than flowing back into the Reedy River and adding to its pollution problems.
As the rain runoff is diverted into the retention pools, it will be filtered and collected for visual appeal as well as entertainment. After the water is collected, it will drain back into the earth and into the groundwater reserves.
Multiple combinations of arced retaining walls form the earth-filled steps, as well as the boundaries of the runoff retention pools which accompany the steps. Every combination is made up of one or more three arc sizes.
The thin shell concrete pavilions will continue the material and formal language of the park, while providing sheltered gathering spaces for those of the Nicholtown community.
04 FLEXIBLE LEARNING
BARCELONA, SPAIN LA ESCOCESA PRIMARY SCHOOL A cluster of industrial textile buildings built in the late nineteenth century, La Escocesa has transformed into an artistâ€™s complex at the heart of the new, emerging 22@ district of Barcelona. Located within this complex of six uniquely programmed buildings, the primary school utilizes the concepts of adaption and flexibility to accomodate both the program and users of the building, as well as the surrounding complex, neighborhood, and city of Barcelona. *ADAPTING AN EXISTING STRUCTURE *SPECIFIC PROGRAMMING *URBAN SETTING
VISUAL DIALOGUE WITH SOCIAL CENTER
INNER FLEXIBILITY USE OF CENTRAL COURYARD SPACE INVASION OF SCHOOL INTO ADJACENT EMPTY LOT
CONNECTION TO SOCIAL CENTER
The program of the school, which is for children of ages five through eight, called for classroom space, administration areas, art workshop space, cafeteria, kitchen, and a gymnasium. The shape of the existing building is a narrow L, giving a limited space to house all of this program. This limitation, along with the fact that a typical primary school has multiple functions existing in single classrooms, gave rise to the idea of flexible spaces that could adapt to the activity taking place within. Rather than rigid spaces confined within the narrow walls of the existing building, the concept for this project was for certain areas to extrude volumetrically from the existing facade into the adjacent empty lot to the south, providing a flexibility in the function of the space within. Additionally, the creation of an outdoor activity yard will continue the school program onto the empty lot. 42
EXISTING ROOF TILES
EXISTING MASONRY WALL
EXTRUDED VOLUMES OF NEW MASONRY WALLS NEW ROOF TILES OVER EXTRUDED VOLUMES
EXISTING ROOF TRUSS
NEW STEEL COLUMNS IN PLACE OF PREEXISTING MASONRY WALL NEW STEEL BEAMS TO SUPPORT EXTRUSION OF MASONRY WALL
The city of Barcelona is set on the Eixample grid designed by Ildefons Cerdรก in 1849. The complex of La Escocesa, however, lies at the periphery; at a unique junction of the expanding grid and the old, diagonal street of Pere IV. The design of the outdoor activity yard respects the original alignment of the complex to Pere IV, but also shifts to acknowledge the grid, and the place of La Escocesa within the greater city of Barcelona.
UNDERGROUND LIBRARY PLAN
UNDERGROUND LIBRARY PLAN
GROUND LEVEL PLAN
GROUND LEVEL PLAN
SECOND LEVEL PLAN
SECOND LEVEL PLAN
DRAWINGS PHOTOGRAPHY WRITING My perceptions of the world around me; the ways I record and interpret the things that awe me, inspire me, and then motivate me in creating my own architecture and my own ideas on the practice of architecture. “Everything inspires me; sometimes I think I see things that others don’t.” NORMAN FOSTER
“it was the drawing that led me to architecture, the search for light and astonishing forms.” OSCAR NIEMEYER
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
“heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads” - HENRY DAVID THOREAU
Promoting Spatial Justice
“All architects expect and hope their work will act in some sense as a servant for humanity – to make a better world.”
Blog Post This quote from Samuel Mockbee, creator of the Rural Studio at Auburn University, is one that encapsulates my own ideas and wishes within the practice of architecture. I attended Auburn University for my undergraduate degree; and while I studied environmental design rather than architecture, the spirit of Samuel Mockbee was one that resonated with me and even prompted my pursuit of architecture. Perhaps it is an idealistic outlook, but I sincerely believe that architecture in all of its diverse applications can make a positive difference in the world. That possibility is what I love most about being in this field – as design thinkers and problem solvers, architects are uniquely positioned to use their knowledge and education to make an impact on the world. This does not necessarily mean the ability to draw a perfect section detail – rather, the ability to attack a problem from unseen angles and work in a non-linear fashion to form an innovative solution.
[Re]Thinking + [Re]Defining Architecture Blog Post The question of the role and/or definition of architecture is one that I have been consistently pondering throughout my time in architecture school. It is an important question for us, who will be shaping architecture as we go into the field - what are the extents and limitations of architecture? How far can we go into solving many of the important issues abounding in the world today with architecture? With the examination of the city as a space of conflict, the opinion that architecture is NOT the solution to everything might make perfectly logical sense; it is hard to imagine how architecture, as a building, can solve any issues of public conflict. I, however, would argue that architecture can begin to solve these problems – just not as a simple stand-alone building that the view of architecture as a practice seems to consist of. The architect Teddy Cruz makes a very poignant statement in his 2014 TED talk: “The future of cities today depends less on buildings and, in fact, depends more on the fundamental reorganization of socioeconomic relations. The best ideas in the shaping
the city in the future will not come from enclaves of economic power and abundance, but in fact from sectors of conflict and scarcity, from which an urgent imagination can really inspire us to rethink urban growth today.” Cruz’s example of the clearly divided Mexico-US border at Tijuana and San Diego is a fascinating way of looking at how architecture can address urban conflicts - not in the sense of a beautiful, perfectly designed building, but as a an informal process of urbanization. It is this informal, creative intelligence that Cruz attributes to the migrant Mexican communities on both sides of the border that allows them to shape and define their own urban spaces and living conditions. Why could this not be considered architecture, and as such, why can it not become the solution to some of these issues of conflict such as those in the slums of Tijuana? As a reversal of this thought, I would turn to the theory of New Urbanism. To me, New Urbanism is doing the opposite of what Cruz is arguing; it is trying to create conflict-free urban density through architecture as a building and not, as Cruz says, through the “reorganization of socioeconomic relations”. Perhaps that is why it fails at its attempt to create diverse urban utopias – it is seeking to solve issues by resorting to ‘tried-and-true’ methods, and not by rethinking what could be achieved and what problems could be answered by the redefinition of architecture. 57
A Case for Phenomenological Architecture Paper Abstract
“In memorable experiences of architecture, space, matter and time fuse into one singular dimension, into the basic substance of being, that penetrates our consciousness. We identify ourselves with this space, this place, this moment, and these dimensions become ingredients of our very existence. Architecture is the art of reconciliation between ourselves and the world.” - Juhani Pallasmaa Defined by the German philosopher Edmund Husserl in his publication Logische Untersuchungen (Logical Investigations) in 1900, the term phenomenology refers to the study of consciousness as experienced from the first-person point of view. It is generally understood as the study of human experiences ranging from perception, thought, memory, and imagination, to embodied action and social activity. As opposed to the philosophical studies focused on what really is, in corporeal evidence, phenomenology is centered on how things are perceived in human existence. In 1927, with the publication of Being and Time, Martin Heidegger expanded Husserl’s ideas of phenomenology by studying experience as a means to deeper understanding of being. According to Heidegger, we cannot be disinterested or detached from our surroundings – human existence is its context, inseparable from the world it resides in.
In this sense, phenomenology became the study of how human experiences are shaped, informed, and influenced by their surroundings, connected only by a conscious interaction. This seems to point directly to the field of architecture; human surroundings include not only the natural world, but encompass the built environment as well. The majority of our daily lives are spent within the coverings of constructed space, and these spaces shape and impact our perceptions, our thoughts, and our memories. From Husserl to Heidegger, to architectural theorists such as Christian Norberg-Schulz and Juhani Pallasmaa, the philosophy of phenomenology has been transformed into a way for architecture to become the tangible connection between a stationary place and conscious human experience. Place become important; human sensory perceptions become important. Rather than focusing on what architecture really is at its fundamental level – a structural skeleton and an envelope – architectural phenomenology brings to the foreground the importance of how spaces are perceived.
architecture of today. But perhaps it should be making a resurgence; perhaps it should be at the forefront of architectural discourse today. The poetic nature of architecture – given to it by the uses of light, shadow, materiality, and space – is being overlooked as extraneous in an age of banal high rises, rapidly designed and constructed. But it is in fact this poetry that turns architecture from a skeletal structure into a space; it is the phenomenology that turns the space into a human experience.
This philosophy and its application to architecture gained traction and a surge of popularity throughout the 1970s due to Christian Norberg-Schulz’s Genius Loci. However, in recent times this popularity has waned; the idea of phenomenological architecture is not a common theme in the mainstream 59