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Final Learning Portfolio Final Group Project: Space Between Trees – Country Site Chun Mei Tan Arch 101: Architectural Design Studio May 21, 2013

Program of Design Select three diverse spaces from list and create a path or pathways that lead to the spaces Design respond to selected site, reflect human conditions that “evoke� spatial experience, support human activities and provoke others to appreciate as aspects of space Design without using the obvious 2

The Process 1. Both individually and in team research on the materials and construction methods 2. Individually explore and develop small scaled environmental installation designs 3. Select one in the team to implement design and install at full-size


Learning Outcome 1. Know the kinds of building materials and methods 2. Defining the structural types 3. Apply the main design concepts learned and use the design process to design the structure 4. Use the big ideas to develop the design 5. Know the issues and questions to creating the design for site 4

Teaming Up and Selecting Site Team Members: Christine Bazouzi, Jia Jie Yin, Celon Lone, Rendi Cisneros

Selected Site – The Three Trees Significant factors: 1. 2. 3.

Natural element on site that can be used to frame space Slope on site that allows us to design to provide solution for easy access Views of the Batmale Building, the distant hillside adjacent to the building, and the football field next to the Courtyard

Issues: 1. 2. 3.

The three slopes on site The loose soil and roots of the tree in the soil Windy


Design Proposal


The Design Installation




The Design Installation




The Space Journey The Sitting Area

Mysterious and Magical


Meditative and Serene

Site Response



Site Response Views


The Design Floor Plan and 3D Model

SketchUp Models by Celon Lone


The Design Sketches

Structural Base Plan 2

Floor Plan – Plan 3


The Design Sketches

Structural Base Plan 1

Floor Plan – Plan 1 Concept


The Design Sketches


Structural Base Plans

The Design Sketches


The Design Sketches

Elevation Concepts


Framing and Roofing Design Concept

Research For the start of the final project, we are to individually research on the materials we can use for building construction and structural formation such as building a pathway or a type of space that people would enjoy to be in or walking into in their spatial experience. They are “Experiential Nodal Environmental Types� that include meditative and serene, mysterious and magical, monumental and evoking, and others. The materials that we can use and that are available from looking at other designs include wood, metal or steel, plastic, concrete and others such as ropes, fabric, natural elements, i.e. branches, straws or hays, soil or dirt. From my research on the materials, I find that there are available recycled materials that we can use to build interesting, decent aesthetic structures for human spatial experience, for example, materials such as cardboard, wood pieces or boards and plastic coverings or sheets are widely available which one can find in junk yards or in stores at very low cost. In terms of selecting the kind of materials to use for our design, we should consider the material’s availability, its durability and workability, its contribution to the cost of construction or installation and labor, and its value to design, as well as its sustainability with other materials that come well together into one unified form. In taking these into consideration, I came up with a list of products that are less costly and workable with each other for possible structural designs and


Research they include, building materials such as acrylic sheeting that are corrugated for roofing, wood boards that are either ž in. or ½ in. thick for fencing or for building walls, and wood posts and pickets for fencing and structural support. Other products include plastic rods for beam connections, plastic sheets for wall or roof coverings, window coverings and ropes for connecting elements as an alternative for fasteners. While researching for the kinds of available materials, I also looked into some well known architectural designs to examine the methods of construction and they include famous ancient buildings and modern architecture. Many forms of structures are not only interesting, but are also significant that show important design concepts of repetition, rhythm, hierarchy and both aesthetics of symmetry and asymmetry. Looking at structural designs, I was able to generate ideas of forms for our design that reflect the history and are representational. In terms of structural types, I found from my research on the various design forms and construction methods that there are so many that are interesting, but not many are not as functional as one that are design for the specific area in the site, such as the Singing Ringing Tree Sculpture called Rainbow Gateway, a digital fabrication by


Research Tonkin Liu, a structure for the site that is used to measure rainfall, “using wind to articulate sound,” and it is described to be the “creation of sensory output.” Other structural types and methods that gave me some sights of designs for the country site include structural formation of tensioning, folding and sectioning. The steel and wood pavilion, the ContemPlay, for example, shows the method of creating dynamic wave structures using wood framing. It has the motion curves of hills and mountains in nature as well as the dynamic motion of the wind. Looking through the designs of other work from the list provided in the assignment and from my research, I was able to come up with ideas for a design on a country site from the inspirations of the structural forms. Some traditional designs on the interior of cathedrals such as the spurs columns that connect to the ceiling and then to each other on the opposite side, are like a piece of fabric over the columns above round joined together with lines of tension that create the pattern the surface covering in space. Then, there are columns forming arches and on top of the arches are the set of columns forming rows of arches on columns in repetition. In older fashion design of houses or shelters on country site, there are the designs of little tranquil areas using wood and hays, and there are homes surfaced with


Research fabric. These designs served their functions as space for human experience, and they are the quickest and easiest way of creating a quiet peaceful area for people to rest. The designs are simple and functional and correlate to the site, responding to the slopes and hills in the area. In summary of my research, I have generated a basic outline to guide my designing process:

Materials Building Materials: wood, plastic sheets and rods, fabric, and ropes Fasteners: Screws Tools: Screw driver

Methods Weaving, framing, tessellation, digital fabrication, sectioning Structural frames, columns and support, staircases


Research Designs Curves, spirals, twisting/turning with patters, elements in motion dynamic framing; open surface structures Repletion of forms Domes, columns and arches – spiritual and magical Chairs – stacked and staggered; bench – seating pavilion Origami (design from paper-folding) Wet/net Skeletons of creatures/animal parts Traditional – fabric surfaced shelters House section, sectioning of structural forms Natural elements/forms, i.e. shells – fanlike structures. Birds nest – Beijing Olympics) Steel and wood pavilion


Inspirations Durham Cathedral, England Organic like branches of trees intertwine with patterns Repetition of feature elements Ceiling like pieces of fabric sewed together


Inspirations Potala Palace, Tibet Fabric walls filled with patterns Simple and functional Meditative and Serene Intimate and Tranquil


Inspirations Sydney Opera House, Australia Organic form structure Fanlike and shell like that bring form to live Good use of hierarchy and asymmetry


Inspirations Steel and wood pavilion – ContemPlay Dynamic curves in wood framing Repetition of structural elements

Singing Ringing Trees Sculpture Design concept of measuring rainfall Respond to specific site


Inspirations Battersea Power Station by Architecture firm Atelier Z端ndel Cristea (AZC) Inspired by curvilinear approach moving the eye using framing exposing framework


Inspirations Others

Sectioning Crated Object

Curvilinear form of Japan Pavilion model by Shigeru Ban


Individual Models: Iteration One Mysterious and Magical, Meditative and Serene, and a Place to Enjoy Frame View The Physical Model


Individual Models: Iteration One Big Ideas/Concepts:  Structural type: Sectioning  Frames and Nature  Use of a narrative


Individual Models: Iteration One Reflection: Experiential Nodal Environmental Types of Mysterious and Magical, Meditative and Serene, and a Place to Enjoy a Frame View Before beginning this first iteration, I made a list of what makes a space mysterious and magical, a space that is meditative and serene, and a space for one to enjoy a frame view. I find it useful in coming up with ideas for a design, but in building the design, it is different because it involves more of a narrative as I create the pathway to the spaces; and here is the story: The person climbs up to the bridge, and as he or she walks along the bridge, the person will see frame views of the football field next to the courtyard. He or she then experiences the mysterious and magical appearance of light and shadow when the sun shines through the side panels, and see the reflection of the transparency on the bridge. He or she walks up and continues the journey to a space to sit; and this space also allows one to sit to meditate at a certain time when no one is around.


Individual Models: Iteration One In response to the site, I made the side panels on the side of the bridge against the direction the wind to block the wind current as the person walks to the next path, and based on the direction of the wind, I made one panel bigger than the other so that when the force of the wind hits the first lower panel, it blocks some of those forces before the wind travels the higher panel. This also helps balance the structure when unequal forces act on the sides. The roof structure on the pathway between the bridge and the space for sitting is designed based on the current of the wind in its directions from west to northeast and from west to the southeast. It is sloped upward in responding to the downfall of the rain so when rain falls, water flows down to the hill. After completion of the model, I find that the meditative space can be designed to be a better state in which its purpose can be served for its function—a more of an enclosed quiet space.


Individual Models: Iteration Two Refinement of Iteration One Physical Model


Individual Models: Iteration Two Big Ideas/Concepts:  Frames and nature  Creating space within space, use of L-shape walls, elevated planes – horizontal and vertical and depressed planes


Individual Models: Iteration Two Reflection: Refinement of Iteration One In this iteration, I used the same circulation as my team members have planned for our selected area. I remodeled the bridge to make it a little wider for a person to walk on and instead of making it extends out straight longitudinally, I made the bridge extending at an angle from a point to create a spatial journey with a turning point. This makes better use of space and it does not block the flow of traffic in response to the site. The bridge is 2ft. 8 in. which fits one and a half person in width, and as people walk to the front edge where they need to climb up or down, the person from behind will experience a halt in the line. This brings connection between people as they go into the space and out of the space. For this purpose, the narrow bridge provides a space for accidental encounters. As the person walks into the second space following the path of the trail connected to the bridge, he or she will see a frame view of the Batmale Building.


Individual Models: Iteration Two The space is elevated from the ground level so as the person walks to the step of the level plane, he or she sees a part of the building, and as the person steps up and approaches the frame view, he or she will see another view from the cut opened wall where the top of the building is exposed and then sees a wider view of the building with the distant view on its adjacent side. The person then can take another step up to the next elevated plane on the right side across from the frame view space where he or she will find two adjacent spaces, and one on the end next to the other is the meditative space. In response to the site, the space is created next to the large tree that will be used as one of the walls of the space. The frame view space responses to the top of the trees that can be used as the roof for the structure; and as for the bridge, it responds to the slope of the site as well as the wind by making the entry way of the structure facing east in the opposite direction of the wind; this allows the person to walk comfortably with the wind comfortably. The strength of my design is the pathway to the three spaces; and my weakness is the structure of my design that needs some dynamic elements to bring rhythm into human spatial experience for their needs to an interesting and aesthetic space. I learned from building this model that not only “forms follow function� is


Individual Models: Iteration Two important, but also “frames and nature� when it comes into play with dynamic elements that combine to build harmony for the people in their spatial experience.


Individual Models: Iteration Three A Threatening Entry Way to A Place to Sit and a Place to Meditate Physical Model


Individual Models: Iteration Three Big Ideas/Concepts:  Kit of Parts – part for each space  Sectioning


Individual Models: Iteration Three Reflection: Space Journey through a Threatening Entry Way to A Place to Sit and a Place to Meditate In this design, the bridge is simply a long narrow piece of wood board that people can climb up at height of 2.5 feet from ground and walk to the elevated level. It is threatening in a way that the bridge is narrow with no rail and the person, as he or she walks, will go slightly against the wind when the wind travels from west to northeast. It responses to the slope and can be served as an alternative walkway to the elevated plane. When the person is on the elevated level, he or she can follow the pathway to the next space adjacent to the first tree along the path. It is the space of a balcony that extends four feet out from the level plane with a bench to sit on one side and serves to be a quiet place to sit, reflect or study. The bench in the space is oriented in a way that it faces the direction to the next space, the meditative space. The person sitting there will experience the pleasure being on the balcony where one person can enjoy the views afar and below.


Individual Models: Iteration Three Then moving ahead on the pathway, the person will turn right to enter the meditative space, an enclosed small space with an opened entryway that welcomes one to sit in. It is like a small cave where one can be alone away from the outside world and is like a nest where birds rest. It responses to the tree on the site and the walls are attached to the natural element while the tree that will be adjacent to the structure creates a courtyard for the entry way to the inside of the space. What I learned from making this model is that in order to create a functional form of a structure, we need to think about relationships of space and the people, such as people being in the space. Because a narrow space creates more discomfort for the people, we can determine whether or not the form we create is functional by asking ourselves what feeling the space creates for the people. After thinking about the form of space and its relationship with the people in their spatial experience, I came to a conclusion that the small narrow house structure will need to be modified to serve a better function of a meditative space for the people. And because tightness in space brings discomfort and is quite timid, I also came to a conclusion that a wider or more spacious enclosed space will be one aspect for a better meditative space.


Individual Models: Iteration Four A Threatening Entry Way to A Place to Sit and a Place to Meditate Physical Model


Individual Models: Iteration Four Big Ideas/Concepts:  “Building more with less use of land”  Vertical/linear planes  Use of a narrative  Use of organic forms - curvatures


Individual Models: Iteration Four Reflection: Refinement of Parts from Iterations 1, 2 and 3. Creating a space journey to an intimate place with opportunities to note fleeting beauty through the path of a magical space the frame view space For the purpose of reducing the amount of materials for the project and reorganizing space to build “more with less use of land� on site, I created a space journey with only one wall led by the pathway with columns or poles that are representational elements, resembling human figures along the two sides. The bridge is shortened to save materials, time and labor; and although it is steeper, it serves its function as pathway, and the ropes will allow the person to help him or herself walk up to go across the bridge. The curves of the ropes form waves that carry motions to the eyes of the viewer, making the space mysterious and magical in way that they move with the strong wind. When the person goes to the next space, he or she will see sets of columns, one on each side of the trail, representing human figures in a mystical appearance standing up straight with their


Individual Models: Iteration Four heads in an upright position. Then, moving into the next space, the quiet space for people to sit, reflect or study, the person will see benches near the large tree where they can sit and enjoy a frame view. The frame view space is structured in response to the views of the Batmale Building and to the distant views of the hills adjacent to the building with the up and down waves on its design in response to the wind. A curved panel attached to the top connecting to the waves slopes downward respond to rain so that when there is rain, people can enjoy the views and as rain falls, water follows downward down the hill. With repetition of columns along the path and waves on structures, parts are reduced while achieving complexity. After building the model and looking at the bridge’s orientation on the site while thinking about the wind blowing toward the side of the bridge, I find that the structure can be redeveloped based on the frequency in directions of the wind so that people can enter and walk up more with the wind that will bring better comfort in the start of their space journey. I also learned that there are various ways of using waves in our design; and in creating the waves, we need to think about its relationship in response to sound, wind or even light. The set of waves in


Individual Models: Iteration Four representation of wind current should be dynamic rather than settled and that is important in creating structural elements responsive to the natural site.


Individual Models: Iterations 1-4 Sketches


Individual Models: Iteration Five New Kit of Parts with the Use of Tensioning. Building an organic structure for a natural site Physical Model


Individual Models: Iteration Five Big Ideas/Concepts:  Dynamic/curvilinear forms with use of curvatures  Idea of organic architecture  Tensioning  Frames of Nature  Repetition and hierarchy  Unity of forms and transformation


Individual Models: Iteration Five Reflection: New Kit of Parts with the Use of Tensioning. Building an organic structure for natural site in response to physical element on site – the three trees Moving into dynamic forms, I have created this iteration with the use of the kind of materials we selected – wood, ropes and plastic sheets. I continued with my idea of using waves or curves in response to the current of the wind, rays of sunlight, slopes of natural forms, curves of hills from distant views adjacent to the Batmale Building. It begins with the entryway next to the first tree and continues on to a curvilinear path into a sitting area in the back between the two front trees, and then to the upper left, there is the entryway to the last space in the journey, the meditative space. Each of the space is tied to the three across from the structural walls. In the first space, the magical space, people will see the movement of the ropes that are connected to the tree when the wind blows. The ropes in the atmosphere give the viewer the notion of magic in the place where he or she may find a piece of mystery in the ropes connection with the trees in the trace of the


Individual Models: Iteration Five lines of the ropes from the structural elements to the physical natural element. In the sitting area, the benches are facing toward the Batmale Building where they can see views of the courtyard and the distant views of adjacent to the building. As the person enters the last space, the more enclosed space that separates one from the outside views of places of human activities, the person will see a seat next to the third tree, he or she can sit against the tree and while being alone in the space with the trees, the person can meditate. The tree, as a natural element, will provide the person a natural feeling of being in nature and sitting next to the natural element will allow the person to spiritually connect with nature; and this lightens up the person’s sole to mediate in the space. In practicing tying ropes for creating this model, I learned the method of tying a knot that can connect series of wood posts together in a line. After tying all the wood posts together for walls that form the shapes, I realized that I cannot create corners for the walls or I cannot create L-shape walls with the rope connection method. This leads me to another technique for building the walls.


Individual Models: Iteration Six Refinement of Parts from Iteration 5 – Breaking into Parts to Building Walls Physical Model


Individual Models: Iteration Six Big Ideas/Concepts:  Kit of Parts  Harmonic proportional system for building curve walls  Frames and nature  Organic forms  Hierarchy and Repetition/creating rhythm


Individual Models: Iteration Six Reflection: Refinement of Parts from Iteration 5 – Breaking Structure into Parts to Building Walls In this iteration, I separated the walls and created three parts to building the entire structure using repetition, hierarchy and the harmonic proportional system. I also used a different technique to reduce the amount of ropes for structural connection and as a result, the forms became more curvilinear and very much circular. This gave a whole different idea of framing and nature which allowed me to create an organic structure that ties to the natural setting, the natural physical elements, the wind, sunlight, hills and nature itself as well as natural organisms. As the person enters, he or she will experience a space of a living organism with lines of vessels tying knots; then when the person walks in as a the wind blows, he or she will see the movement of the flapping roof tops which are thin sheets of plastic that react to wind giving the viewer a sense of the wind current and the direction, making the space magical as it respond to the site’s natural phenomenon. Through the magical space, the person will enter a space to sit and reflect or study where he or she will find


Individual Models: Iteration Six a seat attached to the structural wall. Then finally, heading to the last space, the person will enter an enclosed area where he or she will find a seating platform next to the large tree like shown in the last iteration. This enclosed circular space with the trees is the world of the natural element for the person where he or she can spiritually connect with nature; and by providing them a seating platform next to the tree, this will allow them to rest in nature. For further exercises of tying knots for structural connection, I find that this iteration enabled me to explore the possibilities of framework connection using ropes. I had learned that we can build circular forms with the right technique to rope and structural connection, and breaking apart the forms into parts will allow us to create a more flexible, interesting and organized structure. I also find that building the walls takes several steps, and realized after creating the structure that the first step is to develop a floor plan which will better organize space in creating the structure.


Individual Models: Iteration Seven Refining the Parts in Iteration 6: Experimenting with structural framing Physical Model


Individual Models: Iteration Seven Big Ideas/Concepts Frames and Nature Repetition and irregular forms Use of a narrative Spatial organization Transformation


Individual Models: Iteration Seven Reflection: Refining the Parts in Iteration 6. Experimenting with structural framing Using the forms of space created for the last iteration, I recreated a new set of framework for the parts; and experimenting with the arrangement of different heights of for a part of the vertical stands of framework, I was able to create a new forms that are more irregular and distorted in a way that there is no smooth continuous lines of curves; and with no smooth connection on the structure, there is not much rhythm; therefore, this is my weakness. My strength in this design is like my other designs, creating the three spatial journeys, where there are three parts in the structure forming the three diverse spaces and the forms of space connect to the existing physical elements on site – the three trees. In the design, the person first walks through the entryway into the magical space. The sheets panels hanging on the rope on the entryway will create a motion in a space above a person walking into the space, and this creates a magic space.


Individual Models: Iteration Seven In addition, the panels hanging in space appears to be mysterious to the eyes. The person walking through the space into the second space, will see a sitting area with a curvilinear bench structure parallel to the view of the Batmale Building and the distant view adjacent to the building. The environmental setting creates harmony for the area; and with a bench for people to sit, whether to enjoy the scenery at a distant in front of them, or to read, reflect or study, it allows one to focus. Finally, heading to the last space next to the sitting area, the person will step inside of an enclosed space and see two trees, one on their left and one on their right, facing each other. Next to the big tree, the person will see a platform where he or she can sit against the tree. He or she will experience the natural feeling in connection with the trees behind him or her and with the other tree straight across from them will allow them to connect with nature; and with the space enclosed, the person finds him or herself with the trees which provides him or her the natural feeling with nature. This allows the person to mediate in spiritually connection with nature. After making this model, I learned the use of repetition of forms required good organization in building the structural form. There need to be smooth transitions in the transformation of the elements and having consistent ups and


Individual Models: Iteration Seven downs in the framework with no smooth transition will create irregularity in the parts that will not bring much harmony to the design.


Individual Models: Iteration Eight Developing a Floor Plan and Further Refining the Parts with Method to Connecting the Parts to Building a One Unified Design Physical Model


Individual Models: Iteration Eight Big Ideas/Concepts Development of a floor plan in design planning Unifying forms Proportion and balance Use of geometry to organize space Use of a narrative


Individual Models: Iteration Eight Reflection: Developing a Floor Plan and Further Refining the Parts with Method to Connecting the Parts to Building a One Unified Design By creating a floor plan for building this model, I was able to create a more unified design structure. I was able to better organize spaces for the site and better enclose space with existing physical elements to create a piece of geometry that corresponding to the existing elements in the site. I was also able to create a more proportional and balanced structure with evenly mass distribution of spaces on both sides of structure drawn on the floor plan. I had a better picture of how the structure will look before actually making the model, and while making the model, I began to think about dimensions and framework connection; and with the floor plan, I was able to build the walls. By looking at the lines drawn on the walls connecting to the wood studs, I first came up with the idea of using ropes; but because it does not hold the structure, I developed another method of connecting studs with rods and cardboard, and the floor plan shows a little of the picture; and that is how the


Individual Models: Iteration Eight framework came about. This allowed me to think more about structural connection after developing the floor plan. In the first space, the person walks in and sees lines of ropes on the roof structure connecting to the first tree. Like my design in Iteration 6, the ropes that create the motion in space when wind hits on the element and the sudden motion creates the notion of magic to the eyes of the viewer. Then, there is the harmonic curved wall in the space that creates motion for the eyes of the viewer and adds the notion of magic to the space. With curved beams of light coming from the edges of the wall that is covered with fabric, the light effect makes the space turn in direction of light along the curved, making the space more magical and mysterious. Moving to the next space, the place to sit, reflect or study, my idea of the seat coming out of the wall remain and by adding a wooden fence across from the space that blocks some of the views of traffic in the courtyard where people come in and out of the classroom in the building, it allows the viewer to see the sight of the top Batmale Building as well as the distant views adjacent to the building, making the sitting area across from it a more pleasurable place to sit and reflect or to study. And finally,


Individual Models: Iteration Eight stepping into the last space, the meditative space, through an entrance of the fabric door, the person will find a seating platform next to the large tree similar to the previous design. The concept of the design ties to the previous iterations, but the forms of space respond more to the two trees by making the trees to be part of the structure and part of the space. My strengths in the design are the organization of space in the structure and the use of forms of space to demonstrate the design’s response to site. My weaknesses are the framework connection that may need more work and roof overlying. I learned that framework planning is extremely important prior to design planning. It is part of design in architecture; and without the proper kind of connection for framing, the design becomes a puzzle piece. Because framework is construction and is part of architectural design, it is the root of structural design creation.


Individual Models: Iterations 5-8 Sketches


Conclusion With the concepts learned throughout the semester and the objectives set with everyone in the team while listening to everyone’s ideas, I was able to come up with various designs that involve using the methods of materials and construction to create a structure for human spatial experience. I had learned to create forms of space that respond to the site such using the natural physical elements and surroundings with the ideas of geometry and spatial organization to connect with the natural environment. Through research, I was able to find many inspirations that allowed me to develop design plans for structural framework; and by going through series of design planning and development of iterations, I was able to come up with a final design concept that correlates forms to the site. Although I was not able to build the full model of the design as sketched due to the different ideas that came in as we build during the installation process, I learned what is workable in terms of building materials and methods that allowed me and my team to complete the design in our installation through structural planning on framework connections. I valued very much working with my team in designing and building the structure for the project. It allowed me to learn about the methods of construction


Conclusion and learn from each other’s ideas as well as the individual value of the architectural design concepts. I had learned about the individual methods of construction in developing the design; and more importantly, I had learned the interesting fact that a strong sturdy base can be built near trees in sloping areas without steep foundation. I had gained great knowledge of structural framework from working on the project and achieved leadership skills in coordinating with team and distributing the tasks to completing the project. I enjoyed this last half of the semester and valued the accomplishments that my team and I together gained through the work of the project. I hope to be able to continue to take the next challenge to design for solutions to existing problems in architecture.


Final Learning Portfolio  

Group and individual work on Final Project

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