DISSECTION OF URBAN IDENTITY WITH REGARDS TO TYPOLOGY AND FORMAL STRUCTURE A PROPOSAL OF RATIONAL EXPRESSION
BACHELOR OF ARCHITECTURE THESIS DOCUMENTATION VIRGINIA POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE AND STATE UNIVERSITY COLLIN MICKEY JUNE 2013 Dedicated to my advisor Kathryn Clarke Albright, and all the friends and family who helped along the way.
CONTENT PART 1
01-02: THESIS + BASIS 03-04: IDENTITY + INTERROGATIVE 05-06: CENTER + PERIPHERY 07-08: CONSTANT + VARIABLE 09-10: TYPICAL COMPOSITION + ROWHOUSE TYPOLOGY 11-12: BLOCK TYPE VARIATION + REPETITION + MUTATION 13-14: ABSTRACTION + TRANSLATION 15-16: DECAY + REGENERATE + SITE 17-18: CONTEXT + ADJACENCY 19-20: DIAGRAM + RESPONSE
PART 2 21-22: CONCEPT + TYPOLOGY + PROGRAM 23-24: MASS + FORM 25-26: DOCUMENTATION + SITE 27-28: TRANSVERSE CUT + LONGITUDINAL CUT 29-30: COURTYARD + RESIDENCE 31-32: TOWER + OFFICE 33-34: DETAIL + ATMOSPHERE 35-36: IMAGE + FACADE 37-38: CONSTRUCTION + EXHIBITION 39-40: SYNOPSIS + CREDITS
IDENTITAS = â€œSAMENESSâ€?; WHAT MAKES AN ENTITY DEFINABLE + RECOGNIZABLE The basis of this investigation is to examine the dichotomy between the urban center and the periphery, and to establish a new relationship between the two through innate architectural qualities that are capable of being abstracted and translated across program and typology, thus revealing an underlying identity to the city itself. Identity is a broad term with an unending list of variables that can affect its perception. The hierarchy one places upon these aspects of identity can begin to define and describe its very nature: whether it is static or transient; based in history or present and future. If the city is now deemed generic, and the world flat, identity becomes a relic no longer relevant to the definition of urban context. However, the city can also be labeled as a composition of generic layers, thus it retains some specificity as a unique result of ubiquitous criteria, which is to say if all cities are composed of the same basic elements, it is the manner in which they are organized and displayed that retains identity. The city is Baltimore, Maryland. The center is the iconic Inner Harbor, the projection of the city and main attraction for visitors as well as the continual anchor of the CBD. The periphery is the outlying neighborhoods of the city, each rich in its own culture, but interconnected by their common architectural element: the rowhouse. The two now stand as separate worlds. The place of work and the place of life. The place of visitors and the place of residents. How can a contemporary construction provide a connection between these worlds and possibly reflect and [re]define the idea of urban identity in Baltimore? THE TRANSIENT MONUMENT... THE TOWER + THE COURTYARD
INCREMENTAL NARRATIVE The mass was hollowed as they plunged into the depths, further and further, burning the earth for life... The skin was scarred as they searched into the wilderness, far and wide, returning only for ritual... The skeleton was fractured as they invested in the convenient, through and through, building upon the machine of war... The void was occupied as they ascended into the atmosphere, beyond the heavens, searching still for hope...
The[ir] utopia was a living thing, a breath and groan with every motion, and then the infection came... The[ir] space grew sick, and no longer a suitable host for the virus, it became a vacant shell... The[ir] city reached a terminal velocity, thus it began to destroy itself, preparing for the next acceleration... The city is once again the desirable host. The city oscillates between the states of life and death. The city has no final conclusion.
THEORY + PRECEDENT THE GENERIC CITY, REM KOOLHAAS “What is left after identity is stripped? The Generic? To the extent that identity is derived from physical substance, from the historical, from the real, we somehow cannot imagine that anything contemporary - made by us - contributes to it. But the fact that human growth is exponential implies that the past will at some point be too “small” to be inhabited and shared by those alive... Identity conceived as this form of sharing the past is a losing proposition: not only is there - in a stable model of continuous population expansion - proportionally less and less to share, but history also has and invidious half-life - as it is more abused, it becomes less significant - to the point where its diminishing handouts become insulting... The stronger identity, the more it imprisons, the more it resists expansion, interpretation, renewal, contradiction... Identity centralizes; it insists on essence, a point. Its tragedy is given in simple geometric terms. As the sphere of influence expands, the area characterized by the center becomes larger and larger, hopelessly diluting both the strength and the authority of the core; inevitably the distance between center and circumference increases to the breaking point... Conceptually orphaned, the condition of the periphery is made worse by the fact that its mother is still alive, stealing the show, emphasizing its offspring’s inadequacies. Not only is the center by definition too small to perform too small to perform its assigned obligations, it is also no longer the real center but an overblown mirage on its way to implosion; yet its illusory presence denies the rest of the city its legitimacy.”
THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE CITY, ALDO ROSSI “The new time of architecture is thus that of memory, which replaces history. The individual artifact for the first time is understood within the psychological construct of collective memory. Time as collective memory leads Rossi to his particular transformation of the idea of type. With the introduction of memory into the object, the object comes to embody both an idea of itself and a memory of a former self. Type is no longer a neutral found in history but rather an analytical and experimental structure which now can be used to operate on the skeleton of history; it becomes an apparatus, an instrument for analysis and measure. As has been said, this apparatus, while purportedly scientific and logical, is not reductive, but allows urban elements to be perceived as having a meaning that is always original and authentic and, although typologically pre-determined, often unforeseen. Its logic, then, exists prior to a form, but also comes to constitute the form in a new way. Thus it can be said that the apparatus used to measure the object implies and also is implied in the object itself. This returns us to the analogue of the skeleton, which was seen to be at once instrument and object. With this recognition appears a new object-apparatus, an object - as opposed to a subject - that for the first time analyzes and also invents. This is the other process mediating between architect and architecture. In the past, innovations in architecture did not generally occur through the object; typology was never seen as having the potential to be the animating force of a design process.”
COLLAGE CITY, COLIN ROWE + FRED KOETTER “Habitually utopia, whether Platonic or Marxian, has been conceived of as axis mundi or as axis istoriae; but, if in this way it has been operated all totemic, traditionalist and uncriticized aggregations of ideas, if its existence has been poetically necessary and politically deplorable, then this is only to assert the idea that a collage technique, by accommodating a whole range of axes mundi (all of them vest pocket utopias - Swiss canton, New England village, Dome of the Rock, Place Vendome, Campidoglio, etc.) might be a means of permitting us the enjoyment of utopian poetics without our being obliged to suffer the embarrassment of utopian politics. Which is to say that, because collage is a method deriving its virtue from its irony, because it seems to be a technique for using things and simultaneously disbelieving in them, it is also a strategy which can allow utopia to be dealt with as image, to be dealt with in fragments without our having to accept it in toto, which is further to suggest that collage could even be a strategy which, by supporting the utopian illusion of changelessness and finality, might even fuel a reality of change, motion, action and history.”
INNER HARBOR: ICON
BALTIMORE, MD: A CITY BUILT OF BRICK, WITH HOUSES IN ROWS... ENTERED UPON STEPS OF MARBLE.
1:2000 [1/16” = 10’] RECONSTRUCTED DRAWINGS
LOCAL AESTHETIC The Baltimore Rowhouse, Hayward + Belfoure Above: An example of the three-story, three bay homes built in West and Northwest Baltimore from the 1850s to 1880s. This unit type now defines both affluent as well as destitute neighborhoods in this region of the city. Right: An example of the smallest alley houses native to Baltimore, measuring only 12 feet wide. SPECTRAL CONDITIONS...
HUMAN ACCOMMODATION... LUXURIES + LIMITS... DIFFERENTIATION OF ONE BASIC ELEMENT
BLOCK TYPE VARIATION 1:2000 [1/16” = 10’] FIGURE GROUND MAPS
REPETITION + MUTATION
1:1000 [1/8” = 10’] SECTIONS
EAST-WEST SECTION SHOWING STREET INTERFACES FOH 14’
2LN ST 42’
DEPTH + BOH 72’
DEPTH + BOH 66’
FOH FOH 8’ 1LN ST 8’ 24’
DEPTH + BOH 66’
DEPTH + BOH 72’
2LN ST 42’
NORTH-SOUTH SECTIONS SHOWING UNIT GROUPING NO CROSS-ALLEY: 24 CONSECUTIVE UNITS
1 CROSS-ALLEY: 18 CONSECUTIVE UNITS
2 CROSS-ALLEYS: 12 CONSECUTIVE UNITS
CATALYST The extent of variation at both the scale of the block as well as the scale of the unit leaves no predominant module, but rather a repetition of incremental clusters. A hierarchical system of streets results in augmentations to the block structures, increasing the heterogeneity of these clusters. The slight diversifications in the units are not readily evident at the human scale on the street, but change in dimension and proportion is the result of alterations to internal organization. The mutation of the module then also affects the rhythm at the urban scale, creating more or less units [entrances, stoops, windows, etc.] per block edge. The material [brick] as the only consistent module provides the point of reference and control for all deviation from one typical scenario. The residential identity of Baltimore may be primarily of a single typology, but in no way is it singular. The modifications at each scale [unit to unit, block to block, neighborhood to neighborhood] create a composition rich in fluctuation through the use of a multitude of versions of one typological element.
Delirious New York, Koolhaas “By 1909 the promised rebirth of the world, as announced by the Globe Tower, reaches Manhattan in the form of a cartoon that is actually a theorem that describes the ideal performance of the Skyscraper: a slender steel structure supports 84 horizontal planes, all the size of the original plot. Each of these artificial levels is treated as a virgin site, as if the others did not exist, to establish a strictly private realm around a single country house and its attendant facilities, stable, servants’ cottages, etc. Villas on the 84 platforms display a range of social aspiration from the rustic to the palatial; emphatic permutations of their architectural styles, variations in gardens, gazebos, and so on, create at each elevator stop a different lifestyle and thus an implied ideology, all supported with complete neutrality by the rack.” A now international typology born of an American invention will be developed as a locally derivative composition; a re-interpretation of the urban identity of Baltimore.
INTERNALIZATION ROWHOUSE BLOCK
DECAY + REGENERATE
1:10000 [1/8” = 100’] MAP
10_05_2012 SITE VISIT PHOTOS VIEWS TO THE EAST
VIEWS TO THE SOUTH
VIEWS TO THE WEST
VIEWS TO THE NORTH
A VIEW FROM THE YARDS
A VIEW FROM BELOW
ADJACENCY 1:2000 [1/16” = 10’] SITE SECTIONS
1:2000 [1/16” = 10’] SITE MAP [TYPOLOGY, TOPOGRAPHY, SCALE, VIEWS, TRANSIT, DISSECTION]
C C D D
THE MUTATING AND FRACTURED INTERSECTION OF: THE VERTICAL + THE HORIZONTAL; THE INTERNAL + THE EXTERNAL; THE CENTER + THE PERIPHERY; THE UTOPIA + THE DYSTOPIA... THE TOWER + THE COURTYARD.
TYPOLOGY + PROGRAM
ZONING DESIGNATION: B-5-2
MAXIMUM FAR: 14.0
SITE AREA: 175,000 SQ. FT.
TARGET FAR: 4.0
TARGET OSR: 60-75%
MAXIMUM BUILT: 2,500,000 SQ. FT. TARGET BUILT: 700,000 SQ. FT.
TOWER TYPOLOGY: MULTI-TENANT OFFICE BUILDING The tower is occupied by a wide variety of business types, thus it can be subdivided along the structural module, or left primarily open in plan, depending upon the desires of the tenant. The central atrium creates connection, either within the context of one company or a community of several. The steel exoskeleton allows for user defined loggia spaces adjacent to typical work spaces, enhancing the environment of the offices. The shifting of these exterior balconies results in the opportunity for variation of typical office layouts within the envelope of the building. FLOORS: 43 TOTAL: LOBBY + 4 PODIUM [INCORPORATED INTO COURTYARD BUILDING], 36 TOWER, 2 MECHANICAL FLOOR TO FLOOR HEIGHT: 13.5 FT.
FLOOR TO CEILING HEIGHT: 10.5 FT.
GROSS AREA: 72 X 144 = 10,368 SQ. FT.
TOTAL HEIGHT: 621 FT.
CORE + ATRIUM: 18 X 90 = 1,620 SQ. FT.
LEASE SPAN: 27 FT.
USABLE AREA: 8,748 SQ. FT. X 36 FLOORS = 314,928 SQ. FT. TOTAL USABLE AREA PODIUM GROSS AREA: 17,496 SQ. FT.
PODIUM USABLE AREA: 15,876 SQ. FT. X 5 FLOORS = 79,380 SQ. FT.
COURTYARD TYPOLOGY: COMMERCIAL, RESIDENTIAL APARTMENTS The courtyard is voided at two corners in order to make all open space of the site publicly accessible. The topography change from the street to the interior of the courtyard allows for two stories at grade of retail in addition to the storage level and parking access below grade. The next three to four stories depending on location are composed of one and two bedroom apartments, which are subdivided within the structure in a linear fashion as a relation to rowhouse organization and spatial types. FLOOR TO FLOOR HEIGHT: 13.5 FT.
FLOOR TO CEILING HEIGHT: 10.5 FT.
GROSS AREA: [324 X 360] - [216 X 180] = 77,760 SQ. FT.
TOTAL HEIGHT: 67.5 FT.
CORE: 18 X 36 X 10 = 6,480 SQ. FT.
USABLE AREA: 71,280 SQ. FT. X 5 FLOORS = 356,400 SQ. FT. TOTAL USABLE AREA TRANSIENT NATURE OF USE: RECLAMATION OF DEGENERATION THROUGHOUT RIGID ORDER The continually temporary nature of program introduces another element capable of mutations over time, thus a layering of memories develops rather than a concrete and singular pillar of identity. The mutations throughout the repetitive skeleton construct a both extremely rigid, but consistently deviating module idealized in terms of human scale and proportions. The inhabitant of the architecture becomes the final generative and mutative element to be introduced as the space awaits a continual state of flux. Program becomes rather irrelevant as it exists only as a fleeting installation. Will the mass produced remain dormant, or will an active ingredient of both individual and collective catalyze to form a new compositional organization?
1:1000 [1/8â€? = 10â€™] SITE MODELS EXISTING + COULD NOT BE: The current occupation of the site as a complete block extrusion. Also, the initial study model of the direct transposition of a rowhouse block into downtown Baltimore. The scale and context of the periphery is unable to establish itself in the center in this manner. SHOULD NOT BE: The most basic execution of the concept, a tower in a courtyard. The central placement of the tower and complete symmetry is a methodology of starting with the undesirable and testing various ideas which will lead to the desirable result. COULD BE: The movement away from symmetry allows for a drastic increase in contextual response and properly informed massing relative to the site. Experimentation with opening the courtyard to the street will inform the final proposal. SHOULD BE: Various tests of total height relative to floor to floor height has resulted in this final massing. The proportions of the courtyard and southern open space are reminiscent of the original block extrusion, but now establishing a relationship of mass and void within the urban fabric. Reserving space for this public park also acknowledges current proposals for the site, but in perhaps a more appropriate dimension. Decisions relative to scale, context, views, light, and topography find their proper balance in this iteration.
1:1000 [1/8â€? = 10â€™] SITE MODELS SHOULD NOT BE: Once again the use of less than desirable massings to test the idea of internalizing the rowhouse block to create an expressive and dynamic exterior of the tower as well as different means of segmenting the urban street wall at the block edge. COULD BE: The expressive form of the tower creates the opportunity for user defined balcony spaces for each office space reflective of similar instances that occur within the interior of the rowhouse block. This seemingly generic spiral form is maintained by vertical structural members which continue to the ground through the somewhat different language of the courtyard building. Terracing the courtyard portion allows for more light, but compromises possible spatial and programmatic arrangements and will not be pursued. SHOULD BE: The courtyard building has been voided at grade at both the northwest and southeast corners to allow for public entrance for the street. The form of the courtyard has also been arranged to communicate with the tower across different spatial and structural languages. The depth of balconies outside of the ordinary box extrusion tower has been adjusted to allow for reasonable light and shading variation. This iteration of mass and form will be pursued as the as the execution of the developed concept and thesis.
PROCESS + PROJECT
NON-LINEAR INVESTIGATION + INCREMENTAL GRAPHIC NARRATIVE + SITE
[THE FIRST TWENTY PAGES]
The identification of both topic and scope concerning this investigation... The transition from city to site and the observations of such at various scales... The urban composition as the driving force of each exploration... ITERATIVE BUILT PROPOSALS + PROGRESSIVE RESOLUTION + CONSTRUCTION The derivation of form with direct regard for structure and space... The emergence of new questions upon provided answers... The tectonic resolution as the driving force of each dissection... THE WORDS HAVE ALL BEEN WRITTEN SOMEWHERE ELSE BEFORE... STRUCTURE SYSTEM: ENCASED STEEL EXOSKELETON + OPEN WEB JOISTS + LATERAL CROSS BRACING POURED IN PLACE CONCRETE CORES + COLUMNS + ARCADES + SLABS
[THE SECOND TWENTY PAGES]
1:1000 [1/8” = 10’] SITE PLAN
TRANSVERSE CUT 1:1000 [1/8” = 10’] SITE SECTION A-A
LONGITUDINAL CUT 1:1000 [1/8” = 10’] SITE SECTION B-B
C0URTYARD PODIUM STRUCTURE
1:150 [1/12” = 1’] PARTIAL MODEL
RESIDENCE 1:200 [1/16” = 1’] TYPICAL PLAN
1:200 [1/16” = 1’] TYPICAL SECTION
TOWER A VIEW FROM THE YARDS
1:500 [1/4” = 10’] PODIUM PLANS [NORTHEAST CORNER]
OFFICE 1:200 [1/16” = 1’] ONE TYPICAL PLAN
1:50 [1/4” = 1’] PARTIAL PLAN
ATMOSPHERE 1:50 [1/4” = 1’] PARTIAL SECTION
DISTORTION OF HORIZONTAL LAYERS + TEXTURE + THE REGIMENTED FACADE
1:100 [1/8” = 1’] PODIUM ELEVATION ENCLOSURE SYSTEM: PUNCTURED COR TEN STEEL PANELS + FRETTED LOW-E GLASS CURTAIN WALL
CONSTRUCTION 1:150 [1/12” = 1’] STRUCTURE MODEL
EXHIBITION 5_18_2013 GRADUATION
SYNOPSIS ABSTRACTED FINDINGS THE WORLD NEVER WAS THE PLACE WE WISHED FOR OURSELVES WE WRITE AND BURN OUR MANIFESTOS WITHIN THE DECADE NOW THUS THE PAGES SCORNED FROM OUR CONSTRUCTED MINDS SHIFT FOCUS UPON THE WEST THE CITY LURED OUR EARNEST AMBITIONS AND THE HONEST INVENTIONS OF OUR FUTURES WE RAIL AGAINST THE WORDS SET IN STONE UNTIL THE TIME OF OUR EXIT INTO BRAVE NEW BUILT FORM WORLD THUS OUR LITTLE UTOPIAS WE CONSTRUCT WILL ALWAYS REMAIN EITHER MEMORY OR IMAGINATION
CREDITS SOURCES + PRECEDENTS