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David Bly

A r c h i t e c t u r a l Wo r k s

contents T h e s i s : Te x t i l e B o r d e r

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Librar y for Mind & Matter

... 12

A r m a t u r e : W e l d i n g To r c h

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Plumb Creek

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Orlando Natatorium

... 30

N e w n a n’s L a k e

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Te x t i l e


Chair: Lisa Huang C o - ch a i r : M a r t i n G u n d e r s e n Gottfried Semper calls textile foundational to the other activities of making. This is the catalyst for this research. It is an investigation of making and place-making using textile as a foundation. The project begins with the act of spinning wool. By learning to spin and practicing the craft of spinning, we can develop an understanding not only of the different methods of joining fibers together in the making of textiles, but also the underlying mechanics of the spun piece of yarn. This is understanding making at its most fundamental type according to Semper. In order to tie making to place, I use the language of diagramming and drawing to pull an architectural language from the act of spinning. This in turn can be applied to a place, namely the border between the US and Mexico, specifically the portion that is not marked by a geographic feature. It is in these sections of the border between the Pacific Ocean, the Colorado River and the Rio Grande that in the late 19th Century, a series of obelisks were placed to mark the border. The rhythm of the border monuments is strikingly similar to the rhythm of spinning and the friction that holds the fibers of wool together is distinctly analogous to the unique gravity that draws the constructed conditions that give a border its space. This means of making within the context of this place are intended to act as a catalyst for architectural creation.



This drawing shows the location of each border monument through California, Arizona and New Mexico. Note the break between California and Arizona where the Colorado River becomes the border for 24 miles.


These maps show the relationship of the border to the river as well as the agriculture land in contrast to the dried river bed.


The final portion of this project focuses on the 24-mile stretch of the Colorado River where it becomes the border. This site is unique as a part of the border and on its own. In the early 19 th Century, a compact was made between Mexico and all the states which the river passes through dictating how much water each state can take, leaving Mexico with whatever was left. Unfortunately the agreement was made during a surplus season and as a result, the river has since been tapped dry. At the border the last of the river is diverged into canals for California, Arizona and Mexico. What was the mighty Colorado became a dry ghost of a basin. The surrounding land on both sides has all become farmland, growing mostly feed crops. The border no longer corresponds to the river; it has become its own line. Even the dry bed of the river shifted long ago. All these dynamic elements give the space a textile quality. Here I propose a series of pavilions that take up where the monuments leave off. Each pavilion is a culmination of the process of drawing and making that precedes it. They also respond to a name given them, taken from different methods of border control:

Tire Dragging

Air Patrol

The Fence

Search Dogs

Seismic Sensors

Sky Box

The process of naming allows for a conceptual framework to formalize and organize the language of drawing that has developed. There are certain things unique to each pavilion – mostly found through the naming – and there are certain things that tie one to another. While one is not visible from another, there is an implied direction in each that points from one to the other. There is always a source of shade, whether it is built from the ground or a gossamer roof that floats overhead. Each has a source of fresh water and a place for rest, to sit and collect. Each pavilion also has a space for an artist to potentially react to the site. It is a clear part of the ground that has been depressed slightly. Here different artists can be invited to respond with installation or sculptural art-making.


Tire Dragging


Search Planes


The Fence


Library for Mind & Matter C r i t i c s : To d W i l l i a m s , F A I A N a n c y C l a r k This project is a response to a simply programmed library and collection space. The program is centered around a collection of objects, carved walking sticks. The walking stick presents a carved narrative of its owner and user. It behaves as an interface between the traveller and the travelled topography. Two themes drawn from these objects generate the space of this building: carving and topography. Carving affects the shape of the building and the condition of its edges. The walking stick is carved to fit the hand of its owner. Likewise the edges of the building are pushed and pulled to shelter and be occupied. The space is carved to facilitate experience in texture, color and light. The notion of topography comes out in the section. As one moves through the space, inside and out, they are engaged by slightly shifting planes thereby elevating and framing views and defining spaces.


Initial study models and drawings explore the carving of surface and space.








1. 2. 3. 4. 5.


main collection space book collection/reading area map library garden parking/service


Final plan and the context of Gainesville

model in downtown


Section through collection space, entry and reading room





To r c h

C r i t i c s : To d W i l l i a m s , F A I A N a n c y C l a r k The oxyacetylene welding torch is used to attach plates of steel by heating a filler material to a molten state that binds the pieces together. This process creates a seam between the two plates much like a stitch of thread holding two sheets of cloth. The torch is a means of sewing – the weld is the stitch and steel is textile. With this project, the objective was to create an armature for a chosen object, in this case, a welding torch. The armature was stitched together from plates of steel to playfully mimic the act of welding. The finished object was suspended from the wall like a woven tapestry. This duality exhibits the similarities of welding and weaving as well as their qualitative differences: rigid and pliable, hard and soft. It opens a dialogue between the object and that which holds it.


Sketching investigations of different methodologies of jointmaking


P l u m b C r e e k Tr a c t M a s t e r P l a n In Collaboration with: Steven Williams & Mary Carver


Martin Gold

This project is located on a large plot of land east of Gainesville, FL owned by the Plumb Creek Corporation. The premise of the project was to create a master plan for a community of roughly 5,000 people. The site covers approximately 16,000 acres, but the goal was to cover only a small percentage and leave the rest under preservation. The master plan was developed with two other students. Following this, we worked individually on a specific program within the greater context. Our master plan was organized by a series of corridors that divided the space by different programs, means of transportation and the ecology of the site.

The latter part of the project focused on an artist residency within the heart of the plan. An artist residency is usually located in a relatively remote place where artists can go to retreat, reflect and make new work. As an alternative, this space intends to promote a collaborative spirit in art making that engages the public. The plan of the building further reflects this notion by splitting the building into its programmatic components and stitching it back together with exterior space.


Overview of the site showing the land owned by Plumb Creek (in grey) as well as some speculations towards siting the master plan.

Master Plan showing the division of space and density.


Diagrams showing from top to bottom, the dense core, lower density perimeter, and the corridors transecting the plan



The public face of the arts residency is its gallery. The material juxtaposition embeds transparency within stereotomy – public exhibiting space is woven into private working space. Around the exterior are gardens where artists can experiment with plants for natural dyes or pigments as well as work outdoors.


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

2 1


1 8



Level 2

Gallery Porch Studio Residence #1 Residence #2 Residence #3 Residence #4 Workshop




Level 3


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 1




Library Workshop Residence #5 Residence #6 Studio


Level 4


Roof Plan

The building intends to use the basic language of architecture to engage the artist. It is not a work of art itself, rather using surface and light it is a bare canvas built to receive the artist’s work.


O r l a n d o

N a t a t o r i u m

C r i t i c s : M i ch a e l Ku e n s t l e M a r k M c G l o t h l i n The Orlando Natatorium is a monumental space for swimming, gathering and serving the surrounding community. It is a social space and a monument. It serves to engage the city and interact with its occupants. The building sits in contrast to the landscape and creates a dialogue between the two. The natatorium is a series of volumes enclosed by a layered skin. The skin creates a sense of intrigue or mystery and hides the nature of the volumes. This with the gently sloping landscape engages visitors and reveals the entry. Inside, occupants are presented with the phenomenal qualities of the space. The exterior is about skin and surface while the interior is about clarity and light. The skin filters light and cast patterns in the spaces that begin to express circulation and ideas of public and private spaces. Light wells open up the ceilings and allow for large washes of light. The main entry is enclosed by a large curved space with a clerestory light opening at the top. With the passage of time, the light passes from the playful skin to the soft gradient of the clerestory. The light gives a dynamic, cinematic quality to the space. The transparent and opaque qualities of the skin as well as a monumental light well divide the pool spaces into programs of diving and swimming. The nature of the monument is autonomous and tends to be disengaging and inaccessible. The goal of this space is to find the positive qualities of monumentality [iconic forms, intrigue, identity] and resolve them with an engaging space – a space for light, gathering, swimming, play, experience. It is a marriage of public space and private experience.



Plan: Level 1


Section through entry

Light study showing different conditions of light through the day Plan: Level 2






N e w n a n ’s L a k e P e r f o r m a n c e S p a c e Critic:

Nina Hofer

This is a space for the One Drop Foundation, a nonprofit group founded by Cirque Du Soleil’s Guy Laliberte that provides access to fresh water for developing nations. It is a facility for performance and teaching set in the unique hydrological landscape around Newnan’s Lake outside of Gainesville, Florida. It is intended to raise awareness to global water shortages in a place where fresh water is abundant just below the grounds surface. This project was realized in a series of speculative drawings that explore light and experience as it affects architecture and place. The drawings were informed by the performance of tisu or aerial silk, an acrobatic dance between a gymnast and draping sheets of textile.









Architecture Portfolio  
Architecture Portfolio  

A collection of work from my graduate study in the Core M. Arch program at the University of Florida