DOMINIC ANTHONY LACIVITA JR PORTFOLIO | SUMMER 2012
PORTFOLIO Dominic A Lacivita Jr Student, Drexel University Philadelphia, Pennsylvania THE JOSEPH L. + VIVIAN E. STEELE ARCHITECTURE SCHOLARSHIP The Foundation for Enhancing Communities Summer 2012
DESIGN STUDIO COURSES STUDIO 1-A
ADESIGN TECHNIQUE COURSES
ARCHITECTURAL DRAWING I
ARCHITECTURAL DRAWING II
INTRO TO CADD I
INTRO TO CADD II
DIGITAL DESIGN TOOLS
COMPUTER APPLICATIONS IN ARCHITECTURE II
DESIGN HISTORY + THEORY COURSES ARCHITECTURE + SOCIETY I
ARCHITECTURE + SOCIETY II
ARCHITECTURE + SOCIETY III
HISTORY OF MODERN DESIGN
HISTORY OF PHILADELPHIA ARCHITECTURE
EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES IN ARCHITECTURE
SPIRITUAL CENTER AT DREXEL UNIVERSITY
This assignment was a challenge to design a spiritual space where form is the primary driver of the spiritual experience, while still maintaining a high level of function for community program. On this highly constrained site near residential neighborhoods just north of the University, there was an exceptional amount of proposed program to be organized in the allotted space. Through a comprehensive series of study models and concept sketches, my final idea was a simple one – separate the spiritual space from everything else and then reinforce the constant visual linkage of the large, sculptural mass that encompasses the main worship space, an exterior spiritual area, and an auditorium below. This mass is highlighted by a thin atrium that folds around the mass. The edge of the atrium is defined by the horizontal circulation. I used Stephen Holl’s D.E. Shaw headquarters in New York and Massimo Fuksas’s San Paolo parish complex in Foligno, Italy as precedent studies on material, light, and spirituality. The volume of the spiritual center is enveloped by a six-layer wall with a white concrete cover. Voids and extrusions allow an interesting play of shadow and diffused light to create a sense of purity and abstraction. While the exterior spiritual space is open above with the sky being the only thing visible, the interior space, conversely, is defined by a heavy mass lingering over the users. The spaces are accessed by traversing small bridges across the thin atrium to eliminate the need for vertical circulation within the sculptural mass. Other program elements are organized along the horizontal circulation space, including community exhibition and gathering area on the ground floor, while lounges and multiple group/ conference rooms make up the other floors. There is a restaurant on the top floor, with one of the best views of the city’s skyline.
STEELE ARCHITECTURE SCHOLARSHIP | LACIVITA 01
SENIOR HOUSING COMPLEX AT HAVERFORD COLLEGE
As a site planning assignment in a northeast climate, students were to analyze and explore where to locate senior housing at the edge of a small suburban campus. The complex is for the elderly - alumni, professors, and even students -of Haverford College just outside of Philadelphia. This site has a large pond at the end of a long, open lawn that is adjacent to the main street of the town. Locating the area to place the series of buildings was perhaps the most difficult part of the project. I had to weigh pros and cons on whether or not I should take down trees at the edge of the adjacent forest or if I should disrupt the lawn. I chose the former on the basis that the great lawn is a gem to the college and to the neighborhood. I decided to develop and design my series of buildings to be part of the forest, by replanting more trees amidst the complex. This also creates and more comfortable space for residents as well as aides in reducing their relatively large scale in comparison Ultimately, I designed four similar buildings, but each very specific to its location on the site. Each step down with the topography towards the pond, creating floor offsets and more uniqueness to each unit. The vertical offsets created offer possibilities of creating a covered entry by the road and a double-height community space by the pond. All of the complexâ€™s thirty-six units are situated in a way where each can steal a view of the pond. Parking is placed to give reasonable proximity to the residences, which reinforcing the idea of the arc placement and circulation of the design. In essence, this project is comfortable living in the woods.
STEELE ARCHITECTURE SCHOLARSHIP | LACIVITA 02
SENIOR HOUSING COMPLEX
IN TUCSON, ARIZONA
In terms of site planning, this project has a very unusual climate for a student accustomed to the northeast. This is a senior housing complex in Tucson, Arizona for the elderly with associations with the University of Arizona. A look was taken towards sustainability and community. Under the particularly different site conditions, I conducted a more extensive climate data study than I normally would for a project. Extremes in heat and in cold and low humidity are just a few factors that had to be taken into account for this design. My concept of “community and comfort” is carried though the project from the units to the site plan. The most important driver of my solution was the prevailing winds, which come from the southeast direction all year. The angle of the buildings is based on this wind direction as well as gives the central courtyard the only good view from the site – mountains in the distance to the northeast. This courtyard is based upon the idea of reinforcing community in the central location where all circulation routes go through. On the ground floor, housing units exist only at the extremities, creating an unobstructed space to allow the winds to penetrate through the courtyard. Couple this with evaporative cooling from the shallow pools and ample shading, the central community space would be a comfortable place to be in this desert environment. This airflow is even emphasized by a simple gesture to mold the earth from the completely flat site to slop up towards the site dividing walls. This also allows the first floor level to be propped up several feet from ground level, creating more space for the semi-underground parking and enabling it to be open and airy on the sides. Also using light wells from the courtyard, the parking resultantly reflects the building parti and reinforces the concept of my design. By removing parking from the surface and with three-story buildings, my site is very minimal on impervious coverage. The units are also organized in a manner where the living and dining spaces are part of an open floor plan, where air movement easily cuts though the unit when the entry and balcony walls are opened up. Although the units opposite the courtyard are purposely misaligned for privacy, the offset is minimal enough to allow an air flow that makes the entire complex one system. STEELE ARCHITECTURE SCHOLARSHIP | LACIVITA 03
CULIINARY ARTS COLLEGE IN UNIVERSITY CITY, PHILADELPHIA
As part of an AISC competition this past year, I was challenged to design a facility to house a college for culinary arts. Beyond kitchens and classrooms, the program required a large lecture space, a library, and a restaurant. However, the most important part of this competition is the steel structure of the design. The site is currently a parking lot on one of the city’s major axes, near downtown. I determined that this building should be designed as a “bookend” building, with seven floors to compare to context. This height provided me the space to create a continuation of a park two blocks to the south. Both have a large train trestle running through them, which encouraged my decision to use a completely glass wall on the western side - to face out towards the park, the steel highline, and to implement on a large scale a double-skin unitized glass panel system. The building is designed with one strip of program per floor on the inner side. This allows light to easily penetrate though the west facade, through the corridor, and into the rooms. The street facades are composed of perforated metal panels to also let diffused light through, but more importantly to make the facade appear more solid during the day and to emphasize the brand of the college at night by making the street frontage light up through the panels. My overall goal was to create an identity for this new college in a district with many other already established institutions.
The idea of structure for this building is to utilize long trusses, floor to floor height, on every other floor for the length of the building. This emphasizes the steel technology and corresponds to the industrial nature of kitchens, and also creates open expanses on the opposite floors. Supported by large columns on each end, these trusses support beams that cross the narrow width of the building to carry the floor plates. The design is very simple, with a single loaded corridor along the glass wall. This allows all of the building to have a large amount of natural light, controllable by operable louvers and shades integrated in the window units. During the day, this facade is smooth on the surface, yet textured of the louvers. The same facade becomes very animated in the evening, with the program inside becoming distinguishable from the exterior, particularly with the more active double-height program. STEELE ARCHITECTURE SCHOLARSHIP | LACIVITA 04
AT DREXEL UNIVERSITY
As in introduction into designing mixed use development, we were given a site on campus to propose a solution for a moderate dormitory for students. Its primary purpose was housing and, while the other options were open choice, many of my peers and I decided to add amenities such as bike storage, laundry, fitness center, educational spaces and seminar rooms, a food court, a cafĂŠ, study lounges and group work rooms. In essence, this project was meant to be a haven for living, learning, studying, and collaborating on campus. The site concept is relatively straightforward. The basic form is a C-shape to create a welcoming courtyard in the middle. This opening faces an athletic field opposite the street in an attempt to create a dialogue among the openness and nearly constant activity of the field. The skyscrapers of the city can also be seen in that direction. The site slopes up towards the north - enough vertical change to add a level below grade at the south end. This new level, additionally, allows the courtyard to be terraced down a level from grade and bring light into the semi-recessed floor. This slope also helps reinforce my design by keeping the dorm at the campus scale. The C-shape building form is composed of three bars, each of which step up one additional floor. This creates moments where each bar is similar in height to its adjacent building. The building itself is laid out very simply. The open face on the recessed floor level includes a supply store and a grocer open to the public, while the rest of that floor contains the institutional program and cafĂŠ. The main level is a mixture of general-public and resident-public space, with a food court, fitness center, laundry, and a large event space. The next two to four floors above that are student rooms, workspaces, and lounges, located to encourage community and collaboration.
STEELE ARCHITECTURE SCHOLARSHIP | LACIVITA 05
RUINS TO RESIDENCE
This project was both very simple, yet very challenging – it is the typical student assignment to create a building within an area surrounded by a tall wall with a main entrance and one end and a service entrance at the other. In my case, I was to design a house with various program including areas like quarters for a groundskeeper and a library. The only stipulation was that an inhabitant of the space could not be allowed the opportunity to view over the wall. Overall, the residence was to be designed for entertaining guests. The required square footage we were given was relatively large in comparison to the confines of the wall, and since my initial desire was to have generous open space for the occupant and his guests, I needed an ingenious idea that would counteract this contradiction. Although I had considered building two stories early on, I quickly realized that the average user of the house would be tall enough to peer though any glazing over the twelve foot high wall when occupying the second floor. Unacceptable. Back at the drawing board I played with ideas, but constantly desired to design a house comfortable enough that required two floors. I then realized that we were simply given a “ruined wall,” but no more information about it. Therefore, I was allowed to assume that the footers went deeper into the earth, which allowed me the three feet I needed to sink the building into the earth to have the second floor. I was the only student in my studio to come up with that solution. The actual house is arranged through a series of spaces that each have their own personality and characteristics, from the guest entry greeting a user with luscious trees, followed down past the modest gardens and into the main courtyard, boasting a reflecting pool and a generous gathering space. A user can continue through the site back up to a shallow lounge pool or go into the modern residence, where the first floor contains all of the public spaces from the library and sculpture garden, the dining and kitchen, and living spaces – all linked to the outside by floor to ceiling glazing. The private quarters are on the second floor.
STEELE ARCHITECTURE SCHOLARSHIP | LACIVITA 06
IN AN URBAN SETTING
photovoltiac panels water collection green roof green wall angled windows
As a residential project, I was to explore the design and spatial development of a duplex in an urban setting with a northeast climate. As a studio, the entire class collaborated and developed a neighborhood using traditional Philadelphia street types and philosophies, in which each student would have a plot to design housing for various people. Mine happened to be a family of four that rents out the secondary unit to a student or young couple. Starting with the conceptual idea of “linked separation,” my design requires the two units to be highly intertwined in the making of good space, while keeping each very comfortably separated. For example, each unit’s vertical circulation core is clustered together, but the three-bed unit is offset a halffloor from the single-bed unit. This dynamic helps encourage healthier relationships between tenants. The smaller unit is very simple – two floors with the bedroom area lofted into the living area, which a kitchen and patio area in the back. The larger unit is the much more exciting one, mostly due to the increased program. To begin, my plot happened to be on the corner, allowing me to have larger side windows to the street, and by angling them to the south, could direct sunlight into the double-height entry space of the unit. The bottom floor of this space houses the living area, while the second floor includes a family room with a deck, office, laundry closet, kitchen, and dining. The top floor includes a roof deck and the three bedrooms, most of which are now above the smaller unit. This project was an early exploration of sustainable features during my studio career. This building boasts many of the typical green design ideals, including a green roof and wall for water collection and reduction of heat gain, photovoltaic panels to capture energy from the sun, water collection from the sloped roofs, and window placements that bring in southern light when desired and angles to help deflect harsh western light.
STEELE ARCHITECTURE SCHOLARSHIP | LACIVITA 07
AS CRAFT, FORM , + FUNCTION
By using only thin pieces of wood, paper, pins, and string – no glue – students were given the assignment to create a form to hold an egg as a display. This was an exercise in form and craft, built upon by a set of restrictions. Beyond the allowed material list, the egg was to be as visible as possible and the container had to be stable in at least three different positions. Additionally, under no circumstances, could the egg touch the surface the container was placed on, whether or not it is on a stable side. During review, instructors would turn them every which way and even shake them to see if the egg would fall out as a measure of design integrity. From the very beginning, I took the idea of making the egg as visible as possible and just ran with it. My design incorporates a simple rectangular frame, finely notched and pinned at the joints. The egg was then beautifully suspended in the middle by a minimal amount of eight tension joints with paper holders that wrap around the precious egg to hold it firmly in place. Not only is the egg on display, but it is also part of the structure; once the entire assembly was competed, the strings and egg act together as a single structural unit and ties the frame together and prevents the container from issues like racking. Needless to say, my egg container design surpassed expectations and requirements. As a recurring theme of my work, the simple and minimal design is highly functional in respect to the problem requirements. The egg was, by far, the heaviest item in the design, and with help from its perfect center of gravity this design could stand on not only all six sides of the rectangle, but also on any of the four edges created by the extending frame – a total of twelve possibilities! This project, although non-architectural, is a great representation of my style as a designer.
STEELE ARCHITECTURE SCHOLARSHIP | LACIVITA 08
HALLWAY INSTALLATION MAKING A PLACE
This project is a focus in materials and connections, and how to effectively use an art installation to change a spatial experience of a place – a relatively plain hallway in this case. My installation happened to be at the end of the corridor we were modifying, where other students were creating their own. The plot I was given to build in was rather unusual – an intersection at the end and with a column in the middle of the space. This space was awkward and difficult. It required days of staring and sketching to even come up with a preliminary design. Eventually, an idea arose that didn’t actually use the column itself, but instead replicates the column in an unusual manner. This design is based just as much on the spatial experience as it is on the conceptual manner of its design. Spatially, a user of the hallway finds this column typical – just a plain concrete element of the corridor. It is passed by – ignored every day – except when something is too large to pass between it and the wall. The idea of the installation was to pull a new representation off the original column and create awareness that there is a column there, and its importance to the integrity of the building as a whole. This representation is designed in a way to appear is if it is materializing from the existing column, which would allow the users and passersby to glimpse into the artistic depiction of the column. The outer shell is composed of scored cardboard to give a clean exterior to the column, while the inner workings include metal mesh and paper to represent the mixture of aggregate, cement, and rebar that work together to make the column. Finally, in the very core is a long copper tube, placed to illustrate the soul and importance of the column – a piece of beauty that is revealed only though a users interaction with the outer materials, just as the importance of this one actual column to the entire structure of the building is not always apparent – it is simply just a column in the middle of the hallway.
STEELE ARCHITECTURE SCHOLARSHIP | LACIVITA 09
TRAVELING AS AN ART EXPERIENCES ARE KEY
My early architectural and academic talents were based on a self-taught expression of ideals of space and volume. I had no training and no knowledge of how to view a building as a diagram of space. I was rarely able to distinguish a structure on the basis of its era, culture, or technology. Within the past three years, I have gained an immense amount of knowledge through studios, reading, and coursework. My eyes have been opened up through text and imagery, but is nothing like experiencing the context, scale, detail, materiality, and mass— just a few qualities of any design— of a space while being there in person. I have been inspired and have seen so many architectural ideas and concepts with my own eyes. As a result, I have been able to first-handedly evaluate and judge their success. Traveling to more places can only expand this knowledge and further define my architectural ideologies. My current basic conceptualization of design theories will undoubtedly become more refined and cohesive after visiting more sites, both historic and contemporary. I do not want to simply design buildings, I want to own specific design theories; these will define my career and indicate my desire to create spaces to better mankind, technically and socially. I have travelled through these past few years by using my academic breaks as opportunities to explore - Always road trips and always financially feasible. From Boston to Los Angeles and as far south as Miami (and many spaces in between), space and place is meant to be explored From cities to the landscape, there are always lessons to be learned. I find the logistics of traveling on tight financial constraints to be another art in itself, and I take that very seriously. It is difficult as a student to personally fund all of my trips, but my zealous desire to travel and see the world around me perseveres over that hurdle. I am both an extremely independent person and a financial conservative. These qualities have made traveling possible for me in the past and I know will aid me in my future endeavors. Why? Because experiences are the most important companion to an architect’s career, and this is a testament to that.
STEELE ARCHITECTURE SCHOLARSHIP | LACIVITA 10