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ARC5002// studio design

{living + working in digbeth}


This publication represents the development of the ARC5002 studio design project over the semester through extensive process drawings and visualisations. Included within it are sheets from the day-one charrette at Glen Howells studios, presentation sheets from masterplanning to detail development formative review work and beyond. While I have been trying to develop my CAD work in both drafting, modelling and visualisation, I have also extensively developed my own hand drawing technique and theoretical resolve aiming to strengthen the concept of my masterplan for the site in Digbeth.


DIGBETH COLOUR// Digbeth has a a rich heritage over the past hundred years, producing a range of products and a certain community spirit that can only be created in an inner-city industrial centre. Metalwork was a prime manufacture in the area and I wondered, how can I create a contrast from the stereotypical Digbeth image? The answer was textiles and more specifically, organic cotton production, a complete contrast to the unsustainable, dirty industry that helped to shape Digbeth. I concluded that textiles production could elevate Digbeth and essentially re-birth it into the cultural, art centre that it is fast becoming in the twentyfirst century. This also lead towards the ideal of the ‘creative community’, a romantic image that is projected stereotypically into areas of London, I aim to bring this ideal into the centre of Birmingham through the redevelopment of the site through creative design in all aspects of its make-up.

Pre-dominantly, Digbeth is inherited by Victorian redbrick buildings, that represent the local verncaular of the area and readily available materials at the time. The buildings have an ad-hoc feel to them with some being erratically placed where other follow a rigid pattern, such as Digbeth High Street. Through the introduction of a specific colour, this could help redevelop the sites image as well as Birmingham as a whole. Orange represents a playful approach to the site, wanting to bring extroverted individuals to rejuvenate the area. A touch of warmth to an otherwise red bricked and concrete landscape. The concept was to subtely introduce into the daily lives of residents and passers-by through detail development, the lining on a window sill, the colour of an area of ceiling, this would effectively brighten both interior and exterior spaces. Whereas on the exteriors of key buildings panels of extreme colour would be built into the fabric of the building , for example providing a striking visual presence when looking out over Digbeth from Birmingham city centre or the Bullring, the site could be seen from far away. I wanted to attract a mix of residents to the site, from young families that can be housed in the terraced housing overlooking a village green-esquw environment to students and young singles and couples that have residence in the part of the housing development I chose to develop further after the initial masterplan phase. The building contains one + two bedroom apartments as well as student ‘studio’ flats that have gantry level access to studios on the other side of the site. Moving architecture is the way forward into the main portion of the twenty-first century, experimentations in form and function are becoming two-dimensionally obsolete with designers and architects starting the experiment with kinetic movement within projects reacting to touch, sound, light and time to name but some of the parameters taht can affect architecture today. A building will experience different stages in it’s life and it has to be able to evolve just as a human being will grow and develop in an organic way. I wanted my building to have a first stage approach to a relatively new medium within architecture with an interactive facade and ground floor plane strenghtening the relationship with the urban grain of the city.

JAC DOODY April 2014

The ground floor plane of a building is important, it represents a structures relationship with the public street and those who inhabit it, with the housing I chose to develop it occupied a unique location in that it could be viewed from all angles, under the viaduct towards Selfridges and towards Hotel La Tour from the North. I chose to raise the building onto a series of pilotis so that the building would appear to float from far away, the structural column network is supported by an interactive ‘pin tectonic’ that landscapes the ground floor into a ‘maze’ that guides users through into the site beyond through a meandering route, it also blocks direct access into the site so as to encourage urban exploration. The pin tectonics also disguise the columns that support the building. These can be reconfigured to provide different spatial feelings, from an open space that could be used for a public art exhibition to closed bike storage. This kind of moving architecture helps to engage the public with an otherwise private housing block, hopefully bringing extra publicity and interest into the sites industrial + commerical services.

day-one charrette

exploring concepts and approaches 4


living & working in digbeth




living & working in digbeth


programme development

generating factory renovation interior {modern + traditional cotton mill}


masterplan development programme placement + building silhouettes being discovered



living & working in digbeth




living & working in digbeth

site section

mapping + representing the relationship between different parts of the sites proposed layout


housing development

moving into the development of the chosen housing portion of the masterplan for the site; I chose to develop a mixed-use block. with student housing and private apartments contained in one massing module. The following works describes my design process 14


living & working in digbeth

facade treatments and interactive relationships

the initial concept was to create a city in the sky, with different dispergent elements joined by precarious gantries that ascend the realm of streetside movement, with curious viewpoints being created and a playful interactive element to the project. facades are designed to move with the time of day and year, providing an evolving and invigorating outlook for creatives that live within the site community.




living & working in digbeth

site section + diagramming

providing a site section illustrates the relationship between the social, production, commerical and residential areas of the site. Also initial ideas for the relationship of levels between the housing project indicates a development of a free ground floor and an interactive facade element.


construction detailing + elevation treatment

concentrating on construction and elevation development I decided on a MET-SEC steel framing system, that is supported by steel rendered columns, included in the facade are fabric sails that react to light levels and human intervention increasing interaction between the building and the residents that reside there.



living & working in digbeth




living & working in digbeth


floor plans-

each floor plan is bespoke, with student rooms laid out around a community space that does not revolve around the corridor that conventional student flats are laid out around. Rooms are generous in size and some have exits onto the gantries leading to the studios.



living & working in digbeth

exploded isometric

showing the internal make up of the building and how it relates to the surrounding urban context; the columns provide a see-through into the main square of the site. A roof garden occupies the student block providing tantalising views onto the site and the cityscape that envelopes the area.


long section-

a partial long section of the proposal shows the activity and how spaces are layered on top of each other. The mezzanine level within the private apartments resonates with the playful level changes within the building, with bedrooms containing a second mezzanine that is made possible because of the 4 metre floor to ceiling height.



living & working in digbeth




living & working in digbeth


elevation detail

the elevations of the building have interesting shows of colour with the orange rainscreens that occupy the lower floor looking onto the street, reflecting the light with a warm glow. The moveable panels also serve to strengthen the relationship with the loom. shedding, a process on all looms, seperates the yarn from each other making a fabric weave. The panels can open and close making the gantries a public street or a private entryway, seperating different types of space from one another.



living & working in digbeth


perspective views-

showing a variety of views from different angles serves to strengthen the atmosphere of what I’m trying to create with my development. The top view illustrates a summers afternoon with an art festival happening on site. The open space could be re-configured to be used for a music venue and stage. The studs in the floor would retract giving maximum space for visitors to get from the site under the viaduct into city centre.



living & working in digbeth

construction section-

this 1:20 construction detail shows the make up of the buildings exterior walls and structural grid that holds the building up. A MET-SEC steel frame holds the exterior skin of the building aloft. The moveable panels are controlled with an ARDUINO control unit, that reacts to light to automatically re-adjust the panels, these can also be controlled by human intervention.




living & working in digbeth

environmental design-

environmentally the building aims to be self sufficient in terms of energy and water usage. The apartment block has photovoltaic solar panels on the roof to maximise solar gain from the south facade. All gutters run into a central water tank; the water is then treated and can be used for washing, cleaning and other uses.




living & working in digbeth

{initial site drawing} ‘untitled’



printed by:

ARC5002// studio design publication Jac Doody S11709917 April 2014

ARC5002 Review  

A culmination of process work for my major studio design project of the year.

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