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[ drew allen ] academic portfolio

contact information _drew allen 1777 williams st #301 denver, co 80206 t: 760.468.1401 e:

portfolio index 01 :: curriculum vitae resumé + project experiences 02 :: experimental playground [ year five ] design + build project for underprivelaged community | south tucson 03 :: digital newsstand [ year four ] proposed “object” that could improve the quality of urban life 04 :: southern arizona performance lab [ year four ] competition for innovative performing arts center | downtown tucson 05 :: stressed skin canteliever [ year three ] design, fabrication, + testing of structural principles 06 :: tucson children’s library [ year three ] infill project | downtown tucson 07 :: urban recharge [ year four ] abstract study of urban revitalization strategy | tucson, arizona 08 :: [ detroit ] center for the culinary arts [ year five ] senior thesis _ social + urban revitalization | detroit, michigan

background education


_bachelor’s of architecture degree _university of arizona class of 2012 honors _university of arizona dean’s list _spring 2008 _spring 2010 _fall 2011

professional _allen light industrial + custom homes [20022006] _focus :: tiling, framing, cabinetry, welding general work experience _jw marriott at starr pass [05.2009 - 06.2012] _home depot [06.2008 - 08.2008] _legoland california [05.2007 - 08.2007] _sourdough pizza co. [ 04.2006 - 08.2006]

software literacy _autocad architecture _rhinoceros 4.0 _vray _grasshopper _geco _revit architecture _adobe creative suite

_ecotect _sketchup _idx renderer _3ds max _maya _madcam _microsoft office

leadership _american institute of architecture students [aias] _university of arizona chapter president [2011 - 2012] _university of arizona chapter vice president [2010 - 2011] _national accreditation review conference task force _national forum conference committee [2011] _[can] struction team captain [2011]


languages _proficient in written + conversational spanish travels _europe _england, france, spain, switzerland, netherlands, italy, germany, austria, czech republic _south america _brazil, argentia _north america _vancouver, montreal, quebec city, toronto


curriculum vitae


university of arizona design studio

year 5 _social/urban revitalization in detroit, mi _senior thesis _playground prototype _design build studio year 4 _adaptable.ecological.interchange _future sonoran desert city _southern arizona performance lab _performance theatre complex year 3 _tucson children’s library _infill project in downtown tucson _cultural center of abuja, nigeria _lyceum competition _rio nuevo district development _design/masterplan of district in tucson _tucson mountain observatory _small dwelling in the tucson mountains year 2 _verizon corporate offices _office building in tucson _cohousing _rethinking traditional desert living _southern arizona science center _infill project in downtown tucson year 1 _foundation design + drawing principles _intro to design, drawing, + drafting skills

structures + materials

year 4 _costruction documents _develop cd set for small residence _steel towers _design, build, + test 8’ steel tower structure _concrete form _design, build, + test fabric form concrete _building systems _basic mechanical systems year 3 _cantilever _design, build, + test 8’ stressed skin cantilever _open air pavillions + tower _design + build small scale projects year 2 _one way span _design, build, + test one way span trusses _elevated block _design + build strategy to elevate wood block off of wooden base _masonry wall _design + build full scale masonry wall


principals + theories of urban form [year 4] _emphasis on successful urban fabric biomimetics [year 4] _emphasis on natural forms + implementing them within an installation design communications [years 2 + 3] _emphasis on software + presentation environmental control systems [years 2 + 3] _emphasis on passive systems architectural history [years 2 + 3] _emphasis on influential projects

project overview

university of arizona college of architecture professor chris trumble arc451 | design building studio [studio play] medium :: rhinoceros 4.0, autocad, cnc routing, site cast concrete, steel frames + composite decking, fabric formed concrete panels This design/build project for an underserved South Tucson community was spearheaded by professor Chris Trumble in conjunction with the Arizona’s Children Association. The project began as a blank slate August of 2011 and is expected to reach full completion by March of 2012. As a studio of nineteen, collaboration and coordination were of the utmost importance. We began in the initial schematic phases and quickly moved into construction and shop drawings and had officially broken ground by early October. At the same time, it was vital to keep our client, the Arizona Children’s Association, up to date with periodic reviews of drawings, models, and ideas. The driving concept for the playground was to create a play environment that fostered creativity and exploration. First, a canyon was created through the site via two intricately patterned retaining walls [known as “the walrus”] that serve as cognitive stimuli and foster tactile exploration. This canyon was then spanned by steel frames to serve as climbing structures across the site [known as “the tarantula”]. My primary roles within the project were leading the design and construction of the walrus in collaboration with Ashley Loberg and André Rodrigue, leading final on-site grading, initial overall site design with Tyler Jorgenson and Kevin Moore, fabricating and troubleshooting handrail/barrier fabrication, building code research, and the design and production of shop


experimental playground

movement climbing running hanging grasping stepping following


12'-6 3/8"


AL3 4
























social interaction companion association communication teamwork sharing competition fantasy + imagination inspiration curiousity excitement abstraction expression invigoration







AT22 AT3

AT24 AT6


2 1'-9"


AT11 AT1

03 ref. pt

2'-9 7/8"

multi-sensory olfactory cognition visualization tactile sensation differentiation 9 7/8"

9 7/8"

multi-use exploration manipulation recognition location translation construction

90 째 86 째

16'-4 1/4"

performance criteria



The playground was targeted specifically for 2 to 5 year old children as per the request of the client. Each element is specifically designed for the ergonomics of a child within this age category. Due to the psycological and physical development during this age, it was also vital to fascilitate changes in mobility and cognition through a specific list of performance criteria.

transverse section looking east



south wall _ segment 2 _ canyon side elevation

south wall _ segment 4 _ canyon side elevation

south wall tactile experience

In the very early stages of the project our studio established a set of performance criteria for the playground through several meetings with the client and child experts. This list of criteria acted as the primary design driver for the entire project. By meeting as many of these criteria as possible with each element, we ensured that the playground appealed to children as they develop from the toddler age through that of a preschooler. The interactive walls incorporate visual, tactile, and cognitive stimuli as well as opportunities for climbing.

Some of the generators for the patterning of the walrus were an abstracted figure/ground of south tucson, braille lettering of varying sizes, hand/footholds for climbing, tracing lines, and a projected image of a dinosaur that can only be seen from a child’s perspective at a particular point. The entire process from design through completion of the walrus took approximately two and a half months and consisted of schematic design, three-dimensional modeling, cnc routing form-liners, and finally on-site construction, including formwork and three separate pours for the concrete.

excerpts from barrier shop drawing set

south wall conceptual rendering + tarantula integration

construction process

south wall _ segment 2 _ looking east

project overview

university of arizona college of architecture professor pavel getov arc471 | theory + principal of urban design medium :: rhinoceros 4.0, v-ray, photoshop, illustrator, indesign This two week charrette was aimed at creating an “urban object� in Tucson that would enhance the quality of life for the general populous. We began the project exploring what we felt is necessary to a quality life and then followed this excercise by articulating this theory through a proposed form. A quality life cannot be fully experienced behind a cubicle wall or within the confines of an office building. Instead, it becomes essential to get out of one’s predefined areas of their day and to be actively engaged with their surroundings. In order to experience this quality of life through a proposed urban object, the object must bring the nine to five workers of downtown Tucson out from their offices and into an area that mixes them with their city and other people. It is vital that people are engaged with eachother and their community so as to experience a level of life that cannot be acheived at a desk. The idea for a digital newsstand stems from the fact that the majority of people no longer take the time to read a newspaper, but instead receive their updates about current events via television and internet. This trend has isolated people because they can receive such information in an solitary state within their living rooms or offices. The digital newsstand embraces the idea that we live in a digital age, but attempts to give people a place to gather around the common interest of information.


digital newsstand

inspiration images

conceptual proposal rendering

project overview

university of arizona college of architecture professor bob joyce arc401 | systems design studio medium :: rhinoceros 4.0, autocad, v-ray, photoshop, illustrator, indesign, model board, mylar, aluminum mesh

This project was designed for the “Ideal Theatre Competition” of 2011. The site was located at the edge of the downtown district of Tucson, AZ and was meant to not only make an urban statement for the city, but also to bring the theatrical arts from the stage to the streets of the city. Programmatically, the complex is oriented with the most public amenities along Congress and Broadway (the two busiest streets of the area) and the back of house areas and classrooms located along the neighborhood streets. The complex was designed to be highly experimental and to promote technology and exploration within the theatrical arts. This was primarily accomplished through the “flexible thrust” stage configuration of the primary theatre, where the stage was broken up into a series of 10 x 10 platforms of hydraulic lifts. This allows the stage to take an infinite number of configurations and levels. The experience of the patron was broken down into three parts: the approach, the arrival, and the act, each being an experience of going to the theatre. The approach is defined by the articulation of the fragmented stage across the facade of the building and the landscape. The arrival is articulated by the sculptural staircase that brings the theatergoer from the street up into the primary space. Finally, the act is the theatre itself, which acts as an ever changing set piece.


southern arizona performance lab

primary programs :: first level (01) yoga studio (02) costume fabrication (03) laundromat (04) green room + breakout space (05) make-up (06) dressing (07) loading docks (08) set + prop fabrication (09) primary theatre (10) set storage (11) film editing (12) film editing (13) box office + admin (14) south lobby (15) north lobby (16) film screening (17) restaurant

site + first level plan

approaching view







11 14



2 4 3





second level plan

16 10 9



19 15 17





7 2


6 14


primary programs :: second level [01] rehearsal space [02] classroom [03] classroom [04] classroom [05] private rehearsal rooms [06] music rehearsal [07] electronic music labs [08] electronic music labs [09] rehearsal space [10] recording studio [11] storage [12] primary theatre [13] sound + lighting control [14] outdoor bar [15] main lobby [16] service corridor [17] lobby bar + concessions [18] experimental theatre space [19] gallery + donor’s area

arrival view with sculptural staircase


transverse section through primary theatre looking south


longitudinal building section looking west

transverse section through secondary theatres looking north

One of of key elements of the design was that of the primary theatre space. The stage was divided into a grid of platoforms that could be raised or lowered via hydrolic lifts. In doing so, the stage increases it’s adaptability and allows for numerous blocking variations. The lighting strategies were designed in a collaborative effort of University of Arizona theatre students to allow for limitless configurations accross the ceiling. The backdrop for the stage is also based on a grid system to incorporate either lighting or backdrops for numerous types of performances CATIONAL PRODUCT

view of primary theatre with flexible stage

hvac systems supply + return with handlers

One of the primary tasks that our studio was charged with on this project was to comprehensively integrate building systems into the design. The program itself was over 70,000 square feet and we were asked design and include all structural, hvac, plumbing, electrical, and circulatory systems. This became an especially tall order because of the highly public and highly private program areas, spanning a major public street, and accomodating various programs, including performance theatres, classrooms, restaurants, and studios among others.

stuctuctural system column grid + lobby bridge

vertical circulation primary, emergency, + mechanical

physical models full building with site + detail of western skin system

In Tucson, the western facade of buildings is usually one of the most critical to protect because of the harsh western sun that dominates the area much of the year. Ideally, one would favor the southern sun with the majority of the building facade. However, the site conditions did not permit this, so new strategies had to be devised. First, a zinc panelled skin system protects the majority of the building. This is pulled away from the building envelope to create a twelve inch air gap. Additionally, the service corridor is located along this entire wall so as to provide additional protection for the primary public spaces.

western facade skin detail exploded axon, wall section, + connection detail

project overview

university of arizona college of architecture professor chris trumble arc322 | structure + technology medium :: rhinoceros 4.0, autocad, adobe illustrator, oak plywood, fiber glass, resin

The aim of this project was to utilize one of three systems [light framing, glue lamination, or stressed skin] in order to create an eight foot wooden canteliever that would resist high levels of force and stress. In collaboration with Dana Decuzzi and Jay Bills, we created a stressed skin canteliever through a combination of layered plywood and fiber glass and resin strips. The outer plywood layers were formed around minimal framing in order to gain form. In order to optimize the system, the plywood was layered at the points of highest stress. By creating a form specific system we strenthened the weakest points of the skin while minimizing the material at points where less was required. In order to bind the material along the seems we utilized fiber glass with resin strips. In doing so, we continued the layered system of the skin, thus keeping the forces moving through the surface as fluidly as possible. In this project, my primary responsibilities were 3d modelling the cantilever in Rhinoceros and physical fabrication.


stressed skin canteliever

exploded axon of undercling connection

exploded axon of frame and skin layers




side elevation + corresponding section





backside view_undercling + bearing surface

project overview

university of arizona college of architecture professor larry medlin arc302 | tectonics design studio medium :: rhinoceros 4.0, autocad, v-ray, photoshop, illustrator, laser cutters, model board, acetate, plywood

The site for this project is located along a busy street in a dense area of downtown Tucson. The goal was to create an entity that was clearly contemporary, yet remain sensitive to the historic context that surrounds this narrow site. This was first accomplished through the design of custom window mullions accross the facade. These give the building a sense of subtle dynamics by distorting one’s view through the envelope as well as the reflections of the context. As one enters, a sculptural staircase immediately catches the visitors eye and directs them upstairs to the main area of the library. These dynamics are continued throughout the interior through tectonic expression. PRODUCED BY AN AUTODESK EDUCATIONAL PRODUCT



tucson children’s library


The bottom floor, which is meant to be utilitarian and adaptable to accommodate various functions and exhibits, utilizes a regularized and standard structural grid. However, the second floor utilizes a fink truss and cable system to give the more heavily used level a sense of lightness and intricacy. This floor houses the stacks and reading areas, which are well lit through the use of indirect natural lighting from the north and east. The entire western side of the building is used as a utility wall that protects the primary areas of the building from the harsh western sun.


level two

first level + site plan

level one

exploded program + structural axon

physical model + adjacent site context


north elevation

south elevation

main entrance with primary access up to stacks

longitudinal section perspective


second level plan


stacks + reading area looking north

project overview

university of arizona college of architecture professor pavel getov arc471 | theory + principal of urban design medium :: adobe illustrator, laser cut acrylic, acetate, steel frame

This project looked at the city of Tucson as a whole in order to implement a change that would instill a sense of urbanism in a predominantly suburban city. The idea manifested itself through the utilization of existing rivers and washes that run throughout the valley. In this collaborative project with Kevin Moore, AndrÊ Rodrigue, Dana Decuzzi, and Michael Farley, strategic cuts were proposed in existing washes that would slow the flow of rainwater during the heavy monsoon seasons. These were taken in vacant and often heavily vegetative areas. By slowing the flow of the water, this would allow percolation recharge the depleted water table and thus more vegetative growth. By creating areas of concentrated green space which people are more apt to repopulate these areas. In doing so, these green spaces serve as focal points for the city’s urban growth and can recharge many of the dead spaces that are found throughout the city. The primary focus of this project was the fabrication of two conceptual physical models: one at a macro scale and another at a micro scale. The models were made primarily through layers of laser cut acrylic that was spray painted with different shades of blue in order to represent the depth of the cuts. The larger macro scale model was conceived as an inverse of the city, so that as one looks at the model, they are viewing the city from below ground. The micro scale model was intended to showcase the growing urban density around these areas. My primary responsibilities in this project were initial schematic development, the formulation of the presentation diagrams, and physical model fabrication Both models have been kept by the College of Architecture for archival purposes.


urban recharge

macro urban intervention stratigies

recharge process diagrams

physical models

project overview

university of arizona college of architecture professor christopher domin arc451/452 | senior thesis medium :: rhinoceros 4.0, autocad, v-ray, photoshop, illustrator, indesign, laser cutter, cnc router, milled styrofoam, laser cut model board + basswood

Throughout urban fabrics there exist stagnant, unused, and dilapidated structures and neighborhoods that infect the areas around them. As one property falls into disrepair it, in turn, brings down the value, both monetary and psychological, of the properties around it. This decay often occurs because of shifting economic and industrial needs. In turn, when these areas fall into disrepair, they become unsavory and can become highly concentrated areas for crime and poverty, thus driving them further into disrepair. These points of depravity have become more frequent due to the economic downturn and a fleeting population in search of a stronger job market. This is most evident in the “rust belt� cities of the United States, who once had their economies defined through industrial manufacturing, and are now grasping for a new identity. These cities have experienced some of the most dramatic shifts in their urban environment. Because of the shift away from manufacturing based industries, many of these once thriving cities and neighborhoods have been reduced to downtrodden shadows of their former selves. As these cities shrink in order to refocus their core districts, this network of blight and dying neighborhoods across the urban landscape has the potential to no longer be a system of scars throughout the city, but instead a series of points for the emergence of a new and revitalized urbanism and recharged vitality. Often, areas within cities that have fallen on difficult times are disregarded and abandoned. However, these areas are essential to the makeup of a vibrant urban fabric through the meshing of multitiple cultures, backgrounds, and values. Instead of developing the most affluent urban areas and pushing them into further prosperity, one must look to these downtrodden areas for a true revitalization effort that can be reflected throughout the city. By injecting life into these areas in a strategic and thoughtful manner, it is possible to push architecture to create a new direction of social hubs and economic prosperity in a cityscape riddled with misfortune and despair. This thesis statement helped to define this year long project and gave direction to the program and site selection. Ultimately, a culinary institute became the program because of the opportunities of job training, social gathering, and the chance to continue the movement towards sustainable practices that the city of Detroit has deemed so important. The site is located at a point where several traffic vectors (freeway, major surface streets, and the primary freight train line) converge, as well as several distinct districts (industrial warehousing, small business commercial, and residential). This made the site an ideal location for a culinary institute so as to attract a multitude of users and an opportunity to infill a vacant lot in an up and coming neighborhood.


[ detroit ] center for the culinary arts

site plan




[ context ] commercial






interstate 75

site plan

view looking west along milwaukee

[ context ] residential


connection detail

structural axon

longitudinal section_street bar looking north

level one_plan

level two_plan

level three_plan

wall section

transverse section_rail bar looking west

Academic Portfolio  

selection of work from my time at the University of Arizona's College of Architecture

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