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Emily Elkin


Elevating to Meditation, Summer 2014 Career Discovery Project Juan Pablo Ugarte

Tropical Skyscraper, Spring 2016 Design Studio Project Professor Teofilo Victoria

Charlotte Perriand’s Beach House, Fall 2015 Precedent Study Professor Edgar Sarli

Vacation Villa, Fall 2015 Design Studio Project Professor Edgar Sarli

Perched Pavilions, Fall 2016 Comprehensive Studio Project Partner: Brendan Fagan Professor’s Armando Montero and David Trautman Made in Chicago, Spring 2017 ULI Hines Design Competition Partners: Reem Najjar, Corey Weiss, Brandon Fennel, and Ian Griggs Professor’s Joanna Lombard and Veruska Vasconez Proctor Creek Platforms, Spring 2017 Urban Design Studio Professor’s Joanna Lombard and Veruska Vasconez Design Build, 2017-2018 Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Shadehouse B.E. and W.R. Miller BuildLab Brickell MetroRail Performance Stage

Designing Communities for Success, Spring 2017 Evidence Based Design Report Professor Deborah Franqui

Emilio Sanchez: A Generous Life, February to December 2017 Exhibition at Miami Dade Public Library Professor Victor Deupi

Elevating to Meditation

A study of circulation To understand the complexities and delicacy of circulation patterns, the challenge of this project is to design a space preceding and transporting users to a meditation room on a higher level. The conceptual design focuses on the emotional and physical place of meditation, the stages one must go through en route to meditation, and the transition back into space outside of meditation. Beginning at the street level, the user begins to move upward, shedding chaos and clutter at each level of escalation. Upon reaching the upper-most accessible level, the user is now ready for self-reflection and meditation. Following the ideas represented in collage, the space utilizes platforms to physically represent the emotional stages gone through to enter a clear mental state. The platforms are bare with the exception of their materiality to give users the ability to create with their own minds the space they prefer on the way to a very personal moment. Natural light filters in around a ceiling platform and through the skylight above it. The darkest space, with light being blocked by all of the platforms, is at the bottom. As the user moves up and closer to meditation, the space continues to get brighter.

Models (right, left top, left bottom) of the circulation space and the platforms that define the emotional stages to meditation and filter the natural light through. Concept collage (right, right) of the different elements and stages shown through the platformed design.

Tropical Skyscraper

High-End Residential The Tropical Skyscraper is a high-end residential building in Downtown Miami. The tower sits on the Miami River, the historic river that is home to residential towers, fisherman docks, and new developments that include restaurants, entertainment, and residences. This location proves to be the ideal spot for both the international Miami market and the local populations. Historic and ecological features of the Miami River and specific triangular site were the determining factors for the design development and strategies. Additionally, the site’s possibilities for entrance and public space generated shapes and openings at the ground level.

Model (right) of the Tropical Skyscraper from the South East corner demonstrating the approach from a car.

Parti design sketches (left) helped determine the organization of space, programming, and people in the Tropical Skyscraper. Site plan (right, top) and apartment plan (right, middle) show the organization of spaces. Apartment patio render (right, bottom) show potential of the views and surrounding environment.

Mapamundi (above) generated to describe the key features of Miami being focused on in the project, with the Tropical Skyscraper design placed in the site plan and elevation.

Charlotte Perriand’s Beach House

Precedent Study of the Competition Entry The Beach House competition entry by Charlotte Perriand demonstrates use of modularity in a small setting with careful environmental considerations. The competition was to design an affordable vacation home in France that could be replicated many times over. Charlotte Perriand’s design came in second place in the competition, yet remains an important study for flexibility, impact, and repetition. For these reasons, it has been replicated many times, including by Louis Vuitton for a display at Design Miami in 2013. The Beach House is designed to be expandable, where the module used for the core spaces of the home can be multiplied. This adds to the adaptability of the building to its programmatic needs. Being raised from the ground on stones minimizes the impact made to the environment, especially in sensitive and vulnerable regions.

Sketch of the section (left) showing how the structure is meant to be held up and make contact with the ground. Built models (right) adjusting the modules and different possibilities of the Beach House.

Vacation Villa

Virginia Key, Miami, Florida The Vacation Villa is a small getaway on the Virginia Key barrier island and public park. The island is a protective island for inland Miami during storms and high tides, stifling some of the heavy storm surge before hitting the mainland. The villa is meant to be transformed into a visitation center for the island once a period of time has passed. The view points, site location, and multi-functional use of the Vacation Villa generates its overall design concept. In addition, the need for flexibility and adaptation of the structures uses helped devise a modular scheme.

Models (right) of the small and modular villa displaying the private room entrance (right, top) and the public entertaining area (right, bottom).

Diagrammatic sketch (left, top) of the main concepts driving the villa design. This looks at separation of private and public, a central gathering space, views into the natural canopy and out to the water, and minimal points of engagement with the ground. Floor plan (left, bottom) engaging the design strategies in the project diagram, highlighting two key pods for public and private use, an open gathering space, and a private patio. Section view (right) looking North and displaying how the villa engages with the beach environment and the mangrove enclave.

Perched Pavilions

Pigeon Key, Florida Keys, Florida Pigeon Key is a small island used for research and education pertaining to the Florida Keys, environment, and climate change. It is in the middle of the very issues it studies - hurricanes, extreme weather, sea-level rise, ecology. Studying native resilient plants helped drive the design for the Perched Pavilions, guiding resiliency schematics. The design focuses on redundancy and networking to create structures that can continue to survive independently or together when faced with challenges. The organization of programming throughout the three pavilions is generated by the redundancy strategy and the butterfly roofs for water and solar collection enable reusable energy. The pavilion that reaches into the shallow waters of Pigeon Key allows for experimental research in real-life conditions. It allows for proactive understanding of what may be a fullblown future phenomenon in South Florida and the Florida Keys.

View of the approach to the research center from the South Western side of Pigeon Key, as would be approached by boat.

Investigative sketches (above, top row) of networking, circulation, and stress points to ensure a resilient structure. Solar studies (above, middle row) showing from which direction the structure retains heat and lets of shadow on December 21 (left), June 21 (middle), and September 21 (right). Wind studies (above, bottom row) of how the structure is effected by South Eastern winds. View of Perched Pavilions (right) on Pigeon Key.

Site Plan (right, above) of the Perched Pavilions within Pigeon Key. This plan highlights the additional access points added to Pigeon Key via the research and education center. New access points are through the boat dock on the South Western side of the project, protruding into the water, and through the newly renovated bridge and ramp connection. Mangrove species are re-introduced along the Western edge of the project, while other salt tolerant plants and trees are re-introduced at the central courtyard. Floor Plans (left) show the Ground Level (left, top) and the flexible spaces beneath it; First Level (left, middle) and the office spaces equally spread through each pavilion; and Second Level (left, bottom) re-iterating pieces from the first floor and classrooms.

Butterfly roofs collect rainwater and distribute down through the building.

Vertical shading on East and West facades decreases thermal heat load retained by the buildings.

6 ft overhands decrease thermal heat load retained.

West Elevation (above) looking East.

“Chimneys� release hot air from spaces and increase ventilation. Restored mangrove enclave protects from storm surge and introduce habitat refuge.

Breezeways increase natural ventilation and capitalize on South Eastern winds.

Existing ramp connects old Seven-Mile Bridge to Pigeon Key, and comes through the Perched Pavilions.

14 ft FEMA flood regulation and blowout level.

Boat dock for access to the Perched Pavilions and to Pigeon Key, creating a new access point to the island and research and education center.

Made in Chicago

Chicago, Illinois Historically in Chicago, industrial corridors and Planned Manufacturing Districts played a significant role during the Great Depression. They can be attributed to the city’s relative success to other major American cities during the stifling times. Districts encouraged heavy industry and production that served the region and country. Yet, in modern times the corridors and districts have lost relevance as industry and manufacturing has left. As city officials search for great solutions to re-use and adapt to the changing times, we are proposing a rehabilitation to the North Branch Industrial Corridor and Goose Island Planned Manufacturing District that is innovative but tied to the historic values of the city of Chicago. Made in Chicago builds on Chicago’s rich history as a manufacturing and distribution center while introducing today’s meanings for manufacturing and wide spread distribution. The project consists of a dynamic district that incubates 21st century industry and establishes an identity as the city’s center of innovation and opportunity. There is an extensive panorama of locally-made goods and systems, providing a business and marketing base to the development project. Advancing the goals of Chicago’s Planned Manufacturing Districts to “foster the city’s industrial base” and “maintain its diversified economy,” this district provides a full spectrum of evolution of production by-hand, by-machine, and by-technology. Generated by the site location within an industrial corridor and Planned Manufacturing District on the bank of the North Branch of the Chicago River, Made in Chicago draws local production and attracts industry back into the city.

Aerial view (right) of Made in Chicago sitting on the bank of the North Branch of the Chicago River during the winter.



Site studies of public spaces and walkable streets (above, left) and transportation and connectivity (above, right) of the North Branch Industrial Corridor, including the Goose Island Planned Manufacturing District. Studies include the proposed connection to Chicago’s 606 Bike Pathways, proposed Divvy Bike Stops, and proposed Subway Stops and extensions.













initial land price per acre

18% 27%



$150weighted construction cost per square foot


affordable housing units

Created by IYIKON from the Noun Project

permanent loan interest rate


average loan to value (LTV)

5.5% exit cap rate

$593, 799, 768 Sources Public Subsidies Landowner LP Equity Private Equity JV Financing


21% 2%







TOTAL PROGRAM 2,669,347 ft2 Retail Residential Hotel Parking Industrial



$593, 799, 768

7% 73%

Development Costs Infrastructure Costs Other Costs Land Acquisition

Phasing spread out over a four year period enables efficient use of the Made in Chicago district. The phasing has been split to allow for a financially sustainable development and ensuring inhabitation.





Retail Residential Hotel Office Industrial Parking

Retail Residential Hotel Office Industrial Parking

Retail Residential Hotel Office Industrial Parking

8% 55% 4% 3% 11% 20%

15% 27% 0% 31% 0% 18%

0.5% 0% 0% 35% 35% 30%

1. The Craft Green 2. Tower Circle 3. River Bend Manufacturing Corridor 4. Boat and Bike House 5. Made in Chicago Hotel Tower 6. North Branch Tech Park 7. Amazon Distribution Center P. Parking R. Chicago Riverwalk

Section perspective rendering (above) across the site from West to East, ending at the River Bank. Exhibiting uses of the site during Chicago’s seasons.

Proctor Creek Platforms

Grove Park, Atlanta, Georgia The Grove Park neighborhood is beginning to see projects investing in its revitalization. Urban infill design feeds off of the work currently being done in the area and while also expanding its reach. The master plan focuses on enriching the main corridor that runs through Grove Park with nodes of well-being, transportation, education, and commerce. The Proctor Creek Park Platforms focus on space making and community programming integrated with nature for those who live and inhabit Grove Park.

View (right) looking from the South edge of the platforms towards the North, including a retention pond while mostly dry, and other daytime activities.

Masterplan (left) of the Proctor Creek neighborhood and development of main thoroughfare. Site plan (right, top) showing the layout of platforms and retention ponds in relation to the surrounding development. Perspective within the artist platform (right, middle) showing the possibilities available for local artists and young students to display art or work. Perspective within the music platform (right, bottom) displaying a band performing while practice rooms are set back for young students who may take lessons.

Section perspective showing daily life along the Proctor Creek Platforms.

Design Build

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Shade House Design Build Studio project in coordination with Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden to design a shade house as part of their Million Orchid Project. The shade house is meant to be replicated many times and placed in schools for the continued production of the orchids they are growing. It is designed to be built by a teacher and class and to be customized to specific school needs.

B.E. and W.R. Miller BuildLab Design Build Studio project to outfit the BuildLab studio with louvers in order to complete the building that will be used for future Design Build studios to work within. The studio designed the louvers and doors to consider natural light, ventilation, ease of use, and materiality.

Brickell MetroRail Performance Stage The Brickell MetroRail Performance Stage was installed during Art Basel Miami week. It was used over a weekend for performances at the entrance/exit to the MetroRail station. It sits directly between the parallel metro lines above. *Both the Shade House and the BuildLab are in the build process

Shade House drawings, renderings, and model (left) as presented to the clients at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens. BuildLab drawings, construction documents, and a rendering (middle) used in the process of building. Also, a t-shirt graphic for those who worked on both the design and construction of the BuildLab, crediting students and the professors. MetroRail Stage (right) images after construction, photographs credited to Dezeen article “Architecture Students Install Bright Orange Stage Below Miami Transit Station.�

Designing Communities for Success


Research Questions

Neighborhoods and communities are the support system that enable and encourage the success of citizens. The physical neighborhood plays just as strong a role, if not stronger, in the potential success and access to opportunities for its inhabitants. Unfortunately, n e i g h b o r ho o d s , and the buildings that form them, in the United States are not all built for success. The communities that live within these neighborhoods that lack strong design intent for better living often struggle with health, social, and economic strife. Many of the buildings and housing projects that lack the design intended to promote healthy, socially equal, and economically successful are outdated and difficult places to inhabit. In addition, resources for rebuilding or renovating these buildings are often minimal.

What do students perceive to be the best design strategies for projects in low-income neighborhoods? Outcomes of Interest: Looking at what neighborhood and impact design factors are perceived to have the most positive effects on community livelihood. Additionally, the study looks at which factors are most important in determining community livelihood.

Strategies for improving buildings in already existing neighborhoods can have a positive effect in enhancing the well-being and opportunities afforded to those who live there. Strategies are founded on place-making, resiliency, and healthy design. The goal of this study is to understand which design strategies will be most effective in improving the neighborhood population’s well-being when applied in minimal resource situations. Additionally, it is important to understand how the strategies are effective and what they improve upon the pre-existing structures to strengthen them and their inhabitants. Neighborhood conditions may appear rigid, however, utilizing small strategies with large impact on pre-existing buildings can increase livability and opportunity for the community.

Problem Statement Low-income neighborhoods are most commonly synonymous with poorly-built neighborhoods. The built environment has an effect on the success of those who live in it, and in a low-income neighborhood it is obvious this effect is typically negative.

Context of Study The study looks at how students see their future role in the planning and design of low-income neighborhoods. Specifically, it studies the design strategies students may implement to improve the livelihood of low-income community members.

Argument and Claims The argument for the research study is that strategics for the decisions made for the built environment, especially in low-income neighborhoods, has huge ramifications for residents. The built environment can affect the health, social equity, economics, education, and community resilience; therefore, design strategies to improve the built environment can touch all aspects of a community’s life.

Research Design and Methods A mixed-methods approach was taken to conduct the research study. The study utilized a survey that included questions that involved rankings/numerical scales with close-ended questions and interview type questions with open-ended questions.

Research Process A survey was written using Qualtrics through the University of Miami. The survey contains 15 questions: 3 demographic questions, 2 past experience questions, 3 community livelihood aspect questions, 3 design strategy aspects questions, 3 built environment variables questions, and 1 general question to end the survey. The surveys were sent out to students and friends. Not all people receiving the survey were in the fields of architecture or urban design, although the majority were studying either architecture or urban design in a Masters or Bachelors program. Reports from the survey were collected to make a list of what students perceive to be most important when approaching a project focused in a low-income neighborhood. Questions were either rankings, scaled, or input based; giving a range of ways to rank and understand the manner in which the aspects are understood.

Research Approach Mixed-methods are important for this study, although it relies more heavily on qualitative methods than quantitative methods.

Research Strategy Survey with questions generating both quantitative and qualitative responses.

Data Collection The survey contained 15 questions and was sent out to approximately 20-30 people. The response rate from this group was approximately 50%. The population of surveytakers was 70% architecture or urban design students and 30% students or alumni from non-architecture or urban design programs.

Sample Questions Consider a general and site-less low-income neighborhood with residents living at or below the poverty line. Please rank which aspects of the residents’ livelihood is most important to you when thinking about design strategy for this neighborhood. How important to do you consider the following aspects to be when designing to improve the lives of neighborhood residents? Considering the aspects of livelihood previously discussed, which design strategies do you believe are the most effective for meeting success?

Community Gardens

Neighborhood Propriety



Social Equality


Nature Parks


Economic Success

Health // Economics // Education // Social Equity // Resiliency // Other

Community Garden // Housing // Playgrounds // Parks // Communal Cooking Space // Commerce // Streetscape // Other General Meeting Points

Collective Efficacy

Community Space




Emilio Sanchez: A Generous Life

An archival exhibition of the artist’s life Emilio Sanchez was an extremely prolific and talented painter. He began each morning with a still life painting and then progressed to his well-known architectural and landscape paintings as he worked in his studio. Sanchez’s work is represented internationally, yet he donated much of his private work to collections around Miami and New York. Miami Dade Public Library System has a large collection of Emilio Sanchez’s private work in the Permanent Art Collection. This work displays the range of Sanchez’s interests, personal relationships, and skills through artwork, sketch books, photographs, and documents. Many of the photographs account for missing Emilio Sanchez paintings that were either left in Cuba or lost around the world. To curate the exhibition we were given full access to all of the Permanent Art Collection and The Vasari Project’s Emilio Sanchez Collections at Miami Dade Public Library. The exhibition was able to represent a wide range of Emilio Sanchez’s work and interests due to this access. Emilio Sanchez: A Generous Life showcases a wide collection of works, some being unfinished, that offer insight into the brilliant artist’s lifestyle, mindset, and talent. It is in conjunction with “Emilio Sanchez in South Florida Collections,” an exhibition curated by Dr. Victor Deupi at the Lowe Art Museum in Miami, Florida.

Partial display layouts (right) for the Emilio Sanchez: A Generous Life exhibition held in the Miami Dade Public Library. Images on display (from top left to bottom right): Yellow House, Colored Pencil, undated Three Boats in Mykonos, Sketch, 1980 Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes, Ceramic Plate, 1985 Black Hair, Blue Eyes, Ceramic Plate, 1985 Book: Hard Light: The Work of Emilio Sanchez, 2011 Circus Ring, Watercolor, undated Unfinished NYC Studio, Watercolor, undated Unfinished NYC Studio at Sundown, Watercolor, undated

Emily Elkin Master of Architecture 2014 - 2018

Emily Elkin | Creative Portfolio | 2018  

Portfolio of works includes Architectural Design, Design Strategy, Research, Exhibition, and Design Build.

Emily Elkin | Creative Portfolio | 2018  

Portfolio of works includes Architectural Design, Design Strategy, Research, Exhibition, and Design Build.