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JASON ORBE-SMITH


JASON ORBE-SMITH (808) 651 9842

jasonorbesmith@gmail.com 2121 James M Wood Blvd Apt 321, Los Angeles, CA, 90006


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CONTEMPORARY VERNACULAR

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BUNDLE HOUSE

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LITTLE TOKYO HOTEL AND THEATER

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THE CATHEDRAL

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CONTEMPORARY VERNACULAR New York, NY This thesis examines elements of vernacular architecture as a means to influence and generate contemporary form. As society moves towards an unprecedented state of interconnectivity, heterogeneity and the globalization of politics, culture and economy, this thesis reinvestigates the discussion concerning the native, indigenous and local with notions of the cosmopolitan, global and foreign. Vernacular architecture can typically be understood to be a region’s indigenous local building customs, materiality and the milieu in which it arises. It can therefore simultaneously refer to both the spontaneous, commonplace or otherwise primitive construction as well as ornate and embellished building traditions. However this thesis chooses to understand the vernacular through a contemporary material approach of abstraction where photographs of vernacular elements chosen for their textural, material and color attributes are combined, reconfigured and repurposed to create non-referential textured imagery.

EAST 42ND ST

SITE PLAN SCALE 1 : 5000

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Contemporary Vernacular

5TH AVE

6TH AVE

EAST 40TH ST


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Original Ecuadorian vernacular elements.

The study of traditional vernacular building was conducted in Ecuador. The cultural history found in this small South American country’s building traditions, foods, textiles and urban fabric show the wide range of visual sensations inherent to the region. Bright colors and patterns coexist with simple and rustic ornamentation; baroque detailing in ornate materials reside next to functional dwellings made of simple materials. Hundreds of photographs of these elements were taken and then composited together. The result of combining these photographs is a decontextualization of the vernacular which allows it to be understood in an abstract manner rather than in terms of its initial typological, tectonic or architectural logic. This decontextualizing is reiterated through the project’s dislocation from the Ecuadorian context of the photograph’s origin and placement within the foreign environment of New York City. As this dislocated vernacular adjusts to its surroundings the ground is the means with which the contemporary vernacular is established, and where the foreign entity begins to reintegrate with, assimilate to and influence its new contextual environment. A contemporary vernacular works towards an understanding of the role of the ground in creating place and site while also challenging current idealistic notions of perfection and control by saturating contemporary architecture with characteristics of unusualness, irregularity and imperfection.

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Contemporary Vernacular


Composite decontextualized vernacular imagery.

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Extruding curves from the composite imagery.

The project is a redesign of the New York Central Library. The large open lot within the dense urban environment is an ideal location to study how the contemporary vernacular engages its surroundings. The design begins by tracing and extrapolating two-dimensional linework from the composite vernacular imagery (1). These inherent curves are extruded in order to reintroduce three-dimensionality (2). Imperfections and degradations of the mass are introduced (3) and the massing is carved and split along planar surfaces revealing the folding and weaving interior spaces (4). The ground is then developed in the same way, translating the composite imagery into three dimensional geometry through its inherent structure and pattern (5 & 6).

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Contemporary Vernacular


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Model study of thickened decontextualized vernacular.

Study models were crucial in developing the techniques that could three-dimensionalize a planar texture. The models show the possibilities of generating a building massing proposal from a texture. The study models engage with different methods of layering, thickening and carving in order to create unpredictable results. In all of the models there is an appreciation for the unexpected and the imperfections resulting from both the physical and digital model making process. As the models aim to visualize colors and textures three-dimensionally, the use of shadow, depth and detailing are crucial to how they are perceived.

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Contemporary Vernacular


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Study model showing the carving of the mass.

Once the new mass has been extruded and carved, the original composite imagery is re-applied as a texture. The intricate patterning and coloration now react with the shadows and crevices of the form. Programmatic elements such as floors, circulation and apertures are introduced to begin to understand how these masses can function as a building.

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Contemporary Vernacular


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Contemporary Vernacular


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Contemporary Vernacular


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Serial transversal sections composited into multiple section drawing.

The design drawings question the standard drawing process. These drawings acknowledge the limitations that traditional two dimensional line drawings have in their ability to represent the spacial and experiential qualities of a project. By allowing the drawings to become textural themselves, the possibilities to engage depth and shadow to produce a spatial experience are studied in an effort to provide a contemporary interpretation on the static drawing. In each study multiple drawings are overlapped on top of each other. The layering of physical material allows for the reading of multiple plans and sections to occur simultaneously. Imperfections and unexpected juxtapositions are encouraged and enhance the textural quality of the drawings. The drawings become experiential rather than solely descriptive and therefore add to the interpretation of the project.

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Contemporary Vernacular


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Project seen in context.

The colorful contemporary vernacular design sits in contrast to its New York City surroundings. The foreign textures, colors and form are intended to provoke acknowledgment from the people in the city before ultimately being allowed to reintegrate with its new environment. The same methods of massing are employed to create the ground plinth, with a sharp geologic uprising of earth creating the base for the library. As the mediator between the two cultures, the plinth is desaturated in color. It therefore carries the form derived from Ecuadorian vernacular elements but it begins to assimilate itself into the color scape of New York. In this way the project is a reflection on the contemporary state of society. It questions the ideas of the local and global in an age of free travel and mobility and suggests a dialogue between the cultures that overlay the common thread of humanity.

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Contemporary Vernacular


Exterior building render.

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BUNDLE HOUSE Los Angeles, CA This project explores curvature and linework as a means to generate and control three-dimensional form. Different formal curve languages are overlapped and create densities of lines which develop the three-dimensional logic of the building. The project is a single family home which is layered with transparency and openings. As the density of linework varies between enclosure and aperture the house is allowed to offer both privacy and filtered views to the exterior landscape. The landscape is also generated through linework and disruptions in a linear system. The landscape is seen as an artificialized nature that becomes a distinct object from the house while maintaining geometrical relationships to the house.

NORTH KINGS RD

NORTH ORLANDO AVE

WILLOUGHBY AVE

SITE PLAN SCALE 1 : 2000

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Bundle House


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Exterior view of the bundle house from the garden.

In order to activate the planar site, scripting is used to generate landscape and ground cover. A grid is first placed over the site (1) dividing up the ground into equal portions. Through numeric variations, these chunks are rotated and deformed (2-6) in a search for a usable but engaging diagram containing both entropy and control. In the studies a balance was sought between the overly repetitious (3) and the overly unorganized (6). This produced a diagram containing a clear hierarchy of movement and rhythm that still allowed for a messiness without a total loss of control (7). Further detailing of the landscape is through an artificial naturalness of plants and materials.

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Bundle House


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Elevation of the house and landscape.

The elevation diagrams of the scripting (1-4) illustrate how the topography is grown on the flat parcel. Man-made objects are incorporated into the landscape as well as an exaggerated lushness of plant life. Along with the house these elements blur the line between natural and artificial, exotic and normal. The distinct objects of house and landscape engage one another without losing their identities. The site is filled with vegetation as a means to soften edges, provide privacy and encourage unexpected weathering and relationships between the landscape and the house. The house itself manages to maintain its distinction while also camouflaging in the surroundings; an exotic form made approachable through the vibrancy and intricacy of nature.

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Bundle House


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House interior view.

The interior of the house is an engaging display of light and shadow filtering through the porous building skin. Light and dark areas of the house are controlled by the densities of the bundles of curves overlapping and spreading apart. Privacy is also achieved in the same manner. The design encourages the landscape to enter into the house both visually as well as physically in the many open air portions of the building. The site plan of the project illustrates the different linework and curvatures used to define the geometry. Each type of curve becomes its own species that grows around one another while keeping their individual character.

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Bundle House


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LITTLE TOKYO HOTEL AND THEATER Los Angeles, CA The Little Tokyo Hotel and Theater is a new multipurpose cultural center in downtown Los Angeles. The project brings a contemporary venue for live performance, retail, open public space and hotel accommodations in the busy Little Tokyo district. The site is located at the intersection of South San Pedro St. and Temple St. and presents a unique opportunity to negotiate with its built surroundings. MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary museum is found at the southeast corner of the project site, as is the Japanese American Museum. A few blocks away are Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall and Morphosis’ Caltrans buildings. The project takes advantage of these conditions by locating the large multi-use theater and auditorium on the south in relation to the Geffen, while the hotel fills the northern portion of the site. The colorful skin of the project serves as a physical link and visual illusion between the topologically different program areas.

SITE PLAN SCALE 1 : 2500

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Little Tokyo Hotel and Theater


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Sphere packing growth on a surface and coloration shift studies.

The project uses generative computational techniques in conjunction with coloration, patterning and color shifts to conceal and distort perceptions of volumes and surfaces. Scripting is first employed to redefine single surface geometry with densely packed spheres. This allows for a degradation of the clarity of the original surface and produces a different understanding of the surface through unexpected scale shifts and clustering. The original edges become softened and the surface area is redefined in a lumpy, almost whimsical manner. The coloration is then derived through attractor based scripting, with a desire for rapid color shifts as opposed to gradual color gradation. Once a color palette is selected it is developed through patterning and detailing which serves to further disguise initial readings of the surface. The result is a visually engaging, colorful and voluptuous skin that encases the theater and creates a large central atrium in the hotel.

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Little Tokyo Hotel and Theater


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The lumpy interior created by the sphere packing as seen in the theater space.

The auditorium space is a large classical theater, functional for a wide of range of cultural activities and live performances. Its aim is to further introduce these programs into the downtown area. The skin of the building responds to programmatic requirements by creating a dark enclosed shell for the theater while shifting and twisting to create the hotel atrium. The exterior skin is fabricated using individual composite fiberglass and foam shells that are milled, molded and painted off-site.

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Little Tokyo Hotel and Theater


GROUND FLOOR PLAN SCALE 1 : 850

LEVEL 9 HOTEL PLAN SCALE 1 : 850

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The single surface design of the project can be clearly seen in this floor plan. The thick wall volumetrically encloses the main theater space while simultaneously becoming the surface skin of the hotel atrium.

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Little Tokyo Hotel and Theater


THEATER PLAN SCALE 1 : 350

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A restaurant, lounge and bar are located on the 14th level, with views of downtown Los Angeles to the West.

The building houses several retail spaces and a cafe on the ground floor as well as the hotel lobby and an art gallery space. Level 14 contains a pool and spa area with deep pool floors that create the ceiling of the restaurant and lounge area beneath. Parking for the complex is located below ground. As seen in the elevations, a contour pattern of the sphere packing extends from the building skin onto the hotel glass. It encourages multiple readings of the project by presenting the shift between two-dimensional and three-dimensional patterning. The fritted glass pattern allows ample light to enter the hotel rooms and office spaces. The serial elevation and sections show the skin’s transition from large volume to single surface.

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Little Tokyo Hotel and Theater


SOUTH ELEVATION SCALE 1 : 500

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TRANSVERSE SECTION A SCALE 1 : 500

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Little Tokyo Hotel and Theater


TRANSVERSE SECTION B SCALE 1 : 500

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EAST ELEVATION A

NORTH ELEVATION

WEST ELEVATION

SOUTH ELEVATION

Unfolded elevations showing the continuous fritted glass pattern.

The glass frit pattern is derived from the contours of the colorful composite panels and is a two dimensional representation of the sphere packing. The pattern is applied to the unfolded glass elevations, creating a continuous design that wraps around the building edges from one facade to the next. As the legibility of what the skin is concealing is loosened, the reading of mass, volume and surface becomes harder to distinguish.

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Little Tokyo Hotel and Theater

EAST ELEVATION B


EAST ELEVATION SCALE 1 : 850

LONGITUDINAL SECTION SCALE 1 : 850

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SECONDARY PIPE FRAME

COMPOSITE SHELL ENVELOPE

GEOTEXTILE WATERPROOFING PRIMARY STEEL TRUSS SYSTEM THEATER CATWALK

THEATER ACOUSTIC CEILING PANELS

COMPOSITE FLOOR SLAB

TRANSFER SLAB

CONCRETE COLUMN

Detail construction chunk model of building component relationships.

The building chunk model is sliced through the theater portion of the building, exposing the layers of construction. The primary structure, weatherproofing, secondary structure and composite panels are shown as well as the concrete floor slabs. The building’s primary structure is a steel truss and wide flange beam system that divides the building into an x and y grid. A steel decking and waterproofing layer is then installed, weatherproofing the building. Glazing and concrete floor slabs are also put in place. The secondary structural steel tubing system then attaches to the primary structure, creating an outline of the composite panel edges. The composite panels are then lifted and clipped into place.

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Little Tokyo Hotel and Theater

SECONDARY RIB FRAME


PRIMARY STEEL STRUCTURE Steel structure divides the building into an x and y grid.

STRUCTURAL STEEL TUBING Bent structural steel tubing follows the individual panel outlines. This secondary structural system attaches to the primary structure.

COMPOSITE PANELS Individual composite fiberglass and foam panels attach to the secondary structural steel tubing.

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Panel painting schematic.

The individual panels are painted according to numeric based schematics. Guideline curves are milled into the mold during the fabrication process which allows the painter to place the colors accurately. The drawings illustrate typical connection details between the floor slabs, structural systems, glazing and composite panels.

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Little Tokyo Hotel and Theater


FLOOR SLAB AND GLAZING DETAIL SCALE 1 : 30

COMPOSITE PANEL CONNECTION DETAIL SCALE 1 : 30

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THE CATHEDRAL Los Angeles, CA This project ruptures the static postmodern design of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels with contemporary form and details. The cathedral addition introduces warmth, mystery and visual complexity to the cold and austere existing church as a means to challenge the spiritual patron and aid in their continued growth. The new design is drawn in a response to the geometric massing and sharp lines of Rafael Moneo’s existing cathedral. The existing cathedral is split through the nave to produce two halves that exhibit two competing formal logics, strategies of organization and atmospheric sensations.

CA HIGHWAY 101

This rupture in the cathedral simultaneously unites and separates the old from the new while allowing for visual and experiential interest to come from the juxtaposition of these two halves in tension.

NORTH GRAND AVE

ST

WEST TEMPLE ST

NORTH HILL

SITE PLAN SCALE 1 : 3000

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The Cathedral


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Individual unit bunching (1-3), and aggregated and sliced bunching studies (4-6).

The design is derived through a study of unit aggregation and bunching. Individual units are clumped together in a messy growth in order to achieve unpredictable proximities in what can be understood as a new singular mass. This new mass is then sliced and cut to reveal the intricacy of the internal spaces and spatial qualities. The individual units that create the new cathedral are also designed with two distinct atmospheric components. One component is a thick opaque structural piece that, when taken individually, does not allow for the passage of light. The other component is a thin skin enclosing a large volume which acts as a translucent medium for light to travel through.

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The Cathedral

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SECTION A SCALE 1 : 800

The transverse section emphasizes the duality of the project between the new and the existing cathedral.

Throughout the design light and mood are constantly shifting between the dark areas enclosed in the opaque shell to areas of vivid translucency that create a modern day stained glass effect and a contemporary rendition of Moneo’s alabaster windows. As seen on the right, the existing cathedral (1) is split in half as the units grow and bunch alongside it. Further texturing and detailing embellish the final aggregation (6).

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The Cathedral


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The Cathedral


SECTION B SCALE 1 : 450

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Interior of the existing cathedral nave engaging with the introduced morphology.

Evidence of the richness of the new design is seen in the cathedral nave. One half is left in the original cold sharp stone lines while the other half imposes itself, a textural and organic presence in the space. The floor plan illustrates the relationship between the old and the new geometry. The curvilinear elements of the new interacts with the rigid geometry of the old allowing for a variety of unusual and unexpected spaces.

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The Cathedral


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Model Photo: The longitudinal section reveals the layering of building skins and the revealed interior spaces.

The result of the design is the creation of a multitude of spaces that inspire an awe and mystery and a celebration of spirituality while seeking a narrative between the light and dark spaces. The new design allows for more possibilities- for both interaction and for solitude and allows the church to better fulfill its role in modern society.

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The Cathedral


Model Photo: New sensations and sensibilities are introduced to the Moneo cathedral through the use of texture, color and form.

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CONTEMPORARY VERNACULAR Southern California Institute of Architecture Advisor: Hernan Diaz Alonso Design: Jason Orbe-Smith Thesis 2012 BUNDLE HOUSE Southern California Institute of Architecture Advisor: Hernan Diaz Alonso Design: Keyla Hernandez, Jason Orbe-Smith Spring 2012 LITTLE TOKYO HOTEL AND THEATER Southern California Institute of Architecture Advisor: Tom Wiscombe Design: Yi-Hsin Lin, Jason Orbe-Smith Design Development: Crystal Chum, Yi-Hsin Lin, Wisarut Wattanachote, Jason Orbe-Smith Spring 2011 THE CATHEDRAL Southern California Institute of Architecture Advisor: Hernan Diaz Alonso Design: Jason Orbe-Smith Fall 2011

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JASON ORBE-SMITH (808) 651 9842

jasonorbesmith@gmail.com 2121 James M Wood Blvd Apt 321, Los Angeles, CA, 90006


Jason Orbe-Smith Portfolio  

Portfolio containing architectural design projects completed at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc).

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