Javier Perez- De La Fe
Contents Houses on the River
Miami Peace Center
Houses on the River Design2 Professor Ernest Abuin
The project was to build a living space for three homeless families that will both house and become a source of revenue for them. The families will be chosen by MiamiDade County using the welfare application system; the facility will belong to the chosen families to care for and maintain. Creating this new space, tailored with the precise needs of the soon-transitioning homeless in mind, helps to create their new beginning. The site’s location on the Miami River inspired the direction of the building’s ultimate design. In keeping with the landmarks surrounding the site and the significance of the building to its future tenants, I made the Roman god, Janus, my muse. Janus is said to be the God of beginnings, transitions, time, doorways, passages, and endings. He was most important to seafarers and also known as the harbor god; the sailors’ prayed to Janus to grant them safe passage home. This Roman god, with his ties to all things nautical, commercial, and travel, offers a fitting source of inspiration to my overall design and parallels the purposes of the Miami River on which it’s located.
Site The site study revealed three different speeds of travel within the location: a high speed on the eastern boundary of the site that was made up by Interstate 95, a slow speed set by the wake laws of the Miami River, and the humandictated speed of the streets surrounding the site given that there are no long straight stretches of road. The location is richly rooted in Miami history, and constantly abuzz with commercial, governmental, and recreational activity. The area is divided into three basic sections; urban downtown housing the Dade County Court House, Government Center and the Miami History Museum, a commercial area that is composed mostly of boat storage and municipal lots filled with lobster traps and residential areas that are diverse in expression and design.
The site lies in close proximity to important city landmarks and public facilities, including the main library and city hall. The surrounding areaâ€™s historic character, classic architecture in nearby Downtown Miami in addition to the Miami River, presented unique design constraints. In my exploration of the site and the area around the site, the influence of the Miami River is immediately evident. Lining the river are companies who make their living off the water. The Miami River was originally the lifeblood of South Florida, being the only way for people to get supplies and travel in general so far inland. Until more development took hold in the greater Miami area, this vital connection from trade and commerce to consumers further inland held, to the point that signs of manufacturing and now dilapidated former businesses dot the landscape. The Miami River remained the focal point of this area until oil and railway magnate Henry Flagler began to develop the Atlantic coast of Florida, and spurred dispersion of people and further development throughout the inland areas through the introduction of the railroads, and lessening the populationâ€™s dependence on the waterway. Since this connection between life and the river is so prominent, I allowed it to flow into the concept of my design.
During my design phase I thought of my building as a singular unit made up of three specific components; one division for each family unit: public, private, and communal. I arranged the special divisions vertically to differentiate them from the principal division. While visualizing the spaces and their respective uses, I wanted to show a distinct separation between shared spaces and unshared space, by skewing the orientation of the second level of the building (private), and changing the language of special orientation between levels of privacy.
After the rotation of the second level, I set the building into the ground. By setting access to the building lower than the second level, I add a level of procession to the entrance of the building and allow the facade of the building to be uninterrupted by openings from street level, as well as replicate the feeling of sinking into the water of the river.
With the facade of the building I wanted to pay homage to the marine-centric industry of the river that is so vital to its history. I wanted to take the patterns from stacked lobster traps that can be seen held in storage littered at the waterâ€™s edge all around. This pattern lends itself to the use of louvered shutters to block the sun in the late afternoon, while blocking onlookers at night while streetlights and other signs of urban life are on display. Skylights allow natural light to flood the living room and gives the space warmth and imbibes it with a feeling of invigoration, while also providing the users of the space a glimpse of what activities are happening on the rooftop garden. This rooftop garden will supplement each prospective family with a sustainable income by allowing them to sell what is harvested in farmerâ€™s markets throughout the city.
Brickle Gallery Design3 Professor Jose Vasquez
This project was divided this project into two distinct components; an in-depth site study and the site solution. In completing the site study, I gathered as much information as possible to allow my design to take shape. The site sits on the intersection of Northeast 1st Street and Northeast 1stAvenue. The site holds an existing structure which may be demolished to make way for new construction currently being planned which holds historical value of little consequence. Downtown Miami, where the site is located, is prime real estate for a commercial facility and neighbors both the Wolfson Campus of Miami Dade College and the Adrienne Arscht Performing Arts Center. Compartmentalizing the site into three individual areas was the first challenge I faced. The area surrounding the immediate site is comprised of three separate uses: commercial, governmental and residential. These uses were arranged in no particular order around the area, which generated complexities in design and execution of design to take into consideration.
Site In looking at the downtown area, one of the striking features of the area is its street and avenue grid pattern. What breaks up the grid pattern is the broad expanse of highway which is heavly used by the people of Miami. This creates a threshold between downtown proper and residential areas to the west. I identified three speeds in the site; a fast speed, a slow speed and a human speed. The differences in speed represent three ways to experience the site via what you see as you move in the space and what your intensions might be in the area you are at. Mapping out distances became important to the utility of the site. I found that many important entertainment establishments were well within a walking distance to my site which means that the site would be easy for people to migrate to if they are seeking entertainment.
Mapping offered clarity to my design process. The site having three speeds led to an interesting dynamic when incorporated to the previous zone map. There are varying speeds and modes of transportation, and this results in hot spots of movement and particular concentrations of a particular kind of speed within a certain area. This site is a source of life to the area, and a witness to diurnal changes; the surrounding space is abuzz with activity and movement in the morning, and peters down in the evenings, in a continuing urban cycle. This site and its movements are what cause this area to breath, bringing the soroundings to life in the morning, and having it peter out in the evening. The site comes to life with movement, but time is an element that is still unresolved because there is no nightlife in the area where the gallery will be. This will change because along with this gallery, the area is getting a face life and more restrants and cafes are opening up to draw more evening buisness. Throughout the year, the sun paints a splashy picture on the buildings and walkways of Downtown Miami and understanding how the light interacts with the site was also an important consideration in the development of a solution.
The objective for this site was to create an art gallery space which could grow into a hub in the area as performing venue and cafe. An additional consideration for this design was to allocate space for small classrooms and storage. The site had separations of speed and zoning which I wanted to incorporate into my final design. I began with my extruded site, and was able to flesh out three distinct areas; public, mixed-use, and private. Movement between the areas should be fluid, so I planned twin vertical channels which allow for travel though the space. The void in the mass of the structure creates a cover for protection from the elements while the drop in level shows the difference in condition between the street and the building.
My concept for this space utilizes a modular floor and ceiling system to hold in place partition panels which allow the owners of the gallery to control the configuration of the space. This system, in conjunction with an open floor plan, allows a level of versatility that will allow the gallery to become more than merely a hollow space to hold art. In other galleries, there is a missing element. A principal component of viewing art is observing individualâ€™s interactions with an art piece. In my design, I created spaces where levels intersect and allow people to cross from space to space with maximum fluidity, while still leaving a void for others to continue to watch people while viewing art.
Level3: Gallery Space
Level1: Offices and Administration
Level4: Gallery Space
Level5: Open-air Sculpture area and Classrooms
Miami Peace Center Design2 Professor Amar Sawhney
In this project, I was tasked with designing a peace center using sustainable design principles in the heart of downtown Miami. The design showcases 14 different religions and fosters an atmosphere of unity, education and fellowship. One major point I took into consideration for this project is the complicated past some of these religions have with one another. Crafting a solution which created neutral space for coexistence was an obstacle throughout the project. Orientation, materials, and hierarchy took great precedent in the project, taking great care not to lift any one group higher than the other.
Site The site is loctated next to the Wolfson campus of Miami Dade College and Freedom Tower in downtown Miami. The clients for the project chose this spot because of the history the agasent Freedom Tower has by helping process refugees that were fleeing Cuba after itâ€™s revolution and the intelectual and academic nature of the college to the west. The site sees a lot of traffic from tourisum and night life entertainment. Bayfront Park is to the east and when standing at the site, the wind from the bay, after being buffered by buildings, creates a gentle breeze that cerculates the air around the site.
After researching all 14 religions, the principal facet of each which I chose to focus my attention on was that of guidance that every religion offered. In every organized religion there is an ultimate promise of truth and a means to discover it. The focus of these religions, from my perspective is guiding itâ€™s members to something, and this is what I chose to express with my design. In my building, I wanted to express a long upward trajectory that would culminate in a roof top garden. This garden would act as a communal space for people of every religion to mingle. My thinking is people will walk this path together no matter what religion they associate with and this shared experience is a representation of fellowship they share. Descending through the building would be a wandering path that would allow people to look at different booths and areas that have information and examples of different religions from around the world.
I enveloped the building in a concrete screen. This mimics geometric patterns that are popular in religious works from buildings in Israel and its neighboring areas. This concrete screen filters natural light. The use of light effects is common in most religions and is used to beautiful and stunning effect giving the interior of the space an atmosphere reminiscent of a Gothic cathedral.