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Portfolio Architecture and Design

Jessica N Luscher

Jessica N Luscher Rhode Island School of Design BArch 2014, BFA 2014, Providence, RI, USA 814.380.2461 / / Online at

I am seeking a challenging entry-level position as a designer in an innovative architecture firm where I can expand my design skills and gain expertise as I pursue my career and license as an Architect.

EDUCATION RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN (RISD), Providence, RI RISD Scholarship Program, Final GPA: 3.7

HONG KONG UNIVERSITY, Hong Kong Faculty of Architecture, Visiting Student

Bachelor of Architecture Bachelor of Fine Arts 2009-2014 Semester Abroad, BA(AS) Fall 2012

PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR’S SCHOOL FOR THE ARTS, Erie, PA Architecture, 2008 Scholarship-based Pre-college Summer Program

STATE COLLEGE AREA HIGH SCHOOL, State College, PA High Honors Student, Top 7% of Graduating Class, Debate Team

High School Diploma 2006-2009

ACADEMIC TechSTYLE HOUSE, Solar Decathlon Europe 2014, Versailles, France Student Designer, 2013-2014 LEADERSHIP • Worked as a primary 3D parametric modeling expert on our 100+ student team, •

communicated our design aesthetic to structural consultants and Tensile Fabric Specialists in USA and Germany to design the structure of our tensile membrane house, with focus on ease of construction and Passiv Haus energy efficiency. Attended weekly Site Operations meetings with Shawmut Construction in RI, to coordinate the 9 day construction/disassembly of the house

RISD CAD LAB, Technician’s Assistant, Computer Lab Manager, Providence, RI Lab Manager, 2013-2014 •

Developed leadership, management and conflict resolution skills while hiring, training and coordinating the team of 27 student computer lab monitors for the RISD Architecture Department.

in charge of repairing and monitoring all CAD Lab hardware.


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Blossom Community Garden, Pawtucket, RI

Student Leader, Spring 2011

Elected as one of six Project Design Managers of a studio in which 70 RISD MArch and BArch students cooperatively designed and built a permanent raised garden and two pavilions

Elected as one of six student represenatives to speak at the Final Presentation of the finished project. Represented our team for community leaders, clients, students and faculty, 17 guest critics, and the media

Jessica N Luscher Rhode Island School of Design BArch 2014, BFA 2014, Providence, RI, USA 814.380.2461 / / Online at



Mac and Windows, AutoCAD, Revit, Archicad, Rhino 3D (Grasshopper parametric modeling. basic Python scripting knowledge), Adobe Creative Suite, Lightroom, VRay and VectorWorks.

Bilingual Swiss German/English. Basic Spanish. USA/Switzerland Dual Citizen. Past residence in USA, Europe, Asia leads to an understanding of diverse world cultures, lifestyles, building and living environments.

Fine Arts/Architecture Double Bachelors degrees included crossdisciplinary design and technical instruction in fields including Graphic, Interior, and Furniture Design, Drawing, etc (in addition to completing all courses required for an Architectural License in the USA)

Able to learn computer programs quickly and apply them to projects creatively and intelligently

Hardworking, determined, focused, and self-disciplined. Socially outgoing and collaborative

Professional experience at six diverse firms in Europe and the United States. • •

• •

Project Categories: large/small-scale housing, academic, mixed use, laboratory, interior/refurbishing and urban design/landscaping Tasks: Competitions, Schematic Design, Design Development, Site Surveial and Analysis, Site and Project Documentation, Facade Design/Parametrics, Layouts/Graphic Design, Final Renderings, Cost Calculations Digital and physical modeling, parametric modeling/scripting and digital fabrication. 10-hr OSHA Health and Safety certification, on-site small-scale construction experience


Boston, MA, USA

Architectural Visualization Intern, June 2014-Present

Creates precise, imaginative architectural visualizations to help clarify, strengthen and communicate conceptual, narrative and aesthetic aspects of design projects

PAYETTE, Boston, MA, USA • •

Design Intern, June-August 2013 Designed an efficient parametric script to model project’s 800+ unique vertical fins for shading My script’s outputs allowed us to instantly correct issues pinpointed by our structural consultants, efficiently disperse fin geometry and density variations for lighting quality tests, and produce precise building renderings and an efficiently fabricated physical model.


Design Intern, June-August 2012

Completed a competition entry for a 60-apartment complex in Zurich

Completed site analysis, building concepts, apartment layout design, client profiling, and landscape concepts, all necessary diagrams, final presentation layout

German Language: Drafted weekly Design Team meetings’ agenda in German


Design Intern, June-July 2011

Independently developed remodeling concepts for the rooftop condition of a large multi-use facility in Basel in order to discern the project’s future

German Language: Presented to the project’s engineers / owners in German and English


Performed landscaping and façade studies for a 7-building, 360-apartment complex planned for Schwamendingen, Zurich Switzerland


Design Intern, July-August 2011

Summer Intern, 2008

Designed a built-in storage unit for a physiotherapy clinic (2 of 2)

Table of Contents BArch Academic Work (2010-June 2014) BArch Thesis: Stillness in Motion: Excavation of an Alpine Soundscape............. Breath of the Mountain: A Voice for Each House............................ Architecture of Ground and Sky: Vineyard and Winery Design ................. Mass, Tower, Hill: Concrete Formwork Design for Housing in Hong Kong.......... Providence Train Station and Hotel................................................. Urban Villiage: Reinterpreting the Cohousing Model.................................... Solar Decathlon Europe 2014: TechStyle Haus.....................................

6 14 18 24 28 32 34

Recent Professional Experience (2010-Present) Hartness Vision................................................................................ Payette.............................................................................................. Fischer Architekten.......................................................................... Emch + Berger Gesamptplanung Hochbau.....................................

36 38 40 42

BFA Fine Arts Work (2008-2013) Fine Art Samples.............................................................................. 44


Part 1: Drawing and Making Ideas through Process The drawings below were produced throughout the ďŹ rst half of my thesis research period. This hybrid hand-digital drawing process allows me to develop and distill ideas for a project concept and further investigation. Elements of each piece were then carried into the ďŹ nal

work, which is portrayed in more detail in the following pages. The works are created with a mixture of hand drafting, acrylics, ink, graphite and computer enhancement via Rhino, Vray and Photoshop. Each drawing is 64 inches tall.

Part 2: Collecting Sound in the Oeschinen Valley The Oeschinen Valley is a special place in the central Swiss Alps which I have had the priveledge of exploring repeatedly both while I lived in neadby Zurich and long after I moved to the United States. The project tests how a site can be experientially excavated, collected and amplified into a single enclosed space using sound. The Sound Vessel is designed to excavate and amplify the subtle sounds of nature in order to enhanve the visitor’s understanding of this place. The excavation relies on basic physical properties of sound waves, water and ice, and the existing geometry of the particular site. The project is designed to have a low impact on the existing site, but a large impact on the people who move through it.

The lake center is the ideal location to successfully excavate sound from across the valley due to the specific mountain geometry, glacial water properties, and connection to various fluctuations in the site. (See Diagrams to right)

RIGHT: In order to build the sound vessel, a sitespecific dry dock and crane are constructed at the edge of the lake. The empty structure remains on the shoreline while the soundvessel drifts into the water. The Dock is reappropriates as a boat dock for the nearby hotel, but hikers will wonder what prompted the Dock’s construction and they will feel the absence of the vessel which it is built to support.

LEFT: This Site Plan shows the roads and hiking routes which connect the Oeschinen Glacial Lake to the Swiss Alpine Trail Network and its popular hiking lodges in the mountains above, as well as neadby Kandersteg, a popular tourist destination nestled in the valley below.

Sound Sources

Lake Inlets/ Water Sound

Sound gravitates towards cooler air near lake surface

Mountain bowl geometry bounces sound into lake center

Final Sound Vessel Path

Part 3: How It Works: Sound Physics Study and Demo Models `

40’ of seasonal water level change due to glacial melt

Radial Geometry

Roof Plan

Front a distance, the largely submerged Sound Vessel looks like a oating disk.

Water Datum Line Plan

Swimmers and boaters can sunbathe on the gently sloped roof or enter the submerged portion of the vessel through the oculus.

Machine Room Plan

Axon illustrating the lock and tackle pulley system (red) which teathers the Sound Vessel to the lake bottom. The tension of the cable is regulated by a large walking crank located in the machine room.

Model 1: Vibratios Resonate via Sound Box The vibrations of the metal spring are inaudible until a styrofoam cut is inserted into the spring, allowing the vibrations to resonate. (from silence up to 60 decibels) Similarly, a vessel in the datum line of the water will amplify otherwise inaudible vibrations in the water.

Model 2: Buoyancy, Cable Tension and Pitch A vertical column of water provides an upward buoyant force on an aluminum can anchored by an elastic cable. Varyations in the water level change tension in the cable and the frequency with which cibrations are propogated through the cable to the can. Similiarly, pitch of the sound produced inside the sound vessel will vary with the depth of the water in the lake. (seasonally varying lake depth +-40’0�).

The model is constructed radially, using 13 simple flat modules which notch together (ribs are designed on a 15 degree increment)

Part 4: Details and Presentation A final 1/2” = 1’0” model was constructed from various thicknesses of lasercut baltic birch plywood, which was stained, painted and laquered to represent various materials. The model was presented suspended in a sheet of engraved plexiglass symbolizing the water plane of the lake. For more drawings and information on this project please visit my online portfolio.

ABOVE: Experiential section showing the hiking route from the Oeshinen Lake up to the Fruendenhuette. (Lodges marked in red). BELOW: Exloded Secton Perspective the Fruendenhutte.

BREATH OF THE MOUNTAIN: A VOICE FOR EACH HOUSE The following two pages summarize a project which led directly into my thesis project on the understanding of site and place through sound. There are several seasonally inhabited buidings located throughout the mountain bowl. In order to create a network between these distant locations, I designed a series of organ pipes to be mounted on the roof of each mountain lodge. Via this sound network, the Breath of the Mountain provided a unique voice for each house, regardless of time of year or seasonally varying occupation.

Freundenhutte Building Crosssection depicts the integration of the organ ue pipe into the roof

Freundenhutte 2562m Temporal hiker’s lodge, open mid-June to beginning of October. accommodates 40 people in dormitory style bunks a 7 hour hike from the Oschinensee.

I subsequendly designed and built a set of four wooden organ pipes at human scale. The pipe organs allowed me to translate the interactive sound network between the mountain houses into an interpersonal connection formed between strangers in the Architecture building. The medium, sound, remained the same. This project led directly into my Bachelor of Architecture Thesis.

ABOVE: Studies of a harmonica

ABOVE: Sudies of common organ pipe sections. Depending on materiality and sectional conditions, organ pipes can be designed to imitate many different families of instruments. Pitch is varied via pipe length.

ARCHITECTURE OF GROUND AND SKY Cinematic Manipulation for Constructed Understanding Advanced Studio: Re-imagining the Many Scales of Wine, Silvia Acosta, Spring 2013

The Architecture is built to register the visitor within the surrounding landscape. Through natural and constructed datum lines, the architecture frames landscape, extends landscape, and provides varying understanding of time, scale, and material in the vineyard. The farmers market is constructed for the Ground. The greenhouse is for the Sky.

The Farmer’s Market is constructed for the Ground.

The Farmer’s Market is constructed for the Ground. F rm Fa r er’s Market Plan

Farmer’s Market Cross Section shows arc of the roof moving with the flow of the earth berm

Farmer’s Market Shade Structure, seen from performance amphitheatre.

Greenhouse Interior View, Facing South

Longitudinal Section Facing East

Greenhouse Plan

The Greenhouse is constructed for the Sky.

Roof Structural Diagram

The Greenhouse is constructed for the Sky.

MASS, TOWER AND HILL Concrete Construction for Housing in Hong Kong (In cooperaton with a 3rd Year BA(AS) student at the University of Hong Kong, Kelly Ziqi Zhao) Through an indepth analysis of Tunneling Formwork, we aimed to design an innovative construction system for insitu cast concrete housing projects. The effective, economical formwork precedent was pushed to overcome its spatial limitations. The ďŹ nal structural system was applied to a hypothetical site, simulating the steep, varied terrain common in Hong Kong.

Project Goals in Diagram

The three main goals of the design investigation of tunneling formwork are detailed below. Terracing of Units adapts to a sloped site. It creates views and outdoor space at the unit level.

Splitlevels and Connections creates varying spatial dialogues and scales and masks the repetitive building piece.

A continuous load path maintains structural efďŹ ciency despite spatial variance.

LEFT: The tunneling system is redesigned as a specific set of five modular units which can be reused to cast countless spatial combinations while maintaining the system’s original efficiency and cost effective characteristics. ABOVE: Numerous concrete models were made to experiment with concrete properties, formwork design, and spatial possibilities. BELOW: The axon below diagrams the floor-by-floor concrete construction system, followed by the insertion of prefabricated door and window modules.

BELOW: The plan and Longitudinal section below portray the ďŹ nal structural system applied to a hypothetical 90 degree arc, simulating the steep, varied terrain common in Hong Kong.


Longitudinal Section

MODELS: Models were built to consider concrete properties, unit aggregation, formwork design, and spatial possibilities.

90 Degrees

DIAGRAMS BELOW: The formwork was developed to allow for apartments which vary in section as well as in plan.

Units are created out of groups of 3 split-level spaces between corridors (corridors in yellow).

Corridors are reduced to every three floors to eliminate redundancies.

Apartments absorb this redundant circulation, allowing unit expansion and variability.

Cross Section

BELOW RIGHT: The Final Concrete model (scale 1:50), represents 9 stories of split-level housing. It was cast in 19 stages to mimic the proposed floor-by-floor construction method. The final model weighed about 45 kilos.

TRAIN STATION, EXCHANGE PLACE AND HOTEL A Public Center for Providence, RI Advanced Studio, Spring 2012

A new, larger train station and interchange hub in downtown Providence will connect Providence to an extensive network of cities in the Northeast. The improved access will increase exchange of capital, ow of people, entertainment, and culture, and make Providence a much more attractive place to live and work.

Proposed Station

The massing of the station hall above the tracks expresses the powerful axis of moving trains below and imparts this energy to the cityscape.


The building’s diverse mixed-use program will promote the train station as an important and vibrant place in Downtown Providence.

This design explores Train Station as:

City Threshold Historical Reference Providence Icon for Identity Commercial Enterprise Hub

ABOVE: Urban Massing Proposal for the development of downtown Providence BELOW: Train Station, Hotel and Conference Center plans

Tr Tra ac in ks


Ground Floor: Train Station Hall, Bus Terminal, Mixed-Use Commercial

Floor 2: Conference Center with Ballroom

Floor 3: Hotel Lobby, Restaurant, and Upper Ballroom

Floor 4-7: Typical Hotel Floor


Cross section showing hotel reorientation over train tracks

Longitudinal section showing train reintegration through train building’s diverse user groups

2nd Floor confer-



2nd Floor conference rooms with ence rooms with train lobby view train lobby view

Hallways upstairs allow views into the train hall.

Double-height ballroom and lobby area connect into the hotel restaurant. State House Views

Hotel Lobby

Restaurant Lobby

Bus Terminal


URBAN VILLAGE: Cohousing Model Reinterpreted RISD Urban Design Principles. Fall 2011 Considering an urban context in post-industrial Providence, I was asked to design housing in proximity to Brown University’s Medical School. 50 units for medical students, 50 units of elderly living 50 units of Faculty Hotel

I designed two apartment blocks that integrate housing for the elderly, graduate students, and families of medical students and young faculty. The oorplan aims to promote cooperative family-style living, giving residents the option to make the best of their generally displaced living circumstances.

Unit Section Through Shared Dining Room

Private Room

Shared Space

Atrium Cross Section



(wach with livingroom and bathroom)

PAIRS OF UNITS form UNIT QUADS (around front porches)

2nd Floor Plan

around a

(around shared living areas )

4th Floor Plan N

BUILDING ATRIUM (with communal ammenities)

TECHSTYLE HAUS Solar Decathlon Europe 2014 An international team of students from three universities collaborated to design and build the first-ever Solar Decathlon entry to incorporate a complete textile enclosure. The house, built to Passivhaus energy standards and powered exclusively by solar power, was built first in Providence and then in Versailles, France for the 2014 Solar Decathlon competition.

MY LEADERSHIP: Structural Construction Detailing Detailed the required structural sections, plans, and details for the Structural portion of our Design Development deadline for Solar Decathlon Europe. 3D Parametric Modeler Worked closely with our Tensile Fabric Specialists as a primary 3D parametric modeling expert on our 100+ student team in order to find the best spatial and structural solution for our house’s tensile membrane enclosure.

ABOVE: Current Renderings of our tensile membrane design and photos of the mock-up house while under construction in a warehouse in Providence.

Construction Coordination Attended weekly Site Operations Coordination meetings with Shawmut Construction to coordinate the project construction schedule.

ABOVE: Output from my grasshopper script, which allowed us to share the desired shape of our tensile structure with our consultants. BELOW: Drawings I made which were part of the structural drawing set submitted by our team at the end of Design Development.

PROFESSIONAL WORK SAMPLES (1 of 4) Architectural Vizualization Intern, June 2014- Present Boston, Massachusetts, USA

HartnessVision During my summer at HartnessVision, I worked as part of a four-person team of visualization consultants. We use strong transdisciplinary skills, spatial understanding, and creative/aesthetic talents to create precise, imaginative architectural visualizations. Our design input helps clarify, strengthen and communicate conceptual, narrative, and aesthetic aspects of design projects for consulting architectural, landscape and urban design firms. All of the imagery on this page was created in close collaboration with the members of my team at Hartness Vision and in dialogue with client design teams including Sasaki Associates (Boston), Perkins + Will (Atlanta) and Utile (Boston).

PROFESSIONAL WORK SAMPLES (2 of 4 ) Design Intern, June-August 2013 Boston, MA, USA

At Payette, I translated a project’s facade concept into an extensive parametric script which efficiently modeled variations of the building’s 800+ unique vertical fins for shading. My 3D models were shared with our structural consultants, building scientists and the rendering team during the Design Development phase of the project. I attended meetings with these consultants to contribute to discussions on facade structural issues, lighting and shading, and building imagery. I also built the 1/8” scale sectional model of the building and rendered the images shown on this page.

PROFESSIONAL WORK SAMPLES (3 of 4 ) Design Intern, June-August 2012 Basel, Switzerland

During this three-month internship I worked in a 3-person team on a competition entry for a 60-apartment complex in Zurich. I participated in all design phases from site analysis and initial building concepts to apartment layout design, client profling, and landscape/garden concepts. I was in charge of designing the final presentation layout and illustrating all necessary schematic diagrams. I detailed the final 1:500 contextual plans. During Design Team meetings, I drafted the weekly agenda with German Language proficiency.

PROFESSIONAL WORK SAMPLES (4 of 4 ) Design Intern, Summer 2011 Basel, Switzerland

Emch+Berger AG Gesamtplanung Hochbau

During my summer internship, Emch + Berger was coordinating the massive renovation of a large multiuse facility in a suburb of Basel. I was put in charge of photo-documenting a section of the building’s rooftop which originally held a covered swimming pool, a fitness center, a small 90-seat auditorium, and multiple garden terraces. I was asked to develop a series of remodeling concepts for this portion of the project, which I then presented through manual and digital sketches in powerpoint and printed book formats to groups of outside professionals, including the project’s engineers and owners, in order to facilitate a dialogue regarding possibile design options. My presentations were conducted in both English and German.

BACHELOR OF FINE ARTS SAMPLE WORK RISD’s BArch program is unique because it allows Architecture students pursuing their professional degrees towards licensure to concurrently pursue a supporting, enriching BFA, with a strong focus on thinking through making. This thinking is inherently important to architectural design.

Paper cones on fabric were used to articulate and document complex curves around Providence.

Flat stainless steel and aluminum sheets fold up into cubes with high compressive strength. Depending on the direction of the exerted tensile force, the cubes ex to articulate various textures.

Violin Box. Stained poplar wood, hand carved ( 8” x 6” x19”)

Oil paint, sewn thread and paper collage on layered canvas (13” x 24”)

Thank You! Please do not hesitate to contact me for more information.

Jessica Luscher Rhode Island School of Design BArch 2014 BFA 2013 814-380-2461 Portfolio online at

Jessica N Luscher RISD BArch Portfolio July 2014  

This portfolio summarizes my full undergraduate and professional work to date. 2008-2014 Contains: Award Nominated BArch thesis project, s...

Jessica N Luscher RISD BArch Portfolio July 2014  

This portfolio summarizes my full undergraduate and professional work to date. 2008-2014 Contains: Award Nominated BArch thesis project, s...