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This book is presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Bachelor of Architecture degree at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. This year long thesis project investigates the cultivation of serenity through small scale architectural interventions along a California coastal drive. T h e journey is the destina t i o n . I’d like to extend a special thank you to my advisors: Jonathan Reich and Brent Freeby, for continually inspiring me, challenging me, and motivating me to pursue such a conceptual project; to my parents, for supporting me in every way possible through five years of an intensive architectural education program, and to coffee, for keeping me alive, awake, alert, and enthusiastic. Jillian M. Kuehnis Studio: Jonathan Reich June 2014

Š 2014 Jillian Kuehnis All rights reserved. This material may not be reproduced, modified, or distributed without the express prior written permission of the copyright holder. For permission, contact jilliankuehnis@ gmail.com. Every reasonable attempt has been made to identify owners of copyright. Errors or omissions will be corrected in subsequent editions.


Architectural moments for pause along California’s Pacific Coast Highway. A thesis by: Jillian M. Kuehnis


CONTENTS WHAT IS IT? A series of rest stops to evoke a sense of being in the here and now for those moving to fast beyond the living in life.


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The Theory

The Sites

The Projects

The Process

Creating a year-long provocative and influential thesis project.

Distributing it along California’s Pacific Coast Highway.

Bringing site specific, presence-inducing interventions to the road.

Writing and research to support the final realized design.


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“The human being needs to recognize a part of nature to act within it without destroying it, without destroying himself, and so be able to enjoy the distinctively human values it offers you: the good and beauty, above all, need be retrieved and transmitted to younger generations.� [Horst Werting] 7


T H E T H E O RY “ T he c a r ha s m a d e o u r c i t i e s u n i n ha b i t a b l e . I t i s a l s o t he b e s t w a y t o e s c a p e t he m . H u r r y a n d t a k e t he r o a d t o t he r o a d l e s s a r e a , b e c a u s e i t w o n ’ t b e r o a d l e s s l o n g .� [ T e r r y & R e n n y R u s s e l , O n t he L o o s e ]

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Concept Statement

Project Statement

Precedent Study

Channelling the serene effects of nature and place to affect one’s disposition.

To enhance and enrich a location without overwhelming the given site.

The National Tourist Routes in Norway verify the plausibility of the project.


CONCE P T STATE M E N t The American highway system is a great utilitarian achievement which allows one to travel across the United States without actually seeing anything. The normative value of “rest stops” is realized in their utility for supporting the function of goal oriented travel from place to place.

Rest stops could also serve as places for visitors to synchronize internal sense of being with a larger timeless presence – in the here and now, by channeling the serene effects of nature and place to affect one’s disposition.

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The study and skillful use of light, view, sound, climate, seasons, cardinal orientation, soil, site history, sequence, and other site characteristics in the design of these interventions should allow visitors to return to the road with a clarity, calmness, and greater understanding of the world around them. 11

This will be done with small scale architectural interventions at slightly damaged roadside sites in otherwise extraordinary natural settings. They will illustrate the potential of architecture to orient in time and space, to enhance sensory awareness, to inherently inform and reveal, and to evoke a calm acceptance of the presence of what is true.


ESCAPE. v. to slip away, as from confinement n. a means of distraction or relief, especially from reality or boredom. RETREAT. v. the act of withdrawing as into safety or privacy; seclusion n. a place of refuge RESPITE. v. temporary rest or relief; pause n. a pause from exertion; interval of rest and relief PAUSE. n. a temporary stop or rest v. to make a brief stop or delay REST.

n. relief or freedom, especially from anything that wearies, troubles, or disturbs n. a period or interval of inactivity, repose, solitude, or tranquility v. to bring to a halt; to slow down and stop; to cease motion work, or activity

RELIEF.

n. alleviation, ease, or deliverance through the removal of pain, distress, or anxiety n. something affording a pleasing change, as from monotony (diversion)

REPOSE. n. peace; tranquility; calm n. dignified calmness, as of manner; composure REFRESH. v. to provide new vigor and energy by rest; to renew

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Wh e n li f e m o v e s t o o f a st , r e s t a n d re j u ve n a t i o n a r e of t en f or got t en.

ESCAPE.

RETREAT.

RESPITE.

13 PAUSE.

REST.

RELIEF.

REPOSE.

REFRESH.


PROJE C T STATE M E N T - The individual interventions will each have their own identity but remain a piece within the comprehensive greater system. - With recurring elements of coastline, mountains, and grassy hills, each project shall endeavor to be distinct in its own manner and purpose as to increase variation. - The goal is to enhance and enrich a location without overwhelming the given site. - The project will seek to educate visitors of some site specific detail [time, cardinal

direction, tidal changes, etc.] for the purpose of locating them in the here and now. - Each individual intervention will challenge preconceptions of the landscape and help to utilize the serene powers of nature to affect the disposition of visitors. This thesis is an extension of another project that was commissioned in Norway in 1994 as a structured, sequential tourist route with a series of small, highly designed interventions that tell a story within each site. 14


The aforementioned project statement was derived from that of the Norway Tourist Route’s intent statement as recorded in the book entitled “Detour” by Nina Berre and Hege Lysholm; I have found that it aligns with my project ambitions accurately. With eighteen interventions in the Norwegian series, distinct designs were created by various collaborative architecture groups. Although less detailed than the Norway project, I will be aiming to create a unique atmosphere and new relationship with nature at each site to challenge our preconceptions 15

of the landscape. In the case of the Highway 1 project, the mountains, coastline, and grassy hills are the recurring elements which must be diversified. This is a study of how form may enhance and enrich an environment without overwhelming a certain location. Site specificity is the most important aspect of this project and I plan to take into account the various factors of each intervention to consciously work with it’s location.


TROLLSTIGPLATĂ…ET Architect: Reiulf Ramstad. Landscape architect: Multiconsult. Photo: Jarle WĂŚhler Statens Vegvessen

PRECE D E N T S T U DY The National Tourist Route in Norway proved to be a great precedent study to verify the plausibility of this suggested project. This precedent was initially intended for the promotion of tourism through intricately designed small scale installations and visitor sites along a main tourist route in Norway. It demonstrated an alternate perspective towards rest stops and how they could serve as a design opportunity and population

enriching space rather than the traditional government issued version in California. These stops serve not only for the purpose of giving drivers a much needed rest, but also offer architectural beauty and an educational note. Furthermore, the Norway rest stops function to recognize certain site attributes that should be emphasized and celebrated that may not otherwise receive adequate attention. 16


ASKEVÅGEN Architect: 3 RW Arkitekter – Jakob Røssvik. Landscape architect: Smedsvig landskapsarkitekter AS. Photos: top: Vegar Moen bottom: Per Kollstad

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TUNGENSET Architects: Code Arkitektur Landscape Architects: Aurora Landskap - Anita Vieseth Photos: top: Hugo Fagermo middle: Steinar Skaar right: Jarle WĂŚhler

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STEGASTEIN Architects: Todd Saunders and Tommie Wilhelmsen. Photos: top: Per Kollstad bottom: Jarle WĂŚhler

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JEKTVIK Architect: Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk. Photo: Magne Myrvold

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TORVDALSHALSEN Architect: 70° Nord - Gisle Løkken. Photos: top: Jiri Havran bottom: Vegar Moen

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SNEFJORD

ØRNESVINGEN

Architect: PUSHAK arkitekter (Langeland, Drage Kleiva, Melbye and Gromholt.

Architects: 3 RW - Sixten Rahlff. Artist: May Eikås Bjerk. Landscape architect: Arne Smedsvig.

Photo: Hege Lysholm

Photo: Steinar Skaar

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“ E a c h i n d i v i d u a l N a t ional Tourism R o u t e s ha l l ha v e i t s o wn identity but e q u a l l y s o b e a p i e c e of an entire, c o m p r e he n s i v e m o s a i c... Mountains, f j o r d s , a n d t he c o a s t l ine are strong f u n d a m e n t a l a n d r e c u rring elements f o u n d i n a l l s e c t i o n s which therefore m u s t b e s p i c e d u p w i t h different types o f c o n t e n t i n o r d e r t o enhance each area’s distinctiveness. “ I t i s c r u c i a l t ha t such areas be v a r i e d s o t ha t t he d i f ferent sections d o n o t c o n v e r g e . W i t h this as a point o f d e p a r t u r e i t i s n e c e ssary to be bold a n d r e s i l i e n t w i t h r e g ard to quality, p a r t i c u l a r l y i n t e r m s of architectonic e x p r e s s i o n . F u r t he r , the aesthetic c ha l l e n g e s s ha l l normally be a d d r e s s e d i n r e l a t i o n to the situation a n d a t m o s p he r e a t t he location in q u e s t i o n , a n d i n p articular both f u n c t i o n a l a n d e x c i ting solutions m u s t b e c r e a t e d t ha t have endurance a n d t he a b i l i t y t o a g e with dignity...” [ P r o j e c t S t a t e m e n t o f the Norway N a t i o n a l T o u r i s t R o ute as stated b y  N i n a B e r r e , “ D e t o ur”]

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THE SITES “ O n e o f t he b e s t - p a y i n g p r o f e s s i o n s i s g e t t i n g a ho l d o f p i e c e s o f c o u n t r y i n y o u r m i n d , l e a r n i n g t he i r s m e l l a n d t he i r m o o d s , sorting out the pieces of a view, deciding w ha t g r o w s t he r e a n d t he r e a n d ho w m a n y s t e p s t ha t hi l l w i l l t a k e , w he r e t hi s c r e e k w i n d s a n d w h e r e i t m e e t s t he o t he r o n e b e l o w , w ha t e l e v a t i o n t i m b e r l i n e i s n o w , w he t he r y o u c a n w a l k t hi s r e e f a t l o w t i d e o r ha v e t o c l i m b a r o u n d , w hi c h c o n t o u r l i n e s on a map mean better cliffs or mountains.� [ T e r r y & R e n n y R u s s e l , O n t he L o o s e ]

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Highway 1 Map

Projected Sites

Site Strategy

Relative proximity of the collection of proposed sites along the highway.

Proposals for many sites including the four designs that have been initiated.

Several factors contributed to the selection of each of these projected sites.


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“We are like Antaeus of old, whose strength, ebbing whenever he lost contact with the Earth, his mother, became renewed each time he touched the ground. [We] need strengthening contact with nature once again. The natural world remains the common basis for all of us, even through it is changed beyond recognition from the world of nature known to our fathers.“ [Gyorgy Kepes]

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CRESCENT CITY

TRINIDAD

MUIR BEACH

SANTA CRUZ

The P r o p o s e d s it e s Many sites were considered in the creation of this thesis project. So far, I’ve initiated design propositions for four of them. 30


BIG SUR

CAMBRIA

GUADALUPE

EL CAPITAN

“ A d v e n t u r e i s n o t i n t he g u i d e b ook and Beauty i s n o t o n t he m a p . S e e k a n d y e shall find.” [ T e r r y & R e n n y R u s s e l , O n t he Loose]

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SITE S T R AT E GY Although it may seem as if sites were chosen at random, there were several factors that contributed to my selection of THESE eight areas.

2. All areas were chosen as sites of varying degrees of previous land disturbances so that the interventions will not cause harm to pure existing, natural landscapes.

1. Each site sits at a location with potential for a spectacular view; a view that would otherwise be given a drive-by without the opportunity for a comfortable place to stop, sit, and observe.

3. Many of the sites do share certain characteristics [coastline, steep cliffs, similar climates], however each one chosen has a specific attribute to distinguish it from the rest. The interventions will seek to emphasize 32


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this unique quality and highlight its power on the observer.

additions to each site will merely become places to heighten the experience.

4. Interventions will be positioned to become a backdrop and architectural space to highlight the site rather than take the attention away from the it. This project is about returning perspective to the landscape to utilize the power of nature over a viewer’s mental disposition. Ergo, the architectural

5. Four site intervention designs have been initiated. The remaining four sites will be recognized as proposed sites for the time being, but will give validity to the idea that there is potential for several additional locations.


THE Projects E v e r y t hi n g i s o l a t e d b e f o r e m y s e n s e s , t he y a c c e p t i t w i t ho u t q u e s t i o n : a r u s t l e o f s i l e n c e . T he s u r r o u n d i n g n a t u r e e v o k e s a s t a t e o f c o n t e m p l a t i o n w i t hi n m e .

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The Branch

The Dock

The Portal

The Den

A branch or path into the foliage alongside the road in Crescent City.

A dock that reaches down into the water in a lagoon in Trinidad.

A portal which gives and takes a sweeping view in Big Sur.

A den that tunnels visitors into the warm ground just past Muir Beach.


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THE BRANCH Crecent City On mountain’s edge, amid s t a f o r e s t , r e s t s a platfo r m t h a t a f f o r d s a peac e f u l p l a c e t o p e r c h and l i s t e n ; t o c h i t c h a t with t h e t r e e s . . . t h o s e tall, t a l l t r e e s . S w i s h i n g their l e a f c o v e r e d l i m b s in t h e s w i r l i n g o c e a n breez e b e l o w .

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I joined them the trees. I sat in contemplation as the leaves rustled. Above me, below me; tr e e s a l l a r o u n d . Making music with their limbs. The glow of morning light peeking in through the foliage.. Filtered: the wind, the sun, my thoughts. SITE view

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THE dock Trinidad On a beach of a lagoon, where the highway t o u ch e s t h e w a t e r , s i t s a dock. It’s pristine p a t hw a y p i e r c e s t h r o u g h a reed-like structural system and dives down into the water.

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It touched the tides. Dove down slowly. The dock’s surface laid fixed, weathered away by each surge of water sipping at it’s planks. The cycles past l e f t t h e ir m a r k s b e h i n d . I inched closer to the water’s edge, and touched the tides myself, as the salty breeze kissed my face. SITE view

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THE DEN Muir Beach On a grassy hill that overlooks the coast beyond sits a den; a place of shelter nestled into the earth where one can rest at eye level with the long grasses swaying in the ocean breeze.

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I burrowed. Down into the ground it led me. Into the warmth and the thick earthen walls. I saw the grass of the hill, close up and swaying. Heard the wind, but was sheltered from it.

SITE SITE

view

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THE Portal Big Sur O n a precipice sits a p a t h to draw visitors t h r o ugh a meditation s p a c e, removing them f r o m turbulent thoughts o f t h e road, pulling them t h r o ugh an open abyss, a n d then out into the air. I n t o t he view; suspended.

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I heard them before I saw them them. The waves, crashing on the cliffs below. An edge, beyond the cliff edge. Where even my toes could feel the drop. Suspended yet somehow surrounded. T h e sk y e n c a s e d m e . The fog crept up to bury me in its mist.

SITE SITE

view

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THE PROCESS “ F o r ho u r s , a n d s o m e t i m e s f o r d a y s , I f e l l w i t ho u t r e a l i z i n g i t i n t o t he p r i v a t e e x p l a n a t i o n o f t he w o r l d . .. W ha t d e c e i v e d m e w a s m y o w n ha p p i n e s s ; f o r p e a c e i s i n d i vi s i b l e , a n d t he s u r r o u n d i n g w o r l d confusion found no reflection inside me. So I c e a s e d t o ha v e a n y r e a l s e n s e o f i t .” [ J o hn K n o w l e s , A S e p a r a t e P e a c e ]

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Project Sketches

Other Precedents

Form Studies

Abstract

Process sketches selected from several iterations at the four sites.

Other inspirational architecture, art and land artists.

Exploring light, shape, shadow, hierarchy, and texture.

An early showcase piece with the intention of cultivating serenity.

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Vellum

Categorized Image

Escape: Collages

Bibliography

Furniture competition piece: a collection of sliding shelves.

Organizing spaces for relaxation by size and occupancy.

Playful images for escaping the currents of city life.

Reading for research, selected quotes, and inspirational writers.


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sketch Project Sketches Several iterations were considered prior to the final designs.

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research Other Precedents Precedent interventions at various sites of p e a c e f u l uncultivated nature.

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I strove to achieve Snohetta’s ability to highlight a surrounding landscape with highly designed components of an installation without overpowering the beauty of the site itself.

SNOHETTA ARCHITECTS

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MICHAEL HEIZER

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Michael Heizer’s elegant formal explorations in nature are so elemental and boiled down that the work becomes incredibly powerful in its own respect.


RODRIGO SHEWARD

A remotely located space to provide a direct relationship with nature while sheltering the occupant from its elements, the Observation Deck is a great example of the use of material integrity and simple design form to create a powerful place for taking in one’s surroundings.

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CORNELIA KONRADS

TASOS SAVVA Land artists have a wonderful ability to effortlessly and precisely display a vast array of different responses to various sites. Additionally, while neither of the selected projects here serve any specific functionality, they do leave people with an experience, an impression, that can be altering and influential.

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A R T I FAC T Form Studies “SERENITY: 1. The quality or state of being serene; clearness and calmness; quietness; stillness; peace. 2. Calmness of mind; evenness of temper; coolness; composure.” [Webster’s Dictionary]

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STRUCTURE How does a structure affect the land below it? Can an architectural installation mirror or describe something about the land it sits upon?

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LIGHT What effects can be made with patterns of light and shadow? At human scale, how could this form study be reinterpreted into an architectural installation?

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TREES How is dappled light perceived? How can the effect be recreated? Why does a forest seem so vast? What are the proportional qualities of tall trees to small humans?

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WAVES What would waves look like spatially? How could the curling, looping, flowing forms of waves inspire a surrounding piece of architecture?

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TOPOGRAPHY. How do level changes and descent change perspective dynamically? How does it affect the observer and their experience of place?

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“ W e a r e a l l a c q u a i n ted with rare m o m e n t s w he n m e a n i ng swells into d o u b l e m e a n i n g o r many meanings a n d t he w o r l d m a n i f e sts itself not as s e p a r a t e d t e r r i t o r i e s but as a living w ho l e . T he s e a r e t he moments in w hi c h s i n g l e f e e l i n g t akes over and w e s e e m t o d i s s o l v e into the world a r o u n d u s . C hi l d r e n w ho are allowed t o b e c hi l d r e n s o m e t i m es reach happy complete involvement. “ I n e v i t a b l y , m o s t o f us lose the m a r v e l o u s c a p a c i t y we had as c hi l d r e n t o s e n s e l i f e in its fullest w ho l e . P r e s e n t a d u l t civilized life is s ys t e m a t i c a l l y c u t u p , scheduled, and p a r c e l e d o u t . W e l i v e by timetables a n d m a p s . W e c a n r e count the year, d a y, a n d ho u r i n w hich something ha p p e n e d , a n d p l a c e it in the right ho u s e , s t r e e t , a n d c o untry, but we f o r g e t i t s t a s t e a n d c o l or. The capacity f o r s e n s i n g o u r b e l o n gingness, which g i v e s l i v i n g i t s c o l o r , richness, and, r e a l l y, i t s j u s t i f i c a t i o n , is drained out o f m o s t o f u s .� [Gyorgy Kepes]

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CAVITY Burrowing down while reflecting upwards; mutual reliance of material on material

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PLATFORM An extension of the space below; reaching beyond the existing

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PERCH A b a l c o n y n e s t l e d i nto t h e l a n d s c a p e a r o u nd a f f o r d i n g t h e o p p o r tunity t o s t a n d n e a r l y s u s pended

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GALLERY Abstract S h ort silence will do... e v erything stops where it belongs.

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Task: create an artifact that embodies the BE. HERE. NOW. of life. I was seeking to create something that people would not think about, they would just instinctively reach out and touch it. The smooth and rough materiality of the elements evoked a state of contemplation for observers to forget outside distractions. 119

Solution: a blend of the elemental qualities of a zen garden recreated through the use and contrast of smooth, soft wood and the coarseness of beach rocks. It was more than just a material study, it was my first attempt to “cultivate serenity� in those interacting with the project.


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Until the chatter goes away... Until the object becomes the experience In the absence of thought Through the blankness of focus Blankness and concentration Having thoughts without ideas Ideas without thought And all was conscious again.

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Furniture Vellum “Craf t m a n s h i p m e a n s d w e l l i n g on a t a s k f o r a l o n g t i m e a n d going i n t o i t , b e c a u s e o n e want s t o g e t i t r i g h t . � [Matt h e w C r a w f o r d , S h o p C l a s s as So u l c r a f t ]


P r acticing welds

Making the frames

Attaching the tabs

After powder coating

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Vellum was an opportunity for me to learn a new skill and to refine other ones. I am astounded that I went so long without learning how to work with metal. Even though it took me three attempts to get clean miters on the frame pieces and several days to practice my welds before putting the new skills to work, my perseverance showed in the finished product. 125

I also didn’t know much about the different types of wood prior to Vellum and took the chance to broaden my knowledge through talks with Vicky at the NRC, and the men at Aura Hardwoods. It was amazing to see my design become a functional, adjustable, high-quality piece of furniture so quickly and I could not be happier with how it turned out.


ADJUSTABILITY T h e f o u r c h e r r y wood s h e l v e s g l i d e s moothly o n t h e i r s t e e l tracks t o a l l o w f o r several d i f f e r e n t a r r a n g ements w i t h i n t h e s t e e l frame.

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StUDies Categorized Space Organizing spaces for relaxation by size and occupancy.

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Acco m m o dat i n g N at u r e Early thesis investigations led me to a few case studies which I highly regarded as places of solitude, comfort, and contemplation. From there, I worked to categorize my feelings regarding solitude and comfort. The study was initially to sort out which types of spaces accommodate the notion of temporary separation and solitude from a bustling society, but then delved into whether or not someone could be alone while

surrounded by others. Can solitude be experienced in a pair? In a group? And as a conclusion, my studies led me to the outdoors - a common place to get away to that can be seen in a variety of accommodating scales for one or for many. In nearly every situation of serenity there was a relation with the outdoors or the elements of nature. 130


KIELDER OBSERVATORY Architect: Charles Barclay

PINOHUACHO OBSERVATION DECK Architect: Rodrigo Sheward

MOSES BRIDGE Architect: RO&AD

ELEMENT HOUSE Architect: Rintala Eggertson

PALEY PARK Architect: Zion & Breen Associates

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Sorti n g S pac e Images of space sorted by scale: from left to right is from the no-one to the everyone (in scale and occupancy). The beach could have everyone and no one all in the same. Then from top to bottom spaces are sorted from everywhere to somewhere. Beaches are everywhere, but Paley Park could only be found in Manhattan. This was an investigation in whether I should be striving to create a space to adapt for anywhere it’s needed (the

everywhere) or to be something very site specific (the somewhere) and likewise if it should be capable of accommodating no one or anyone and everyone. Who is my target group of occupants? Should my project be able to adjust to audience and site needs or is it for one specific purpose and place? Each of the photos are places of retreat, reflection, observation, contemplation, and escape. 132


no-one (someone)

everyone (anyone)

everywhere (anywhere)

The great outdoors, extremely vast in scale yet a source of rejuvenation Camping, a moveable shelter, most intimate in scale N ooks, there’s something comforting about being tucked in A place to inhabit which remains exposed to the elements yet sheltered from their force

somewhere (here)

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A park that accommodates various scaled groups of people

A bridge to alter the perspective of its visitors

London Tube, An u n conventional shelter when necessary in times of c risis. People a ccommodate themselves


Brain s t o r m Through these two diagrams I brainstormed the various ways that people might relax and where. I was curious about whether or not my project could ever cater to everyone and anyone. Relaxation isn’t always about a quiet place of escape... some people relax at a bar, some people relax by going to the gym. Regardless of how or where people relax, I was trying to find the tying element. What is it about all of these places that relaxes people?

All of which are alike in that they require a certain amount of focus. Focus on a task or thing rather than whatever was in their mind prior to becoming relaxed. Perhaps serenity is found in the intense focus of whatever someone is doing. Applied to my project, a place of serenity could be created through meticulously focused views on something vast and undefined. 134


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i m ag e Escape: Collages “Dispel the clouds which hang over our brows, and take up a little life into our pores.� [Henry David Walden]

Thoreau,


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Alexander, Christopher, Sara Ishikawa, and Murray Silverstein. A P a t t e r n L a n g u a g e : Town s , B u i l d i n g s , C o n s t r u c t i o n . New York: Oxford UP, 1977. Print. Berre, Nina, and Hege Lysholm. O m v e g :

Arkite k t u r O g D e s i g n L a n g s 1 8 N a s j o n a l e Turis t v e g a r = D e t o u r : A r c h i t e c t u r e a n d Desig n a l o n g 1 8 N a t i o n a l T o u r i s t R o u t e s .

Oslo: Statens Vegvesen, Nasjonale Turist vegar, 2008. Print.

Blaser, Werner. T a d a o A n d o : A r c h i t e k t u r D e r

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