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Integrated Building Systems

Spring 2010 kara dziobek jacqueline lavine alyssa saltzgaber genevieve visser wallace wong

Preface : Lifespan of a House What are the extents of the building of a house? How does a house change and develop overtime, and how do the surroundings change and develop around it? These are the questions we must always be facing when it comes to buildings.



In examining ground, we became increasingly interested in the process of excavation that the house had undergone in the replacing of the foundation. Also in the strata of different sizes and types of stones that would be found in different layers of the earth and how they would have gotten a bit churned up in the excavation process. We begin to question how the systems working within the builidng start to penetrate into the earth, or become a part of the ground on which the house i s sitting.

What can the rocks we find tell us?

How much can one learn from a small piece of gravel. Can a stone beging to tell a story about how it was made, or the size of the rock that it came from? Or maybe this information is lost once the gravel has been placed and becomes once more part of the ground. Knowing the process of removing the soil from around the original flagstone foundation has made this study interesting. Similar to the way in which a wave ebbs and flows, a churning of rock and dirt has occurred. The foundation and basement walls being made out of concrete become a big rock composed of many smaller rocks. It is as if we both remove and break up larger rocks that we take from the earth in order to create our own rocks that we then place back into the earth. It is interesting to think as well that as time goes on the ground will be littered with these man-made rocks.

How did Jack decide to manipulate the ground conditions in relation to water on the site (ie. original walkway surrounding the house)?

The water management systems that our site fits into exist on serveral different scales, being the site, the Broadway-Armory district, and the state of R.I. There is a relationship between the source of water (rainwater, aquifer, municipal water supply) and the site. The diagram below shows the directions of water flow on site. The walkway that was originally built around the house prevented water from seeping underground within 3 ft of the house. The removal of it made the ground around the house permeable, causing Jack to think of a method of relocation further away from the house for the rainwater runoff (see Ch.6).

RAINFALL DATA Avg reporting year rainfall (1917-2008) 50.57 inches Max reporting year rainfall (2006) 71.37 inches Min reporting year rainfall (1930) 33.43 inches 2008 reporting year rainfall 47.75 inches Average Statewide Water Usage – 30 Largest Public Systems: ~ 116 mgd (86%) – 450 Minor Water Systems: ~ 2.4 mgd (2%) – Self Supplied: ~ 17 mgd (12%)

The effort of removing ground for the purpose of constructing a house equals the effort of the actual building of the house. The site of 22 Bianco Ct.. has been excavated around the house to accommodate the new foundation walls that Jack put in. He dug a trench to make a larger hole in which his house was dug into so that he could access his foundation better. So what else must the ground, a pretty solid material, do to allow room for a house to be installed within it? If you think about it, it is pretty interesting that us humans, architects from the beginning of human awareness of shelter, has adopted the idea that the ground, the solid earth which supports us must make way for our comfort. We dig into the ground to put something in. It is still not a complete random act though. Our extent of control over the ground is limited, and so we must also make way and accept nature and what it can do to a specific site. There could be flooding if too close to a river, which 22 Bianco Ct. is not. You could be located in a wind tunnel and your house becomes a victim to the wind. We are always taught that site should not be a detached variable in our projects, that the site must help form what is to be designed there. If we were to ignore site and its conditions, we could still design something beautiful, or intelligent, functional within itself. But all that would be limited in its capabilities. Site is a huge driving force for decisions we make. But site cannot be everything. It would be extremely difficult if site was the only thing given to us and we were tasked with designing architecture that accommodated site only. So if you were given a site next to a river, would you design something that helped the water move or block it? Would you have it be ephemeral just like the ground next to a river bed, which can be washed away at any moment? Or do you have it act like a rock, only subtly changing as the water runs past it? What would be the program? Would there be program? Because of these types of questions which are so hard to answer with site alone, we must combine it with program and need and have a unique balance between all three to create something which is beautiful, intelligent, and functional.

C HA P T E R 2 : F O U N D AT I O N


A diagramming of the foundation, the form casting process, the existing wall as it was falling, and the method of pouring a concrete floor within the basement.

How does the foundation and structure accommodate seismic activity? I come from a Hong Kong, one of the most densely populated places in the entire world. As land is sparse, every patch of land is treated preciously and its use maximized by expanding habitable space vertically instead of horizontally. There are about 7650 skyscrapers in the city. The distance from the harbor front to the steep hills is approximately 0.8 miles; hence the construction of skyscrapers is forced to extend up the hill. It is the world’s most vertical city. The construction of these skyscrapers, no matter commercial or residential on the steep hills calls for complex foundations. Many times, the entrance of the building can only be accessed by narrow roads and paths that snake through the Esher-esque matrix of foundation structure. I myself live in one of these buildings. With so more people living and working on the 14th floor above anywhere in the world, it would be a disaster if one of the foundations of these looming “beehives” should fail. Another similar city would be Tokyo. The difference of it to Hong Kong is that it is built atop the junction of three tectonic plates: the Eurasian plate, the Philippine Sea plate, and the Pacific Plate. This meant it is highly susceptible to Earthquakes. The country is one of the world’s most earthquake-prone countries. In 1995, a magnitude-7.2 quake in the western port city of Kobe killed 6,400 people. The result is that Japan has one of the world’s best earthquake early warning systems and a seismic design code for its buildings. One of the ways of seismic vibration control is to partially suppress the seismic energy flow into the superstructure from the foundation. This is called base isolation. The city of Pasargadae was the Persian capital of Cyrus the Great 530 BC. What has been discovered was that Pasargadae’s building’s foundations are classified as having a base isolation design. The city could withstand a severe earthquake of 7.0 on the Richter magnitude scale. One of these still existing buildings would be the tomb of Cyrus. Another example of ancient civilizations understanding the importance of seismic control would be the Incans. The Incans were master masons, experts of the dry stonewall also know as ashlar. The stones fit together seamlessly that mortar is not required. The mortar free construction allowed the stones of the dry stone wall to move slightly during seismic activity and resettle without causing the wall to collapse. Modern base isolation techniques include lead rubber bearing. This involves heavy damping of the seismic energy by resting the building on bearings made of rubber with a lead core. Simple roller bearing is another method of base isolation by resting the building on rollers. Springs with damper is a method similar to lead rubber bearing. The building rests on springs instead. Elevated building foundation is a vibration control technology, which is part of the buildings superstructure. The foundation of the building is elevated from the ground and instead rests on some form of base isolator. Frequently the collapse of buildings is the result of resonance. Buildings such as the Taipei 101 have a steel pendulum weighing 660 metric tones that serves as a mass damper. It is installed at the top of the building and its swaying motion decreases resonant amplifications caused by seismic activity and wind gusts. Less complex mass damper could simply be a slosh tank, a tank filled with liquid. One more direct way of improving the seismic performance of a building would be to taper its form. i.e. Pyramid. An example of this would be the Transamerica Pyramid building in San Francisco.

What would happen if the entire house was created with the rearrange able formwork used for the foundation walls? For the foundation wall Jack Ryan used Insulated Concrete forms as his formwork, IntegraSpec, which is a stay-in-place formwork for energy-efficient, cast-in-place reinforced concrete walls. They are “Legolike” pieces which are interlocking modular units that are dry stacked, without mortar, and serve to create a form for the structural walls of a building, in this case the foundation walls. The design is up to the builder, which made it easy for Jack to do this on his own, since it is just a matter of stacking and locking in the form pieces into your desired shape. Usually reinforcing steel rebar is added before concrete placement to give the resulting walls flexural strength, which is what Jack did to his walls, both to connect the footing to the walls, as well as to connect the walls to the CMU’s which are stacked on top of the finished concrete surface, 6’ from the slab. The formwork is left in place for thermal and acoustic insulation, fire protection, and possibly for space to fun electrical conduit and plumbing. The formwork can be taken off, which Jack did immediately next to the door which is inserted into the foundation wall for access to the yard. A couple of benefits to ICF’s include: minimal, if any, air leaks, high sound absorption, and a resistance to forces of nature (ideal to the underground condition in which it is used in this case, and proved to be an issue with the original foundation walls) which include being impermeable to water which is a common problem in older houses who experience mold and mildew. Jack’s wall has a concrete core of 10 inches with the formwork being 2.5” wide, totaling in a wall thickness of 15 inches. The typical standard panel dimension is 48”x2.5”x12.25” (interlocked). The web connector, as seen in the photo, is dependent on the width desired, so in this case it is a 10” connector. The Integra Foam panel materials are: flame retardant type 2, expanded polystyrene (EPS), with a density of 1.5pcf. The plastic inserts are high impact polystyrene (HIPS) which are 100% recycled material. They are located for connection every 8 inches on center. The exterior surface area is 4.08 sq.ft. (interlocked), with the concrete volume being .12 cb.yd.

Normal height concrete wall/formwork on both sides Shorter concrete wall/formwork on both sides= bench

This system of construction is incorporating a set constraint to create something more than its original dimension. We do that with most materials, and lego construction is the same thing. So if a variable were to change with this system, say the width of the formwork is flexible, how could that be used to create something more than just a wall? It Concrete countertop/formwor could possibly transform into furniture, or countertops. k on one side

How does masonry connect with our senses? How does it influence our way of experiencing architecture? There is always a narrative in good architecture. The stories being told in architecture are of process, structure and use. If the building itself is the story, then its rooms and spaces must be the chapters and paragraphs, doorways and windows are punctuation, walls are sentences. And then there are the words, the fundamental element that builds the story. In architectural sense this could be many things such as wood or concrete. But for me, the most fitting analogy would be the brick. I stress on the importance of brick because it is one of the oldest types of building blocks. They are cheap to manufacture in large quantities due to low cost and durability. Brick has a strong relation to the human condition because most bricklaying is done manually; even today CMUs (evolved bricks) are laid by hand one by one. Bricks are also made small enough to fit in the hand. It possesses a very human scale. The history of brick dates back all the way to the beginning of human civilization. Archaeologists have found bricks in the Middle East that dated back 10,000 years ago. These bricks were made by hand from the mud that was left in the areas where the river flooded. The bricks were molded and then sun dried. Mud and tar was used as mortar. The city of Ur in ancient Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) was built with mud bricks. The Bible actually provides us with the earliest written documentation in the production of bricks. The Israelites made bricks for their Egyptian rulers. These bricks were composed of clay dug from the earth, mixed with straw and then baked in ovens or burned in a fire. Bricks were used extensively for building new factories and homes during the Industrial Revolution. Thus the first brick making machines were invented. They were powered by steam and the bricks were fired with wood or coal. Modern brick making equipment is powered by gas and electricity. Although most modern bricks are machine made, some are still produced by hand. The KolumbaTM brick was developed in collaboration with Swiss architect Peter Zumthor for the new Kolumba museum building in Cologne. It is a handcrafted coal-fired brick. We can see that brick is not only used for its structural purpose (having a strong compressive strength), the traditional material can also be exploited to modulate light. The difference between old brick and the new brick connects the past with the present. In fact, the Raphael Moneo designed the Chace Center with Roman Bricks, which were different from the brick used by its neighboring buildings in Providence to delineate the new structure from the old. A brick is small and light enough to be picked up by one hand because the bricklayer needs the other hand for the trowel. Its width is limited by the span between the thumb and finger.



The house was constructed using wood frame construction and designed with balloon framing. The drawings on the left show the linear paths for different types of loads that the house deals with such as live loads, snow loads, and wind loads. One of the changes that Jack made when renovating was the removal of the load bearing partition that ran down the middle of the top floor, mimicking the ones on the lower two floors. Jack ended up replacing the wall on the top floor with a load bearing beam that ran along the roof’s ridge, turning the upstairs into open space. Loads start at the beam, transferring to the supports along the walls, then follow the middle walls on the second and first floors, and the columns in the basement. The balloon framed walls are also load bearing.

The types of rot and the areas where it may occur.

Dry Rot (Cuboidal Decay) Dry Rot (Fungi)

Wet Rot Termite Damage

Wooden structures are always succeptable to rot and damage that may begin to affect their integrity as a building. In order to prevent this occurance precautions may be taken at the areas where rot is most likely to occur.



Thermal Plus Extra Coating Thermal Plus Low E Hardcoat Argon Gas or Air Low E Coating Glazing Surface Desiccants Absorb Moisture

Wood Clapboard Siding Exist. Wd. Sheathing Overlaid With 1/2� OSB

The windows of this house were restricted during renovation to maintain its historical presence. The only significant change that is made is the addition of the two dormer windows in the attic of the house. The drawing focus for this chapter was aimed at these windows and the light qualities they would produce throughout the day. Our 1:1 drawing consisted of looking at the construction and detail of one of the dormer windows and how its construction related to the structural framework it is installed in. Many layers exist to provide a threshold that is both suitable for lighting conditions as well as thermal comfort for the inhabitants within.

Exploring the extent of openings throughout the building and their ability to define inhabitable space.

Thresholds in a home have come to be a means of defining inhabitable space. In separating these moments of penetration from the structural context of the builidng, one can see how important they are in creating the character of the building. In compressing these moments through the facades on top of one another you can see just how much of the house must be opened up for the proper amount of light and air to get in and the extent of the areas of vulnerability.

Exploration of light within a space and the moments of gather, collection, and filtration as they happen comparatively throughout the house.

What is used to signify the transition from one space to another; material, the shape, or the setting the threshold is placed in? The use of thresholds has been apparent throughout history and each culture recognizes the significance of having a moment to note the transition from one space to another. Some are more decorated than others who keep it to a minimal function. And the materials used always will differ from one culture to the next, due to preference of the architectural style or material availability. Most older European cultures used marble or stone, while most Asian cultures used wood. For Bianco Ct., the most convenient choice is obviously wood, since that is the framing material for the house, and since he is restricted by the historical nature of the building. What he hasn’t done, though I find, is that he hasn’t used the lower threshold piece as a dramatic element. The reason for this could be because of his restrictions, and also it might seem really out of place for a domestic home to have a significant piece of wood to indicate entry into a space. On my recent studio trip to Istanbul, I was able to see and experience many thresholds, some of which are more than a thousand years old. This is a photo inside the Aya Sophia and what has happened to these marble pieces is that they have been walked over so much throughout their time in use that they have been worn down almost to the level of the floor. These are solid, almost immovable by human force, material, that after so long in use have given away, and almost melted under the constant movement of feet transitioning from one place to another. This was observed in almost all the old buildings, and most noticeably in mosques, or churches which have been converted to mosques. This shows that the need for such durable material is not only for presentation, but for the anticipated use of them as well. There is the option of replacing the material after it has been worn down, such as wooden thresholds. The Japanese culture who has been using wood as their primary building material use the perishability of wood knowing that all their buildings can be rebuilt again or return back to nature. The same concept goes towards replacing a piece within the building. Once the threshold is worn down or broken, it can be easily replaced by another piece of wood. So which is more important? To allow a progress of use be evident in the future of the project, to use a material which will allow for replacement and give an image of perfection all the time, or to ignore all of that and have nothing on the threshold. The appreciation of these old buildings can be better understood when you see evidence of its use. So to design something that mimics an already worn down threshold would be not as aesthetically pleasing, or as satisfying as an actual example of that.

Change in windows from old to new

I t seems as if program, aesthetics, and necessity were taken into consideration when designing for the added windows in this house. The smaller windows on the north side were removed where there once was a bathroom, and now the historical context. Jack also removed the side entrance that stuck out and left it as a doorway. Additionally, he removed the small and random dormer that was on the north side and replaced it with a larger one, and also one on the south side which makes sense being that it is his future studio space where natural light is always better to have. T he image on the bottom shows light entering at different angles in the summer time, depending on the time of the day. The overhang on the window serves as both a way to distinguish the old elements from the added elements, and as a sun shading device both vertically and horizontally. Midday it allows for any direct sunlight to be obstructed and prevents it from coming in and bothering anyone who is working up in this studio space.

In architecture, is threshold just a line? My analysis will focus on the concept of seeing threshold not merely as a mark that separates two different conditions but as an in-between space. During my visit to the old historic city of Fes, the Medina, I have realized a great disparity between the conditions of the inside and outside, the private and the public. On the outside the streets are narrow and dust covered, the walls on either side are simple and unadorned. However, when one enters a private home, the space expands. The space is tidy and ornate. The private spaces of Morocco are kept very clean. There is strong sense of heirachy in everything, even water. Rain water is for drinking and cooking, well water is for daily washing, and the water that is dirty after cleaning the interiors is used to splash the 5m of space in front of the door to the house. This 5m space on the street is the in-between space of public and private. It is after all public, yet the owner of the house has enough sense of ownership to maintain to some degree, giving that space a small degree of privateness. That space, is a threshold where one momentarily inhabits before a change in condition. In this same way when we visit someone living in an apartment, we walk trough the corridor and arrive in front of their door. We step onto the doormat which exists in public space yet is private possession. We clean our shoes (hopefully), before stepping into the apartment. Not only did the space change from public to private beyond this threshold, the person momentarily inhabited the threshold space to change his condition as well (cleaner shoes) before entering the different space. This is similar to the Japanese houses where one must remove their shoes and put on slippers after entering the house. Only then can one leave this threshold space and step onto the elevated wooden floor of the house. Are thresholds static? I believe not. We already know that spaces can change depending on activity. If the threshold is seen as a space, then it can move too. For example, there is a plaza in the Medina which is surrounded by workshops, it is connected to one of the very few bridges that span over a river which bisects the city, so there is high amounts of traffic (streets in Medina are only wide enough to accommodate people and donkeys.) There is a tree in the plaza. During the day the workers bring out their copper workings and work in the shade of the tree as it is very cramped in the workshop. The space under the tree becomes a semi private space that connects the inside of the workshop and the outside of the plaza. The children understand that the space underneath this tree is used by the copper workers and will not play there, while the copperworkers will not extend their working space so that it obstructs the traffic flowing through the plaza. The moment you step under the shad of the tree, you will be asked if you require anything by the workers, they will not, however ask you to leave. At night the workers retire to their homes, so the public space of the plaza expands to take back the semi private space. The workshop is closed, the threshold is no longer required. During last week’s analysis, I focused on brickwork but only mostly on its uses in walls. It is true that thresholds can be delineated by walls, and activity, but what if we want to preserve the threshold space when we have no walls and no activity? What if I wanted to strengthen the sense of semi ownership of public space for the craftsman on the plaza? We are ultimately land beings, and the solution lies on the ground that we stand on. Simply by tiling the space in front of the workshops with different brickwork and tilework, can already seprate the textile workers from the copper workers, the semi private space from the public space. Not only is there a visual separation, there is a sensual separation too. In the end this connects back to the synopsis I wrote for week 3, my interest in the human senses in architeture. We must not forget we are multi sensory beings and perceive things including space with all of our senses. I already mentioned threshold spaces, or any spaces really can be defined by visual (light and dark, wall and void) and sensual, (change in material such as underneath our feet, temperature change from being in the sun and the shade). But spaces could also be defined by sound and even scent. To provide an example for sound, a medieval Japanese warlord had the corridors (these corridors are thresholds, in-between spaces between one shoji screen room and another) around his room paved with wood in such a way so that they creak. Therefore he could always be aware when someone was approaching, assassin or not.



1/2” OSB Overlayment Fiber Cement Board Siding Existing Wood Sheathing

Existing 2”x4” Framing

Metal Flashing

5/4 PVC Watercourse Existing 2”x7” Wood Joists Existing 4”x6” Wood Sill (Remove Rotten Areas and Replace with Pressure Treated Parts)

Cement Parging CMU Grout Every Other Cell

2” Rigid Insulation


Group Drawing 1

5” Vertical Reinforcing Extended into CMU Course

Put Diagrams where little boxes are and a Graphic scale

Envelope Group Drawing 1-1 The idea of envelope at the house is the layering of materials in a vernacular approach to construction to become the walls of the project. Our drawing is a 1-1 detail of a wall section and the materials that the structural and surface envelopes are comprised of. We were interested in the lower portion of a wall as it approaches the ground. In the drawing we decided to focus on the transition of material from a new above ground siding atop OSB, into the beginning of a concrete foundation that replaces an original field stone wall. Our second group drawing diagrams the material and individual elements that each material combats/filters such as light, wind, water, and heat.

Functional exterior protectiong cosmetic interiors. Where the exterior skin serves as a functional addition to the structure and integrity of the building, the interior finish is primarily cosmetic. This relationship may be seen by the different methods of attaching the different materials on either side of the wall. On the exterior there is the use of staples and heavy nails; on the interior glue and ‘finish’ nails are used.

Functions of skin at 22 Bianco Ct

PROTECTION The overall skin system is serving as protection from different climatic elements occuring between the exterior and interior of the building. Depending on the conditions, different materials are used. HEAT REGULATION ABSORPTION The human skin contains a blood supply far greater than its requirements which allows precise control of energy loss by radiation, convection and conduction. Two elements that are attempting to pass through a building’s skin are moisture and temperature. Moisture would be bad to absorb, so it is good to use impermeable materials. However, since temperature transfer cannot be prevented, it can only be regulated through the use of insulation and the creation of a threshold where the outside temperature is retained. For example, the glazing serves as a regulator, absorbing any extreme cold or hot conditions from the outside. MOISTURE CONTROL: WATER RESISTANCE to prevent from water leaking through where the windows, doors, and foundation are. Also, below the siding, a layer of PVC watercourse is layed over the OSB to block any water from entering the building that might seep through the cracks of the siding.

Where is the boundary of space? Skin/Muscle/Bones vs. Façade/Spaces/Frame Whether we are looking at the human composition or the building composition, the two consist of similar elemental types. And it is interesting how these similar constructs must accommodate and react to each other. For example, the human body as a solid must understand its limits when passing through a space, especially if the opening is too small. His bone structure, mass, and skin cannot all pass through together. There are other places where only the skin might receive some damage, or the muscles might have to readjust to the shape of an opening. But when it comes to the bone work of a human, it is an almost permanent change that must occur for if one was to be forced through a space that was too small. And then on the other end of this parallel is the building. Its façade must accommodate the human need of light penetration as well as a physical barrier from external forces. The spaces within must understand that humans must inhabit the space and so needs readjusting to insure the proper human usage scale. And the structure or framework must withstand the weight of the building, its interior spaces and all that it contains, the façade, and the humans inhabiting the space. They both must know their own boundaries and restrictions when dealing with one another. Alice in Wonderland, for example, she knows that she is too large for the small opening in the room she first arrives in when she falls through the rabbit hole. And so to accommodate architecture she shrinks her entire body. It wasn’t a matter of a slight grazing of the skin against the door frame or moving the body parts around to fit through the opening, it required all three elements to be reduced to a size and scale appropriate to the door. It would be interesting for a design to not lean on the use of a solid wall to restrict one’s movement in a space, but the use of knowing you cannot continue onto the next space due to the size restrictions. What would be set up is almost an illusion, or a tease knowing that there is a way of access to the space beyond but the designated opening is too small for access and use. If skin were to act independently from the frame, what would happen? In 22 Bianco Ct., the skin is attached to the frame and it is in that connection that ensues the protection of the interior from all the external elements, such as water and wind. Can the detachment of skin from frame still allow a protective barrier to be formed? Or do all these elements have to be organized in order; skin, framework, space?

Are military bunkers architecture? Answering that question, all bunkers are like lobsters. Its “skin” or more correct, “shell” is the strongest component, hence it is also what holds the structure together. The walls and the roof function as one, dispersing any shock throughout the entire concrete structure. The openings are also designed to be as strong as the walls. The views of the windows/gun ports however, serve only to provide the best vantage point to shoot at whoever is approaching. Even if coincidentally the view is appealing, such as the beautiful French coastline seen from the Atlantic Wall, the real reason for the view is usually much more grim. The bunker can be very basic, but some are complex enough to house entire regiments of men and thus fulfill all living requirements such as spaces for rest, food and basic hygienic needs. On the exterior, aestheticism plays no part. Ironically, there is a strong desire for many architecture nowadays to “merge” with the landscape, many bunkers do the same and they do it very well, but again, the desire to be one with the landscape is for a very different purpose. Conceptually, bunkers have little meaning. However together, they usually embody something very strong. When one strolls along the shores of France, they would see the remnants of the Atlantic Wall constructed in World War II. They stand in the stand like ruined temples and pagodas, as if left behind by a race of warrior scientists obsessed with geometry and death. They embody a strong sense of memory. Yet, unlike monuments, which are constructed to remember something positive, bunkers are usually abandoned structures that evoke negative memory. They are left because they are too expensive to demolish. To me bunkers are almost anti-architecture. They have almost all the elements of architecture but are so disconnected with the ideal view of human condition that they seem almost constructed by a race of aliens with a complete different set of ideals and aesthetics. So how can we transform anti-architecture back to architecture? How do we acknowledge the existence of painful memories and transcend beyond them? I believe the answer could be found in Germany. During WW2 there were countless bunkers and flak towers constructed within the country. After the war, they are no longer of use, and being built so strong, they were far too expensive to demolish. But soon, these abandoned buildings were being rehabilitated one after the other. Some were converted into art galleries, some into apartments. Life began to seep into these vessels and mould itself into their shape. In Frankfurt, a bunker had new life injected into it. In a decrepit part of town, “a no man’s land between heaps of gravel and dumps, piled-up recycling-products and containers that await their shipping”, the architects decided to rise above it all and build artists’ studios and the Institute of New Media on top, a box sitting on a table. The heavy concrete bunker was turned into musician’s studios, as the walls were naturally thick enough to be sound proof. It is this kind of optimism and ideal that can help overcome the negative past.



Water Collection Basin

Incoming Phone / Internet

Power LInes

Residential Customer 22 Bianco Court

Incoming Gas Line

Outgoing Sewage Line Transmission Lines

Power Station


Incoming Water Supply originally from Scituate Reservoir


The utility systems for the house must come from the city. Due to the reconstructive nature of this project, new piping is installed for both the lines coming in and the ones running throughout the house. The decision was made to use the north wall as the grounding plane for all these systems to run down along. We as a group decided to look at the transition of the piping coming in from the exterior environment and winding itself around the house, moving to wherever location they were needed. The intent is to still vaguely see the outline of the house using only these threads running throughout the space. In the 1:1 drawing we looked at these overlays in plan to be able to see the subtlety of moving the piping positions around to accommodate each other given a very limited space for installation.

A study of the water systems and the local reservoirs. Observations on the system of water supply within the home.

What kind of design could be used to emphasize the function and neccessity there is in having unitilies systems running through a building? The importance of the “nervous” system within the house is appreciated by the experience one has within the building, but one usually does not see the systems/piping themselves. So what if they were to be more recognized or the controls distributed, or even the concept of the hub to not exist anymore, what would that do to the overall function, aesthetic, and structure of the house? Le Centre Pompidou has taken on the task of exposing and forcing recognition of these systems to its occupiers by literally placing and coloring the system piping on the exterior of the structure, turning it into a façade element. This frees up the interior space of the building and even the circulation between levels is located on the exterior as well. The structural component was also figured out to where the steel bracing was able to be located on the exterior façade as well, with two large column rows located inside the building to allow the large clear span and cantilevering the remaining floor length to accommodate bending. It is interesting to see how the concept of hiding the utility lines has been in effect since utility lines were created. No one wants to look at piping or wiring running throughout a space. Construction today also looks at accommodating these utilities within the walls or floors of houses, forcing ceiling heights and wall thicknesses to change and adapt according to the utility that must be inserted within these spaces. Some places prefer to expose all the wiring, piping, and vents, but only to achieve an “industrial look”, such as in restaurants. But as a general “rule”, the hiding of the utilities is given priority over a desired ceiling height. I guess if the aesthetic quality that is aimed for doesn’t include revealing the utilities, that is ok, but it is interesting how this aesthetic notion was developed and kept. If it hadn’t developed in that manner, how different would the architecture be today? It might be odd to cover them up instead of revealing them within a home.

Why do we always relate the human body to architecture? I was particularily inspired by the diagram that separated the human biological systems and how the assignment spurs us to think about how the building can be analogus to the human body. What I want to explore is this analogy. The analogy between the body and building is a distinctively ancient and durable one, which has been of great rhetorical utility to architects and anatomists. In the west building has provided two important metaphors. A metaphor is the understanding one thing in terms of another. We view our bodies as containers, our skins as the threshold between inside and out, we have top and bottom, interior and exterior, so does a building as it also is a container. Sigmund Freud correlated bodyparts with house-parts, including the attic with the mind. Another metaphor is the way we associate thinking with building. We build arguments and demolish others. This idea was first addressed by Renee Descartes and then Immanuel Kant. Battista Alberti used the natural architecture of the body in his treatise On the Art of Building as an example worth emulating: ‘with every type of vault, we should imitate nature throughout, that is, bind together the bones and interweave flesh with nerves running across every possible section: in length, breadth, and depth, and also obliquely across.’ Anatomical investigations of the, sixteenth century were epochal due to the way in which new illustrative technologies such as linear perspective allowed the figurative construction of an interior body-space to be rendered in three-dimensional forms on a two dimension plane. In this way, information about the spatial organization of the body’s internal volumes was understood, without ambiguity, by the viewer. Ten Books on Architecture by Marcus Vitruvius, commented on the way that, in preparing a cross-section (in which a building is shown sliced through, to reveal its interior bounded within the outline of external walls), the architect is working as a physician, revealing anatomy. Battista Alberti’s dictum that ‘we should erect our building naked, and let it be quite completed before we dress it with ornaments’, ornaments which, like clothes should reveal the social status of their owner-occupier. Le Corbusier’s Modular was a serious attempt to apply the proportions of the male figure to those of building units. As we can see the analogy between man and building has a long history. The reason being that architecture relates ultimately to the human condition.


Enlarged section of exterior finish

Enlarged section of interior floor finish

This chpater about the finishing of the house. When the original exterior wood clapboards for the house began to decay, the previous owners decided to cover them up instead of replacing them. Their strategy was to add plywood sheathing to cover the decaying clapboards and then add vinyl siding on top. When architect Jack Ryan took over the house. He removed all the old material and then skinned the house with OSB. Then he added new wooden clapboards on top. In terms of the roof, Jack Ryan replaced the old asphalt shingles with new aluminum roofing material. We wanted to show all these layers that once existed on the house and compare them side by side. The result is the drawing on top. For the 1:1 section we chose to represent the old wall section before the intervention of Jack. We were interested in the haphazard way how material was layered on top of each other. By showing all the material in cross section, we get a sense of the increased thickness of the wall.

Accumulation of layers and their removal. The smallest layer placed upon the house is paint as a material.

In buildings of wood construction it is necessary for the wood to be protected from the elements. This layer of protection is in most cases a thin coating of paint. Paint as a material serves two purposes, one of functionality and another of aesthetics. There are two types of house paints, latex and alkyd (oil based). Latex paints are often used due to their flexibility and ease of application, however alkyds provide a glossier and harder surface. Primer is important in preparing the fresh wood to prevent premature drying and cracking of the paint.

What are the potentials of the siding of the house and how can the different types be used intentionally for different parts of the house?

The primary goal of siding and roofing selection is keeping rain out of the house. Roof shingles help keep the house dry by shedding water. Although many people believe that the siding on a house is what keeps it dry, it is not the siding does that keeps the rain out, but the "drainage plane" behind the siding. This drainage plane consists of felt paper or housewrap installed shingle style, each layer overlapping the layer below to shed water. Every window, door and hole in the drainage plane must be sealed with flexible flashing tape to shed water over the layer below. Different types of wood siding lapsiding shingles shakes (cedar shingles) vertical siding clapboard soffit panels - vented and non-vented hardboard/composition board The sketch on the bottom shows the north and west facades of the house without there being limitations of siding material based on historical accuracy. The changes in types of wood siding are based on the program on the interior, and what the needs are for each of these programs. Although the house can be thought of as having a monolythic skin, I wonder if compartmentalizing or sectioning the house off would, in the end, be more efficient, instead of treating every part of the house the same way. For example, the stairway located on the NW corner and the closets located on the NE corner each are rarely occupied, so the amount of thermal insulation needed for these spaces is not as much compared to the bedroom and living room spaces.

What is special about Tadao Ando’s unfinished concrete? As this week is about the finishing, I would like to focus and explore the idea of having a lack of finish. When we think of beton brut, or exposed unfinished concrete, the works of Japanese architect Tadao Ando comes to mind. When we think of Tadao Ando, we think of perfect volumes and perfectly smooth concrete. There’s nothing unusual about Ando’s concrete construction method, and he wasn’t the first to use exposed concrete in this way (buildings such as Louis Kahn’s Salk Institute are obvious precedents), but it is the absolute conviction and consistency of Ando’s work that has turned a generic technique into a personal signature. The buildings look deceptively simple but require a tremendous amount of effort to build correctly. Ando is a minimalist architect. His work does not have baseboard, window trim, door casings, moldings or other details that can hide any imperfections in the construction. If there is a mistake with the casting of the building there are only two choices: either live with the mistake or tear it out and reconstruct. The concrete is cast in place and requires perfect planning and execution. The finished product should be free of holes on the surface (air bubbles trapped at the formwork surfaces), with clear panel lines and crisp, sharp corners and edges. Everything had to be perfectly aligned and the panel lines had to be exactly parallel with the one above, below and to either side. These panel lines ran completely around the exterior and continued in the interior of the structure. Window heads, sills, door heads, ceilings, floor finishes, millwork, light fixtures, security devices all aligned with the panel lines. Since the panel lines were less than a pencil line in width there was no room for error. Ando also typically detailed a 1/8th inch margin around doorframes, light fixtures, electrical outlets, smoke detectors etc. This margin had to be perfect because if it was a mere 1/16th inch out then 50% of the margin have been gained or loss. However the famed smoothness of Ando’s concrete is simply a misconception. Excessively smooth concrete would draw too much attention to itself. For Ando, the emphasis is clearly on defining spaces, channeling sunlight, framing views, choreographing the movement of people. Unadorned concrete is merely the most neutral and uniform construction material available for his purposes. On certain projects the formwork is allowed to have a certain amount of elasticity, so that when the concrete is poured it pushes outwards slightly, this is what gives that beautiful play of light on the surface, as it is not completely flat.



A semester of group work for Integrated building systems I.


A semester of group work for Integrated building systems I.