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2010 - 2012

Jonathan Eric Tucker Master of Architecture Southern California Institute of Architecture [SCI-Arc]

2010 - 2012 Jonathan Eric Tucker

476 Clinton Ave, Apt. 6H Brooklyn, NY 11238 303.562.7402


Design Studio: Intermediate Architecture Library for Illuminated Manuscripts - Graz, Austria...........................................................................................01 Visual Studies: Intensive Maya Workshop Introduction to Digital Design...........................................................................................................................10 Visual Studies: Delineation and Dynamic Systems Digitized Fabric................................................................................................................................................12 Abecedarium....................................................................................................................................................14

2GBXSpring 2011

Design Studio: Form, Code and Evolutionary Species Little Tokyo Boutique Hotel and Theater - Los Angeles, CA...............................................................................16

3GAXFall 2011

Applied Studies: Design Development Little Tokyo Boutique Hotel and Theater - Los Angeles, CA...............................................................................16 Design Studio: Vertical “The HUB� Co-Work Environment - Los Angeles, CA........................................................................................31

3GBXSpring 2012

Applied Studies: Critical Sustainability SoMo [Solar-Modular] Dwelling........................................................................................................................41

THESISSummer 2012

Graduate Thesis: Master of Architecture Mobile Union Hall for Railroad Laborers............................................................................................................56

2GAXFall 2010

Library for Illuminated Manuscripts - Graz, Austria Design Studio: Intermediate Architecture Ramiro Diaz-Granados, Instructor


The intended affect of the building envelope is to pose a sense of ambiguity by providing multiple and simultaneous effects: massiveness and buoyant lightness. At once, the building envelope is characteristic of light drapery—implied by the deep, loose folds—but simultaneously, any apertures are confined within these deep folds to obscure and disguise the legibility of these penetrations, thereby instilling the effect of opacity and monolith from the exterior. Visual lightness is further explored by preventing the collection of the fabric-like deep folds to occur at the ground, but instead, lifting everything up to hover, supported at a few isolated points. However, even though the folds are suspended above the ground, the way in which they collect above the ground, seems to make them appear filled with something that is starting to billow out and protrude, implying heaviness. But then again, this is contradicted by the way that the entire exterior surface ingests itself, drawing the drapery all the way up inside itself back to the roof. The ground level space rises all the way through the entire height of the building internally back up to an aperture on the roof. This internalized void creates an atrium-like light-well, which reinforces a sense of lightness. The fluid geometry creates a sense of motion and dynamism. The lifted folds on the exterior imply an external force as their genesis. The tight pleats down these folds makes apparent their severe twists to further emphasize motion. Concerning interior illumination: the very soft light, infiltrating the interior spaces through the openings hidden within the deep exterior folds, imbues a kind of solemn, heavy, dark experience in one perception. However, the spaces are warmed by light introduced through penetrations in the internal light well.

“This is amazing! We should be doing more of this... Elephant Man architecture!” -Hernan Diaz-Alonso


Digitized Fabric Visual Studies: Delineation and Dynamic Systems Elena Manferdini, Instructor Are form and figure dictated by contour alone, or do the properties of the surface dominate? Can the legibility of form be inhibited, disguised, amplified, enhanced or otherwise altered by the treatment of the surface? To what extent do material attributes such as reflectivity, color, texture and pattern influence the perception of form? How can these material properties coincide with perforations, pleats, crests, troughs, sweeps, bulges, billows, curls, twists and other articulations to create deliberate expressive effects?


Physical Model with Color-Shifting Paint

Digital Renderings


Abecedarium Visual Studies: Delineation and Dynamic Systems Elena Manferdini, Instructor In conjunction with the design of a Library for Illuminated Manuscripts for the 2GAX Design Studio, this Visual Studies seminar investigated the effects of elaborate decoration and marginalia. The seminar explored how digital media could be used to reinterpret the beauty of excess, and to generate visual expressiveness, primarily through the use of color, texture, pattern, reflectivity and other simulated material properties. Abecedaria are inscriptions of individual characters of an alphabet, historically created as practice for learning exercises. Following this precedent, an individual letter of the alphabet was selected to transform into an artistic, elaborate, excessive composition with flora and fauna, in the spirit of illuminated manuscripts.


2GBXSpring 2011

3D Section of Typical Hotel Room (with Solar Shading System/ Decorative Envelope)


Interior Perspective of Typical Hotel Room The design intent for this project is to adopt a simple, standard and straightforward structural strategy, and to adopt standardized materials and assemblies for the majority of the building. Formal innovation is not the agenda here; instead, this project seeks to achieve a high level of unique expressiveness through its decorative envelope, which is suspended at the exterior, beyond the actual weatherproof enclosure system. An iconic landmark is achieved by employing an intense scripted field of aggregated components that undulate, shifting scale and color to produce a highly-textural and patterned surface.

The components in this decorative envelope act as threedimensional pixels in a patterned surface wrapping the entire building. Devised as a lightweight space frame of aluminum pipes covered in colored plastic components, the openness and permeability of the system allows the envelope to perform as a solar shading device, while preserving the amazing views from each hotel room in this high-rise tower. The shading device performs not only for energy efficiency of the building, but also to create intriguing reflected colors and shadow patterns in every hotel room, giving all guests a stimulating visual experience.

3D Section of Typical Hotel Room

Component Color and Size Types

Thermally-Formed Plastic Panels, Riveted Together Over Aluminum Pipe Frame

Component Assembly Sequence

Base Panel

1/8 Fully-Assembled Component

2 Panels 1/4 Fully-Assembled Component

4 Panels 1/2 Fully-Assembled Component

8 Panels Fully-Assembled Component



View to Northwest (along Temple Street)

This project is atmospheric, not formal. The project explores the extent to which the distinct legibility of the envelope can be dissolved. The intent is to produce a hazy, cloudy and ethereal effect by employing a high-resolution field of aggregated components that shift scale and color as they protrude and recede according to their proximity to attractors, which amplifies the perceived depth of the faรงade. The variability of density and size of components creates a flexible system where the component dexterously navigates its simultaneous roles as the rational joint in a triangulated space-frame and as a contiguous fuzzy surface. The goal is to devise a massing with no recognizably distinct faces, but rather an amorphous figure.

Partial Facade Detail [Physical Model]



3GAXFall 2011

“The HUB” Co-Work Environment - Los Angeles, CA Design Studio: Vertical Wes Jones, Instructor Michael Rotondi, Instructor The HUB, Los Angeles is a co-working organization where entrepreneurs and small business teams, who do not necessarily require permanent office space on a daily basis, can purchase memberships for temporary and intermittent use of a common office space. Membership commitments vary, and the frequency of use is based on hours-per-month. The intent of the co-working environment is to catalyze collaboration among its members. The HUB offers independent professionals, artists, and entrepreneurs the opportunity to meet and interact with other professionals, in order to network, obtain new projects and clients, and to build new business relationships. The HUB caters to ambitious environmental and social activists, and also provides social events and social outreach programs to the surrounding community.

The “All-Terrain Rugged Desk”


The “All-Terrain Rugged Desk”

1 Desk Surface and Body (Single sheet of 3/8” aluminum, cut by water jet and mechanically folded) 2 Push/ Pull Bar (1.5” Diameter brushed aluminum pipe, bolted to desk) 3 28” Diameter Tires (2) with Pivoting Axle Assembly for Steering the Desk 4 12” Diameter Tire (1) with Fixed Axle 5 Bookshelves/ Storage Bins


The solution for this project is not a building, but is instead a schematic proposal for an adaptable, transformable, and interactive system that catalyzes collaboration: The first component is an intelligent, reconfigurable wall partition system, which consists of parallel wide-flange tracks suspended from the primary roof structure at 5-foot intervals. Trollies roll along these tracks, and from these trollies are suspended a scissor mechanism (activated by a steel cable electric motor winch system) that raises and lowers a wall partition. The whole partition and scissor mechanism pivots around a single connection to the trolley, allowing full 360-degree rotation. The benefit of this mechanical wall partition system is that it effortlessly allows infinite configurations of multiple partitions, giving the co-work occupants full control of their own environment. The various configurations provide a wide range of collaboration opportunities. A person can create their own spaces, which could be solitary for focused, independent work; or could accommodate collaboration between two people or small, intimate groups; or could accommodate larger conference meetings, or even large events. The scissor mechanism allows the partitions to fully retract into the ceiling when not in use to conserve space. It is possible to retract all the partitions, leaving an entirely open space for community events. Movement of the partitions is operated through a Radio Frequency (RF) system, linked to a simple Smart Phone application that each member downloads. The reconfigurable wall partition system is not reliant on any specific building. It is capable of being implemented in a wide range of existing buildings. It has the potential to proliferate throughout the city, becoming the architectural focus in a landscape of under-utilized, banal buildings. As information technology continues to influence business, young professionals will leave the standard corporation and typical office building for smaller, independent business ventures and informal co-working environments. The second component of this project is the “All-Terrain Rugged Desk�, which rolls on large truck tires. This is an exaggerated, whimsical response to the potential of the system being scattered over an entire city, so that the desks could be wheeled anywhere in the city. In a practical sense, the wheels allow the desks to be rolled anywhere within the co-working environment, adjusting and reconfiguring synchronously with the reconfiguration of the wall partitions.


Selected Configuration Types


Selected Configuration Types


Selected Configuration Types


Selected Configuration Types


3GBXSpring 2012

SoMo [Solar-Modular] Dwelling Applied Studies: Critical Sustainability Wes Jones, Instructor Reed Finlay, Instructor

Southwest Perspective


Corrugated Aluminum Siding & Roofing Photovoltaic Array Aluminum Louver Awning

Casement Windows @ Bathroom

Awning Window @ Kitchen Powder-Coated Aluminum Rainscreen System


Exterior finishes & Components

SoMo Dwelling is compact, comfortable and efficient. It provides all the minimum

amenities within a mere two hundred square-foot space. It is designed as a simple, economical, and environmentally sustainable home that can be built as a secondary dwelling on a suburban lot in the backyard of an existing single-family residence. Its design is targeted toward a young, single adult recently graduated from college or graduate school who has struggled to find employment after graduation, and must instead move back home with their parents. Finding that their parents have already converted their childhood bedroom into a study, fitness room, media room or any alternate space, the student will instead live in this secondary unit that is detached from the primary house. It provides a separated dwelling, giving privacy to both the returning student and their parents. The returning student would be too embarassed to live in their old childhood room anyway. It allows the student to maintain a certain level of independence while living at home. This efficient space is justifiable because its target audience is young, flexible and adaptable. It is intended only as a temporary living situation, after which it finds new use as a studio or office for the parents, or it can be dismantled, sold and reassembled elsewhere. The simplicity of construction and affordability make this a feasible project. The intention is that the construction systems would be so straightforward that the student could build the house themself. Also, the construction system allows the house to be dismantled as whole components without damage, destruction or demolition. It is disassembled and recycled, rebuilt elsewhere, or otherwise reused, rather than being demolished. This is acheived through the use of structural insulated panels for the floor, exterior walls and roof. All the SIPs used are secured with camlocks, allowing them to be dismantled simply by reversing the hook-and-latch mechanism with an allen wrench, in the easiest manner possible. The foundation is a series of steel auger piles that are driven into the soil like a giant screw, and subsequently removed by simply reversing the screw direction, and thus the foundation leaves no waste, and no permanent impact on the site. Operable awning windows and casement windows induce natural ventilation, reducing the need for air conditioning. The south facade is primarily glazed to allow for passive heating in the winter, and a louvered awning over the front patio provides shading in the summer to control overheating. The louvered awning also controls natural daylighting. Energy-efficient appliances reduce energy consumption, and photovoltaic panels provide most of the home’s energy requirements. Heating is efficiently provided through radiant floor tubing. The home consists of a front patio, full bath, kitchen, mechanical closet, and a flexible, multi-function space (serving as dining room, living room, and bedroom). This flexible space easily converts from living room/ dining room into bedroom by deploying a “Murphy Bed” that folds out from a wall cabinet. The same cabinet also contains the clothes dresser. The Murphy Bed sits high enough that it may be deployed without moving the dining table or chairs out of the way; these furniture items stay in place, and the bed simply folds out over and above them. Laundry is done using the machines inside the parents’ house, or at a laundromat. The compact program is incredibly space-efficient while maintaining comfort and convenience.


Interior Finishes: Living Configuration (Murphy bed stowed & curtain retracted)

Aluminum curtain rod

Curtain (retracted when murphy bed is stowed)

Baltic Birch plywood kitchen cabinetry w/ aluminum hardware

Baltic Birch plywood cabinet enclosing murphy bed w/ aluminum hardware

**Awning window between countertop & upper cabinets

Baltic Birch plywood dresser w/ aluminum hardware

Walnut hardwood flooring


Silestone® natural quartz kitchen countertop (Color: “Green Fun”)

Interior Finishes: Sleeping Configuration (Murphy bed deployed & curtain drawn across kitchen)

Aluminum curtain rod

Curtain (drawn across kitchen while murphy bed is deployed)

Baltic Birch plywood cabinet (showing doors open & murphy bed deployed)

Baltic Birch plywood dresser (below murphy bed)

Walnut hardwood flooring

Queen size murphy bed w/ steel frame (deployed)


Interior Finishes: Bathroom

Painted 5/8” Gyp. Bd.

Casement window w/ 3/4” solid Walnut trim

1x1 Colored glass tile (full height)

Casement window w/ 3/4” solid Walnut trim

1x6 Solid Walnut

baseboard (to match window trim)

6x12 Ceramic tile



Southeast Perspective


THESISSummer 2012

Mobile Union Hall for Railroad Laborers: Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) Graduate Thesis: Master of Architecture Wes Jones, Graduate Thesis Advisor


Aerial Perspective: Deployed for Union Meetings and Events

Architecture has an oppressive history aligned with obedience and submission. This Thesis argues that technology is the means by which architecture may transcend its traditionally authoritarian role.

In his book, Against Architecture: The Writings of Georges Bataille, Denis Hollier compares two interpretations of architecture’s service to authority: “Bataille’s prison derives from an ostentatious, spectacular architecture, an architecture to be seen; whereas Foucault’s prison is the embodiment of an architecture that sees, observes, and spies, a vigilant architecture. Bataille’s architecture— convex, frontal, extrovert—an architecture that is externally imposing, shares practically no element with that of Foucault, with its insinuating concavity that surrounds, frames, contains, and confines for therapeutic or disciplinary ends. Both are equally effective, but one works because it draws attention to itself and the other because it does not. One represses (imposes silence) the other expresses (makes one talk).” It is the contention of this thesis that architecture is the pawn of authority, used as a tool to control and silence the public mass by imposing dominance; or in other instances, architecture produces conformity and submissiveness by means of inspiring reverence through grandeur, awe and wonder. This thesis asks: Is it possible to conceive an architecture that would not produce subjects; an architecture that does not control, tame, suppress, or otherwise exert dominance, authority, and power? Foucault states that architecture produces disciplined subjects. Bataille argues that architecture inspires social good behavior. Architectural devices are employed to establish a system of hierarchy in society where the public mass is oppressed, distracted, or otherwise made subservient, and rendered unthreatening to a ruling authority. Hollier writes, “Bataille denounces architecture [in its] complicity with authoritarian hierarchies. Architecture is society’s authorized superego; there is no architecture that [does not]…issue orders and interdictions with authority…Church and State in the form of cathedrals and palaces speak to the multitudes, or silence them. It is obvious that monuments inspire social good behavior in societies and often even real fear.” For Bataille, architecture produces conformity. “On Sundays at five o’clock, at the exit to the Louvre, it is interesting to admire the stream of visitors

visibly animated by the desire to be similar in every way to the heavenly visions still delighting their eyes.” Museums, monuments and other cultural institutions historically serve authority “to reabsorb nonwork time, particularly Sundays and holidays among the working and dangerous classes…[in order] to put workers into their Sunday best, to train and organize them and make them presentable when they are not actually working...” These institutions, and their Architecture, keep the masses distracted, silent and content. Architecture helps neutralize social unrest and the potential for popular revolt. Historian and social rights activist Howard Zinn argues that social good behavior and conformity are the most dangerous attitudes under which society operates because they allow authority to operate without conscience or objection. As egalitarian as democracy claims to be, Zinn argues that the potential for popular revolt against an unjust ruling elite is ultimately silenced, and redirected to the voting booths, where the true interests of society are diluted and simmered by artificial liberty. Such systems provide just enough minimal “liberties” so as to appease the masses, and thus quell dissent, but without every really affording tangible reform. The most dangerous classes are those without the political outlet of voting. Similarly, architecture, museums, urban parks, monuments and other cultural institutions provide a social outlet to keep the public happy, but more importantly, quiet. Rather than propagating authoritarian hierarchies, Architecture must instead inspire consciousness of our relationship to the built environment, society, government, institutions, nature and each other. Technology implores us to be more actively engaged and aware. As a rebuttal to the traditional role of architecture as servant of authority, this Thesis argues that Technology allows the person—who would otherwise become subject to Architecture—to regain control of their environment. Technology is a means for one to be critical of tradition; not to submit nor conform (in opposition to Bataille’s conclusion of architecture’s role as producing an ignorant, naïve, distracted, and conformist populace). Technology mitigates Architecture’s control over lifestyle; not to allow space to be dictated (in opposition to Foucault’s conclusion of architecture’s role as restrictive imprisonment). Wes Jones advocates, “Technology amplifies human capability.” The legibility of the technological is ultimately liberating because humans’ own perception of their role in the world is as discrete entities with specific relationships to each other and their environment. We understand how components of technology interact to produce a result, whereas the natural and biological are a bit more mysterious and difficult to understand since we can’t always see the process. Technology is more familiar to humans than nature. Jones says, “Technology teases nature into unhiddenness.”

Jones elaborates: “Conceived as a machine, architecture does not admit an author, but this is a great thing because then no author comes between the machine and the user. It creates in the machine a pure figural relationship—like the “near figural relationship,” which you might have heard in the deconstructive context—where the object is setup as the interlocutor. This direct, pure relationship is empowering and therefore inherently engaging. No signature architect stands between you and the object. This modesty in the architect’s role, we think, is really part of the architect’s responsibility. Given that the architect is not there all the time to mediate between their object and the user group, it behooves the architect, we think, to take themselves out of the equation. The signature architect has to actually suppress technology in order to assert their authorship, and stand in front of the object. The pure figural relationship that we propose is actually the more natural condition. This is the difference between using the technology as a symbol, and more visibly just being the technology. The difference is an expression in the work that arises within the technology, rather than one that merely borrows technological form to illustrate some other, nontechnological interest. One shouldn’t always design the links: We think the mechanical is the best source of effectively open, non-cultural, non-political legibility or meaning in form-making, but it has a certain reputation as being over-deterministic, but there are certain nuances in the mechanical to open it up further. One way of doing that is to obscure the links. Leave off all the characteristic details that would clue the reader into the explicit intention, but instead, draw the reader into speculating for themselves, and to provide their own answer. It is an activity of supplying the information without completing the answer... The result is Boss Architecture: A concern with issues of performance, and a willingness to be exuberant in the display of that performance.” A common criticism of mechanization in Architecture is that as much as it suggests flexibility, it is ultimately still restrictive because its performance is limited to whatever operations the designer has embedded within the machine. However, the goal should not be to design a machine that can perform an infinite number of functions, but rather to devise a machine that performs one task in such a manner as to dramatically amplify human capability while exuberantly celebrating performance. In so doing, architecture becomes liberating and engaging. This Thesis suggests that the strength of technology is that it demands awareness of one’s relationship with architecture: the technological space is not a passive space. An architecture that is concerned with issues of performance is one of liberation. Flexibility is not important so much in its ability to actually perform multiple functions, but in its ability to evoke a realization in people’s minds of their relationship to architecture and technology—to evoke in people’s minds, their potential influence and control over their own environment and lifestyle. Technology produces situations in which architecture becomes an advocate for freedom—situations in which architecture is no longer usurped by authority. Technology strips architecture of its complicity with authoritarian hierarchies.


The implementation of architecture as technological apparatus enables interaction and reciprocity in our built environments, allowing a more direct and critical attitude toward how we inhabit. This is the pursuit of autonomous architecture: liberation from the hand of the imposing, self-glorifying, signature architect. Architecture is a manifestation of technology. The character of technology is indicative of the character of society and our relationship to each other. To subvert the role of technology in architecture is to dismiss a fundamental component of the structure of society. To do so refuses an individual’s capacity to effect change through the tools that connect them to their environment. Exerting authorship over architecture through idiosyncratic formalism and excess is to deny architecture of its natural identity—as machine that enhances human inhabitation and social interaction. The signature architect has to actually suppress technology in order to assert their authorship, and stand in front of the object as mediator. To employ technology in an active role is to circumvent the mediator; to establish a direct relationship between the user and the building-asapparatus; to dissolve ambiguity; to make the work comprehensible. The idiosyncratic formalism of the signature architect becomes too ambiguous and self-referential to be intelligible. Such work is too preoccupied with itself to actively respond to the inhabitant, nor does it suggest cues for how it is to be engaged, and therefore the work asserts a distinct separation between itself and the user, making the user subject—submissive in the most extreme cases—to the work. The work of this type assumes either an antagonistic attitude toward the inhabitant by its insensitivity, or an arrogant and authoritarian attitude by its demand for awe and reverence. Either condition essentially destroys the liberating capacity of architecture. The technological approach in architecture (through performance, mechanization, flexibility, transformation and versatility) is more about selling the idea of participation, capability and empowerment than it is about selling a single unique instance of form. Architecture that asserts this attitude is never passive. Envisioned as apparatus, architecture becomes athletic and responsive. Architecture-as-machine is a belief in architecture’s ability to catalyze active social participation; to be familiar and coherent, so as to be universally understood. The architect engaged in the matter of machines speaks a universal language.

The project is devised as a mobile union hall for railroad laborers, which will travel via railroad to local union chapters all across the united states. The union hall mechanically stowes to fit within railroad clearances during transit, but then mechanically deploys again upon arrival at new sites, where it becomes a spectaclur venue for union meetings and events (and potentially, as protagonist amidst labor strikes).

Ground-Level Perspective: Deployed for Union Meetings and Events

Ground-Level Perspective: Stowed for Transit via Railroad



Aerial Perspective: Stowed for Transit via Railroad

In the spirit of Howard Zinn’s call to social activism against the tyrannies of oppressive government and industry, the Mobile Union Hall has the potential to assume a more subversive role: In a scenario where members of the Union go out on strike against the railroad company in protest of unheeded transgressions, then the Mobile Union Hall may be deployed as a gathering place for picketing and rallying. The mobile union hall can also be engaged in a more direct form of intervention, whereby it is illegally parked across tracks with significant commercial traffic, so as to impede normal operations of the railroad in order to disrupt profits, and thus incite civil disobedience to provoke negotiations to resolve labor disputes.


2010 - 2012 Jonathan Eric Tucker 476 Clinton Ave, Apt. 6H Brooklyn, NY 11238 303.562.7402

SCI-Arc: 2010-2012  
SCI-Arc: 2010-2012  

Design portfolio of graduate work completed in the Master of Architecture program at Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)...