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Laura Boyle selected works


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unbuilt projects kindergarten, Providence, RI artist residency, Barre, VT elderly housing, Providence, RI


project brief: brief studio program requirements: requirements classrooms, kitchen and dining spaces, outdoor play area area: 400 sq ft area material: existing brick carriage house, timber frame, stone material time: 12 weeks time


kindergarten

RISD Childcare Support Services Providence, Rhode Island


Through the kindergarten’s tectonic expression a child can recognize structure and surface, the juxtaposition of new and old, and especially a sense of heavy and light, in that everything has mass and weight. The building not only serves as a place children can learn in, but learn from. Two children’s books were made to begin the project. This first book tells the story of a boy getting ready for school in the morning. There is no text, only dots to accompany each pair which increases as the pages turn.


The perspective of the child is one accessed only through memory and time. I made a second children’s to explore the power of exteriority in memory, architecturally defined as site. The journey to and from school everyday is a habitual one and perhaps not so striking, but the architecture engages the everyday as to shape it. This project is sited in a neglected carriage house built in 1851. It was privately owned until 2004 when it was purchased by the Rhode Island School of Design which have only used the surrounding land as a faculty parking lot. The building sits on atop a steep incline mitigated by two retaining walls and a stair. A maple grove lies to the north while a flat narrow garden lies to the south and east. Programming the exiting volumes as entry, administrative offices, and large group play areas allowed for an addition to be built off the back to be programmed as a full kitchen, dining room, and four classrooms. The addition complements and is supported by the existing carriage house by adding a third level that cantilevers over the original volume. The interior connection is made by a suspended stair which establishes circulation within the building and connects the old with the new.


site book


addition

structural model


ground floor plan


knowledge

A kindergarten provides a safe environment for children to learn to communicate, play, and interact with others. Playing freely with Froebel’s gifts, a child assembles a whole with geometric blocks and harvests a knowledge, just to knock them over a start again. The child’s senses are engaged through tactility of the form, visual connection to color, and the sound of material clacking against itself. I want to assemble an architecture that activates the senses with its elements: the wall, the stair, the window.

nature

By creating a relationship of building elements to natural elements, the architecture becomes the analogy that relates natural phenomena: texture to deterioration, the changing of seasons to the fall of light, the movement of water to the passage of time.

time

Because this project is one of adaptive reuse, time is made evident due to its recent neglect. The surface of the brick is gritty and the paint is chipping off the window sills. Instead of erasing these marks of decay, let them be to teach us how time marks the built.


the new wraps the old


a series of retaining walls along the slope


This stair is the architectural element that connects the building to its user. It is suspended from beams structuring the addition in tension and is braced against the existing brick wall. After a study model was built, a full scale mock-up was built to explore how the tensile and compressive forces could form with steel cable and concrete.


sectional full scale mock up


project brief: brief studio/competition program requirements: requirements educational pavilion, artists studios, artists residences area: 1600 sq ft area material: in situ concrete material time: 12 weeks time


artist residency

Lyceum Traveling Fellowship East Barre, Vermont


“The concept of the landscape as architecture has become an act of imagination. I remember looking at buildings made of stone, and thinking, there has to be an interesting landscape somewhere out there because these stones have been taken out of the quarry one block at a time. I had never seen a dimensional quarry, but I envisioned an inverted cubed architecture on the side of the hill.” — Edward Burtynsky This project seeks to translate the delicacy of interior light into a harsh landscape. The inherent weight of in situ concrete requires careful consideration of such light. Concrete’s formal flexibility allows for the aperture to hold great power within the space. The apertures developed from attitudes toward ground and discipline. This project is guided by the main part of it program being the studios for four artistic disciplines: visual, literary, landscape, and performance. Although differing in action and result, creative work reflects the place it was created in. To sculpt this experience, one must study the site. The Wells-Lamson quarry is a large void in a landscape that sits between two residential neighborhoods. It was opened in 1885. The granite is a biotite granite of light medium, slightly bluish gray shade and of evengrained medium or fine texture. It has an estimated depth of 500’, however is no longer in use and has filled with water. The site given for this project is on a steep northfacing slope overlooking the water. The slope is engaged with a series of retaining walls that also form and structure the studios. Each building contains four studios, one for each discipline. The artist residences follow a similar strategy sitting on a ridge to the north overlooking the water-filled quarry while the educational pavilion is sited between the two, cut deep into the hill to house an outdoor theater at its lowest level. To enter the formal implication, I constructed a series of three-dimensional diagrams considering tectonics yet void of orientation. After doing a series of light studies, I sited the diagram and let it take shape in the landscape adjusting to ground and light. The formal manipulation of light, reflection, and transparency enabled by aperture frame the experience within. While also considering orientation, several diagrammatic studies were made to study the behavior of light within space.


photos by Edward Burtynsky


light study light study


path

The unifying component in the project is the circulation between each of the programmatic elements. From entry to exit, one can seamless walk through the buildings via one path. The path remains exterior throughout the project weaving in and out of the studio buildings eventually delivering you to the water. Each studio is thermally isolated to control the working environment to the preference of each artist.

weight

Concrete is similar to granite in that both are derived from mineral deposits in the ground and both have similar weight. The weight of each material, however, feels vastly different with the knowledge of its construction methods. Granite from the quarry is the proposed aggregate for the concrete mixture thus literally weighting the building to its site while also responding to the desire to use local materials.

landscape

Due to the nature of working in a studio, a strong connection to the landscape was carried throughout the project to foster a relationship between individual and site and therefore influence the work.


site axon


steel reinforced concrete retaining wall

hardwood shelves gravel backfill

drainage pipe

screed mixture concrete frost-safe material, e.g. ballast

wall detail of studio at window


project brief: brief studio program requirements: requirements housing, community center, plaza area: 20,000 sq ft area materials: in situ concrete, wood materials time: 5 weeks time


Elderly Housing

Rhode Island Housing Authority Providence, Rhode Island


Water forms and deforms landscapes over time, whether it be with the hand of mankind or not. Providence’s relationship with its waterfront has been tumultuous, however presently it lies in a state of embrace. This project is sited between an ignored waterfront portion of the Providence River and busy South Main Street programmed as housing for the elderly. The buildings’ form maintains the loud street front to the north while allowing inlets into the semi-enclosed courtyards. Within the courtyards are reflecting pools of varying depths, connected with channels that flow beneath the buildings opening up the ground level so that one may pass through the site while remaining in its interior. Each building steps down to allow light into the courtyards and are shaped by curved exterior balconies to provide residents with private outdoor space handicapped accessible to their respective units.


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built projects cabin, Dedham, ME pavilion, Puerto Napo, Ecuador loft, Charlestown, MA


project brief: brief design/build program requirements: requirements renovate main room, new bathroom, sleeping porch and entry area: 400 sq ft area material: concrete pads, pine studs and sheathing, hemlock siding, alumninum alloy roof, reclaimed doors and windows, material commericial hardware time: 6 months time


cabin

Mountainy Pond Club Dedham, Maine


Mountainy Pond stretches 3 miles long by 3/4 miles wide in Dedham, Maine. A wealthy Philadelphia lawyer by the name of Don Hinkley started buying up property in this district beginning in 1909 with plans to develop it into a vacation destination complete with a full resort and water slide. The Great Depression hit and Hinkley had to liquidate most of his assets. Fourteen men invested in Hinkley land during those twenty years. The men decided to buy Hinkley out of his investment and took full ownership over the land surrounding Mountainy Pond putting it in a trust belonging to them and their families. Each family commissioned the construction of a timber-framed cabin which they would frequent every summer for several months. One of these men was Anderson Page. Page, also a lawyer from Philadelphia, was married with four children who liked to tinker with construction in his spare time. In the summer of 1947 he built a one-room cabin with a small bathroom back from the main house. He died shortly after and the cabin fell into disrepair. As the Page family grew larger and the need for more space was required, they approached me to take a look at the little cabin’s existing condition. Despite water damage over the bathroom due to a leaky water tank, the interior remained in good condition. The exposed pine studs had darkened beautifully. We decided to do a full renovation or the existing structure, rebuild the bathroom, and add on a sleeping porch. Because of its humble size, the building is used year round due to the installation of an Ashley stove in the main room. I met Anderson Page’s grandson, also named Anderson, in Boston while completing my undergraduate degree at Northeastern University. He had learned the traditional method of building through several construction projects while working for the grounds keeper which inspired him to uncover the potential of the little cabin his grandfather built. Anderson and I began construction in early June 2011.


1955 - 2010


2011 - present


light

We wanted to achieve an even light throughout the day. The direct sunlight the cabin experienced, however, was limited due to tree cover so we strategically replaced the three original windows and put in two new windows and three skylights. We also laid a new pine floor finished with polyurethane to slow its darkening over time to that it continues to reflect ambient light.

structure

Several structural adjustments were needed to level the cabin and redistribute the loads more evenly. During this process a floor jack was used to take weight off the walls while one central collar and three scissor braces were installed. This added height to the space while allowing us to use the roof’s original structure.

skin

Most of the cabins on Mountainy Pond are clad in live edge siding cut from fallen trees. We used material from the trees removed during construction as well as other trees from the area to side both new and existing structures. We also installed a black metal roof over the existing asphalt shingle roof for increased low maintenance durability.


sleeping porch at entry


barn sliding door hardware


sleeping porch


front door


black walnut butcher block pressure fit in a steel frame


kitchen counter


where everything comes together


project brief: brief design/build program requirements: requirements design a pavillion to house traditional artifacts, construct one bay area: 1200 sq ft area materials: bamboo, local hardwood (chaunta and mahogany), rope, commericial hardware materials time: 6 weeks time


pavilion

Selva Viva Puerto Napo, Ecuador


This project was rooted in culture. Twelve RISD architecture students traveled to Quito to meet twelve UTE (Universidad Tecnica de Ecuador) architecture students to design and build a pavilion for a Quechua tribe that had founded a bioreserve called Selva Viva, funded by tourism. They invited us to design a pavilion which could house native artisan objects such as clothing, jewelry, and ceramics. The building would have a rotating collection to display these objects to foreign tourists as well as the local youth who was quickly abandoning the traditional lifestyle. After a one week research period at the UTE campus followed by a four day charette period on site, we began preparing the site. Over the next four weeks, we worked to build one bay of the proposal. The project was to be finished by tribe members who worked alongside us, showing us traditional building techniques.


the charette


commute to work


pride

The Quechuans suffered from societal modernization. The draw of contemporary living threatened the principles of traditional living. Many youths ran away from home to pursue a “regular life�, but had problems adjusting their new surroundings. Many girls fell into prostitution while the boys went into narcotics.

resource

Native people use native materials. This leads to a delightfully diverse use of the one thing to do many things. The one thing was bamboo. Quechuans used it for building structures, doors, boats, fishing, even filtering water. We learned the native methods of preparing bamboo using only a machete and a bow saw.

structure

We approached the project sensitively, yet with a thirst to buid something innovative. Through several models and mockups, we developed a interesting structural details that exploited bamboo’s tensile and compressive qualities.


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individually hand-woven roof sheathing


structural detail, column meets beam meets joist


the crew


hanging display wall


Laura Boyle selected works