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Tiantian Lou B.Arch Candidate Rhode Island School of Design





03 castelvecchio 04

coding an excavation


folding to architecture




shift to community


jewelry and metalsmith

o1 trace Advance Studio, Spring 2017 Advisor: Chris Bardt

The course approaches architectural design of a path within a theatre from material study of tracing paper through three acts. The accumulation and subtraction process of a unroll piece of trace allows the exploration and definition of depth on a flat surface. The understanding of a pair of opposites architectural plan and section information lead to interchangeable solid and void in architecture space. Along the process of making architecture, drawing serves as tool and guide to imagine and examine.

act one: accumulation/ subtraction, flatness/depth The act starts from unroll 150 ft tracing paper, then fold it to a portable size. Through the action of folding, the unrolled trace accumulates into a surface with different pitch and density. Subtraction operation involves cutting and rearranging the continues piece of trace. The depth of trace surface is created through two different lighting condition: light from back, presents the literal translucency of trace; light from front, presents the depth with different pitch and density.

Throughout a continues accumulation and subtraction process, the surface of trace appears with different pattern from double side. By scanning the trace from both sides, and overlay them, an two side of the traces collapse onto one image, which develops ambiguity reading of spatial condition. Tape is added to the trace paper not only to stabilized its structure as one piece, but also as an indicator of depth. On the collapsed image of trace, tape further enhances the depth through numbers of times of overlapping on trace.

folding enamel brooch The action of folding a piece of tracing paper is recorded and projected onto the piece of enameled brooch. The brooch carries all folds of the trace and restore it in a solid form.

act two: shifted segments in plan/ continuity in section Through the act of folding 150ft trace into a portable size, the imperfection of folding into right angle creates numbers of shifted segments. The mis-fold of the trace allow the ambiguity of reading, further creates possibility of spatial condition. White the plan view of the traces is formed by a set of shifted perpendicular segments, the section remains a continuous roll. The opposite condition from plan and section merges and enhance the ambiguity of spatial condition, where solid and void are interchangeable.

The continues section is transferred into a double side model, with surfaces interact in space amplify the ambiguity between solid and void. Shifted lines from the drawing suggest spatial information without define it.

act three: Interchangeable solid and void a path in a theatre discovers lighting condition through shifted and misfold plan and continuous section. In the process of making, the opposites condition from plan and section merge into architectural space as constantly transforming between solid and void. The moment has been translated into the architecture as mismatched floor, wall, ceiling, to create possibility and alternative reading of the architecture as body passing through the space. Such ambiguity reading of solid and void occur at various levels of scales.

The density of trace created by accumulation and subtraction describe depth with two types of lighting. The path within the theatre host various lighting condition to define the use of architecture space. From fragmentary of lighting to the unity in the gathering hall, lighting indicates the shift of programs. Further, materials with different opacity at various scale enhance the reading of lighting performance.

As two sides of the trace collapse onto one image allows the reading of double sides, it has been transferred to a drawing of the path which contains all the planar information of the space collapsed onto paper. The drawing serves as a tool and guide to imagine and examine the architectural space parallel with the making of architecture.



Advance Studio: From Content to Container, Fall 2016 Advisor: Emanuel Admassu “This studio examines the notion of architecture as the difference between ‘content’ and ‘container’. ‘Content’ is defined by a selection of architectural concepts that from the period 1978-1988, while ‘container’ will be defined by the analysis of a specific site of contestation in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The definitions for “failure” as it pertains to the discipline of architecture (content) and the city of Addis Ababa (container) are developed along the process. The studio define urban manifestations of ‘failure,’ by analyzing precise moments along the historical evolution of Addis Merkato. Participants will use the current Local Development Plan as a starting point to investigate the critical debates, power struggles and design decisions that have contributed to the on-going urbanization of the site. Accepting the zoning requirement to build every block up to a minimum of five stores, the studio collectively engage the market’s transition from a horizontal patchwork of shops to a collection of malls. New mall ‘types’ are invented by subjecting them to the constraints of the market and the city.”1 The project is collaborated with Jeff Yinong Tao. 1. Admassu, Emanuel. “Content and Container.” 2016 Fall Advance Studio. Studio Introduction. Providence: Rhode Island School of Design, Architecture Department, 2016. 1-3. Print

content and container Merkato is shaping and shaped by numerous merchandises of different varieties, the buyers and sellers from time to time. Shoppers navigate through diverse conditional space that is restrained by negotiable shop boundaries and impassable structured components. The marketplace is transforming from day to night, shaped by floating events and shifting unregistered trading activities. By examining the occupible space as solid, and movement trace as an action of carving, this drawing demonstrate a 20-second circulation pattern of a generic crossing point on site.

sample analysis Two samples that were referenced and studied are the Kunsthal by OMA, and Neue Staatsgalerie by James Stirling. This collage explain the circulation reference to the mall, where the circular void (from Staatsgalerie) serve as connection piece to link all the ramped floors (from Kunsthal).

The mall is a volume which formed by two staggered rectangular box following by adjacent street grids, as well as assemble the horizontal mercato programs. Two different organizing systems are developed along two different street grids. The area where the two systems overlap serves as connection node. It hosts linear, ramping, and vertical circulation, and act as a non-program space where allows all types of interactions.

From one end, the interior quality shifts from formal to informal in a gradient moving away from the solid wall. From larger shops with permanent vertical structure to small merchandise stands with temporary separations, the order demonstrates an infinitive extension that connects markato with mall. At the other side, the gradient of formality expand sectionally on a continuous floor

plate, with flat surface hosting more organized and static programs at top levels, and sloping platform hosting more scattered and fluid programs toward the ground floor. The two different systems are used to organize the interior mall space, with the wall serves as the envelope to organize the mall; thus the mall expand from inside out, extend to the marcato street boundarylessly.

Double elevations along the between wall space, demonstrates two different systems on facades, and its interaction with public ramps and sky bridges.

The Mall is a negotiation between the existing street condition and organized interior space. Using ramps as an extension of horizontal slab to achieve a continuous circuit through vertical axis. The mall should contain different spatial conditions from the existing and address the complexity in organized ways. From larger shops with permanent vertical structure, to smaller merchandise stands with temporary separations, programs are organized with rigid and flexible breathing zones. Vehicles are able to enter the mall and weave throughout four different levels with ramps, which provide another set of program types related to vehicular path and sloping floor and ceiling space. Stair and sloping floor plates are inserted to further diversify program spaces. Circular nodes are used as major connection and gathering points to serve linear and vertical circulation.

o3 castelvecchio Architectural Analysis, Spring 2015 Advisor: Aaron Forest

Museo di Castelvecchio, located in the eponymous medieval castle in Verona, Italy, is restored to a museum space by the architect Carlo Scarpa, between 1959 and 1973. In the first half of the course, geometry, structure, and detail of wall punctuation spaces have been focused. The research starts off with geometric and structural study of hand drawing, continues with exploring its spacial quality further with digital modeling. Finally reaches to the construction of a exploded model, which study the details of punctuation of wall spaces.

hand drawing, pencil on paper, 36’’x100’’

left: digital model, view from south west side right: digital model exploded, analysis of punctuations of wall

material substitution In the second half of the course, the perspective of research shifts to the materiality of the architecture. Six materials that have been used in the centre room are separated into six models, where a material with opposite quality of its original is substituted. With separating and opposing materials, the model transforms both physical quality and visual experience of the centre room. Shadow of material casts from one to another, which creates a continuous dialog among materials. From left to right: ancient wall(tracing paper), wood(plaster), stone(aluminum), metal(robe), concrete(fabric), glass(clay)

offset In addition to material-substitution models, drawings achieve a reverse experience of the model. Starting from the realistic vision of the room, by offsetting each volumes, materials of centre room grow into each other. Volume has been compressed, abstracted, and finally merged. Both iterations perform an adversed experience from Scarpa’s original design: meticulous design in details with strong materiality execution.

brooch set The set of jewelry questions both scale and material. With the appearance of concrete blocks, it can be read as partial architectural model. Nevertheless, it is soft (made by silicone), and able to wear on body. It initiates the discussion of how jewelry as an object connect to human body, and body to architecture.

o4 coding an excavation Advance Studio, Spring 2016 Advisor: Carl Lostritto

The advance studio focuses on developing architecture based on drawing buildings. The design is generated by a series of logical performance through Python. The focus shifts from using sets of lines to represent an existing space, to reviewing and create new samples, and finally to designing a nonprogram architecture.

phase one


Using Python programming language to represent the sample space with a system of lines. Volume of the sample space is represented by the projection of four continuous line-sets. The sample is a selection space from Museo di Castelvecchio, the building assigned from Architecture Analysis course. Continued with the material study, each material is connected by a set of lines, then projected back to the sample volume. The final drawing, printed from pen-plotter, is a result of the projection of line-sets with the sample volume removed in an axon view.

phase two


Extend and continue work from phase one as a drawing project. While purpose is no longer to represent a given form, representation strategies interns of the potential to represent something new will remain. Scaling each cell in relationship to its distance from viewer, the drawing creates two-dimensional gird-void, while defines the depth of space. The line-sets model from phase one is being used as a starting point. The model is separated into 36 cells from The View, which referenced from the study of offsetting volume in Architecture Analysis. Each cell is scaled differently from factor 0.5 to 1 in relationship to its distance from the camera point; thus the further one cell is from the camera, the wider the gap surrounded with. One original-scaled model and one 1-1.5 scaled model are layered at back as references. The final drawing is a composi- tion of gird-void drawing, printed on mylar, layering in front of other two scaled drawings printed on paper.

Line and Volume Lines projected from the Point form volume to capture the spacial quality of the sample. Whereas the line segments do not wrap the entire volume, the ambiguity of the space has been generated. The illusionary depth and flatness provide numerous possibilities of the subject.

sample of the View Left: the Sample from the View Middle: the Sample rotates 45 degree from the View Right: Section and Plan of the Sample

phase three Using the line-construction method to update the sample. Then, complete the building based only on the content in the updated sample. Each cell from the The Sample is moved toward or away from the view, while the visual image from the view stays unchanged. Setting the sample on a specific site, each cell extends a horizontal platform from the view point; the platforms grow into a larger juxtaposition solid surround the sample. The action of excavation is performed to expose and connect the architectural space.

o5 folding to architecture Making of Design Principle Advisor: Kyna Leski

a piece of site model Making of Design Principle is the first year core studio that introduces fundamental concept and language of architecture. The first half of the class, developing and understanding line, form, language, and logic of space are introduced throughout several exercises. In this phrase, research is focused on subtle shifting to create movement and dialog among objects and spaces. A single piece of paper transfers into a site model through cutting and folding. The tectonic for folding is continued throughout the design of final project.

double layers wall The second phrase of the course is to design a theatre, with specific requirements of size and volume, locates on Benefit Street, Providence. During the working process, a double-layer model is introduced. It not only leads to acknowledge the thickness of wall, but also provides an opportunity to manipulate the wall from double side. For example, at first, two sides of a wall can be parallel, then at one point, as they go separately from each other, directional movement of walls, storage, passage, and other spaces within buildings are created.



Architectural Design advisor: Jonathan Knowles

fabric, canopy, and zig zag structrue The objective of the second semester core studio is to design a science research lab locate at waterfront of Providence, RI. In the first half of the study, the physicality of canopy, the floating structure on water, and the lighting quality on site is researched and studied. Within such explorations, my interests are zigzag structures that is able to balance and connect the whole building, as well as sunlight on site that forms shadow as continuously changing skin on facades.

light and circulation Based on the orientation and operation of each room, windows with different sizes and direction are created to allow natural light perform in the interior space. Zig-zag circulation in both plan and section connects three main blocks in an efficient way.


shifting to community Urban Design Principle Advisor: Manuel Cordero

network and circulation The shifting and offseting of building mass created open space with different level of privacy, that spontaneously form the circulation around and within the site. In a city scale, Prairie Street is connect the site from downtown Providence from north, and Roger Williams Park from south. The site is also connected to I95 and 195 exit 19 on Dudley street from east. Furthurmore, a double-lane vehicular street cuts the site from north to south is introduced to bring more public exposure to site. Pedestrain circulation on site is shaped by the formation of open space. Evaluating both physical and visual accessibility to its adjacent programs, a pedestrain path creates direct or indirect interaction with its surroundings. The design of interior circulation is taken into consideration of winter seasons accessbility. Thus, more entrance to building mass from different direction is created. Furthermore, at second level, three sky bridges are introduced to form a looping path inside the building.

housing type allocation and distribution The allocation of different housing types are mixed ditributed throughout the site. The placement of a specific housing type is on account of building shape, circulation, and sun path. Ground floor contains more fragmetary spaces, thus, studio and one-bedroom are more frequently located at lower levels. Whereas, households with two or more bedrooms are tended to locate at upper levels.

program allocation and distribution The design thesis is to create a walkable community with site mixed-use, easy connection, and frequent open space. Through shifting and offseting the building mass at different scale, open spaces with different level of privacy are created among the site. The allocation of programs on site is based on the quality of open space adjancent to it. Retail stores locate along the spine and Prairie street where has masterplaned as a commercial street. A secondary retail street on the south-west of the site links the storefronts and circulation along the south side of the site. Office and hospitalrelated facilities do not necessarily all have access along street side, nevertheless, they all have access points without disrupting residential and community area. Community and residential are located at a more private sector on site, where minimum interaction with streets occur.

shifting vertical The difference of floor-to-ceiling height between commercial store and residential housing is addressed through a vertical shift. Lowing the ground floor for 4 feet not only allows the third floor to line up as a continuous space, but also create a vertical change to visually separate the personal courtyard from the semipublic community courtyard.

07 jewelry and metalsmith

Tiantian Lou (RISD 18) Portfolio Pre Thesis  

Tiantian Lou RISD ARCH 18 Pre Thesis Portfolio

Tiantian Lou (RISD 18) Portfolio Pre Thesis  

Tiantian Lou RISD ARCH 18 Pre Thesis Portfolio