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Mary Azelborn


About Me

I am currently a fourth year student at Iowa State University, double majoring in Architecture and Art and Design: Visual Culture Studies. I am a member of AIAS and of IAWiA (Iowa Women in Architecture). Next year I will be Vice President of our IAWiA student chapter. A lifelong passion for music has become an interest in the intersection of music and architecture, particularly acoustics. This interest led to the project which won the 2018 BWBR Prize. Contact: m.azelborn@gmail.com (319)899-8393


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Acoustic Retreat

The Audioasis is a reaction to the endless noise of urban life. In the heart of Manhattan, surrounded by interminable traffic noise and perpetual sirens, it is intended to be an island of calm, where birds and water make up the majority of the background noise. Extensive research into building acoustics and noise control techniques combine to create an apartment building that not only reduces noise pollution from outside its walls, but also limits sound transmission from apartment to apartment. Every design decision, from the largest conceptual ideas to the smallest construction details has been considered from the perspective of sound. This project was a collaboration with Greg Schaub, for Andrew Gleeson’s third year architecture studio.

Winner; 2018 BWBR Prize


Site and Concept Our site, where the Lincoln Tunnel emerges into midtown Manhattan, is one of the noisiest locations in the city. We also discovered that the nearby neighborhoods of Hudson Yards and Hell’s Kitchen are rated in the top ten for noise complaints in all five boroughs of NYC.

One of the defining characteristics of the Audioasis is its wings—large curvilinear planes of concrete which reflect the noise of the city back towards the city. They surround the base of the building, and are also present in a smaller form on each apartment level. These smaller wings also double as a shading device and light shelf.


Ground Level

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SCALE: 1/16� = 1’

The Ground Level of the Audioasis has amenities such as a gallery space and a resale shop that caters to musicians. Pedestrians are drawn into the site through an acoustic sculpture garden that surrounds the building.


Audioasis Level

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SCALE: 1/16” = 1’

The third level is the Audioasis, an outdoor garden and park space surrounded by amenities such as a pool, a children’s play room, and a movie theater. There is also a fountain, which uses water noise to mask city sounds that make it past the wings. In addition to the fountain, the Audioasis has greenery to encourage songbirds, and a stage space for outdoor performances.


Apartment Levels DN UP

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SCALE: 1/8” = 1’

The apartments are all arranged around the central Audioasis, with circulation shifted to the outside edge. They are laid out according to a 5’ radial grid.


Section

SCALE: 1/16” = 1’


Details

FINISH FLOOR 3” CONCRETE SUB FLOOR 5” SPRING MOUNT 6” STRUCTURAL SLAB

SCALE: 1/2” = 1’

SPRING SUSPENSION 1 1/2” BATT INSULATION STEEL SUSPENSION FRAME 2 LAYERS 1/2” GYPSUM BOARD PE ELASTIC STRIP

2 LAYERS 1/2” GYPSUM BOARD 3 1/2” BATT INSULATION 1” ‘SOUND CAVITY’ GAP

SCALE: 3” = 1’

2x4 STUD ON SEPARATE PLATE STC 63 (OCF)

We knew, even before beginning the design of the Audioasis, that one of the most annoying sources of noise in an apartment is not the traffic outside, but sound transfer from the neighbors. Because of this, we decided to acoustically isolate each apartment. To be able to accurately design floor and wall thicknesses, we reserched and eventually drew our own soundproof wall and floor assemblies.


Renderings


Model

SCALE: 1/8” = 1’


Credits Information on noise levels in NYC was found in Ben Wellington’s article Mapping New York’s Noisiest Neigborhoods, written on January 17, 2015 for the New York Times and found at https://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/mapping-new-york-noise-complaints Traffic pattern and mapping data for the area around our site was compiled by drawing over Google maps. All other work is original to the project.


Shift


2017 Design Build

“Shift is designed to be a transition from rest to play, a conversion made by a continuous ebb and flow of horizontal structures, hidden caves, nooks, and crannies, and articulate lighting design. Most importantly, the form of our design not only evolves with the needs of its own occupants, but also acts as a physical threshold between the community and the arts. Because of this effervescent relationship, we named our project Shift, a name that we believe fits perfectly with the desired cultural movement at Reliable Street.� Above is the project statement for the spring 2017 second year design build project, a collaborative work with all 87 students in that year. Shift was created for a budding cultural gathering space called Reliable Street, part of a larger project to revitalize an old, abandoned grain elevator in northwest Ames, Iowa.


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Undeveloped Residential Reliable Street Shift Location

Ontario Street Shift’s site is located just outside of the grain elevator at Reliable Street, on one of the weighing pads originally used to weigh trucks full of grain. This constrains Shift’s dimensions to 10’ by 40’. It also places Shift directly adjacent to the road, so that Shift becomes a threshold between Reliable Street and the greater Ames community.


Landscape While designing Shift, we divided ourselves into several smaller groups which took on more specific tasks, including Rhino modeling, documentation, and project logistics. I led a small team which focused on landscaping. We developed a ramp design to improve accessibility, researched plants to include around the project, and developed several site plans which proposed different methods of landscaping.


Documentation


Fabrication and Assembly


Final Photographs


Treehouses


Architecture in the Past Tense

In the second part of the Treehouses project, we began by investigating a local news story about a group of middle school students who had spent their summer building a fort in a public forest. Upon discovery, the city ordered the fort torn down. The kids fought the edict, ultimately asking “if not there, then where?”. The students proposed that Ames create designated areas for kids to build. As a studio, we explored this concept of ‘Fort Zones’, from where they might be and how they might work to what might be used as building materials. We presented our projects not as potential future concepts, but instead as though they had already been developed and created. The project itself became a speculative history of a potential future, culminating in drawings and a documentary video. The following drawings are meant to tell a story more than they are meant to perfectly convey an architectural idea.


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First Forts When the City of Ames ordered that first, ordinary fort torn down, kids all over Ames were angry. They’re constantly being told to spend more time outside, to be more creative, to spend more time with face to face communication and less time in front of screens, but when a group of kids finally got up and did something creative, outside, and as a group, suddenly it’s wrong and they have to tear their creation down? So the kids decided to do something about it. Namely, they built more forts, all across the city, in every park with enough trees to properly hide their constructions. The City of Ames was quickly overrun with with forts.


Building Up The kids quickly learned to hide their forts, building them in hard to reach places, or camouflaging them so they wouldn’t be easily seen. And when they were found, they loaded them up into backpacks and bags and carried them somewhere else. Before long, construction methods that could be hidden and easily moved were capitalized upon. The most common of these, and the style that would come to characterize the forts, was a system of rope nets and ladders, strung throughout the trees. The ropes were simple to put up and take down, light and portable, and difficult to see among the treetops. After all, people often forget to look up.


Building Out Treehouses became a community project. Kids worked together to build their forts. The older kids taught the younger how to tie knots for every situation. They created ladders out of single ropes, and hung boards to create swings and shelves. Everyone, from the youngest to the oldest, got a say in the design of each fort. All they had to do was be there. After several years, the city stopped such concerted efforts at quashing the fort movement. As a result, forts began to spread out, becoming sprawling systems throughout the forests around Ames. Although never formally recognized, forts have become a tradition around Ames, a place for kids of all ages to have fun and be creative.

Profile for Mary Azelborn

Portfolio  

A digital version of my print portfolio.

Portfolio  

A digital version of my print portfolio.

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