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Minh Le ARCH 102 Fall 2012


Corrugated Tile (pg.3-5)

Pre-Design (pg.6-19) * Initial Approaches (pg.6-12) * Case Studies (pg.13-19)

Site Analysis (pg.20-24)

* Post Mid-term thought (pg.53) * Post Mid-term project iterations (pg. 54-75) * Final Iteration (pg. 76- 90) * Final Thoughts (pg.91)

* Site’s Views 

3D Models (pg.25-52) * Low Resolution Prototypes (pg. 25-36) * Site Models (pg.37-52)


CORRUGATED TILE INSPIRATION/ IDEAS I want my landscape to be an non-uniform surface area. There should be high ground/point, middle ground/point and low ground/point. That landscape also needs to allow some sort of human physical response. The main inspiration of my design came from when I encountered a playground near my house and from recalling the time I spent at the beach. From there, I decided to make the landscape as a area that provides multiple activities. 3

CORRUGATED TILE CONCEPT The concept is the landscape of multiple activities; the landscape of playfulness and dynamic. The geometrical shapes represent me feeling limited; specifically, limited of the material. This is technically the first time I use corrugated board in model making, and to use only this type cardboard make me feel very limited in the choices and the possibilities I can do.





SIGNIFICANCES 1. Slope: The designated site is uneven and sloping platform 2. Elevation: The site is varied in levels; it is divided into low, medium and high grounds 3. Size/ Shape of Buildable Area: The site is the mix of three different triangle areas hugging between the ADA ramps. 4. Surrounding Building: Science Hall as the background; Art buildings as the front ground, stairs and trees on the sides. 5. View From and To the Site: Site is saw from the street level that lower than it elevation; and from the top of site, street skyline behind the Art buildings can be viewable. 6. Existing Features Involving Spatial Experience: Trees are in the middle of the building area. Man-made short-cut paths going through grass area.



SIGNIFICANCES Existing Feature Enhancing Spatial Experience: These paths are a part of the buildable area; they enhance the access from/to the Art Buildings to/from Science Hall, giving people a quicker and shorter route. It is one of many way they response to the existing site. When building a structure on this site, this factor maybe worth considering. 7


SIGNIFICANCES 7. Nearby Traffic/ Main Road Access: In the front is the street road, on the side is the path-way stairs connecting the Art buildings and Science Hall/ Cloud Hall. Most of the time busy with traffic. 8. Circulation Through the Site Varies in Time: During rush hour, the ramp around the site seems to have more activity, becoming one with the traffic of the main roads; but most of the time, it receives a least amount of traffic, even none. 9. Quite/ Peaceful Environment: Most of the time due to the lesser traffic, it remain as a quite place; yet even during traffic, it main calm and orderly, not as chaos-like, crowded or disorder traffic on the main roads nearby. 10. Site is Full of Humidity and Less of Sun Light: Most of the time the site is cold, humid, windy, and it lacks lighting (sunlight) during the day. 8


Low Population

High Population

These are the raw plans of the distribution for the main gathering places (indoor area and outdoor area) Outdoor areas are located near the crowded traffic lines (Pflueger axis, main road); while the indoor areas are located on more private land (next to tree line on the west side). Speakers Podium is also needed for the community gathering. It is located at the center, surrounded by the gathering areas. 9



San Francisco Public Utilities Commission KMD architects

Since the site receives a lot of wind during the day, I wonder if we can take the advantage of the wind to attract more people to the site. I saw this building the other day and admire this specific piece which capture the wind and use it to create the movement on this exterior panel.



INQUIRIES 1. Other than academy, what are other aspects of campus environment? 2.What would be the must-not for the academic campus environment? 3. What is the most and what is the least important activity of the program? 4. Should the site plan of all activity areas be overlapping to provide more types of gathering? 5. Should all areas of activities be scattered from or attacked to each other? 6. Would the alternating of population affect the spatial experience of the site and construction? 7. Should the site’s characteristics be changed to fit the design constructed? 8. Should the shape of the site determine the form of the construction? 9. Would the construction’s height block the view from Science Hall to the Art Buildings? 10. Should the construction be visually distinguished or be blended in with the surrounding?



INQUIRIES 11. Should the construction celebrate, support, or counter the surrounding? 12. What mood or memory would people experience at the site and at the construction? 13. How can students have access of communication from the site to the surrounded environment? 14. Student-made shortcut through the grass area is one significant existing factor of the site, should this factor be preserved or deemed unimportant to the design process? 15. If existing shortcuts to be violated, should new routes be created as replacement? 16. Are there any significant values or markers nearby the site? 17. How does sunlight distribute in various times during the day? 18. Does the nearby building (Science Hall) affect the light and weather (wind, humidity, ‌ ) of the site? 19. How does the circulation through and to the site vary during the day? 20. Does the construction need a new access path or use the existing one? 12

CASE STUDY 1 Subject: An Inspirational Image Bamboo Symphony - Manasaram architects


CASE STUDY 1 Bamboo Symphony At the first stage in the project, this building inspires me with how its structure extending to the surrounding. How parts of this building’s structure connect with each other on various elevations, just like what our site’s slope would provide. Also, its materials – bamboo- is very nature friendly, and it reminds me of the nature quality of our campus site. 14

CASE STUDY 2 Subject: Architectural Image Related to the Site’s Quality ďƒ¨Minimal Transparent Glass House - Carlos Santambrogio


CASE STUDY 2 Minimal Transparent Glass House This case study is the follow to a model assignment ( page ….) in which responses to the position I stand about creating the quality of transparency for the program. This building is one of the best examples I could find for Transparent Architecture. Its transparent glass exterior skin allow viewers to see through, create a connection between inside and outside. However, I’m not happy with this find, because I don’t feel like I can develop my design out of this. There is a sense of privacy, uninviting and keep-out to this building. Definitely not for community space.


CASE STUDY 2 New Bauhaus Museum MenoMenoPiu architectes

Unsatisfied with the first picture I found, I continue my search and come across this building. This quality of transparency speaks to me more than the glass box above. I think because of the openness and extending out of the structure that create the senses of inviting and gathering, which can be developed for my design of the 17 program.

CASE STUDY 3 Subject: Architecture Image Related to the Project San Francisco Transbay Transit Center - Pelli Clarke Pelli, architect


CASE STUDY 3 San Francisco Transbay Transit Center This project, I just really like. I love the city and sometimes I just look for a place to get away. And the idea/ the expectation of what this place will be once the project completed really excites me. For the class project, I love how this building houses multiple activities together. It doesn’t feel like those activities get parted out, but instead these areas overlap and support each other. Also, the transparent skin is one of my interest right now. 19



West Side: The view is limited to the bulk of trees and man-made shortcuts. The crowd of tress also blocks the view to the distant Ocean Beach.



North Side: The view is the widest, including the side view of the Creative Arts Building, Mt. Davidson, hill side ‌ The houses on the side of the Mt. Davidson show its topography and the horizontal qualities of the hill. These linear horizontal features are also magnified by the roof of the building, adding depth to the view.





East Side: The view is opened to the Pflueger axis, Visual Arts Building and Batmale Hall behind the tree line. On the sunny day, Mt. Diablo (East Bay) can be visible. 22


South Side: The view is pointed directly to Science Building, the mural, and the grassy slope of the site. Since the building is at the highest elevation, the view from any point on the site will add more monumental characteristic of the mural and Science Building as well.





Day vs. Night: Different period of time, specifically Day and Night, can influence the outcome of the view. During the day, sunlight and bright sky give viewers the general sight as one whole. The sky and the ground and everything in between are connected. At night, the landscape can be only seen due to street lights. This limited light source affects viewers to focus only on some specific parts, especially ones with the brightest light casted on. In other words, Day view is about the whole, and Night view is about the sum of its parts. 24

QUALITIES OF THE SITE Quality of GROWING The project is about community, so the quality of growing, of extending, of reaching out to the public and surrounding is, to me, very important. The design is about the growing, the explode from the center core outward. Each stick represents each branch, direction, idea, person, etc to the outside. Different branches head to different direction, but they stay as one whole. A system that keep extending and keep including. 25

QUALITIES OF THE SITE Quality of FLOWING Circulation is a part of the existing use of the site. Designing a gathering place with multiple activities requires a comfortable access and operating, both program and site. The flow of activities is essential. Curvilinear wire mess is employed to create the flow in air, the continuous dynamic of the structure.


QUALITIES OF THE SITE Quality of INSIDE & OUTSIDE/ PUBLIC & PRIVATE The program includes various spaces/ areas. Just like the flow of the system, these areas need to have connections. In this model, I was trying to figure out the relationship of public (open) and private (close) spaces. I use foam board, because it have a clean look , and all I want to do is to put different panels/ planes together, cutting-overlapping-angling each other to create different spaces between. 27

ISSUE AND POSITION Issue: How to create a place that suggest community gathering. Position: The quality of Transparency can convey and elevate the sense of community.


ISSUE AND POSITION Community is to share and to promote the common interests. Transparency allow one side to join in to the others. Transparency doesn’t block the view from side to another. There is this blur separation of two sides when divided by a transparent element Wire-mesh skin covers around to create the barrier of inside and outside. The flowing of the wooden sticks inside represents the activities contained. I want to see whether or not the plain outside can somewhat response to the dynamic inside, and vice versa.


THE “CAGE” The previous model, the first attempt, doesn’t seem to take advantage of the quality of transparency, and it is also associated with “cage-like” characteristic, so on this one, I try take my model out of that association. I figure that the enclose of the four screen might be the reason for that association, so I break those screen out, creating a more open structure and space. All the other elements are kept for easier comparison. 30

THE “CAGE” In this last attempt to break away from the association of the cage, I keep only one to make it one abstract screen perpendicular to another plane, creating several separate sides/ areas. The “activity” curvi-woodenstick now come from/to all the sides, presenting the continuous flow of the system, and the relationship of two or more separate sides.


TRANSPARENCY & SPACE This is the first attempt on the bigger scale model and also to focus on one character I would like to explore further: Transparency. The screen is not merely one plane as in the previous model, but now a 3D surface. That way, the screen can create a barrier for more complex sides and spaces around. The wooden frames attacked to the screen are to create a complex spaces between different surface meeting/ cutting each other. 32

TRANSPARENCY & SPACE The wire-mesh curvilinear element, once again, represents the dynamic/motion of the system. Those curves are also for me to create and explore the relationship of separate sides and spaces. I want to see how they connect when the same activities running through. Whether or not those activities get broken up, or they help the program stay as one whole system.


GESTURE DRAWING STUDIES This technique is new and challenging to me in many ways. I had a chance to come across this exercise in the Studio 1, but I didn’t really have a chance to expand it. And for quite a while since taking that studio class, this turns out to be completely new to me again. Yet, I also have to admit that as challenging of exploring and developing as it is, it sure help me continue the flow of ideas and to be more and more specific in the design process. 34

GESTURE MODELS My first interpretation from the gesture drawing is the flow of structure through the various planes. The wooden frames are the various planes, and the wiremesh is the flow. In this model , I don’t make a transparent screen because I don’t really see the quality of transparent in the drawing. 35

GESTURE MODELS This model is about the relationship between private space and public space/ open and close/ inside and outside. The wooden plane wrap up to create the outer frame ; Pieces of foam board help define the inner spaces.




TOPOGRAPHY & SIZE This model is the first start at the project related. My first attempt at the site is to its topography- slope- and its size. I want to make a structure that would not be put on the flat ground, so I create the two openings on the ground, and taking those to shape the design of the structure. As the matter of size, I want to extend the structure the most I can so it would cover more ground and buildable land. 38

SITE VIEWS MODEL In this model, I take things quite literally . I create some sort of abstract representation of all four site’s views. The West has a big wall panel simply because there is only the huge tree line there The North is elevate upward, the pointed end points directly to Mt. Davidson, there is also a cross to indicate the cross on the mountain top The South is represented by the 4 columns and 3 panels The East is open to the view, but thing is not clear presented. 39


VIEWS For this iteration, I got inspired by Eric’s idea of focusing on one specific/ important view of all four. And to me, the view to the South, which is the Science Building mural is the most significant. The West View is of only the tree stand, the North View and East View are only visible on sunny days. Only the view of the mural is visible everyday, whether it is sunny or foggy. In fact, the building is put in such high ground, it can be seen from far distance. Not mentioning the mural has quite a culture value to the campus as well.


THE SOUTH VIEW This is, honestly, the first model that I deal with something very specificthe South View from the site. I want to capture that view, surround it with the structure. My first rough design is this model. The screen is once again used, because I want to have the transparent skin so viewers are not limited of the views from the other 3 sides. Some elements from the previous model is still kept here, such as the concrete wall at the West, or elevated level for the view to the North, ‌ 41



In this iteration, I have arrange the screen more specifically to framing the Science Building’s mural, the South view. Also, I have the structure planted and grow underground, because I try to have the relationship to the site, to response to it more clearly. The structure itself not only built underground, part of it also take role as supporting element for the ADA ramps.




In this iteration, I make change of the screen. I want it to be one whole piece, instead of broke up like the last one. I don’t want part of the screen frame block the view to the mural when the two screen meet. This one whole screen also make me feel like I can get a broader view of the mural from the bottom of site. Also in this model, I pay attention to the entry points and shape the structure to enhance them.


SECTIONAL STUDIES Looking to create a better structure that can covey the relationship between upper-ground and underground


SECTIONAL STUDIES Trying to develop that structure more. Also I want to have a better understanding of the space under ground, and how can I occupy that space.


SECTIONAL STUDIES Not feeling like I can get any studies of the space buy cutting through the North-South line. I took the liberty to cut across the EastWest line, and from there, I can make use and easier visual the space I wish to explore.

I come back to the curvilinear shape because the plain foam board panel wall and how I arrange them make me feel like it is just too small to capture this wide space under.




FRAMING THE VIEW Before making any move, I ask myself, “how exactly do people frame one particular view?� And I recall the way I always put up my hands and try to create a imaginary frame with my fingers. And this factor affect the shape of this model design.


FRAMING THE VIEW The height of the screen is specifically varied. The center line is much lower than the two side (inspired by the way I always I shape my hand up). This way, the Science Building will be “framed� and included in the center. The structure itself is still an important part to support the ADA ramps, just like in the previous iterations.

51 Underground view

SECTIONAL STUDY In this study, I’m looking to develop the shape and the structure more. Also, if possible, to have a better approach to the space under ground.


A LOOK BACK AT THE FIRST HALF At the end of the midterm, I started to bring about the vision for the project into the design. My initial stand is to create “a community space that surrounded by the existing value.” The idea of “Framing the View” is the most developed aspect at the meantime, so that was what I wanted to keep in my following iteration. The transparent screen, in my opinion, is the strongest tectonic element; it is also the first quality that I was exploring at the beginning of the project, so I still wanted to keep exploring and sharpening its design. Having that vision stated, there was still an issue for me to find a way to create the connection between the Science Hall and the design. Also, I hadn’t figured out how the program requirements would be played out in my design yet. Yet, as an ongoing project, these issues would be considered to become more developed and focused. 53

CONNECTIO N My first attempt to connect the structure to the Science Hall is to create a set of beam-column to respond to the 4 columns of the building . It represents the extension of the existing structure throughout the whole site.


The screen element acts as the visual representation of the framing, focusing the attention to the Science Building.


THE TRANSPARENT SCREEN Framing the View is the important aspect of my design, and the idea of community as a whole is what I was hanging on at the start of the second half. The transparent screen has been my design language since the start of the semester, so I decide to still keep and stick with it as in the role of framing the Science Hall. 56

Looking back on the previous iteration for inspiration, I had always liked the one-screen version of the frame, it also presents one element as wholeness, related back to the idea that community as one !

[Previous iteration]


In this iteration, the language of the screen is more refined to respond to the earth//base and to the ADA ramp. It is not simply a “floating� structure like in the previous one, the screen is now set on the base ground and carved in such a way that allow the circulation to cut through and create the height differences between the sides and the center of the screen to open for view of the Science Hall. The extending beam/column also follow the same idea, to define a space at the center, and also allow the view to and from the building.



[Pre-Midterm Iteration]

The Mid-term review presentation helped me a lot in term of figuring what works and what lacks. Our guest suggested me about the possibility of breaking the one-screen element and replace with layering screen instead. By doing that, the frame/ screen(s) can create space(s) between layers and the sense of depth to the design. I spent some time to experience with the multi-layer screen before, but the design did not convince me of the programmatic intention nor interest me at all, so I dropped the idea. But looking at it again, I noticed that the way I arrange the screens was still not refined enough, so I took the chance to do some gesture study for the next step of multi-layer screen.


SCREEN STUDIES I looked for a way to break the screen up but still convey the sense of embracing and framing the Science Hall.

The extending beam/column element was also considered to become one with the screen, as the attempt to create more clarified space between layers of screens


I was thinking maybe by adding the secondary structure representing the extending of the building columns, the structure would have more connection to the existing building.

Also , the beam structure could help hold up the screens, connecting one screen to another. 61



At the end of the gesture study, I decided that the framing screen(s) I wanted would not only create a frame for the Science Hall, but also frame to create the required programmatic spaces (gathering space, space for students to express their voice/ works ‌)


Shaping by the screens, the spaces are created and served as follow: *yellow area is intended for indoor gathering space, *green area is for outdoor gathering space, *white areas near the Pflueger Axis are for school bulletin and/or students’ showcase.


TRANSPARENC Y I had been exploring and experimenting the quality of transparency since the beginning of semester. To me, the transparent skin can create the relationship between outside and inside, separate but not excluding, enclosed but open to public ďƒ¨ sharing the same value between students in the community, in this case, the campus.

Low-resolution prototype model


EXCAVATION Another critique that I got from the mid-term review is that I hadn’t developed my design intention that responding to the site. In the previous iterations, the whole site was dug out and no space is specifically stated.

The practice of excavation in this iteration helped me solve the ongoing issue I was struggling with: SPACE (stared) 66

INTERIOR STRUCTURE Having the spaces figured out, I faced the new challenge: how to structurally support and clarify those space as the response to the relationship between the design and the program.





Trying to make use of multiple spaces within the one area that I excavated out, I decided to test out applying barriers to create new smaller spaces, but not enclosed and separate to still allow the connection between possible different activities (stars = new possible spaces created)




The idea of extending and reaching out to the surroundings was one of my main focuses in term of creating a COMMUNITY space. Therefore, in this iteration, I put back the beam structure in my previous iterations to show the opening up and including as much surrounding to the structure as possible. The beams also became the roof-like element. I also still worked on the idea of dividing the space to allow the multi-activities. More barriers were put in, creating more possible spaces. Yet, this iteration of divided space made me feel crowded in such a small space.


LEVELING ?! Being stuck with the cramped space, one particular strip (red) gave me the idea of making another level, a floor, so that I would have more open spaces (above the ADA ramp, and below the ADA ramp)




The floor-like element is now separate two distinguished programmatic spaces: interior space (above) and exterior space (below).


FINAL ITERATION “This project is about creating the sharing experience through existing campus value(s)”






EXCAVATION FOR CIRCULATION To me, excavation had been the best way to result site response issue. In the previous iteration, it helped me create the needed spaces. But there was always more to it, and inspired by Juan’s models, I figured excavation could also promote circulation. All the connection of the site to the flat level/ node on the Pflueger axis helped ease the traffic, as well as create the relationship between the design and the axis itself. 79

MULTI-LAYER “ONESCREEN” Previous Iterations

After abandoning the one-screen version, I was kind of bugged because I didn’t want to throw away the idea of “COMMUNITY as one whole.”


It was the reason why I decided to make some change for the multilayer screen from the previous iteration. I cut and shaped the screens and arrange them in a way that they would line up and appear as one continuous screen through out. That way, the screens represented the idea of diversity/ differences coming together as one whole, community.




1+2. School Bulletin and Student Showcase : I specifically placed Bulletin in 1 because it has more public access from the Pflueger axis and ADA ramp, Showcase in 2 because it seemed to be a more personal space, for personal works. 3. Community Center: picking up the idea from the last iteration, I created a 2-level gathering space (public and private) 4. Speaker Podium: It was placed in front of the Science Hall; the whole design is surrounded the idea of framing and focusing on the Science Hall, so the speaker podium, the rally call, was placed there to be praised and to get all attention it needed. 83


A1 & A2 can be designated for restrooms (male & female). B1 & B2 can be used as storage room and maintenance room. Each room is approximately 500 sq. ft.


ADA RAMP IMITATION ADA ramp is an important part of this site, so I wanted to somehow made a reproduction, in a smaller scale, of the ramp, which is also the existing circulation. The circulation leads to the 2nd level (public gathering) is made as the zic-zac imitation of the ADA ramp that leads to the Science Hall. Now, the stair/ circulation becomes the ADA ramp, and the public gathering space (the destination) becomes the Science Hall, the campus community in a sense.




The beam structure is my language to show the relationship between the Science Building and the design, so in the final iteration, I wanted to make it a bold and strong move. I decided to keep the idea of the beam run across the whole side, and also even extending to the Creative Art building area across the road, as it was the shadow of the columns of the Science Building. It was the representation of the existing campus value reaching out and including all aspect of the surroundings, of the school, and of the students. 87

I also decided to make secondary space using the roof-like structure between the two beam structure. The space create a outside-inside spatial experience. The experiences may vary they all share the same space, the same floor, as in term of the sharing between students, between community of the same value.


The roof-like structure was also considered in this particular piece. I mimic the structure of the community center beams to connect the screen together, as well as the unity as the whole of the structure.


POST PROJECT APPROACH Sabrina’s final project

My project has always been responding to the Science Building. At the end, I think the connection is there, but not significantly projected in the best way possible. There is a gap in between the Science Hall and the structure, that could bring on a lot of possibility for my design process. Watching Sabrina’s presentation, I felt a connection from her project to mine. Her way of excavating the space to respond to the Science Hall columns is very interesting and somewhat, with further develop, can be suitable for my design. The use of spaces would be both effective and well responded to the existing structure. For short, if I would do anything differently, the excavation of space responding to the Science Hall would be my first move.


FINAL THOUGHTS This semester has ended sooner than I expected it to be. In the final project presentation, I felt like I did not do a very good job of delivering my ideas to the audience. But I’m happy with what I’ve been able to experience and to achieve this semester, and to be able to get to that point. It’s been more than a year ago since I last took a design studio class, so it was great to come right back and focus on design and creative process for the whole semester. It was also great that we had a chance to integrate the design to the actual site, a close by and familiar site. Throughout the semester, I believe I have stayed consistent with some ideas (transparency, framing, … ) and work on developing those ideas further and sharpened. I also had a chance to encounter new ways to explore and experience and develop ideas through drawing studies and low resolution prototype model making. In this semester, I learned that Architect’s job is not to build houses, but to create a design solution for a specific set of problems and requirements. This has taken my passion for the profession to a new level, and I’m 91 excited to what ahead in the next design classes.

ARCH 102 Learning Portfolio  

Semester Learning Portfolio Design Process