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DESIGN PORTFOLIO 509. 386. 0872 Graduate Studies of Architecture College of Art & Architecture University of Idaho

i am

Molly Culbertson.

look at my work.


14 nomadic invasion




art & Design

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St. Croix Aquatic research lab st. croix, virgin islands

Design Vii fall ii Prof frank jacobus 12 Weeks

[aquatic research lab]

The St. Croix Aquatic Research Laboratory was part of a designed campus plan that is able to adapt to the virgin island’s limited resources. Three pods designate the controlled laboratory areas while circulation and communal spaces are exposed to the tropical climate. This strategy allows on localized control of laboratory environments and natural control of the others. The pods react indivdually to direct sunlight-the envelope can be customized in mulitple ways to cater to sensitive laboratory research.


[aquatics research lab]











09 [aquatics research lab]


[aquatics research lab]






11 [aquatic research lab]


[aquatics research lab]


13 [aquatics research lab]

Seattle homeless assistance center seattle, wa

Design Vi Spring 11 Prof wendy mclure 6 Weeks

A center that combines the residents, commuters,





Pioneer Square, Seattle, with the process of




residents along

for the

original “skid road”, the corner of Yesler Way & Western Ave. is historically the convergence of Seattle’s upper-class with a lower, poorerclass. Today, Pioneer Square continues to withstand this relationship between various social groups: homeless, drug




tourists,commuters, & business owners. This neighborhood needs a place for interaction




type to strengthen the widening, social relationships that couldmake this area a rich neighborhood.Communal spaces [homeless center]

are woven through pods (supported by a modular, tensegritysteel frame). The pods respond to significant moments along the process of adjusting from being homeless to returning to our social norm of living. Social interaction occur spontaneously


between, on top, & underneath these pods; allowing informal and meaningful relationships to occur.

[homeless center]


17 [homeless center]

[homeless center]


classroom module

shared living unit module

19 [homeless center]

module: beams in compression cables in tension.

south section 1”= 25’-0”

one world glare redesign moscow, id

Environmental Control systems II Spring 10 Prof Bruce haglund 1 Week

A lab analysis was performed on the One World Cafe in Moscow, Id to study daylighting and glare. One World suffers from a glare problem, according to Schiller’s glare test, due to large open space and smaller inset seating areas. The darker areas did not provide enough lighting for reading or similiar acitivities, while the main space had very high daylighting readings. included The redesign reinstalling clerestory windows in both the small and main space, as well as incorporating light shelves with the lighting cloud (shown right). Additional shading devices were added to the south facade to defer direct summer gain. [glare analysis]



21 [glare analysis]

AGi32 model


after clerestory windows ows reduce g glare and provide additional ventilation.

[glare analysis]



schiller’s glare: no


23 [glare analysis]

schiller’s glare: yes

The glare after the redesign (below) was greatly reduced by 70%, compared to before the redesign (left), & Light levels were distributed evenly (above)

nomadic invasion

[nomadic invasion]


architectural theory fall 11 Prof randy teal 10 Weeks

“Contemporary architecture still suffers from a delay in respect to the previous century’s culture, which derives from the fact this culture attributes its fundamental urban and civil role to a set of figurative codes.” -Andrea Branzi, Weak and Diffuse Modernity

Architecture is currently used as a control device by the State system. This is a utilized rationality and a formal structure to anticipate the actions of its citizens. The State’s implementation of architecture prevents our inherent capabilities of being nomadic, forcing us to become migrants within a totalized society. However, within the system lie the possibilities for surges in culture to allow architecture and society to collectively activate a place that is both in the past and in the future. This invasion is the perpetual creation of new spaces that do not require a pre-programmatic description. With this, we can return to being nomadic.

WE WERE ONCE NOMADS ...and have never ceased to be nomads. However, our current position within the urban environment describes that our role within the larger system is challenging to our inherent nomadic traditions of being adaptable and not being confined to place. The current condition of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia is a clarified version of the conflict that we face as a constrained civilization of nomad mentalities. Nomads from the Mongolian steppe migrate to the capital city in hopes of work and a consistent life because of an unreliable pastoral occupation. The state of Mongolia’s nomads is a refined example of the transformation from nomad to migrant, and the unincorporation of such within the city’s system. Western development parallels this hierarchy with higher complexity; its architecture has been implemented, from the beginning, as a tool to domesticate nomadic traditions. Hints of our nomadic sensibilities proliferate the system: we are transient and temporal. Urban planning exploited our willingness to travel from one place to the next with the separation of formal needs within a city. This is the State’s entrance: utilizing societies nomadic tendency for its own benefit of control and production. Our position within the State’s system is inherently problematic for a nomadic interaction within our environment. The State has sets of control mechanisms to keep its collective societies within the system. Currently, architecture is used as one of these control devices. This architecture is not suited for our potential as nomads because it prevents us from operating outside of a system. Architecture contains us within the State. If we are to return to a nomadic state we need to be able to visualize the current restriction and recognize the potential for architecture to transform its identity as a control device. This essay is a search to locate these potentials within the margins that are overlooked by the State apparatus- an architecture that is not transient but is unfinished with the ability to operate in the past and present simultaneously.

SYSTEMATIC CONTROL [nomadic invasion]


We make up the catalytic reactions of the State in an appropriated role of ‘migrant’. For Deleuze and Guattari the nomadic condition is different from the migrant through a relationship described by functions of the State and war machine. The State has means for control over collective bodies- the collectives of a State, restricted by its interiority, continually fluctuate within a hierarchy; a State can only control what it can “appropriate locally.” The primary function of a State is to appropriate and control what enters its territory. This includes economics, culture, industry, etc. The State is an apparatus for consumption and control. With this, the State operates with interiority; the war machine operates with exteriority.

“The problem is that the exteriority of the war machine in relation to the State apparatus is everywhere apparent but remains difficult to conceptualize. It is not enough to affirm that the war machine is external to the apparatus. It is necessary to reach the point of conceiving the war machine as itself a pure form of exteriority, whereas the State apparatus constitutes the form of interiority we habitually take as a model, or according to which we are in the habit of thinking.” The State apparatus has appropriated us. The danger is that we cannot realize this problem because the State has the ability to constantly provide reassurance that we should not be concerned. Our role within the State’s hierarchy is where we should be. As Deleuze and Guattari describe, we have the potential to resist appropriation of the State because the exteriority of the war machine is continually adjusting beyond itself. The war machine is the machine of the nomad. We cannot return to the position of a nomad, from our current state of a migrant, because of the systemized controls of the State. Architecture is one of these devices of control.

NOMADIC ARCHITECTURE “What is needed now is the very antithesis of utopian purity: masterpieces of imperfection -Lebbeus Woods

Nomadic architecture cannot be visualized, it can only happen. Its creation can only begin as its inhabitants activate it. This architecture is not a repeat of the pastoral tradition of Mongolian gers; rather it is a fully adaptable condition within an urban system. Ulaanbaatar can be used as a simplified model to see the effects of the State on the war machine- the nomads from the steppe are drawn to Ulaanbaatar’s peripheries where their gers will unknowingly become stationary. They lie dormant, waiting for a call to interject into the urban center. “Architecture= the imposition on the world of structure it never asked for and that existed previously only as clouds of conjectures in the minds of their creators.” We are now in a position to realize, and utilize, architecture beyond its role as an imposition. A nomadic invasion is able to occur because of the space that remains between the parallels of the State system. We are, and can continue to be, nomads if we invade this space. Architecture can assume the role of a war machine and overcome its position as a control device and allow for a symbiotic relationship for the return of a nomadic society. A nomadic architecture can’t reflect societal relationships. It should result in new challenges that create awakening to the existing situation. It is an architecture with no end.

27 [nomadic invasion]

What does architecture look like if it is freed from its role as a control device of the State? To be ‘free’, this architecture would need to break from strict formal restrictions that sponsor striated space and create a loose and responsive environment that supports our nomadic potential. Constant Nieuwenhuys, from The Situationist International, illustrated this potentiality of architecture with the creation of New Babylon. New Babylon begins as a semi-planned architecture without an ending. Like Branzi’s weak urbanism, an unfinished planning is beneficial to New Babylon because it allows endless possibilities for architectural form. The inhabitants, liberated from work by technology, are free to manipulate their environment; they are free to ‘play’ and interact with the architecture. New Babylon is never complete because the nomads, or homo ludens (Nieuwenhuys’ title of New Babylonians) are continually changing their environment. New Babylon is the aftermath if Bigness grew completely outright against the State. This is the architecture of smooth space.

art & design university of idaho dESIGN ii, ARC H DESIGN II, III, dRAWING II fALL 07-SPRING 09

“The creative process is a cocktail of instinct, skill, culture and a highly creative feverishness. It is not like a drug; it is a particular state when everything happens very quickly, a mixture of consciousness and unconsciousness, of fear and pleasure; it’s a little like making love, the physical act of love.” [art & design]

-Francis Bacon ink on paper 5x8in


ink on paper 8 in by 10 in

graphite on newsprint, 24 in by 36 in

mixed media collage [art & design]

30 chipboard, museum board, bass wood, 10 in by 6 in

31 [art & design] ink on paper 8 in by 5 in

serpentine pavilion london, uk Green Architecture Studio Arup foresight One Day charrette

[serpentine pavilion]


The basic principle of sustainability is the concept of adaption vs. mitigation. This proposed pavilion design physically demonstrates these two opposing concepts to the greater population of London. On one side, the large central door can be easily moved as more people in habit the space (mitigate). On the other side the people are forced to adapt to the fluctuating spatial conditions-they have no control of their environment and must adapt to what is given to them. The simple kinetic statement makes this temporary piece of architecture reflect society’s response, and their role with in, sustainability. GROUP MEMBERS: MOLLY CULBERTSON, LUKE IVERS, ROB BEUSAN, CARALINA JULIAN

[serpentine pavilion]


pedestrian cycles

daylight cycle 1. adapt// 2. kitchen// 3. mitigate

35 [serpentine pavilion]

water circulation

site footprint reuse

[serpentine pavilion]


37 [serpentine pavilion]

moscow aquatic center moscow, id

Design IV Spring 10 Prof Phillip Mead 6 Weeks

[aquatic center]

The aquatic center hosts both private and public activity, for public and competition use. Sitting at a cusp between the University of Idaho campus and the city of Moscow; the site is a high traffic area. The structure expresses the feeling of floation and the experience of being in water. Large glulam beams are in tension with steel cable and glass, hovering above the pools. The form of the building organizes the competion, patron, and spectator areas into clear cirulation and recognition.


ground floor

basement floor

[aquatic center]


41 [aquatic center]

[aquatic center]


june 21st exposure

ventilation cycles

43 [aquatic center]

december 21st exposure



Design vI spring 11 Prof wendy mcclure 7 Weeks

Second place recipient in the Idaho Innovation Showcase. Pronounced like “quake”, the k.w.a.y.c. was designed with a with direct relationship the community of Kamiah, Idaho. The wellness center design is the celebration of the local timber industry and the community spirit and health. Due to limited community funds, the center was designed in three phases: 1) wellness center core, 2) pool and therapy, 3) interior and landscape additions. It serves as a landmark in the community to gather and [k.w.a.y.c.]



Phase 1

1 Gym 2 Media Room 3 Conference Room 4 Teaching Kitchen 5 Offices/ Staff Area 6 Locker Rooms 7 Cafe/Concessions 8 Main Reception 9 Playground

Phase 2

10 Pool 11 Pool Lockers/Extra Storage 12 Life Guard Area 13 Therapy Pool 14 Hot Tub 15 Reception/Laundry 16 1/2 Skate Park

Phase 3

fp 1

17 Exam/Aid Room 18 Yoga Room 19 Massage Room 20 Rest of Skate Park 21 Bike Racks & Furniture 22 Amphitheater 23 Additional Landscaping



phase 2: aquatics extension

phase 3: interior definition

47 [k.w.a.y.c.]

phase 1: wellness core

north section ventilation and sun at dec. 21st



49 [k.w.a.y.c.]

coeur d'alene after the reign coeur d’alene, id

Design V fall 10 Prof Randy teal 1 2 Weeks

Third place recipient in the ILBI Living City 2035 Challenge. The project proposes various changes that will happen when gas prices reach $7 per gallon. The north Idaho town of Coeur D’Alene has been established as a tourist community that is threatened by its isolation. The town has several planned developments. Our design solution is a sustainable system that relies on community rather than technological stategies. This is community involvement in readaption and personal responsibility towards a sustainable future.

[cda after the reign]



2010 0


Peak Oil *You are Here


Certain suburbs densify while others begin to decline and are abandoned. Business’s, industry, multi-family housing begin to flourish in the more dense suburbs. Abandoned houses and materials are salvaged and reused in construction of new building being erected in sub/ag areas.

Cost of living increases from high oil prices, in response people begin to produce goods on their own in the first signs of SubAg development and communual change. Neighbors begin to work with each other in effort to increase food production and share resources.

renewable energy energy consumption

[cda after the reign]



2035 peak oil


20 030

Automobiles become reused for alternative purposes other than transportation. Horses, donkeys, mules, and reindeer emerge as alternative forms of transportation.

Local economy begins to stabilize as local business and agriculture mature. Living machines and green houses are implemented by the community in effort to further support sug/ag production.


2035 0 035

The abandoned suburbs become reclaimed by nature, creating natural corridors between Sub/Ag communities. Communities become self dependent, providing resources that satisfy personal needs and help in cultivating a prosperous and self sustaining community.

53 [cda after the reign]



[cda after the reign]




year around usage of space limit dependency on food imports sell surplus at farmers market reuse gray and black water reuse food waste through composting


increase dwelling units and business’s which can help supplement income for home owners additional dwellings can be used to help the elderly in exchange for living When teens leave home, larger families can rent the extra dwellings out to students, couples, or families.

ag + infill

mixed use buildings can be inserted in between existing units owners can deligate between the type of program and use. owners charge business owners to help supplement income increases local business and production

55 [cda after the reign]


[cda after the reign]


57 [cda after the reign]

thank you.

Profile for Molly Culbertson

Graduate Portfolio  

Architecture Graduate Portfolio // University of Idaho // 2012

Graduate Portfolio  

Architecture Graduate Portfolio // University of Idaho // 2012