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morgan merkel

portfolio 2017



morgan merkel c.314.704.9403

Work Experience

Lab Assistant

Monarch Watch | June 2017- present

Desk Attendant

University of Kansas | May 2016- May 2017

Child Care Servies

Club Fitness | May 2012- August 2015


Master of Architecture

University of Kansas | August 2014- present

Public Relations Coordinator

Dirt Works Studio | August 2016- May 2017

Architecture in Asia

University of Kansas | January 2017


American Architecture Prize Interior Design Student Category

Chalmers Hall | October 2017

International Green Interiors Student Category

Chalmers Hall | July 2017

AIA Kansas Student Design Award

Chalmers Hall | October 2017



t a b l e


c o n t e n t s

c i r c u m n a v i g a t i o n ­_____________________ 6_15 c e n t e r f o r d w e l l i n g ­__________________ 16_25 c h a l m e r s r e n o v a t i o n ­_________________ 26_35 m e t a m o r p h o s i s ­________________________ 36_47 p h o t o g r a p h y ­___________________________ 48_53



c i r c u m n a v i g a t i o n

c a r a c a s_v e n e z u e l a second year _ fall 2015 The premise of this project consisted of allowing cultural identity to influence the design of a visitor’s center for the Central University of Venezuela. The characteristics of Venezuelen architecture were celebrated when implemented into the campus’ collection of Carlos Raul Villanuenva’s architectural designs. Venezuelan architecture is often defined by two controlled natural forces; light filtration and air circulation. In an attempt to integrate these ideals, I designed a perforated, concrete wall in which the light and wind are being controlled simultaneously.


s e c t i o n


p e r s p e c t i v e

c i r c u m n a v i g a t i o n


urban analysis

circulation Circulatory patterns in Caracas divert from what is characteristic of the United States; the Jeffersonian Grid. In this mountainous region, roads diverge and meander in an inspiring manner. An observation that became clear through urban analysis was the amount of pedestrian pathways that break down the greater scale of the surrounding buildings.


c i r c u m n a v i g a t i o n

academia The focus of this project was located within the heart of Central University of Venezuela; in its vicinity, a variety of academic buildings and student residences exist. An important aspect of the relationship between circulation and built environment is that either the circulation influences the shape of the building, or the building influences the development of circulation patterning.


e x l o d e d


a x o n

c i r c u m n a v i g a t i o n

the layer The interior layer uses the curve as a functional resource in circulating the public through the correlating space, and avoids directing them toward privatized space, located on the second level.

the wall

The exterior curve is directed by a perforated, concrete wall that provides air circulation and light filtration. This curve attempts to harmonize a relationship between built environment and natural forces that aren’t to be deflected from the building’s design, but embraced.

the plan

The first level introduces visitors to a curved scenario in which there are two layers of navigable circulation; the exterior and interior curves provide variation of experience within the structure.


exterior render


c i r c u m n a v i g a t i o n



c e n t e r f o r d w e l l i n g

lawrence_kansas third year _ fall 2016 Shelter is a necessity of human existence, and sometimes we forget to appreciate that feeling of belonging and safety within a home or environment. With this project, the Center for Dwelling, I was reminded of this comfort when we were to design a space that would provide these feelings of belonging and safety for Lawrence’s displaced citizens. Providing a variety of amenities within its program, the Center for Dwelling would provide the opportunity for a citizen’s reintegration into society.


exterior render


c e n t e r f o r d w e l l i n g


concept diagram


c e n t e r f o r d w e l l i n g

the self Based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, each level of the Center for Dwelling caters to one of these innate components. The third level, which prioritizes self fulfillment, provides secluded space for the introspective, meditative mind.

the basics

Though basic needs are supplemented within this space through dining halls and areas that provide warmth, rest and safety, the Center for Dwelling provides these necessities beyond programmable area; the implementation of warm, natural materials, such as the CLT structure and interior helps to remind individuals of the feeling of home and place.

the psychology Human contact and social integration is provided on the first level through a lounge/ reception area in order to introduce a safe environment and welcoming people.


floor plans

7 1 6








level 1

level 2

1_ reception 2_ bike shop 3_ montessori classroom 4_ nursery 5_ administrative offices 6_ breakroom 7_ loading dock

8_ dining hall 9_ kitchen 10_ library 11_ resale shop

c e n t e r f o r d w e l l i n g

12 9

13 14

15 10

level 3 12_ event space 13_ clinic 14_ examination rooms 15_ meditation space


elevations _ wall section

engineered soil filter fabric reservoir layer

moisture retention layer thermal insulation 5-layer CLT


c e n t e r f o r d w e l l i n g


Photo by Mike Sinclair


chalmers renovation

lawrence_kansas third year _ spring 2017 What began as an abandoned coffee shop and a dark, isolated study space for students and faculty in the heart of the University of Kansas’ Architecture and Design school became a dynamic and integrated series of related program. For our design build requirement, sixteen students transformed our beloved coffee and supply shop, art gallery, and multipurpose classroom in order to mend and reintegrate the architectural bond between the two buildings and the relationship between architecture and design students.


isometric diagram


chalmers renovation


floor plan


chalmers renovation

the process Through a series of charettes, we brainstormed collectively on a design solution that would communicate our vision, meet the requirements of our stakeholders, abide by safety regulations and solve existing issues. After half of a semester of designing and hosting a number of stakeholder presentations, we began the design development phase and produced construction documents. The next semester, in its entirety, was devoted to the construction of our design solution.

the role

As a public relations coordinator, I held the responsibility of communicating details and updates of the renovation project through a variety of social media platforms. I was also responsible for regularly coordinating and producing project documentation photography, diagrams, and technical drawings (examples of work I produced on pages 28-30, 32-33).

the product With two intersecting axes, we wanted to accentuate their circulating function by applying more transparency and activity through the north/south axis. Telescoping glass doors were applied to the art gallery’s wall, adjacent to the centralized cafe space and rotating CLT panels were integrated into the multipurpose room’s southern wall.


process photography


chalmers renovation




chalmers renovation

Photo by Mike Sinclair





lawrence_kansas fourth year _ fall 2017 With a suburban sprawl swallowing northwestern Lawrence, we were initially tasked with reimagining development-style housing and circulation patterning while analyzing its correlation to residences and commercial structure. The typical suburban layout consists of repetition housing and cul-de-sac streets; with this trend, architecture and urban design have lost its relation to human scale and connectivity to proximal amenities.


exterior render




section perspective



the lineage

In studying the chronology of street circulation as it transitioned from the jeffersonian grid to isolating, meandering cul-de-sacs, I noticed a transformative trend that I wanted to explore further. I became influenced by M.C. Escher’s Metamorphosis III and its interpretation of transformation as a linear process; with this I reintroduced the linear, connective qualities of the jeffersonian grid to my master plan and implemented another dimension to develop a commercial structure.

the geometry

M.C. Escher’s painting is introduced with geometry, so I began the design process with a grid that influenced the production of shapes. In order to reintroduce linear qualities, I extended the shapes into what became the defining shape of my structure, and influenced the design of my floor plans and roof structure

the transformation

Master planning and integration is an extended, linear process. Though I reactivated the grid formation, it is my intention that the added dimension would be introduced as a future phase of circulation patterning. To reintroduce human scale to this environment, I imagine this dimension would be activated by pedestrian traffic rather than vehicular.


grid chronology




Added Dimension

linear transformation



master plan


floor plans

Level 1

1_ Natural Grocery Store 2_ Restroom 3_ Cafe 4_ Outdoor Seating 5_ Natural Material Store 6_ Restroom 7_ Meditation/Yoga Studio

1/16” = 1’0”


3 2







Level 2

1_ Natural Food Research/Storage 2_ Restroom 3_ Mechanical 4_ Break Room 5_ Greenhouse 6_ Natural Material Research/Storage 7_ Restroom 8_ Mechanical 9_ Breakroom

1/16” = 1’0”


5 3 2


7 8





East Elevation 1

East Elevation 2



West Elevation 1

West Elevation 2











Morgan Merkel Portfolio 2017  
Morgan Merkel Portfolio 2017