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Moriah Baltz

Architecture Portfolio

University of Minnesota Selected Works 2011-13

Reimagining Space Design Fundamentals II

Subterranean Sublime Design Fundamentals II

Design Process Architectural Drawing

Bike Workshop Rome Studio

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Reimagining Space Design Fundamentals II


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Rope, wire and volumetric development

Space derived from the form of a rope knot was created through a series of iterations that explore many scales and forms of production. The original knot was first reinterpreted as a wire frame sculpture which was then drawn as a volumetric model in a computer modeling program. The volumetric model was manually assembled and reimagined as a void space within a solid. When strategically sliced open, the void within consisted of a variety of spaces that could be inhabited.

Volumetric model assembly

Throughout the process, I learned that there are many challenges when translating a design across multiple mediums. It is through the cyclical nature of this process that innovative design solutions are discovered. When fabricating a digital idea through physical materials, I learned how interconnected different scales of production are. As my design changed throughout each step, I continuously referred back to my original knot to evaluate how each step in my process contributed to a larger whole. The contrast of the large loop and woven density of the original knot was carried forward throughout the entire design process. The balance between these two key elements created spaces of movement and rest when imagined as an inhabitable space. I learned that the non-linear iterations of process work of a final product are just as important as the final deliverable because each iteration of the process carries a piece of the final embedded in it—an important role in the final manifestation.

Void reimagined as inhabitable space

Subterranean Sublime Design Fundamentals II

The original volumetric model consisted of subterranean spaces designed as a void within a solid. These spaces were designed digitally and then explored through photography. The cave-like qualities of these spaces were further developed through hybrid drawings that capture the essence and quality of the original design intent.

Model of void spaces Digital volumetric model

Large void with corresponding secondary and tertiary spaces

A required mix of chamber sizes in multiple scales with access to direct or “borrowed� daylight prompted the design to consist of a variety of lighting conditions. We incorporated skylights and light tunnels into our design to provide direct and indirect lighting effects. The design was also driven by the inspiration of cave-like aesthetics and qualities. Chambers of different scales provide a variety of inhabitable spaces that continuously relate to each other and are strung together by a continuous path. For example, one of the large voids in our design recesses into smaller, human-scaled chambers. Individuals or small groups could inhabit the side chambers with a connection to the larger chamber while still maintaining intimacy. Although many of the initial stages of my process for this design were digital, the qualitative aspects of light and spatial conditions became most apparent through the physical model. Assembly of the cardboard model also pointed out specific scaling flaws of our design that we were able to adjust in later drawings. With the physical model as a reference, we constructed digital hybrid drawings to capture the essence of the space.

Direct and indirect lighting effects

Skylights and light tunnels

Design Process

Architectural Drawing

I used architectural value and technical drawings to analyze details of two buildings on the University of Minnesota Campus. Through a series of diagrammatic and process sketches, I analyzed the exterior of Frank Gehry’s Weisman Museum and a window in the Steven Holl addition to Rapson Hall. In these projects, drawing becomes a platform for learning the design process and a skill that can be used and applied to future design thinking.

Sketch and value drawing of the Weisman Museum

For the Rapson Hall window drawing, I used analytical sketches to understand the role the window plays in the context of the addition as a whole. The iterative process of sketching allows buildings to be analyzed in greater depth and brings to light the characteristics and purpose behind even the smallest design details. In the context of its surrounding building, the Rapson window acts as a strong pulse of light and transparency that redefines the transition between the enclosed corridor and open gallery. Elements of exposed structure in contrast with the delicate materiality of glass are highlighted through the composition of the final drawing to illustrate the unconventional nature of Holl’s design for a corner as a window.

Context sketches and value drawing of the corner window in the Rapson Hall addition

Bike Workshop Rome Studio

Within the context of a broader urban revitalization plan along the Tiber River in Rome, my studio was asked to develop a design for a specific site that currently disconnects the street and river. We were asked to engage the space for reuse in light of the neighborhood’s rich context and historical buildings through the design of bike workshops, markets, public spaces, cafÊs and riverside access. My approach to engaging the site was centered on a bike workshop. In the context of the growing biking demand in Rome, the community is engaged in the site through integrated bike accessibility. The workshop itself is a series semi-public and semi-private spaces that are intended to overlap and interact to provide areas for collaboration and resource sharing. Inspired by the gears on a bike, workshops interlock with each other horizontally through the mutually accessible communal space and with themselves vertically through gaps in the low rise platforms.




Site plan and model within the existing context

Interior of the bike workshop

Communal Space Individual Workshops


Plan of bike workshop with programming Plan of site intervention


Baltz Undergraduate Portfolio