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UNDERGRADUATE PORTFOLIO NAMDI ALEXANDER


NAMDI ALEXANDER UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE: BACHELOR OF SCIENCE SCHOOL ATTENDED: UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA ADDRESS: 3628 PORTLAND AVENUE SOUTH MINNEAPOLIS, MN. 55407 EMAIL: ALEXA267@UMN.EDU PHONE: (612) 910-9999


“There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds.� -G. K. Chesterton


TABLE OF CONTENTS

1 EXHIBITION PLAYHOUSE STUDIO II / SPRING 2010

2 KNOT ARCHITECTURE

DESIGN FUNDAMENTALS II / SPRING 2009

3 CHRIST CHURCH LUTHERAN 3DSMAX / SUMMER 2009

4 GOOSEBERRY VISITOR CENTER

MATERIALS AND METHODS / FALL 2009

5 CARD CANTILEVER

DESIGN FUNDAMENTALS II / SPRING 2009

6 BREAKING BRIDGES

STRUCTURES / FALL 2010

7 WACTAC UNDERGROUND STUDIO III / FALL 2010

8 FREEHAND DRAWINGS

ARCHITECTURE IN ISTANBUL / SUMMER 2010 INTRO TO DRAWING / FALL 2008


EXHIBITION PLAYHOUSE RESEARCH + ANALYSIS + STUDY MODELS PROJECT OVERVIEW: Analyze the assigned site, exploring how it relates to its surrounding context in the Minneapolis theater district. Design a 14,000 sq.ft. black-box theater that meets the specific programmatic needs of the client, while incorporating the results of the site analysis and exploration. RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS: The prevalence of strip clubs surrounding the site becomes apparent while documenting the various lights and marquees throughout the theater district. The relationship between these two seemingly opposed venues, the traditional theater and the adult theater, becomes the focus of investigation. Character, costume, staging, and lighting are used by both to reinforce and sell their respective illusions. At either venue, exhibitionism and voyeurism defines the core of the relationship between the performer and their audience.

Early facade study models

Theaters Strip Clubs Site

Research and analytical diagrams

Sketch-up renderings of front and rear approach


Programmatic study models

“Glitz and glamour� illusion diagram


EXHIBITION PLAYHOUSE PLANS + SECTION + RENDERINGS DESIGN: The design of the black-box theater plays back and forth with this notion of the voyeur and the exhibitionist. The glass curtain wall of the lobby puts the theater patron on stage; a performer for the audience of Hennipen Avenue. The mirrored glass of the cantilevered cafe allows the patron to anonymously peer out and take in the theater of the street. SKILLS: Site analysis, spatial and programmatic relationships, rip and tear modeling, program modeling, computer modeling, scale model fabrication, generating laser cutter files, AutoCAD, Sketch-up, PhotoShop, Kerkythea.

Kerkythea renderings showcasing theater lobby

Ground floor and second floor plans

Longitudinal section


Third floor and fourth floor plans


EXHIBITION PLAYHOUSE FINAL MODEL

Interior photographs

Facade close up

Disassembled model


Birds-eye axon


KNOT ARCHITECTURE DRAWINGS + WIRE MODEL

PROJECT OVERVIEW: Examine a specific knot through numerous mediums and iterations. The thief knot presents unique design opportunities due to its paradoxical nature. Although similar in appearance to the square knot, the thief knot is an entirely worthless knot as it has no strength; it is actually not a knot at all. DESIGN: The knot is initially explored through sketching and diagramming. The drawings are then reinterpreted through wire. After numerous iterations, the wire model serves as the basis for creating a volumetric model out of museum board. The volumetric model must be constructed from no more than two continuous pieces. Finally, an egg-crate model is constructed based on the design of the volumetric model. Throughout each stage, numerous technical drawings are used to help inform the construction and reveal the spacial qualities of the models. SKILLS: Sketching and diagramming, wire frame model making, constructed perspective drawing, axonometric drawing, utility knife precision and control, folded construction modeling, egg-crate modeling.

Early sketches and conceptual diagrams

Constructed perspective of wire model


Wire model

Axon of volumetric model

Interior perspective


KNOT ARCHITECTURE VOLUMETRIC + EGG-CRATE MODELS

Final volumetric model

Assembling the folded volumetric model


Pre-assembled pieces for egg-crate model

Final egg-crate model


CHRIST CHURCH LUTHERAN COMPUTER RENDERINGS PROJECT OVERVIEW: Create a 3D model of a notable building using Autodesk’s 3dsMAX animation and rendering software. Eliel Saarinen’s Christ Church Lutheran (1949) presents a unique challenge due to the unorthodox angles and wall surfaces within the nave. SKILLS: AutoCAD 3D Modeling, 3dsMAX: modeling, material editing, lighting, key-frame animation and rendering. Adobe PhotoShop and PremierPro image and video editing.

Exterior elevation

Nave interior


Interior details


GOOSEBERRY VISITOR CENTER IMAGES + DETAIL DRAWINGS GROUP MEMBERS: NAMDI ALEXANDER, SARAH BAGLEY PROJECT OVERVIEW: Build a sectional model at 1/2” scale that reveals the construction method and building systems of a notable architectural structure post 1950. RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS: The Gooseberry Falls Visitor center, built in 1994 by David Salmela, incorporates both heavy timber and wood light-frame construction methods. Reclaimed Douglas fir, local stones, and other local building materials are used throughout the design. Consistent with Salmela’s emphasis on sustainable construction methods, scrap lumber is salvaged, sanded, and re-stained for use in the model. SKILLS: General woodshop knowledge, plan reading, heavy timber and wood light-frame construction methods, scale model fabrication, detail drawing.

Window detail and ceiling connection

Construction process


Photographs from Gooseberry Falls Visitor Center

Window detail and floor connection


GOOSEBERRY VISITOR CENTER FINAL MODEL

Plan and elevation (provided by D. Salmela)

Exterior view of main entrance

Interior view showcasing steel I-beam


Construction details


CARD CANTILEVER DRAWINGS + MODELS PROJECT OVERVIEW: Design and construct a cantilever from a standard 52 card deck of playing cards; no glue, tape, staples or additional cards are allowed. The cantilever must extend 18� and be able to support the weight of a tennis ball. SKILLS: Cantilever design and fabrication, exploded axonometric drawing, line weight conventions and assignments.

Exploded axon of cantilever construction


Plan and elevation

Detail of exploded axon


BREAKING BRIDGES FIVE FOOT SPAN: PROCESS + FINAL MODEL GROUP MEMBERS: NAMDI ALEXANDER, SARAH BAGLEY, JENNIFER COLTON, MICHAEL HEALY PROJECT OBJECTIVE: Design a five foot bridge span using only balsa wood and glue. Total weight of the bridge cannot exceed 1 lb. Once complete, bridges are loaded until failure and the bridge that supports the most weight (based on length, divided by depth, times load) wins. RESULTS: Our design weighed .81 lbs. and failed at 145 lbs. which resulted in a first place finish.

Elevation

Construction process


Perspective


BREAKING BRIDGES THREE FOOT SPAN: PROCESS AND FINAL MODEL PROJECT OBJECTIVE: Design a three foot bridge span using only balsa wood and glue that is able to support a 1.35 lb. weight for a minimum of 10 seconds; the lightest bridge to do so wins. Bridges will also be judged on their aesthetic qualities. RESULTS: While our bridge was able to support the weight for the required duration, it was not the lightest. However, it was voted the most aesthetically pleasing of the eleven entries. SKILLS: Truss analysis and design software, material property analysis, point load calculations, AutoCAD, general woodshop knowledge.

Elevation

Construction process


Perspective


WACTAC UNDERGROUND NARRATIVE CONCEPT + EARLY DESIGN EXPLORATION PROJECT OVERVIEW: Design a Light Rail Transit station along the projected Southwest corridor that adheres to the design and safety requirements of a Minneapolis LRT platform, while also providing space for the Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council (WACTAC) to meet, work, and display their art. RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS: The project begins by using a design technique known as scenario diagramming to explore the multiple ways people could interact on the site. Three character narratives are developed: an elderly couple on their way to the Walker, a teenage girl texting her boyfriend, and a bike commuter on his way to a meeting downtown. The elderly couple and the teenage girl both have near collisions with bikers while crossing the Cedar Lake Bike Trail. This problem of intersecting paths becomes a central design consideration for the project.

Early sketches and study models

Oh for heaven’s sake! Watch where you’re going!! LRT/WACTAC

Scenario mapping

A pair of cyclists whizz by George and Sylvia as they attempt to navigate their way across the cedar lake bike trail. Sylvia asks George where he’s taking her. Are they going on a bike ride? What a lovely idea! She hasn’t ridden in years! George reminds her they’re on their way to the Narrative Diagram 1: George and Sylvia museum.

Kenwood


Downtown Minneapolis

! Some is G M O : ) nh 1:40am an me ovr o 1 ( : E M tr s abou idiot ju ! u ok? w o ! w e : ) k e bi am (11:41 2nd tim KEVIN: 1am): yeah, hld s 1:4 ME: (1 nd! WACTAC th’n! p p um thts ha crossing or s a design

Walker Arts Center

Narrative Diagram 2: Kevin and Star


WACTAC UNDERGROUND SITE PLAN + FINAL MODELS

DESIGN: The design addresses the potential issue of intersecting paths by sending pedestrians below the rail lines and bike paths as they travel to and from the LRT platform. As one approaches the LRT stop by train, the WACTAC center is largely hidden from view. This play between revealed and concealed becomes a significant design element in both the LRT stop and the WACTAC center as glazing and solid panels alternate allowing hints within but never the full view. Similarly, the mural artwork on the site is restricted to the interior planes, suggesting there is more to this space if one takes the time to look beyond the surface. SKILLS: Narrative diagramming and mapping, site analysis, topography modeling, model fabrication across numerous scales, laser cutting, AutoCAD, Sketch-up, Illustrator, Photoshop.

Site plan

1/4� model of LRT station

1/16� site model


Details from 1/16� site model

Conceptual diagram


WACTAC UNDERGROUND PERSPECTIVES + SECTIONS + PLANS

Interior view of LRT station

Transverse section facing east

WACTAC facade and tunnel


2nd Floor plan

1st Floor plan

LRT station, bike, and walking paths

Longitudinal section facing north


FREEHAND DRAWINGS RENDERINGS + SKETCHES COURSE OBJECTIVE: Explore the city of Istanbul through a variety of drawing techniques. The use of a travel sketchbook is heavily emphasized, with numerous sketches required daily. SKILLS: Hand rendering: quick sketches, gesture and value drawings, measured plans, elevations and perspectives.


FREEHAND DRAWINGS FIGURE DRAWINGS + FINAL PROJECT COURSE OVERVIEW: Explore the principals and methods of drawing through a range of mediums and subject matters, from figure drawing to imaginative work. SKILLS: Charcoal, graphite, colored pencils and pastels. Contour, gesture, and conceptual drawing.


Undergraduate Portfolio  

University of Minnesota Undergraduate Career: Selected Projects

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