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Nancy Tariga Architectural Design Studio I Spring 2009 Final Project


a hillside retreat

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architectural design studio I

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spring 2009

a hillside live|work unit and personification of self Objective : Design a modest structure that houses 3 areas: entry, live|work space and a small gallery. This design must uniquely respond to both the site (a 30Ëš hillside slope) and program (a personification of self with whatever qualities you choose to reveal).


a hillside retreat

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architectural design studio I

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spring 2009

Gesture Model 1 and 2 Using the same curvilinear tectonic language from my “Walk in the Park� project, I created this complex, multi-layered gesture model that appeared simple from the outside but the inside was a chaotic and mostly unordered. I designed the interior to be two sided to represent the left brain and right brain sides of me. For the second gesture model, I abandoned the egg-shaped structure. I wanted each side of the model to appear different, depending on where it was encountered, similar to how I feel when I meet new people. However, in critique, it was noted that by placing the gesture model on a ground plane, it greatly inhibited the possibilities to play with the model.

Lesson: Gesture models should be free from ground planes to open them up to a variety of interpretations and usages.


a hillside retreat

Iteration 1 When deciding on the Big Idea for my project, I wanted to incorporate the specific site of the hillside on CCSF campus. So naturally, the idea of wind came to mind. I always seem to be fighting the strong gusts that are ever-present on campus so I decided this would be the perfect concept for my design. Curvilinear shapes also perfectly matched the idea of wind and would be an easy transition from my gesture models to my actual working model.

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architectural design studio I

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spring 2009


a hillside retreat

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architectural design studio I

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spring 2009

Iteration 1 I had two main ideas behind this iteration. The first was to have the public gallery completely separated from the live|work space to illustrate the idea of keeping my two worlds apart from each other. The other was to bury the live|work space into the ground to enforce the idea of privacy. To incorporate the wind concept, I envisioned a gust of wind ripping into the hillside, carving out a niche in the landscape. While this was a good start with those ideas, Jerry pointed out that I was not taking the site into consideration and instead had bombed out the space. He made a good point. It was very appropriate that my design was inspired by the wind because the wind complete tore apart my model that day. Lessons: The site must be considered fully, not just superficially; Always protect your model.


a hillside retreat

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architectural design studio I

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spring 2009


a hillside retreat

Iteration 2 With the added constraint of the total enclosed area staying within 1000 square feet, I sketched a couple more ideas keeping the strong sweeping curvilinear form intact. I also decided to further separate the public space from the private space by using the curving line to isolate each space from the other. I also liked the idea of keeping the public gallery closer to the bottom of the hill and making the private space farther up the hill and thus less accessible to others. Another idea that I wanted to incorporate was the public gallery being difficult to reach or something that required work on the behalf of the visitor.

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architectural design studio I

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spring 2009


a hillside retreat

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architectural design studio I

|

spring 2009

Iteration 2 I decided to keep the main curvilinear line from the previous iteration for this new model. Wanting to keep a lower profile, I chose to go into the earth rather than build outside of it. I also decided to be selfish and keep the 1000 square feet for my live|work space and to build the public gallery exposed to the wind. This maintained that element of visitor involvement and sacrifice in going to the gallery. I also established a sense of flow in the path of both the gallery and the live|work space by essentially giving them the same basic form connected by the large, overhanging curved shape that cuts through the site. I had trouble with that structure because I did not think about how it would be supported.

Lesson: Thinking about structure is important even early on in the design process.


a hillside retreat

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architectural design studio I

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spring 2009


a hillside retreat

Iteration 3 At this point, I was fairly satisfied with the current layout of the site so I worked on adding more details and layers of interest to the model. During critique, Jerry told us our designs were not inspired and had no poetry to them. So I decided to write a haiku about my design. This was actually quite helpful in forcing me to focus on the main points I wanted to come across in my design because of the brevity of the poem.

wind gusts chill my bones but inside the sun warms me protects my own space

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architectural design studio I

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spring 2009


a hillside retreat

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architectural design studio I

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spring 2009

Iteration 3 While I created more structures for this model, I felt that I was doing more decorating than designing. Because my concept of wind was not well-research, I found myself uninspired. It was also difficult to answer questions about my design in critique because I did not have a strong position with my concept.

Lessons: Having a concept is not enough; Doing research and finding inspiration go hand in hand; Exploring a different creative side, like writing a narrative or a poem, can hone your design.


a hillside retreat

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architectural design studio I

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spring 2009


a hillside retreat

Iteration 4 Still stuck in a rut. I tried to imbue the model with more experiential qualities by adding more spaces within spaces and enclosing the live|work loft with the beginnings of windows and roof structures. However, after going to class, I was inspired by my fellow classmates’ work and the level of detail they achieved. By examing the successful models in class, we came to realize that smaller spaces are far more intriguing and that an engaging path allows for more opportunities to have framed moments and places with varied experiential qualities.

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architectural design studio I

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spring 2009


a hillside retreat

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architectural design studio I

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spring 2009

Iteration 4 I was taking baby steps with the project, making minor changes that did not have any major effects. I used the idea of parallel surfaces from the first half of the semester to create more interesting spaces. However, I learned that once you lose momentum, it is very easy for the design to become paralyzed.

Lessons: Lost momentum is difficult to regain so keep up a sustained, inspired process; Examine the work of those you admire and incorporate those ideas into your own design.


a hillside retreat

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architectural design studio I

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spring 2009


a hillside retreat

Iteration 5 I decided the only way to move forward was to take the model apart so that I could see what worked and what did not. I realized that there was a lack of complexity in my model and that making the public and private spaces too similar in form, it gave them little opportunity for meaningful and distinct places within places. Furthermore, the model needed more contrast and I decided that I could distinguish the public gallery from the private space by exaggerating the differences between the two separate places.

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architectural design studio I

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spring 2009


a hillside retreat

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architectural design studio I

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spring 2009

Iteration 5 After doing some additional research to establish a deeper meaning for my concept of wind, I found some images of beautiful sand dunes similar to my original design. It made me think about how wind can either be a very gentle, welcoming breeze or a more turbulent, destructive force and I wanted my design to reflect this dichotomy. As I was building the public gallery with this idea in mind, I was surprised that the chaotic mess I had created was actually quite intriguing. I was finally inspired by my own work and it made the process much easier from then on.

Lessons: Do research early on in the game to avoid stagnating during the design process; Sometimes destruction is the only way to become inspired.


a hillside retreat

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architectural design studio I

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spring 2009


a hillside retreat

Iteration 6 I was finally at the point at which I could start to develop the landscaping of the lot to join the two entities together while also making the path more interesting. Inspired by my classmates’ utilization of the surrounding site area, I reazlied that the effective use of landscaping was just as significant as the buildings themselves. However, I wanted to keep the area between the two spaces as untouched as possible to enforce the idea of separateness so I decided to employ light terracing that would be minimally invasive that also incorporated the curvilinear tectonic language.

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architectural design studio I

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spring 2009


a hillside retreat

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architectural design studio I

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spring 2009

Iteration 6 As we were doing practice presentations before our real critiques, Jerry really forced us to focus on the Big Idea and identifying our major concepts, approaches, design intentions and positions. It made me realize that no matter how awesome or well-crafted your model looks, if you cannot verbalize your ideas, then the design loses a lot of credibility. Thinking about the presentation also helps you focus on your weak points and what can further be developed before the final design.

Lessons: Practice your narrative/presentation early to find opportunities for improvement; The presentation is just as important as the design.


a hillside retreat

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architectural design studio I

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spring 2009


a hillside retreat

Final Iteration I chose to rebuild the entire model for the final interation to achieve a higher level of craft and to fine tune other details that were missing from my working model. Unfortunately, I also decided to represent the hillside in a bright green which became a little distracting to the jury. Nonetheless, I was happy with the end result and learned a great deal about how to effectively model with chipboard.

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architectural design studio I

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spring 2009


a hillside retreat

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architectural design studio I

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spring 2009

Final Iteration My major design intention for this project was to express duality in the public and private spaces while connecting them with a singular curvilinear tectonic language that suggested the idea of movement and flow. I was inspired by the existing site conditions of CCSF and through gesture drawings of my idea of wind. I also used my previous “A Walk in the Park� project as a precedent for this design.


a hillside retreat

I demonstrated the idea of duality in a number of ways. First, I separated the public gallery area from the live|work area by physical distance with a large expanse of mostly untouched land in between to act as a mental barrier. I chose to construct the live|work area with delicate wood/metal framing enlosed with glass while the gallery is made with larger, monolithic concrete structures. Temperature was also considered with the public gallery exposed to the cold, harsh wind while the living area is completely enclosed and warmed by the light of the sun and the protection of the earth.

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architectural design studio I

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spring 2009


a hillside retreat

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architectural design studio I

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spring 2009

The location with respect to the ground line conflicted in that the private space was almost completely buried within the earth and thus protected while the public space was all above the grade, unprotected and exposed. I also contrasted the movement in the two areas by designing the gallery with the idea of harsh, whirling winds that manifested themselves in sharp, twisty turns with wind tunnels at every corner while the live|work area was more like a gentle breeze as seen in the gentle, sweeping curves of the interior.

Finally, in terms of user experience, I imbued the public gallery with a sense of chaos, danger and discomfort with large concrete structures that were disordered and not easily understood at any angle. I also wanted the visitor to put effort into going to the gallery as a reflection of my discomfort in the public eye. This was in opposition to the live|work space where I tried to instill a sense of calm through the use of finer materials and having more visibiliy and readability throughout.


a hillside retreat

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architectural design studio I

Final Thoughts Keeping ideas and models abstract opens up possibilities and interpretations. Researching and developing a concept fully is one of the keys to good design. Inspiration does not just fall in your lap. It is something that you must actively seek out and interpret and refine. The iterative process is tough; it requires dedication and lots of time but in the end, it produces a much higher quality design than adopting new ideas and discarding them before they are fully developed.

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spring 2009


Arch 21 Final Project