Natalie Rendleman // Architectural Portfolio

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Natalie Rendleman Architecture Portfolio 2 017 - 2 0 21


Table Of Contents

1 Urban Planning | Ecotones, Intermodal Transit......................................

2 Micro-Housing | Horizontal, Sectional, and Vertical Typologies.........

3 Housing Collective | Aggregation, Urban Gardens..............................

4 Elementary School | Historic Transect, Subverting Barriers...................

5 Office Building | Modular Design, Structural Grid................................

6 Mass Timber Housing | Designing for Longevity, Flexible Modules.....

7 Design-Build | The Albert & Tina Small Center, Sugar Roots Farm....... 2 04-11 Fall 2020 4th year Options Studio 12-17 Spring 2019 2nd year Core Studio: Housing 18-21 Spring 2019 2nd year Core Studio: Housing 22-25 Fall 2018 2nd year Core Studio: Public Design 26-31 Spring 2020 3rd year Core Studio: Integrated Building Systems 32-35 Spring 2021 4th year Options Studio 36-39 Fall 2021 5th year Options Studio 3

Urban Planning | Ecotones, Intermodal Transit Located in the coastal climate of New Orleans, Louisiana, this design first proposes a water management masterplan and then focuses on the addition of an intermodal transit hub—a much needed public amenity. Due to climate change, coastal regions experience an urgent need for increased shoreline protection and passive flood preparation. Given these conditions, this masterplan centers on flood mitigation and cultivation of biodiversity around the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal (IHNC). The masterplan schematically builds from the notion of ecotone—referring to the overlap of two ecosystems which creates interstitial surface area for generating biodiversity. By allowing the shoreline to meander melodically, the IHNC moves beyond its hard edges and curves organically to cultivate biodiverse ecosystems on the water’s edge. The existing mobility conditions in the New Orleans metropolitan area tend to prioritize the automobile, which creates economic and environmental burdens for the city. These burdens fall unequally in the area surrounding the IHNC, as it lacks connected modes of transit which leads to the residents’ isolation from the Greater New Orleans area. Positioned on the upper West edge of the IHNC and straddling the underbelly of Interstate-10, this intermodal transit hub aims to improve mobility conditions and generate new ecotones for biodiversity. Formally, the building consists of undulating bays ideal for the placement of railways and the overlap of interior and exterior ecosystems. These bays separate from one another in fluid patterns, weaving through an otherwise rigid structure based on the meter of Interstate-10. Pockets of green space allow for conditions of planned flooding on the exterior while acting as experiential light wells on the interior. The building also engages with the adjacent Interstate-10 through conjoining rainwater collection pathways. Overall, the design promotes equal access to mobility resources while also supporting the propagation of biodiversity.


“On the Platform”

Fall 2020

Transit Hub: Exploded Axon



Masterplan: Green Pathways

Masterplan: Canal Ecotones


Water Filtration


Ground Floor Plan

The existing transportation systems in the New Orleans metropolitan area do not prioritize closed loops of interconnected travel. Already existing, yet currently unused railways offer a potential solution for the expansion of mobility options. This proposal demonstrates the ideal placement of an intermodal transit hub in the heart of overlapping transit lines, featuring adjacency to the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal. Existing

Transit Hub Axon



“Inside the


e Ecotone”


Micro-Housing | Horizontal Typology The horizontal micro-housing unit centers on shared outdoor circulation punctuated with enclosed indoor pods. Opaque walls encapsulate spaces intended for total privacy, while sliding doors bookend semi-private transitional spaces to allow for open-air circulation. These conditions support a gradient of public to private experiences, as well as consistent access to gardens and fresh air. This typology becomes the foundation of the next phase—micro-unit aggregation to create a collective housing design.

Floor Plan



Spring 2019

Exploded Axon


Micro-Housing | Sectional Typology Like the horizontal typology, the sectional micro-housing unit features a layout centered on outdoor circulation. An exterior staircase wraps around the internal perimeter of a loop of indoor spaces. This animated exterior circulation mimics a balcony that surrounds a courtyard resting in the center of the unit. This courtyard sits on the ground floor surrounded by tree-like columns which support the rest of unit. This condition prompts inhabitants to feel lofted and playful, much like a treehouse.

Floor Plan


Spring 2019

Roof Oblique



Micro-Housing | Vertical Typology The vertical micro-housing unit explores unusual geometric parameters to create a unique spatial experience. Circular floor plans connected by a spiral staircase transport residents longitudinally throughout the playful habitat. Alternating materials— mesh, glass, and open air—triangulate across the façade, changing visual opacity and airflow. This triangulated pattern leads to a multiplicity of textures, creating a stimulating environment from both the interior and exterior.



Spring 2019 The studio parameters designated that the vertical micro-house remains site-less and under 1200 sq. ft. Expounding on the design’s compact nature and placeless existence, these renders explore imposition of the unit in fantastical space. It morphs into the role of an undersea refuge or a Martian enclave.

“Out of Orbit”


Housing Collective | Aggregation, Urban Gardens This housing collective uses previously designed micro-housing units as building blocks for aggregation across one city block. Though the micro-housing units originally existed in a site-less realm, the aggregation of the units adapts for the Uptown neighborhood of New Orleans, Louisiana. Elements of the sectional, vertical, and horizontal typologies work together to emphasize connection to outdoor space and propagate community interaction. The original horizontal typology provides a template for three units of varying sizes, promoting diversity of income and availability of affordable units. All three units pixelate evenly across the block to flatten potential financial hierarchy. Aggregating the horizontal typology creates green corridors of outdoor circulation which meander throughout the entire housing collective. Smaller units share a larger portion of outdoor space while larger units reflect the original design’s self-contained outdoor circulation. This condition promotes an amicable gradient of public to private realms, while also ensuring that every resident can interact with a garden. A larger community garden grows in the center of the housing collective for the benefit of all residents. Adjacent to this garden, variations on the vertical typology house cultural amenities, such as art studios, music rooms, and a star-gazing deck. The vertical typology mimics the surrounding trees in form, visually acting as a type of vegetation. This forest-like quality lends itself to a relaxing atmosphere for the creative programming of these spaces. Furthering the concept of the forest, columns from the sectional typology mimic tree trunks and provide structural support to the housing units. Keeping the greater community in mind, public amenities reside on the ground floor perimeter of the housing collective. These amenities include such things as corner stores, gymnasiums, and a library. The placement of these amenities allows for public interaction with the space, discouraging the housing collective’s isolation and privatization.

Pixels Floor 3

Pixels Floor 2


3D-Printed Model, Brushed with Gold Paint

Pixels Floor 1

Spring 2019

“In the Garden”

Water Retention

Community Amenities

Residential Amenities





on AA’

on BB’


Elementary School | Historic Transect, Subverting Barriers Located directly on the Lafitte Greenway in New Orleans, Louisiana, the design for this elementary school grows out of its site’s rich history. Beginning in the late 18th century, the Greenway operated as a railway transect for deliveries to the French Quarter. These railways later served passenger trains and eventually phased out of existence. The longitudinal nature of the railway prioritized a clear path for commercial purposes, while simultaneously obscuring the path from either side of the Greenway. Socially, the rail acted as a barrier for neighboring communities, furthering political and economic division of neighborhoods. With the railway no longer visible, this design implements a schematic spine as a circulation corridor, following the historic path of the rail. Individual classrooms branch off from this spine, requiring students to symbolically transverse the railway to engage with their education and commune with their classmates. Skylights within the classrooms illuminate the thresholds of transition between the historically divisive axis and the axis which subverts it. Glazed façades on either side of the Greenway create visual permeability for students to see adjacent neighborhoods. Half-walls extend beyond the building to create tension with the historic barrier’s directionality. Additionally, the John W. Chorley Elementary School by architect Paul Rudolph provided a basis for schematic design. The themes of Chorley Elementary included the dichotomy of repetitive and unique elements, as well as intentionally sunlit circulation. Both themes arise in the Greenway Elementary School, as seen through use of a circulation spine and sunlit pathways.

Hand Draft, Lafitte Greenway


Hand Draft, Greater New Orleans

Fall 2018 The diagrams to the left demonstrate schematic analysis of the John W. Chorley Elementary School. The ground floor plan below reflects how the design of the Lafitte Greenway Elementary School formally builds upon these themes.

Repetition Parti

Repetition Axon

Circulation Parti

Circulation Axon

Ground Floor Plan


Final Schematic Model


Process Schematic Models


Office Building | Modular Design, Structural Grid This project proposes the technique of modular design to compose a mixed-use office building in the French Quarter of New Orleans. The design reinvents the gridded condition of the Quarter through a cubic structural grid within the building. Most structural bays are 28’ x 28’, while excess space creates irregular bays along the lot’s edge. This condition emulates the traditional New Orleans porch while creating a convenient bar for lobbies and terracing. The building also reflects the irregular textures of the Quarter through stacking modules uniquely within this structural grid. This quality provides building occupants with a variety of space typologies and a sense of flexibility. Furthermore, the theme of modularity influences the use of prefabricated elements, providing ease of assembly and advancement of thematic regularity. On the façade, each modular bay divides into four segments which then hold either a glazed panel or a brick panel, with the addition of a mesh operative shading system. Both the mesh and brick elements reflect the historic materiality of the Quarter. Lastly, the arrangement of each module within the floor plan is highly flexible. This provides building occupants with a variety of space typologies and a sense of flexibility. For example, the small pockets of courtyards within the building lot generate an open circulation pattern on all floors. Additionally, this flexibility leaves room for the future development or rearrangement of interior space as well as building program. This consideration emphasizes that flexibility of large, mixeduse buildings such as this one is paramount to minimizing negative environmental impact.


“Approach from Toulouse St.”

Spring 2020

Floor 3

Floor 2 City Block Axon

Floor 1

Ground Floor

French Quarter Site Plan






C 4










Ground Floor Plan


Elevation, Chartres St.

Section Perspective




10' 5.5"


4 24

10' 5.5"

2 3


15 10' 5.5"

32 41



2 9







Detail Axon

Structural Axon

15 28 29

17 18 24 09 02




16 09 29


32 16

26 27 16 15

17 11 33 08 10


Detail Sections

34 30 35 36 37 38 39 40

“A Breath of Fresh Air”

“In the Lounge”


Mass Timber Housing | Designing for Longevity, Flexible Modules Though lightweight timber construction remains routine in low- to mid-rise architecture, mass timber recently emerged as an expansive strategy for timber construction. Comprised of massive units of timber joined together, mass timber offers the advantage of sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. To ensure that the use of mass timber achieves sustainable goals, saplings must replace the older trees sourced at harvest. Additionally, mass timber buildings must maintain long lifespans given the time intensive process of tree maturation. To ensure building longevity and foster flexibility over time, the design of this mixed-use housing complex supports structural permanence and mechanical replaceability. These conditions nurture the notion of “living buildings” capable of adapting to unpredictable futures. To harbor a structural meter that allows for future adaptability, a selected bay size of 12’x40’ uses standardized crosslaminated timber (CLT) elements. Each bay alternates between double-CLT load-bearing walls and glulam structural columns. The double-CLT walls absorb the sound between units, while the glulam columns create openness in units larger than one bay. This condition establishes a rhythm to which three differently sized housing units adhere. This system accommodates approximately 350 units, which rest on concrete at the ground level to remain protected from flooding and water damage. To support the longevity of the building, the design of the circulatory and mechanical components allows for their removal and replacement as needed. Independent modules separately contain the bathroom, kitchen, and closet programs. A garage door opening to each unit accommodates the removal of these modules. Additionally, a galvanized steel structure attaches to the exterior of the building to create corridors and balconies. These considerations support future reprogramming of the entire building, if necessary. Located in New Orleans, Tulane University owns the property on which this housing complex rests. Because the university’s presence in the city causes housing prices to rise and puts a strain on the local market, this innovative housing complex provides the ideal opportunity for the university to reserve housing solely for its custodial workers and low-income students. Design Team: Valentina Mancera, Johnathan Michka, Natalie Rendleman


Ground Floor Plan

Spring 2021

Section Perspective




ARCH 4042 // Building Resilience: Mass Timber & Forms of Living // Valentina Mancera, Johnathan Michka, Natalie Rendleman

Site Axonometric PROGRAM MASSING

Site Axonometric SUN EXPOSURE


ARCH 4042 // Building Resilience: Mass Timber & Forms of Living // Valentina Mancera, Johnathan Michka, Natalie Rendleman


Sun Paths

ARCH 4042 // Building Resilience: Mass Timber & Forms of Living // Valentina Mancera, Johnathan Michka, Natalie Rendleman

Site Axonometric COMMUNAL SPACES


Adjusted Heights

ARCH 4042 // Building Resilience: Mass Timber & Forms of Living // Valentina Mancera, Johnathan Michka, Natalie Rendleman


ARCH 4042 // Building Resilience: Mass Timber & Forms of Living // Valentina Mancera, Johnathan Michka, Natalie Rendleman

Communal Spaces

ARCH 4042 // Building Resilience: Mass Timber & Forms of Living // Valentina Mancera, Johnathan Michka, Natalie Rendleman


3'-0" 20'-0"



subtracted balcony

12'-0" 24'-0"

Typical Floor Plan




Plan Axons


Flexible Modules




37 m3 wood fiber per unit =

21 m3 wood fiber per unit =

10.5 m3 wood fiber per unit =

2257 m3 carbon sequestered

2541 m3 carbon sequestered

1743 m3 carbon sequestered




ARCH 4042 // Building Resilience: Mass Timber & Forms of Living // Valentina Mancera, Johnathan Michka, Natalie Rendleman

Unit Typologies

Module Typologies


Design-Build| The Albert & Tina Small Center, Sugar Roots Farm The Small Center team worked with the staff and partners of Sugar Roots Farm to understand the site, mission, challenges of everyday life on the farm. The team designed and built a flexible outdoor teaching space to eventually house an outdoor kitchen. The structure also serves as a welcome spot for visiting schoolkids and a farm stand for open farm days. Sugar Roots Farm aims to build food sovereignty and community resilience in the gulf south with sustainable farming as the foundation. Their vision provided guidance for the design and served as a filter for making decisions about materials, placement, and overall strategies of this outdoor classroom project. Specifically, the staff at Sugar Roots Farm emphasized that swampy site conditions, regularly precipitous weather, and harsh sun exposure created frequent inconveniences to teaching. Therefore, water management strategies and material durability holistically guided the design to fruition. A concrete slab anchors steel columns supporting a metal roof, reinforced with thick, weather-treated wooden beams and joists. The structure provides refuge from flooding and rainfall, while the roof slopes to guide water into a cistern for reuse. Drainage pipes span the slab internally to filter groundwater from the front of the site to a water feature towards the back. A boardwalk overlooks this water feature, useful for teaching visitors about native wetland environments. Adjacent to the boardwalk, wash stations reuse water from the cistern to rinse the farm’s produce. Bracketed walls frame the interior, operating as a storage area for kitchen equipment on one end and an educational wall on the other. To create a sense of enclosure while still providing airflow, a rope screen and handrail detail softens the entry. This detail references a recent collaboration between The Small Center and Farmacia, a local urban-agriculture collective. Finally, educational signage extends the visual connections beyond the kitchen throughout the rest of the farm. Design Leads: Emilie Taylor Welty, Jose Cotto (also responsible for photographs) Students: Merrie Afseth, Brianna Baldwin, Le’Bryant Bell, Zach Braaten, Kelsie Donovan, Kareem Elsandouby, Ellen Feringa, Nick George, Ella Jacobs, Sam Lindley, Connor Little, Mandii Malhotra, Valentina Mancera, Johnathan Michka, Sofia Perrotta Mensi, Malina Pickard, James Poche, Natalie Rendleman, Katie Schultz, Karan Sharma, Bruno Soria, Giuliana Vaccarino Gearty, Yao Zhang


Front View

Fall 2021




Water Management Section

Side View









Back View


Educational Wall

Boardwalk Render

Wash Station Render


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