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PENNY UNNI Email: Phone: (905) - 467 - 3449

GREETINGS! I’m Penny, a third year student from the University of Waterloo, School of Architecture. The following is the curation of my ongoing immersion into architecture: academic, personal and professional work.

EDUCATION 2015 - 2020

University of Waterloo School of Architecture Candidate for Bachelor Honours of Architectural Studies

2011 - 2015

Robert Bateman H.S. Burlington, ON International Baccalaureate Diploma OSS Diploma, Honors

EXPERIENCE Aug 2017 - Dec 2017

Philip Beesley Architect Inc., Toronto, ON Architectural Designer,

Significant role in design team to research and develop kinetic mechanisms in sculptures for Design Exchange, Royal Ontario Museum, etc. Jan 2017 - April 2017

Robert A.M. Stern Architects, New York City, NY Architectural Intern,

Contributed to design development and construction management stages of four projects in the Correll residential studio May 2016 - Aug 2016

Royal Botanical Gardens, Hamilton, ON Horticultural Student Intern,

Responsible for the horticultural design of alpine plant courtyard and contributed to the restoration process of Canada’s oldest rock garden Sept 2012 - Aug 2015

Kumon Learning Centre, Burlington, ON Assistant Manager, Significant role in overall operations of the business. sole representative

for all prospective clients and supervisor of classroom

DISTINCTIONS 2016 - 2017 October / 2017 August / 2016 September / 2015 April / 2014 February / 2013

Term Deans Honours List, University of Waterloo Faculty of Engineering Member of design team, PBAI’s Astrocyte at DX EDIT Orientation Program Leader, University of Waterloo Faculty of Engineering Recipient of Presidents Scholarship, University of Waterloo 33rd Awardee of Commanding Officer’s Coin, RCSCC Iron Duke Top Finalist at National Portrait Competition, Portrait Society of Canada

SKILLS Digital

Rhinoceros 5 / Maxwell Render / Adobe Creative Cloud ( Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Muse) / Grasshopper / Houdini FX / Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) / AutoCad / GIS


Woodworking, Hand-Drafting, Laser Cutting, CNC Milling, 3D Printing, Physical Modeling, Clay Modeling, Thermaforming, Paper Tolling




Professional Works


Al-Bi-On My Way!


Rill Bridge


Knickerbocker Manifesto


The Right to the Park


Silo Place



Professional Works PHILIP BEESLEY ARCHITECTS (PBAI) October 2017 DX EDIT, Toronto PBAI Design Team + The Living Architecture Systems Group + 4D SOUND Overall Performance Rating by Employer: OUTSTANDING


ASTROCYTE In October 2017, Philip Beesley Architects Inc. designed and fabricated Astrocyte for Design Exchange’s Exhibition for Design, Innovation and Technology (EDIT) in Toronto. The sculpture is an empathetic soundscape at an architectural scale that responds to viewer’s movements with patterns of light, vibration and multichannel sound. As an architectural intern, my role for Astrocyte was to design and lead the fabrication process for kineticmechanisms in the sculpture, as well as play a key role in the building and installation processes. The following months of my term at PBAI continued my research and development of kinetic mechanisms, notably the Moth and the Lash. I also led a design charette to explore materials properties and their applications to the dresses and collections of digital-fabrication couture designer, Iris Van Herpen.

Images courtesy of PBAI/ LASG


Upwards View of Sphere 8

THE MOTH The moth was conceptualized as the effect produced from the buzzing of moth wings: soft, fragile, quivering. The timing of their vibration was programmed to align with the sound choreography. The kinetic mechanism is comprised of a miniature DC motor, a plastic mount, arms and clips, a circuit board into which a 4P modular jack cable connects, laser-cut mylar fronds

Moth Mechanism Plan, Assembly and Axo + Moth Sphere 9

Photo of Glassware and Cloud 10

THE LASH The lash was a development from an existing prototype developed in the studio in which a shape memory wire is actuated to force movement through the mechanism. Its kinetic form curls inwards into itself. I designed and created numerous prototypes of the lash and configured its array in potential sculptures. It is assembled with shape memory alloy, silicon tubing, plastic mounts, fishing lure and rings, compression springs, and a jack plate into which a 4P modular jack cable connects.

Lash Mechanism Plan, Assembly and Axo + Lash Field 11

Upwards View of Sculpture 12

MATERIAL EXPLORATIONS Metal-to-clear mylar folded star array ultrasonically welded to tulle and lasercut mylar swirl

Laser cut mylar with formed 2mm aluminum wishbones layered and folded onto mylar extension

1mm Laser cut Plexiglass zigzag form ultrasonically welded to tulle, with glass beads affixed to tops

Sphere Unit Detail + Material Explorations 13

2mm aluminum hexagonal swirl pattern formed to create crests and troughs in array


3A Design Studio Supervisor: Adrian Blackwell Location: Finch Ave and Kipling, Toronto Collaboration: Shahal Ahmed, Dhisana D’sa, Jerry Kim


AL-BI-ON MY WAY! In response to the newly proposed transit line that will serve as a connection for the inhabitants of the site to the rest of Toronto, the value and accessibility of our neighborhood will be enhanced. The neighborhood is marred by substandard, TCHC-provided housing that falls short of the demand expected from the number of new immigrants living in the neighborhood. Existing solutions to social housing fail when they create temporary fixes that don’t meet housing standards, nor provide the conditions for dwellers to create and maintain the environments that serve both their material and psychological needs. In response to this, we propose a self-build community, following the design principles of Elemental’s Half-House in Chile. The self-build process gives the user the power and autonomy to control his decisions relating to the design of his environment, which is especially relevant concerning new immigrants as they search for a sense of permanence and the right to involvement. People experience collaboration, creation and place-making while sharing skills and trades and become more integrated into the network. In the masterplan of Albion, we study the co-mingling of activities: how the question of conflicting existences of program can transgress systems and make individual action and subsequent interaction more palpable. When a industrial zone exists beside a green space, or a community kitchen, what is the resulting transformation of space?


Layered Plans + Nolli Plan + Phasing Diagram + East -West Section 16

Site Model Photos + Circulation Diagram + Program Diagram + Layered Axo + East-West Section 17

Proposed Sectional Study In the spirit of a self-build community, this building attempts to mirror the production and presentation spaces with the heat flow of the building through stack effect. Two undulating concrete ribbons tie resident and visitor, production and habitation to coexist and benefit from each others proximity. The interior halves of the building become the incomplete half, creating a vertical core of construction and innovation. The interstitial space becomes the building’s nervous system, where mechanical systems are housed.

North South Section + Experiential Sections 18

Work in Progress

Experiential Fragments 19


SSEF 2016 Design Competition Supervisor: Terri Boake Location: Badlands, Caledon, ON Collaboration: Ethan Duffey


RILL BRIDGE The Cheltenham Badlands is an example of the topographical richness of Canada; 445 million-year-old exposed bedrock formed a series of rills and gullies of a red hue due to the iron-oxide deposits. This distinctive coloring and picturesque physicality has attracted crowds of people causing accelerated erosion and resulting in the consequent closing of the badlands to protect the landscape. Hundreds of visitors would hike the terrain prior to the sudden erection of a protective fence in 2015. Rill Bridge intends to mimic the experience of walking through the rogue trails: a variety of mixed paths, directions, undulations of elevations and interactions with the earth non-destructively. By using the steel cables that traditionally operate as lateral stabilizers as functionally tethered pathways, and by covering the walkways in clear grating, the experience instills a similar thrill.


viewing platform



steel planking




2 4 grate

masts and beams

5 concrete anchors


Assembly Axonometric 22

Plan + Grate Detail 23

1. hanger cable pal cable to

2. tether cable to anchor

3. cable to plank

East Elevation + Structural Steel Details 24

4. principal cable to mast

5. hanger cable to bridge

6. tether cable to anchor

East Elevation + Structural Steel Details 25


2A Design Studio Supervisor: Adrian Blackwell Location: Two Bridges, New York City Collaboration: Laura Matos, Rick Wei, Kara Jebbink


KNICKERBOCKER MANIFESTO Knickerbocker Village, New York’s first publicly-funded housing development, was built in 1934 in the Lower East Side. Since then it has seen tenant activism and has been a setting for major social reform. Today, the site finds itself on the edge of Chinatown and most of the residents are of Chinese descent. Our intervention was both a study of the traditional Chinese courtyard house and its applications to shared living, and a proposal to rejuvenate the nexus to the neighborhood beyond and the representative unit within. At the ground floor level, a glass-roofed plaza between the two buildings is created out of a “dead zone.” Our design provides space for a marketplace and invites the vibrancy and buzz of Chinatown into Knickerbocker as an effort to steer the isolated and dense buildings towards connection with the outer community. The plaza is activated by incorporating small-scale public spaces into a larger expanse to host a variety of activities, promoting social interaction between the tenants and their neighbors. The theater-like steps sustain effective community gatherings and the large uninterrupted plaza provides space for the elderly Chinese community to gather to exercise.


Perspective Axo + Fragment 28

Vertical Section 29

At the unit level the kitchens and living space from the units have been removed to create a common kitchen, living and dining space. Carefully placed stairs connect the common spaces in the building across floors to allow a view into the dining room below to invoke the Chinese tradition of having meals together. We transform Knickerbocker to react to the evolution of the site and tenant demographics while simultaneously changing the form of community living. The argument for ethnic specificity is found in the validation from extraneous cultural topography.

Existing / New Cluster Plans + Cluster Model 30

Occupation of Plaza + Existing / New Sections + Plans 31


2B Design Studio Supervisor: Lola Sheppard Location: Ontario Place, Toronto Collaboration: Hannah Carmichael


THE RIGHT TO THE PARK After being indefinitely closed in 2011, the future of Ontario Place looks bleak and its existing structures have been abandoned and appropriated by skateboarders and urban climbers. We designed a new masterplan for the park as a response to these observations. The Right to the Park is underpinned by three philosophies that we have attempted to synthesize: the right to the city, urban na­ture, and process ontology. David Harvey’s ‘Right to the City’ argues that each individual has the right to participate in the making of the city, creating the potential for collective empowerment that allows for renewed centrality, exchange and full usage of place. He rejects the notion of the public realm being only one of consumption, safety and a false sense of security for which we sacrifice our civil liberties. Instead the public realm must leave room for disorder, insecurity and a certain loss of control to promote a comfort with the unknown. In the development of The Right to the Park, Harvey`s ideals were divided into urban nature: an environment created and controlled by man with the artificial and natural world merging, and process ontology: nature viewed not as a static scene but in an evolving and dynamic process. The park is not an imitated romantic landscape of sylvan charm but instead forged for the use, appropriation and consequent transformation by man. There are no governing rules to limit people, instead it is meant to become a mosaic of disruption, interruption, intervention, and creative risk taking.




(least to most)



grade change

walking biking




boating swimming

interventions +observations

mountain biking

smooth/sharp turns

hardcore parkcore snowboarding


roller blading


ice skating skate boarding


roller derby


horseback skiing


Plan + Legend + East-West Section 34


vegetation density

barriers/ obstacles

grade change

quiet/ loud


potential program

maintenance/ infrastructure

Plan Diagrams + East-West Section 35

Experiential Fragments + East - West Section 36

Experiential Fragments + East - West Section 37


2B Design Studio Supervisor: Lola Sheppard Location: Ontario Place, Toronto


SILO PLACE The abandoned silos on the Ontario Place islands have been home to art shows, horror walks and light exhibits but aside from fulfilling seasonal and spontaneous purposes, the 60-year old silos have been left to the hands of nature and in this time, an interesting occupant has taken residence. The urban explorer is the type of individual to whom the revitalized Ontario Place is most attractive. A place to roam undisturbed, to climb without restrictions and to move without speed limits. In all of this chaos, there is a more controlled, determined and organized movement found in the centre of the site - at the silos. Here, the program is suited to more passive movement and voyeurism, given its vantage point atop a hill. A teacher- apprentice relationship is developed between those who move and those who learn. The structure of the silos are built upon by the public as needed to create necessary and spontaneous program and transgress systems, creating unique interactions between people. The undulating surface that ties together all of the silos is a thin concrete shell that forms ridges and planes to allow for skateboarding, biking and playing. It lifts up at certain points to allow for program below. Programs include a diving pool that can be seen from the interior of the surface, an open amphitheater, play structures, and learning spaces.


Experiential Fragments + East - West Section 40

Exploded Axo + East - West Section 41

Perspectives 42

Plan + North-South Section 43

THANK YOU! +1 (905)-467-3449

Portfolio 2018  
Portfolio 2018