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RACHEL McCOWN Undergraduate Portfolio

University of Nebraska - Lincoln


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CONTENTS 3 Re s u m e 5

S e ar c h in g f o r the Ine f f a bl e

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A q u at ic C o m m uni ti e s

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E at in g F ille y

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N e n o D is t r ic t H o s pi ta l

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M at e r ial A b se nce

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SEARCHING FOR THE INEFFABLE

searching for the ineffable

Lincoln, Nebraska | 12 wk | Mark Bacon | Comprehensive Spring 2018 This project explores ways to evoke sacredness without religious affiliation. It is a sacred space for mourners and visitors who seek self-contemplation, a place to gather, and a place to remember those who have passed, through strategies of space, sensation, and natural phenomena. The design is a non-denominational space for visitors of diverse religious affiliations. Three main programs drive the form and division of the buildings with connecting points between each one. The Reception, Sanctum, and Mausoleum work simultaneously to create a sequential experience using material qualities and light. One main conceptual moment happens in the sanctum where the casket of the deceased is placed on a ceremonial platform, and descends to the room below after the service. This was intended to bring importance not only to the circulation of the visitor, but also to the body. Our intent is that through strategies of atmosphere, form, scale, materiality, illumination, and shadow, we foster an environment with a quiet but strong presence that can encourage experiences of the ineffable. Project Team | Rachel McCown Danny Ortega

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searching for the ineffable

A PLACE TO

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The design is a non-denominational space for visitors of diverse religious affiliations. The three intentions being: a place to gather, a place for contemplation and a place to remember those who have passed which essentially informed the separation of the spaces. These three spaces have a duality that relates the living, divine, and mortality to the physical experience of the reception, sanctum, mausoleum.


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searching for the ineffable

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ASCENSION|DESCENSION From the West, you can clearly see how the program is divided into three conceptual spaces of the Living, Divine, and Mortality. The Living occupying the ground level includes the reception and sanctum while the Mortality space inhabits the subterranean level with the committal room, grieving courtyard, and mausoleum. The Sanctum then spans all three levels connecting the two spaces and rising above with the private chapel to symbolize the divine.


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searching for the ineffable

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LOWER LEVEL

MAIN LEVEL

PROGRAM

As visitors enter on the west side of the reception, the light used by the skylights guides us two thresholds to define the transition from reception to sanctum and sanctum to mausoleum brought to the altar of the sanctum through an alternate route to reveal the body only when it casket descends to the committal room on the floor below.

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SECOND LEVEL

ers toward our main axis, which runs in the north and south. The main axis of circulation has m. The visitor primarily takes this path towards the sanctum. The casket, on the other hand, is t has taken its place to be visited. After the funeral service has taken place, the altar with the

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RECEPTION

searching for the ineffable

Repurposed gray brick is used in the foyer as a way to bleed the exterior with the interior. To warm up the space, we used wood paneling and additionally used the repetition of the planks as a subtle gesture to move people towards the main axis, ultimately leading them to the threshold.

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searching for the ineffable


SANCTUM The visitors then take a stair located in between the channel glass, which creates a sense of separation, and symbolizes an out of body experience. The visitors descend through the stair and arrive at the committal room. The narrowed space built of heavy concrete walls not only symbolizes the emotional weight of mourning but also physically grounds the sanctum. The visitors are able to break off into the courtyard to grieve and have a moment of privacy.


searching for the ineffable

LIFT The spaces in the sanctum begin to relate together in this section in terms of Mortality, Living, and Divine. One moment that plays an integral part of the sequential process of the body is the ceremonial platform, which is located on the right. The body is placed on the platform for visitors to pay their respects during the funeral. Once the funeral is over and the door closes, and the platform descends to the committal room.

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searching for the ineffable


MAUSOLEUM As people pass through the threshold, the moment of release happens as they reach the mausoleum. The mausoleum is embedded in the ground, requiring the use of concrete construction. The intention was to apply a material that was homogenous and reflective. The space features an opening at the middle, which is an embodiment of a clearing of the forest and the framing of the sky. To help visitors remember those who have passed, the space is left open for meandering and engaging with the headstones of the crypts in a very direct way. Carved into the stone below each crypt is a place for flowers and other items to be left. Our intent is that through strategies of atmosphere, form, scale, materiality, illumination, and shadow, we foster an environment with a quiet but strong presence that can encourage experiences of the ineffable.

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AQUATIC COMMUNITIES San Francisco | 15 wk | Brian Kelly | Collaborate Fall 2017

aquatic communities

There is a severe lack of housing in California’s major coastal communities.In these areas, community resistance to housing, environmental policies, lack of fiscal incentives, and limited land, hinder development. The high demand drives up cost and pushes the mid to low income population out of the city. The city of San Francisco has propelled the problem further; in 2015, it was recorded that the city had built over double the housing needed for their high income population, leaving the mid to low income population with a severe lack of housing. The shoreline with the existing piers is an extremely underused asset which is an opportunity we have chosen to take advantage of with our design. The potential impact of this investigation could foster a dialogue around possible solutions for the housing crisis of San Francisco and cultivate speculation on what a dwelling means in a contemporary society. The design will focus on systems of mass customization for varying user types and prefabricated design with the intention of building system and material recyclability. This design project was meant to be a projective exploration of what could be in a contemporary society; A society where overpopulation and rising water levels are a concern on the macro scale. A society where design for the betterment of living condition often does not cater to the middle and low income at the micro scale. This design is not something that could be built tomorrow, but we hope that through this idea we might foster a dialogue around possible solutions for the housing crisis of San Francisco, and cultivate speculation on what a dwelling might mean in a contemporary society. Design work and re presentation | Rachel McCown Meg an Peterson Research and publications | Charles Dowd Danielle Durham

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HOUSING CRISIS

aquatic communities

San Francisco has struggled with a large homelessness population. This year, the number was up to 7,499 homeless people. Those who qualified for public housing had been living in establishments so far behind on repairs, they were almost uninhabitable. The estimated national maintenance backlog for public housing units now tops $26 billion; the annual budget for public housing repairs, meanwhile, does not even reach $2 billion. In response, over the past few years, the city of San Francisco has turned over all of its publicly owned housing to private property management companies and developers through a program called Rental Assistance Demonstration. Our design increases the amount of units being built for low to middle income to help offset the disparity between low and high income real estate.

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aquatic communities

THE PIERS Because of high density and lack of viable building land, we chose the waterfront as an opportunity and began to map out the piers. We found that many of them, especially in the southern region, are vacant, unused, or currently used for parking. We also mapped out the noise decibels in this area, as anything above 80 decibels can harm hearing if exposed for a long period of time, making it a poor site for housing.

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aquatic communities


CONSTRUCTION SEQUENCE When thinking about affordability, the fabrication sequence becomes very important. First we start with the GRFC monocoque base, the core, plug-in bedroom floor plate, with walls that fold up, flexible wall and door system, followed by second floor access and plug-in stairs, with individually attached railings, the structure for the facade, and the polycarbonate skin. Next is the flat roof, and finally the entry piece which comes in a pack, unfolds, slides into the unit, plugging into the core, serving as the threshold bringing plumbing into and out of the unit to the dock.

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aquatic communities


PHASING This system has a very specific phasing sequence. After defining a site boundary, a grasshopper script would be run to infill the given space with a docking layout, based upon a set of parameters we came up with including density, views, and greenspace. Next, the placement of micropiles, which we found to be the least harmful tethering system we could use, would be set and installed into the bay floor. The docking system followed by the dwelling units would then be installed in phases, meaning the whole site would not be infilled right away, but would slowly aggregate based upon demand.

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Storage Space

Because of the limited space, a large amount of storage space is designed into the corner below the entrance.

Entry

The entry piece includes amenities such as LED lights to guide the user and create a contemporary version of the porch light, a mail slot, sliding door for opimal space, bicycle storage, and the main port for utilites to enter the dwelling.

aquatic communities

Polystyrene

The dock components house the utilities for the walkways as well as two feet of polystyrene foam for floatation.

Storage Space

Section A

THE DOCK 0’

2’

4’

8’

16’

32’

The components that make of the docking system are what makes it flexible to different site conditions. It was designed with the intention of keeping the number of components low for easier installment. Each piece has the same locking mechanism, including the mechanism which locks the docking system to each dwelling unit. This section shows the dock system with the plug in entry piece and space for the unit’s utilities. It shows the spacial quality presented with a double height living area.

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+20’ - 0”

Views

The polycarbonate exterior panels in certain places are vacant and glazing takes its place. To access the windows for full transparency, the interior layer of polycarbonate can be slid to the side on a track system. Core +12’ - 0”

Living Space

0’ - 0”

- 3’ - 0”

- 6’ - 0”

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B

Sliding Doors

The core is outfitted with sliding doors to optimize space and effeciency. The doors glide along a track and are stored within the wall when open.

Core

aquatic communities

The core is a molded form of Glass Fiber Reinforced Plastic. The fixtures normally associated in bathrooms and kitchens are molded in as well.

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AA’

Entry

The entry piece connects the dwelling to the dock system. It attaches with a sliding and locking system.

BB’

First Level 0’

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Bedroom

The second level bedroom floorplate attaches into the core and wraps around the form to allow for walls to move along the length. The moving walls can help the user arrange the space to meet their needs.

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Bathroom

The second level bathroom furniture is molded into the core in order to maximize efficiency. These include the sink, vanity, and shower.

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Second Level 0’

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THE UNIT The drawings above are of the larger, 3-4 person unit. First, you move from the docking system to the dwelling, where you enter through an enclosed component, housing a small storage space that is big enough to store bicycles. A sliding door opens up into a floor with stairs leading up to the second floor, the private portion of the unit, or down to the main floor, the living space. The main floor sits 3’ below the water’s surface, creating a unique experience for those who inhabit the dwelling. It consists of the core, housing a half bath and a kitchen, a storage space beneath the stairs, and a living space that looks out onto the water and has a double height ceiling to create a feeling of openness regardless of smaller square footage.

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aquatic communities

This design project was meant to be a projective exploration of what could be in a c concern on the macro scale. A society where design for the betterment of living co design is not something that could be built tomorrow, but we hope that through this San Francisco, and cultivate speculation on what a dwelling might mean in a contem

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contemporary society; A society where overpopulation and rising water levels are a ondition often does not cater to the middle and low income at the micro scale. This s idea we might foster a dialogue around possible solutions for the housing crisis of mporary society.

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EATING FILLEY

eating filley

Filley, Nebraska | 8 wk | Peter Olshavsky | Situate Spring 2017

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Filley, Nebraska, a small farm town, was the location of this project. The task was to design a three Michelin star restaurant and banquet hall on a site with a historic stone barn. The barn was built in 1874 by Elijah Filley, a wealthy farmer. After a grasshopper invasion in 1873, Elijah Filley began building the barn to keep his friends and neighbors employed. The barn is built of limestone and timber and predominantly housed cattle, horses, wagons and hay. This design focused on historical preservation and the beauty in decay. The barn is split in half with the back piece designated for the restaurant. The front piece is left exposed to the elements to slowly decay over the years. The banquet hall is connected to the barn through a long, narrow walkway. The banquet hall is new construction designed to be a subtle addition to the existing historic landscape. The facade of the structure is perforated metal to diffuse light in and out of the space.


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One of the benefits of the site is that the user’s experience starts on the gravel road leading up to the structure. If the visitor is arriving for a dinner service, they will see a faint glow from the banquet hall peeking around the stone barn. The visitor then parks and walks in through the side walkway to either the restaurant or banquet hall.

eating filley

EXPERIENCE

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eating filley

RESTAURANT The restaurant maintains as much historical value as possible. It can seat 12 tables at a time for an intimate dining experience. The kitchen is visible from the dining space so aromas and sounds from the kitchen transfer into the main space. The kitchen program for both the restaurant and the banquet space are stacked in the middle.

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eating filley

SPLIT The stone barn is divided in half with the restaurant program on the right. The split in the stone barn is replicated in the banquet space as well, creating a division between the program. The banquet space is double height with the kitchen extending on the lower level of the middle building.

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eating filley

SITUATED The design has specific intentions to adapt to the conditions of the site. The nature of Nebraska’s farmland is very windy, so tree barriers are methodically placed. Sunlight is very harsh in the morning and evening, so the perforated metal in the banquet space keeps the light from interfering with events.

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NENO DISTRICT HOSPITAL - MALAWI

neno district hospital

Neno, Malawi | HDR Boston | Unbuilt | 2017 Malawi, located in East Africa with a population of 16 million, is one of the poorest countries in the world. Health issues include HIV/ AIDS, Malaria, and high birth and infant mortality rates. Health services include treatment for acute and chronic diseases and health education. Partners in Health Malawi (Abwenzi Pa Za Umoyo) works with the Ministry of Health to provide comprehensive healthcare for about 150,000 people in this rural district. The proposed Outpatient Clinic, based at the District Hospital in Neno, will increase the capacity and quality of the healthcare offered. It will be built as part of Construction for Change’s 30/30 Project commitment. Architectural Team | Allen Buie Deborah Rivers Jessica Stebbins Rachel Finkelstein Charles Hergrueter Rachel McCown

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neno district hospital

SITUATE The design team studied vernacular construction and worked with on-site representatives to understand what building methods could be employed by local builders with available materials, including compressed earth brick, site-assembled steel windows, wood roof trusses, and corrugated metal roofing. To keep systems simple and energy use low, the design maximizes the use of daylight and natural ventilation, and minimizes solar heat gain. The massing incorporates sloping roofs to shed water during the rainy season, overhangs to provide shade from the intense sun, and covered exterior waiting areas to facilitate natural ventilation.

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neno district hospital

PROGRAM The facility has three clinical components – Outpatient Clinic, Integrated Care Clinic, and Maternal/Child Health. Each is conceived as a pavilion with distinct entry and waiting area. Two additional pavilions house the Pharmacy and support functions. They are organized around a linear courtyard. The waiting areas house a large number of patients and allow for queuing before they are seen by a clinician. Education, exam, and treatment spaces open off the waiting areas so that patients can see when a room is free and clinicians can manage the process. The new facility will reflect the importance of health to the community it serves.

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ROOF FORMS

ROOF STRUCTURE

WALLS/ PARTITIONS

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2M

4M

6M

neno district hospital

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NATURAL VENTILATION The facility was designed to allow for the medical space to function without complicated air handling systems. The space uses varing roof heights and open air waiting rooms to prevent the spread of illness as well as maintain a comfortable internal environment.

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MATERIAL ABSENCE

material absence

Nebraska | 10 wk | David Karle | UNL UCARE Project Settlers of the Great Plains wanted new land and a new life. This new life did not come easy and was often burdened with the simple task of survival. As soon as the caravan had reached their land, they started from the ground up and construct a new life. The best solution for these people was to erect a dwelling from the only material they had in abundance, sod. Through unofficial documents, the knowledge of how to build a sod house was passed from settler to settler, in hopes that the process would be easier for those to come, as survival was a delicate matter. Choose your site, tamp the earth, rope the perimeter, harvest the sod, lay the bricks, place the fenestration, construct the roof. These designs were driven by function and efficiency. They provided shelter from the elements, and housed new beginnings. When a life has passed, regardless of whether the belief in life after death exists, it is important to house the life in a physical place on earth. With this physical memorial, the life can be mourned, celebrated, and remembered. As the sod house was an immediate and efficient form of shelter in the past, it has the potential to be a sound, peaceful dwelling for those past. The qualities that kept the settlers of the Great Plains alive, are able to aide in the process after one’s death. The thick, heavy walls, provide a strong, safe enclosure and acoustic peace. The earth material represents the direct connection to nature and is fenestrated to allow for specific light strategies.

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CONSTRUCTION When settlers reached their destination, immediate shelter was necessary for survival. To them, sod was the only material in abundance, so they built with it. They used the sod, row by row to build up the walls that would become their home. Similarly to the traditional methods used, this design is constructed of rammed earth which is also laid layer by layer, using the earth around the structure. The earth harvested for the structure is left as an absence in the ground, which slowly decends in grade as the user approaches the burial site.

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walls the slanted walls provide an enclosure to foster a secure, private environment

earth the earth harvested from the ground for the walls is le� as part of the design, crea�ng a path

PLAN 0’ 2’ 4’

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memorial wall

burial space

path to burial space

path to memorial wall and burial space

material absence

window this 1’ aperature lets light into the burial space and is aligned with the path

AXONOMETRIC 0’ 2’ 4’

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18’-0” 4’-6”

8’-0”

material absence

130’-0”

rammed earth wall 1’-0” thickness 1/4” reinforcing rebar

con�nuous slope leads the user down to the burial space

memorial wall

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SECTION A AND B 0’ 2’ 4’

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memorial wall

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FRONT AND SIDE ELEVATION 0’ 2’ 4’

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FRONT AND SIDE ELEVATION 0’ 2’ 4’

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SOLITUDE The design was intended to be a meditative, reflective space for those mourning. The natural silence of the prarie and acoustic quality of the wind on the earth walls are meant to communicate the architecture with the user. The longest wall of the structure acts as a way finder as well as a memorial wall. The user is then led down four feet into the burial space, with a feeling of enclosure and openness at the same time.

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RACHEL McCOWN 2017 I will be graduating from the University of NebraskaLincoln, May, 2018 with a B.S. in Design. I hope to pursue work and further education devoted to the world of design. My interests are in how good design can heal, inspire, and solve problems. “Architecture has its own realm. It has a special physical relationship with life. I do not think of it primarily as either a message or a symbol, but as an envelope and background for life which goes on in and around it, a sensitive container for the rhythm of footsteps on the floor, for the concentration of work, for the silence of sleep.� -Peter Zumthor

Undergraduate Architecture Portfolio 2018  

Rachel McCown | University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Undergraduate Architecture Portfolio 2018  

Rachel McCown | University of Nebraska, Lincoln

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