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selected work from the university of oklahoma 2008-2011

e: p: 405.370.0684


02 Wheatfield Pavilion

04 The City of Zenobia

08 Holocaust Memorial

12 Community Health Center

16 National Weather Museum

22 Chamber Music Hall

24 Additional Work 01

Wheatfield Pavilion


PARAMETERS: We were to design a pavilion that would display a painting of our selection. The pavilion was to be 15’x15’x15’ and designed based on principles found in the painting. APPROACH: Using Van Gogh’s painting Wheatfield with Crows, I began to create form by examining the foreground, midground and background of the painting as cues for the plan and elevation of the pavilion. I translated painting’s background night sky to the pavillion as a dark chamber pentrated by a skylight illuminating the painting. The wheat field in the foreground became the sculptural light shelves built to mimic the movement created by Van Gogh’s brush strokes. And the path through the wheat field developed into the processional approach up to view the painting. The overhang on the pavilion creates a lighting condition similar to the dark path in the painting.



The City Of Zenobia PARAMETERS:


We were assigned a page from the book Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. The project asked us to expand on the descriptions of the city, create conceptual models and possible landmarks and then, ultimately, construct models of the city. APPROACH: The city of Zenobia is built of bamboo and zinc and stands on pilings. Calvino describes the city as having an indecipherable plan and being filled with weathervanes, cranes, fish poles and barrels for holding water. Using Calvino’s description of the city I worked backwards to envision the political and cultural forces that gave birth to such a place. The final conceptual model is based on the idea that Zenobia’s people are so concerned with the future that they overlook their own past and present— an idea derived from the objects and materials in the city’s description. Thus the concept model and landmarks explore the city’s superimpositions over time, as Zenobia constantly builds over itself.



Work is the primary concern of the city, its inhabitants constantly build atop of structures they have just completed. Thus the work district of the city climbs higher and more quickly than the rest of the city. The towers stand watch for potential threats to the city.


PLAY Because of the Zenobia density, leisure occurs in the empty spaces which have been neglected in the city’s frantic building upward. To relax in Zenobia is to remove oneself from the constant progress and paranoia of the city,


Personal quarters are raised off the ground in Zenobia. The windows in the homes face the central government building and the sky, so that the residents are left unaware of the ruins of their own city beneath them. Rest is undesirable to the Zenobian people, they prefer to actively take part in assuring their city’s safe progress.


Atlantic City Holocaust Memorial


PARAMETERS: An International competition to design a holocaust memorial for a 40‘ x 60‘ plot on the Atlantic City Boardwalk APPROACH: This competition raised difficult issues about memory, place, and memorial. How to use a kitsch tourist setting as the backdrop for memorializing the worst genocide of the 20th Century? My initial response was to suggest moving the site, or abandoning the project altogether. though, since the site had already been secured it seemed best to “find optimism in the inevitable” as Rem Koolhaus once said. In order to create a place of serenity and dignity, I sunk the floor of the memorial six feet below the boardwalk. A series of ramps around the memorial creates a procession that experientially separates it from the boardwalk. The open-box wall of the memorial is based on the idea that a memorial could serve as a vacuole for holding a changeable collective memory. I was careful not to approach the memorial as a representative object—since the holocaust could not be justly represented.

This project won first prize out University of Oklahoma students and received free entrance into the international competition


A pool lies on the southern edge of the central space of the memorial. Its water signifies life and creates a link with the nearby ocean, confirming the Holocaust’s connection to all of humankind. The pool spills over into a chasm, a symbol of the irreplaceable hole the Holocaust has left in humanity. A black granite wall inscribed with the mission statement stands on the far side of the chasm. The wall allows visitors to see the reflections of themselves and the otherwise imperceptible waterfall. The pool forces visitors to stand away from the wall and the chasm—as the Holocaust stands away from us in time and distance.


North Tulsa Community Health Center


PARAMETERS: As a team of two architecture students and two interior design students we were to design a community health clinic for an impoverished region of Tulsa, Oklahoma. APPROACH: Our group traveled back to Tulsa and interviewed local residents who commented on the lack of recreation and entertainment in the area. This helped to influence our decision to preserve and build around the massive strip mall on site—cutting through it for circulation and infilling vacant storefronts with community health based functions that would provide activities for local residents. The health clinic we designed juxtaposes medical functions with communal activities in an effort to rebrand the health clinic as a place for health and not only sickness. The multipurpose outdoor theater uses the skywalk between the two wings of the building as a projection screen for playing films at night with city as the backdrop, helping to create a sense of place and time which is usually removed from theater settings. The community garden, art gallery, flea market, and designated graffiti wall, all aim to give the end users of the space a greater sense of ownership and responsibility of the area—the lack of which causes the failure of many of architecture’s philanthropic efforts.






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Interior Renderings by Alyssa Smith and Hayden Reid




National Weather Museum


PARAMETERS: The 80,000 sq. ft. museum and science center was to be located in Norman, Oklahoma on one of two sites. APPROACH: On the surface, the transitory nature of weather seems to conflict with the preservationist function of the museum. This project creates a display system that allows exhibits to constantly be interchanged—making the operation of the museum more analogous to weather, and creating a experience more relevant to a culture accustomed to the rapid pace of the internet and television. Artifacts in the National Weather Museum are exhibited on a suspended monorail, and changed out throughout the day in response to weather conditions, user feedback, and a predetermined schedule. The Museum emphasizes the combination of a natural inductive understanding of weather with a deductive and scientific one. The progression through the museum starts underground, on a trajectory toward the Sam Noble Natural History Museum (inductive understanding) then switches back and climbs to a cantilevered view of the National Weather Center (deductive understanding).




Touch screen kiosks allow visitors to access information about mobile exhibits and vote for exhibits they want to make an appearance. A pool running along the outside of the museum reflects light on to the canted wall during the morning hours. Mobile exhibits travel around the museum on a suspended rail system making stops at designated locations, such as this gallery.

Live internet discussion boards regarding museum exhibits are accessible by kiosks throughout the museum and through the museum’s website. Small exhibits cases on wheels are easily removed down the ramp to adjacent temporary storage so that the gallery can be set up as an assembly space.




1. entry 2. information desk 3. gallery 4. loading dock 5. exhibit design 6. exhibit fabrication 7. electric 8. temporary storage 9. mechanical 10. IMAX theater 11. lobby 12. cafe 13. bookstore 14. giftshop 15. outdoor gallery


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FLOOR 2-3 1. permanent gallery 2. television production 3. radio production 4. classroom/discovery room 5. classroom 6. IMAX viewing booth 7. mechanical 8. mobile exhibit storage 9. staff offices 10. gallery of a scientific understandingof weather



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Briarcliff Manor Chamber Music Hall


PARAMETERS: The program for the 2011 Acoustical Society of America student design competition included an outdoor amphitheater and 220- seat chamber music hall along with a variety of acoustically sensitive support spaces. This project was completed working with another student. APPROACH: The chamber music hall explores the acoustic instrument as an analogue machine. The perceivable connection between the motion of the musician,the movement of the instrument and the sound being produced adds to the experience of hearing a live performance through what is termed pscho-acousitcs. In translating this idea to architecture the building dares to be almost didactic in its function. The music hall mimics the acoustic instrument by visually and sometimes audibly displaying its most important functions.

Bottom interior rendering and plan drawing by Adelle York

The stage elevator travels vertically between storage, the outdoor amphitheater, and the salon. Driven by a large exterior pulley, the movement of the elevator announces the beginning of the show to people inside and outside the building The adjustable overhead reflector can be lowered to fill the gap left by the removed stage, in its fully lowered position it serves as a reflecting canopy for the exterior amphitheater


Sketchbook+Other Studio Work On opposing page from top left clockwise: Slow Collapse -Studio I Experience Spaces - Studio IV Precedent Parti Model - Studio II page 26: Lake Patrol Boat House - Studio III




Additional Work from bottom left clockwise: ergonomic ceramic cup Untited - acrylic on found objects Birdstrike - acrylic on found objects


Sam Day: Selected Works 2008-2011  

From the University of Oklahoma School of Architecture

Sam Day: Selected Works 2008-2011  

From the University of Oklahoma School of Architecture