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Portfolio Shane Thornes


Contents Design Fundamentals II

from Frail to Firm: Creating Volumes from Contours this is (K)not Architecture

Art : Drawing I

Textural and Material Studies: the Shape and the Form of McNamara Alumni Center

The Architecture of Dr. Seuss

Illustration for collaborative children’s story: the Institutional Hierarchy of a Place

Nora’s Next Day

Intro to Drawing in Architecture

Value Drawings and Technical Drawings: from Sensitive to Scrupulous Assorted Work:

Sarphatistraat Offices, Guthrie Theater, Sink & Machine Part, Rapson East Stairwell

Design Fundamentals II

Stairwell Study: Spaces and Paths Abstraction & Hybridization

Material Limits : Wood

Wood Joinery and Systems:

from the Hand to the Machine

Memorials & Models Memorial Proposal: the State of Being

Monument to Existentialism


Course: Design Fundamentals II Spring 2011 Instructors: John Comazzi, Adam Jarvi Project:

from Frail to Firm: Creating Volumes from Contours this is (K)not Architecture


As a way to stimulate our minds and encourage different ways of thinking, we each choose a knot that required several steps to replicate. After creating diagrams to show others the steps needed to fold the knot, we began reconstructing the knot into abstract, frail wireframe forms that could fit inside a volume of a box. Through process and iteration, interesting sub-spaces and volumes were created by each new wireframe fold and iteration, and the concept of defining space through a series of movements became clear. The multistep process of this project eventually proved to be a successful crashcourse in thinking like a designer.


Interesting cursive-like sketches emerged from my undertaking to reinterpret the knot as a volume


a Knot as Architecture - a Habitable Space

After choosing a fragile wireframe that I thought best represented the series of actions required to tie a “round turn and two half hitches" knot, the spaces defined by the wireframe were explored by digital methods. Three-dimensional models were created electronically to test a single-piece folding construction, where the volume of our design could be folded and unfolded. This was then constructed by hand using chipboard. A volumetric inversion was applied to this model, and then represented by a cardboard layering process. The resulting void spaces were then digitally inhabited by silhouettes. The end result was interesting and appealing, and though the project title was suspicious first, it was indeed Knot Architecture.


Course: Art : Drawing I Spring 2009 Instructor: Jennifer Nevitt Project:

Textural and Material Studies: the Shape and Form of McNamara Alumni Center


For our final drawing project, we each applied the different techniques learned and media used to create a finished piece of work. Anticipating my application to the Architecture program, I chose to relate this project to my interests. Rather than choosing a familiar object or scene, I chose a building to study for this project, the McNamara Alumni Center on the edge of the University of Minnesota campus.


Through an extensive exploration process, I created drawings with an assortment of mediums. Focusing on the exterior form of the building, I observed the textures, reflections, colors, and shadows created by the interesting surfaces of the Alumni Center.


A series of drawings were created, exhibiting the shapes, colors, and textures of the building. Fast sketches and drawings allowed me to focus on the material properties of the paper, charcoal, and building itself.

Planes, Edges, Textures


This corner element of the building was one of the most pleasing features explored in my images. The sharp triangular edge formed by the stone and glass provided elegant reflections and contrasts with the surrounding environment and blue sky above. The irregular geometry and lines of the building grew on me. I had started the study with some distaste for the building, but the drawings helped me understand and enjoy the forms and material qualities the building boldly showcases.

Convergence & Contrasts


Course: The Architecture of Dr. Seuss Fall 2011 Instructor: Gayla Lindt Precedent: Virginia Lee Burton, Illustrator Project:

Illustration for collaborative children’s story: the Institutional Hierarchy of a Place Nora’s Next Day


In this workshop, we chose a precedent children’s book illustrator to study and imitate. Remembering some of my favorite childhood stories, including Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, I chose to investigate the works and styles of Virginia Lee Burton.

After some background research on Burton’s life, I began to familiarize myself with her sweeping, stylized illustrations by performing a series of sketches from illustrations in her books. I found that her success was due to her exciting, suspenseful, and delightful drawings and storylines.

The first assignment was to copytranscribe an illustration from one of our illustrator’s books. I chose this scene from Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel because of its interesting layering of spaces, urban to rural movement, and color.


Familiarizing myself with her style, I saw that Burton’s illustrations embodied the fun and attention to detail I have in my own work, making us a perfect match for this workshop


Our final project was a collaborative children’s story. After coming up with a protagonist for our book, each student wrote a sentence for his/her own spread in the story. Our sentences would embody an emotion, and our drawings would embed an architectural idea.


Sketching as a way to explore bodily movement and define the architectural ideas of plath, place and institution


a spacially defined path along places to a Place


Peers’ work for children’s book collaborative:

Nora’s Next Day


Combining the lively, stylized drawing methods of Burton with my own interpretation, I created an image that embodied the architectural ideas of Institution, Path, and Place. Defining Institution was difficult, but I connected elements of path (long route of movement), placement (perched high on a hill), and symbolism (school bell, flag) to embody this idea. Layering of places and transitional spaces used by Burton helped express this architectural idea. Urban density, rural sparsity, and the movement through these spaces existed in Burton’s illustrations -- it was just a matter of discovering and extracting them. My main architectural idea, a Spacial Path along places to a Place, provided a unique circumstance to my storyboard.

Fortunately, Nora’s school


was finally within eyesight . . .

and she was determined to get there quickly.


Course: Intro to Drawing in Architecture Fall 2010 Instructor: James Howarth Projects:

Assorted Work: from Sensitive to Scrupulous

Sarphatistraat Offices, Guthrie Theater, Sink & Machine Part, Rapson East Stairwell


Beginners to drawing in architecture, this course sought to teach us the fundamentals of drawing with design-thinking. Contour line drawings and graphite value drawings are two essential sketching and design tools for getting ideas across. Progressive layering of graphite and pencil was explored.

Value Drawings


This gradual layering technique showed me that beautiful graphite drawings can result from patience and care. In addition, white pencil on black paper was discovered to be particularly successful when reproducing darker or nighttime images. These value drawings helped examine, successfully express, and exaggerate varying lighting conditions of this modern building.

Sarphatistraat Offices Amsterdam


For this series of works, we were to choose a building with a variety of spaces and contrasing lighted areas. The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis was a perfect local case study to practice my value drawing. Exploring light and shadow on the interior and exterior spaces, I was able to better understand the shapes, forms, and spaces in and around the theater.

Guthrie Theater Minneapolis


Experimenting with an electronic tablet to produce a digital painting of the Minneapolis skyline


Rapson Hall East Stairwell University of Minnesota

For this final project in Introduction to Architectural Drawing, we were to chose one of several staircases to study using the drawing techniques we had learned over the semester. I chose this particular staircase because of its unique path, form, and the way light plays off its surfaces. The planes of tonality created by the unique lighting allowed for interesting and eye-pleasing photographs, value drawings, and technical drawings. The central core space defined by the cement forms became the focus of my drawings.

Images, value drawings, and an oblique drawing helped me understand this unique space and discover interesting elements to study further


the Central Core


Technical Drawings Sink, Machine Part, Chair


Focusing on our analytical and technical skills, assorted objects were studied to practice our scaled drawing techniques. With attention to precision and materiality, elevation and section cuts were made to help visualize the inside of objects and understand how they work.


Course: Design Fundamentals II Spring 2011 Instructors: John Comazzi, Adam Jarvi Project:

Stairwell Study: Spaces and Paths Abstraction & Hybridization


This project focused on one of several staircases. I chose this particular stairwell to study because of its unique eye-catching features. The highly contrasting black and white elements brought out interesting components of the stairs, and the lighting accentuated the walls, shapes, and planes with a variety of shadow effects.


While documenting the space in photos, I noticed how the contrasting black elements of the stair created lines, borders, and paths leading me up and around the stair. Using an abstract joiner technique, I documented my movement through the floors of the stairwell and arranged the photos in a way that expressed the spaces and pathways I experienced. The black handrail was one defining feature that I could follow up and around the staircase.


Photos document interesting perspectives of the stair, while a hybrid drawing allows the understanding of the spaces, pathways, and essential elements of the space


Hybrid Drawing


Diagramming over an isometric drawing assisted in understanding the defined path of the staircase, and how the stairwell presents itself as a series of spaces.


Course: Material Limits : Wood Spring 2012 Instructors: Tom Westbook, Colin Oglesbay Project:

Wood Joinery and Systems:

from the Hand to the Machine


Our first woodworking project called us to design and create a joint, requiring the union of at least three pieces of wood. After our trip to Grand Marais and the North House Folk School, I wanted to take what we learned about carving mortises and tenons to the next level. The Chinese have been known for their woodworking skills and joinery, so I looked for inspiration in various Asian woodworking books and websites. I came across several Chinese furniture joints, and chose one that featured the complexity I was interested in and would present challenges that could be solved by expanding on the carving skills learned so far in the course.


Knowing that three pieces of wood at right angles to each other could form the corner of a box or cube, I chose a Ming-inspired three-way joint that accentuated the corner. It featured several interlocking mortises and tenons that proved to be a challenge to carve.

Accuracy and care were required for this joint work, where a keen eye and a sharp chisel were the keys to success


While the first half of the course focused on woodworking the old-fashioned way -- with hand-tools and elbow grease -- the second half was directed towards engineered lumber, and the manipulation of the wood products with machines and digital fabrication. My first project involved large timbers and a very sturdy interlocking design, but my second project focused on the opposite -- how could I manipulate wood to produce a flexible product, and what could I create with this?

Different kerfing angles and depths dramatically affect the flexibility of plywood


Using digital modeling software, I was able to visualize possible designs for a complex kerfbased system. I then sought to explore how the depth, angle, and frequency of cuts in plywood would affect the flexibility of the product.

By linking two kerfed pieces of plywood facing each other, I created a wood system where the sharpness of the curves could be adjusted by sliding the two ends along a rod. Each kerfed board would connect to another through a pivoting piece which would serve as the connection to the adjacent part of the kerf system. By connecting several parts along a longer rod or cable, a larger lattice system could be created.


Course: Memorials & Models Spring 2012 Instructor: Aaron Marx Project:

Memorial Proposal: the State of Being

a Monument to Existentialism


As humans we have the incredible mental capacity of long-term memory, and all the emotional, spiritual, and practical benefits that come with this ability. As a result, we proceed through life collecting a vast library of memories in our minds from our experiences and interactions with others. We have an emotional connection to these memories, which often include friends, families, objects, or scenes in our natural and built environment. The fascinating phenomenon of remembrance occurs when we see, hear, touch, or smell something that triggers a memory with a person, object, or place, leading to some emotional reaction. These experiences are what make life interesting and enjoyable. As designers and architects, we have the opportunity to create spaces that are of sentimental value.


Opposite page: Left: Images from a field trip to HGA’s Lakewood Cemetary Garden Mausoleum, a subject for the idea of memory and remembrance Center: Rebuilding an experience with Google Maps, I rediscovered a lost memory through digital modeling Right, Top: Internet-sourced photos of Al-Shaheed Monument, a group case study Right, Bottom: A 3D rendering and physical model were created to better understand the scale and implications of this monument, which was built in memory of the Iraqi soldiers who died in the Iran-Iraq War This page: A variety of methods were used to understand and create a memorial for the Antarctic Expedition of Captain Scott (1912)


This workshop asked us to design a memorial for the final project. Progressing through this course and the project itself, it became apparent that designing something for our memories, something we remember from the past, is a very abstract and difficult concept. On top of this already complex subject, I chose to focus my monument on life and death, the body and soul, and what it means to “be.� The philosophical ideas of ontology, life after death, and the body and soul as separate entities resulted in many hours of contemplation and reading into the subject. Ultimately, this assignment tought me to be more thoughtful and open-minded with my design process. The sculpture I created was meant to be impossible, infeasible. The inward focus points toward the levitating sphere, representing the soul, which is escaping the force of a gravity-bound body located in a material world.


Computer-based methods of representation were a main focus for this workshop. Therefore, digital sketching, modeling, and finally three-dimensional prototyping were explored


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Shane Thornes - Arch / Design Portfolio (earlier years)  

Selected works from my earlier undergraduate years

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