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methods of inquiry

1. Resources in which I am referencing, pertain to active learning and collaboration along with engaging environments. Due to the wide variety of spaces types in which these processes occur, my research and precedents include: assembly spaces, exhibition installations, institutional, public spaces, operas, and libraries. These project types/spaces all act in supporting both new trends in learning as well as bringing large groups of people together. Both tie back to my concept relating to integration of active learning within a collaborative environment, which can support innovative solutions. 2. Diagram and trace overlay new Montessori buildings in order to gain insight on the process of designing these types of schools. It also might help me find a common design and programming thread within this type. This lends itself for gaining knowledge in the types of adjacencies these schools have programmatically. 3. Read into current day Learning processes and institutional design which describes how the curriculum effects the learner’s emotions and brain activity. This will help justify my thesis ideas by providing contextual research evidence. 4. After determining a specific building typology. Research appropriate case studies so that I can understand methods of design. This will allow me to begin introducing my thesis idea into the typology. At this time it might also be appropriate to get someone on my thesis panel which specializes in this typology to ask them about excellent case studies and programming ideas. 5. How can architectural form, spatial relationships and visual openness of programmed elements facilitate and environment which alters the sensory receptors for an ideal learning atmosphere. I might try to answer this question by investigating space types which facilitate learning in a non-academic function. This will help me find references which I can explore beyond implementation in Universities. 6. Will the implementation of an academic process for learning in young children have similar responses in an environment for adults? I might be able to find case studies where children and adults work together in an experiential learning environment. This will help me understand the environments where this works well as well as where there may be differences. 7. Can a built environment based on academic principals look like a typology that is nonacademic? This research will be explored in the library and on-line, in order to further find new curriculums and typologies in which I might not know about. This will ensure that I am implementing my ideas into the appropriate program.

proposal addendum 1. The original site was zoned for 1.5 million square feet with a FAR of 4.

My solution was to select a portion of the original proposed site. The location is closest to the channel containing an approximate area of 28,000 square feet. The smaller site consists of using two adjacent buildings areas which were proposed with the 100 Acre Master Plan. In addition to decrease the site area I also increased my proposed program to roughly 130,000 square feet. My program is subject to change slightly depending on the direction and exploration of scale within the selected site.

terms of criticism

1. Does the environment created allow for customization for the respected users, promote freedom through visual awareness between multiple spaces, use the architecture as part of the learning, bring in nature into the environment and bring the environment out into nature. 2. Does the building encourage social interaction and engagement between various users. 3. Will the building showcase the concept of active learning and engagement? 4. Does it provide an open and inviting environment? 5. Are the spaces arranged in a non-standard method that caters to a variety of learning styles which can be adaptive and flexible. 6. Does the building showcase multiple styles of learning in a completely new type of application. 7. Does the building facilitate collaboration in both a physical and digital way.

8. Does this new typology allow for learning to take place between different users as well as allowing for public involvement?

engaging spaces

9. Will the idea of cross-pollinating professional disciples and age groups within the same space create improved problem solving that can achieve innovation.

thesis statement

Architecture which can stimulate innovation through social interaction Supported by collaboration and inspired by Montessori principles Can the engaging of multiple learning processes yield an environment for enhanced exchanging of information via collaboration and digital media?

My thesis is about creating an environment for education, communication, technology, active learning, and collaboration. Key components of collaboration regard adaptability, visual connectivity, integration of nature, order, transformative spaces, layering of program, and the de-standardization of space types. With the standardization of building uses comes restraints on adaptability and functionality within spaces. In order for sharing of ideas to occur, standard space types are no longer a determining factor for the success for the program. Standardization does not account for Lifelong Learning in a long-term perspective. The more adaptable and flexible a series of spaces becomes further enhances the ability for the environment to provide adequate services which can assist in the exchanging of information.


Spacial Overlapping Montessori Design Attributes: 1. Openness within a space. 2. Clear visibility between adjacent spaces with adequate lighting. 3. Integrate nature within the context of the classroom. 4. The atmosphere must compliment the use.

Montessori believed that the curriculum and the spaces they are taught in, must promote freedom, order, beauty and atmosphere, didactic materials, community life, and reality and nature. These concepts determined as the criteria of the Montessori approach which became critical in allowing the creative mind to flourish.. “Emphasis must be placed on visibility between activity areas in order to permit observation by the teacher, and activity areas in order to permit observation by the teacher and between the children.” For Montessori, visibility promoted freedom and the inclination that if the boundaries of a space can be minimized and the use can be adaptable, then architecture can begin to facilitate collaboration.

engaging to occupy the attention or efforts of (a person or persons): to occupy oneself; become involved:


to work within a group towards a common goal: to bring together unlike minds in order to troubleshoot problems and generate new ideas:

Active Learning

is an approach to instruction in which students engage the material they study through engage in activities, such as reading, writing, discussion, or problem solving that promote analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of class content. Active learning stands in contrast to “standard” modes of instruction in which teachers do most of the talking and are passive.


not conforming to traditional architectural programming strategies adhering to a specific building typology.


is a pattern of reciprocal service exchange that uses units of time as currency.


is a community marketplace to learn anything from anyone. We believe that everyone has something they want to learn and something they can teach to others. This means our communities are really the greatest universities. Our platform helps make the exchange of knowledge easy, enriching, and fun.

| Alex Jeffrey Siekierski | Masters Thesis Candidate | Architecture which can stimulate social interaction | Introductory review |


a street facade 2001 * Image Courtesy of Fort Point District 100 Acres 11-22-06

Site Section Characteristics * Image Courtesy of Fort Point District 100 Acres 11-22-06

| Alex Jeffrey Siekierski | Master of Architecture Candidate | Middle Board

100 year master plan land use

fort point channel


244 a street & haul street sites in south boston

The proposition based thesis that I am investigating relates to a enhancing the ways we transfer information through social means. The goal and plan of this South Boston site for the next 100 years is to attract science and technology companies and submerge them within a newly developed artist community. My thesis will be part of this 100 year plan so that it has future need beyond the immediate intent of the use. This will allow me to develop a fully integrated design that impart relates to the building’s function, site context, master plan and public sector.

SELECTION STATEMENT Overall Fort Point Channel promotes the greatest opportunity for my thesis due to the diversity of user groups, numerous means of public transportation, residences, visitors, tourists, and social attractions. The engagement of the site with the harbor walk and waterfront also adds additional external means of connectedness which can contribute to my thesis exploration. Also located within the “innovation district” of Boston the site adds future opportunity to develop within a larger urban plan that can assist in maturing the thesis concept at a micro and macro level.

| Alex Jeffrey Siekierski | Masters Thesis Candidate | Architecture which can stimulate social interaction | Introductory review |


thesis studio site analysis

site boundaries conceptual mapping diagram

| Alex Jeffrey Siekierski | Masters Thesis Candidate | Architecture which can stimulate social interaction | Introductory review |


Single Surface Manipulation

Surface Diagram as a Integrated System

Analytical Site Drawing - “Stirring� Diagram

THESIS CONCEPT ANALYTICAL SITE SKETCH In response to my thesis studio design process I have analyzed my site in South Boston through the lens of gears working together and cuts on a surface that influence folding. When layering these ideas on top of one another I unveiled some additional information about my site that was not visible before. In the above diagram I began identifying the large cuts thought the South Boston which were dependant upon some of the primary vehicular paths (both above and below ground). Looking deeper at the surface context I began to identify districts within the larger area as well as zoning. This lead to small overlaps where the districts bled beyond its zoning. Amongst this process I began using these diagrams as a lens for viewing boundaries within my site. These boundaries also help me identify gears (orange) which are dependant upon the cuts through the larger area that help divide up the districts.

Physical Models surface cut explorations

studio process statement My studio investigations first began with the transfusion of a mechanical element with a natural process. These elements were the interaction of a piston and the gears within it which all work cohesively and are dependant upon one another. The second element was the process of palm leave weaving where a natural segment could be broken down from a single surface and manipulated into unique shapes. The integration of the two dynamics began with taking the boundaries of the piston and flattening them out into a singular surface which then could be manipulated into a 3D construction. In the end I was fascinated by the folding/ manipulating of a surface and the moments each manipulation could have on the adjacent elements. This process was all driven toward enforcing my thesis concept of engaging and interaction.

My sketch problem became a continuation of my combined natural + mechanical process of folding from within a singular surface. The orange part of the diagram to the right is what I used to fold and create the process model to the left. This model began to shape what could be interpreted as architectural space. From this model I began to inform myself about the influence the that the surface has on the form when folded. Through the series of 18 mini models above I developed a language and process for erecting shapes from the surface cut direction. The relationship of the cut at the base is almost mirrored in 3-Dimensions when folded upon itself. The increased number of folds and directions of the folds helps create unique geometry that can engage one another. The three models below are toward the final stages of my sketch problem process which I began folding three walls so that they correspond to the one adjacent to It.

sketch problem model views

| Alex Jeffrey Siekierski | Masters Thesis Candidate | Architecture which can stimulate social interaction | Introductory review |



active learning environment

an engaging installation for learning

Project Architect KOSSMAN DEJONG Thesis Relevance This public information center is an excellent example of the type of space I am looking to create. The space engages its users with the architecture and allows the environment to teach the visitors about the context of the surrounding area. The space is intended to appeal toward different user age groups creating a friendly and warm atmosphere. Cutouts in the floor and exhibit areas create unique moments for active learning.


circulation path at entry

core circulation

entrance of natural light

LÁZARO CARRETER BIBLIOTECA, VILLANUEVA DE LA CAÑADA, MADRID, SPAIN | 2002 Project Architect CHURTICHAGA+QUADRA-SALCEDO MADRID, SPAIN Thesis Relevance The building form was derived by a unique way of interpreting the use of a library. It placed the reading material around a centralized core which ramps up and leads users around the different programmed spaces. The circulation was decorated with wood while the rest of the structure was primarily constructed of brick masonry. Due to the structural installation of the masonry this structure became vaulted with two large skylights allowing this core to distribute the natural light. The Architect‘s used local materials as a structural element in order to achieve their design intentions, which I find very compelling and serve as the essence of the building environment.

user path overlay diagram

Project Architect SNOHETTA OSLO, NORWAY Thesis Relevance I choose this precedent due to the connections in which the building form creates with different user groups. The form of the building works together with the site in order to allow circulation paths to overlap and engage one another. The building acts as a landmark with engages the public with the private users of the opera. The edge condition of the site, located adjacent to the downtown district and waterfront, assist in attracting various types of user groups. The mixed use function, angled forms and choice of materiality all work together to create a public spectacle throughout all times of the day and year.


precedent studies & analysis

connection to the site

Project Architect TEZUKA ARCHITECTS Thesis Relevance The restraints of the site allowed for a circular building form to evolve providing paths connecting to the existing structures on the site. The form of the building also provided security for the children of the school. It provided visual connections in 360 degrees. The operable walls around the inner courtyard provide adaptability for interior/exterior connections. Also preserving the trees on site were a large part of the design which allowed for the trees to serve as part of the Architecture and learning experience for the children. The key components from this case study are that the form/shape provides minimal impact on the site while allowing the most opportunity for interior / exterior activities for learning and interaction to take place within in a secure area.

extruded geometries


entrance of natural light

entrance of nature

PALAU DE LAS ARTES VALENCIA, SPAIN | 2007 Project Architect SANTIAGO CALATRAVA Thesis Relevance I choose this precedent due to the geometric relationships which assist in attracting various users as well as provide order and function to the building. I also was drawn to the use of structural elements which help ground the architecture and become an attractive aestetic entity which can assist in engaging the users with the built environment. The presence of the building at night is also something which helps define the sculptural qualities and integration of natural elements, such as the reflection and sounds of water.

Project Architect MACK SCOGIN MERRILL ELAM ARCHITECTS Thesis Relevance Acting as a campus center, the function of the building is to house many different users with the support of different space types. The unique shapes both interior and exterior, create a unique way to allow the building to accept light during the day and emit light at night. These unique shapes and intricate vertical circulation paths all allow the interior environment to respect and welcome the exterior context of the buildings surroundings. As a central part of the overall campus this building is a great example for creating a place for social interaction.

| Alex Jeffrey Siekierski | Masters Thesis Candidate | Architecture which can stimulate social interaction | Introductory review |


program statement

My thesis is about creating an environment for education, communication, technology, active learning, and the sharing of ideas and information. While these concepts can all be found in forms of institutional applications I am looking to explore them in a professional application with an emphasis on utilizing the processes in which information is exchanged as a service to the public. This is about staying up to date on mainstream technology while creating an environment that allows various users to interact on a social level in order to achieve innovative ideas for our future development as a global network. I am looking to develop a new typology that provides all the necessary services so that individuals and groups of people can come with a common goal of problem solving in mind. The users of this new typology can be broken down into two types: One is corporate professionals which may consist of integrated technology, developers, law, entrepreneurs, scientists and biologists along with medicine. The other is Artistic users who may consist of painters, graphic designers, sculptures, industrial designers and metal workers. My goal is to develop an environment that creates interaction between these two different types of users. Similar to a “thinktank� the architecture houses the tools necessary for individuals and corporations that are developing new technologies to come together with ideas at a public service facility. The objective was to design a melting-pot that would encourage interaction and reflect innovation within the products the users are developing. The overall idea is to take use specific facilities and combine them into one structure so that social interaction between visitors taking yoga, cooking, CPR, cycling, website design, dance, painting & corporate development can interact and engage one another.


program requirements

user types

The mission is to create an active learning environment which cultivates innovation through social exchange. It is essentially to have the site working as part of this mission to support collaboration both within the building and outside within the surrounding context. The mission of my thesis is to create a melting-pot where education, culture, community, and nature are all working together to create a place for spending as well as leisure, and outdoor activities to take place. Ultimately I envision the thesis building type to become a part of the urban fabric in which it can create moments which had not occurred. In lesser of a word; the intention is to create an engaging architecture which a focus on natural integration both for experiencing open space and for the fostering of collaboration.

INNOVATIVE RESOURCE CENTER: BUILDING TOTAL: 130,252sf 37% GENERAL USAGE: 49,342sf 27% BUILDING SERVICES: 35,330sf 13% ARTISTS SERVICES: 16,980sf 21% TIMEBANK SERVICES: 28,600sf | Alex Jeffrey Siekierski | Masters Thesis Candidate | Architecture which can stimulate social interaction | Introductory review |


Site Area 28,000sf

site option 1


After understand the site I began forming ideas in regards to designing spatially within the site. The sketches below illustrate many ideas. Some of which pertain to interior/exterior circulation being the driving design element which h connects and links the larger programmed areas. Another emphasizes asizes maintaining the boardwalk and public connection as is can then he en b bisect isect tthe building. The form of the two user types become dependant epen ndant o off o one ne another and begin interlock adjacencies. Lastly, areas eas w where he ere o open pen p public ublic programmed spaces can integrate artistic pr programs rograms in no order rder tto oe encourage ncou public ategies ccontain onta ain tthe he iintegration ntegration o participation. All of these strategies of the xterior p ro ogrrammed sspace. pace. existing harbour walk with ex exterior programmed

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Site Area 70,000sf

site option 2


The edge condition of Summer Street & Haul Street in South Boston promotes the greatest opportunity for a larger community connection & infrastructure development. The site has two different height conditions which can allow for a unique vertical circulation design. The site also is larger and could integrate parking and green space into the program which would connect to the 100 acre master plan. The close proximity to the convention center and trade center allows for a visual connection to corporate visitors as well as the A Street artist community from the lower south view of the site.


After understand the context of the second site I choose to use similar strategies from the other site condition in regards to attracting the two user types from particular areas on the site. In addition my strategies began to explore open social spaces within the core of the buildings working outward toward private amenities. This Parti illustrated one corporate elements flanked on each side by two artistic ones with a shared public corridor element for all three spaces. These space ideally would be able to see and interact with each other depending on the use. Other designs incorporate park areas at both street levels of the site with vehicular circulation through the building into an on site parking garage. In addition the artist program would also be accessible in a bi-leveling manor adjacent to the corporate program.

| Alex Jeffrey Siekierski | Masters Thesis Candidate | Architecture which can stimulate social interaction | Introductory review |


Introductory Review Boards  

Jan. 17th 2012

Introductory Review Boards  

Jan. 17th 2012