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EDITOR’S PREFACE Loutherback, McBeth and Ponce approached me in the spring of 2015, with an interest in developing a collaborative voice in their architecture studies. Too few opportunities are offered for both collaboration and speculation within a six studio undergraduate sequence that must deal with the practicalities of ADA, IBC, the gauntlet of history, technology and drawing courses within the NAAB approved curriculum. This was an opportunity to work with a group of motivated students who are genuinely interested in the potential of architecture, and this booklet continues to exemplify these students desire to both learn about architectural design and share their understanding with their colleagues. The idea for a competition studio came about organically, and aligns two pedagogical pursuits of mine. One; to create a scholastic environment where design students are challenged to find their own voice through architectural investigation and then attempt to formalize and visualize this speculative vision. Secondly; to foster collaborative environments where individuals can work together as a cohesive unit. By establishing a structure for students to thrive, I worked within the existing curricular framework set by the College of Architecture at Texas Tech University to provide a studio space for this independent study. While this course was truly a student-directed initiative, I offered a sounding-board for their ideas, to channel their energies through a series of weekly, informal discussions and a series of progress checkpoints to ensure their success while fortifying their arguments and proposals. This booklet is about the future. No other field is so perfectly posed to visualize alternative realities like architectural designers, and these projects test prospective conceptions of living through architectural speculation. Building on this inertia, this independent study focused on defining a visual manifesto of architectural futures, to be fully vetted by independent juries via the architectural competition. Each of the collaborative works addresses the scale of the city by employing the motive force of architecture as change agents for urban space and social environments while considering larger issues of environmental stewardship, resiliency and cultural concerns. Each competition grew in scale and appropriate longer timeframes - from the re-design of an derelict cityscape [1 week], to a public library in South London [3 weeks], to a ferry terminal and cruise ship terminal in San Juan [8 weeks].


Collaborative Works outlines these three design competitions, in addition to a series of written reflections on the successes and failures of their designs, these students have offered a series of tutorials, or design guides for future architectural students. As further evidence of the student-directed initiative, and to contextualize this semester’s speculative design within a mini-manifesto, this booklet offers a culmination of both the independent study and the undergraduate education of these three students. Alberto Ponce offers a valuable guide to ‘3d Modeling’, which outlines both file setup and workflow as efficient ways to organize complex digital files. Steven Loutherback writes about the importance of ‘Marketing’ architectural ideations through a series of visual and oratory examples. The final tutorial is titled ‘Design and Atmosphere’ and details the importance of situating conceptual designs within an effective atmosphere of the architectural rendering. Finally, as evidenced through the content and tutorial topics of this booklet, these students are much less interested in self-promotion of their design ideas, and more interested in sharing their experiences – both successes and failures – during their four years at Texas Tech University College of Architecture.

Peter Raab Towards a speculative and promising future for all.


INTRODUCTION Architecture Student Competitions are more common in today’s social and academic network than it was ten years ago. Sponsors from the industry and nonprofit organizations have garnered the energy and creative talent from students around the world to produce ideas that answer current social, economic, and cultural questions. For the host, it is an incredible source of problem-solving tactics and sometimes the exact response that was sought after. For the student submitting to the competition, it is an opportunity to showcase design, organization and presentation skills outside the educational institution. Receiving outside feedback not only lets the student develop as a designer, but also re-assures their passion for becoming better every day. However, some academic curriculums are not flexible enough to allow students to compete at earlier stages in their education. By the time students have the ability to work on and submit to competitions, the hardest challenge is matching the quality and strength of the work that is being published at the time. The gh0st team (Alberto Ponce, Steven Loutherback and Tyler Mcbeth) was established in 2014 with the intent of cultivating friendly competition within the College of Architecture. After competing and winning a college-wide (undergraduate + graduate) idea competition in 2015, the team decided to take the collective effort one step further. In the undergraduate architecture program at Texas Tech University, senior students are typically not enrolled in any type of studio because the studio sequence concludes in the summer session after the third year. The gh0st team managed to get a faculty on board as well as additional students to partake in the competition studio. The competition studio set forth by these students marked the first studio of its kind in the college’s history. The generosity of the school’s faculty granted the team their very own studio space dedicated to international, architectural competitions. Collaborative Works is the direct product of the work produced during the fall semester of 2015 in an independent study course advised by Assistant Professor, Peter Raab. In an effort to leave a legacy to the subsequent generations of architecture students, the gh0st team includes helpful advice about designing successful projects, and being able to present them as such.


For architecture students that are still in the early stages of their education, this book is intended to serve as a challenge; a quality and strength level that is completely achievable. The gh0st team believes that architecture students learn the most by competing against stronger adversaries. The studio culture is currently known for allowing students to learn and integrate concepts and lessons about architecture in their own design. While there is a level of competition in that environment, participating in a competition that is not part of a curriculum allows the student to push boundaries and test new frontiers. The gh0st team firmly believes that a strong design and concept is a product of seasoned experience, not skill. Collaborative Works emphasizes the importance of efficiency, organization and cohesiveness in a design workflow. Without these values, a student’s work ethic might work against them, hindering the end product and preventing growth. The gh0st team believes that in order to grow as a designer, the architecture student has to expand his or her own creative scope through experimentation. This book is intended to give credibility to efforts that experiment beyond the standards and conventions in the academic world. As long as the work ethic is strong enough to produce work throughout the semester, the advice provided in Collaborative Works will prove to be extremely beneficial to architecture students at all levels. The authors of Collaborative Works have faith that architecture students at Texas Tech University and students around the world accept the challenge and set new standards in the semesters to come. Even though publishing a collection of projects is a large milestone for a group of individuals, the gh0st team believes that inspiring younger generations is perhaps more rewarding than the collection of projects. Without an inspired younger generation of architects, how will the market change in the future? “The ultimate unsponsored competition is to graduate with the best design portfolio and enter the market as a capable, creative and efficient team player.� The authors of Collaborative Works were senior architecture students of Texas Tech University at the time of publication.


tyler mcbeth

steven loutherback

alberto ponce



“To get things done, you must love the doing, not the secondary consequences.” - Ayn Rand

Design is the ultimate process of materializing human creativity. Without it, how can we continue to build towards the future? Public infrastructure and its relation to the urban fabric will always be the core of my design research. After graduation, I intend to obtain a Master’s degree and become a licensed architect in Texas.

“When I grow up, I want to be an architect.”

At the age of five, I defined my career path. To this day, I commend that five year old for being bold, courageous, and a visionary. The vision has yet to cease. Still, I envision a future filled with experiences. Upon completing my undergraduate, I will pursue a position within a residential architecture firm.

“The creation of a single world comes from a huge number of fragments and chaos” - Hayao Miyazaki

I believe our field is like a filter through which art, creation, assembly and experience all pass and meet at a common point. Built and unbuilt architecture coexsits in this filter: we draw it out on paper, listen to it, capture it on images. I intend to be part of a design collective that is exploratory in nature and seeks to challenge the conventions and methods of traditional architecture.

Peter Raab, AIA, LEED AP, is an architect and educator. Professor Raab’s research focus is in the realm of site-specific design interventions impacting communities, the phenomenology of place, and sustainable cultures as it relates to material exploration in architectural futures.

While teaching the

practicalities of building technology courses and architectural design studios, Raab elicits active exploration via hands-on and immersive approach to design education.

peter raab faculty advisor



TABLE OF CONTENTS London Public Library // 1-Wall Archmedium LPL Competition 2015 Efficient 3D Modeling by Alberto Ponce Ghost City Shelter International Competition 2015 Marketing Studio Projects by Steven Loutherback Design and Atmosphere by Tyler Mcbeth San Juan Cruise Port // Cruise Net Archmedium SJCP Competition 2015 Competition Boards

pg 12 - 21 pg 22 - 35 pg 36 - 41 pg 42 - 53 pg 54 - 65 pg 66 - 77 pg 78 - 79



A wall, a mass and a landscape. Evoking the event multiplicity in what used to be Potter’s Field, 1-Wall Public Library offers access to a first class library and a wide array of social and cultural events. Also, it is the highlight in the daily circulation of those who work at the City Hall.



one wall library / project brief 1-Wall performs as both a destination and means of passage from the street edge to the pier edge of the Thames. 1-Wall is conceived as a body of three components: the wall, mass, and landscape. The wall embodies the core component of the library where books are archived and displayed. It is both monolithic and permeable in nature, performing as a primary source of information as well as an avenue for pedestrian circulation. The mass operates as a counterweight to the wall, structurally and conceptually. Its infrastructure houses program spaces that are characteristic of social engagement and intimate research. The landscape provides an alternative experience by manipulating the vertical displacement of the greenscape. The space created underneath the elevated greenscape allows for ample distribution of administrative and other social programs as a reminiscence of Potter’s Field. The process consists in separating and re-distributing a library program across three separate masses, creating zones of development and activity within the library. This converts the library from being a destination to a event grounds. As a result, program is parallel to being a path. Operations of this nature will produce unique landscapes that have fully integrated with complex programmatic inquiries, inviting one to push the boundaries of program distribution.











































As architecture students, we are faced with the challenge of taking what we’ve learned from textbooks and integrating it in our designs. While the process of learning the ropes varies from school to school, one thing becomes clear: designing on paper is different than designing with 3D modeling software. There are numerous elements that must be accounted for and time-efficiency is crucial, especially when deadlines are on the horizon. From building the site to preparing files for drawings, this article will describe a workflow that can help students design projects and go beyond requirements. This article will be specifically addressing 3D modeling with Rhinoceros by Mcneel & Associates.

EFFICIENT 3D MODELING context + infrastructure workflow



starting point Every studio-initiated project usually starts with a prompt, a site, a program and a creative process. Where the digital production starts differs from each designer but once it starts, it is usually with modeling the site (if it not modelled already). From personal experience, building a site with the entire studio, physically and digitally, allows the group to understand the space in which we design without being present at the site. To students that don’t have the resources to visit sites, being able to reproduce a piece of Earth is a great advantage. However, this poses a critical problem. Everybody has their own modeling style, organizing and file sharing method. The worst case scenario is that we have a poorly modeled sitefile and an overdue delivery date. For a studio that is usually a semester long, site modeling becomes very time consuming, affecting everybody’s final project and studio reputation.

rhino, nurbs & level of detail If it is the first time that you’ve read the word NURBS, this article will most definitely help you realize that Rhinoceros is the greatest modeling software out there. If you have, you’ll most likely learn something that you did not know about Rhinoceros before.

efficient 3d modeling: context + infrastructure workflow


Technically, NURBS stands for “Non-uniform rational B-spline�. As architects and designers, we must understand that NURBS is a mathematical model used in 3D applications to create curves and surfaces with greater precision. For a more explicit description, what we model in Rhinoceros is physically impossible to exist: the software displays each curve, surface and mass in a way that allows full editing capabilities. For a designer, this means Rhinoceros is a gigantic sandbox. Why is it so hard to get a good, clean and detailed model by the end of each semester? The better question is, are we aware of how Rhinoceros (Rhino) creates curves and surfaces?

alberto ponce


When we create a box in Rhino, each side is a surface. Each surface is made out of curves. And each curve is by a set of of points.The best, most detailed and efficient box will showcase a good understanding of controlling curves and surfaces. In terms of architecture models, there’s the first critical golden rule that I’ve trained myself to follow: the detail must respect the scale. I’ve had to learn this rule the hard way - long, wasted hours modeling details that never show up on the final board drawings. Why scale? Rhino allows us to have absolute control over how we view the 3d model. We have the ability to change viewport properties, accurately identify the focal length and even manually set the depth of field. In simpler terms, why bother modeling a small railing detail when the project is best defined by a bird’s eye view - 30 feet in the air? This is where our scale sensibility meter has to kicks in. Before you or your team dives into modeling every nook and cranny of the model, set a level of detail requirements that are equivalent to the scale in which you can see your design.

efficient 3d modeling: context + infrastructure workflow


Based off a professional 3d modeling company in London, I’d like to assign requirements under these four categories*: LOD 1. Level of Detail necessary for: conceptual diagrams, massing strategies, contextual relationship diagrams, top-down site mapping, early design stages, post-rational diagramming and all site context that is not adjacent to the project.

LOD 2. Level of Detail necessary for: elevations with site included, wide angle perspectives (prevent distortion), aerial perspective site mapping, circulation strategies and programmatic layout diagrams.

LOD 3. Level of Detail necessary for: longitudinal and transversal sections, cropped elevations, axonometric drawings, exploded axonometric drawings, exploded perspective drawings, entry diagrams, interior wide perspectives, interior-exterior sections, plans, perspective plans, roof plans, cropped aerial perspectives. LOD 4. Level of Detail necessary for: section details, interior elevations, detail elevations without site, person-level perspectives (35-50mm), bottom-up perspectives, inverted plans, specifications, scaled up sections and/or elevations (anything ¼ or bigger might need more detail), cropped interior scenes and site context adjacent to the project. *these categories are for organization and project management. Leave room for interpretation.

Everybody has their own speed and skill at modeling with Rhino. This list helps the “modeler” schedule out the heavy duty work (modeling) and be able to complete the final drawing requirements in time. But sometimes that list isn’t available until two weeks before the final due date. Is that a problem? Of course not! Each design has a personality and a character that is best portrayed by a special kind of drawing(s),

alberto ponce


no matter the scale. As designers, we should start to think about these things as the concept becomes to materialize. That way, from early on, the designer has an idea of how much work is going into modeling and how much into post-production. For example, John is a draftsman. He has pre-drawn CAD blocks of every steel beam and screw but he is really slow at 3D modeling. Will he spend time modeling his project to an impossible LOD4? Of course not. If John’s situation sounds a lot like yours, don’t spend too much time modeling a nice railing when it is impossible for you to give the same TLC to the entire project during the period of a semester. Draw some refined geometries, leave space for post-production and fill in the detail when everything is 2D. Although it is ideal to have a pretty good 3D model for portfolio work, think hard about your own skill set and how can you bend the process tree a little to make your project shine. Remember, you only have a semester or less to produce the work.

inserting active, linked blocks Rhino (always use the 64-bit executable) is very unique with its large project management system. Every time you open Rhino, the program logs changes in layers, geometries and viewport settings into a session. So if Jane and John are working on the same file on a server, there won’t be any overwriting. You can manually overwrite the file by saving on itself, but that is user prompted (one’s fault). In addition, Rhino may serve as both a storage unit and a workspace.

efficient 3d modeling: context + infrastructure workflow


Let’s describe this in a scenario: Finals week is in four days and Jane’s Rhino file keeps crashing every time she opens it. She reads the details of her Rhino file and it is an astonishing 400MB file. Jane’s computer isn’t the latest model, running with 6GB of RAM memory. She feels like she’s lost all of her work and is about to cry.

Let’s start with this: don’t cry Jane. Rhino has your back. But there are some things that Jane was not aware about before she came to this tragic point: The second golden rule of modeling: watch your file weight. Rhino is only as capable as the machine running it. Hardware wise, a faster hard drive (SSD or Hybrid HDD) will technically open the file faster. More RAM memory will keep Rhino running faster, handling the weight of the file at the same time. So for a machine trying to run a Rhino file of 400MB with only 6GB of RAM is like carrying an elephant while riding a tricycle. Thus, the reason why it crashes (a human would be definitely crushed). Even if you have the top-of-the-line hardware, keep every file under 100MB for smooth running and a max of ~250MB for files that have materials, light & render settings, and other carry-ons that add weight. The third golden rule of modeling: your file is not your desk. While for humans it is almost necessary to have a multiplicity of things in the same volume of space, these logics are extremely wasteful in Rhino space. So how can you organize? First, draw a rectangle (large one). That is your pen area. Second, there is a nifty command called exportwithorigin. Select a part of your model with the rectangle and select a corner (generally top-left works best) and run the command. This will save the selected part of the mammoth model as its own Rhino file, with elements so that you can put it together later. Repeat and now you have a folder of Rhino files that when together, make your exciting project. Now that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a mammoth model, but that shouldn’t be your only source. It will always be easier to herd sheep than it is to herd a bear.

alberto ponce


efficient 3d modeling: context + infrastructure workflow


If your situation sounds similar to Jane’s, Rhino can take it from here if you allow it to. If you have a folder of all of the files that make your project, then it is time to make a new Rhino file. First, set your model to the same measurement settings and run the insert command. This will prompt you to locate a block, indicate insert method, specify scale, positioning and rotation settings. For what this process requires, leave the rotation and scale settings as uniform and the positioning setting as prompt. Now go find one of the project files and insert it as a Block Instance. The next screen will have details of the file you selected and will ask you how are you going to relate this file to the one you have currently open. Unless you want to give birth to another mammoth file, we want to always insert blocks as linked and active layer style. And because we exported every file with that rectangle corner as the origin, we just type in 0,0 as the coordinates and viola! You have created a file made out of a set of blocks. These settings allow is for the current Rhino file to “read” the other blocks directly into your screen, but without actually being there. With an active layer style, you can turn off/on layers to improve visibility (thus reason to organize layers beforehand). From a software-hardware standpoint, this strategy reduces Jane’s mammoth 400MB file to a ~400KB file. If you have all the layers turned on and viewing the model on rendered, then it will still be a problem regardless. However, by blocking linked and active blocks into your file you can always turn the layer off, keep that part stored and keep the file weight at a minimum!

alberto ponce


teamwork and file-sharing The only time architecture students work alone is when we are working on our own design. While working in a firm is a different story, we work in teams quite often. Teamwork is extremely crucial, especially during the dreaded site modeling stage of every undergraduate and graduate studio. If you followed my steps, you will end up with a folder that contains the “workspace” a.k.a. the master file, and hopefully another folder that contains every file that has been blocked into the master file. At this point, file sharing is easy. Distribute that folder through a server, Dropbox or physical drive. If you’re the team leader, delegate your team members to work on the individual files, not the master file. So when it is time to reorganize the files back, the team leader can open the master file and Rhino will automatically update each file that contained any changes. If that didn’t happen, run the BlockManager command to double check the namin g, file path and count of your blocked files. This course of action promotes a healthy, non-destructive editing style - the fourth and final golden rule of modeling. As the team leader, you have an original copy of the entire project. Your team members make changes to their own files, and give them back to update the old ones. Without manually overwriting the files, you now have all versions of the original and the current copy. Alone or in a team, always keep the latest master file batch in a secure location. If a file went missing, check the latest ‘backed up’ batch.

efficient 3d modeling: context + infrastructure workflow


alberto ponce


efficient 3d modeling: context + infrastructure workflow


conclusion If there’s anything you take home from this tutorial, always remember the four golden rules. Golden not because they’re glorified by academia or licensed by Autodesk to produce amazing work. They’re golden because they’ve proved me time and time again to be the keystone to successful studios, enriching presentations, fruitful critiques and a steady sleep schedule since my junior year of undergraduate architecture studies. They’re golden because in the end, what matters is how you feel about the work you’ve done and how much it means to you. And if you’re proud of your work, you’re going places. So here is goes one last time: the detail must respect the scale watch your file weight your file is not your desk non-destructive editing style

And for those who still believe that those with better skills have better projects, I will openly object to that statement. Regardless of a designer’s skill with Rhinoceros, the best projects will emerge from efficiently crafted and detail-controlled 3d models. Everybody can visualize an object from an extruded rectangle, but not everybody can actually present a workable solution to both view and work on that object at the same time. The ability to put clean 3d models together will make you stand out, offer you opportunities you never imagined. In the words of my favorite professor: “Everybody thinks working hard enough will get you there. You have to work smarter. If you can work smart, then work even smarter and harder.”

alberto ponce



In this day and age, a downtown area should not solely be characterized by the economic and industrial center. In an effort to visualize an architecture that can be truly free, Ghost City proposes a method for cities to deconstruct, reorganize and re-purpose a pre-existing city centre.



occupying the inverse / project brief We envision architecture as a means to liberate unproductive built environments from the traditional categorization of post-industrialized urbanism. The solution changes the scale in which architecture performs, from a productive initiative to a passive landscape. By occupying the inverse, we intend to remove the primary urban core to promote adjacent, fertile zones to flourish and thrive. Throughout history, architecture’s main focus has been to serve humanity. Providing the infrastructure for civilization, cities have been built around the ideation of prosperity and human survival. Thus, we pose the question, what is architecture without humanity? In response, operations such as disassembly and reconfiguration seek to modify the existing context to achieve a truly passive landscape. In order to stitch the disassembled city back together, a sequence of alleys become circuits that serve as an active edge for events and as an entry to the proposed landscape. The process consists of stripping the built architecture from everything but the structure. As a result, the interstitial spaces (alleys) become the primary means for occupation and accessibility. These alleys perform as a network of pedestrian bridges that suggest circulation through and across the passive landscape of deconstructed architecture. This operation will produce a vast landscape of exposed infrastructure inviting one to consider the many facets associated with occupying derelict architecture.





At the undergraduate level, we as architecture students are given the opportunity to explore and experiment through hierarchical ideas. The means for developing a hierarchical idea differs from student to student, therefore each student may present his or her own project by what he or she deems necessary. Put differently, it is the responsibility of the student to showcase these ideas through different and/or necessary drawing mediums. It is through these mediums that the student must ‘sell’ his or her project to reviewers. This article will highlight the importance of the hierarchical idea, the implementation of the idea, and most importantly the visualization of the idea.

MARKETING STUDIO PROJECTS conception + promotion of ideas



the heirarchical idea As an architecture student, I have experienced the educational system and its aim to promote innovative ideas. Over the years, the design studio emphasizes the importance of the hierarchical idea. As a result, the final design has a multidimensional quality as apposed to a singular condition. In order to achieve a multidimensional project, the student must first measure and analyze the given site through means of: Community Culture Contextual relationships First, community space allows for event. As a student, I must recognize and consider that the design project is not solely about the built form. Therein lies the question: what happens to the design when its primary function isn’t being fulfilled? In other words, what is the design giving back to its surroundings? Communal space is one means for preserving and/or hosting community activities as well as a means for spatial activation when the design’s primary purpose isn’t being fulfilled. Second, cultural patterns have a profound influence on the usage of the design. While going through the architectural education program, I have observed students letting his or her ego dictate the design. It is the responsibility of the designer to account for and respect cultural norms of the place. Without doing so, the design may spark criticism, thus yielding an object as opposed to a design. Yet,

marketing sutdio projects: conception + promotion of ideas


we as students are not always able to visit the proposed site due to geographic limitations. Instead, we as students must resort to researching credible sources. Through external sources, one can begin to acknowledge and understand cultural patterns of the respective place. Lastly, the design’s contextual relationships frequently guide the hierarchical idea. Parameters such as building proximity, geographic features, views, etc. all contribute to the conception of an idea. The diagram series shown below offers an illustration of the design’s contextual relationships and the resultant connection.

steven loutherback


implementation of the idea Following the conception of the idea is its implementation. At the beginning stages of development, I posit that it is crucial for the student to visit the site in person. By doing so, the student is able to recognize and measure the scale of the place. While on site, I have come to identify possible design strategies that would not have arisen if I were experiencing the site via images. After measuring and analyzing the site, the next step constitutes the design’s manifestation. The method for idea implementation varies, but one must consider the role of the hand in the beginning stages of conceptual development.

Sketching is vital to the authenticity and creativity of the design. In a field dominated by computer software, I must not rely on digital technology for initial design development. Moreover, the hand allows for a faster turnover of ideas. As a result, ideas are retained and/or discarded at a much faster rate. In contrast, one is not restrained by the precision of three-dimensional computer software.

marketing sutdio projects: conception + promotion of ideas


Once I have undergone iteration after iteration, considered the parameters of multi-dimensional design, and a hierarchical idea established, it is time to make the conceptual idea a reality.

It should be noted that the role of the student is not to create the ‘right’ conceptual idea, but create a conceptual idea that can be supported through drawing, diagrams, and visualizations. Again, it is the student’s responsibility to use these mediums to ‘sell’ the project. It is at this point in the design process that I transition into three-dimensional

modeling software. However, the student must not discard sketching as a means for further design development. There may be constant oscillation between the hand and the computer. Similarly, it is essential to retain the qualities of the proposed hierarchical idea when modeling in a digital environment.

visualization of the idea Once the design development has ceased, I find that the most efficient way to portray my hierarchical idea is through architectural drawings, diagrams and visualizations. The rest of this article will emphasize the essentials of architectural visualization and its role in portraying the hierarchical idea. To reiterate, the purpose of the visualization is to market your project in a way where one is able to ‘sell’ his or her project to potential reviewers.

steven loutherback


view selection As architecture students, we are likely to choose certain views of our building that are the ‘coolest’. In other words, the view we select should not be limited to the building’s aesthetic. The frame(s) selected should tell a story (i.e. they should support the hierarchical idea). When selecting a view, it is also important to consider point of view, the horizon line, and the rule of thirds. The point of view has the most room for interpretation. However, if I am given a limit on visualizations, I will favor a human’s point of view. If time and skill level permits, one should strive for multiple perspectives, either portraying the hierarchical idea in multiple ways, or portraying other facets of the design. Either way, the visualization is there to infer a possible environment while simultaneously supporting the hierarchical idea. The horizon line goes hand in hand with point of view, however the placement of the horizon can further emphasize the mood of the final image. For example, a low horizon line at a human’s point of view can invoke moods such as awe and immensity. If this were the desired result, the final image would be complimented with a vertical orientation. On the other hand, a bird’s eye view may not have a horizon line. If a bird’s eye perspective is necessary, the image may exemplify contextual relationships that the human scale perspective could not.

marketing sutdio projects: conception + promotion of ideas


To finish, the rule of thirds is also another means for creating a visually captivating image. Simply put, the rule of thirds divides the image into 9 equal rectangles demarcated by guides and points of intersection. The rule is applied to an image wherein the subject is aligned with the guides and/or intersection point.

time efficient render output As architecture students, we are aware of fast deadlines and quick iteration. When it comes to architectural visualization, we as students do not have the luxury of material mapping and adjusting lighting within render software. For instance, the most time efficient method for architectural visualization can be broken down into three categories:

have an idea for the final image’s atmosphere base render output texture mapping in Adobe Photoshop

To make clear, this section is not a tutorial for individual render settings, rather it will illustrate the bare necessities of a base render. Before one begins to set specific settings in the respective render software, one must know or have a general idea of the atmosphere for the final image. Ideally, the most flexible scene is lit with directional, diffused lighting. This helps carry out the notion of having an overcast, winter visualization. With this diffused lighting, there aren’t any hard shadows. However, there are still shadows that demarcate one surface from the next.

steven loutherback


marketing sutdio projects: conception + promotion of ideas


Once the atmosphere is decided, it’s time to begin setting up the base render. The images shown to the left illustrate the level of detail that will provide adequate information for texture mapping. In addition to material (color) change, it is wise to include all permanent fixtures into the digital model. As one might expect, a higher degree of detail found in a base render will yield a more photorealistic image. When dealing with glazing, it is wise to render the glass with a vibrant color. By doing so, selecting glass in Adobe Photoshop will be streamlined and save minutes to hours of making individual selections. While in Adobe Photoshop, layer management is crucial when texture mapping. When adding textures, layers begin to accumulate and increase file size. Grouping and merging layers will reduce file size, as well as keeping your layers palette clean and concise. Texture mapping in Photoshop allows for much more experimentation in a shorter time frame. Again, this is crucial when preparing visualizations for final reviews. With time and experience, your workflow will improve thus resulting in shorter output time. To put time into perspective, the time spent post producing the base render accounted for 20 hours of work. Now, 20 hours is a long time but compare that time to the time spent mapping materials and lighting in render software. An image of this size and detail would constitute more than 20 hours of both material mapping and render time. Therefore, as students, it is our responsibility to understand and practice the most efficient means of visualization.

steven loutherback


establishing the mood At the core of architectural visualization lies the dualism between mood and atmosphere. Mood can be interpreted as the image’s display of emotion. In contrast, the atmosphere of an image is defined by its climatic state. The atmosphere can range from a sunny day, to a cold, foggy night. With that said, a successful visualization has a balance between both mood and atmosphere. The scenes on the right illustrate the same project, but each displays its own mood and atmosphere. In sample A, the image presents an animated, joyful mood. In contrast, sample B emanates a serene, yet illuminated mood. Through mood and atmosphere, the viewer is able to imagine themselves within the space and the emotions associated with the space.

conclusion Marketing a studio project requires one to communicate one’s hierarchical ideas to potential reviewers. This communication is supported by having a multi-dimensional idea, successful implementation of an idea, and finally the visualization of an idea. Although the final project may never reach reality, one must treat the project as if he or she was trying to sell the idea to a potential client. In closing, everything done at the undergraduate level is crucial to the development of a future career. Innovation, creativity and efficiency are essential to producing successful studio projects, and in turn, determine your path into graduate school.

marketing sutdio projects: conception + promotion of ideas




steven loutherback


How can we begin to “grade” our drawings? If we look at drawings with a series of stats, we can start to break down what makes a drawing effective. Realism, Technicality, Information, Complexity and Immersion.The balance of these values depends on the type of presentation and what is important to convey. In addition, these values start to play and build off one another, going hand-in-hand, such as technicality and information, or realism and immersion. It is possible to pair values to create new kinds of layered drawings that are doing much more for a presentation than what is considered “orthodox” in architectural education. This article will focus primarily on drawing immersion, strategies for achieving it, and how it can be effectively implemented in innovative ways to promote a higher understanding of a project.

DESIGN AND ATMOSPHERE immersive drawings + sensory perception



the mind + setting “Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going to was never there, and where you are is no good unless you can get away from it.” An example is the cognitive landscape of dreams, a catalog of visual and emotional imprints that have been collaged together to form a new or altered perceived realm. It is a form of subconscious design, but one that has seemingly no limits or boundaries. Moreover, when the lines between the actual realm and the mental realm become skewed, our tectonic memory of the built environment can also be changed unknowingly. In isolated micro-flashbacks we incorrectly resurface a location memory, or inaccurately reference a non-existent event. And equally important: the way you remember a place is almost never how it actually was. Our memories tend to accentuate the most critical features of an environment, therefore we remember and associate certain emotions with a particular setting. Moreover, we always have an idea of how a place is going to be before we actually get there, and without fail, it tends to be completely different. In essence, we “wipe clear” this envisioned setting that had been drawn up in the mind. Put differently, the mind has lost this place altogether. To what degree was it valid to begin with? Our mind has undergone its own design project here, drawing on whatever references and experiences it can to draw up a schematic idea of an anticipated place.

design and atmosphere: immersive drawings + sensory perception


The most intriguing part of the anticipated place is that it is entirely subconscious in nature, yet we seem to have no control over this act of preconception. The idea here is that the mind is extremely flexible with its perception. And because of that, we need to be flexible in drawings if we want them to be truly immersive, an idea which seems counter-intuitive. At first, one may perceive photo-realistic images as the best way to achieve immersion. There is a degree of validity in this, however photo-realism does not account for unpredictability and/or a dynamic view of perception. As a result, there is a technical barrier between precisely documented environmental conditions and interpretive realities. Therefore, the method for creating photo-realistic images yields a degree of irrelevancy. A drawing, if left flexible and only detailing the experiential apexes of the design, can be a perceptual canvas for the creative mind to explore. This adds a layer of anonymity and anticipation to the project, which is immersive for something being proposed versus something that is already built. It allows the design-oriented subconscious to draw its own constructive connections around an atmosphere and sensory landscape that is detailed out.

drawings = storyboards TThere is always a pre-determined objective of a presentation drawing, yet there are limitless ways of execution. First, there is the conventional way of execution which is often times perceived as a wasted opportunity to layer in certain aspects of a project.

tyler mcbeth


It must be noted that we are solely referring to presentation drawings/visualizations and not construction documents, which have to follow IBC (International Building Conventions) standards. Presentation drawings should have greater degree of more flexibility and should strive to tell a story about the project, in balance with all the other drawings. Therefore, each drawings must exhibit a core purpose that is distinguished from the next; it is not always necessary to follow conventional methods when deciding the core purpose. For example, it may be more effective to create a sectional perspective-type drawing than a true section, if it better displays the nature of the space. Similarly, a diagrammatic axonometric may delineate the circulation through spaces much more effectively than a set of architectural plans. We need to look at the project from an outsider’s perspective and decide what best articulates the experience-what types of drawings, what types of media, and how they complement each

selective detail All of the project drawings should contribute to the main idea, however the contents of each drawing may highlight a certain aspect of the design. In many ways it’s like looking at the same thing through a variety of different lenses. An effective drawing then needs a hierarchy to elaborate on specific information, while abridging the rest of the details.

This process of selective detailing is where drawings can really

become innovative and stand out. It is also largely what determines the quality of

design and atmosphere: immersive drawings + sensory perception


tyler mcbeth


design and atmosphere: immersive drawings + sensory perception


The intuitive approach is to detail the physical nature of a project in multiple layers, using traditional plan conventions or streamlined versions of them. These kind of drawings are necessary for the concrete information given but are flat in the sense that they have no immersive depth and fail to fully realize the potential to capture the nature of the space. An effective, more dynamic method to presenting a project through drawings is to detail out the atmosphere of the project and leave the tangible components relatively undefined or flexible. Here we must analyze what contributes to the experience of the design, and the sensory operations that achieve the desired effects. Sensory materials -light, sound, sight, time, and color- should be the primary focus of the drawing, with technical overlays and layers. Artistic mediums can be used to represent the emotional landscape of a project, with the use of colors, textures, rendering styles, and embedded light studies. This begins to make the concept design more immersive in terms of human-scale experience, while leaving the material tectonics comparably adaptable to perception. The idea here is to promote the schematic design slightly more than the constructed one, since most design intentions relating to sensory experience are derived during the schematic phase, and it is arguably the most important part to present. The atmosphere and feel of a space is the poetic level of design, and one that needs to be appropriately demonstrated. It should be viewed as a textured underlay in presentation drawings to build off of with rigid lines and technical data.

tyler mcbeth


atmospheric layers In a general sense, atmospheric layers are additions to a drawing which provide sensory details on a space. But the most important contributing component to atmosphere is the site and surrounding context, and how we handle this in drawings has a dramatic effect on the tone of the project. Dealing with context mostly involves how detailed we make it--whether we represent buildings in their truest physical and material form or as ghosted remnants of a larger built environment. Leaving the context in a sketch state puts emphasis on the concept of the proposal itself while underscoring the anticipation of the design. It also unifies the context, which may be more or less appropriate depending on the location of the site, and its relationship to the urban condition. The decision to put a lot of detail into particular parts of the context says something about its relevance as a design ingredient to the project as a whole. Representing it as base geometries (as in a rendering) likewise says something about the significance of the context in the design intent. It is more productive to reduce disparities between context and proposal without losing the attention of the proposal. This is why stylized methods of dealing with context that are extended to the subject of a drawing are considerably more immersive than a photorealistic site and inserted rendering. Color is an important ingredient to a depicted atmosphere, and an essential hierarchical tool. Desaturating a visual away from a focal point can accent particular qualities of the design. Aside from diagrammatic overlays, color can provide ideas

design and atmosphere: immersive drawings + sensory perception


about the mood of the space. Moreover, if a drawing reads well without color, it will be significan tly enhanced by its selective use. Atmospheric elements include weather, time of day, foliage, entourage, lighting conditions, sound, wildlife, etc. All of these elements can be used to capture a frame of the environment’s lifespan as it is designed to be. Decisions on how to implement these should be based on the schematic phase--what particular conditions was the project designed for or what conditions highlight the main experiential devices? In addition is there a particular atmosphere that captures the concept in its most refined or rawest form?

tyler mcbeth


The sample scenes on the right articulate a ghost city, remnants of previously existing structure, and an air of anonymity to the context and inhabitants. The monotone backdrop builds off the dead, ruinous characteristic of the environment, and translucencies represent the deconstructing nature of it. There is also a focal point that is established via more heavily detailed structure along the central path, and color is used diagrammatically to highlight the alleyway as a means of passage through the passive landscape. Most importantly, despite the underlying hierarchy the drawing is cohesive and reads seamlessly, qualities which make it immersive.

conclusion A successful presentation has a series of drawings that form the storyboard of the project, and strives to be as immersive as possible to relate to human experience and emotion. To create immersive drawings means to find a balance between atmosphere and information. It also means selective detailing, hierarchy, and artistic decisions regarding texture, color, composite drawing, and various mediums of production. Detailing experiential apexes of the design and leaving the physical representation visually flexible plays off of the dynamics of perception and subconscious design. It is these methods that create innovative forms of communicating a design in presentation, and allow drawings to stand apart. Once a balanced distribution of material is achieved, however, it becomes more artistically intuitive and easier to understand from an outside perspective, and the process of creating immersive drawings becomes more streamlined.

design and atmosphere: immersive drawings + sensory perception


tyler mcbeth



The new San Juan Cruise Port is the future for a culturally rich and forward thinking population. The proposal melds the perception of economy, infrastructure and public image into a multi-layered interface spanning from the edge of the pier to the mainland of Old San Juan.


cruise net / project brief The new San Juan Cruise Port offers an efficient, exciting experience. Both foreigners and locals have access at any time of day, any season of the year. Furthermore, the new San Juan Cruise Port is a vision into Puerto Rico’s future; for the land and for the community. The proposal serves three main purposes: as a marine transportation terminal (ferry and cruise), an event space and as a host for ecosystem restoration. Also, the new San Juan Cruise Port performs as a filtering edge that allows a vast portion of the Old San Juan coastline to cleanse, restore and develop. The process consisted in identifying the cruise terminal as an interface that is detached from the coastline. Traditionally, the piers would intersect perpendicularly against the coast, severing any coastline circulation during high season. By placing the piers parallel to the mainland’s edge, incoming maritime traffic is “caught” by the structure itself. This methodology re-stitches any existing boardwalk condition, keeping circulation constant and uninterrupted. The design and structural possibilities to achieve this condition are endless, but more so important is the hybridization of building types. By deliberately avoiding portraying the proposal as a mass, the project took on aspects would otherwise gone unnoticed. A large scale interface has the possibility to simultaneously be an edge, a path, an enclosure and a surface. By composing a project in this manner, the design responds to both context and program comprehensively.



+ 40 min from shore

Section Sample

cruise loading path

leisure boardwalk


coral nursery


arrival / departure

ferry channel water level

mangrove piers

coral nursery


+ 15 min from shore

+ 25 min from shore

+30 min from shore

+ 32 min from shore

Core Samples



Cruise Dock Interior



Terminal Interior Terminal Interior





Ghost City Shelter International Competition 2015

London Public Library // 1-Wall Archmedium LPL Competition 2015

Alberto Ponce, Steven Loutherback, Tyler Mcbeth, Megan Parker.

Placement: Finalist

San Juan Cruise Port // Cruise Net Archmedium SJCP Competition 2015


CREDITS We are extremely grateful for all the faculty and advisors that believed in us as students and designers. Special thanks to: Peter Raab

Jeffery Nesbit

Kuhn Park

Dustin White Darrick Wade Dana Campbell

We express gratitude to the Deans Office and the administrative staff for supporting student initiated campaigns.

To all of our family members, we appreciate your collective support throughout the years.




Collaborative Works  

A compilation of three international, architecture competitions. Featuring articles by: Peter Raab, Alberto Ponce, Steven Loutherback, and T...

Collaborative Works  

A compilation of three international, architecture competitions. Featuring articles by: Peter Raab, Alberto Ponce, Steven Loutherback, and T...