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Syed Omar Ali M. Arch I Candidate Presented to Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation

Syed Omar Ali University of Texas at Arlington 469-233-3517 1612 Coyote Ridge Carrollton, TX 75010

Table of Contents Columbia GSAPP Introduction to Architecture 01

Spatial Taxonomies


Center for Cultural Exchange

University of Texas at Arlington, School of Architecture 03

Diebenkorn Gallery


Cubist Pavilion

Personal Work 05

Freehand Drawings + Paintings


Spatial Taxonomies Columbia GSAPP Introduction to Architecture, Summer 2011

The project’s prime purpose was to prepare the class for the final project and to equip us with any and all architectural tools at our disposal (analog or digital). This project explores the creating of space through drawing and building. The drawing exercises pushed us to examine our site with a keen sense and produce drawings that both taught us about the site and could be used to convey information to others about the site. The models were made to get us thinking about how spatial abstractions could be inhabited. The final phase of the didactic process introduced structural systems. We were asked to create a single module that could be built up in a number of different configurations to create a structural system. To tie all of these lessons together, we were asked to place the spatial models within the structural system and allow the system to firmly hold the models in place.

Mapping movement on the site by following the path of a graffiti writer through the meat packing district.

Understanding the Site Through a series of mapping exercises, we conducted a number of experiments at the meat packing district and recorded the data that we found both digitally and by hand.


Calculating the travel of light at different times during the day.

06 | Spatial Taxonomies

Establishing nodes of movement and dispersement of traffic throughout the site.


Walls with graffiti piece mapped on the surface Reoccurring persona

Full color piece

Black/white piece Paint roller piece Wheatpaste Stencil Marker tag

Documenting different forms of graffiti and establishing reoccurring personas.

GSAPP Intro to Architecture | 07

Spatial Sequence Models The spatial models were the beginning of our exploration of space in three-dimensional form. A set of rules was created to allow the forms to design themselves. The models were constructed both physically and digitally.


Digital *The spatial catalog will be used to generate the form for final the studio project.

08 | Spatial Taxonomies

Photograph of the end-of-term exhibition.

In order to gain a clear understanding of spatial ideas, multiple iterations of models must be rigorously constructed. The spatial models were constructed by assigning a set of rules to each family of models. By assigning parameters, the models were easily programmed to design themselves if each set of rules was followed closely. The overlay of digital models (right) shows a careful process of producing and editing needed to come to the result final set of models. Overlay of numerous digital models. GSAPP Intro to Architecture | 09

Structural Systems

Single Unit

After constructing the spatial catalog, we were asked to construct wooden components to house the bristol models. These components were created through a series of systems, each with their own configurations and rules.

Multiple Configurations

One Cluster 8 units

*The components must be joined together without the use of glue or adhesive.

10 | Spatial Taxonomies

Final Component 4 clusters

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Assemblage The spatial catalog provided the planes used for this exercise. First, the planes were placed on the surface, and second the clusters were designed and then used to wrap the planes carefully secure them in place.

Complete Model The goal of the final model was to wrap and articulate the spaces within the spatial catalog models. There was no glue or adhesive allowed to hold the planes in place. The structural systems were to properly keep the models in place when turned upside down, side to side, or any other direction.

12 | Spatial Taxonomies

Final Model

GSAPP Intro to Architecture | 13


Center for Cultural Exchange Columbia GSAPP Introduction to Architecture, Summer 2011

The idea for this project stems from observations made from my time living in New York City. The city is often referred to as a melting pot of various cultures. This project addresses issues of separation in the city. Although New York may be filled with diversity, cultures divide themselves by regions. For example, Little Italy, Chinatown, etc. The Center for Cultural Exchange allows for people of all cultures to exchange ideas amongst each other through constant interaction in terms of dance, spoken-word, music, food, etc. The project considers how spaces can be programmed for specific purposes, how to create a didactic environment for both performers and spectators, and how to flip the relationship between the performer and the spectator. The site presented an issue that was two disjunctive plots of land with a highway in between. My intervention flips what would have been the public space in between and places it underground. The main circulation zone exists under the building and becomes the major public space for activity.

Palimpsest drawing, documenting the process of design.


Site Concept


The site is two separate plots of land and in between is 11th avenue. Public circulation and space is interrupted by the presence of the street. The solution was to carve into the ground and place primary circulation and space underground. As a conscious effort to maintain the integrity of the site, instead of building up, the building carves into the ground. A simple skin is placed on top of the carved spaces and modesty becomes key.





12 TH S



SCALE 1’ = 1/128�

Existing site in the Meatpacking District, NY.


Carve Inhabit the space under the street

16 | Center for Cultural Exchange




Existing plot of land




Re-design the waters edge


Marine Transfer Station

Building becomes canopy

Entrances Hudson River Public space continues underground

Primary exterior public space

11th Avenue Greenway + bike paths

Early study model experimenting with form.

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18 | Center for Cultural Exchange

Plan Diagrams

Section through the site.

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Acoustic Performance Theater Zone 1 is primarily focused on entry, procession, and housing the acoustic performance theater. The theater was programmed to hold performances that do not require speakers or any external sound system. Instead, the walls were embedded with mechanical acoustics and could be programmed and re-programmed to fit the needs of the performance taking place. For instance, if the performance is very quiet, the walls can be manipulated to create a deep resonance that would echo through out the theater, thus, allowing for the space to remain for unique acoustic/accapella performances.

Mechanical acoustic systems

Zone 1 5

1 2

Key 1 Entrance to Zone 1 2 Entrance to Sacred Spaces 3 Primary Circulation Path + Public Space

3 4

20 | Center for Cultural Exchange

4 Acoustic Theatre 5 Outdoor / Public Space

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Sacred/Secular The dense urban fabric of the city of New York has given way to a new typology of hidden urban sacred spaces. These highly spiritual places exist within the modern urbanized fabric and slip through the cracks without being noticed. This zone attempts to bring the relationship of the street/storefront into the design.

As spectators are moving through the primary circulatory zone, viewing art on display, and interacting with each other, they are also able to view the spiritual acts taking place above. If a spectator is inclined to engage in the sacred activity, they are welcomed to go upstairs and learn to practice or gain knowledge on whatever it is they are interested in.

Zone 2 5


Key 1 Sacred Spaces 2 Public Space 3 Entry to Zone 3 4 Entry to Zone 1

1 3

5 Entry to Zone 3 2 Multiple configurations for each room.

22 | Center for Cultural Exchange

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Water/Canopy The site provides an opportunity to engage the building with the Hudson River that faces Jersey City. The building acts as the canopy and the floor plate pulls out over the water. Water can enter the building depending on the tide at the time. The water becomes a prime asset in creating moments that require a special spiritual presence.

The building becomes the canopy for the exterior space above the water.

Zone 3

Key 1 Dance Performance Space 2 Private Baths


24 | Center for Cultural Exchange


3 Canopy / Exterior Covered Area 1

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26 | Center for Cultural Exchange

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Diebenkorn Gallery University of Texas at Arlington, Design Studio, Fall 2009

Born from the era of European modernism, and a close cousin of abstract expressionism, color field painting was an intensely abstract form of art. The main goal of this project was to understand and utilize the intent of the artist in a spatial manner. Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park series was a study of the California landscape outside of his studio window with the use of shape, color, and layering. Color Field painting insists on the emotions of the individual artist filling the canvas with paint. As spatial thinkers, our main goal was to create a method for how we could reiterate the emotional effects of the painting in a spatial manner. The primary focus of the project became procession of space. The gallery became a narrative of its own, creating modest transitional spaces until the painting is viewed in thin light in the gallery.

Form Development The form was constructed by creating zones of circulation and space. Thick walls and hollowed spaces were made to be inhabited at the human scale. Wall One

Thick Wall

Vertical Circulation

30 | Diebenkorn Gallery

Wall Two

Cubic Volume

Horizontal + Entry Circulation

Gallery Space

Interior Walls


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Floor slabs Frame structure Infill window system Skin

Facade Layers The facade faces the souther sun. It must be constructed in a way to defend the interior from the harshness of southern exposure.

32 | Diebenkorn Gallery

The painting generated the design for the front facade.

The front facade detaches to reveal the section.

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Sequence of Spaces The primary purpose of the project was to create a sequence of spaces. The gallery itself is designed for personal viewing pleasure or for small groups of three to five. Therefore, emphasis is placed on progression of spaces and how views are framed from the beginning of the passage to the end.

Entry Viewing Deck 1 Gallery Viewing Deck 2 Viewing Deck 3 Gallery Exit

34 | Diebenkorn Gallery

University of Texas at Arlington | 35


Cubist Pavilion University of Texas at Arlington, Design Studio, Spring 2010

Through the study of cubism, we were asked to create a series of drawings and photo-montages to generate the fields for our analogous landscape. The fields were then extruded and excavated to create hierarchy on the site. Through a study of planes, the form of the pavilion was manifested. The pavilion was to include one primary hierarchal space, and one primary wall, which would be made into a thick wall to house a shelving system. To further functionalize the building, we were asked to include structure as well as modes of circulation. In order to further investigate hierarchal space, we then created an outdoor space which was physically mapped to show relation to the structure. The orthogonal pavilion serves as a counter-point to the analogous landscape, succeeding in creating harmonious spacial conditions.

Spatial Models The spatial models were comprised of three parts, and one main space. The main space was to be wrapped by the three components in various configurations. Out of three iterations one was chosen for the final design.









*Selected for final design.

38 | Cubist Pavilion


Pla Co



















Cut voids for windows and entry Add free facade

Elevate pavilion on free standing columns

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Analogous Landscape The landscape was constructed by creating fields and then extruding and carving into the surface. Following the white collage model, we applied the major fields to the final design and used the landscape to house the pavilion we constructed previously.

Collage Drawing


40 | Cubist Pavilion

Collage model

Final model

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Site Plan


Section A

42 | Cubist Pavilion

Section B

University of Texas at Arlington | 43

44 | Cubist Pavilion

University of Texas at Arlington | 45


Drawings + Paintings Academic and Personal Work from 2006 - 2011

Gestural Sketch (2006) 6 x 8 inches Graphite in Sketchbook

Layer Study (2009) 8 x 12 inches Charcoal on Matte Board

Chapel of Notre Dame du Haut, Ronchamp (2008) 9 x 12 inches Graphite on Matte Board

48 | Freehand Drawings and Paintings

Ronchamp, Detail (2008) 9 x 12 inches Graphite on Matte Board

University of Texas at Arlington | 49

Abstract Typography (2011) Detail Shots Enamel on Birch Wood 50 | Freehand Drawings and Paintings

Abstract Typography (2011) 2 x 3 feet Enamel on Birch Wood

Personal Work | 51

Architecture Portfolio 2012