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ACADEMIC PORTFOLIO Selected Works 2011-2012 University of Minnesota

INNOVATION LAB: Programming for Informal Learning. Instructor: John Comazzi. Spring 2012.

K(N)OT ARCHITECTURE: Abstracting Forms, Shifting Methods. Instructors: John Comazzi, Benjamin Ibarra-Sevilla, Adam Jarvi. Spring 2011.

CARD CANTILEVER: Exploring Connections. Instructors: John Comazzi, Benjamin Ibarra-Sevilla, Adam Jarvi. Collaborator: Rachel Dahlen. Spring 2011.

COLLABORATION STATION: Study, Sleep, Share. Instructor: John Comazzi. Collaborator: Ashley Grzywa. Spring 2012.

MODELING SOLID & VOID: Creating Spatial Sequence. Instructors: Martha McQuade, Daniel Winden, Dzenita Hadziomerovic. Fall 2011.

HYBRID DRAWING: Framing the Void.

Instructors: John Comazzi, Benjamin Ibarra-Sevilla, Adam Jarvi. Collaborator: Rachel Dahlen. Spring 2011.

WATERCOLOR: Exploring Transparency, Shadow, Mood. Instructor: Monica Fogg. Fall 2012.

WATERCOLOR: Study of Site, Material, and Light.

Instructor: Monica Fogg. Fall 2012.

‘LOWLINE’ IN THE GREENWAY: Bridging the Divide.

Instructor: Kristen Paulsen. Collaborators: Teddy Gustafson and Andy Hawkinson. Fall 2012.

INNOVATION LAB: Programming for Informal Learning. The assigned task was to design a program and accompanying building for the University of Minnesota which would accommodate the nature of activity inherent in new and informal methods of learning. The given site was located within the historic heart of the university and thereby, nearly all of the surrounding buildings were traditional brick structures which were connected by historically significant pathways. By using programmatic relationships as the driving force behind the design process, the intent was to create an environment where students could learn, create, share, and relax.

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^ landscape strategy.

^ architectural promenade.

Within my design, I sought to incorporate programmatic spaces of overlap that would encourage the kinds of chance encounters which often facilitate informal learning. These spaces included a coffee shop with an adjacent covered outdoor patio, a central art display space, and open studio space which would allow for creation over multiple disciplines. All program pieces were arranged off of the spine of the pathway and the adjacent art gallery which served as a connecting open space based on the idea of an indoor courtyard. Connections to the surrounding landscape were made by maintaining historic pathways as a passage through the building, as well as in the summer porch and outdoor extension of the yoga room. A limited material palette of heavy board form concrete contrasted with steel framing and wooden rain screens helped to organize and delineate the spaces within the building.

K(N)OT ARCHITECTURE: Abstracting Forms, Shifting Methods. Through the continued iteration beginning with the physical form of a knot, this project emphasized the alternation between digital and analog methods of representation and making. Through a series of abstractions, the surgeon’s knot, was transformed into a wireframe model. The key element taken from the knot to guide this transformation was the extra ‘loop’ which differentiates the surgeon’s knot from a square knot. Within the

wireframe, the spiraling form of the knot created three horizontal levels, which became the three horizontal planes present in the volumetric iterations. To provide balance, three vertical elements were also introduced. Finally, in the cardboard stacking exercise, the ‘voids’ within the volumetric studies were inverted and carved away to become physically inhabitable spaces.

^ representation of the transformation of the wireframe knot interpretation into volumetric form. SOPHIE BUCHITE PROJECT 02C - COMBINED TA: JON ROZENBERGS

^ sequence of steps in tying a surgeon’s knot.


CARD CANTILEVER: Exploring Connections. The proposed problem required teams to assemble a cantilever made of a single deck of cards that could support a tennis ball 18 inches from its attachment to the railing. All connections within the cantilever had to be made without the assistance of adhesives. Due to the constraints on the method of assembly prescribed for the cantilever, our design solution arose from a deep interest in how material connections could be made between cards to combine a series of pieces into a functional whole. Each of the individual connections implied an inherent assembly method guided by a sequence of cut tabs and slits which, when viewed in combination, formed a solution which both met the requirements and informed a deeper understanding of connection methods. Another key focus of the project was creating a set of diagrammatic instructions that detailed the process of assembly.

* in collaboration with Rachel Dahlen.

COLLABORATION STATION: Study, Sleep, Share. Confined within a 144” x 96” x 78” volume, the design provocation was to create a single unit to facilitate the exchange of ideas and production. Specific programmatic needs included: study space for one, collaboration space for four, informal space for pinup and display, and an additional programmatic element of our choosing. Further design constraints were provided via material (3/4” thick wood-based sheet material) and a corresponding assembly method (vertical stacking). As a collaborative pair, Ashley and I were intrigued by the possibilities afforded by vertically stacked slices of plywood. Our design sought to minimize the overall weight of the collaboration station by eliminating unnecessary solid sections and replacing them with shelving for storage

* in collaboration with Ashley Grzywa.

as an added programmatic consideration. We further lessened our material needs by replacing every other full slice with spacers. These choices allowed us to make the best use of the typical 96” x 48” sheet of plywood and significantly reduced the overall number of cut sheets. The decisions we made in the arrangement of spaces came directly from our own discussions about how such a unit would be used by students of architecture and other majors—storage was provided throughout, individual study was separated from group study, and vertical surfaces and shelves were provided for pinup and display. The final additional programmatic element was a sleeping lounge with an overhead screen to block light and provide some level of privacy.


^ series of diagrammatic instructions depicting the order of assembly for the collaboration station.



^ set of 4’x8’ cut sheets required to assemble the collaboration station.

MODELING SOLID & VOID: Creating Spatial Sequence. Beginning with an analysis of a sequence of photographs and subsequent transformation to wooden blocks, the main design challenge for this project was the development of an experiential path. By creating an architectural language based on relationship of solid to void within these wooden models, the path was again adapted to be expressed in plaster. My design solution focused on a language of ‘cave’ and ‘entry’ which

^ interpretation of photographic sequence into spatial path.

originated in the arrangement of wooden blocks. Using the inherent mass of plaster as a guide for the form of these spaces, the spatial sequence of my path allowed for a series of both covered [indoor] and more exposed [outdoor] stopping points which were intimately scaled to the human body. Human scale was achieved through the use of overhead planes and through surface texture created in the initial pouring of the plaster.

HYBRID DRAWING: Framing the Void. This hybrid drawing sought to emphasize the implied ‘void’ created by the central stair of Steven Holl’s addition for Rapson Hall at the University of Minnesota. To highlight the importance of small-scale connections, my partner and I morphed them into elements which exist within the context of the stair—the small corner window, and the defining ‘windowsill’ of

* in collaboration with Rachel Dahlen.

the large portion of glazing along the lower stair. The stair itself was presented as a series of plan and elevation oblique drawings with collage elements, which highlight the solid massing which encases the void. Lastly, the perspective photo-drawing hybrid recognizes the continuous nature of the elements which wrap the void.

WATERCOLOR: Exploring Transparency, Shadow, Mood. The luminous properties of watercolor allow for the layering of color and texture in order to create form through value. The creation of form through value, as opposed to form created through line, is one of the main characteristics which drew me to explore the medium. Beginning with quick sketches, and then painting over them, the painting is ‘built-up’ through a process very similar to other design work. This is done not only in the act of creating these initial studies, but also in the final work. Early iterations allow experimentation with composition of the picture plane, value relationships, and the placement of hard and soft edges. As I learned more about the control of watercolor, I became very interested in the gestalt grouping principles which can help to arrange a painting so as to form a ‘unified whole’ through the use of closure, continuity, similarity, proximity, and alignment.

WATERCOLOR: Study of Site, Material Qualities, and Light.

Herzog & de Meuron’s Walker Art Center.

‘LOWLINE’ IN THE GREENWAY: Bridging the Divide. Rather than focusing only on the architectural building scale of a design, this project required collaborative work at a variety of scales. Each group was encouraged to ‘embrace change as a foregone conclusion’ required ‘to engage with indeterminate notions of what constitutes site: architecture, landscape architecture, infrastructure, city, and nature.’ By shifting between individual interventions and site-wide plans, each group produced work at a number of scales. The chosen 5.5 mile long site was historically a below-grade shipping freight corridor in Minneapols, Minnesota known as the Midtown Greenway. Half of the trench is currently used as a bike corridor, while the second half remains held for use as potential future rail. Much of the site is in need of remediation due to high levels of creosote and various other pollutants. Our group developed an organizational language of ‘strips’ which spanned across by the Greenway and sought to weave together the adjacent neighborhoods through selective interventions at key street intersections.

* in collaboration with Teddy Gustafson and Andy Hawkinson.

SITE SCALE LANDSCAPING STRATIGIES Creosote is a chemical applied typically on wood to allow for longer lifespans in outdoor environments. In the case of the Midtown Greenway, creosote is one source of contamination because the railroad ties previously existed on the site were treated by this chemical.


Creosote is highly toxix for all lifeforms. It can spread to the environment from air, soil and water. Creosote may get into water directly or reach underground water by slowly seeping through soil as teem as 40 feet. In water, creosote forms a tar-like substance and takes many years to completely break down. Creosote is able to evaporate into the air and be abosrbed by animals. Add some jazz about what we are doing to fix this; through soil remediation, native plant and remidiating plants and edible landscapes.

1-5 year projection

1-5 year projection

6-10 year projection

6-10 year projection

11-15 year projection

11-15 year projection

^ diagrams explaining the ‘strip’ ordering principle for OMA’s Parc de la Villete proposal < uploads/SO-0.72-OMA2.jpg>

^ site diagram depicting shift of program from restorative landscape to edible landscape over time. [diagram by Andy Hawkinson]

My own intervention focused on the intersection of Nicollet Avenue and its restaurant culture, known locally as ‘Eat Street.’ Using this local neighborhood culture as a point of departure, I developed a program which emphasized the cycle of food: grow, sell, eat, and compost. For each of these abstract ideas, a programmatic region was defined. GROW: Strips for planter boxes were located west of the building as a source of local produce for the restaurant and coffee shop. A programmatic strip for apple orchards and other edible landscapes is also set aside to be implemented after remediative landscapes have completed their work. SELL: On the Nicollet Avenue bridge, a strip has been set aside to allow for a weekend farmer’s market. This repurposes the space on the bridge, which is currently avoided or used for parking due to the dead-end created by K-Mart. EAT: Within the folded corten steel strip of the building itself, which is ‘hung’ off of the bridge itself, a coffee shop and restaurant were combined with an art gallery for the display of local work. COMPOST: Adjacent to the building, there is a small tool shed and composting center which could be used during the spring and summer months to educate local community members on the benefits of composting. (763) 528-0719

Academic Portfolio [2013] - Sophie Buchite  

Portfolio of academic work completed up through the Fall 2012 semester in the University of Minnesota's Bachelor of Science in Architecture...