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J ESSIE G EMMER


THESIS

DREAM

T he s i s

This

is my clearest dream

This

is my past

This

is where i would like to be found

MEMORY

FANTASY

Architecture is the bridge between the material and the spiritual.

H ow

A physical space can be made sacred, without any association with faith or religion, by architectural form that conveys the qualities of dreams, memories, and fantasy.


THESIS

ARCHITECTURAL TRANSLATION There is a reveal; an entrance from a universal presence into a specific space. This change of pressure is imperative. Highlighted in the totality you see a point of observation, the point from which to realize the whole, a reason to move forward. There is place from which to observe the world beyond.

It is an

island, a temple, a palace; expressing the individual scale as well as the site.


THESIS

M EMORIAL

FOR

A PRIL S IXTEENTH

V irginia T ech

B lacksburg,

On

V irginia

April 16, 2007 a student at Virginia Tech shot and

killed 32 fellow students and professors in a rampage that started at West Ambler Johnson dormitory and ended at Norris Hall.

It

I t’s

was the largest massacre on any school campus in

the United States.

important to remember that day and the people

who died, but it is more important to heal.

There should

be a place on campus, a private place of quiet beauty, for families to grieve.

However, in fifty years, when the sting

of loss has faded, there should be a place that conveys a sense of healing to all visitors regardless of specific memory.

Virginia Tech deserves to have an exquisite place

on campus, made in the spirit of the community that drew together after the tragedy.


THESIS

S ite

R esponse

Plan S ite C onditions.

to

The memorial’s geometry

references West

Ambler

Norris

Hall

Johnston

and

Hall,

the sites of the shootings on April !6th.

The memorial entrance is

in line with the path from War Memorial.

The memorial is placed on

ground level so the existing elm’s roots are not disturbed. The memorial must be hidden

from the sight, sound, and smell

of

the

cars

around the site. accomplished inside

a

by

nine

driving

This is

placing

foot

it

grade

change that rises from the boundary of the roads.

The memorial must allow for

students walking to class to

pass through the site rather than

forcing

them

their way around it.

N

to

make


THESIS

T hirty M EMORIAL

R esponse

F rom

to

Two Trees

D ESIGN

T ragedy

outside, the memorial is almost invisible - a

three foot wall at the top of a gentle hill, its edges blurred by the silver trees that drape over the boundaries and fill the void carved into the ground.

Inside, the power

of their symbolism rises to meet the power of their natural beauty.

Thirty-two European Weeping Birches stand as pale

columns around a polished stone floor, forming a temple

filled with the sound of wind and the lacework of sunlight through leaves. They are always standing vigil.

T he

hardest decision was to include a thirty-third

T he

T hey

Are Angels Standing Guard

Thirty-third Tree

tree, to represent the shooter who also died that day. There were thirty-two victims of a specific crime, but the Virginia

Tech community lost thirty-three students. The birches frame a hundred foot elm that exists on the site - dark and rough in contrast to the smooth angels surrounding it.

The elm

stood before the shooting and will remain long after the

survivors; its weight anchors the space and without it the memorial would be an empty token. Its symbolism will change depending on the visitor - it can be a sign of steadfast

spirit breaking through tagedy, a dark interjection through harmony kept outside the sacred space by white sentinels.

T he

ancient elm remains, dark, rising like an echo.


THESIS

M emorial P lan

R esponse

Duc : t Exi

k

d pon

T he

own room.

to

S ite C onditions.

entrance leads directly to the elm, isolated in its

Visitors pass the elm and enter into the second

room, a polished stone floor that reflects the 32 birches that surround it.

The outer boundary

of the memorial is formed

by layered stone walls that form a ledge for leaves to gather and

: ir

a St s de Si lker wa

for intrepid visitors to perch in the treetops, hidden

from view.

The angled wall that ends in the ledge leads to the

parapet on the outside ground.

That wall is three feet tall at

the height top of the grade change.

T he

exterior is clad in dolomite, or “hokie stone�, a

rough cut stone that clads 90% of the buildings on the Virginia Tech campus.

symmetry and number is apparent, but outside the creation would

on

remain a mystery.

St

on: nst Joh

The trees inside grow as if nature were

taking back the land where the building once stood. Inside, the

Tree t Room o Norri s

P ast

the 32 trees is a sweeping staircase, flanked by

hills as the ground rises to meet the walls that form the final edge of the space.

:

After reflecting in the cathedral made of

trees, visitors sit and look down through the branches and leaves to the room. Upon leaving, they are faced with a view of

: ths n i l d e P fiel n o St rill D

a campus park, the duckpond, and enter a place of natural beauty

Tr e Ap e to ri Ex l En i 1 tr an 6th stin ce g Me mo ri al

Se

r Wa to e ee nc Tr tra En

ct

io

al

ne

ri

Li

mo

n

Me :

Tre Roo e to m Wes t A mbl er

The appearance is that of a ruin, a foundation of

a destroyed building.

e P No lin rr t is hs:

r: tai s S e Sid walker

and leisure.

T he

the event.

:

power of the memorial is not held in the memory of The subtle appearance from campus, the organized

geometry inside, the reference to tragedy through the symbolism of the ruin, and the likeness of a temple made through the columnar trunks and polished stone all create a space that is evocative and powerful regardless of context.


THESIS

T emple S tairs

Floor

to a place of beauty beyond


THESIS

S ection

W ar M emorial

A pril 16 th M emorial.

S ection

E ntrance

D rillfield.

through

through

M emorial.

E xit


THESIS

RENDERINGS seasons

Summer

Looking at exit from inside the trees.

Autumn

Looking at entrance from drillfield.

W inter

Looking at entrance from inside the trees.


PROFESSIONAL: DFDS

I

TOWER HOTEL

was the project manager and the lead designer for a 320 foot hotel in downtown Manhattan.

It

is one block from Ground Zero and directly across from the queuing lot for visitors to the 9/11 memorial.

T he

corner directly looking at the memoiral pools is a curtain wall, inflecting in color and pattern to echo the transition between city and sky reflected in the new towers as well as the effect of the memorial pool waterfalls.

It

is waterfall frozen over the memorial it overlooks. The walls not in view of the pools are stone and serious in reference to the financial district they face. The facade materials reflect the tension between areas of a city.

T he

most important aspect of the design is respect.

original concept

concept diagram

material tension between podium and tower


PROFESSIONAL: DFDS PODIUM DESIGN

AMENITY FLOOR

T he lowest six floors of the project are designed to be a separate building of the human scale. It is made to look like a solid piece of rock, carved away to expose the program within.

T he shape and distribution of program was decided by zoning, as was the 7 foot setback of rooms on the 2-5 floor. We designed a delicate screen made of woven metal to hold the street wall, dissolving over the lobby to draw visitors down Thames St from the more obvious retail entrance on Thames. ELEVATOR CORE 335 SF

OFFICE 55 SF

FRONT DESK LOBBY 687 SF

MARKET 40 SF

WICH

GREEN

RETAIL 2643 SF

LOADING BERTH

LOUNGE

ST

THAMES ST

WOMENS 100 SF

ADA 96 SF

STORAGE 60 SF MENS 147 SF

CONF 135 SF

TERRACE 721 SF KITCHEN 451 SF S BAR 252 SF

SEATING 1500 SF


ACADEMIC: FASHION MUSEUM FOR TOKYO

SECTION Floor 33: View Skybar Japanese Garden

Floor 22: Exhibit Featured Designer

Floor 12: Lobby Restaurant Lounge Bar Bathrooms

Ciculation A

structure

skin

circluation

A structure of hollow bones. Exhibits floating like paper birds. Floor 1: Entrance Gift Shop Ticket Counter Coffee Shop Bathrooms Office Customer Service

concept

section

Winding a route through the air. This building does not scrape the sky, it floats on the horizon: A paper lantern


ACADEMIC: FASHION MUSEUM FOR TOKYO

plans

roof garden

daytime

exhibit

nighttime

plans


ACADEMIC: CHAPEL OF THE ANNUNCIATION

1 Baptismal Pool 2 Entrance 3 Organ 4 Choir 5 Pews 6 Elevator 7 Spiral Stairs 8 Priest’s Walk 9 Pulpit

8 9

7

6

5 4

2 3

1

circulation and program

unfolded interior elevations

This chapel tells the story of the Annunciation.

and personal while inspiring reverence.

It is intimate

The paths through and along

the walls vertically separate the parts of a Catholic service allowing it to fit on a tiny site in a historic district. organ over pool

plan perspective


ACADEMIC: CHAPEL OF THE ANNUNCIATION

MATERIALS Walls: steel construction with weathered grey wood siding vertical for circulation and horizontal for program.

2 3

5

1

4

Walkways, stairs, and handrails: cantileved from the walls and paneled with red wood.

1

4

Floor: insulated and filled with one foot of water for baptism and to reflect the light of the sky. Roof: glazed with 3’x6’ glass panels with thin aluminum mullions.

2

4

Ground Level:

Below Ground: 1 Baptismal Pool 2 Priests’ Office 3 Closet 4 Bathrooms

view from bell tower

1 Street Entrance 2 Elevator Entrance 3 Spiral Stair down to office/bathrooms or up to bell tower 4 Stair to baptismal pool 5 Stair to Organ

3

2 1 1

Second Level: 1 Organ 2 Stair to Choir

3 2

view from organ

Third Level:

1 Choir 2 Spiral Stair up to Priest’s Walk 3 Stair to Congregation

1

2

2 3

1

Fourth Level: view from pulpit

1 Stair to Priest’sWalk 2 Congregation 3 Path from Elevator to Congregation

Fifth Level: 1 Priest’s Walk 2 Pulpit


Teaser