J ESSIE G EMMER
T he s i s
is my clearest dream
is my past
is where i would like to be found
Architecture is the bridge between the material and the spiritual.
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.
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.
A PRIL S IXTEENTH
V irginia T ech
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.
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.
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.
Plan S ite C onditions.
The memorialâ€™s geometry
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 elmâ€™s roots are not disturbed. The memorial must be hidden
from the sight, sound, and smell
around the site. accomplished inside
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
their way around it.
T hirty M EMORIAL
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.
hardest decision was to include a thirty-third
Are Angels Standing Guard
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.
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.
ancient elm remains, dark, rising like an echo.
M emorial P lan
Duc : t Exi
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
a St s de Si lker wa
for intrepid visitors to perch in the treetops, hidden
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.
exterior is clad in dolomite, or â€œhokie stoneâ€?, 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
remain a mystery.
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
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
r Wa to e ee nc Tr tra En
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
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.
T emple S tairs
to a place of beauty beyond
W ar M emorial
A pril 16 th M emorial.
Looking at exit from inside the trees.
Looking at entrance from drillfield.
Looking at entrance from inside the trees.
was the project manager and the lead designer for a 320 foot hotel in downtown Manhattan.
is one block from Ground Zero and directly across from the queuing lot for visitors to the 9/11 memorial.
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.
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.
most important aspect of the design is respect.
material tension between podium and tower
PROFESSIONAL: DFDS PODIUM DESIGN
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
RETAIL 2643 SF
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
A structure of hollow bones. Exhibits floating like paper birds. Floor 1: Entrance Gift Shop Ticket Counter Coffee Shop Bathrooms Office Customer Service
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
ACADEMIC: CHAPEL OF THE ANNUNCIATION
1 Baptismal Pool 2 Entrance 3 Organ 4 Choir 5 Pews 6 Elevator 7 Spiral Stairs 8 Priestâ€™s Walk 9 Pulpit
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
ACADEMIC: CHAPEL OF THE ANNUNCIATION
MATERIALS Walls: steel construction with weathered grey wood siding vertical for circulation and horizontal for program.
Walkways, stairs, and handrails: cantileved from the walls and paneled with red wood.
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.
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
2 1 1
Second Level: 1 Organ 2 Stair to Choir
view from organ
1 Choir 2 Spiral Stair up to Priest’s Walk 3 Stair to Congregation
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