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appropriating sprawlscapes a look at re-strategizing florida suburbia a master’s research project suzanne davis University of Florida

suzanne davis

appropriating sprawlscapes a master’s research project presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirement of the degree of Master of Architecture

2013 Chair: Michael Kuenstle Co-Chair: Guy Peterson

acknowledgements Michael Kuenstle for challenging me at every stage and always having new and exciting things to show, and most of all your time and knowledge. Guy W. Peterson for having the ability to become excited by each phase or project, your time to explain connections, and admiration of architecture. My friends and family who have stayed beside me as I carved out my own path, with understanding, support, and timeless memories.

Lar for letting models take over counter space. Jeff Mathews of the City of Vero Beach for being so helpful in obtaining drawings and time at Leisure Square. Jim for providing GIS and Census technical assistance. Cheers. UF, it was good while it lasted, but it’s time to move on.

table of contents



10 12 18 24 30 36 40

precedent study ruta del peregrino shelters | luis aldrete chokkura plaza and shelter | kengo kuma center for the blind and visually impaired | taller de arquitectura aquatic center | jean nouvel biblioteca la ladera | giancarlo mazzanti biblioteca espana | giancarlo mazzanti


why the suburban condition?

46 48 54


context vero beach fl [sprawlscape] existing condition documentation mat-building site influences [analysis] generators mrp proposed iterations [01-03] proposed condition fitness complex [sprawlscape] proposed condition documentation mat-2d thick ceramic material faรงade conclusions



66 68 74 78 84 86 90 104 114

ap·pro·pri·at·ing / e-ˈprō-prē-ˌāt/: to take or make use of sprawl / ˈsprȯl / : to spread or develop irregularly or without restraint scape / skāp / : scenery view

introduction this study began with initial interests of natural or earthen materiality and unfolded itself to develop a method to revive suburban communities. this came from questioning what structures were valuable on a day to day basis in suburban communities, yet not architecturally expressed in such a way. as america has grown to become the suburban nation, a strategy of suburban acupuncture or renewal has become a recent key development. sprawl began in the post war era with incentives and policies such as the federal housing administration, 1934, and the 8

veterans administration, 1930’s. after WWII, these loan programs provided mortgages for over eleven millions new homes and had rates which were lower than paying rent monthly. in concurrence, single-use zoning was implanted to separate the land use functions of housing, business operations, and industry. thus, during the mid20th century, the american citizens began to move away from the city center and build homes within disseminated communities across the country. developers advertised this move with ideas of safety for children, segregation of class and race, the single family home, and the american lifestyle with the automobile, causing sprawl for decades.

half a century later, many cities in florida are key examples of this typology of growth. yet, how do such communities, the places where people live and have their everyday experiences, move forward in terms of connectivity, sustainability, and quality of life? how can architecture become the catalyst for revival? in many cities, community complexes within suburban neighborhoods are well used and within short distances. re-building or retrofitting these buildings can aid in renewing dilapidating or under used spaces deep in suburban areas. this study focused on a fitness complex. a

key aspect of the process, was understanding who would use the active and defining it. an active life style for this project is defined as: any person, of any age, who uses the expression of movement for mind and body health. key design elements were exploring alternative uses of transportation, connection to context, unprogrammed space or temporary event space, with respect to site, climate, and quality.



precedent studies the precedent studies significance was the connectivity of the project to its site. therefore, the precedent studies were selected on the basis of how community buildings of different scales and geographical locations were integrated within their context and secondly how particular design strategies were employed. then, they were categorized in three focuses: the first aligned with the interest of an inherent sustainable quality in the materials; the second was of programs similar to the fitness complex; and third those which exemplified the aim in reviving a community. while they vary in program, scale, location, and materiality, a process of analysis for 10

comparison was developed to determine a hierarchy of connectivity to the community and inherent sustainable approach. the six projects are global and constructed within the past 15 years. this was not to discredit Florida or contextual projects, but taking advantage of the availability in knowledge of projects occurring at the same time in so many different places. the criterion for comparison was the connectivity to context, spatial organization, public/unprogrammed space, movement of air and circulation through the site, and construction method. individual analysis was developed based on unique elements of design in response to site or climate.

_connectivity to site

_spatial hierarchy [plan view] primary main programmatic space unprogrammed public space/entry cleansing

secondary additional programs, i.e. library/cafeteria/admin

precedent study case context buildings

_public/unprogrammed space

unprogrammed space

tertiary small scale programs classrooms/studios

_air movement and circulation

circulation air movement 11

precedent study [01]

ruta del peregrino shelters | luis aldrete | jalisco, mexico | 2011 as one of the rest stops along the pilgrim route of 117 kilometers, the shelters were conceived as modules that could be constructed in different forms with the same materials. the prefabricated cement blocks were made out from the earth at the site and then painted an adobe clay color to emphasize the connection to the landscape. the base form was constructed of a rectangular block and the upper blocks were formed in ‘u’ shapes to emulate oak tree shadows and act as a lattice system. the architecture can become part of the landscape as vegetation grows on it. the simplicity of the form, allowed the blocks to change direction to react with the environment. light and air can 12

move through the porous upper blocks, maintaining a cool and shaded interior with natural light. on the edge of a small town, the project’s connectivity to context is a large open plaza for visitors to arrive. it functions as a place of rest along the pilgrim route, and opens up to the town as the building is setback from the main roads. the architecture reads with the landscape of the sloping hills with tones and hues. the simple program of a shelter, the spatial organization is in two zones, sleeping/rest and cleansing. the primary space of rest has multiple openings to allow air, light, and

movement through. it address the plaza space and main roads, while the secondary cleansing space is placed at the opposite end. the organization allows for privacy of the cleansing space, but still plenty of access. the material and construction methods of the shelters allows cross ventilation from the cool winds from the hills and circulation is focused to main entry.


cross section

block construction 14

longitudinal section


ground level plan



steel framing and apertures

vertical brick structure

staggered upper block formation

horizontal structural band

orientation: winter allows for the facade to face south east, providing the most heat during the cold months as a thermal mass. cooling occurs with the openings of the upper block system, allowing cool winds from the mountainous hills to breeze through the interior.


bottom block

floor plate

structural system ventilated block system

structural beam

regular block system


precedent study [02]

chokkura plaza and shelter | kengo kuma | tochigi, japan | 2006 this project was built on the site of an abandoned rice warehouse, which was built with the Oya stone [mineral]. kengo kuma celebrated the original material of the existing structure, which was also used by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1923 for the facing material of the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. before the 1970’s, this stone was used as a predominant construction material before concrete. the stone was formed in the shape of a ‘v’ to create a porous wall, referencing inherent qualities of the materials. once stacked, the blocks appear to be floating, but they are supported with help of 1/4 in (6 mm) thick steel plates, which aid in tensile strength. 18

adjacent to the shelter is a train station, also designed by kuma, central plaza space, rice warehouse rebuilt. the plaza space provides access to the train station as well as active space for the plaza which houses intimate meeting rooms and galleries. the transparency of the void spaces connects the plaza with the building and echoes the opening of the rice warehouse. with the oya stone’s porous nature, kuma decided to allow air flow to move through some wall systems to cool the air. “The two materials perform structural work as a composite system: steel supports stone, and stone supports steel.”

addition | existing structure


individual block

wall assembly | oya stone + steel frame 20

cross section

longitudinal section

ground level plan




oya stone block

glazing | connection to landscape

polycarbonate wall system


precedent study [03]

center for the blind and visually impaired | taller de arquitectura | mexico city, mexico | 2001 built in a neighborhood of mexico city’s iztapalapa borough, the center provides recreational and educational facilities for the blind and visually impaired. the location was motivated by being a neighborhood with a large amount of persons with visual disabilities. a traditional method of constructing, called tepetate was used due to low budget requirements. it was used in rural vernacular homes in the high plains of mexico during the 19th century, until industrial materials replaced it even though they were not as economical as the traditional method. the tepetate is interesting in that the soil is the key element. it is naturally compressed, not needing 24

machines, as geological forces cut the earth in blocks. rocha designed 40’ non load bearing walls of tepetate supported by a concrete structure. with the sensorial requirements of the occupants, the project is enclosed from the context with a retaining wall, creating sound absorption from the noisy streets adjacent to the site. the center has various programs with multiple buildings housing them and outdoor circulation with resting spaces in between.



longitudinal section


ground level plan 27

wall construction of classrooms


roof planes

aperture structure

earthen walls

concrete walls

column structure

pool overhead condition | water axis


precedent study [04]

aquatic center | jean nouvel | le havre, france | 2008 the aquatic center is a complete enclosure from the site, compared to luis alderete’s shelters. it is located in a wharf area, and in terms of scale of building emulates the warehouse/storage buildings nearby. the exterior is a dark gray, blending in with the site, while the entire program is concealed within a world white. influenced by the aquatic center program, nouvel used water to define space, create boundaries, and govern circulation. the spatial organization created different overall volumes within the warehouse; health, recreation, and exercise. other programs such as cleansing, admin, and building facilities become independent volumes, aiding in 30

circulation organization. this project is limited in public/ unprogrammed space due to the site response. however, it does allow for a variety of experiences with vantage point and indoor or outdoor spaces. unique design decisions are the abundant light wells which create a strong relationship to sky and natural light to enter the interior spaces. the ceiling is an undulating mass, which helps to transform the scale of the warehouse to more habitable space.


cross section

light wells 32

longitudinal section

level 2

level 1




administration | exercise rooms | changing rooms

indoor outdoor leisure pool | outdoor swimming pool




precedent study [05]

biblioteca la ladera | giancarlo mazzanti | medellin, colombia | 2008 part of an urban renewal scheme for the city medellin, colombia, the first to study, biblioteca ladera, expresses horizontal moves through the sloping ground scape. mazzanti celebrates the hill adjacent to the library by building in the ground and down the slope. the three modules of the library contain the various programs and functions, yet are architecturally expressed in a similar manner, a square volume with three levels. when arriving to the site, there is no visual obstruction of the site from the horizontal plane to the sky. mazzanti then builds into the hill the formal entry to the three volumes, a shaded space that connects each independent volume. the roof of each 36

has a sloped ceiling with seating as well as a shaded space for viewing. the middle space of the volumes contains the main programs and then the ground plane absorbs the bottom level. mazzanti explores the layers of public space that surrounds a project while offering various public spaces to become occupied above, below, and between the volumes.


cross section


public space domain

level 2 plan 38

occupiable public domain

interior programs auditorium/computer rooms/ study spaces

circulation plenum


precedent study [06]

biblioteca espana | giancarlo mazzanti | medellin, colombia | 2008 again mazzanti uses the module of three programmatic volumes linked together by a public space. however, in the biblioteca espana the public space connects a street to a market area from different elevations with different plateaus and a ramp for varied scales of movement and occupation. the volumes move vertically into the sky to shade the public space, and emulate the craggy hillside that they cling to. the unprogrammed space is also the roof for additional enclosed spaces undefined by the volumes. mazzanti uses this layering to maximize the activities for both the library and the city uses and functions. each volume contains a central program, auditorium, library, 40

and offices/admin, independent of the other. the public space cuts into the volume at the joint and creates outlook points in between them. the construction method was of concrete structures enclosed with a skin offset from the main structure. the floor plates appear suspended by the skin.


cross section

public space domain


level 2 plan 42

architecture containers

circulation cores

interior programs library auditorium computer rooms

concrete structure

occupiable public domain


project influence

why the suburban condition? the suburban condition is a huge factor for american living in the 21st century. from the 1950’s – 2000 the movement of people leaving cities in quest for the american dream left the landscape covered in housing subdivision, strip malls, office park, industrial parks, and parking lots. however, the lifestyle of the automobile in addition to suburbia has caused damages to a quality of life for the everyday person. studies have presented information that many of suburban residents want to stay where are and ‘age in place.’ the issue with this desire arises with the need for automobile transportation. seniors who ‘age in place’ will outlive their ability to drive between 7 - 10 years. also, 44

for children and kids, without walkable destinations or public transit, they are often sitting at home, watching tv and not being productive. this raises the question, how can elderly citizens and children access their daily needs in auto-centric suburbs? after the 2000 census, the census bureau published that 50% of the total population were living in suburbs. this is where people make their everyday memories, raise their children, and grow old. the value of living in suburbia was important to residents, but was missed by designers and planners. due to the united states recession in 2008, there

has been a pressing re-look at suburban communities. retrofitting strip malls and big box stores have become financial solutions for some as well as beneficial for the community. other contemporary actions have been new urbanism and its appeal to traditional neighborhood redevelopment. however, the focus of this study is to enhance existing structures which are being used within the community. the value in this selection process is that the program is continued but is added to and creates a transformation for the context of the structure. selection of such sites requires a relationship to city, residents, public transit, and use.

suburban renewal will be an important aspect of future construction. as florida is largely suburban, it is important to explore how transforming existing conditions in specific and sustainable ways. In the terms of sustainable, it is not just the environmental impact but the longevity of a community and how it can adapt to maintain a quality of life for the residents. the role of architecture in such places can become a valuable strategy in bringing about change. opposed from making large scale changes in neighborhoods, pin pointing one element to transform, can become the catalyst. 45


vero beach, fl [sprawlscape] vero beach fl began in the 1840’s and founded in the county of indian river, established in 1925, known for the indian river lagoon and orange juice. neighboring cities are sebastian, wabasso, gifford, and ft. pierce. the two main land masses are separated by the lagoon, which is an important ecological estuary along the east coast of florida. orange groves were a large part of the development of indian river county, on the beach side and the main land. in recent years, many groves have been destroyed for developments, many are still empty due to the recession in 2008. 46

vero beach was planned out as suburban town for families with a small downtown area, which connects to large commercial districts to the east and west. sebastian, a secondary city was planned as a retirement community a few miles north. the high school was first built in 1905 within walking distance to the downtown along with the main library. piper airplanes and teaching facility moved to vero beach in 1937. 11 years later, the la dodgers selected vero beach for their spring training facility and fields, however in 2009 the left and has been transformed into the vero beach sports village.


_Indian River County


vero beach, fl [sprawlscape]



1/2 Mile Walk Ages Demogr

pop total_3,8

0 - 18

.5 mile radius population _ 3,881 2 mile radius population _ 17,581



0 - 18



2 mile leisure biking distance 00:00 min 2 mile leisure biking distance 00:00 min .5 mile leisure walking distance 10:00 min .5 mile leisure walking distance 10:00 min

64 +

vero beach 2010 census


pop total_31,732 pop total_31,732


64 +

e Walking and Biking emographic


.5 mile walking and biking ages1/2demographic Mile Walking and Biking Ages Demographic = 100 people = 100 people =100 people

2 Mile Biking Ages Demographic


0 - 18







Ages Demographic

pop total_17,581

pop total_3,881

0 - 18

2 mile biking ages 2 Mile Bikingdemographic pop total_17,581

0 - 18






64 + 64 +

64 + 64 +

64 +

pop total_31,732


existing condition [zoning]

sprawlscape site plan R-1 Residential Single Family R-1A Residential Single Family Rm-8 Residential Multifamily Medium Density Rm-10 Residential Multifamily Medium Density and High Density RS-2 Single Family Residential District RS-3 RS-6


(up to 2 unit/acre) Single Family Residential District (up to 3 unit/acre) Single Family Residential District (up to 6 unit/acre)



2275 ft2

main complex

building a: 3720 ft2 exercise space bldg c

1440 ft2

atheletic fields

entry (main bldg)

1781 ft2 cleansing


3418 ft2

outdoor swim building b: 8232 ft2 basketball courts

gymnastics space

1090 ft2 weight room (s)

920 ft2

sand volleyball courts

cardio room

780ft2 exercise space bldg a admin office bldg d

building c: 2275 ft2

520 ft2 156 ft2

2000 ft2 dance room

920 ft2 332 ft2

raquet ball court storage bldg d

building d: 4500 ft2

outdoor bask

2640 ft2

total building area: 18272 ft2 mechanical/storage/circulation





sand volleyb

leisure square recreation center

existing condition program


2275 ft2 building a: 3720 ft2 exercise space bldg c

1440 ft2 entry (main bldg)

1781 ft2 cleansing

3418 ft2 outdoor swimming pool building b: 8232 ft2 gymnastics space

1090 ft2 weight room (s)

920 ft2

cardio room

780ft2 exercise space bldg a admin office bldg d

building c: 2275 ft2

520 ft2 156 ft2

2000 ft2 dance room

920 ft2 332 ft2

raquet ball court storage bldg d

building d: 4500 ft2

outdoor basketball courts

2640 ft2


sand volleyball courts

athletic fields | soccer, football, lacrosse, ultimate frisbee, physical training


leisure square recreation center

existing facilities documentation



context [documentation]




context [documentation]

sidewalk condition



context [documentation]

ecological + gardens



context [documentation]

building typologies



generator + process

mat-building [2D thick] mat-building was a category invented by peter and alison smithson in the 1960’s and further developed by stan allen in urban contexts. it is a strategy to which a mixture of programs can occur with the parts of the framework from architecture. it is seen as a horizontal weave of mass and void, where the interstitial spaces become just as important as the nodes they connect. stan allen describes it as, “the promise of mat-building is of the things happening in the voids, outside of architecture’s explicit envelope of control.” mat-building was used in the project as a generator for the site and an influence for mat-2D groundscape. mats are recognized by consistent 66

and repetitive parts which are dispersed over a largescale territory. using these ideas, a process of creating patterns and parts through digital exploration began. an initial series focused on geometry and scale of pattern. the next series was modified by the field influences from the site. once patterns were formed, they were then cut on water color paper and used to create study models. the study models became layered expressions of the pattern, which suggested hierarchy of forms and volumes. from the study models, three iterations developed qualities which were

used to move forward with the final proposal. the first, a large ceiling condition or covered space, the second was a framework for covered spaces and activated grounds, and third was a massing of a building along the east edge. the three different schemes are the preliminary proposals.


site plan [vegetation density]


site plan [building typologies] single family





apartments 69

site plan [existing transit infrastructure] sidewalks 70

public transit + stop

ecological influence


site plan [living densities] high density 72


medium density

low density



pattern studies


geometry study


pattern studies | modification [a


pattern studies | modification [b]


base field

modified field

base pattern

base pattern

grid overlay

grid overlay

scale series [a]

scale series [c]

scale series [b]

scale series [d]


site + geometry + field influence 76

iteration library

pattern typologies

iteration 01

iteration 02

iteration 03


iteration 01


study models 78

iteration 02

iteration 03


appropriating site

iteration [01]



appropriating site

iteration [02]



appropriating site

iteration [03]




proposed condition

leisure square recreation center the site of the project is located in vero beach fl. it is characterized by a banal repetition of cookie cutter homes, a lack of pedestrian space and inactive sense of community. this type of place, arose during the post war era, the aid of the automobile and the american dream of owning a house with yard. Such construction and planning was built for speed and not for a quality of living. america has grown to become the suburban nation and florida is a key example of this typology. yet, how do these communities, which is where people live and have their everyday experiences move forward in terms of connectivity, sustainability, and a quality of life? 86

an important aspect of the project was to connect it to the site with pedestrian and bicycling modes of transportation, which is in two categories, the 10 min walk, a .5 mile radius, and the 10-15 minute bike ride, a 2 mile radius. as described by studies the majority of suburban residents would like to stay where there are and “age in place.�the study itself needs a way to generate alternative modes of transportation. the site is connected to public transportation and is a stop along one of the routes, allowing for more public use. focusing on the people who are within a close proximity, it is a range of age groups, the young adult is the least populated in the

this area, and 66% of the households are families. so, the complex itself, could be used by a range of ages, lifestyles, and modes of transportation. the site first required new ways to connect to the context, both visually and physically. in the initial phases, it was important to visually connect o 16th street with building volumes and secondly allow pedestrian and bicycling connection between 14th st and 16th st. the connection became a walking path for fitness. next, promoting alternative modes of transportation was developed by elevating the fitness program volume 14’ to create

a covered car park, later explored as a place where farmer’s markets or events could occupy. then, influenced from the precedent studies, to create layers of public domain. the public spaces then became part of the mat-2d activated grounds and roof top gardens. last, an inherent sustainable quality in building volume and function. the programs were separated and expanded along the site with a skin of ceramic extruded units.



16th st vehicular entrance + exercise circuit 89

proposed condition

sprawlscape site plan_1:500




1. project area + existing access

2. new access + athletic fields division

proposed condition

concept diagram

5. building volumes + placement


6. subdivision of building volume

3. pedestrian + cycling circuits

4. subdivision of activated grounds

7. addition of light wells and circulation voids

8. final form + site


proposed condition

site plan_1:200

south elevation


north elevation


2 3



1 automobile parking 2 roof gardens 3 pool deck 4 private athletic fields + courts 5 public athletic fields




main entry 97


2 1






5 7



proposed condition

level 1 plan_1:100 98







1 entry 2 cafe 3 gymnastics 4 kid care/indoor play area 5 pool changing/locker room 6 indoor racquet ball 7 kiddie pool 8 leisure pool 9 50 m lap pool 10 dance studios 11 health + wellness 12 activated grounds 13 basketball courts 14 beach volleyball courts 15 athletic fields [football/ ultimate frisbee/soccer/lacrosse








20 22


23 24 25

proposed condition

level 2 plan_1:100 100


16 gymnastics viewing area 17 unprogrammed space 18 public circulation to roof gardens 19 admin + storage 20 fitness changing/locker room 21 stretching 22 cardio 23 strength training 24 exercise a 25 exercise b


public grounds + athletic fields

grounds + athletic fields

proposed condition

project components

fitness programs interior


walking path circuit

pedestrian + bicycle access

automobile access + park

activated grounds

temporary event programs


project components

walking + bicycling connection after reviewing initial site iterations, an issue arose of having no connection between 16th st and 14th street for pedestrians or vehicular traffic. this became an important aspect for the initial site concept to suggest additional modes of transportation and allows residents from the south direct access to the private fitness functions. first, the idea was to provide a circuit along the property line, however it did not fit with the width of the football field size requirements, and was adjusted. it resulted in two loops with a connection along the west boundary, which became the north, south connection for pedestrians and 104

bicyclers. when re looking at the context, a clubhouse for the community to the east and a gazebo for the retirement home on the west suggested additional access points. then the connection became a walking path as well, for walking, jogging, and running. the circuit is 8’ wide to accommodate several modes of movement. also, the path was measured with half mile loops, whether arriving from the south or north, for fitness functions.

south circuit | .52 miles | 2742 ft

north circuit | .5 miles | 2680 ft

pedestrian + bicycling connection | 16th st + 14th st north + south circuits | .5 miles | 2640 ft

entire circuit | .63 miles | 3322 ft

14th st

h st



mat-building [2D thick]

activated grounds appropriation by residents + community developing the mat-building further culminated in activated grounds which occur adjacent to the athletic fields and courts. The grounds are varied in height to define different scales of occupants and possible appropriation. They could be used as viewing platforms for sporting events, areas for groups to meet under shady trees, community gardens, flower gardens, or other ways to support the community.


agricultural history: orange groves

community vegetable gardens

perennial flower beds

14th st activated ground | SE corner 107

mat-building [2D thick]

activated grounds


public athletic fields activated ground 109


temporary event programs how can suburban residents and communities use such sites? could commerce or trade become an event that occurs within a 5 minute walking distance for sprawlscapes? can small outdoor concerts add to the community activity? the idea behind the appropriation is not a mixed-use idea, but a non prescribed use. spaces that suggest various events to occur. exploring outdoor possibilities for appropriation led to events such as an art fair, a farmer’s marker, or perhaps a movie viewed from the rooftop gardens.


why is this valuable to a suburban community? as suburbia continues to move to outward laying lands, adding nodes of activity aid to centralize the community. it offers activity occurring within a non-automobile needed radius. also, adding to the quality of life, with the aim of food and goods being brought close to people.

concert venue_ 20’ x 40’ stage + vendors

inflatable movie screen_ 100 people on roof garden

private outdoor exercise_ yoga + thai chi

art fair_ 10’ x 10’ tents

public circulation_ roof gardens

farmer’s market_ 48 booths 2’6 x 6’


proposed condition



west elevation 113

existing program

proposed program

entry exercise space a exercise space b cleansing gymnastics cardio + weights admin dance studio indoor racquet ball

building functions

exercise spaces

existing condition proposed condition

proposed condition

program comparison additional program: 50 m lap pool kiddie pool area leisure pool kid car center small cafe health and wellness yoga + pilates roof gardens


existing condition proposed condition

yoga + pilates | operable edge

stretching, cardio + strength training

east elevation 115

_type a fired clay extruded

_type b fired clay planter extruded

2 1/2”

5 3/4”

6 1/2”

6 1/2”

proposed condition

ceramic extruded units the initial research for the façade consisted of earthen materials in the form of adobe brick, rammed earth, or compressed earthen blocks. through the process of study and comparing climates in the cases of the rute del peregrino shelters and the center for the blind, to vero beach, fl a different approach developed. ceramics became the application for the façade. toni cumella, a ceramic artist, has worked on many façade constructions in recent years. in comparison to some of the pristine glazed tiles he designed for the restoration of the santa caterina market, the façade was to still reference the initial interest of earthen materials. this suggested the units 116

to be rough and unglazed. elements such as this could be made from clay extrusions, which would then be fired and assembled with a support frame. first created was a simple rectangular extrusion lintel, type a, which was applied to the primary façade requiring shading and cooling of the project. in response to commentary for variation, type b was created to contain small potted plants. type b could be applied to the east and west facades to provide additional cooling and less heat gain. then, variations in the support frame were developed to allow more light for facades adjacent to large shade trees.

_type a wall section process of making components

skin concept | subtle undulations emulating sand and shells found at local beaches


operable facade | shaded from ceramic units

variation of transparency depending on program

proposed condition

layered edge condition


_type a wall assembly

_type a variation

operable edge

operable edge frame

steel support frame

ceramic units

initial wall assembly strategy


proposed condition

sections + community



cross section

longitudinal section



leisure pool 123


private athletic fields + grounds 125

conclusion a catalyst brings about change, forces reaction and a rippling effect. such conditions are needed in suburban areas to provide connectivity, sustainability, and a quality of life. while the proposal was not a passive intervention and was decided to be so early in the process, it was important to explore an intense catalyst. integrating the process of mat-building as a generator is a valuable tool to guide the design and it defines movements and application during the making. as seen from the iterations, a range of gestural moves can be created, yet when the mat-building is constantly referenced, it continues to modify and edit the strategy. It allowed a transition from 126

the suburban repetition, a visual aid. while the architecture was in the initial stage of detailing, the key aspects to note are the faรงade aims of a layered and operable edge, simple construction (possibly modular), and a variation to faรงade strategies with regard to sustainability. this approach was for the adaptability of the architecture itself for unprogrammed space. such considerations allow for the interior spaces to be appropriated through the lifetime of the building, aiding in its longevity, as a sustainable building is one that lasts. issues that were addressed from the existing

structure: visual street connection to 16th st; diminish emphasis of car parking; allow pedestrian and bicycling access from 16th st to 14th st; and create public place for occupancy at multiple levels and scales. moving forward with this process and ideology, it would be valuable to first compare a passive intervention, what’s the least that could be done to bring about the greatest amount of change. perhaps just a shaded outdoor space and activated ground adjoined to a one room community center is all that is needed? then a catalogue of renewal could be applied and studied on similar complexes, with different scales, in other floridian sprawlscapes. such a study would bring about a refined site strategy and possibly challenge or contradict the final proposal. the catalogue could also become a way to rezone the suburban districts as the context will react to the catalyst. opposed to creating re-zoned town centers on the outskirts of suburbia, the re-zoning could happen from the inside out. however, it is the view of the proposal that it would not dramatically alter the building typology zoning, but effect or re-zone what is possible on the site

and add density in the decades to come. transformations, as influenced from european cities, such as pedestrian or cycling only days in areas within a quarter mile of sites, enhancement and use of public transit, and the use of public grounds as small agriculture nodes, would be larger catalysts of the revitalization. it is the transformation of the everyday experience that is the value. architecture’s role is to house human beings, first and foremost. second, it is to enhance quality of life and protect, giving reason for occupation. the everyday architecture is what is experienced, sometimes lost in the background, but it where interaction occurs. how can the everyday be used to bring about change? everyday architecture can become appropriated and bring be the catalyst, through exploratory design process and relooking at what has been accepted as architecture today.


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American Dream. New York: North Point Press. Lovell, Jenny. 2010. Building Envelopes: An Integrated Approach. New York, N.Y: Princeton Architectural Press. Minke, Gernot. 2006. Building with Earth: Design and Technology of a Sustainable Architecture. Basel: Birkhauser-Publishers for Architecture. Morgan, William N. 2008. Earth Architecture: From Ancient to Modern. Gainesville: University Press of Florida. Rael, Ronald. 2009. Earth Architecture. New York, N.Y: Princeton Architectural Press. Sarkis, Hashim, and Pablo Allard. 2001. Case: Le Corbusier’s Venice Hospital and the mat building revival. Munich: Prestel. Tardiveau, Armelle, ed. 2006. Moulding, assembling, designing: Ceramics in Architecture. Barcelona, ASCER. Thadani, Dhiru A., 2010. The Language of Towns and Cities: A Visual Dictionary. New York, NY: Rizzoli. Wettstein, Carol A, Chris V. Noble, and James D. Slabaugh. 1986. Soil Survey of Indian River County, Florida. Washington, D.C: The Service. Phaidon Press, ed. 2008. The Phaidon Atlas of 21st Century World Architecture. New York, NY: Phaidon Press Inc.

images Iwan Baan, Rute Peregrino accessed March 5, 2013, JeanNouvel, “Aquatic Center,” accessed March 5, 2013, www. Platforma Arquitectura, “La Ladera Library/Giancarlo Mazzanti,” accessed March 5, 2013, Metroplex, “Whispering Iconography,” accessed March 5, 2013, www. websites: 129

SDavis Appriopriating Sprawlscapes  

University of Florida Master's Thesis Project. Appropriating Sprawlscapes a look at re-strategizing florida suburbia Vero Beach Fl

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