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Tommy Li


Gregory Wynn, Jennifer Shields, Emily White Arch 131, 132, 133 2016 - 2017 California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Biography August 22, 1997

Immigrated to Millbrae, CA


Born in Guangzhou, China


Since September, 2016

Rock Climber

Acquire Architecture License Design Playground for Parkour


Graduate from Cal Poly


Undergrad Architecture Student

Contents 01 First Process 02 Sheared Shapes 03 Tectonic Cube 04 Solid / Void 05 Humans 06 SLOScope 07 paraSITE 08 Design Village 09 Precedent 10 Pier 11 Artifact 12 Reflection

01 First Process The First Process is an assignment aimed to teach us to observe the abstract compositions around us and how two or more of compositions can interact when put together. It also teaches us to examine the forms and shapes that makes up a photograph and how we can use them to transform the photograph using basic geometric transformations.

pictures and put them in a 9 squa order that we felt most accuratly pictures as a whole.

Here I arranged 9 pictures I took in a 3x3 grid.

Composition created by selectively removing and combining pieces of two pictures.

02 Sheared Shape Sheared Shapes is a project that allows us to learn about geometric properties through reconstructing primitive shapes with the complexity of creating seams and intersecting planes. It is also the first project that allows us to use digital modeling tool.

Sheared tetrahedron idea made out of bristol and cardboard

Before I tried to make a physical model using metal, I used Rhino to create a 3D model of my shape and lay out how I cut and connected each piece.

Section Drawin

Front, rear, and side views drawings of my sheared tetrahedron.

Final model made out of 24 gauge metal sheet

03 Tectonic Cube A building is made of many smaller pieces, but we don’t normally see these pieces because they are usually covered up by some sort of finishing materials. This project is to remind us a manner of construction from within. Our objective was to create a shape with the resemblance of a cube with 6 inches on each side using as much of a 1x4 wood plank as possible.

I built a plank with the same size as the wood one they gave us to make sure I have enough to make each pieces for my cube.

Cardboard model of my cube


Isometric drawing of my cube with several outer pieces exploded

Final model of my tectonic cube made out of wood

04 Solid/Void In this project, our objective was to create a plaster model with roughly fifty percent cut out of a 6 inch cube. My design was based on Piet Mondrian’s cubism and De Stijl Art Movement, which is basically art composed of variations of primitive shapes with sharp edges, such as squares and rectangles.

I first created 99 drwaings based Mondrian’s Cubism drawings and ob ideas that Mondrian is trying to conve

99 sketches based inspired by Piet Mondrian’s De Stijl art style

dimensional drawings from the 99 drawings.

Cardboard Models Because of the lack of thickness of bristol, we created another three model out of cardboard based on the concepts we got from the drawings and the bristol models. However, I created three new models rather than copying the three bristol models I made because I felt like the thickness of the cardboard radically changed my concept of solid and void.

Because of Mondrian’s style contains various shape and sizes of rectangles, I decided to make my study models look like they are composed by adding or taking away many rectangular shapes.

I drew the cutting patterns for every sections (rou layers of cardboards each) of my model before I a started cutting.

Before I started making a mold for my plaster model, I separated mold into 12 sections with four layers of cardboard each.

Final plaster model after drying and sanding


Orthographic drawings of two opposite corners of my plaster model

05 Humans Human is a project that helps us understand space - whether architectural, outer, or personal - in relation to human body. We began by record and analysis a body movement of our choice using diagrams, then we design a garment that goes with that specific movement and alters or intensifies our perception of the immediate environment.

Learning how to sketch human body

Silhouette of me doing a handstand with height in head counts

Tommy Li

Tommy Li

Shields Studio

Shields Studio

Arch 132

Vector of my spine while I was doing the handstand

Arch 132

Each line captures the vertical placement of a joint on my leg (blue: left ankle, red: right ankle, green: left knee, yellow: right knee)

When I look at the silhouettes created by my motion, I noticed my spine went from straight to arched and my body was pulled down towards the ground even though my legs are not touching it anymore; thus, I decided to create my garments to emphasize gravity and the shape of my spine.

Final garment model that emphasizes the curve and rotational motion of my spine when doing a handstand

06 SLOScope Sometimes architects don’t realize a special space is created when they design something or when their building is located near another. SLOScope gives us the opportunity to explore Downtown SLO and find these spaces. After we find our own special space, we would explore and alter the spatial quality of that space by building a scope or instrument specifically for that space.

ARCH 132 De Professors Br




Since th designed to get to create a Furtherm people t helps the


Because assist th harness, harness exit the h SCOPE /

Both the vantage can be c different

The space I chose was a second floor balcony located on Garden Street on top of a restaurant (as shown on the joiner above)

Site plan and section drawings of my space

Section drawing of my site with the final design of my instrument, which is both an elevator that helps the user to get to the space using a pulley and a scope that elevates a person’s view

A prototype of the model in cardboard

07 paraSITE paraSITE is the first project in first year that allows us to design something that creates direct affect to a building. It involves teaching us the skills needed to analyze a site and maximize the experience for those are near or in it.

A collage-drawing of our site similar to interpolated void

Site analysis drawings (top left: west elevation, top right: south elevation figure/ground diagram, bottom left: south site elevation with human for scale, bottom right: traffic diagram )


7'-1 1/2"

Plan Oblique Scale: 1/2"= 1'-0"

= 1'-0" 2'-0"

4'-1 1/2"

n "= 1'-0"

Permit set/as-built drawings (top left: south elevation, top right: axonometric view, bottom left: west elevation, bottom right: joint connection sample)

Hand-drawn perspective of our final model using charcoal

Final project and team photo

08 Design Village Design Village is architecture at its most primitive. We are suppose to construct a structure that should at least be able to act as dining and bedroom using fewest elements.

Site plan and section with human to scale

Building beds

Transportation, installation, final model

09 Precedent It’s not uncommon for architect to study the works of other architects. A good designer has both an intuitive side and an analytical side. Precedent Study allows us to learn how to gain inspiration from others through various analytical styles.

House Name: House N Location: Oita City, Oita, Japan Architect: Sou Fujimoto Architects Project Team: Yumiko Nogiri Structural Consultant: Jun Sato Structural Engineers Area: 150 sqm

House plans, sections, and breakdown

Domestic Experience




Opening Door/Gateway

10 Pier Port San Luis Obispo Pier is fairly similar to most piers because of its narrow and long walkway. In some sense, its walkway contains a certain rhythm, density, and repetition. This project allows us to utilize these characteristics of the pier and turn them into real life structures.

Watercolor drawing of the pier

As-built drawings and study model based on the idea of transforming the decking into wave-like structures

Making wood model of pier

Final pier model

Tommy Li White Studio Spring 2017 Plan (cut at 4ft above ground) 1/4” = 1’

Final model section and plan

Tommy Li White Studio Spring 2017 Longitudinal Section 1/4” = 1’

11 Artifact

A wooden box with opening to hold my portfolio with

12 Reflection A year ago, I knew almost nothing about architecture, yet I decided it’s what I wanted to do in life because I always felt architects not only design something for us to enjoy and live in, they also make the world a better place by designing things like sustainable houses or low cost shelters. Although the first year in Cal Poly as an architecture student is not year, I knew it’s still what I want to do in life because projects I worked on this year made me appreciate this profession more. I realized that even designing something as simple as a wooden box can teach you philosophy behind many architectural process.

First year portfolio Tommy Li  
First year portfolio Tommy Li