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Learning Journal Tom Woodward





Sustainable Housing


Urban Conditions


Figure Ground


Anticipatory Field



The following portfolio contains examples of my work from my second year of work at the Welsh School of Architecture.


Measure was the first project of second year at the Welsh School of Architecture, conducted over the Summer break. The brief was to measure a space both objectively, in terms of physical size and environmental conditions, and subjectively, in terms of the feel of the space. The space I chose to measure was the upstairs lounge of a converted barn, which was an interesting space architecturally.

Subjective Measurements I took ‘subjective’ measurements of the space in the form of photography. As the room has both east and west-facing aspects, the sunlight casts some dramatic shadows in both the morning and evening of a sunny day. The intention of my photos was to capture the atmosphere that this created whilst looking at very specific areas within the room, rather than giving a more broad overview of the space.

“Deep shadows and darkness are essential, because they dim the sharpness of vision, make depth and distance ambiguous, and invite unconscious peripheral vision and tactile fantasy.” Juhani Pallasmaa

Objective Measurements Along with measuring and drawing plans and sections, I took ‘objective’ measurements of the space related to Herman Hertzberger’s ‘Lesson’s for Students in Architecture’, and Pat Borer’s The Whole House Book’. In this respect I focused on how elements of the design affected its levels of privacy.

Sustainable Housing

The sustainable housing project was an eight week project, four weeks of which was group work, and four weeks of which was individual work. The brief was to design a scheme within a site in Cardiff that provided 12 - 15 housing units that were designed with sustainability in mind.

Learning Processes The concept board on the page opposite expresses the sustainable and cyclical nature of my housing scheme. Through a process of layering, it highlights the diverse and engaging nature of the staircase, on which food is grown and a sustainable society is developed. The two page spreads on the following pages are early perspective drawings from the same housing scheme, which illustrate the varying levels of privacy within the scheme and highlight the stark juxtaposition of materials used in comparison to existing local materials.

‘Greenhouse Circulation’

Housing Scheme Concept Board Adobe Illustrator

picking cooking eating composting planting growing picking cooking eating composting planting growing picking cooking eating composting planting growing picking cooking picking cooking eating composting planting growing picking cooking

Housing Scheme Perspective From South Photoshop

Housing Scheme Perspective of Platform Photoshop

Concepts These are the drawings I used to explain the fundamental ideas behind my sustainable housing scheme. The scheme is a series of mid-rise towers, connected by a mound of earth that continues the flow of the landscape from the river. Each floor contains one dwelling unit, with the number of bedrooms per unit decreasing, as the floor level increases. This creates generous balcony spaces for each flat as it has a smaller floor area than the flat below. Each tower consists of cantilevered concrete floor slabs that are supported by the two cores of the structure. One of these cores also serves as two of the walls for the circulation space. The other core carries the services for the building. This leaves complete freedom in the remaining design of the floors.

1 C i r c u l a t i o n

2 3 4 Services

Sectional Layout

Structural Concept


Semi - Public Public


Site Perspective

Site Perspective

Continuation of the mound

Details The building introduces subtle cantilevers that create a dynamic variation within the blocks that removes any element of monotony. Built into the mound is a cafe that caters to cyclists that commute to Cardiff on the Taff trail.




Plan, Sections The plans and sections shown serve to explain the project on both a technical and a subjective level. All three drawings are hand drawn, before being processed in photoshop. Whilst the plan’s primary function is to serve as a measurable and readable drawing, the sections express the feel of the spaces, and give some indication of the intention for inhabitation.

Section AA, 1:20



A Section BB, 1:20


Illustrations These drawings were principally for illustrating the inhabitation of my space in a three-dimensional way. The axonometric illustrates how my dwelling unit lies in context to those above and below, and speculates as to how the spaces would be occupied. It gives some indication on both the exterior and interior finishes of the building, The interior perspective shows how the large areas of glazing create seamless transitions between indoor and outdoor spaces, and indicates the quality of the open plan living space.


Urban Conditions

My final project of the Autumn term was a research project on the town of Pontypridd. My group’s specific area of research was the land development plan for the region, and therefore the work aims to communicate the principals of the LDP in a clear and graphically-effective style.

Statistical Representation Our aim in the project was to produce a series of graphics that communicated statistics and policies in a way that was immediately understandable to anyone, and maintain a sense of coherence through our entire presentation. To this end, we produced a series of keycards detailing the principal statistics of the region. We used simple graphics repeatedly to emphasise the subject on which the statistic was based. Following our statistical representation we produced a large poster indicating the council’s planned response to the statistics, in terms of the primary needs of the population that these statistics expressed.

RHONDDA CYNON TAFF: REGIONAL U New Unit Distribution = 100 residential units

TRANSPORT PROPOSALS Rail Improvements = Existing Stations = New Stations = Existing Rail = New rail





Principal Towns Strategic Sites


Key Settlements


Brecon Beacons

Treforest 70 Mins Walk

Smaller Settlements

60 Mins Walk


8 Mins Car 10 Mins Car

Church Village


Llantwit Fardre Beddau


CASE STUDY: MWYNDY/TALBOT GREEN Pontypridd 7 Mwyndy / Talbot Green Area Dwellings (500) Employment (32 hectares) Retail (23,200m2) Leisure (10,000m2)








? Pontypridd

Figure Ground

Figure Ground was a 14 week design project that linked in with the last project, Urban Conditions. The brief was to design an arts centre with an integrated training kitchen in Pontypridd.


ManifestoFigure Ground In figure ground I aim to relate to a number of things. First, to the hills. Pontypridd nestles in a fantastic rural setting, but glimpses of the hills are few and far between. I want to design an intervention that allows enjoyment of this surrounding landscape. The site also has a fantastic relationship to the river and Ysangharad Park, and I want my design to also enjoy these features. I would like to create a building that acts as a catalyst for other building projects in the area. It should not turn its back on the river, but embrace both that side and the high street side of the site plot. It should aim to utilise the abandoned promenade along the back of the shops and encourage use of this promenade by others. The scheme should achieve a feeling of privacy and safety but at the same time be clearly legible and usable as a wholly public building. The primary function of the building will be an arts centre. The centre should make many forms of art accessible to all, rather than purely those with a strong cultural education. It should provide a diverse range of forms of art, and there should be potential for the community to get involved in arts programs. The architecture should offer views to relate to the exterior, but in a controlled way and only where appropriate. The secondary function of the building will be a training kitchen. This should act as another device with which to get the community involved in the centre, and therefore it should be a relatively public space, that relates well to the ‘art’ function of the building. The kitchen should serve a cafe, which should be an inviting space to encourage people to experience the centre.

To the Hills From the outset my scheme was focused on the concept of connecting to the surrounding landscape. Upon entering Pontypridd, the tall buildings and sloping roads remove the magnificent sight of the surrounding landscape, and I felt this was an important thing to bring back to Pontypridd, not least because, similar to the New Gallery designed by SANAA in New York, the views could be used as a device to draw people through the artwork on show. I set out a manifesto shown opposite which considered how these views should be dealt with, along with how my scheme should relate to the river, park and high street, which were all strong features of the site.

Wider Context

Varying Scales The scheme aimed to cater to a range of types and styles of art, and therefore spaces on a variety of scales were introduced into the scheme. These were all served by a central circulation space that exposed all the galleries visually to the public, without turning the galleries into a thoroughfare. The only exception to this was the Welsh Landscape Gallery, which the public had to walk through to get to the hill viewing gallery. The intention here was to further the public understanding of art; by showing paintings of the hills that the public were ascending the building to see, they would hopefully gain a greater understanding of why people would be driven to produce such pieces of work. The training kitchen is located on the high street, to highlight its presence, whilst the cafe flows from the high street facade through to the large exhibiting space to the rear of the building.

Elevation AA

Section BB

Section CC

Elevation DD

Arts Centre as seen from South West.

Hill Viewing Gallery

Welsh Landscape Gallery

Modern Gallery

Artist in Residence Studios Administration

Artist in Residence Galleries

Training Kitchen


Main Exhibition/Event Space Mechanical/Plant

Lighting Analysis Part of the project was to produce a 1:20 scale model of a key space in the arts centre, to study the lighting conditions within that space. I chose to model the Welsh Landscape Gallery, which sat directly below the hill viewing gallery. In this respect it was a challenging space to deal with in terms of light, as I had to minimise sunlight entering the gallery, without impeding the views of the hills in the gallery above. I did this through the use of baffles, as shown opposite. The model gave me an opportunity to develop one space architecturally in greater depth than ever before, and through the use of 3D modelling I also had the opportunity to test this space at night. Along with this the model was useful when combined with a light meter, which meant that I could establish which areas of my space were receiving the most light, and also whether the light levels were appropriate for use in a gallery.


Lighting StudyFigure Ground 0900

















Update 1

Update 2

Update 3



Update 1

Update 2


Update 1

Update 2

Anticipatory Field

Anticipatory Field was the final project of second year, and was a ‘vertical studio’, in that second years and first years worked collaboratively. The brief was to produce a film that investigated the post-industrial site, and questioned the occupation and future use of these sites.

Film Making Following a trip to mid-Wales, where we experienced the abandoned lead mines of Cymystwyth and the plateau in Ebbw Vale where the steelworks used to stand, we produced a film that aimed to question cultural identity. The film questions, through the eyes of a sheep, whether the nostalgia of the abandoned mines and buildings of Cymystwyth make it a place worth keeping, and whether through the ‘wiping the slate clean’-approach towards the redevelopment of Ebbw Vale the town is literally demolishing an important part of its history.

‘Original piece’ collage


Over the course of the year I also ran the architecture society, SAWSA, and as an organisation we ran a lecture series, featuring a variety of professional speakers and practicioners, along with running a design competition, lifedrawing classes, organising an end of year ball, and representing the student body. The posters featured in the following pages were made mostly by the committee members in charge of propaganda.

Lecture Series We had the pleasure of welcoming some fantastic speakers to the school, all of which were organised by ourselves. We had a range of practicioners from both small and large practices, along with academics.

Variety During the lecture series we hosted a range of speakers. My personal favourite was Jeremy Till, who gave a spoken version of his book, Architecture Depends. The lecture, like the book, was engaging and provocative. Andrew Phillips of David Chipperfield gave a fascinating talk that went into the design of the Neues Berlin Museum in depth; a building that took 14 years in total. James Mitchell, a fifth year at WSA, gave an inspirational talk on how he and other students had set up a charity that designed and built buildings to benefit orphans and children in developing countries. The Research at the School event we held towards the end of the year was very interesting in terms of learning more about the research of the staff, and entertaining to watch - each researcher had strictly one minute to explain their research.


Iterating Node

STUDENT: 0900573 1. Roof


4. Structural Analysis

3. Access

2. Inhabiting

5. Accoustic Baffling

9mm plate 6mm plate

Rendered red e Section n


1:20 Section o on Studies iess


45 1 metre






dome gazing

National Museum of Wales:

Arnold Dunbar Smith and Cecil Brewer’s dome in the entrance hall of the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff

mirrors raised platform dark corridor plan showing passage through structure

exterior: large, intimidating open space passage: enclosed, limited light platform: surrounded, visually open only upwards

changing atmospheres clear your mind and then focus your gaze

section in context

cut away perspective

perspective in context

student: 0803103

Competition We also ran a design competition for our students, with the site being the entrance lobby of the National Museum of Wales. Entrants had to design an architectural intervention that allowed for greater enjoyment of the museum and its contents. The competition was judged by two professionals, Andrew Phillips of David Chipperfield Architects and Adam Zombory-Moldovan Moore, of ZomboryMoldovan Moore Architects, with the winning entrants awarded a placement at the firms in the summer of 2011. The boards opposite are the winning entries of David Rossington and Jo Dand.

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party The society also collaborated with the South-Wales branch of RSAW, Design Circle, to host a ball that the society members and professionals from the region attended in great numbers. Whilst other members of the committee organised and ran the ball, it was a great achievement and point of success for the society.

Learning Journal  
Learning Journal  

A portfolio of work from my second year at WSA