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LAYERED OSCILLATION MArch Thesis — Varia Smirnova Rice School of Architecture


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ABSTRACT

Universal and compartmental are two distinct and seemingly incompatible types of space. The list of qualities that describe one stands in stark opposition to how we understand the other. Universal space is qualified as open, continuous, homogenous, and transparent while compartmental space is associated with enclosures, separation, differentiation and a high degree of privacy. The following project takes on the two ends of the spatial spectrum and synthesizes them into a single environment. The resulting building warps the architecture of the two types producing a new spatiality which collapses them into a single continuously sporadic moment. A spa is a space traditionally associated with separation of environments, thick walls and a need for privacy. This function is introduced as a new occupant of an old castiron structure which, in contrast, is the epitome of an open plan. The building’s thin columns are pushed to the edge of the floor plate leaving an unobstructed, transparent and continuous space. The existing building and its new program represent continuous and compartmental environments which are combined using a unique architectural and structural system to produce a constant spatial friction and an oscillating perception of the space for the visitors of the building. 3


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Thank You... to Jesús Vassallo for his knowledge, enthusiasm, and excellent advising approach. to Scott Colman for his patience, faith, and continuous ability to help me redefine my project. to Kent Fitzsimons for being a very helpful pre-thesis adviser. to Duncan White, Amanda Li Chang, Chimaobi Izeogu, Joseph Altshuler, and Josh Herzstein for their big help during the final weeks of the project. and to the members of the final jury for the engaging conversation: Joshua Prince-Ramus, Caroline O’Donnell, Antonio Petrov, Ron Witte, Lars Lerup, Albert Pope and Sarah Whiting.

01.17.2014

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction

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Diagrams

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Model Photos

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Plans

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Sections

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Building Views

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INTRODUCTION

Layered Oscillation is a project in which two opposing spatial characteristics come together to form a space that is simultaneously continuous and sporadic, it is enclosed and introspective while being completely transparent to the public and it is massive and thin at the same time. Universal and compartmental types of space are combined into a single hybrid which transforms the two into an environment where the continuous produces varied moments and the compartmental establishes a rhythm of openness. The project juxtaposes the continuity and transparency of an existing cast-iron building with the varied and private program of a spa. The opposition is therefore set up between the existing and new architecture. In order to produce spatial friction and a simultaneous sense of continuity and separation, the project utilizes an array of thin structural panels that fill the mass of the building and read as an opaque solid from one direction and a permeable field from another. The continuous spatial paradox produced by the system establishes a sense of intrigue and constant expectation in the visitors of the spa. Top: Continuous open plan of the Inland Steel Building, SOM Bottom: Separation of compartmental plan, John Soane Museum, J.S. 7


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UNIVERSAL

The ‘free plan’ was one of the Five Points of a New Architecture pioneered by Le Corbusier in the early 20th century and became a signature of modernism. Slender columns replaced thick load bearing walls and produced a continuity and transparency that marked a clear shift in spatial sensibility. Along with architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Alvar Aalto, Mies van der Rohe continued the exploration of Corbusier’s ‘free plan’ designing building that utilized prefabricated structural steel columns to produce open and expansive spaces. New National Gallery in Berlin is an iconic building and a classic example of Mies’s universal space. The Inland Steel Building by SOM illustrates the next iteration of Mies’s universal space — an office building in which the structural columns are pushed to the periphery leaving an uninterrupted continuous space. The narrow width of the building and the transparency of the façade generate an outward focused space that is able to transcend its envelope and connect to the city beyond. Top Left: Open plan of the Inland Steel Building Bottom Left: Universal interior of the Inland Steel Building 9


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COMPARTMENTAL

Compartmental space is experienced in traditional load-bearing wall construction and is defined by a series of distinct enclosures. Compartmental architecture is thick, introspective and opaque. The plans of the John Soane Museum clearly illustrate the character of such a space — sequential, almost maze-like environment that often dictates a certain path and frames the specific proportions of the visitors experience . In contrast to the Inland Steel building, the John Soane Museum is defined by clear separation and delineation of individual space. The photos on the left show the way each room is defined by a distinct width, height, material and light treatment. This type of space does not immediately reveal itself, instead, it is experienced in moments, it is presented in steps that are not always easily traced back.

Top Left: Sir John Soane Museum Ground Floor Plan Bottom Left: Museum interior

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TRANSPARENT FACADE

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CONTINUOUS STRUCTURE (Cast iron columns)

OPEN PLAN (Wood floor joists)

NARROW FOOTPRINT


CONTINUOUS & SEPARATE

The project uses an existing building to stand in for continuous space. Designed and built in the Soho neighborhood of New York City in 1870, the cast-iron structure served as a transparent industrial box for office and retail use. The building has a total of 7 levels and is defined by an even rhythm of cast-iron columns that delineate its perimeter. Similar to the SOM tower, this building has a narrow footprint and a highly transparent faรงade. With the exception of a few walls that demarcate existing vertical circulation, all floors can be categorized as a free plan. The new program of a spa is introduced to represent the notion of separation, a function which is associated with private and therefore individualized space. Opacity and variation of environments required by the program of the spa stand in opposition to the openness and transparency of the cast-iron box and generate a system that mediates the two types of space while maintaining the legibility of both. Upper Left: Existing building diagrams Lower Left: Continuity and separation diagrams overlaid over existing building plan 13


CAST IRON BRACE

A

A

WOOD JOIST (3X14)

EXTRUDE

PLAN OF COLUMN

CAST IRON SPANDREL

SECTION THROUGH TYP. FLOOR

[a]

[a]

[b]

[b]

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CAST IRON SPANDREL

SECTION A

[b]

[a]

[b]

[a]


DIAGRAMS

The project deploys a spatial system that is informed by the logic of the existing structure. The repetitive nature of wooden floor joists is extruded to occupy the entire mass of the building. The subtractions from the mass produce connections and separations of one environment to another. The perception of the mass as both solid and perforated generates spaces that can be experienced as both connected and separated from the rest of the building.

Top Left: Construction detail of existing building Bottom Left: Separation [a] and Continuity [b] Diagrams 15


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Left: View down the hall of multiple threshold conditions Right: Threshold condition studies

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STRUCTURE

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SYSTEM MODULATION


PROGRAM

CIRCULATION

PLUMBING

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A patterned surface covers the walkable portions of the building — the floors, stairs and pools. The drawing on the left illustrates the continuity the surface is able to achieve even at a change of level as the visitor is taken into a narrow enclosure of the stair and up to the next level of the spa. A strong distinction in the organic graphic of the surface and an orthogonal nature of the striated structure reinforces the oscillating reading of the space. The 5 distinct patterns serve to symbolically identify the various sub-programs within the building — the back of house, public lobby and bar, 4 spa levels, and the rooftop theater.

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MODEL PHOTOS

p. 24/25: Short interior elevation and oblique of entire mass p. 26: Porosity and openness in the interior p. 27: A limiting view of persisting continuity p. 28/29: Cocktail bar at ground level — solid and transparent views p. 30/31: Seclusion and connection p. 32: The most separated space in the building — 3rd floor corner pool p. 33: Continuity between pools p. 34: The most open space in the building — double height at 3rd floor pool p. 35: Typical hallway condition p. 36/337: Singularity and repetition

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SUB-CELLAR: MECHANICAL ROOM OFFICE SPACE LAUNDRY

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5’

15’


CELLAR: RESTAURANT

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GROUND LEVEL: SPA LOBBY COCKTAIL BAR

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5’

15’


2ND LEVEL: STEAM ROOM SALT POOLS SHOWERS

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3RD LEVEL: HOT & COLD POOLS SNACK/DRINK BAR

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5’

15’


4TH LEVEL: WARM POOLS MASSAGE LOUNGE

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5TH LEVEL: 2ND LOBBY DRESSING ROOMS

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5’

15’


ROOFTOP: OUTDOOR THEATER WHIRLPOOL + PARTY DECK

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SHORT SECTION A 46 LAYERED OSCILLATION


SHORT SECTION B

SHORT SECTION C 47


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BUILDING VIEWS

p. 50: Existing facade with new interior p. 52: View of the restaurant at the cellar level p. 54: Cocktail bar at ground level p. 55: Public spa lobby at ground level p. 56: Corner steam room at second level p. 58: Salt pool hall at 2nd level, looking towards steam room p. 60: Warm pool at the corner of third level p. 62: Massage lounge at fourth level p. 63: Double height space above third level cold pool p. 64: Hot pool at fourth level p. 64: Rooftop theater

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LAYERED OSCILLATION / Varia Smirnova


Varia Smirnova MArch Thesis Book