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experimental undergraduate portfolio 2013 - 2015

xianing chen

content content

tectonic system




ccm study


building from within


building from without


professional - VA project


tectonic system 03

tectonic system 04

01 tectonic system

this is a series of experiments of how a construction system can be developed. in this case, double-layer grid system is picked. double-layer grid is a system composed of two layers of grid with trusses in between originally. however, there comes up with a couple of brand new ideas. for the first stage, based on the primary system, it is actually also composed of arrays of single small units rather than only two layers - for process 1. for the second stage, idea is that here the two layers can be understood as two spatial layers with experimenting interior and exterior spatial relationships. the whole process started from paper-folding technique, followed with laser-cutting, 3d-printing, finally a mixture of all above with hand crafting. 1st stage - process 1, 2 2nd stage - process 3, 4

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process 1 - paper folding mixed with laser cutting

single unit component has an overall pyramid form with circular apertures, which not only creates interesting shapes but also bright the model up. With three joints of different orientations, it leads to various development.

basic aggregation 1

basic aggregation 2

basic aggregation 3 by connecting head to tail, it is a relatively stable unit.

composing these aggregations, finally make out the form of a habitable light-weight structure. playing with the fantastic shape branch, the comparison between the geometry and the organic form turns out to be harmonious.

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process 2 - 3d print carved geometry creating a skeleton-like, this is more like the structure of a space. by changing the scale of each unit, it gives more flexibilities to develop a space. x5

shape geometry shape geometry

unit 1

multiple aggregation

composition - 1

composition - 1

unit 2

joints diagram

joints diagram - 1

composition - 1

x5 shape geometry

form volume

form volume

joints diagram - 1

form volume

joints diagram - 1

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process 3 - laser cutting

as the beginning of stage 2, this irregular form comes from the idea of developing interior and exterior in two layers separately. in this case, pyramid works as the integral enclosure. after carving with spheres, interesting negative spaces appear. the stacking laser cutting model helps to explore the interior spaces.

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spatial analysis side view - positive and negative

top view - positive and negative

transferring the concept into a habitable structure, various possibility emerges. the exterior layer - flexible pyramid-shaped skin, cooperates with the internal layer - oval-shaped volume. this actually allows more opportunities of interior space forming and gives more interaction in and out.

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02 architectonic this project is located at a long, narrow, flat area in the woods, cincinnati, ohio, which will be used as a summer school. with its 20,000 sq ft plan, it occupies adequate space to layout any program needed. as a project followed with tectonic system, the idea of double layer is also applied here. instead of building a wood house in woods, a series of geometrical concrete building are supposed to be dropped on the site. for a better and cozy sense of interior, organic-shaped structure will be placed within the skin.

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ideal mass model architectonic 016

study on soil stableness

draft plan on grid

heavy structure distribution based on soil study

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12 2


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12 - kitchen with its outdoor space 11 - public restroom 10 - studios 9 - bedroom of tutors 8 - students recreation center 6&7 - dormitory of students 5 - bedroom of master tutor 4 - pin-up space/gallery 3 - library 2 - reception 1 - outdoor platform

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idea of the double layer structure

exploded axon

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03 ccm study

this study concentrated on the structurecomposition of the music school of uc.

diagrams/right aim to show an overall study on characteristics of the staircase design, as well as floor plan design, followed with study models which were from selected potential diagrams.

emblematic drawing/left sketch shows how to combine the study models in this drawing. there are two major parts. the unique geometric structure and various stairs in the building. also some etails included, to give more information, like the light blue glazing. overall, this drawing shows the circulation and composition in an abstract way to extract the main design idea.

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04 building from within

this project is mainly based on the intimate modular - human scale in order to have the experiment with spatial relationship. this process included panel exercises and volumetric studies.

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1 1/2’

6 1/2’





3 1/2’

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this process included panel exercises and volumetric studies. next, use the aggregation “lift“ to combine these five investigations, which also carefully employ human scale in the space.

shelter at the top with designed angle for people to lie on. tinted glazing allows light to come through, which aims to create a relaxing atmosphere. opening space with a transparent overhanging observation.

a plaza for outdoor activities. the twist parts also used as supporting columns.

various open area allows more possibilities of activities, as well as more communication with nature.

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05 building from without

it is an hybrid building designed on an existed garage, downtown, cincinnati with various programs. this project helps to get an better understanding of architecture program and multiple-usage building. since the bottom will still used as a garage, the idea is not to block all the natural light from the top so that the garage also can be brightened up. due to this, the building was designed into two parts, major building and the observation ramp. it also satisfies both of people’s need for activities, either indoor or outdoor.

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observation restaurant within a glass box overhang on the top of the building to enjoy the overlook view of the surroundings.

structure-free plan with grand space offers various flexible arrangements for any kinds exhibition and activity.

the exsiting theater was required to add in this building, which is actually interlocked with the gallery on the top.

the pool is placed beneath the ramp. all sides are made of glass so people can have an broad scenery. also a specific entranceway is made for it on the first floor.

major circulation include three elevators and an outdoor ramp. one elevator takes from the ground to the top, the other one takes from first floor to the gallery.

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roof garden



swimming pool

major circulations

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section 1

section 2

section 1

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top: facade material distribution

top: facade material distribution

bottom: entranceway to pool underneath

bottom: entranceway to pool underneath

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rendering house/ ALIlA resort Yangshuo, China

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06 professional - VA projects

during the period of internship in Vector Architects in Beijing, China, I got the opportunities to be exposed to more varieties of projects including resort, hotel, cafe, also a commercial building. the part mainly i took charge of was modeling. thanks to this, i got a lot of experiences on modeling. besides that, i also engaged into construction drawing, rendering, digital modeling and precedent study. so for me, it was more like a study process.

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contribution in the group: modeling the main building on the previous site scale at 1 : 200 photos taken by Vector Architects

Golf Hotel Beidaihe New District, Hebei, China

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unit model scale at 1 : 20

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contribution in the group: modeling the main building with its adjacent site on the previous site scale at 1 : 200 photos taken by Tsun Yu, Chiang/ Vector Architects

Cafe, Bar Beidaihe New District, Hebei, China

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professional - VA projects 046

work within a group of two scale at 1 : 30 photos taken by Tsun Yu, Chiang/ Vector Architects

Cafe, Bar Beidaihe New District, Hebei, China

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xianing chen 513 - 693 - 5321

2013-2015 | undergraduate portfolio  
2013-2015 | undergraduate portfolio