The wall – an item of separation, division – it a partition between two things. A threshold between one side and another. But the wall is also an assemblage of parts. A collection of self-similar units that only work when supported by another. Without the wall there would be no built environment. Just like without people we would have no politics.
“Our Great, Great Wall” will gauge the political stature of our built environment.
Our designed spaces have long held symbolic significance. They reflect our attitudes, needs and desires of the time. But cultural perceptions change and so follows our use of space or at least our understanding of its worth. Sites once honored are now sites of dissent. Designs once esteemed are now sites of protest. Building as happy backgrounds to a family picture are now backdrops to the middle finger.
“Our Great, Great Wall” is a reminder of the inherent political significance of our designed objects and spaces. “Our Great, Great Wall” is a call to action for designers use forms and spaces to participate in the political discourse. “Our Great, Great Wall” is a site of diversity and collectivity as the building blocks of beauty.
The exhibit is led by Jennifer Park of Jurassic Studio and Norman Teague of Blkhaus Studios. Exhibit team: Ravina Puri, Kamelia Megeed, Haley McDonnell, Abdullah Al Salem, Valerie Wong, Alyssa Yao, Siddharth Babani, Ian Wong, Winee Lau and Daniel Overbey.
Location: Mexico City
Size: 13,000 SF
Completion: Summer 2017
The design of the Cushman Wakefield offices began with a new workplace strategy defined with the help of Saatchi & Saatchi in 2013. The workplace strategy defines an “Activity Based Work” model that creates a dynamic, open and highly collaborative work environment while still asserting a “client first” attitude. The programming of their offices is focused on providing hospitality, promoting wellness and supporting collaboration. Experienced by both employees and clients, the collection of these features is intended to exudes a “winning spirit” indicative of the Cushman Wakefield brand.
The concept centers around capturing this “winning spirit” at a consolidated moment where once might be compelled to proclaim “Wow!” The positive spirit is delineated by an illuminated ceiling whose curvilinear lines reflect the dynamics of the workplace. The dynamic ceiling filters visitors through a private club-like experience where they engage the collaborative nature of the workplace activated by the employees. Ultimately, lines of the animated ceiling leads toward an expansive view of the city displaying the backbone of the Cushman Wakefield enterprise.
The Ferrari Foundation Contemporary Arts Center will become the official museum of the renowned sculptor Virginio Ferrari. Inspired from Virginio’s belief “that it is time to consider how fast things disappear and to become more aware of making art to live with”, the nonprofit art organization will function to educate the public of his extensive work in the field of contemporary sculpture and public art, while also seeking to be an active organization in the production or new public art projects, exhibition art programming, and community based initiatives that connect his adoptive home and motherland.
Nature is an important factor in the work of Virginio and becomes the central link between the various programs of the foundation. A center courtyard links the galleries, archives, workshops, offices and community space while itself act as a flexible space for display and gathering. The courtyard also allows light to filter and animate the adjacent spaces. In addition, the courtyard is symbolic of the foundation’s desire to bridge between the studio in Chicago and his studio in Guardistallo, Italy for artistic and cultural exchanges between both countries and cultures allowing for artists to learn from each other and inspire new approaches to art.
This project is currently in the initial planning phase. To learn more about the foundation or to contribute to the foundation, please refer to the Virginio Ferrari Foundation site at https://www.ferrarifoundation.org/
Designed in collaboration with Civic Projects
Canopy Study for Comoros Island Embassy Complex
The study for the embassy focused on the small island of Comoros needing a large sun canopy for their campus. The canopy needed to accommodate two main factors, the environment and the culture, while adapting to the programmatic needs of the campus. This adaptation resulted in a pattern that fluidly transforms across the site and unifies the various buildings of the embassy.
The island of Comoros is located off the south-east coast of Africa and is much smaller than the northern neighboring island of Madagascar at less than 800 square miles. Comoros has a tropical climate with seasons transitioning from hot and humid to hot and dry. In either season, the canopy for the campus offers protection and relief from exposure to the sun and rain. In addition, the patterning of the canopy changes density to accommodate more populated areas closer to the building entrances and plazas.
The cultural history of Comoros and the embassy is also acknowledged through the pattern work of the canopy. As a largely Muslim community, the island becomes a congenial site for the Saudi Arabian government to establish an embassy. The patterns for the canopy find roots in Islamic ornamentation. The studies for the patterns work in reverse. Rather than an additive creation, the patterning strips down the ornate to basic geometries.
However, more than study of geometry, this unveiling represents the essence of any religion or belief as universal. Thus, becoming a fitting gesture of global collaboration and peaceful foreign relations.
In collaboration with LSA
14th Floor Offices
Completion: April 2015
The 14th floor office expansion at 35 East Wacker in Chicago needed to be a simple design that would accommodate a diverse and changing environment. The typical floor plate at 35 East Wacker is a large open core that, for the client, served as an obstacle for both flexibility and divisibility. An animated ceiling and a decorative gate was designed to combat those shortcomings.
The ceiling and gate work together to invite guests down corridors that otherwise would have been long, uninspired spaces. The ceiling navigates through a narrow and jagged hall that changes density with the hallway’s width. The ceiling that we created consists of 800 acrylic petals, each of different shape and color, which serves to draw employees and guests through a shortcut that they otherwise might overlook.
The gate provides an animated atmosphere with a patterned screen that casts a similarly-patterned light on the ground. When open, the 40-foot-long gate decorates a long corridor. When it is in use, it provides security by limiting access from the main elevators. A CNC machine carefully milled the birch plywood used in the gate, paying particular attention to the radius of the cut edges, so the grain of the wood is showcased.
Location: Chicago, IL
The new Chicago showroom at 351 West Hubbard Street is part of Artemide’s larger plan to build a bigger presence in North America and South America, and add designers and architects to its target customer base. The new showroom is twice the size of the previous store and features a wide storefront on active street. The design provides the lighting designers a showroom large enough where new products can be featured and events for clients and colleagues can be hosted.
The showroom is a mix of the existing gritty brick building, modern lighting designs and simplicity of the display armature. The design features vertical and horizontal floating planes that grid the space allowing for visitors to freely circulate through the showroom. Each plane also allows for maximum flexibility for the changing product displays. Careful consideration was paid to create clean edges and conceal wiring so customers can focus on the well-crafted light fixtures and quality of light each produces.
In a future phase of the project, the showroom can be fitted to with an interactive media box to promote their brand and disseminate product information. The outer shell of the media box acts as a beacon changing imagery with the change in occupancy and activity. While the inside of the box will feature detailed information on the lighting designs featured in the showroom. The future media box is representative of Artemide’s exceptional lighting design and innovation in technology.
Photos by Bill Zbaren
CAF Exhibit: 50 Designers, 50 Ideas, 50 Wards
Design for Ward 30 – Backyard Arcade
The “Backyard Arcade” transforms the uninspiring private backside of homes to a public space that promotes entrepreneurship and sharing under one spectacular new roof. This project looks to the “back” in two ways to find a way forward - the 19th century architecture of an “arcade” and the backyard of our residential blocks. The arcade is a covered passageway or street often lined with shops on the ground floor and second story offices or workrooms. They were known for selling specialty goods within a special environment. The most impressive outcome of the arcade was how private developer space became an active public space. The backyard is a fitting site for this low-rise development where both residents and developers are invested in its success. The patterns of the arcade are translation of ornamentation that decorated neighborhood buildings which help to give roots and identity to this new commercial and community center.
Jurassic Studio was featured as one of the 50 invited firms showcasing a proposal for the Chicago Architecture Foundation exhibit, “50 Designers, 50 Ideas, 50 Wards”.
The Jurassic Studio's design for the 30th Ward is published in Architect's Newspaper.
Tiny Homes Competition 2016
Sponsored by Chicago AIA
"Tiny Homes, Big Personality" Submission
Homes signify independence and can express individual personalities. Unfortunately, affordable housing is often subjugated by a sameness in form, planning and envelope in efforts to be cost efficient. This often leaves a generic shell which is decorated with personal effects. Our design seeks to create spaces that exude distinctive character through efficient planning while promoting collaboration amongst the youthful inhabitants.
This community offers two different unit plans to allow for choice in living styles. Both typologies are organized with adjacent bathrooms and kitchen areas to keep plumbing lines concentrated. The arrangement of modules also considers adjacency of plumbed spaces for mechanical efficiency as well as noise and privacy.
In addition to the efficiency in planning, modules are arranged to create a series of shared courtyards. Each courtyard is shared by two or three people to allow for both collaboration and some personalization of each area. All individuals will share two community areas which anchor the site and are easily accessible.
Modules are both efficient and unique. Each module is expressed through changes in form and texture. Efficient plans are paired with a variety of roof slopes and shingle patterns. The variety of roof slopes creates an enhanced interior space that can be further personalized by the new dweller. The exterior of each module – while similar in material – will vary in shingle patterning outwardly expressing their individuality.
Simple means are used to generate distinctive housing types. The collection of modules exemplifies the diversity of independent people living, collaborating, and aspiring together, making a statement that tiny homes can have big personality.
Ragdale Ring Competition 2016
Sponsored by Ragdale Foundation
"I 'Heart' Ragdale" Submission
Thomas Tallmadge wrote of Howard van Doren Shaw, “Perhaps one might say of him, he was the most rebellious of the conservatives and the most conservative of the rebels.” This described Shaw’s abilities to skillfully combine classical and early modernist architectural conventions. His work can also be seen as a careful mix of Arts and Crafts as well as Prairie School architecture. In plain, he was adept at composing the ornate with the simple.
The design for the Ragdale Ring is a reflection of his architectural explorations that mix forms, figures, styles, and symbols into a cohesive architecture. The stage highlights and reinvents three recognizable features of Shaw’s houses and the Ragdale residence: barrel vaulted ceilings, columns at entrances, and flower and fruit baskets.
Shaw’s interiors are often marked with his use of barrel vaulted ceilings of varying arch profiles. The ribs and main frame work for the stage reflects the two prominent profiles in the Ragdale residence, the basket arch and the rounded arch. The translation of arches not only portrays the depth and axial connection of the vaulted ceilings but also clearly demarcates the performance area.
Another signature feature of Shaw’s houses is the use of columns at entrances. This traditional architectural form is used at the front entry of the Ragdale house, at the entry path to the original Ragdale Ring, and was used to frame the original stage area of the Ring. The use of columns is reinterpreted as semi-transparent panels layered to create a backdrop to the performances.
Many of Shaw’s houses, including Ragdale, pair a simple framework or enclosure with an ornate, detailed interior. The interior of the stage is similarly adorned with a translated motif of a fruit or flower basket used often in his houses to signifying hospitality. The interior of the stage is an invitation to viewer to inspect the details of construction and actively engage the performance. The use of colors is also reflective of the exterior and interior treatment of the Ragdale house. Shades of the uniquely bluish-green color used on the exterior of the house color the panels while the flowers reflect the warmth of the interior.
Location: Princeton, New Jersey
Size: 4,000 SF
Contractor: Baxter Construction
Photographer: Thomas Robert Clarke Photography
Joe and Lisa Wolfe found a home in Princeton Junction which would accommodate their growing family. The home needed updating to its 1980’s design. The updates were scattered throughout the house to modernize the function and flow. While each update seemed minor, all of them needed to be tailored to create a unified design that mixed both existing and new elements.
To allow for extended family and guests to visit, they converted a ground floor rec room into a guest suite by adding a new guest bathroom. The new bathroom was equipped with custom cabinetry, and a new tub and steam shower finished with marble and stone tiles. The ground floor laundry room was renovated to function also as a mudroom with a custom bench and storage. Work on the ground floor kitchen consisted of a new wall of custom walnut cabinetry to match the existing with built-in Miele and Sub-Zero appliances. The second floor adapted one of the bedrooms to include a more accessible laundry room. New furnishings were also selected throughout the house to complete the design of each room.
The basement was completely renovated to include a new kitchen, living area, gym, and media room. To suit Joe, an avid Steelers fan, the media room was branded with a custom “black and gold” wall design. The gradient pattern of the Steelers star was created using a digital parametric script covering three walls of the media room.
Future phase of work will include new backyard deck and patio. Construction to be begin in the summer of 2016.
Location: Chicago, IL
Size: 2,250 SF
Wayne Ford and Jeanette Park searched old Chicago neighborhoods for their perfect first home. They found it in a classic 1880s Victorian brick in the Bucktown neighborhood. Though it had been rented for years as a two-flat apartment building, many of the building’s original features remained. The challenge was to restore the two-story’s dignity as a single-family home, while incorporating 21st century conveniences and preserving the building’s 19th century charm.
Programmatically, the house separates a social space on the first floor and reserves the second story for bedrooms. The first floor is open from the front porch to a new backyard deck, creating space for a modern kitchen complete with a 15-foot island for cooking and entertaining. Opening up the entire length of the house on the first floor required concealing structural elements within a ‘bar’ containing closets, a large pantry, kitchen cabinets and a powder room.
The design is a careful mix of modern and existing elements. The house retains existing wood windows, shutters and fireplace while mixing in modern finishes for the kitchen and bathrooms. Features original to the house are reused. Parlor doors from the first-floor entry have been retrofitted as sliding barn-style doors with a custom metal rail for the master bedroom. Original copper chandeliers have been rewired and hang over the long kitchen bar, the dining room and in the master bedroom. Tin ceiling tiles found downstairs now hang over the first-floor fireplace and as a backdrop in the second-story master bedroom.
Photos by Leslie Schwartz Photography
Location: Chicago, IL
Size: 48 SQ FT
Completion: September 2013
Client: Onward Coworking
Award: AIA Chicago Small Projects Citation of Merit
Sharing office space offers entrepreneurs an inexpensive way to build their start-ups with all the conveniences of their more established competitors. Shared offices are growing in popularity. Generically called coworking offices, they provide meeting rooms, group workspaces, private offices, high-speed Internet and the business equipment that all start-ups need. However, coworking offices don’t typically provide potential clients who visit any inkling that the start-up they want is indeed located within that shared office environment. A simply designed, dynamic wall changes that.
A versatile display at Onward Coworking in Chicago gives even the smallest business the means to prominently feature their logo in the reception area. The wall design consists of interchangeable boxes that can be pulled out and replaced as Onward Coworking’s tenants change. Logo decals are affixed to the boxes, and the boxes are inserted into the display. As Onward Coworking’s tenants move in or move on, boxes can be removed and replaced with a new box that’s ready for another tenant’s logo.
The boxes are laser cut from typical mat board, which keeps the system lightweight. The boxes are folded into shape like a gift box, which keeps the cost of replacing boxes low. The boxes are held into place through strategically placed wooden pegs and a diagonal shift in the pattern, which together provide a tight fit for each box. The wall was designed, fabricated and installed by the architects when it was a tenant at Onward Coworking.
2015 Burnham Prize Competition, Winner
Hosted by Chicago Architectural Club (CAC) in affiliation with Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB)
Addressing the "State of the Art of Architecture"
Blinded by “Delight”
Vitruvius wrote that good buildings should embody “firmness,” “commodity,” and “delight.” Because engineers and developers now largely control the conversation over “firmness” and “commodity,” architects only maintain real control over “delight.”
“Delight” can be interpreted as following our aesthetic impulses, tying architecture to “art.” Contemporary architecture consistently follows its aesthetic impulse. However, our “art” suffers from overindulgence. The art of architecture is infatuated with patterns, systems, tools and technologies. We design beautifully decorated boxes which can perform as structural and sustainable skins. We run wild with parametrics to combine uniqueness with efficiency. We obsess about complexity to the state of delight, but in our euphoria we ignore the political state of architecture. As with a poorly seasoned dish, our overindulgence results in buildings only showing the sweet side without any sour.
The unseasoned side to “delight” is political. The political side of “delight” ties architecture to humanity by challenging our cultural needs and desires. Beyond symbolism, the politics of architecture involves having influence with communities, governance, and society.
This state of the art of architecture is represented by the complexity of self-referential patterns indeterminately defining our cities. Each pattern overlaid is a translation of modern Chicago building details forming the skyline of Chicago. The patterns are generated using a digital scripts based on the original detail’s ordering system. The layering of patterns, yet lack of depth portrays the superficial approach to validating architecture.
We stand beside our patterns, systems and rules to justify “firmness” and “commodity,” but we also hide behind patterns, systems and rules to substantiate “delight.” We allow rules and methods to substitute for social code, and therefore, find ourselves confused by multitude and incongruity of images we produce for architecture.
There is a veil over our eyes, but the image of our city is the same.
Location: Chicago, IL
Size: 6,000 sf
Structural Engineer: Rocky Structures LLC
MEP Engineer: dbHMS
Civil Engineer: SPACECO
SOS Children’s Villages is an international nonprofit organization that builds communities and offers services to help foster children grow in safe environments. It operates 140 villages in 132 nations, including two in the City of Chicago. In 2007, architectural firm Studio Gang designed the Lavezzorio Community Center for SOS Children’s Villages in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. As part of the village’s masterplan, architect Jeanne Gang selected two teams for the campus’s last two housing projects. Longo Park Design Workshop is designing the multi-family residential and social services building on the southwest lot.
Given the mission of SOS, it is important to study the campus’s impact on the larger South Side neighborhood, the Auburn-Gresham revitalization and the SOS village itself. Similar to the community center at the entry of the site, the new housing projects provide a visual bookend to the residential boulevard. They also serve as a gateway to the campus’s recreation and garden areas to the south.
Three elements influence the project’s design: community grids, village faces and program. Two geometrical grids organize the campus. The inner community grid relates to the individual housing units situated in rows along the boulevard. The outer community grid relates to the diagonal train lines that enclose the site. The project has three public faces: the village garden to the south, the village residences of the boulevard to the west and the elevated train line above. Three different groups will use the building: biological parents, relief parents and returning college students. Individuals will have their own bedroom and bathroom, though each will share a common living room and kitchen.
From the outside, shared common spaces are visually different from bedroom spaces. The bedroom areas are clad in brick, a material used throughout the campus. But the shared common spaces, which are positioned to articulate the site’s three public faces, are separate box-like areas that are canted toward the outer community grid. Each of these common spaces is clad in an exterior grade fiberboard panel etched with a distinct, but different, pattern that reflects both the huge number of foster children that SOS Children’s Villages has helped and the delicacy of each child’s family circumstance.
Location: Chicago, IL
Size: 5,000 SF
Completion: Dec 2011
General Contractor: Benchdog Construction Corp
Award: AIA Chicago Honor Award
The Carr family loved living in Chicago with all of its amenities and conveniences, but with two children and a mom working from home, they needed a bigger place. They found a unique industrial site within Roscoe Village that also offered a doublewide lot, an original brick exterior and timber beams with wood plank ceilings.
But the former woodshop came with challenges. The 50-foot-wide building is sandwiched between Chicago’s iconic L-line and its Metra rail. Parts of the building’s wooden roof had weathered to the point of rot. Still, the family wanted to convert the workshop to an open, family-friendly floor plan that took advantage of the existing wood beams, the brick industrial exterior and 21st century eco-friendly technologies.
The area of rotted wood ceilings was used as an opportunity to insert an interior courtyard and a two-story space. The courtyard creates a focal point visible from all rooms of the house and brings in light to the interior children’s bedrooms. During warmer weather, large courtyard doors open from the corners to allow natural ventilation to flow through the house.
Undamaged timber salvaged from the roof is reused as stair treads that lead to the new second floor media room and family office. The new second story roof seems to peel up from the existing roofline, which can be seen by commuters on both the Metra and L-train lines.
Green technologies have been introduced throughout the house. A 30-foot well provides the home with geothermal heating and cooling via radiant floors. The complex curve of the roof directs rainwater into a cistern beneath the courtyard that is reused for landscape irrigation. The home is insulated with high-efficiency soy-based foam. Cabinets were locally fabricated. Photovoltaic panels provide the home with solar energy. Investments made in all these sustainable methods will be repaid through energy savings within five years.
[designed while at Wilkinson Blender Architects]
Location: Richmond, VA
Gateway Plaza is a 19-story office tower development project in downtown Richmond, VA. The development affronts the city’s defining landmark, the James River, and is situated at a popular entryway to downtown Richmond. With the garage façade encompassing a large portion of one city block, the developers sought a design for the exterior façade of the parking structure that would resonate with the both the city, tenants of the building and act as a symbolic gateway to the Richmond’s city center.
In contrast to the monolithic tower, design for the garage reflects the movement and flow of the river. The façade addresses the scale of both the urban and the pedestrian accommodating the garage and ground floor functions. Through the use of parametric scripting various panelized surface formations, panel configurations and patterns were studied for the façade. Ultimately, three profiled perforated metal panels were cut and broken into varying surface conditions and gradated onto the façade.
The parametric model will be used by the façade fabricator to make the panels, closure pieces and tube supports. To limit the amount of framing and maximize openness, the panels are attached to a system of tube columns which span several floors of the garage. The result is a unified yet dynamic surface echoing the flow and patterns were studied for the façade. Ultimately, three profiled perforated metal panels were cut and broken into varying surface conditions and gradated onto the façade.
The parametric model will be used by the façade fabricator to make the panels, closure pieces and tube supports. To limit the amount of framing and maximize openness, the panels are attached to a system of tube columns which span several floors of the garage. The result is a unified yet dynamic surface echoing the flow of the James River though the subtle inflections of the three different panel types.
Chicago Biennial Lakefront Kiosk Competition
Location: Chicago, IL
Size: 200 SF
PIXL [Performative Interactive eXperimental Lattice] performs as a conduit for sentiment by transforming information culled from social media into a real-time interactive snapshot of the dominant emotions of Chicago. Providing a reflection and abstraction of Chicagoans (and visitors’) reactions to events, seasons, and politics, the Kiosk provides much more than a spectacle or a place to conduct commerce. PIXL provides a lasting and forward-looking physical intervention which transcends the bounds of technology, culture, and architecture to enhance the urban sphere.
Traditional conceptions of public space are being altered by the still-emerging global consciousness created by the internet. This connected virtual world absorbs much of the dialogue that would historically occur in more concrete public forums. We propose this kiosk as a way of re-materializing the public voice in a way that can be experienced in our shared physical space. Far from a reactionary response to emerging forms of networked social consciousness, PIXL seeks to facilitate the hybridization of the real and the virtual through the physical membrane and networked systems we have created. The possibilities afforded by the internet of things and other connected technologies have allowed a hyper-space to emerge. These emergent technologies allow a blending of the real and virtual where embedded networked systems and physical matter interact in intelligent ways. No longer can technology and networked space be separated from physical space as the media and channels for distribution thereof collapse into a single membrane, mixing images, video, text, interactive media and physical material across virtual and real worlds.
PIXL deploys well-researched and validated algorithms and semantic analysis routines developed in conjunction with Forum Studio’s technology consulting partner, Mu/Dai. These algorithms and scripted routines search through and parse social media information into usable data and ultimately, color. This data processing occurs in a web-based application and is then sent to PIXL as instructions to change the color of its pixel array. The pixels contain all necessary technological infrastructure to function as independent objects. When pixels are plugged in, the structural lattice delivers low-voltage power through integrated contact points. Low-power and low-cost bluetooth networking and a triangulation routine allow the pixels to be addressed dynamically and mapped to a spatial array even when individual pixels have been mixed up. A small battery charges when the pixels are plugged in and powers them when removed or reconfigured for exhibition and wayfinding.
PIXL is designed to address the three temporal and geographic conditions where the kiosk will be located. PIXL provides for a robust life-cycle, allowing for exhibition and close interaction during the biennial itself, occupation as a vending node along Chicago’s lakefront, and data display and visual interaction during the cold and desolate winter months. We also propose utilizing an open data framework which can, upon succession to the city of Chicago, provide access to the technological infrastructure created by the Kiosk by way of a rotating residency for data artists, hackers, and visualization professionals.
Echoing this re-appropriation of the technological infrastructure we propose to facilitate will be the sustainable nature of the kiosk itself. The geodesic form allows the structure and shades to be constructed from a small number of identical components, minimizing fabrication and erection time and cost. Composed of wood, steel, and rotationally-molded plastic, the major components of the construction are fully recyclable at the end of its lifespan. The low-voltage electrical components allow PIXL to be treated much the same as a streetlamp or any other piece of powered infrastructure the park district regularly maintains. The plug-and-play nature of the pixels allow for ease of replacement if one is damaged or destroyed. This removable, modular nature also allows the pixels to be removed from the lattice and become landscape elements or wayfinding points when PIXL is configured for exhibition or vending.
PIXL provides a convincing mode of personal/public and real/virtual interaction and connection, delivering a project which looks to our collective future as a city and as a society increasingly straddling the bounds of the real and the virtual. PIXL creates a framework for technological integration with the prescribed functions and uses demanded of this kiosk while simultaneously providing a platform for change, exploration and discovery.
Location: Princeton, New Jersey
Size: 2,000 SF addition, 6,000 SF renovation
Completion: Dec 2007
The design transforms Princeton University’s existing School of Architecture building, improving the school’s connection to the campus and strengthening the academic program with new gathering and teaching spaces. The most prominent element of the design is a transparent, glass-enclosed addition that links the office/library and classroom/studio wings of the building. The link contains a new two-story lobby, elevator, stair and student lounge. The renovation includes modifications to meet handicapped and life safety requirements, as well the relocation of the shop and laser cutters to the building, significantly improving access to these important resources.
The addition is a threshold and circulation hub for the school, incorporating the existing concrete structure and residual space between the north and south wings into new program space. Adjoining all of the major spaces and programs in the building, the lobby is a new social center. The student lounge, a new program element, occupies the top level that aligns with the mezzanine of the studio. The position of the link also enables future growth of the school through the construction of new program space on the roof of the office/library wing. The link is clad in a four-sided structural silicone glazing system utilizing large panels of insulated, low-e glass. Ceramic frit patterns integrated into the glass unify the exterior surface and assist in controlling solar gain in different amounts on the east, west and south exposures.
The renovation respects the character of the existing building, while fulfilling several critical functional and programmatic objectives. To meet current life-safety requirements, the central stair in the classroom/studio wing is modified to become a code-required means of egress. Through new fire-protected glazing, doors and fire shutters, the stair’s openness is preserved and it remains an important social space. The existing computer lab is moved from the second floor of the building to the ground floor, creating additional teaching space for design reviews. Also, the shop and laser cutters are relocated to the ground floor from their present location in another building some distance away. Additional modifications to the building include a ground floor sprinkler system, an accessible toilet, a stair that improves circulation around the first floor jury spaces, and a new stair and ramp to Betts Auditorium.
[designed while at Architecture Research Office]
Location: Chicago, IL
Size: 25 FT
Completion: March 2011
General Contractor: Wilkinson Blender Construction
For more than 10 years, Unique Concepts of Chicago operated a clothing store specializing in trendy family fashions. When it spun off The Denim Lounge from a department within a store to a stand-alone storefront in Roscoe Village, the company wanted a display case that reflected the brand name designer jeans that it sells.
An easily assembled 25-foot-long display was designed with the very curves that the Denim Lounge’s customers seek in a form-fitting pair of jeans. The project was an exercise in form-making and digital fabrication. The birch plywood shelves were fabricated with a CNC machine in Ohio, transported to Chicago in a van and assembled the weekend before the store opened. The pre-cut notch system required no mechanical fasteners, allowing for immediate installation.
The result is an attractive display of shelves that hugs a corner of the store. Display cubbies seem to extrude from that wall, creating a stylish, custom presence inside the store itself.
[designed while at Wilkinson Blender Architects]
City of Dreams Pavilion 2011 Competition – FIGMENT, ENYA, AIANY
Location: Governor’s Island, NY
Size: 1,500 SF
Completion: February 2011 entry
The Interwoven Pavilion is a study in contrasts. At first glance, it looks like a permanent monolith, but on closer inspection, visitors see that walls are woven from commonplace plastic bags. While just a few people are needed to build the pavilion, the material for the skin of the pavilion depends on the public. Using social media vehicles like Twitter and Facebook, the public was asked to donate plastic grocery bags that too often are used once and thrown away, only to litter our landscape and our oceans.
Woven panels of bags offer the Interwoven Pavilion a plastic skin of mixed translucency. Light breaks through the seams of the weave and scatters on the ground, while areas of dense weave create large patches
of shade. Color variations reflect different store brands. From the outside, the Interwoven Pavilion appears to be a half-solved puzzle where figures can be made out, but not faces. All serve to attract visitors who inspect and wonder.
At summer’s end, some of the woven panels can be made into long-lasting reusable bags — Interwoven Bags — and distributed to those who contributed to the Interwoven Pavilion. The bags then serve to remind us to reduce the use and disposal of all plastic bags. Though playful and temporary, the Interwoven Pavilion carries a hefty message about environmental sustainability through reuse and collaborative efforts: Meaningful environmental sustainability does not happen with just one person alone.
[designed while at Wilkinson Blender Architecture]
The History Channel with IBM and Infiniti: City of the Future Competition
Location: presented at Grand Central Station, New York, NY
Completion: November 2006 presentation
Exhibition: The Museum of Science and Industry
In an invited competition hosted by The History Channel, select teams were asked to consider what the City of New York’s most densely populated – and densely built – borough might look like in the year 2106. Teams were given one week to develop a proposal and construct a model that would be presented in Grand Central Station to a panel of jurors. No one can predict the future with any definitive measure of accuracy, but as the Earth heats
up, ice caps melt and water levels rise, educated prognosticators can assume that in Manhattan, 20th century reclaimed wetlands will likely return to an unnatural habitat in the 22nd century.
Though the borough’s skyscrapers remain, the mixed-use storefronts that made Manhattan the world’s shopping and business mecca are now under water, literally. They serve to anchor streets, walkways, living spaces and working spaces in pier-like roads, now called vanes, that replace the inundated street grid below. Most importantly, they provide new infrastructure to support the lifestyle and culture that New Yorkers have historically enjoyed. Skyscrapers built the city up 200 years before; now these vanes build Manhattan over ocean water that floods land lost through global warming.
This City of the Future project won first place in the New York City competition in 2006. It was exhibited at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago and later traveled to several other locations. It continues to serve as a what-if possibility as urban planners, architects and engineers look for options in which humans can live in a world that our lack of nature-care has built.
The Interwoven Pavilion was a finalist in the 2011 City of Dreams Pavilion competition that asked the question, “If anything is possible, what will the city of the future look like?”
Part of the challenge was to develop a temporary summer gathering place for people to meet, learn about the arts program on New York’s Governors Island and experience the interaction of art and the island’s history. The other challenge was to do this all as a net-zero energy solution that could be constructed by the team of architects. All materials need to be transported via the island ferry.
[designed while at Architecture Research Office]
Location: Charlottesville, VA
Size: 23,000 SF
Award: LEED Silver
The Boys and Girls Club of America exists to inspire and enable young people to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. Leadership at the club in Charlottesville, VA recognized that they needed an expanded and updated facility to fulfill that mission. They wanted a building that could accommodate 400 children through their teenage years, up from the 80 that the club was serving.
The site selected for the new 24,000-square-foot Boys and Girls Club was on a fairly steep hillside. The building uses simple materials, strategic planning and careful massing to navigate the slope of the site while being conscious of budget. Creative landscaping at the entry directs patrons to the top floor. Immediately inside are activities to capture children’s attention: art rooms, media rooms, classrooms, pool tables, gathering spaces and game rooms, all filled with natural light from the top floor windows. Children descend to the lower level to the basketball court, as well as space for administrative offices. The lower level exits to the rear of the property at the bottom of the hill.
The Boys and Girls Club of Charlottesville is the first club in the national nonprofit to earn LEED gold certification, the second highest rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.
[designed while at SMBW]
Location: North Canton, OH
Size: 60,000 SF
Structural Engineers: Thorson Baker & Associates
MEP Engineers: Bandwen Williams Kindbom
Construction Manager: Welty Building Company
Construction Administration: Sol Harris Day Architects
Award: LEED certified
The Timken Co., based in Canton, OH, makes high-quality steel for industrial clients, including ball bearings for everything from pens to airplane engines. It wanted to consolidate its Canton-area offices to bring 2,000 area employees in-house and create a world-class research headquarters to support global collaboration and project a progressive image to retain talent. The challenge was to retrofit the existing research center and connect it to the new construction.
The project consists of renovating an existing 60,000-square-foot technology center and building a 160,000-square-foot two story addition. The exterior of the new building re-employs a similar ribbon window as the existing, but with a twist. The ribbon windows patterns have been updated with a new pattern of mullions to bring a sense of movement and rhythm to the façade reminiscent of the movement facilitated by the ball bearings. The entry is highlighted by a thin steel canopy with a scaled pattern of metal panel on the underside that wraps the entrance.
Programmatically, two spines have been created, one for the internal workplace and one for the public social areas. Their workplace area is transformed from many private office and cubicles with tall partitions to a more open workplace with fewer private offices and lower workstation partitions. Workstations have been organized at the perimeter of the buildings with collaboration and break-out meeting areas and pantries scattered between. The public social area intersects with the workplace zone. This zone consists of the front plaza, main lobby, main communicating stair, cafeteria and courtyard. The large stair, meant also as a socializing space, has a two-story backdrop of glass panels of varying transparency and shades that animate this communal space.
[designed while at Gensler]
Location: Redeveloped Industrial Areas
Businesses flock to large, inexpensive spaces found in cities' underutilized industrial corridors. As new businesses grow, the need for housing arises. While development of the existing warehouses into residences has appeal to both tenants and developer, the typical planning for these spaces does not fit the needs of either. On one hand, the developer is looking to maximize the number of rentable units. On the other hand, the tenant is looking for comfortable living space and a vibrant community atmosphere.
The shell of the warehouse defines the limits of infill. Typical planning forces units to be planned around the perimeter of the building for light, ventilation and views. However, this leaves large amounts of space dedicated to circulation and units that sprawl in length. Instead, Max-Fit Living rethinks the typical unit from a single floor plan to a multi-floor plan. This maximizes the number of units, while also providing additional programs, such as, parking and shared communal space. Max-Fit Living becomes a complete community environment, provides a new warehouse living typology, and activates the otherwise sleepy industrial corridor.
CityLab Open Design Competition
Project Name: Deviant Block
Completion: 2008 entry
WPA 2.0 is an open design competition organized by UCLA’s cityLab and inspired by the Depression-era Works Projects Administration. This proposal offers an innovative, implementable way to place infrastructure at the heart of rebuilding America’s changing cities and, at the same time, strengthening communities and revitalizing our metropolitan areas.
Most urban areas are organized in grids designed to offer maximum movement for automobiles and restricted movement for pedestrians, which was necessary as people moved to the suburbs. But urban needs are changing as people return to downtown living.
This Deviant Block design designates streets for people, instead of cars, without destroying the street grid itself. Rather, it proposes to create superblocks in non-peak traffic periods for free pedestrian movement while traffic that normally uses that area is diverted. When traffic increases, theses superblocks can easily be reopened.
The promising result: Urbanites leave their buildings to participate in events staged within the deviant block, bringing new life to city streets and city neighborhoods. The design promotes local programs for residents of the immediate area and attracts visitors from beyond. These superblocks serve as a counterweight in a city grid that no longer balances movement and space, permanence and transience.
[designed while at Architecture Design Office]
Location: Monterrey, Mexico
This developer lead project in Monterrey, Mexico was speculated as a mixed use project consisting of a residential tower, office tower, hotel and suites and retail. The site was a sliver of land sandwiched between a waterway and highway and surrounded by a vista of mountains for which the city has become famous.
Two schemes were proposed to satisfy different construction phasing opportunities. Both designs work with different interpretations of the mountain landscape. One scheme proposes a shroud which screens mainly the south facing surfaces of the buildings. The shroud pattern reflects the textures of the mountainside and foothills. The other scheme creates angular forms to shape the main towers on the site. The angles are reminiscent of the jagged profiles of the surrounding mountains. Both schemes propose dynamic and bold images to attract locals to an otherwise overlooked site.
Location: Mexico City
Completion: July 2015
It can take months and even years to find a suitable long-term tenant for commercial property, even in high traffic retail areas. Commercial landlords are amenable to temporary tenants, such as pop-up stores, to fill in empty spaces. Commercial landlords like pop-up stores, because they generate rental income in space that previously produced no income at all. Pop-up stores often appear during the holidays and they disappear right after. They can be found in malls, neighborhood shopping districts and pedestrian-friendly areas like train stations.
Conversely, pop-up stores are valuable to retailers, who might be looking for an opportunistic way to introduce a new product to the market. Often the retailers are large franchises that put large amounts of time and money into a short-term pop-up store. However, this can be an opportunity for smaller retailers or online retailers as well, given the right cost-effective and time- efficient offer.
The solution is the Pop-Up Package, a design solution that meets the desires of both the commercial landlord and the retailer. This package is comprised of fixtures that are modular, expandable, scalable and customizable, providing the retailer with a unique image that works with their own brand. These fixtures can act as a shelving unit or as a hanging system. Either method of display can work with a push-pull mechanism or a pivoting rotational operation. The fixture package is also easily assemble and dismantled, compactable and shippable.
The opportunity is reciprocal. On one hand, commercial landlords have a greater ability to attract more temporary tenants to fill their empty storefronts. On the other, smaller retailers are afforded physical presence at an affordable and attractive rate. Infill of the city becomes viable through short-term, high-impact design solutions.
Location: Mexico City
A proposal for the offices of UBER in Mexico City challenges the understanding of a brand that is growing quickly in the global market and yet depends on the local culture. UBER is a purveyors of the street culture by offering ease of transportation for that satisfies all lifestyles. The offices of UBER reflect the domain of the street and streetscape in Mexico City. A ribbon traces through the office space to offer guidance to different sectors of working while also encompassing various modes of interaction. As the ribbon folds it provides access to media, opportunities to meet and socialize, areas of privacy, and room for storage. The ribbon offers vibrancy and life to the office culture just as the street offers excitement and activity to the urban fabric.
Ironically, while we build our high-rise towers from ground up, we often think from top down.
The tower in a large commercial building offers the majority of rentable commercial space that generates profits for the landlord, so it makes sense to make that towering mass above the street the most attractive space it can be for prospective tenants.
But all towers eventually meet the ground, and too often this junction is designed as an uninspired, utilitarian space. That’s unfortunate, because this very junction can define how the tower above is used. This street level floor is where most people, pedestrians and motorists gain their first impressions of the property. Making that ground floor dynamic can entice the community inside and expand opportunities for commercial tenants.
Growing Up Tower is a design that considers the ground floor first. Aggregating lots and shifting programs allows the base of the tower to become porous. That porous base creates new avenues of circulation, a new retail marketplace and diverse pedestrian traffic. The new base also creates new massing potentials for the tower above. Shared floor area ratio limitations, bundled cores and collective floors transform a singular unitary tower into a collection of floating piers. By first “grounding” the building itself is a better way to design the world above.
Location: New York, NY
Size: 8,000 SF
Completion: June 2007
James Wolfensohn stepped down after 10 years as president of The World Bank to open Wolfensohn & Co., a private investment firm that he operates with his children in Midtown Manhattan. When the company expanded to a larger space, its leadership wanted the new office to have an identity that reflects the company culture.
Like most financial service firms in New York, private office space at Wolfensohn wraps around the exterior walls where windows are located. The open work area and the reception area offer the best opportunities for design and innovation.
The design uses simple, low-tech construction to provide a luminous and animated surface. A new ceiling made from polycarbonate panels cut into plank-sized baffles hangs from a typical acoustical ceiling grid by metal snap rings. The baffles absorb sound and filter the ceiling lights, creating a dynamic open area space for work.
[designed while at Architecture Research Office]
Location: Chicago, IL
Size: 3,000 SQ FT
Evanston, IL is filled with beautiful Victorian homes with large front and backyards. The Berndt family’s 19th century home retained many of its original Victorian features. They wanted to preserve those while adding 21st century amenities that better suited their growing family.
The home’s interior space at the ground floor, while ample, was divided and lacked storage for kitchen and personal items. Walls that divided the kitchen and living room are now eliminated. Long ‘thick’ bars of seamless cabinetry provide concealed storage for pantry items, coats, cleaning tools and media. The ‘thick’ bar also conceals a powder room.
Due to an earlier remodeling, several second story bedrooms and bathrooms were small and corridors extensive. The upstairs now has more efficient use of space. The master bedroom enjoys an appropriately sized master bath. The den is more useable, and the laundry room is closer to clothing storage. The use of the ‘thick’ bar extends from the first floor to the second, connecting the two floors and providing a two-story atrium at the front entry. The bar also connects the master bath with the master bedroom.
The large backyard, which is frequently used by the family, had been closed off from the interior of the space, both physically and visually. To make this connection better, the rear of the house was opened up with a sliding window system that wraps the corner of the house to better connect the interior of the home to the backyard and to the new carriage house.
At the rear of the property, a carriage house was designed to replace the family’s older structurally compromised garage. It offers the typical garage space for family vehicles, but it also features a light-filled, second-floor studio for visiting in-laws. The carriage houseis a simple “salt-box” like design clad with cedar shingles, which ties in to the shingles on the existing Victorian house. Large windows are cut into the face of the carriage house similar to the new opening at the rear of the Victorian. A similar ‘thick’ bar contains the kitchen, Murphy bed, bathroom and storage.
Location: Richmond, VA
Size: 4,500 SF
An entrepreneur sought to open a Japanese restaurant in the Richmond, Va. metro area that offers sushi on one side and teppanyaki on the other. The design mirrors the duality of the cuisine served here with a ying and yang twist: Each side is designed to reflect the two differing cuisines, that when taken together, offer the restaurateur’s customers a complete experience in Japanese cuisine.
The public floor plan of the 4,500 square foot restaurant is roughly divided in two L-shaped spaces. The sushi side maintains high ceilings to create an open and airy atmosphere with individual tables along a banquet spine.
The teppanyaki side is covered with a lower wood slat celling that works to cover the grill hoods, creating an intimate environment focused on the skillful works of the Japanese chef. A bamboo-like screen made of rebar further veils the two spaces from one another.
[designed while at SMBW]
Location: New York, NY
Size: 4,000 SF Solow Center, 40,000 SF Duke House renovation
New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts is one of the city’s architectural treasures. The James B. Duke House at Fifth Avenue and 1-78th St. is situated on New York City’s historic millionaire’s row. Built in 1912 for a tobacco tycoon and his family, it was designed in the French classical style by architect Horace Trumbauer, a prominent American architect during the Gilded Age. The Duke family donated the mansion to NYU for its IFA program in 1952.
It was designated a Landmarks of New York building in 1959 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. The Duke House still houses IFA classrooms, academic offices, a library and a lecture hall.
When the Institute of Fine Arts needed more space to house its rare book collection, a long-time IFA trustee donated two floors of the narrow Solow building next door at 3 E. 78th St. The bottom floors of the Solow building were formerly used as offices. The challenge was how to build a seamless access to that smaller building from the massive Duke mansion. To do this, IFA needed to reprogram and renovate the existing IFA space, as well as provide an enclosed link between the two buildings.
The Duke mansion was redesigned to locate the main library at the bottom two floors. A new access to that main library was placed at the front entry below the mansion’s existing grand staircase. The bottom library level then connected to the Solow House whose bottom floors were redesigned as a library for IFA’s rare book collection. Glazing expert James Carpenter Design Associates, based in New York, was consulted on the project to create a light-filled link between the two buildings. In the Solow house, a new shelving system connecting through the two floors would secure the rare books.
[designed while at Architecture Research Office]
Cure by Design Competition, American Cancer Society
Location: Richmond, VA
Size: 300 SF
The American Cancer Society hosted a fashion show in which the models were all cancer survivors. It wanted a runway that celebrated these women, their triumphs and the designer fashions they wore.
The runway design finds its theme in each of the models’ battles with cancer. Initially, models’ shadows are cast upon woven walls deep within a tunnel from which they eventually emerge. At first, their deep shadows reflect the fears, doubts and hardships that each of the models endured as they fought the disease. But their shadows dissipate as they exit to the open stage, creating a celebratory moment for both the model and the audience.
The effect is created with color and light. The runway starts at the stage and extends out into the audience as a single straight path in a solid bold color. Simple white fabric wrapped around four wire guides surrounds the runway until the tunnel itself ends. Light serves to illuminate the colored runway, creating a subtle hue against the white cloth.
But the lights and accompanying shadows also create audience anticipation as models proceed down the stage and through the tunnel. Their well-defined shadows dissipate as the fabric loosens near the stage and the model emerges from the fabric tunnel, showing off the designer styles each wears and their individual personal triumph over cancer.
[designed while at SMBW]
Location: Chicago, IL
Client: Onward Co-Working
Coworking spaces are increasing in popularity. Since starting as part of the Silicon Valley start-up culture, coworking spaces are now a preferred option for a wide range of small businesses. The temporary rental terms and lower rates of a shared spaces attract companies trying to keep financial expenses minimal. In addition, many coworking spaces promote potential networking opportunities by working in a diverse environment and through hosting entrepreneurial events. Interestingly, many of these new coworking spaces are new small business as well. In attempts to find a balance between keeping costs low and persons in seats high, the space itself suffers – inefficient planning, limited programming, dull appeal.
Co-Flex-Working offers flexibility, interest and interaction while also being mindful of cost limitations. Not only does Co-Flex-Working meet the needs of
various size programs, but provides fixtures applicable to the converted space bolstering the networking environments. The spaces promote interaction, spur new relationships, and enable connectivity.