collaborators: Vanessa Argento, Jawwad Nakai, Yi Ting Wu
critic: sandra manninger
Through a synthesis of computational design, robotic aided fabrication and simple methods of construction, the research explores the manufacturing potential of textile architecture into a double-curved surface without a mold. Mold-free design methodologies leverage lightweight composite material assemblies as a means of providing alternative solutions to issues of material transportation and intuitive modes of on-site assembly. In addition to its lightweight and mold-free qualities, textile challenges the modern understanding of a space that is temporal yet sensual. Gaudi's chain model of Colonia Guëll and Sean Ahlquist's work on algorithmic form-finding methods through tension-active systems serve as historical and contemporary inspirations for the translation of geometry to materialization.
The research pursues two perspectives in regards to the design and fabrication of double-curved surfaces using fabric: composite material experimentation and implementation of textile structures in architectural settings. The first perspective examines methods of creating shells by embedding geometries and manipulating surface treatment of tensile and non-tensile fibers that choreograph the inherent material tensions within textile membranes to generate new tectonic principles. The latter objective investigates the spatial ramifications of integrating performance requirements into architectural practice. The analyses of textile logic and processes employed in the fabrication of a mold-free shells suggests flexible implementation portable to other domains such as structure, lighting, and acoustics.
grad studio 3
critic: mary-ann ray
In 1996, China decided to expand its university enrollment as a way to meet the rising demand for educated laborers. Unwarranted enrollment and a lack of professional training skills rapidly has increased the number of college graduates in a market that demands more technical laborers (i.e. construction workers). This rapid growth has led to the devalue of Chinese graduates making them almost undesirable in the growing market. The big hopes and dreams that are sold by universities to try and bring in more students quickly transform into an undesired reality once the students enter the saturated world of job finding. During the late 90’s China imposed an education program that would build the number of professionals in the country. In 1998 the total number of graduates was around 830,000 a number that has in recent data surpassed the 6 million mark and it is growing more and more each year. . The economy, despite its strong growth, is not capable of generating enough good professional jobs to soak up the flood of educated young adults. Many of them bear the high expectations of their parents, who emptied their bank accounts to give them the opportunity to obtain the better life that having a good education usually gets you. Unfortunately the number of jobs available for those students has not shown any incline, it is the demand for uneducated manual workers that is rapidly growing alongside China’s economy. Those who are lucky enough to find a job have to deal with tasks they didn’t even go to school for.
Low salaries mean these people can only afford to live in areas which are far from their worksite and in less than humane arrangements. The less money they make the farther away they have to find a place to live. Rising housing costs over the past years make it almost impossible to find affordable housing, and considering more than 50% of the graduates come from rural areas this means many are not able to become city residents due to them having a rural hukou. The hukou is a record in the system of household registration required by law in China which serves as a form of identification where depending on where you’re from, you may or may not be eligible to partake in certain public services. - Having a rural hukou denies you access to low-income housing and services that makes the graduates’ lives more difficult. For this reason and low sala ries they are forced to live in cramped rooms where they sometimes have to share a room with three or more people. In some extreme cases people are forced to share even their bed with someone else as that is all they can afford to pay. Regardless of all these factors that would make anybody think twice about continuing and pursuing that so desirable “Beijing dream” these graduates seem determined and optimistic about their future. It is that hardworking mindset that has earned them the name of the “Ant Tribe”. The majority of the ants were born during and after the 1980’s and are now considered the fourth fourth most disadvantaged class in the Chinese social paradigm. They are right behind the peasants, migrant workers and unemployed people.
ann arbor, mi
grad studio 2
critic: christina hansen & julia mcmorrough
The Urban Backyard is a student housing complex located at the University of Michigan’s north campus. Being away from the main campus, there seems to be a lack of identity and activity with this part of the campus. The challenge for the project was providing housing for 1,000 students while dealing with a 25 acre site. The project also set out to try and create spaces that would facilitate and encourage student interaction, making the north campus area a go to place. The project utilized the vast site to provide spaces for various activities to occur throughout the year. Not only does the program offer housing but it provides communal, gallery and think tank spaces where students are able to collaborate with others.
highland park, mi
grad studio 1
critic: leigha dennis
Titled Animals Gone Wild, the premise of the project began with the idea of the house as a forest, more specifically the forest that architect Sou Fujimoto describes "It is a really fundamental question how architecture is different from nature, or how architecture could be part of nature, or how they could be merged, or what are the boundaries between nature and artificial things." The site for the project is Highland Park a once thriving town due to Ford and Chrysler moving there is now in rapid decay. The infrastructure has been affected so much that it has given way for many to move out as nature has begun to takeover and reclaim the space. As people move away, it is the local flora and fauna that have made their way into the city, back to nature; not only living in an urban and artificial environment, but adapting themselves to live amongst people. Once middle class houses are now just ruins that the animals are beginning to use as dwelling spaces. In most cases the houses are still occupied by people, so how to mitigate that coexistence was the main driving force behind the project.
Placing the project a few decades into the future allowed for some speculation regarding the conditions of Highland Park in said time. Imagining that there would be so much natural wildlife that the entirety of the town became a natural reserve gave way for the design of small units that would either serve as housing for animals and or people. The six most predominant species found in the Highland Park area, were used as inspiration for these units that would function as research pods where environmentalists and scientists could potentially study and try to understand the domestication of said wild animals.
critic: carlos barrios ph.d
collaborator: richard gomez
A semester long project, using the principles and fundamental rules of morphology, a new design system and process was created. Morphology is simply the study of the form of an element, object, organism, etc. using a specific set of rules a fundamental sources is to be found which governs the overall object being analyzed. A four phase process, the first phase was used to gain an in-depth understanding of how the structure of a Santiago Calatrava structure works and how it was built. Through a series of precision reconstruction models of the architects' Lyon Satolas station in Lyon, France, the methods and techniques used by the designer were explored and investigated.
Phase 2 is morphogenesis, understanding the morphological principles governing the selected structure of study was a key factor. The idea was to find the morphological source of the structure through a tedious process. From a morphological point of view, the fundamental unit governs the overall design of the project.
critic: carlos barrios ph.d
collaborator: richard gomez
Phase 3, once the morphological source is found, new possible design are created utilizing the language derived from such source. Using a series of step by step processes, the new designs created reflect a combination of form, function, and structural behavior. Two designs were designated for the design process that would become part of the structural system of the building.
The last phase is the design. Using the fundamentals learned throughout the process, the last task was to create and original design fusing the previous phases. The structural members were derived from the use of symmetrical methods, variation of translation and scale. The idea of a pavilion arose from the need of an exhibition space strictly of use by the art and architecture department at Valencia College. Situated along the shores of Lake Pamela, the pavilion was a result of a collaboration effort. The site was strategically located in the east side of campus, an area that is rarely used by students due to the lack of walkways and points of interest. The pavilion not only served as a place of exhibit and performance but is consequently became a connecting bridge between two sides of campus.
critic: michel borg
The city of Baltimore has always depended on the harbor for its realization as an urban context. Baltimore’s harbor was once the second leading port of entry for immigrants to the United States and is the largest independent city in the country. Taking into consideration site and surrounding context, the program for the high rise demanded an integration of housing, offices, hotel and a public amenity (in this case a shopping mall). Situated along the city’s inner harbor, the site provides an ideal location for the intervention, with desirable views to take advantage of and close proximity to main attractions.
Baltimore is divided into two main sectors, the city and the harbor. In the case of the project, the inner harbor serves a spatial joint between the two sectors due to its visitor concurrence. The design divides the program into two towers, one incorporating a hotel and offices, the other solely for housing. The parking lot is located below the buildings and hidden behind the shopping mall which faces the main street. There are two connection bridges that provide public space for the inhabitants whilst metaphorically representing the connection the city has to the harbor.
citrus county, fl
critic: jason towers
The main challenge for this project was locating a specific site. The Florida landscape has a very diverse range of ecosystems, and finding a suiting environment on which to design a public bath house was important. The Romans used public baths as a means of interaction and socializing on a daily basis. Bathing in the modern era is perceived as a very private activity. As a process of cleansing, a bath house typically contains three separate pools ranging from a hot water pool known as the caldarium to a cold water one known as the frigidarium. The design for the bath house was inspired by the way the site responded to its context. The density of vegetation surrounding the site would gradually decrease the closer you were to the lake's shore.
At the high density area, the space becomes more public, there is more interaction among the people visiting. As you transgress through the vegetation you slowly get away from any human interaction and are in a more private setting where you feel closer to nature. As you move through the bath house, at first the space is very compressed and very dense, creating a more private feel where the bathrooms and caldarium are located. The spaces then begin to open up and the change in hierarchy creates a public space which encourages interaction among people leading to the cold water pool, where you are closest to the lake; this is where you feel the closest connection to the natural environment that surrounds you.