RADIALA number of schemes looked at radial, or semi-circular approach to occupying the site. This is probably a natural response to the geometry of the site that we are using for this project. These schemes explored variations on this same basic half circle site plan. While this might be an obvious solution for this site, there are several advantages to this approach. First, we felt that the half circle schemes could create an interesting inside – out quality. On the inside of the ring a central space is created, and the outside of the ring amplifies views toward the adjacent pond, a key site feature. We also thought many of these could be easily constructed in wedge shaped modules, pre-assembled in the shop, and then bolted to each other at the time of installation. This becomes a viable strategy for construction which is a critical consideration for this project. The students will now attempt to combine these various radial ideas into one or two schemes to develop.
SPIRALThis scheme shares a lot of ideas with the radial schemes mentioned above, although it does not have the same radial footprint. This scheme is perhaps more successful in creating a space to be occupied than some of the radial schemes. This project was one of the overall favorites in the voting process. The students will look to either develop this scheme based on the critique, or perhaps combine elements of this scheme with some of the radial design ideas above, in particular ideas related to seating, a weakness of this scheme.
SECTIONALThis scheme, and the potential it has, is initially very intriguing. The idea of building a series of ‘U’ shaped geometric sections, incorporating innovative seating elements, and then repeating this shape with variation in linear bays is very exciting to me. The geometry and proportions need to be refined, but the simplicity of approaching this project as a series of sectional slices has strong potential. It also, like the radial schemes, presents a very viable construction process. Each bay could be constructed by a different team of students, and then spliced together on site. It’s kind of like a sectional sofa (ok, that analogy might kill this design in the eyes of the students) - put the individual pieces of furniture together to create something larger, more dynamic, and in this case spatial.
LINEARThis scheme was intriguing to all of us because it was one of the few schemes that looked at the linear site movement along the path as a design consideration. The idea of framing the path is a strong idea. Also, we liked how this scheme created a space in the center through the overlapping of linear forms. The geometry of this scheme presented an interesting and unique approach to the site.
BLOCKS AND CEILINGS
These projects are really two different schemes, yet we felt that they could somehow be combined into an interesting synthesis. The ‘blocks’ scheme was interesting in the way it creates creative seating opportunities. It is perhaps a little busy, and over designed, but the potential for a blocky, occupiable “landscape” of seating elements is a very interesting idea. We thought this would create a very successful gathering space for students to hang out.
The ‘ceiling’ scheme is exploring a dynamic canopy of linear, block like elements. It explores the use of simple forms to achieve a dynamic character through repetition and variation. There are some structural concerns, however we liked the way this design created a dynamic form through the use of simple repetition. Where this scheme falls short is in the human aspect - the seating elements below. Where the ‘block’ scheme falls short is in the exploration of canopy. Perhaps these two could combine? Students will be exploring this synthesis in the next study.