Monday, May 2, 2011

In class Sketching

Some of the top sketches I did this semester:

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Writers Retreat.. Final Spring Project

The last project of the semester was my favorite project. We were asked to take St. Mary's house and imagine that it could transform into a place to house visiting scholars in UNCG's creative writing program. We collaborated as a class and studied the history of the building, the neighborhood, the school and the city, the writing process, historic guidelines and the measurements of the entire building and property. All of this had to be taken into account before trying to come up with even a design concept for this assignment.

The next phase was an initial idea in the form of a Parti. The driving force behind my design ideas was to create a space that met all of the needs of the public space and to try to accommodate different kinds of people and writers. There is a comfortable place for writing and a more traditional desk type of writing situation in each separate "space". The space as a whole is supposed to feel completely open but also can feel like smaller more specific rooms but with the minimum amount of dividing walls. Upon first walking into St. Mary's house I loved the open feeling in front and biggest room but as I went back into the kitchen, bedroom and other rooms, including the hallway, the space started to feel very small and chopped up unnecessarily.

You walk through the front door and you see the entire right wall is shelving and screen sliding doors with storage for the obvious book collection and other inspiration materials (Pictured in the top picture above Ie: section elevation) but also a place for the resident to keep anything they wish to bring with them to make it their "home". The shelves can be left so that the items are part of the design or the screens can hide everything depending on the taste of different individuals. The windows along this wall divide the wall of storage into three equally sized sections. There is a chair to sit and write or read or just relax on this wall. Opposite of the chair is a pair of desks that can be expanded into L-shaped desks for larger groups of students, or left as regular sized desks when they are not in use or needed. Directly behind the desks there is a couch and chairs around the fireplace which is the heart of the home, this area is designed specifically for socializing and relaxation. The arrangement of this social fireplace area sections off the public reading space that sits directly behind in a linear arrangement. There is a very large, oversized L-shaped sofa that can seat people for bigger socail gatehrings or the intended public readings. The one dividing wall is intentionally put behind the public reading nook because it is the most bold part of the whole space and it's the most bold and engaging place to stand when you're commanding attention. (Pictured in the two-point perspective rendering above)

This one dividing wall is a main feature of the house. It is made out of happhazardly put together vertical strips of different thin wood. It can be pulled all the way to each wall, entirely closing off the front (public) and back (private) spaces, or it can be pushed all the way to one side and retracted into the wall completely eliminating dividing walls alltogether allowing it to be one giant space. If the wall is pulled over and a normal sized doorway opening is left to the right side, there is virtually no disruption to the large back window that I added to the space which is another key feature of this design. You could sit in the chair by the front door and see all the way through which is nice because the other windows in the house are quite narrow.

View of the bedroom as if standing by the window.

The back portion of the house is like a loft apartment completely open except the bathroom. The bed has tall shelving in the place of a headboard so that if the retractable wall is all the way open there is still some privacy. There is also a lofted space that runs above the bedroom area along the retracted wall and over a little bit of the kitchen. The placement of the loft was to make the bedroom ceiling lower and more intimate and also to allow someone to hang something to make the bed closed off if they wished. The bathroom walls are made of frosted/painted glass and the kitchen table and chairs are clear plastic. The rest of the house is wood and earth tones. The large back window has giant over-sized seating built in that is essentially the size of three beds. There is also storage under the cushions for convenience. The seating is a good place for reflection, relaxation, reading, writing or hosting over-night guests. The Large window has the same retractable wood wall as the room divider so it can be covered completely if need be.
View of the bathroom wall and built in seating/window, standing in kitchen  

Lofted space above bedroom and part of kitchen/ Bathroom walls as seen in the model

Renderings of Studio Building

One-Point Perspective in Pencil

Marker and Colored Pencil Renderings

Material Rendering Study

Dining Space Project

The third project of the semester was to design a dining space, sideboard and table that would accommodate 8 - 10 people on a fictional "International Eradicating Hunger Celebration" day.  Lighting was supposed to be mindfully considered within the space, because the fictional holiday falls on the summer and winter solstice. We were also supposed to consider our brief social media exploration from the previous week.

All of these ideas seemed to clash in my mind. I actually hated the idea that social media would make its way into a dining space because it takes away from the ceremony of the dining experience; this experience, in my mind, includes good food and good old fashioned conversation, face-to-face. I also felt like it was grossly counteractive to the cause to design some fancy dining space for people to celebrate on a day about hunger when there are so many people on this planet starving. My design was more about concept than just sheer aesthetics or practicality which was a risk that I took with this project.

For our initial idea we were asked to create a Parti. I had a really hard time even coming up with anything that made sense for this project because I was so conflicted with the meaning of the fictional holiday being celebrated and designing something great because this is, after all, design school and not a real project. My ideas looked jumbled and nonsensical on this parti because they definitely were...

My space is "minimal" meaning that there are no extras in the space. The measurements specifically fit a table, the people and the sideboard, the sideboard even fits into a perfectly sized nook so that the spacing is equal on all sides of the table. There are large diagonal windows at the east and west sides of the space to let light run through the space emphasizing the center, where the table stands.

One-point Perspective drawing pencil, intended lighting in the space/ material of the floor(shiny reflective concrete)

Sketch model of sideboard

Final Sideboard model

The table is made out of melted plastics from recycled items which gives a cool effect but is also minimal cost so that more money can be distributed to people in need of food. Similarly, the sideboard is made out of scrap metal and aluminum cans cut in curved pieces and sort of collaged and randomly arranged. The aluminum cans have universally recognizable fonts and logos such as the coke label and letting these become part of the design kind of throws the consumer culture back in your face in an Andy Warhol kind of way. I thought this could be playful but also a somewhat serious statement considering the occasion. A day to think about how wasteful and spoiled we can be when there are others who go without. I also set the table at a lower height with the intention that everyone would sit on cushions on the floor just to further the point that we could stand to scale back every now and then for the greater good of everyone.

The space is designed to promote critical thinking and conversation between the people dining in it with almost no distractions at all.

Theory reading 5 April 6

3 Design Journals/Websites:

Theory Reading 4 March 18

The portion of A Pattern Language that we were assigned to read gave insight to the "intimacy gradient" within spaces and buildings. It makes sense that the public and private areas of the space be separated and have specific boundaries, with multi-functional rooms somewhere in between the progression. For the purposes of the Writer's Retreat project this is our main challenge because the space has to house visiting scholars and they need to feel like they have a home while they stay here, but there are also many public events and meetings that also need to be factored into the space. The front of the house is naturally the public sector because the front door places an incoming person directly in the front room. The back of most houses is usually the quiet area away from the street and hustle and bustle so it also makes the most sense for private areas like the bedroom.