A Stab at Perforations

One thing that had yet to be addressed in my Artist Residency design was apertures. Windows, doors, any form of opening. I had thought only of the skin, and thus a distinct boundary between interior and exterior. But there had to be ways for people to cross that boundary. I needed an entrance, I needed windows.

My first attempt at windows tried to mimic the triangulation already present on the surface. I created similarly triangular apertures that snaked across multiple surfaces, to try and tie the areas together. I also made the decision for the internal tunnels to be inside the building, meaning I had to create some sort of entrance way where these tunnels exited the structure. Why I chose to enclose this space entirely, at this point I cannot remember. In retrospect, it perhaps would have been more interesting to keep them open.

With these new perforations, I created a couple new exterior renders to give myself a sense of the project.

Preliminary triangulation of exterior skin. Includes window apertures. Front view.

Preliminary triangulation of exterior skin. Includes window apertures. Front view.

Preliminary triangulation of exterior skin. Includes window apertures. Top view.

Preliminary triangulation of exterior skin. Includes window apertures. Top view.

I also began to play around with renderings of the new entrance area.

Preliminary rendering of entrance area, daytime.

Preliminary rendering of entrance area, daytime.

Preliminary rendering of entrance area, nighttime.

Preliminary rendering of entrance area, nighttime.

Moving Forward: Triangulation

Well, it’s been quite a while. About two months ago I said I was back for the summer, but then new commitments started up (namely work around the house as well as an internship at TIA Architects in Amherst, MA) and I just haven’t gotten around to the blog. Perhaps I should just give into the fact that I’m not going to be able to update this consistently, and that’s just how it will be.

At any rate, I would like to try and finish up my 3rd semester’s work so that I can actually move onto the 4th semester before I start my 5th in September. Holy moly, time flies! Let’s see if I can’t get back into the swing of things.

After our midterm with our artist residencies, we all returned to our desks to begin puzzling out the interior of our forms. I had created and organized the exterior shell around a basic space plan, but now I needed to actually see how I might  fit things into the interior. How would I address vertical circulation? Windows and other apertures? What about entrances? These are things that I really hadn’t thought about, and now I needed to.

My first step was to figure out how to meld the existing form for more shape and solidity. Up to this point, the project had been constantly fighting the “mayonnaise plague”, i.e. becoming so goopy as to no longer be recognizable. I needed to really grab the building and lift it out of the slop once and for all. The most drastic change I performed on the structure was a triangulation of the entire surface. I left the surrounding landscape smooth, and allowed this smoothness to bleed onto the surface of the structure at various points, namely the roof (which I imagined as a green roof, a grass-covered extension of the hill behind it. I was trying to capture the idea of “viewing platforms” that the owners of Storm King had mentioned during our tour) and the interior tunnels through the building.

I then created a sectional model to illustrate this change in exterior, as well as to give a peek into how the interior might unfold. Since I wanted the structure to smoothly rise from the landscape, I kept the entire “skin” of the model one material.

Sectional model of Storm King Residency, after triangulation. MDF skeleton with Bristol Board skin.

Sectional model of Storm King Residency, after triangulation. MDF skeleton with Bristol Board skin.

I also began to think about how I might lay out the interior, particularly the upper level with the living spaces for the artists. Following a similar triangulation pattern, I came up with this basic layout seen below. Though this ended up being adjusted fairly drastically as I created windows and vertical circulation, it was a decent place to start.

A preliminary plan for the 3rd floor, where artists in residence would live.

A preliminary plan for the 3rd floor, where artists in residence would live.

A Step in the Right Direction – Incorporating Pevsner

After struggling through the past few weeks trying to create something resembling a building, I brought my project to my section critic to ask for some guidance. His first response: “Where’s the Pevsner?” And that’s where it hit me – After spending weeks analyzing and exploring our given sculptures, I had moved on to creating the building and parti from scratch, with no consideration to our previous project. Where was the Pevsner indeed?

With a new direction, I returned to the drawing board so-to-speak, and recreated the massing from scratch using my generative version of the Pevsner sculpture “Developable Column.” I used my initial parti to guide the placement of four “columns”, which I them melded and merged and mushed together in Maya (ahh, alliteration), using the shape of the generative model to create the forms and spaces, and also the voids or “light wells.” The interior spaces of the model became tunnels through the center of the massing, allowing for circulation through the building. This gave me the idea of using these interior spaces as circulation paths for the public visitors, allowing them to enter, move around, and then exit the building without ever moving into the spaces of the artists. Thus, I added one more large depression at the rear of the building, with the intent of creating a “whirlpool” to pull visitors down into the building from the main museum building and Storm King facilities above.

Two contour drawings of the 2nd iteration of my residency - one in plan showing various circulation paths, the other in elevation (from the front).

Two contour drawings of the 2nd iteration of my residency – one in plan showing various circulation paths, the other in elevation (from the front).

A preliminary section of an uncreased (no hard edges) version of the residency, to begin illustrating the interior tunnels.

A preliminary section of an uncreased (no hard edges) version of the residency, to begin illustrating the interior tunnels.

The next step of the project was to build a model for our midterm review. I used the same process as the previous Pevsner sculptural exploration – a stacked model made of 1/16th taskboard. This created a massing model of the building that nicely illustrated my intention to have it flow directly from the site and surrounding landscape.

Residency v2 - Massing Model (front)

Residency v2 – Massing Model (front) (photo credit Andrew and Christian)

Residency v2 - Massing Model (rear)

Residency v2 – Massing Model (rear) (photo credit Andrew and Christian)

I also created a few preliminary renders to help illustrate the form – one from the exterior, and one inside the tunnels.

Residency v2 - Exterior Render

Residency v2 – Exterior Render

Residency v2 - Interior Render

Residency v2 – Interior Render

Light Wells, or “I’m Underground – I Need Light!”

With a preliminary parti and a site location, now I had to deal with the actual structure. I knew that I wanted to have the residency merge from/into the surrounding landscape, but how to accomplish this? Since we were modeling in Maya at this point (and for the rest of the semester pretty heavily), I decided to quite literally take the landscape into Maya, and drag/drape it over the parti to create the building’s massing. Once again, this was a very crude and unsuccessful method (and I very quickly changed it), but at this point I was a bit lost as to how to proceed.

This draping technique, and the fact that a lot of the rooms were underground, led to another problem – light. How could those underground see without using tons of artificial light? My answer? Light wells, or “whirlpools” as they became. This was also a great opportunity to try and re-introduce some of the design elements of the Antoine Pevsner sculpture and my generative reforming of it. This using of our previous sculptural explorations was also part of the assignment, and something that I had yet to properly address.

I also decided to elevate the studio spaces, in an attempt to allow them to see more of the landscape/site, and also to prevent the public that may be milling about to peer into their private space. This also allowed me to bring the public spaces out from behind the rest of the spaces by putting them down below the studios and gathering spaces.

The second version of my preliminary siteplan (left) and a basic wireframe parti (right), this time with light wells.

The second version of my preliminary siteplan (left) and a basic wireframe parti (right), this time with light wells.

Interior rendering of the first version of the residency (massing only)

Interior rendering of the first version of the residency (massing only)

Exterior rendering of the first version of the residency (massing only)

Exterior rendering of the first version of the residency (massing only)

 

 

Choosing a Site Part 2: The Parti

One of the biggest challenges I had to face with the designing of the artist residency was dealing with the parti – in other words, how the building and site are organized. How should people move into, out of, and around the space? Where should the different programs be located? What kinds of governing geometry should be used?

Not really knowing how to begin challenging these questions, I started with a simple box-frame of spaces inserted into the landscape. This approach was very crude and in hind-sight perhaps should not have been used. However, up until this point I had yet to actually design a proper building with specific programmatic requirements. While the “brute-insertion” technique may have ultimately been a poor choice, I learned a lot from the process and how I might better approach it in the future.

To begin, we were all provided with a list of the different programs needed within the space, and what kinds of (rough) square footage they required – this included things like living space, museum spaces, parking, administration, bathrooms, etc. Each project had to include housing for eight artists. Each artist needed at least 400 sq ft of living space, and a 400 sq ft studio. I originally wanted to have two large, shared studio spaces, with four living quarters clustered around each. In the center of the two would reside the dining and communal spaces (such as a computer lab). We also had to include public space as well, where visitors to Storm King might go to see examples of the artist’s work, etc. I wanted to make sure that these spaces were kept separate, as I did not want the public to disturb the artists. Originally, I was unsure where to put the different exhibit rooms, and so I essentially just stuck them under the ground behind the main building. Clearly a poor choice, but this is just the start of the project you must remember.

I knew from the get-go that I did not want my residency to be the “main attraction” of the site. Artists who came would come because of the beautiful Storm King at large, and so I felt that my building should help facilitate this (and their subsequent work) and not intrude on their experience. Ultimately (with the help of my professor – otherwise I may have built something extremely timid), this changed a bit, although the basic idea of making it meld into and form from the landscape stayed throughout the project.

Below I have attached some preliminary drawings that I attempted to put together to illustrate my intentions. As the project changed quite drastically over its tenure, these drawings were never actually used in the final presentation – however, I have included them here to help illustrate my point.

Preliminary siteplan (left) and a basic wireframe parti (right)

Preliminary siteplan (left) and a basic wireframe parti (right)

Beginning Phase 2 – Choosing a Site

At this point we had completed the “Sculptural Analysis” portion of our 3rd studio semester – now it was time to dive into the second portion: designing an artist residency. This section of the class consisted roughly of two phases – one before our midterm, and the other between midterm and finals. The first of these two (phase 2 of the semester), was driving mainly through our exploration of a “parti”. This included attempting to interpret what a parti consisted of and how such a system might integrate into our previous sculptural explorations of phase 1.

But before we could begin any of this, first we needed a site. This particular artist residency was set to occupy a space at the near-by Storm King Art-Center. Located in New Windsor, NY (~2 hours south of Troy, NY / RPI), Storm King is essentially a sculpture garden, but laid out over nearly 500 acres of woods and fields. Most of the sculptures are permanent to their site, with many built/designed by the artist specifically for Storm King. Currently their exhibit boasts over 100 sculptures, including pieces by noted artists Alexander Calder, Louise Nevelson, Henry Moore, Richard Serra, Andy Goldsworthy, Sol LeWitt, and Roy Lichtenstein. You can find out more at their website: http://www.stormking.org/

For our particular section, we were instructed to choose a site situated near the main museum building. This was intended partly for ease of access, but also because the museum building sits on a hill overlooking the rest of the fields, and working with such a hill would require us to take into consideration other landscape factors.

Part 2 of this post will discuss my approach to choosing a preliminary parti /organizational system for the residency.

Phase 1, Part 3 – Generative Model

At  this point in our 3rd semester, we had all not only thoroughly examined and interpreted our sculpture, but also explored how it might be changed and reformed to meet different needs. Our various analytical and generative drawings attempted to express this clearly. But of course, only so much can be communicated through drawing, and so it was time to build our first model of the semester. In my section, we were all tasked to reconstruct the generative 9 ” cube models we had designed digitally, using a particular stacking method. This was most easily done through a program called “123D Make” – a free program put out by Autodesk that allows you to create physical models from digital ones with relative ease. Import a .stl file (which can be exported from either Rhino or Maya), and the software calculates one of various construction methods, including stacked slices, interlocking grids, and polygonal folding (click here to check out the website). The program will then create the cut files, ready to be sent to the laser cutter (although the settings on our laser cutters require a bit of tweaking first).

For this particular model, all 15 of us in Prof. Saunder’s section used a vertical stacking method, with 1/16 Taskboard as our construction material. Using this software coupled with the laser cutter, model preparation time was extremely quick. And given the ease of assembly with this particular system, actually constructing the model was even quicker. These models were prepared and then constructed in probably 2-3 days. The hardest part was finding a time when the laser cutter was open!

Below are a few photographs of my generative model. All photos taken by classmates Andrew Kim and Christian Gartland.

EDIT 01/13 – Images now correctly show.

Antoine Pevsner - Sculptural Analysis 9" Generative Model (vertically stacked taskboard)

Antoine Pevsner – Sculptural Analysis
9″ Generative Model (vertically stacked taskboard)

Antoine Pevsner - Sculptural Analysis 9" Generative Model (vertically stacked taskboard)

Antoine Pevsner – Sculptural Analysis
9″ Generative Model (vertically stacked taskboard)

Antoine Pevsner - Sculptural Analysis 9" Generative Model (vertically stacked taskboard)

Antoine Pevsner – Sculptural Analysis
9″ Generative Model (vertically stacked taskboard)

Antoine Pevsner - Sculptural Analysis 9" Generative Model (vertically stacked taskboard)

Antoine Pevsner – Sculptural Analysis
9″ Generative Model (vertically stacked taskboard)

Antoine Pevsner - Sculptural Analysis 9" Generative Model (vertically stacked taskboard)

Antoine Pevsner – Sculptural Analysis
9″ Generative Model (vertically stacked taskboard)

Antoine Pevsner - Sculptural Analysis 9" Generative Model (vertically stacked taskboard)

Antoine Pevsner – Sculptural Analysis
9″ Generative Model (vertically stacked taskboard)