Saturday, 11 June 2011

Summer Exhibition

I spent a couple of days finishing the Serenella masterplan, using CAD plans and sketchup models of the surrounding masterplan sections. I wish I'd had time to complete this model before the final exam...

I like this view because it shows where my masterplan joins the neighbouring student's masterplan. We left the existing context in natural/untreated wood finish, painted the masterplan contexts white; and finally treated our buildings within each of our masterplans with wood polish so they stood out against both the white masterplans and the existing context. 

The 1:250 scale meant that the models were suitable for volumes - everyone had a 1:100 or 1:50 scale model  of their individual schemes that were more detailed.

I should have taken pictures with the hundred or so people wandering around the show but I was too busy at this time - I took these pictures the day afterwards - unfortunately there are films missing of Venice and Cambridge in these images. Both films captured the mood of each location, helping visitors to feel like they are in Venice when they view the Venetian projects. The two large models in the foreground are the ones I worked on, one of the first things visitors see in the exhibition.

Finally we wanted to give the wall adjacent to the corridor an art gallery feel, so we placed a number of spare models on plinths, a few of the larger paintings were hung up and each student in our unit handed in a mounted A3 of their best image, from each semester.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Final Presentation Sheets

The first thing I did was produce a sectional perspective on sketchup showing the two environments - the labyrinth/depository underneath and the landscaped area with children playing etc above. It also shows that the tower doesn't block the windows of the University Library.

Board 1 - Venice. 

Sheet 1 - Site Location > Masterplan Development
Sheet 2 - Volumetric Studies > Form Development
Sheet 3 - Sections > Model Photos > Presentation Images
Sheet 4 - Floor plans > Diagrams

Board 2 - Cambridge

Sheet 1 - Library of Babel > Site > Parti/Ideas
Sheet 2 - Site Plan > Images > Ground Floor Plan > Diagrams
Sheet 3 - Section > Project Description
Sheet 4 - Maze Development > Basement Plan > Sectional Perspective

The Two Towers

There isn't enough room on the presentation board for floor plans for the two towers - I would rather prioritise the space for other/more attractive images. These will be placed in my portfolio. 

I then created a few diagrams to describe the reasoning behind the placement of the towers. The most public part of the site is diagrammed below, and the public exhibition is placed here to best promote the gallery.

The private tower is moved north to allow views from the existing library windows. The tower now blocks no views - I have prioritised the views of users in the existing library over the efficiency of solar panels - which are already overshadowed AM anyway. This positioning has the added benefit of allowing the public approaching from the east to explore/wander through the landscaping on the surface before entering the exhibition tower on the west of the site.

The final diagram describes the routes from Kings College School into the site. The 3 trees and the blocks on the west of the site act as a safety/buffer zone, protecting children from the busy road .

Revised ground floor plan with shadows shown. The two towers almost act as sun dials, casting long shadows over the site.

Finally I have inhabited the ground level with a few more people, interacting with the blocks, complete with an arbitrary flock of birds to increase the look of the height of the tower.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Final Review Sheets

For the final review I wanted to illustrate my design process from the initial library study through the design process into my final design. I have selected what I feel are my strongest images for the left column of the A0 sheet, showing my interpretation of Jorge Luis Borges's short story describing 'The Library of Babel'. Underneath this is a diagram showing my fundamental ideas behind the design - the control and hierarchy of knowledge. 

This is taken forward into the design process, the next column, showing the context, the site behind the library of Cambridge, why the new maps department is required (lack of space in the old) and precedents including the National Library of France and Accordia (see previous blog entry). I spent a long time designing the basement floor plan, the maze/labyrinth (technically it is neither... more of a warren - luckily nobody has picked up on this yet) so have included several images of the labyrinth development.

Next follows the development, from my early wooden models, the parti idea and the ventilation tower reasoning. (All of this can be found in previous blog entries, I wont keep repeating myself). The second half of the first sheet shows my final building design, a large 1:500 site plan showing how it fits into its context, a 1:200 ground floor plan showing the landscaping and a couple of renders showing the main public spaces. The exhibition space will be the most inhabited space inside the building so the view inside was important, as was the view looking up at it from the landscaped space below. 

The layout is split into 3 columns, which are similarly proportioned to my design of the light/ventilation towers. Because of the dark/moody colour scheme in the section below, I have limited my colour palette to shades of black, white, grey, green and any brick or wooden material in photographs. I hope this will make my presentation sheets read as the same project. I thought having a variety of drawings was also important - hand drawn, CAD drawings, photographs, models and virtual models... all photo-shopped in a similar way. The two images below will more or less fill a pin-up board, with space for models below.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Presentation Layouts

Because of the long horizontal section, I wanted to split up my sheets so that this image was on its own - to reflect its geometry. This meant splitting up my other sheet too. Simply put, the top sheet is initial concepts and development, the second has a site plan, ground floor plan and a couple of views, the third is the section and the fourth is the depository/basement studies and development. I found a black board to pin onto, which I feel helps bring out the sheets more than a white board:

The psychology of a pin up... give your examiners a comfy chair and they might not be too critical. The model of my scheme is in their periphery so they shouldn't need to move. My project is understandable from a few metres away - but the text etc helps explain it when you look closer.

I then mimicked this horizontal style with last semester's Venice project so that in 2 weeks time my presentation style will run through both projects. The top sheet covers early Venetian built environment studies and the masterplan, the second is my volumetric studies; the third is the strong images that I think help sell the scheme... and at the bottom of the board are my floor plans. These are necessary but are not as strong as renders etc so I have put these at the bottom, with the intention to place my models below these also. The diagrams above my floor plans help explain the building. 

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Parti and Precedents

Parti Diagram development. The aim of this quick diagram is to show that my depository links to the existing depository beneath Cambridge University Library. To tie in with my presentation format, I wanted to make the diagram less AutoCAD and more hand drawn. I had Ching's drawings on the back of my mind when cross hatching the sky rather than the earth:

Precedents - I looked at the National Library of France (Paris) by Dominique Perrault. The four towers enclose a  green area - a sanctuary from the busy city of Paris surrounding the building. My design will also enclose a public area, but unlike this building, the space will be open for the public to explore.

The neighbouring Cambridge University Library and Fielden Clegg Bradley's Accordia Housing Scheme in the city were precedents for their materiality. They both use the same brick, sourced locally. The verticality is emphasised even on the lower portions of the buildings, by vertical windows and vents.

Final Review - Section

I've spent two days working on this section - the previous versions can be seen below. I have included more context to show how it relates to the neighbouring library, and have filled the whole base of the sheet with an underground texture (photo of concrete blended with earth, rock etc). This A0 sheet will be one of two sheets for my final presentation, and will be placed beneath the other - so the underground section is at the bottom of the board. 

Because space is short on the presentation boards, I have included my early underground storage studies (wind cellars etc) and initial ideas on the left, followed by my hand drawing (see previous blog entry) showing the two principal subterranean spaces; and finally the basement/depository floor plan. I have shaded in areas of dark and light on both the 1:100 section and the 1:200 basement plan to indicate where the light pipes are. 

(click to enlarge)

I like looking back at previous versions of this drawing from a few weeks ago. I've removed the pile foundations because I felt they were distracting, and have lightened the elevation of building two. The section cut line has been moved from the original section to include the study room.

Hand Drawing

To tie in with my early studies of fictional libraries, mythology, the control of knowledge etc I did not just want renders to illustrate my design. I have never been confident at hand drawing - I never know when to stop adding things to an image so usually end up ruining it. So, for this drawing showing the two main subterranean spaces, I scanned the drawing every ten minutes or so in case anything went wrong.

The first scanned image shows the two spaces - the study room on the left and the depository on the right. I have shaded the edges of the study room to indicate the shape of the room, and that the light does not penetrate into the corners.

I shaded in the depository in a similar way but added a beam of light underneath the light pipe to show the natural light in each corner of the labyrinth. The light should entice movement.

I penciled in the blockwork above the study room - these blocks emphasise the depth underground, making visitors feel they are deeper underground than they actually are, and hint that they are further from escape.

I spent a while drawing in bricks in the depository and rubbed out a white space between the two drawings to separate them. 

On Photoshop it was easy to tidy up the image. Adjusting the levels and the rotation made the drawing look better in seconds, and the inclusion of furniture and an oak floor made the space more believable. I looked at furniture designs by Niall McLaughlin and Charles Rennie Macintosh before designing my furniture - the aim, like the rest of the depository was to make the furniture look like it had been there for a number of years, but without making it seem antiquity.

 Mackintosh furniture designs: 

Friday, 6 May 2011

Exhibition Space

For the final review I wanted to introduce an idea of how the exhibition/gallery spaces would be inhabited.

The spaces are simple - flexible and open plan. White polished plaster walls and oak floors. The maps could be hung on the walls or laid flat on tables (behind perspex/glass) in the centre of the small, 7m x 9.8m exhibition rooms.


I rendered the view in v-ray. The light looks good here - the 3.8m vertical windows achieve long shadows across the room, encouraging people to wander across to them to experience the views.

I darkened the room slightly to draw more attention to the light patterns, added a sky behind the windows and hung up an old world map on the wall.

I then hung a few more maps up - the vertical windows allow a lot of wall space for displays. The library in the background has been coloured in and building 2 moved left to its correct position. The woman by the window is useful for scale.

Finally, I desaturated the image slightly because my final presentation sheets have a colour scheme of black, white, green, plus brick textures. I photoshopped in real trees to replace the sketchup trees to make the image more believable.