Saturday, December 20, 2014

Looking Forward As Winter Break Begins

By Nick Ouellette

Hello everyone, this week on the blog I wanted to take a step back and relax a little bit. As you may know, or even if you may not know this past week marked the end of the fall 2014 semester for myself in the graduate program. The reviews were completed, the grades were given, and the time to relax and prepare myself for the next semester has begun. Although I will admit I am not completely out of the woods because I still have to work for my Graduate Assistant position over break [which I may or may not get into at a later blog date, it has yet to be determined] and there is a lot of prep work that I would like to focus on to better prepare myself for what is about to happen in the next two semesters regarding my thesis and that is what I wanted to talk about today.
There is so much work that must be done for a project of this magnitude and I will admit that I am only beginning to grasp it and really understand what my life will soon involve. The amount of work that was completed this past fall semester started to dive into this with assignments revolving around the creation of an abstract statement, literature reviews and background information, and case study analyses of various forms of architecture and concepts that would potentially influence the decisions that I make as I develop this residential project. Now these assignments that I completed were very rough in general and were often regarded as ‘works in progress’ to quote my professor but as the winter break goes on I am looking to develop these writings and ideas more into something complete and worthy of the work that is expected out of a thesis study. To give an example of this is that when I worked through the case study research for my thesis topic I began looking into two very specific pieces of architecture. The first was Habitat 67 located in Montreal, Canada and the second was The Stack located in Manhattan, New York. For the analysis of both of these pieces I wrote about the concepts behind each of the buildings, some information on how they were constructed, and a few key points from each of them that I would like to try to implement into my own design.
With the time I have over break when I am not working on my GA work, I would like to go more in-depth with the analysis of not only these two pieces of architecture but a few others and really start to pull from and begin to establish connections with that I can fold into my own design. The case study research I want to dive into more over break also involves other aspects of the building that are not limited to aesthetics or egress but how I can start to look at engineering or structural concepts and start to come up with ideas for creating this massive prefabricated structure and how it all links together into one system on this site in Seattle.

There are other aspects of this thesis project that I would like to start to look into as well over break such as reading material. With the help of my thesis chair, I already have a number of books and other reading material that I currently own or will be purchasing soon that I will hope to begin reading and thinking through and will help further my knowledge about this subject so that I can get a good grasp on the project before the spring semester starts and we actually begin designing the space. This brings me to my final statement about this break. At this stage in the project I feel as though it is too early to begin designing and laying out spaces but there are a number of concept models and overall massing designs that I have been developing in my head since I took hold of this project back in the summer that I hope to build over break at a small scale. Even if these models are a waste of time [which I don’t think they will be but I could be wrong] I feel as though it is important for me to keep my mind open to all options no matter how strange they may be because those early studies may have huge influences on the final design that I present at the end of the summer next year. Hopefully the next blog post I can show a few images of these models and give you all an update as to where I am at this point and what I was thinking as I developed them. See you then and have a lovely holiday season everyone. 

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