Thursday, February 19, 2015

AIAS| Forum 2011 | Phoenix, AZ

By Robert Musial

I have been an AIAS member since my first year in architecture school. I have not became an active member till I went to my first nation conference (forum) during my second year of architecture. Forum is a 4-5 day national conference that take place over New Year’s Eve. AIAS students from around the nation travel to attend forum. My first forum was 2011: Solutions held in Phoenix Arizona.  At forum I have learned the importance of AIAS and the true value of it. At forum they have architectural charrettes and tours throughout the day. In the evening there is a keynote speaker and at night there is some kind of social event to meet student from other schools. One of my favorite tours while I was in Phoenix was ArcosantiArcosanti is actually located in Yavapai County, Central Arizona, about 70 miles north of Phoenix.  Arcosanti was created by famous Italian-American architect Paolo Soleri. He believen that architecture and ecology should be used together. This is where he created Arcosanti, a town on the cliff side in the desert of Arizona. The idea is that’s town have everything it needs on this cliff side from food, housing, entertainment and etc. The community is able to survive off each other and their natural environment. As of right now only volunteers are currently living there. The volunteers continue on building to Arcosanti. Photos of Arcosanti will be included. The next tour I went on was West Taliesin. West Taliesin was Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter residence in Scottsdale, Arizona. Today it is used for the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture main campus.  It was interesting to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s dwelling from seeing his bedroom to his studio was amazing. What I found even more amazing was the single person shelters the master’s students built out in the desert. These shelters were the master’s student’s final project. They also stated that often students would live in the shelter till they have found a professional job which I found neat. I will also include pictures from West Taliesin. Next, one of my favorite keynote speakers were Brad Lancaster, he spoke about how we can harvest rain water to create landscape of trees and plants rather than having that water go to waste into the sewage system. This is Brad Lancaster website if you want more information about harvesting water The last time were the social event, we had ring in the new years in a renovated warehouse that display different kind of art work. The best thing was socializing with different students from around the country. I have spoken to other students about architecture, school, studio, projects and life. It was awesome to hear different experience of students and how they have approach a project or problem. I believe that AIAS had made a better architecture student.    

Arcosanti Entrance

Arcosanti Model

Arcosanti Housing Plaza

Arcosanti cliff side

West Taliesin

West Taliesin Student Project

Photo Credit: Robert Musial 

Outdoor Stadium

By Patrick Londrigan

In the NFL twenty three of the thirty one teams have out door stadiums and most fill the stadium with no problems.  No matter the weather, being rain or shine, their fans show up with pride.  This past Super Bowl was the first time in football history that a Super Bowl was played in an open air stadium in a cold-weather city.  This stadium being the MetLife Stadium, home to the New York Giants and the New York Jets, in New Jersey. 
Of these twenty three stadiums, eleven of them are north of the Mason Dixon Line, making twelve south.  Why do these stadiums choose to not put a roof over their teams head?  It boils down to a few issues: cost, uses other than football, and, yes, weather.  Putting a roof over a stadium is a challenge for both the engineering and the financial process.  Building an unsupported structure that spans some 600 to 800 feet is more like building a bridge than a roof.  A dome is challenging enough because they require a lot of temporary support during construction.  In turn making that roof retractable, is another major leap. 
The popularity of these roofs has taken off since the late 1990's.  But with all of this technology, it comes with a hefty price tag.  A retractable roof adds between $100 million and $150 million to a project over and open stadium, and between $25 million and $40 million over the cost of a closed, fixed-roof stadium. 
So why pay that extra $100 million for the roof?  Simple answer, would be that the stadium would get more use.  Football games, more than likely, have the least to do with the decision.  If a municipality wants the stadium for use in concerts, rodeos or other year-round events, a closed building is the way to go.  In the South, the heat certainly plays a factor in the patron comfort during games.  But in the north you have to think about the winter weather as well, with games now going into late December.  Designing a roof for snow requires more steel, which means more money.  As the weight of a snowfall can double the load a stadium roof needs support. 
In the top twenty active sellout streaks in North America, this being between all professional sports (ie. NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB), ten of those teams are in the NFL.  Of those ten, nine are outdoor stadiums, with number ten being the Dallas Cowboys (20) and they have a retractable roof.  Of those nine stadiums, only the San Francisco 49ner's is considered a southern team.  The other stadiums are the Green Bay Packers (4), the Washington Redskins (6), the Pittsburg Steelers (7), the Denver Broncos (9), the New York Giants and Jets (13 and 14), the Chicago Bears (17), and the New England Patriots (19).  The Green Bay Packers have sold out their last 374 games, this record starting back in 1965, and green bay is known for playing in inclement weather.  One of there most famous games, known as the Snow Bowl.  The game sold out in advance, like it normally does, but the stadium had over 36,000 "no-shows," most in Packers history.  Twelve inches of snow fell before the game and another four to five inches fell during the game.  But the teams played on and the Pack one. 
No matter the weather, fans still show up to cheer their team on.  Will the new St. Louis rams stadium be roofless?  We will have to wait to find out.

Current Coursework

By Michael Young

If you have been keeping up with my last posts, I have been updating you on my thesis project. For this weeks blog I planned on informing you on what we are currently working on in all our classes. This week was our first thesis presentation with our whole committee. I have been programming all the spaces on each level for my arena, I now need to jump into the second part of my project and that is designing a master plan around the arena creating entertainment and an experience for the game. In our professional practice course we have been working on creating an Ethical Statement. We were to read a case that dealt with structural failure and weather or not ethics should trump personal embarrassment. For our next assignment we are to generate a revenue projection for a project at a firm, which is due next Wednesday. For Dr. Davey’s class, Arc 532, we are supposed to pick a non-western building to write our 20-page paper on. I decided to do the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal is one of the most famous buildings in the world. It is a white marble mausoleum located in Agra, India. The word Taj Mahal can also be referred to from the Persian and Arabic language meaning the “crown of palaces.” In 1632 the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan wanted to house the remains of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The mausoleum is recognized to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World. This building is a great example of Mughal architecture; it combines Islamic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish, and Indian architecture styles. The construction process began around 1632 and was completed 22 years later. The projects chief architect was Ustad Ahmad Lahauri. During the construction phase it employed over 20,000 artisans and craftsmen throughout the empire. We also had to choose which building we wanted to do our structures project on. For the hand built project I chose to reconstruct the Louvre. It is one of the world’s largest museums and historic monument. Being a central landmark of Paris, France, it is located on the right bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement district.  The Louvre Pyramid is a large glass and metal pyramid, surrounded by three small pyramids. Nicolet Chartrand Knoll and Rice Francis Ritchie engineered the pyramids structure. It consists of glass segments reaching a height of 71 feet.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

International Healthcare Design

By: Brittney Mount

During my research for my children’s rehabilitation center, I found that Western medicine advances have caused the design of healthcare facilities to lean more towards the economical approach rather than the well-being of the actual patients. This discovery led me to look into international healthcare design, mostly in China and Japan, which I plan to incorporate a few of their common tactics into the design of my facility.
In China, they design buildings based on tactical passive green design. Their buildings are typically long and narrow for optimal sun and air exposure. Most do not exceed twenty-four meters in width, and if they do they incorporate light wells. It is typical to have at least fifty percent of the patient’s rooms to be facing the south. It is also very common for there to be a multitude of buildings instead of cramming all of the program into one building, this allows for the maximum amount of daylight to reach the spaces. Their architecture is also typically done through a modular design, which allows for easy adaptations to new medical advances and easy expansion for the building.
The Chinese culture requires the incorporation of nature into the healing environment, this is another factor of the passive green design. Access to green spaces throughout the program is a necessity. The Chinese culture also focuses on the concept of yin and yang, or the balance between the body, environment, and social factors. The dignity of the patient is assured through privacy and their well-being the center of the space. It is believe based on evidence-based design that a patient recovers much quicker when placed in a private room as opposed to a double.
The Japanese traditions are similar to the Chinese. They require the incorporation of nature within the building not just quick access to it a health garden, which are typically accessed at ground level along with on the rooftop. They have multiple spaces be adjustable to accommodate for different functions. Japan spends nearly half as much on healthcare than the United States, so economic design is very important. Concrete is a common material due to its cost and precast capabilities. Their designs typically involve mass produced spaces, such as bathrooms.

Uncommon Ground

By Kyle Fountain

In chapters four and five of his book Uncommon Ground, David Leatherbarrow discusses the miss use of modern design as it pertains to the specification of cataloged details, as well as topographical relation of the building to its site.
In his writing on Critical Regionalism, Kenneth Frampton explains the importance of selecting materials and designing from scratch in order to attain a tactile and sensory experience.1  When considering the human reaction to a path or place based on a careful material selection as opposed to manufactured mechanical experience, the costs may be similar.  Prior to full page ads in architectural magazines and free box seat entertainment from venders, architects designed the furniture, light fixtures, etc. for a given typology based on the tactile feeling they wanted to create.  Today, architects not only reuse specifications from project to project, developers often file them into an afterthought budgetary group known as: furniture furnishings and equipment.
“Thus, much if not most of what design prescribes for construction comes off the shelf, as do the suits and shoe most people wear.  Architects rely on trade literature because without a pressing need it is very hard to find (to budget) the time to study products further, harder still to break the routine or slow the pace of the professional office.2
 Even colors today are subject to the numbers from a catalog given by two major manufacturers.  This is a far cry from utilizing materials which naturally portrayed the feel and hue of its surroundings which Leatherbarrow explains that both Frank Lloyd Wright and Aris Konstantinidis always sought to achieve.
The Xenia hotel designed by Konstantinidis on the island of Mykonos was a terrific example of utilizing site, materiality, and color to compose a seamless vantage.2 In chapter five, In and Outside of Architecture, Leatherbarrow refers to topography of a building’s site as a connection to its horizon as well as the “flow” from interior to exterior.  Leatherbarrow takes two architects, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Aris Konstantinidis as precedents.  Wright and Konstantinidis are both fundamental contextualists, with subtly differing ideas of how a building fits perfectly into a site.2  Still, they both believed that the building should blend into the site and appear as if it had been there for decades prior.2
Leatherbarrow elaborates on the continuity of the site to building to horizon relationship by explaining that
“…this does not mean that the patterns and situations by which topographies are known need to manifest themselves in the same materials (as if isohylic), nor be spatially continuous (isotropic), nor given the same shape and profile (isomorphic); instead, they have to accommodate similar performances, each serving as a receptacle and ‘singing’ in its own way…”2
The harmonious blending of materiality and topography from site to building to horizon differs tremendously from today’s tempting “…tabula rasa tendency of modernization favoring the optimum use of earth-moving equipment in as much as a totally flat datum is regarded as the moss economic matrix upon which to predicate the rationalization of construction.”1
            In the end, it seems the foundation of why architects and designers began         reusing ideas, details, and colors is because “… designers can avoid thinking anew about the basic premises of dwelling experience because that sort of thinking can be assumed to have been done by specialists, the results of which are available on the market in the form of ready-made solutions.”2  Likewise, the flattening of a site is often another example of utilizing an off the shelf idea where civil, landscape, and underground plumbing will be copied from on site to the next.
1.  Frampton, Kenneth “Towards a Critical Regionalism:  Six Points for an Architecture of Resistance.”  The Anti-Aesthetic, Essays on Postmodern Culture. (New York: The New Press 1998), 17-35.
2.  Leatherbarrow, David, Uncommon Ground: Architecture, Technology, and Topography.  (The MIT Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England 2000), 119-212.

Thesis Presentation Discussion

By Sean Williamson

Hello! Well this past 2 weeks has been very stressful! Today was my first official meeting with my committee in regards to my thesis, which is a natural disaster resistant high-rise residential tower. In today’s blog, I would like to share some of what I presented to my committee with you.

Site Location (image 1)
- The site location is in Miami, Florida, on an island west of Miami Beach (displayed on the top right).

- The lot, highlighted in orange, consists of 196,456 square feet and is surrounded by water. The image on the bottom right is a view from the site looking south while the image above that is looking north.

Site Analysis (image 2)
- Within the site, the dominant prevailing winds are coming from the East-South-East. All the views within the site are excellent, but dominant views are towards the North-east.

Project Statement & Building Diagram (image 3)
- To the right is a building diagram explaining some of the approaches I am wanting to take.

- Due to zoning regulations, the structure will be limited to 24 stories.

 - It will incorporate 2 & 3 bedroom apartments, with a restaurant on the top floor open to both the residents of the tower and the public.

- The first floor is going to be designed to resist flooding. Above the 1stlevel will begin the apartments.

- I wanted to incorporate an outdoor community space for the residents somewhere within the tower.

- One approach I am taking to decrease the lateral forces of wind is to take the prevailing winds through the building.

- The structure of the tower is going to be composed of an all steel system because steel has an ability to bend rather than break, with the shape of the building taking some sort of curved approach to better direct the wind.

- Another idea I had was to incorporate a mechanical metal shutter system that would could close cover all openings within the structure in the event of a hurricane

Program (image 4)
- On the left is the program that will be used to design the tower. It’s not 100% complete yet because I am waiting to develop a building footprint in order to come up with the accurate square footages for the restaurant portion of the program on the top floor.

- The right image is the affinity matrix I developed to study how all the spaces interact with each other.

Case Study #1 (image 5)
- The first case study I looked at that dealt with taking wind through a building was the Pearl River Tower in Gaungzhou, China.

- 1,014-foot-tall tower includes ducts shaped to vent prevailing winds. The inlets exploit a pressure differential across the tower, causing a 20-feet-per-second wind to rush through them at 23 to 30 feet per second to generate energy for the building.

Case Study #2 (image 6)
- The next case study I looked at was the Wuhan Greenland Center located in Wuhan, China.

- Obviously this structure is a lot taller than mine, but the same concept could be applied to a smaller scaled version.

- Apertures allow air to pass freely in and out of a two-to-three-story-high segment of the double–curtain wall that rings the tower, relieving wind loads by three to ten percent.

- The tower also incorporates smooth corners equipped with vents, and a domed top to reduce wind resistance.

2 Bedroom Apartment Program (image 7)
- These last 3 sheets I have are conceptual diagrams showing how spaces relate.

- This is the 2 bedroom apartment program with a rough layout on how the spaces could be organized.

3 Bedroom Apartment Program (image 8)
- The 3 bedroom apartment is basically the same as the previous 2 bedroom apartment but with an additional bedroom, bath, and walk-in—closet.

- The goal is to incorporate a private balcony into every unit.

Restaurant Program (image 9)
- The last sheet I have for you is the restaurant conceptual diagram which illustrates customer and staff circulation within the various spaces.