Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Thesis Update #4 – Or is it?

By Nicholas S. Ouellette

Hello everyone once again for this new update on my graduate architecture work. Unfortunately, this week I will not be updating you all on the progress of my thesis because with other projects I have been working on for other classes I have not made much progress to tell you about from what I showed two weeks ago. So, I thought I would give you another update on the Graduate Assistantship work I have been doing. Last time I talked about the work for my GA position it was on the first building I worked on, the Swiss Sound Box designed by Peter Zumthor. I am currently working on finishing up the diagrams and drawings for a new project I have been working on since the end of winter break, the Peninsula House designed by Sean Godsell.
The Peninsula House is a vacation home located in Melbourne, Australia. It is constructed partially in a sand dune and uses the natural topography to help shape the structure. The house has a number of different rooms such as a two story living space, a bedroom, library, office, kitchen, interior courtyard, and a private verandah with a fireplace. Unlike most homes that have an indoor hallway that connects the rooms of the house, the Peninsula House has an exterior aisle composed of concrete pads and stairs that run from the carport at the north south end to the living space and verandah in the north. This exterior aisle is covered by a wood cladding system of local wood that after it is seasoned is almost impossible to cut with conventional tools.
Aside from the wood cladding, the house is composed of steel ‘portals’ that create the overall skeleton of the structure while the walls are of wood construction. There is also a plethora of glass on both the north end of the house as well as the entire ceiling just above the portal frames. This allows for a large amount of sunlight to enter the house and keep it warm at all times of the day. The house is the wrapped in the wood cladding system that runs the entire length of the structure that can be opened in certain areas to allow for air to circulate as well as open or close pathways into the house. You can see in the image below of the north end of the house where the cladding system and glass are very visible as well as the exterior aisle that runs the entire length of the structure.

The diagrams and drawings for this house are similar to the ones used for the Swiss Sound Box however there are a few differences because of the different nature of it [one being a house and the other being a pavilion]. There is still an anatomy drawing as well as basic plan and section drawings of the house and surrounding area. The details of this house though are very specific to a number of important aspects of it such as the cladding and operable walls. The first image below is a small section of the cladding system showing how the wood slatted members attach to the steel portal frames and the second image shows the anatomy of the house [still a work in progress]. In the anatomy drawing you can see how the house is arranged in the side of the sand dune as well as the main aisle/stairway that runs down the length of the house. The other components of the diagram show the steel portal frames as well the implementation of glass in the house.


Once the diagrams are completed for the Peninsula House, my focus will shift to just one single diagram as the end of the semester approaches and I have more work to do for my thesis as more deadlines are upon myself. The next building a Center for Contemporary Art called Punta della Dogana located in Venice, Italy. For this project I will only have to make the anatomy drawing for so it should not be that taxing and if there is another low point in my thesis work I will show it to you all to see. As for the rest of my work, my thesis will be dived into more deeply in the next couple weeks as I am starting to come up with a finalized master-plan for the entire site as well as how the buildings will be laid out in both plan and section. In two weeks I should be able to give another update with a lot of information as to how it is going and what I will be working on in the future for it. I also have an extra surprise to add to my next blog entry, it is something I have been working on for another class and I am eager to show it to you all. So if you are interesting in finding out what it is and also what the progress on my apartment complex in Seattle is, stick around and come back in two weeks!
Peninsula House Image Reference:

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