Friday, January 29, 2016

Review of Fall Studio Project

By: Ken Howder

As was expected, the Fall comprehensive design studio was fast-paced and loaded with plenty of work.  We were given the task to assemble into teams to fulfill an urban or rural design in two locations in Maryland.  We were also to design separate buildings of our own for the planned urban or rural site.  I chose to design the luxury hotel for my team’s rural design site that was meant to accommodate incoming visitors as well as for somewhat-nearby residents to stay if needed.  The hotel was also designed to hold a restaurant/bar, banquet and ball rooms, and luxury penthouse units.

            For the rural site, we decided to go with a more spread out design that would allow smaller “clusters” of communities within a larger community.  We limited the office and commercial spaces to the outsides of the site boundaries to allow incoming visitor’s easier access and somewhat separate from the serene clusters.  All of this was wrapped around a central area within the site where we planned a few man-made water bodies and the community center as the central focal point of the site.  This entire design lent itself well to the site as a radially organized theme.  Below is a view of the final site plan that we developed.
(Team-Designed Site Plan, Image by Author)
Keeping with the radial theme of the site design, I designed the hotel in a radial pattern of guest rooms.  This allowed the guest rooms’ views to vary across the site from the dense wooded area to the office districts to the serene residential clusters.  I situated the lobby within the outer semi-circle of guest rooms to give a centrally located vertical flow point for the entire building.  I went a little green and artsy for the design within the lobby – The view that arriving guests would first walk into would be a garden within the lobby situated below a giant glass dome of natural light (see below)
(Hotel Lobby, Image by Author)
            One of the most noticeable design elements of this hotel is the double skin façade system that doubles as patio space for guest rooms.  This system utilizes an interior skin of  horizontal and vertical glass separated by mullions to create a grid design.  The outer skin is made of the same sized glass panels, only situated diagonally to fill in the lateral bracing used in the structure – thus allowing the structure of the building to be incorporated into the final design.  This effect turned out much better than I had anticipated.
(Final Hotel, Image by Author)

Overall, the semester was a good learning experience.  We all had such a good time.

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