Design – the possibilities and process

Day 1 – Friday

After receiving the assignment, our design team met and began discussing the upcoming project. We started by thinking about the problems in the existing space – from any obvious design flaws, to smaller annoyances encountered day to day. We talked about the different entrances to the building, and how they correlated or contrasted. The most apparent flaw in the entry to the atrium was the ‘down and up’ of the redundant stair, not serving enough of a purpose to warrant its existence since fewer levels would be sufficient. The inconvenience of having to go from almost the level of the 2nd floor to the first, and then climb another flight of stairs to finally reach the 2nd floor again was a problem we addressed by adding a direct entrance to the 2nd level.

While the sense of entering a different zone is strong here, it is superfluous to walk the extra some-50 ft.

Entrance to the atrium – an unnecessary deviation?

A dual-entry system seemed like the most logical option because it would accommodate those accessing the 2nd floor, while still allowing traffic flow through the atrium. We settled on a stair/bridge combination, which complements the bridge/stair design in the lobby,

In the lobby, the stair/bridge combination allows easy observation and open traffic patterns

as well as at the north entrance.

The stair/walkway combination on the north side of the building

The idea that the motion of people – their coming and going, their stops for conversation or contemplation, and the flow of their passage – provides the spectacle. The glass allows this spectacle to be visible both indoors and out, and there are more than a few areas where one can observe and enjoy this panorama.

The problem poses the solution… the constraints (the large amount of glass, the specific lines of the building, the need for travel space, etc) give guidelines for how to best solve the situation.

Our team also brainstormed about gathering spots – areas to relax or work in an outdoor environment. They should be unobtrusive, yet spacious enough to serve their purpose – and not hindering the flow of people entering the building. We decided that an extension some of the stairs, suggestive of an amphitheater-style seating area would suit the space nicely.

Seating provides a place to rest, observe, and interact, while the stairs call one to follow their path. Motion and stillness correspond.

Yet again, the interweaving of stasis and performance, creating the spectacle.

Day 2 – Saturday

The team continued developing our ideas of people being drawn to certain areas by how the architecture leads them, or beckons them to stay in one area by its timeless nature. We compiled what we had drawn and sketched the day before, and measured spaces to confirm accuracy.

Now we had to fine tune the ideas we had, and address the other issues. First, the non-awning. There had to be something to keep the rain off consistently, due to the gap in between the building and the cantilever.

So, we designed an awning that would span across the top of the doorways, and slope down towards the wall, into a gutter.

awning elevation.. sort of

And when inspiration strikes, even if all you have to draw on is a random pamphlet, you just draw.



And use programs


                 And then work on them. For a long time.

We settled on a several-tiered stair, alternating sides to create separate areas and still allow comfortable traffic flow.

This shows the projected traffic patterns, as well as the areas designed for stasis.

The change creates more interesting views, different levels, and more of an interactive feel – adding to the spectacle, and providing more areas from which to observe.

Problem: unsightly, standard trash/recycling bins, newspaper stands

Solution: design a single entity that combines function with aesthetics. This receptacle consists of 3 separate bins that can be attached in the back, for a easy-to-empty bin that keeps a solid look. The fourth, smaller bin is an optional newspaper recycling bin.

Without the bin:

The brackets on the back are flat, so the bins can be flush against the wall.

The lids are dual-opening, and are slanted, each having a light, small, upper lid for everyday use, and a larger lid for trash removal. The two share a hinge in the back, and the slope should prevent the surface from being used as a catchall.

The bridge leading to the second level has a handrail that is reminiscent of the current handrails in the building, but with an update. Aluminum sheeting with bars, or slats cut out of the metal gives a nod to the current handrails without a clunky separation of the two spaces.

This makes the spaces more interactive.

Day 3 – Sunday

On the final day of our work, we finished cleaning up the models, assembled the entry board, and reviewed the work we had done.

MAX+min 2012

Then it was time to turn in the work, and go off to study for our *other* classes.

-Don’t forget to hold your mouse over the pictures – most of them have more information.-

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