Strategic Forecasting: Puerto Providencia

Collaborated with_Brittany Boyd

Exhibited at LA 2 by 8, Los Angeles Architecture & Design Museum

PUERTO PROVIDENCIA is a strategic forecast for a new settlement in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Like other rural development projects located at logistic corridors, the land of Providencia is speculated by private industries, landowners, indigenous communities and municipalities with competing interests. Safely assuming that no development schemes will let all stakeholders win, it was realized that perpetual competition–suppressing one bad tendency using its counterparts–is the most viable approach to prevent extreme situations from taking over the virgin forest. By tactically laying down territorial limits, logistical axis and no-build zones, the project sets up a “gaming ground” for Providencia’s influx of cargos, tourists, mix of citizens and farms. The project realistically engage with Amazon’s second nature–like everything in the wild, human development is bound to go through perpetual cycles of booms and busts.

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Adaptive Systems: Haus Mobile

Precedent_Geoffrey Bawa (selected projects), Cedric Price (selected projects)

Reference_Refrigeration Systems

“Haus mobile” is a steel house designed to move. Situated in Santa Monica, the house adapts to the mild but different seasons with a flexibility to shift half of its spaces. At first its design premise may seem to demand a structure too advanced for a single family home, but through design thinking the proposal largely adapted common construction systems.

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There are two construction systems. One hosting the mobile spaces; the other hosting the static spaces. The Static is a light steel frame structure clad with dry walls and sits on a shallow foundation; the Mobile are container boxes clad with refrigerator panels, these boxes move along the rails of a deep steel crane that sits on a pile foundation.

 

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The container boxes shift within constrained distances three times a year (Spring, Autumn and Summer). Accordingly, these different mass configurations open up or close down semi-outdoor vestibules to ventilate or insulate the interior spaces. Each of these seasonal “celebrations” with take a few hours, reducing the motors down to the size of a microwave-oven.

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Reverse Archaeology: Middle School in Blackwelder

Precedents_Mosque de Cordoba, Engineering Building at Leicester University_James Sterling

It is worth the while to ponder if architectural ambitions can be realized with a minimal amount of physical effort but interesting iconography, and this project is intended to explore the possibility. Located in Culver City Los Angeles, a group of obsolete buildings are repurposed not for the sake of preservation, but to give birth to a middle school. Repurposing can be a hard puzzle, but if we are willing break the conventional definition of “inside” and “outside”, and consider a building as a city, interesting spatial scenarios become possible.

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The set. A bird’s eye view depicts how new architectural elements–courtyards, glazed roofs, sports courts) are always butting, sitting or confined by existing buildings. This intentional and direct confrontation between the existing and the imposed is always at play.

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Traffic. Borrowing concepts from city planning, the school adopt a systems of paths classified as freeway, arterials, collectors and distributors and locals. On roof level, a network of flyways connect four sports fields through a central hub.

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Land use and phasing. In the beginning, the school moves into the group of existing buildings found on site, while construction activities take place on the street, in the alleys and between these buildings. In the end, the school expands its footprint to connect these otherwise discrete buildings.03042015 class (1)_Page_03

Programming. Functioning very much like a human heart, the school has a central corridor which leads to a series of chambers. Just like valves, 3 critical points of access serve to activate and deactivate these chambers according between academic, lunch and weekend sessions.

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Spatial order. Planning of the interior and exterior resembles a checker board–navigators are designed to switch between covered and exposed spaces every time they pass through a door. This breaks the conventional one-to-one relationship between indoor/outdoor and figure/residual spaces.

03042015 class (1)_Page_05Texture. While the street (grey) extends fluidly into libraries and classrooms, skateboard ramps, grassland and hardscape fill existing buildings. A rich palette of pavement will take navigators by surprise.

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Icon. A thin layer of buildings doesn’t lend themselves towards an icon, therefore,  “pink clouds”–chain links around the roof top sports courts serves as the identifier of the school from afar. (Eye level view from the Culver City Expo Line station)03042015 class (1)_Page_12

Prototyping: Aluminium Wall Section

Collaborated with_Chinh Nguyen, Dan Opera

Precedent_Chuck Close

This studio was intended to unite the focused material and fabrication aspects of wall section design through an extended and in depth investigation of a composite material system that embodies a range of performance types, material expressions and technical interface.

We were interested in building intelligence into pixel construction through different performative layers to create visual ambiguities from both exterior and interior. The site is currently active as a Jewish community center along Olympic Blvd LA, we replaced the North and West facade with our design, which appears as two bands of changing hue at day time and two lurking bands of light at night.

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A primary intention of the project was to synthesis the conventional discreet set of performative layers in wall section, such that equal emphasis is placed on the investigation and exploitation of these layers. And the construction of a half-scale prototype at the end testified the organization of the material, geometric, technical and structural ingredient that combined to form a building envelope with synthesized and demonstrated effect.

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Inspiration was sought from other disciplines, especially works of painter Chuck Close, which embeds pixels within pixels, in terms of space, reflectiveness and color. We juxtaposed different hues assigned to each pixel layer to create an aura with painterly coloring strategy.

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Color choices were limited down to five, and broken down into spray-painting templates to apply colors layer by layer, similar to screen printing technique. From a distance, there are obvious shifts in hue, but if one stands at the underside of the pixels, there is an explosion of vibrant and juicy colors which contrast each other.

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These 4’ by 4’ panels are milled from aluminium sheets. The two layers of metal pixels are each rotated to a different degree (inner pixel: 90deg, outer pixel 45deg), spatially revealing the performative layers behind the metal panels.

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The interior reading was filtered through the flat double interior panels with hexagonal cut-out and shifted gradient, adding visual ambiguities to the color explosion from the back side of exterior aluminium panels.

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In terms of the overall pattern, the pixels are placed within a field generated by simple attractor curves, but when the inner pixel geometries juxtapose with the outer pixel geometries, bands of unpredictable shades and gradients are produced.

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Fifty percent of the facade has 4‘by8’ glazing between the interior and exterior panels, the other fifty has milled 4‘by8’ foam insulation protruding from between the panels, through interior panels to indoor. The designed pattern and thickness gradient can be seen and touched form indoor.

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Analysis: 298 Mulberry Street

Collaborated with_David Vuong

Reference_298 Mulberry Street | SHoP Architects

Analysis of the facade fabrication technique and performance in relation to the overall fenestration system through half scale modelling and drawings representations.

The fabrication technique of this rippled, non-load bearing brick-concrete panels was comprehended by construction of a half-scale physical model, each of the casting, milling and assembling processes were simulated by available shop tools. Material limits, tooling tolerances and half-scale translation errors didn’t merely affect the time-frame of each process ,but determined the overall attributes and weather performance of the decorative brickwork. The drawings were intended to articulate the comprehension of the facade at two scales: performance and construction of the actual wall section and the tectonics of the mock up fabrication. The overall analysis helps to realize the driving reasons, possibilities and impact of the fenestration design.

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