Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Studio Final Presentation & Reflections

At the final review on Wednesday, I was not really critiqued on my work, but asked questions like "what did you learn from taking this studio?" and "how is your perception of your project different than from when you started?" I think that I have really refined my process and my approach to designing a project from working through this studio. By starting very conceptually, I was able to not focus too much on the specifics in the beginning but rather think of everything as a conceptual whole and develop all of the spaces at the same rate. Between the midterm and final review, I was able to get much more specific with my design decisions and apply my concept into the details, such as the textured surface on the lowered ceiling in the pharmacy and on bike shop wall, or the hand-crank bike pulley system, and even the color scheme. As the semester progressed, I went from having a very general idea of where I might want things to be to concrete locations, dimensions, and aesthetics for each of my spaces. This is by far the largest project I have worked on so far, comprising two commercial spaces and five apartments, and through the semester I learned how to develop everything to the level I was expected to despite the size of the project. During the presentation on First Friday I was able to show off my work to friends and the general public who weren't familiar with the project, and they all seemed very impressed with the amount of work our class had done. I am very glad I took this studio because I not only learned about historic preservation and designing old buildings, but I learned how to be a better designer all around by refining my process.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sound Paper

Growing up in a church that was similar in architecture and volume to a small cathedral, I could relate to much of what Rasmussen was discussing in “Hearing Architecture”.  Although it was not quite so large and domed that the minister had to sing or talk rhythmically to address the congregation, the large vaulted ceiling of the church caused much reverberation so that when the choir sang there was a beautiful, ethereal quality to their voices. This made the experience of attending church seem more heavenly and sacred, and the large volume of the sanctuary which caused such an acoustical quality created a grand kinesthetic experience of all its own. This was definitely an example of how one can “Hear Architecture”. The acoustic quality of the church service was directly affected by the high vaulted ceilings -- a purposeful decision made by the architect to create an grandiose and heavenly sound experience that reflected the sacred meanings of the hymns the choir was singing.  After attending other churches, I missed the beautiful sounds that reverberated in the sanctuary.  Unfortunately this tonal quality cannot be replicated unless the correct architecture is in place to cause it, which is rare in the more modern churches of today.
            Another experience that I am familiar with along with most other people is the change in sound quality when in a bathroom covered in sound reflecting tile. Singing in the shower can make the tone anyone’s voice sound better, especially when singing long vowel sounds, due to reverberation.  As a chorus member throughout high school, I would always rehearse songs in the shower because of the rich tone it would give my voice due to the reflective tile.  Many other people sing in the shower for this reason. Bathrooms generally don’t have absorptive materials in them so nothing hampers the sound’s ability to bounce off of the tile surfaces and cause a slight echo.  Bathrooms with higher ceilings enhance this effect, but can almost hinder the ability to understand someone if you are talking to them because the words you say take so long to bounce back to you and run together if you are talking at a normal speed.  People generally do not have long conversations in the bathroom, but I have been on the phone with people who are standing in a bathroom and it is very hard to hear due to the high level of reverberation. This is why in environments such as living rooms, restaurants, and offices where people will be holding long conversations, good acoustic quality and absorptive materials are crucial to one’s ability to understand speech.  Dining in restaurants with little to no absorptive materials, such as East Coast Wings on Tate Street, can be very frustrating because you cannot hear the person you are talking to over the din of other people’s conversations bouncing off of the walls. 
            Sound quality is very important to the experience of a space. It can either cause the experience to be pleasant, such as a reverberant cathedral, or unpleasant, such as a noisy restaurant. It is up to the designer to ensure that the acoustics in a space matches the needs of the user. 

Lighting Tradeshow

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sound Sketch Series

I examined the 3rd floor of the studio for my sound sketch. The materials in almost all of the spaces were simply painted gypsum walls, concrete floors, and hard steel and plastic furniture. This gave the sound more reverberation time, and echoed in spaces that were larger and more empty. Two exceptions to this were the library and computer lab which have carpeted floors and upholstered furniture. This greatly reduced sound in decibels as well as reverberation time. You can see a significant difference in all of the diagrams between the library/computer lab and the rest of the studio spaces. There is also a notable difference between times of the day, due to studio classes. You can see that at 11 am on a Monday, the studio spaces are fairly loud due to morning studio classes occupying the space. The decibel level increases around 4 pm when the afternoon studios are in the space as well, and students are hanging around to get work down in the afternoon. Noise levels greatly diminish at night when classes have left and only a few students are in the building to work. 

Sound greatly impacts interior design and our experiences in a space. The desired acoustical environment determines what materials shall be put in a space, such as carpeting and upholstered furniture in the library, as well as the shape and volume of the space itself.  Lowered ceilings in the library, conference room, and computer lab make sense because these spaces are desired to be quieter than studio spaces which are more collaborative. Sound can impact design decisions such as the inclusion and placement of acoustical panels, wall thickness, and insulation. Sound also influences your perception of privacy in a space- spaces tend to feel more private if they are quieter. This is why it is good to have different acoustical spaces in the studio to accommodate collaborative vs. independent work. 

Sound Levels- 11 am Monday

Sound Levels- 4 pm Monday

Sound Levels- 9:30 pm Wednesday

Basement & Exterior: Studio Phase VI Deliverables