Monday, September 30, 2013

Sketch Series 1

For this assignment, I worked with Alex Pokas to find spaces on campus that felt spacious, relaxed, had perceptual clarity, and one particular space that felt unpleasant. We chose to sketch the Meditation room, room 401 in the Gatewood Studio, the lobby of the Weatherspoon Art Museum, and a floor of the library stacks. 

Meditation room sketch by Monica Browning

Floor Plan Sketch 

The Meditation Room was an example of what we felt was relaxed. This space has both overhead and peripheral lighting, somewhat non-uniform, in between bright and dim, and uses warm lighting. I believe that the diffused natural light contributes to making the space feel relaxed and peaceful. The center of the room had and overall warm feel due to warm recessed lights overhead as well as warm track lighting that highlighted the textured walls. The three different types of lighting in the space were in three different areas to create different zones. While the area by the window is very bright due to lots of natural light, the center of the room is more dim and feels very calm. The back of the meditation room is concealed by panels that block most of the light and make it very dark. This accommodates the prayer and meditation preferences of different people. Aside from designating different areas in the space, the different types of lighting add interest to the room, as well as highlight features such as art on the wall. 

401 Critique room sketch by Monica Browning

Floor Plan Sketch

The critique room is a space that we believed had perceptual clarity. The main light source in this room comes from a diffused skylight in the roof above, and spills through the opening in the ceiling of the room. A retractable shade is shading half of the space in this sketch, but can be opened fully to make the space very bright. While most lighting comes from above, there are track lights that span the walls that light student work during some presentations. In this particular sketch, the track lighting was turned off and the space was still very bright and clear. The particular ceiling filters in cooler hues of light, which aid in the clarity of the space. The uniformity of lighting can be changed with the moving of the shade, to create a fully washed space or a half-dimmed space. This can help when viewing digital presentations in the front half of the room. 

Weatherspoon Art Museum sketch by Alex Pokas

Section Elevation

The Weatherspoon Art Museum lobby is an example of a space that feels very large and spacious. Most of the light in this space comes in through a large clerestory above that channels the light downward in a large oval light well. Recessed lights line the corridor to the left of the lobby that leads to galleries and provides some light in the space. Some natural light also comes in through doors that lead to a vestibule and an outdoor courtyard. These secondary lighting elements are somewhat masked, however, by the large open space above letting in copious natural light. The overall hue is somewhat in between warm and cool and is very bright. The lighting is mostly uniform and almost exclusively overhead. The lack of significant furniture in the space also adds to the feeling of spaciousness.
Library sketch by Alex Pokas

Section Elevation

The library interior was an example of a space that feels unpleasant. Aside from the natural lighting coming through windows as seen in this sketch, the majority of lighting in the library comes from overhead fluorescent lighting. This leads to a very bland and unpleasant atmosphere. The lighting in the library is fairly uniform, with the fluorescent lights spaced on a grid overhead. The interior is fairly bright to be suitable for reading, and uses cooler light. Overall the space is very boring and uninteresting, with limited natural light. The few windows provide brief visual relief with a view to the outside, but most lighting in the space is generic and not very aesthetically pleasing. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Light Box

Exterior Shot

Interior view of panels

Angled Interior View

 Lower Interior View showing diffused lighting in corners

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Schematic Design Critique 9/13/13

On Friday, we had a critique of our schemes for the Silver's building by several local architects and city officials familiar with the building. I received lots of helpful feedback and got a good direction of how to proceed with design development.

Guest Reviewers

I first spoke with Sidney Gray, the owner of the building, and his wife. They both seemed to like what I did with the building, and appreciated the thought I put into the design. The only piece of criticism I got from Sidney was to think further about how the tenants will access the storage I have placed on the third floor.

I next spoke with Lee Mortensen, the Interim Director of Downtown Greensboro. She thought that my circulation and space planning was well thought out and really liked my idea of repainting the Silver's mural and placing historic art prints into the circulation spaces. She told me to think about adding communal space for the apartment tenants, as many young professionals seek the downtown area for the social aspects. She believed the communal space would be a draw for my target users. I plan on revisiting the apartment circulation spaces for ways to add in a communal space.

Jo Leimenstoll, my studio professor, then gave me feedback on my deliverables. Jo suggested that I think of adding a balcony to the back corner apartment on the second floor to give much a much needed connection to the outdoors as well as to brighten up the alley. I believe a balcony would be a great solution to make an apartment with few windows more appealing to a tenant. Jo also suggested that I use a garage door for getting bikes in and out of the bike shop to the alley as a hands-free solution for transporting bikes. This would definitely be more effective and hassle-free than a swinging door. Jo also told me to think of an original title for my project besides "Reimagining Silver's" in order to convey my concept.

I then talked to Jerry Leimenstoll, a local architect. Jerry told me to look to my concept Haiku for all of the answers for redesigning this building. Jerry told me that by the end of the project, I will be able to look at my Haiku to know where to put every single light switch. I had never thought that a conceptual poem could give that much direction for designing a space, but he really inspired me to look to my concept for all of the answers. I am going to think about how hybridity and my haiku can instruct me on how to make every decision. I am hoping to be a better conceptual designer by the end of this project.

Hugh Sutphin, a local architect, encouraged me to think about the building in 3 dimensions, with time being the 4th dimension. He implored that this building is a living organism, and to think about what people will really be doing in and around the building and how they will really use it. Hugh told me to really take advantage of having 3 sides to the building. I think I will try to make more connections to outside and downtown in response to this feedback, in order to make it appeal to more to people who want to be in downtown Greensboro.

Lauren Postlmayer, an Iarc grad student, recommended that I give both of the commercial spaces access to the lunch counter that I currently have as part of the pharmacy. I thought this was a good idea to give the lunch counter more business and allow people who have been riding bikes all day access to a good lunch. Lauren also suggested that I switch the position of the circulation and bike shop office in order to give a more straight path outside.

Peer Reviews

Anna Hambly looked at my concept and my project and asked me why I really wanted to keep the old charm of the building. I thought that this was a good thought-provoking question to ask. While I couldn't pinpoint the exact reason at the time, thinking about the answer to this question will make me more passionate about my concept and this project.

Katie Moyer, like Jo, also suggested that I leave the garage door to access the outside from the bike shop. I will investigate if I can leave the current garage door opening and if/how a new door should fit inside.

Matt Weikert suggested that I continue more of the glass facade down the Washington Street side of the building to take advantage of the outside wall and let in more light. This may be a good solution to connecting the building to the outside, but I worry about compromising too much of the existing history of the building. Matt also told me to do more research on the building code and see exactly how long my stairs need to be. This may free up more room in my circulation spaces. Like Sidney, he told me to think about stairs that light to the roof to access storage. Matt also gave the idea of switching the mechanical space in the basement with the storage that is on the roof. He thought that the shared storage may get too hot on the roof in the summer, and that putting it in the basement may be easier for the tenants. This was an interesting idea that I will consider, but I would have to rethink the circulation to allow apartment tenants access to the basement.

Overall, I was very happy with the feedback that I received, and I am excited to move forward on the project with so many fresh perspectives.

Reimagining Silver's: Phase II Design Deliverables