Project Info. Principal, Liz Galvez. Design, Abby Stock, Michael, Ferguson, Valeria De Jongh. Completed 2019. Taubman College Gallery, Ann Arbor, MI. Undisclosed Budget, funding courtesy of Kohler Co., NIBCO, and Taubman College of Architecture and Planning.
9 ‘Spec’-ulative Bathrooms! is part of the 2018-19 Fellows Exhibition: Things Around Us, at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College. The exhibition runs from March 26th to May 05th, 2019 in the Taubman College Gallery. 2000 Bonisteel Blvd. Ann Arbor, MI 48109. the event is free and open to the public.
Materials. Kohler fixtures in various finishes, PVC and Copper piping, Birch Plywood, Fiberglass Insulation.
Project Description A microcosm of copy-paste logics, the domestic bathroom remains a recognizable block against even the most provocative of typologies. It is a given. If 1950s America told us what the domestic bathroom is and how to shop for it, Ching, Ramsey, and Neufert showed us how to draw it. The bathroom is the simplest of design challenges – for, it is no challenge at all.
The contemporary bathroom has been reduced to a mere recipe for specification. As both ambitions and expectations for deviation run low, the task of bathroom ‘design’ is often delegated to the most inexperienced members of the contemporary architectural firm to select the most tasteful fixtures, finishes, and moisture resistant materials, often using catalogs and lists as a basis. Yet, the bathroom is not innate. It is not neutral and as Slavoj Žižek tells us, it is anything but simple. The bathroom’s standardization is rather, a stronghold of civilization, a purveyor of culture, and a defense for lifestyle – it is pure ideology.
If the normal is in, then the architectural specification, or ‘spec,’ accomplishes certain orders of hipness in its banality. Is it time for architects to speculate through the logic of the specification? In the imaginative spirit of instruction masters like Bernard Cache and Sol LeWitt, how can the discipline exploit the seeming simplicity of the architectural recipe toward meaningful variation?
9 ‘spec-ulative’ bathrooms! synthesizes a new history for the bathroom. The exhibition looks to the archive of domestic water use, to both learn about bathroom design and to project possible futures while challenging assumed usage. Taking into account the logic of the specification in conjunction with cultural signifiers linked to this room, the exhibition creates a bathroom showroom that ‘spec-ulates’! on contemporary bathroom fixtures and plumbing fittings to expose the politics tucked within the cavity of the 2 x 4 stud wall.
9 ‘spec-ulative’ bathrooms! is part of an ongoing project by Office for Example that investigates Domestic Hydrology and its connection to lifestyle.
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Domestic Hydrology, an Interrogation on the Elements of the Suburban House in Arid Regions.
Project Info. Ongoing 2015. Concept Research.
Materials. Powder 3d-prints, digital-drawings.
Project Description. In arid regions, native plants and animals typically employ adaptations to survive their environment. Humans in these same arid regions today, in contrast, continue to flourish only by manipulating the natural hydrology and climate through grandiose feats of engineering and technology.1 For the last 50 years the American West has been sold as a tabula-rasa, as the land of opportunity, of affordable land, and as a landscape to be tamed. Under the model of land subdivision and mass tract-home development, desert regions of the Southwestern US, in recent history, have experienced endless growth. The best-selling models are replicated, mirrored, cropped, added to and subtracted from East to West. The changes are cosmetic, but the essence of the suburban dwelling remains unchecked, unchanged, and un-adapted to this unique and waterless milieu. Rather, technology and Nature are asked to step up and adapt to the suburban house. In April of 2015, for the first time in California History, Governor Jerry Brown finally ordered a mandatory water use restriction amidst the worst drought in California history.
The suburban house, no longer the site of Architecture, is recognizable in containing certain elements, unique from its urban counterparts. This design research project proposes to examine each of the elements of the suburban house that deal with water, individually. Its roof, often pitched and a safe distance from its neighbor sheds water while embodying the American ideal of individualism and home ownership. The roofline distinguishes oneself and one’s private property from one’s neighbors’. The pitched roof, furthermore can give a community connections to history where there are none.2 The lawn paradoxically reinforces both separation and connection to our neighbors. It provides a continuous surface to be tended to by each neighbor.3 The lawn reminds us of a similar work ethic and morality between our neighbors and ourselves. It tells the tale of taming a difficult terrain, the tale of man over Nature. The kitchen and bathroom present us with the success of technology, of cleanliness, of hygiene, of what America has to offer.4 The kitchen and bathroom play the site of our most intimate, tactile connection to water from within the home. Yet, despite the tectonic and sensorial potential of these wet spaces,5 both rooms have evolved to be design-less, un-experiential sites to be desecrated by the relentlessness of fixture dimensions. The swimming pool remains the ultimate upgrade and status symbol to any suburban home bragging of sunshine 300 days a year. The swimming pool was the original marker of extraordinary wealth and through the advancement and eventual success of the mass-produced in-ground swimming pool; this elite status could be marketed for all to access. The privately owned swimming pool becomes the ultimate home-luxury, the provider of endless leisure and vision of plenty, in this case of water where there is none, of the sensorial pleasure of the human body engulfed in the pressure of one’s own privately owned gallons of water. In American suburbia the roof gives us individuality and history, the lawn community, the bathroom technology and the swimming pool status. These are the elements to be re-imagined, the cultural implications to be questioned, and the dreams to be shifted.
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1. Ingram, B. Lynn and Frances Malamud-Roam. The West Without Water: What Past Floods, Droughts and Other Climatic Clues Tell Us About Tomorrow, 24. Berkeley: The University of California Press, 2013.
2. Rapoport, Amos. “The Nature and Definition of the Field.” In Housing and Dwelling: Perspectives on Modern Domestic Architecture, 26-31. New York: Routledge, 2007.
3. Garber, Megan. “ The Life and Death of the American Lawn. The Atlantic, August 28, 2015.
4. Loos, Adolf. “Plumbers: Baths and Kitchen Ranges.” In Ornament and Crime: Selected Essays, 82-88. Riverside: Ariadne Press, 1998.
6. Hayden, Dolores. Building Suburbia: Green Fields and Urban Growth. New York: Pantheon Books, 2003.
7. Herbert, Gilbert. “The Dream of the Factory-Made House: Walter Gropius and Konrad Wachsmann.” In Housing and Dwelling: Perspectives on Modern Domestic Architecture, 240-247. New York: Routledge, 2007.
8. Rice, Doyle. “Move Over, California: Florida has the USA’s Worst Drought.” USA Today (05 May 2017), https://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2017/05/05/move-over-california-florida-has-usas-worst-drought/101331462/ (accessed May 05, 2017).
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An Idiosyncratic Column, Form-making & Operations Workshop.
Project Info. With Young-Tack Oh, Sarah Timberlake, Ben vanSchaayk, Michelle Nam. Completed 2018. Michigan Research Studio, Detroit, Michigan. Funding courtesy Michigan Architecture Prep.
+ Form-Making & Operations, An Idiosyncratic Column Exhibit. Michigan Architecture Prep. FORM Gallery, Michigan Research Studio, Detroit, MI. Sep 2018 – Oct 2018.
Project Description. The form-making an operations workshop explored the relationship between design decisions and formal outcomes through the act of making. The participants, high-school students residing in Detroit, were asked to design a column which explored form through a series of decision-making guidelines. Without prior planning or drawings, participants cast a series of experimental and, at times, peculiar columns.
Materials. stick built partition walls with GWB, Radiata Pine plywood, quartz surfaces, glass, and various tile finishes.
Project description. Loft with Vents is a project completed as part of Merge Architects in Boston. Originally, the loft consisted of a completely open plan in Boston’s South End. The client came to us seeking to configure the loft as to provide more privacy and a series of sleeping spaces.
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Loft Demo Plan. The space was basically square, with 3 HCAV Units and a quirky window nook. These elements became our basis for design.
Loft Plan. The original locations for the HCAV units and the quirky nook became the starting points for a series of millwork elements that organize the space.
Framing. The framing images is exciting and revealing. It is that moment when the architecture’s guts are exposed and we really get a chance to see how things work. I was intrigued by the opportunity to create a revealing moment within the loft.
Duct & Millwork Details. Our client was initially interested in camouflaging the mechanical moments as much a possible, but he was similarly intrigued by the potential for a more elegant solution. After all, a mechanical vent puncturing an otherwise blank wall, is hardly camouflage. We ended up coming to an agreement. The millwork pieces would tuck away the existing HVAC units, each with their own thermostat.
Fabication. We would create a series of large-scale operable vents that simultaneously act as access panels. When closed, both supply and return air can be easily sucked through the perforations. As the user finds the need to adjust their temperature, he or she would open the panel to access the mechanism within.
Vent & Panel. The series of vents became the fabrication moment within the project. Both the inflexibility and the idiosyncrasy of the Air handling units suggested the origins for our design.
The mechanical units were primed and finished, to match the exposed surfaces of the loft.
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MarktNetz Berlin, MarktKit.
Project Info. With Lizzie Yarina and Claudia Bode. Concept 2016. Berlin, Germany.
Project description. The MarktNetz proposal envisions Berlin’s new marketplace as a distributed network of refugee-supporting hubs. Currently, many initiatives and partnerships in Berlin operate semi-independently, and it is up to refugees themselves to make maps that consolidate this information[i]. The MarktNetz proposal gathers these resources into a visible web and facilitates access for newcomers and existing residents alike, through strategic information and graphic design, while also actively creating new hubs in the network that explicitly aim to integrate refugees and provide economic (e.g. marketplace) opportunities.
The MarktNetz is deployed on the ground through a series of MarktKit modules, consisting of two components: “hard” components, or hubs, which are permanent resources for refugees, and “soft” components, which enable hubs to increase their visibility and engage the public in a temporal way. In our initial “seed” proposal, the hubs are all existing partnerships or organizations that are partially re-branded in order to integrate them into a visible network of resources. However, new hubs may be found at any time that provide needed services and added to the system. The “soft” component consists of temporary and mobile architectural/furniture elements that enable hubs to extend their activities into the public sphere, for instance by hosting a temporary outdoor marketplace in the summer, setting up cultural activities in a park, or setting up an informational kiosk.
Given Berlin’s decentralization, the importance of its existing networks and partnerships, and our belief that integration is a reciprocal process (it’s not about forcing refugees to assimilate, but also about giving existing residents opportunities to get to know their new neighbors), we reject the traditional “marketplace” typology of a single large building in which, at times, items are sold. In our vision, the marketplace is dispersed, multifunctional, and builds on existing relationships.
MarktNetz Network. The MarktNetz proposal gathers existing refugee resources into a visible web and facilitates access for newcomers and existing residents alike through strategic information design. New hubs explicitly aim to integrate refugees and provide economic (e.g. marketplace) opportunities, while deploying tools to engage residents of Berlin in public spaces.
MarktKit Assembly. The MarktKit allows for extreme flexibility and opportunity trough minimal means in an effort to fulfil a variety of needs as well as encourage novel opportunities for encounter. The strategy focuses on using a single frame that can be used in a myriad of ways. The roof component becomes the logo, making the object itself the marketing strategy. The units can then be furnished with 5 bases that each facilitate a variety of activities and encounters. No one base has a single defined use, thereby enabling both the user’s creativity and accountability. The frame can further be clad with canvas or polycarbonate panels to adapt to interior or exterior conditions, as well as varying weather.
MarktKits allow hubs in the MarktNetz network to expand and activate public spaces within the city of Berlin, extending their impact and engaging non-refugees as well as refugees in economic, social and cultural exchange.
MarktKit Flexibility. Economic to construct and easy to transport, these elements can combine to form tables, seating for performances, kiosks, playgrounds, and public furniture. They can be deployed on sidewalks, in plazas, in buildings or in parks and are stored in each MarktNetz hub.
[i] See “Arriving in Berlin- A Map made by Refugees.” https://arriving-in-berlin.de/
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Surface in Green, from When Sculptures Walk Out.
Advisor Nora Shultz. Salzburg, Austria; Completed 2016. Salzburg, Austria. Special thanks to Nora Shultz, Nöel Ody & Sam Siwe.
+ Surface in Green, Solo Installation.
Hans-Donnenberg Park, Salzburg, Austria. Aug 04 2016.
+ Surface in Green, Group Exhibition; When Sculptures Walk Out, Curated by Nora Shultz.
Salzburg International Summer Academy of Fine Arts, Hohensalzburg Fortress, Salzburg, Austria. Aug 06 2016.
+ Surface in Green, Three Photographs, Collection of the American Austria Foundation at Schloss Arendberg. Schloss Arendberg, Salzburg, Austria. Since Aug 2016.
Funding. $100, self-funded material purchases. Residency, travel & lodging curtesy of the Seebacher Prize for the Fine Arts sponsored by The American Austrian Foundation.
Materials. Forest-green rip-stop nylon, forest-green thread, 1/8” steel-rod, and zip ties. Assembly tools include only a sewing machine and an aluminum ladder.
Project description. Surface in green consists of two green fabric surfaces, hung in nature, and a third lain horizontally. These surfaces were installed in Hans-Donnenberg Park in Salzburg Austria. Surface in green takes a domestic item, the curtain, the blanket… and displaces them onto an outside world to create an exterior room. Through the use of color, Surface in green explores how space can exist almost entirely in nature. The installation asks, what are the minimal requirements for architecture? The fabric, billowing in the wind, simultaneously changes, animates, and defines the conception of the ‘room.’
Additional Notes. No drawings of this project exist, other than in a rough-sketch format. All of the fabrication for the project consists of entirely analog methods. Decisions were often made on the fly, and intuitively as a response to site, budget, time, and physical constraints in synergy with an aesthetic vision.
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Iterative Pitches, Design Research on the Formal Qualities of the Pitched Roof.
Project Info. Advisor, Ana Miljacki. Ongoing 2015. Concept Research.
Materials. Powder 3d prints and liquid binding agent.
Project Description. Iterative pitches examines the formal qualities of a well-known housing typology – the pitched roof. The research strives toward transformation. The pitch has embedded practical geometries for shedding water, snow, and debris with the socio-cultural associations linking back to the single pitch of the ‘primitive-hut’ as described by Marc-Antoine Laugier. However, the developer single-family house plays with combinations of multiple roof pitches through actions such as copying, mirroring, scaling, trimming, intersecting, and so on. The iterative-pitch employs the logic of the developer tract-home to propose novel examples of architecture.
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Life Under the Desert Sun, Dust Storms, Steam Baths & Outhouses for the Unencumbered Desert Dweller.
Project Info. Advisor, Ana Miljacki. Readers, Sheila Kennedy, Rania Ghosn. Ongoing 2015. Antelope Valley, CA.
Project Description.Life Under the Desert Sun looks at the dichotomy established between “shell” and “air” by tackling a known American housing typology - that of the single family suburban home.
Yesterday’s desert is today your new home, is tomorrow’s strip mall. The West remains the American ‘way out’ a chance to reinvent oneself, ‘to make it’. Yet, the desert landscape is fraught with the politics of displacement, exploitation, and imposition, carrying with it a socio-political dimension. Our collective imprint on this uniquely American geographic region is staggering. Going west- symbolizing the quest for freedom and opportunity is ‘seen’ as the place to reinvent oneself regardless of the obvious damage that occurs when we choose to also relocate our un-revised modalities for living-our lifestyle- within this context.
While “the west” is seen (in books like Banham’s America Deserta and The Desert by Van dyke, or events like burning man) as far out, unfamiliar, exotic, and exiting, when we do locate here, we turn our back on that aesthetic and rather transpose our customs and modalities. Going west- symbolizing the quest for freedom and opportunity is “seen” as the place to reinvent oneself regardless of our un-revised modalities for living in an arid place. Greening the desert into an oasis by way of the lawn, golf course, and swimming pool can be seen as the prime ideology in many suburban developments within the greater areas of the American Deserts including the Sonoran, Mohave and Chihuahuan deserts. This area of development spans from the Antelope Valley, at the tip of the Mohave in Southern California, to El Paso, within the Chihuahuan, and describe areas of cheap housing and rapid suburbanization as of the past 30 years.
This thesis seeks to investigate a particular condition: the proliferation of the single-family suburban house within the American Desert context in conjunction with aesthetics of the American Dream, desire, and leisure. Life Under the Desert Sun proposes the re-invention of suburban living in the American Desert based on two metrics:  an embrace of potential pleasures via arid living and  the logic, success, and desirability of the mass produced single-family home. This condition of spreading suburban housing within ‘affordable’ desert regions houses over 20 Million Americans. The proposal focuses on the area of southern California within the Antelope Valley at the edge of both the Los Angeles Metro Area and the Mohave Desert, as the region is now facing an extreme drought condition, for the fifth year, in addition to an already arid desert climate.
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Expansive Desert Sun.Life Under the Desert Sun proposes the reinvention of suburban living in the American Desert based on an embrace of arid living and the logic, success, and desirability of the mass-produced single-family home, a condition now housing over 20 Million Americans, within so called ‘affordable’ desert regions.
Mirror Model. Here we can see Desert Sun Growing.
3d print images. Accepting suburbia and accepting the arid, Desert Sun questions a preconceived world through a series of architectural mutations.
Dusty Images. By occupying the space between the shell/air conceptions, Desert Sun proposes a new suburbia that becomes less “shell” and more architecture. It assumes an unencumbered, easy going, yet tough suburban dweller, say the types that thrived in the so-called wild-wild west.
A new Fixture. The fountain should not be seen as a didactic approach, but rather one of confrontation with our “subnature” a term coined by David Gissen, in his recent book. Both water and waste-water occupy the center of the home’s daily life.
Water does not run from the basin, but rather waits to be flushed confronting the user viscerally.
Outhouse Diagram. The outhouse exists on the ground level and holds up the rest of the home. The removal of waste compost from the outhouse transforms the language of the driveway into one of sub-nature. The site of abjection, the casting off of excrement and soil, is foregrounded.
Aerial View. The typology presented in Desert Sun represents an architecture that inhabits crisis. Yet, Desert Sun does not focus on the taking away of something, say through engineering or legislative feats, but rather by focusing on providing: a new pleasure, a new habit, or even an old, perhaps banal experience, considered in a new idiosyncratic light – a new standard.
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Tighty Whitey, a beam made of undies.
Project Info. With Grisha Enikolopov, Advisors Caitlin Mueller, Joel Lamere & Ines Ariza. Completed 2015. MIT Fablab N-51, Cambridge, MA. $500, funding courtesy of Un-Flat Inevitabilities Option Cross-studio at MIT Architecture.
Materials. 2-way stretch fabric, fiberglass fabric, white heavy-duty thread (zig-zag stitch), 1/2" birch plywood, heavy-duty staples, white gaffer’s tape, 2 part resin mix.
Project description. Doubly-curved shell structures were popularized in the mid-century by masters such as Felix Candela and Heinz Isler due to their high structural efficiency to low material usage relationship. However, these structures often take the form of giant spanning roofs that fail to resolve stack-ability, walkability, as well as other architectural demands. Though the structural advantages of doubly-curved surfaces are evident, their materialization is often problematic and costly to achieve. Traditional formwork for composites is made by milling a desired geometry from a solid stock material in a subtractive process; such a method is materially inefficient and geometrically uninformed
Tighty Whitey seeks to exploit the structural qualities of the doubly-curved shell while addressing its architectural shortcomings in two novel ways: first, by applying the structural shell typology as a localized geometry, as opposed to an overarching form and, second, in challenging the issue of waste, economy, and efficiency in relation to the formwork of cast shell forms. The shell-frame is a novel structural typology that hybridizes the bending performance of space frames and trusses with the structural efficiency of doubly curved shell surfaces to resist compression. By combining digital modeling tools with low-tech sartorial techniques, Tighty Whitey puts forward an innovative and accessible way of fabricating and utilizing structural shells.
Doubly curved surfaces, such as hyperbolic paraboloids, exhibit an inherent structural stiffness that efficiently resists compressive loads. Tighty Whitey leverages this structural behavior with the material behavior of stretch-fabrics to describe minimal-surfaces, creating an efficient method for fabricating high-performance variable shells to act as connective tissue between two defining surfaces.
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Each structural funnel is defined by 2 quadrilaterals offset by a variable distance. An elastic fabric is stretched between these end conditions creating a minimal surface. This is used as a low-cost, materially-efficient formwork against which are placed layers of fiberglass textile. Realizing the high material investment required to make traditional formwork, we eliminate secondary materials required for fabrication but are not part of the final product. The proposed friction-fit wood frame is both structurally and constructionally efficient, remaining an integral piece of the beam.
Single Tube Axonometric. An inner and outer layer of stretch fabric sandwich the fiberglass into place serving as formwork for resin casting. Utilizing the inherent stiffness of shells and the strength of fiberglass composites, intelligent geometry and high-performance materials are combined to minimize material consumption.
In our method, the fabric formwork describes the casting surface in a 1:1 relationship and is itself incorporated into the final shell. This process has the potential to greatly reduce material, transportation, and labor costs. Furthermore, realizing the high material investment required to make traditional formwork, our methodology eliminates almost all secondary materials that are required for fabrication but are not part of the final product.
Sartorial Fabrication. The project invites collaboration between different maker populations by combining digital-fabrication technologies with analog traditions from textile and sartorial professions.
Double Curvature. The webbing is first digitally modeled approximating minimal surface geometry. We then work reciprocally to determine a planar geometry that can be cut flat and sewn before being stretched taught into the desired doubly-curved form.
Inside Tighty Whitey. The project suggests further exploration at larger inhabitable scales creating ‘soft’ spatial experiences.
Tube Undies. The formal expression of these columns is calibrated by manipulating the bottom and top conditions between which fabric is stretched.
Concept. Doubly curved surfaces, such as hyperbolic paraboloids (hypars), exhibit an inherent structural stiffness that efficiently resists compressive loads. The Shell Frame leverages this structural behavior with the material behavior of fabrics to describe minimal surfaces, creating an efficient method for fabricating high-performance variable shells to act as connective tissue between two defining surfaces.
Fabrication. Each structural funnel is defined by 2 parameters: a quadrilateral polygons offset by a variable distance. A 2-way elastic fabric is stretched between these end conditions creating a minimal surface. Rotating one quadrilateral by 45 degrees in relation to the first, transforms a simple truncated prism into a funnel composed of 4 doubly-curved hypar surfaces. This elastic fabric form is used as a low-cost, materially-efficient formwork against are placed multiple layers of woven fiberglass textile. A second layer of elastic fabric sandwiches the fiberglass into place before a 2-part resin is applied.
Project Description Vault Skirt is a piece that acknowledges the prescriptive society in which we live. As a child, one is encouraged to play and move freely throughout space. Yet, as an Adult, one can no longer simply play. Rather, the adult must engage in prescriptive activities, hobbies, or social interactions in which to have ‘fun.’ Certain movements, especially those performed freely as a child, become accepted only in correlation to specific settings and activities. Un-restrained movement, Furthermore, becomes unacceptable at most engagements of adulthood. Sport and dance, become valuable skill sets to be practiced and improved within discrete discourses on technique, equipment, aptitude, and even rigor. For example, one must invest in and wear proper jogging or running attire, research proper breathing techniques and jog along socially accepted paths. A child is encouraged to run and even jump, to move, as they please, wearing what they most would like within the margins of safety. So, what becomes the outlet for the intrinsic play of childhood? Which activities return us to our most cherished experiences of pure enjoyment?
Vault skirt seeks to transform a current tradition and social activity into one that allows for a free notion of play and movement. This work projects the typology of the Skirt used within Baile Folklorico forward. At the center of Baile Folklorico, are the mesmerizing and colorful textures created by repetitive ensembles of Skirts. These are the performances, of twirling color and fabric that fascinated my eyes and mesmerized me into unencumbered imitations as a child. [Image: Ballet Folklorico de Mexico]
The dancing usually takes place amongst a group of dancers where movements, colors, and textures are synchronized into both physical and visual performance. Baile Folklorico originates in Mexico during the Conquest as a mixture of Indigenous and Christian elements. Dance was such a central part of Indigenous lifestyle that it could not be done away with. Yet, Indigenous dance was often in relation to natural cycle. The Conquistadors sough to redefine and supplant these dances in reverence to the Virgin Mary as the dances, as they existed were seen as too Pagan, free and unrestrained.
Baile Folklorico actually sees its conception as a suppression of indigenous dance and free movement. The Folkloric Skirt is no more than equipment required to participate in the acceptable movement of our bodies in adult society. Vault Skirt seeks to reimagine a future for Baile Folklorico where the skirt becomes equipment to returns us to free movement of a child. By tweaking a simple element within the existing parameters of the Folkloric Skirt, this work creates a vault-like enclosure to be controlled by the user. Vault Skirt allows the dancer to decide on the level of collectivity of the dance. As Vault Skirt falls downward one may participate in a social dance, or as one engages the vault-like structure one is able to mask the face and play as an individual.
+ LaFargeHolcim 5th Cycle Next Generation Award, Runner-Up.
+ Lafarge Holcim Foundation Next Generation Awards Lab.
Materials. basswood, acrylic, cotton fabric, bristol, digital drawings.
Project description. Desert cities in the United States are experiencing both environmental and economic crisis, marked by historic events-- the bursting of the housing bubble, foreclosures, high eviction rates, high pollution and energy demand, and drought. Due to these events, procuring adequate housing has become increasingly difficult for low to middle-income families.
Currently, American desert cities lack alternative housing models to tract-home development. Seventy years after Levittown, the single-family suburban home continues to be marketed in difficult and unsettled landscapes that require tempering the environment to the highest levels of comfort to attract newcomers. The single-family house dictates a culture of individual consumption, leading to lifestyles that consume more energy, fuel, and square footage than any other housing model. Yet, crisis creates opportunities to discuss alternate, sustainable modes of existing in the world.
Big House is a contemporary housing concept that operates at the building scale to transform the suburban subdivision process through a practice of lighter living.Big House proposes living lightly on the desert. By learning from ancient desert peoples like the Hohokam and the Anasazi, Big House encourages adapting to, accepting, and becoming more connected to our environments, through sharing and developing community. Beneath a unifying roof, Big House re-assembles the standard elements of domestic technologies (plumbing, electricity, cooling, etc.), pulls apart the programs of the house, and enables users to occupy a series of thermal zones. Each of the thermal zones is minimally climatized, based on specific programmatic requirements for comfort. In opposition to the spirit of science fiction, where technology and machinery aid humans in coping with their environment, the spirit of living lightly upon the environment utilizes technology to aid humans in adapting to and even enjoying their harsh environment.
By capitalizing on the negative space that occurs in pulling apart the programs of the home, Big House builds more occupiable space with less. Learning from Incremental Housing, Big House breaks down the house into separate programs and marketable modules making it possible for one to buy what one can afford. Big House proposes a housing model where one can slowly grow their house and supplements diverse lifestyles based on means, without compromising on quality or living conditions. Big House enables a lifestyle of light living, community interaction, and financial feasibility for all homebuyers, operating at the architectural scale to encourage human behavior that addresses environmental concerns in the context of community living. The project aims to advance the concept of living lightly by adapting to, accepting, and becoming more connected to our environments.
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Site Plan. A single gable roof spans the entirety of the site. Its form both challenges and recalls the iconography of the surrounding houses and becomes a fifth elevation itself.
Living Machineries. Big House, sited on the Chihuahuan Desert in Marfa Texas, questions mass-produced American shelter typologies in relation to mechanization.
Reflected Ceiling Plan. The arrangement of living machineries is facilitated by an expansive roof. When overlaid, these infrastructures create a texture that disrupts the rigidness of each individual system, adding and liveliness and ornamental texture to the spaces below.
Sections. The form of the roof, while simple, plays on the perception of the Big House from the front and side elevations. It’s pitched form recalls the vernacular Marfa context, while the oblique elevation challenges the pitched housing typology.
Reflected Ceiling Plan. The enormous roof provides shade as an initial level of protection from this sunny environment and proposes flexible living by providing an infrastructure for living machineries: big-ass fans, heaters, misters, Wi-Fi, fire-protection, curtain tracks, and the like.
The project tackles the question of the well-tempered environment in the context of collective living by re-assembling the standard elements of domestic machines, pulling apart the programs of the house and occupying a series of thermal zones, all tempered to differing degrees of necessity and comfort, as demanded by their user.
Plan. Beneath the roof sit both “interior” and “exterior” rooms. The “interior rooms” allow for conditioned programs such as bathrooms and kitchens as well as flux programs that may be determined by the user.
What becomes most, exciting about the “interior” rooms, is their reciprocal creation of “exterior” rooms. The plan shows the flexible living arrangements that are possible within the big house.
Section. You have interior living as well as animated curtains that provide moments of definition to the in-between spaces.
Model Images. The arrangement of the enclosed living volumes, in conjunction with the use of the curtain elements, creates a varied and flexible organization to the whole.
The proposed housing typology looks to projects like no-stop city and injects knowledge about both our contemporary world and this unique site. The site houses farmworkers, artists, families, single young-adults, and passers-by.
Project Info. Advisor, Brandon Clifford. Concept 2014. New Canaan, CT.
Materials. powder 3d print, binding agent, white museum board, basswood dowels, acrylic, digital drawings.
Project Description. The Trunk House tackles the question of dwelling through the lens of the individual participant. Taking cues from arches and vaults, the project proposes a house as if in nature, as in a Forrest. The house, similarly to Big House, looks at a flexible in-between, but this time proposing programmatic hyper-specificity within its trunks.
Trunk House can be described as a conceptual array of forest or tree, inspired by the landscape of the New Canaan site of the famed Glass and Brick Houses by Phillip Johnson. The strategy explores the possibility of the tree trunk that becomes large enough for habitation, a folly, or space for living is contained within. The interior folly, like a fairytale, thus becomes a moment of hyper-architecture within a milieu of sameness. This homogeneous field serves as a decompression space between the hyper specific programmatic and forms and activities that compose dwelling. While we often define the comfort zone of the dwelling based on a single membrane that defines interiority versus exteriority, this proposal strives to achieve uniquely specific comfort zones and atmospheres, as sorts of “different worlds” of relevance specifically to those activities that may take place within.
Trunk House model conforms to three general categories of comfort: the exterior, the in-between, and the various interiors. The interior follies are designed in response to a specific comfort level dependent on function. The in-between space is composed of piers that adapt in density and size. Furthermore, the piers house six major atmospheric follies amongst a sublime field of brick vaults. Many of these activities work in conjunction and can be supplemented within the amorphous array of forest. On a nice day, or month, when a specific comfort zone is achieved, the dweller may wish to perform “interior” programs in the “in-between” or even “exterior” spaces. The in-between space is enlivened and inhabited through mobile furniture adjustable by the dweller, choosing either clearings or more densely populated areas of piers. While there is no “front door” or perimeter membrane into the Trunk House, is it the arrangement of its field, which provides hints for traversing and meandering much as trees in a forest do. There is a way to walk between.
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Pan’s Labyrinth. Entering a programed pier, is much like entering a new world for living that can be found within.
Site Model Image. While we often define the comfort zone of the dwelling based on a single membrane that defines interiority versus exteriority, this proposal strives to achieve uniquely specific comfort zones and atmospheres, as relevant specifically to those activities that take place within the “different worlds.”
Plan.The Trunk House model conforms to three general categories of comfort: the exterior, the in-between, and the various interiors.
Rendering. The in-between space is composed of piers that adapt in density and size. Furthermore, the piers house six atmospheric follies amongst a sublime field of brick vaults. Many of these activities work can be supplemented within the amorphous array of forest. On a nice day, or month, when a specific comfort zone is naturally achieved by the in-between, the dweller may wish to perform “interior” programs in the “in-between” or even “exterior” spaces.
Rendering. The in-between space can be enlivened and inhabited through mobile furniture to be imagined and adjusted by the dweller, choosing either clearings or more densely populated areas of piers. While there is no “front door” or perimeter membrane to the Trunk House, it is the arrangement of its field, which provides hints for traversing and meandering much as trees in a forest do.
Work Space. The workspace, includes cooking and is composed of a cool, chimney like space.
Loos Apartment. The home of Adolf Loos in 1903 suggests an interior hyper-specifity for ‘the room.’
Follies. The interior folly, like a fairytale, thus becomes a moment of hyper-architecture within a milieu of sameness. The homogeneous field of piers serves as a decompression space between the programmatic activities that compose primary dwelling.
Learning, working, cleansing, washing, being, and laying…
e.g. 12 a 001
Telecone, A Conical Sound Installation.
Project Info. With, Ryan Mclaughlin, Alexis Sablone, & Wenfei Xu. Advisors, Joel Lamere, Brandon Clifford, & Cristina Parreño. Completed 2013. MIT Bldg. 7, Fl. 4, Fall 2012 Admitted Student Open House, Cambridge, MA. $600, self-funded.
Project description. Telecone is an aesthetic exploration in visualizing an acoustical process. A network of sound tubes were distributed throughout Building 7 at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the 2012 Department of Architecture Fall Open House. The sound tubes in combination with the conical endpoints acted as a spatial reinvention of the game of ‘Telephone,’ where two tin cans allow for communication via a string attachment.
Visitors were able to occupy the underside of the cones and speak into them. The tubes carried the sound to un-expecting listeners near the distributed input stations, and vice-versa. Passersby were encouraged to engage in the mysterious game of ‘Telephone’ a communicate a series of candid messages throughout the building via the installation.
Telecone was comprised of a series of six wooden forms. These are geometrically constructed as cones, or tipis that connect to a sound tube at their vertex. The fabrication of the cones involved the process of curving wood-veneer sheets over a one-week period. The wood was first milled to shape and included score marks for later bending. Then the wood required soaking for a period of twenty-four hours. After this, the wood was rolled into the cone form and sewed with twine to maintain its shape. Finally, all of the cones were sewed onto one another and hung at head level, creating a vaulting effect below.
Worm’s eye axonometric. The image depicts the vaulted underside of the Telecone installation.
Photograph from Below. Telecone consists of a series of 6 wooden forms. These are geometrically constructed as tipis that connect to a sound tube.
Plan & Section. The sound tubes were distributed throughout building 7 at MIT for an architecture open house and were to be used much like in a game of “telephone,” where two cans are used for communication via a string attachment.
Piping Network Plan. The wooden cones connect to piping that allows sound to travel between input devices located throughout the space.
Students and visitors were encouraged to communicate through the tubes via the Telecone installation.
Wenfei & Alexis to Karen & Ryan. Telecone installation input devices allow for a mysterious game of “Telephone.” Here we can see the users at either end of Telecone.
Readymade PVC Pipes. Capitalizing on the aesthetic of plumbing and piping ready-made materials, the connecting infrastructure is left exposed to visualize sound.
Router Fabrication. The fabrication of the cones involved the process of curving quarter inch wood-veneer. The wood was first milled to shape including score marks for later bending. Then the wood was soaked for a period of 24 hours.
Six 1/4” wood veneer sheets were used in the fabrication of the cones. The dimensions of the final forms were constrained by the limits of the CNC bed and available material stock.
Sartorial Fabrication. The wood was rolled into the cone form and sewn with twine to maintain its shape. All of the cones were sewn to one another and hung at head level, creating a vaulting effect below.
Cones with People. Visitors were able to occupy the underside of the cones and speak into them. The tubes carried the sound to un-expecting visitors that were sitting near the distributed Telecone stations.