My Partner for this Project Is: Nina Phinouwong She is co-credited for all the images and ideas in this project.
Video created with Nina Phinouwong.
Video created with Nina Phinouwong.
Stop motion created with Nina Phinouwong
Sited in Caen, France this project is both landscape and building housing dairy cows, Camembert cheese production as well as the next iteration of the Fnac store. In post-industrial France, the country must continue to sell the image of itself and imagine new ways in which the "terrior" can be created, recreated, bought and sold. In Normandy the terroir reaps lush grass and dairy cows as well as Camembert cheese. The Fnac needs to adapt to the changes in the economy by having all its sales online and focussing on the human interaction that you cannot get online. Thus a small restaurant, and community based gathering spaces, and small theater enable both interaction with each other and unexpected adjacencies with the cows that occupy the landscape. The cows share their heat as they did centuries ago in the rural house-barns of the past as their milk is made into cheese in the underground cheese cave. The project is intended to push the idea of the local to its furthest extreme. It hopes find a balance between seriousness and irony in light of the current food culture.
My Group for this Project Includes: Hillary Archer & Timothy Wei They are co-credited for all the images and ideas for Operation Remedium.
The first semester in the Master of Landscape Architecture 1 AP program at the GSD was sited on the Joint Base Cape Cod under the instruction of Pierre Belanger and my critic Kelly Doran.
The 200,000 acre site has extensive groundwater contamination from many years of explosive devices on top of the single source aquifer centered on the site. The project was focussed on setting up a landscape infrastructure that could both treat the contamination on site and change the current programmatic usage of the military site as downsizing continues.
The project titled Operation Remedium revolved around a series of permeable reactive barriers made of mulch. Mulch is a filter that, like a carbon filter, uses chemical absorption to pull out the RDX, TNT and perchlorate, all of which are found on site. When inserted into the groundwater in a series of columns that form a wall underground, the water passively travels through as it moves towards the shoreline. Since the mulch is more permeable than the adjacent soil it attracts the water, thus reshaping the plume itself. The mulch from the walls should be sourced from wood with a high cellulose to lignin ratio. The forest cover on the Cape consists of the Pitch Pine - Oak community which is one of the optimal pairs for filtering decontamination.
Through forest management techniques, primarily thinning, these trees are mulched and doubled with a process of reforestation involving the planting of black cherry and quaking aspen. This reforestation involves various planting patterns that create different spatial typologies within the forest which leave open different programmatic possibilities. The mulch is installed in the site with the creation of a berm and ditch module, made from the soil excavated for the column insertion. This module is infinite in its formal arrangement and serves as a new topography to create different conditions of water levels, storage and programmatic variety.
In collaboration with: Charavee Bunyasiri, Ellie Lee & Peter Sprowls They are co-credited for all the images and ideas for Airborn.
The fourth semester of the MArch core program at the GSD is focussed on urbanism under the instruction of Florian Idenburg, also my critic. Through the lens of zoning we design a new typology of urban fabric. The project is sited on the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, NY. However the site is to be merely a launching point for reconsidering urbanism that has the potential to proliferate outside of the site boundaries. The majority of the semester is working with groups to design the zoning parameters for your urbanism, while the last few weeks is spent individually designing a building to fit into this fabric.
Airborn was our proposition to consider zoning blocks three dimensionally in the form of spheres. The sphere is one the worst geometries for packing which guarantees air and light to the blocks as they stack and pack into the fabric. A spherical zoning block allows for abandonment of the ground as it becomes increasingly unstable.
The spheres do not imply a spherical building or agglomeration of buildings into a sphere but instead a spherical zone within which a building can be built. The contact between two spheres geometrically is only a point. This point becomes an important transition in the project for it thickens to become the web that connects the blocks.
in progress ...
The planter table was a design to rethink the possibilities of the materials at hand. The idea was to create a table with an interactive "runner" made of wheat grass or any other plant or herb to be consumed at the table. Perhaps a literal play on the idea of the "farm to table" movement. The wood was from a fallen tree in a neighboring farm, milled by my father and grandfather the year that I was born that had been drying ever since in our barn. When considering the possibilities for the legs the rusted steel that sat in the metal shop needed only to be notched and I wanted to leave its texture pure in its age. The acrylic planter is designed to show to the root system from the sides and allow for easy removal. The table can be used with or without the planter depending on the state of the plants or the whim of the client.
The table has been published in various magazines and on many websites. I have built a number of similar commissions; the one shown here is for the client Corri Goldman. Another has been built with straight exterior edges for the Richard Avedon Foundation Executive Director's office in the MoMA building. Each table is unique depending on the wood and the steel and the client's preferred character.
photo by James Martin
The lock project was sited on the locks at the Charles River dam. The project was to be kinetic structure that performed or engaged with the opening and closing of the locks. My final form was a folding landscape that inverted and folded upon itself to create a partial enclosure at various points in its iterations. The form has less of a prescribed program and circulation, as it has potential for occupation and experience. Its nearly flat condition in the first state leaves tectonic traces in the terrain that clearly signal the kinetic potential of the form to come in later iterations of its movement. The initial exercise was to embrace a mechanism and to utilize it to explore the spatial potential of its movements. I began with the Jansen mechanism and explored through model, member duplicity and section changes throughout the mechanism. Eventually I came to a sizing of the mechanism that allowed the structure to fold completely upon itself in one of its positions. Then through paper folding exercises I discovered a condition through which the exterior of the mechanism would fold allowing the Jansen-like movements to occur. From this exercise doubled with the section changes the final form was found.
The Wellesley College greenhouse project was one that explored our relationship with the ground and the program of housing and analysing nonnative species in a "native natural landscape". The project created a bridge that connected the existing science center with the woods that sat on a large hill adjacent to its site. Throughout this bridge hundreds of test tube like forms would pixelate the picturesque within, allowing a more conceptual critique of what was actually taking place within them: a scientific study of the plants and habitats that housed them. Through undulating surfaces that only upon closer view break down to be orthogonal stepping of the terrain one's perception of this seemingly smooth transition becomes more methodical and scientific in its origin.
The test tubes in this modular system would often combine to create much larger spaces without walls between them for larger habitats. Some would remain as six foot square extrusions allowing for a high level of scientific variability between those adjacent. I was particularly interested in emphasizing the highly artificial relationship that was occurring within the greenhouse and that with the passage of the bridge would mirror the highly mediated relationship with the wooded hill that is viewed as "wild" by the students that occupy the campus. This project was an exploration of the mediated relationship that we have with a highly artificial nature and our contrived experience of it as "wild".
The pragmatics of the brief were to find a way to cantilever our fitness center over the adjacent bank in Brookline, MA while accommodating a large amount of both private and public program. My approach to this project was two-fold: to have a large mass rotate over the bank to hold the majority of the program and a smaller mass rotate within the larger mass providing the circulation. In this circulation helix the interior would be for the member circulation and would house various private programs and the exterior of the helix would be non member circulation on its open, monumental-like stair. As the circulation core rises it expands until it fills the exterior envelope of the program in the roof terrace as the public and private programs blur and merge together.
I was interested in not only the formal potential of this system but in the existing paradigm set up by the fitness center to be primarily a place to see and be seen, not only by fellow members. Therefore I set up a terracing system through this large, expansive, landscape-like stair for members and non-members to be en route and to take in the activity of the fitness center in their journey to their destination. The circulation helix morphs and becomes the envelope at times inverting itself to become stair again, ceiling on one side, stair on the other, sometimes forcing occupants even to the exterior of the building which is wood clad with glass slats. I think this potential for inversion of visibility and ownership are highly interactive for the occupant and serve the program well in its intention.
The new building for Berklee's campus was to hold a large performance hall, atrium, 300 dormitory rooms, an ICA gallery, retail space, practice rooms and administration for all of these programs in a 330 foot tower. The site was at the corner of Massachusetts Ave and Boylston St adjacent to the Massachusetts Turnpike below ground and the air rights parcels above it were left to be developed. My initial explorations were in an atrium that embraced the heavily trod Mass Ave side of the building for it is the clear front of the site and after designing the master plan outdoor amphitheater on an air rights parcel diagonal from the site I began to explore a rotation in the building that could reposition the building to face the new green space when it reached the dormitories at the top. The atrium itself left so many potentials for a folding through the building and inversion of interior and exterior space though I decided to give myself the challenge of a frontal atrium that could act highly three dimensionally and dynamically and activate the space within while staying only on the front of the building.
The program begins with an open floor plan retail space that steps up the ICA space. On the third floor the large stair brings you to the performance space that is an envelope of contours that serve as seat, step and lounge. Above are the rehearsal rooms that look down into the triple height area of the performance hall. The black box, classrooms, and various administration offices follow on the above floors all seeing a minor rotation of the form providing structure through its continuous offsetting walls.
The hidden room project was one to explore perception and the interpretation of a program brief. I chose to interpret that the hidden can exist not only by hiding it in a secret spot but by obscuring perception. A room can exist without revealing itself until a brief passage through its space. A room can exist all along circulation without defining itself until one particular moment in your movement. A room can show itself not through the existence of walls but through the persistence of frames. Frames that only show the space that they define when aligned perfectly, framing a square room in section that is otherwise imperceptible from the other rooms that they also shape.
In this project a repetition of altering frames enveloping a hidden room do not define the hidden room from the other four rooms but serve to shape their walls and circulation. However as we pass from the second to third room on a ramp that cuts through the hidden room we frame the view of aligned silhouettes that serve to define a perfectly square room in section that shoots through the building like a tunnel from one bottom corner to the opposite top corner. Never allowed to step on the perceived floor plate of the room we are given only one perfect view of an implied space that opens to the outdoors on either of its ends. We must therefore consider what defines a room and understand that we need not step foot on its floor or touch its walls to understand its existence.
This project is from the 2009 Intro to Architecture program at Columbia University. From a time before computers when drawings and models were made in real time and space. They manifest themselves as they are created. They are generative. These models were made without a laser cutter, 3d model or plan and are handcut.