Friday, November 2, 2007

Portfolio S1: Project Statement

The project for first semester consisted of designing an AppleStore to be located on the corner or Boylston Street and Dartmouth Street across from Copley Square in Boston. 75% of the program is predetermined from what we observed in the store, while the other 25% could be whatever we decide, based on our concept and idea for what Apple is about.

We weren't told where our project site would be or what the size or program requirements were until halfway through the intensive week. We also were forbidden from designing or thinking in plan or section and had to do all work in perspective.

Portfolio S1: Concept Storyboard

Our project began with a visit to the Cambridgeside Apple Store, observing (stalking) customers and experiencing the store as customers would. My first observation was that the store was arranged linearly, with all hands-on activity occuring around the edges of the store, and software and accessories in the middle, allowing visitors to simply walk up one side and down the other. The other observation I had was that while Apple products are meant to be inter-operable and used together, they are not arranged in the store that way. iPods are separate from the accessories, cameras are separate from the computers - part of the beauty of Apple products is their common functionality. I began by looking at ways to combine the zones.

In the initial concept storyboard, I was attempting to indicate an organic flow of space and a blending of uses and zones within the store. Tightly packed space helps create the movement through the space. The calm storefront contrasts with the interior of the store, to allow the products to be the focal point and the store to act as a stage for the display of product.

Portfolio S1: Initial Perspective Diagrams

The assignment here was to draw in perspective and annotate with texture and color to further our ideas.

My first two perspectives were an attempt to balance the organic flow and space packing with the technical aspects of an Apple store. The third perspective is trying to convey the limited sense of path. All three show the blurring of zones, most visible in the second and third, which are mostly unreadable.

Portfolio S1: Model

The next step was the create a study model and actually translate our ideas to 3D spaces - not 2D representations of 3D spaces. We were given only the dimensions of the site and height restrictions, along with program requirements - no indication of the facades of the surrounding buildings to play off. We first designed the inside of the space, and then the shell.

The first photo is taken of the interior of the physical model at the ground level, and the second photo is taken a level above. The concept of organic flow and combining zones led to the model consisting of folding planes, floors that become walls that become ceilings, to create program spaces and the "experiential concept." The columns that can be seen help reinforce the idea of flow through the space - as there is no clear path or direct connection, one must navigate around the columns. As can be seen in the photos, the columns lessen as one rises through the spaces and the space becomes more light.

In the Boylston Street elevation, the spaces created by the folding planes begin to break down the skin. The lower left corner is the entrance - entering into the compressed space enhances the space opening as one moves through the building. The skin of the building is set back from the site line, allowing the space inside to protrude into the streetscape.

In the Dartmouth Street elevation, the skin becomes part of the interior of the building, beginning to fold and create interior spaces. This elevation takes on a depth that the front elevation does not. The openings are large near the top of the building, allowing light into the upper floors.

The roof of the AppleStore becomes these undulating ribbons that create a useable space. Some interior zones protrude into the roof area - the roof becomes the zone for using Apple products and experiencing them as they are meant to be experienced. With minimal openings in the elevations, and the mass of columns deteriorating as you move upward through the spaces, the roof is the climax of the movement - open, organic, light. While the interior of the building is at a scale for many, the scale of a room, the roof is at a more intimate scale.

Portfolio S1: Perspective Diagrams

Our next step was designing the experiential concept for the interior spaces. As the idea was space packing, the lower floors are a maze of columns and ramps, and glazing allows light to come from above, supporting your move up and through the space. The following images are in order of the movement through the spaces, from bottom to top.

Portfolio S1: Plans

On the First Floor, the entries are tucked under the low space of the ribbon of circulation above. The stairs figure prominently as the primary means of circulation, and the columns allow for free movement while forcing an indirect path. Product display is cut into or added onto stairs and ramps. Light wells adjacent the elevator and the neighboring building create slots of space for views to above, and the well adjacent the building allows for views through the building and from the street to the alley.

In the Second Floor Plan, the circulation ribbons from below extend to the exterior of the building to force a choice in the way you want to move through the space. The ribbons are reinforced through the use of wood on the floors, walls, and ceiling, while other areas are concrete. The elevator in the center of the building is not easily accessible or in any way reinforced as the primary mode of travel through the building. Columns are interspersed throughout the space to allow freedom of movement in all directions. A small light well along the side of the elevator allows light to penetrate through all levels and minimal views of spaces above and below.

Portfolio S1: Elevations

In the Boylston Street Elevation, the wood of the folding ribbons exposes itself along with the colums. The area of entry is inset from the street and under a low ceiling to create a cave-like experience. The stairs from the inside are exposed to allow for movement to the second floor from the exterior, or from the second floor to the street. A light well along the building next door allows views to the interior and upper levels as well as through the building to the alley. The louvers on the upper levels are angled to allow views from Copley Square to the roof, and to allow light and air to penetrate in both directions.

In the Dartmouth elevation, the entrance addresses the pedestrian scale while slots of glazing allow views in and small amounts of light. The upper floors have plenty of glazing to allow light in during the day and out in the evening.

Portfolio S1: Sections

In the East-West Section, the area just inside the entry can be seen under the stairs in a cave-like, compressed space. Upon entry one is presented with many circulation options and slots of space through which to view into the upper levels. The building is offset from its neighbor with a light well, drawing one deep into the space and presenting views in all directions, through the building and into the street and alley. The stairs here are tight treads to instigate quicker movement, but are cut through with display areas

In the North-South section, a ribbon can be seen from the ground to the roof changing thickness and motion. The maze of columns beyond grows thinner as one moves through the space to the open roof. The stairs have wide treads to create a slower movement and ample space for product display. Below the stairs is an enclosed area for staff and storage.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Unity '08

Although I sit firmly on one side of the political spectrum, and it would take A LOT of things to change my mind, I thought this was pretty interesting. Sam Waterston told me about it on C-SPAN.

Unity '08

The online community can choose a bipartisan ticket for the 2008 Presidential race. With over $2.2 BILLION dollars spent on the 2004 election, and with current amounts raised looking to easily exceed that by November 2008, this will attempt to curb the spending race.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Planned Obsolescence

Planned Obsolescence and Housing

Haven't had time to read this yet, its more of a bookmark for me to come back to later. Sounds interesting though. Great blog name too!

And Part One, for those of you who come over from Steve's blog, deals with consumer products.