Archive for April, 2010

Final project

Wow I leave in two days.  Weird.  However there is some chance this is not the end of this blog because I didn’t get through half the posts I wanted to.  Which is annoying, but I ran out of time.  Plus I really like writing it!  Anyway here is my latest excuse in the form of my final project slides!  I’m not going to talk because that is how I tanked my actual crit and for once my boards pretty much speak for themselves.  SO for an overview please reread my last post since that’s pretty much completely accurate in terms of concept.


It’s a powerpoint presentation and you have to download it. (click on the link, and either save it to your desk top or just click “open”)  Sorry.



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Hello all,

So I promised you a Fuksas  post.  What your getting is the reason you don’t have a Fuksas post!  Which is kinda close I think.  Anyways, today concludes the never ending Herculaneum project.  It was a group project and it has been causing me stress since I went to Herculaneum (a two day workshop turned into 55% of my grade for one class.  Go figure.) To recap, we went to Herculaneum were given VIP tours of closed parts of the site, and talked to archeologists and scholars about the site, and the problems it is having related to the modern day city of Resina which crowds right up against the pit that has been excavated to reveal ancient Herculaneum.  We were also given a lecture by the urban designer in charge of the new plan to redevelop the city of Resina.  In the workshop we were supposed to brainstorm ideas on how we would create a similar urban design plan and then present them the next week.  Several months later this is the final result of this project. (I personally designed the children’s museum, but mandi is the reasons the renderings look good for it.  Mandi actually did most of the renderings, except for a few done by Christine Green.  I also designed the layout for the second board, and Mandi designed the layout for the third board, and she also helped design the community center..

Credit goes to my entire group (alphabetical order): Amanda Carr   •   Drew Cunningham   •   Sarah Cushing   •   Megan Cusack   •   Christine Greene   •   Kelsey Holmes   •   Magdalena Kukulska

Stolen from the brief Megan Cusack wrote:

Our design incorporates the existing plans of the Centro Herculaneum and the
Herculaneum Conservation Project. We would like to support their plans with our
intervention, rather than ignoring them and replacing them with our own. The big urban
move that we are proposing is to extend Via Quattro Novembre, which the urban
planners are currently trying to strengthen as a main axis for the city. We plan on
extending it down to the sea and creating a series of spaces along that road that will
bring the residents of Resina and tourists alike into the park. The experience of walking
down a pedestrian only Via Quattro Novembre through and then out of the park will take
you past a light commercial area, a new museum for children, a new tower, an urban
agricultural center, a fresh produce market, and ending in a new seaport center on the
ocean. We are also proposing a new community center connecting Via Mare and the
park to a new circumnavigation walkway.

(And now for some bragging) Our presentation went well (we just got back from it).  Right after we presented, the immediate comments from the panel were all positive and showed interest.  And we had a really great response to our ideas during the round table discussion.  Serious discussion by both teachers, guests, and students of the main idea of extending the Via 4 Novembre to the sea, specific mentions of the Children’s Museum and Sea Center, and slightly more general discussions about having an agricultural center (like ours) and using typologies from the site (like our cafe did).  And on the real site they actually just got the go ahead to build a community center surrounded by green space right on the spot we’re suggested such a think (theirs has a really cool underground parking system though).  Despite the massive headache this project has been, I am really happy how it turned out.  And even happier that it’s done!


EDIT:  If you look down at the randomly generated posts, and then click on “Site Boards at Herculaneum” it will lead you to the blog of the Herculaneum Conservation Center, a blog written by Sarah Court and Christan Biggi.  They are two of the three experts who gave us the VIP tours and Christian came to Rome today to be on the panel of experts, although Sarah had to drop out this morning.  He was joined by Christopher Smith, the newly appointed Director of the British School at Rome (which is a really cool program).  And my teachers Tom and Scott but I’m not sure they count as guests.

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Under the Tuscan Sun…

….I got a minor sunburn lol.  It was beautiful all week and the majority of the time we were speed walking to different architecturally significant places. My feet hurt but it was worth it. All of them were amazing.  Siena’s hills and neighborhoods and awesome medieval architecture was my favorite, but Florence was also cool (if I don’t say this Mandi will hurt me) although I liked Alberti’s Santa Maria Novella better than the Duomo (because the scary high gothic facade was made in the 19th cent and is completely fake.  The back is much better anyways).  Go Romanesque! In reality picking favorites is hard I basically liked everything.   Anyway, now I have 2 weeks of finals.  This means 2 exams this week, anther next week, one major group project due next friday, and studio due in exactly two weeks.  I wouldn’t worry too much though, the thought of this work is so incredibly terrifying that I immediately start procrastinating.  Hence this short post.

I’ll probably post something more substantial soon, starting with Fauksas because I’ve now seen three projects and can make a decent post.


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Alternate title:  Why I worship Scarpa as a demi god.  (He’s much cooler than Hercules.)

Since in the last post spent a lot of time talking about why everything Scapa designs is amazing, detailed and pretty, I decided this next post I would start to introduce him to you.  Assuming I manage to blog about my entire venice trip there will be more posts about him, because we spent most of the trip visiting his buildings.  However in this post I’m only going to talk about one of his projects in Verona, for many reasons starting with I love it and ending with it is a good example of his theories.  If you think there are a lot of pictures keep in mind I took 397 in this building. Culling was very difficult.

Carlo Scarpa was an Italian architect (1906-1978) who mostly worked in the Venezia region.  He was not technically an architect since he refused to take the test to be licensed, although he went to school.  He was a countermovement to the more mainstream focus on progress, modernity and technology, and a complete eschewing of ornament (aka Corbusier).  He was influenced by the vernacular architecture of the region, and was interested in peeling away layers of history, being very honest about how and why he made the moves he did, and used material to provide ornamentation while still being modern.  (Hence I love him).

Fortress turned Palace turned Museum

This project he was hired to renovate a fortress palace, and display the collection of Medieval art.  It ended up more as an intervention, where he subtracts layers of material to expose the construction both old and new, while adding modern materials to destroy any symmetry.

Subtraction is always harder than addition, carving away is general more time consuming and expensive than building.  However it is generally worth it if it’s done right.  The thick walls of the fortress already lend it some elements of subtraction, demonstrated by Mag here:

Thick Walls

But Scarpa adds some more by pulling back material all over the place, exposing the bricks on a door or the ceiling beams, or pulling the floor away from a stair or the wall.

Stair detail Exposed steel beam Layered Floor

I especially love his treatment of the doors. Every from the other, and each one is different on each side. How they touch the floor is different too. What they have in common is awesomeness.  Most of my sketches from here are of doors.

Door side A Door side B

Much of the additive details are interruptions of the existing symmetry of doors and windows.

Window with asymetric steel frame insert Louis Kahn influence Asymetrical Additions

But not always.  He has some really cool freestanding window details, and the “jewel box” which has a skylight and is really cute.  I love the tile work, which is a pattern he would use again in other projects. He even went so far as to put a wall in the middle of the entrance door.  Every good modernest scorns symmetry for asymmetrical balance these days.

Cool window The Jewel Box Entrance

Its though another asymmetrical door, which is an arch that has a sliding rectangular door, that we enter the most famous space in the building.  In this courtyard area you can experience one statue like 100 different ways, reentering this outdoor space again and again as you travel through the museum.  It’s very cool.

Door to the coolest space ever Inside Outside Space Bridge

Looking Down On the Bridge

And as if the simple awesomeness of detail and construction and material all mixed up and then pulled apart again Scarpa invented and mastered in one lovely swoop there is another reason he has endeared himself to my – and I dare suggest everyone else in my class’s – heart.   He gave us an architectural playground.

What is an architectural playground?  So glad you asked.  It is anywhere a bunch of architecture students get to perform death defying stunts in order to get awesome pictures and generally amuse ourselves when left alone for any given amount of time.  They probably should stop doing that…  Oh and mom if your reading this, that’s most definitely not a sheer drop behind me. Or in front of me *crosses fingers*

This looks safe.... What are you doing down there? Yep totally safe. Mom don't look :)

Best seat in the house Ummm........don't ask Invisible bow for imaginary castle defending.

– Sarah

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