I’ve spoken before about my current semester struggles. As a quick recap, I am currently working on my senior project: A mixed use development of a 130,000 (ish) SF site located in South Bend, Indiana. We are expected to have a minimum number of requirements that include a retail, residential, and health/fitness component. (It is a hypothetical project)
We’ve been through the site analysis, relationship studies, ideation, and we are at the final stage of concept design. This will conclude our first semester work and next year will be dedicated to fin tuning the design and figuring out the ins and outs of the decisions we made so far. AAAHH!
We had a very successful critique with a few professionals from around the area who shared their time with us and gave us some helpful feedback. There are some major things I have to reexamine and correct. Even so, I’m really proud of how the project is going so far. I have stretched myself out of my comfort (traditional) zone, and I have learned a lot. I fought my way through Revit, and I’m starting to get more and more comfortable with the software. Crazy as this sounds, I’m looking forward to the struggles of next semester.
Breaking it Down
1. The Premise
The base and inspiration for the whole concept was “Pause and Rediscover”. City life is notorious for being fast-paced and busy. The proposal I submitted has a focus on creating spaces that invite people in, to sit, to shop, to eat, and to relax in a community environment. Historically, South Bend was a thriving industrial city. Over time, many of the buildings were torn down and replaced by parking lots that slowly deteriorated the character of the city. In replacing the current parking lot with a place for community, the intent is to rediscover the old, thriving city that used to be.
2. The Patterns
There are certain Site and Architectural patterns that form a language which, should be the tying force throughout the project. Using nature in all of its forms to reinforce the idea of “pause and rediscover” is a strong underlying theme. For example: Using light elements that filter light in dynamic ways, bringing nature indoors, and creating rooms that flow into the outdoors.
3. The Program
Residential: There are different types of housing availability, from 3 level townhouses, to small 1-2 bedroom apartments, and even studio apartments.
Health/Fitness: A two level fitness gym with a pool and a spa on the third floor.
Restaurant: Open to the courtyard with indoor and outdoor dining options.
Clinics: A small private lab/clinic
Retail: Two major components form the retail aspect of this project. Small boutique shops that line the major street to create an inviting pedestrian experience, and a large public marketplace that is the icon of the southwestern corner.
The public market is my baby (the biggest work-in-progress). It’s meant to be a place where community happens. It’s design attempts to provide multiple options for interaction: for example, there are more permanent rentable rooms, stalls, or just an open space where anybody can set up shop. There is a temperature controlled area, and an open area. The spaces flow with each other and connect allowing for moment all around.
I chose biophilic (nature inspired) elements to create the overall structure, to relate it back to the park, and to nature itself.
3. The Style
Here is one of my biggest struggles. There are so many options for what a building can look like. Personally, I’ve usually leaned more towards traditional architecture. Maybe that’s content for a whole new blog post. In this case, I wanted to create a flow that went from traditional to a more modern feeling. This would tie back to the premise of rediscovery, and illustrate growth and change. I’m working on it. This part of the project will be addressed more in the next semester’s work.
To Sum it Up
This is the biggest project I’ve ever worked on. It has many components and it has been a struggle, but I’m still learning. There is so much more to come and I can’t wait to see what it will look like by the time I present my final version complete with Vray renderings of my Revit model. Next semester is probably going to be way more intense than this. Cheers!