Feb '09 - Oct '09
A few random notes:
Spring is here in Boston! WOO HOO! It actually made it into the 60's two days in a row!
A big congrats to my friend Lisa who just got accepted to Columbia's GSAPP program!
And finally, good luck to Raj who is running the Boston Marathon on monday!
Ok...now to architecture
Below is the preliminary design for a community boathouse to be sited on the Boston side of the Charles River. It is to house crew boats, not sail boats. We've just been introduced to the specific program elements, so this model doesn't incorporate specifics, but it does differentiate between athelete's areas vs public/guest areas. The goal of the project is to develop site analysis skills, create a thesis from that, and incorporate it into building design.
The site for my boathouse is at a location which can be described by convergence. It is where Boston and Cambridge connect. It is located in the vicinity of Kenmore Square which is a major node in Boston. It is also the location where water meets land and where nature graduates to man-made.
The concept of convergence develops from the larger context. Looking at the urban fabric of both Boston and Cambridge we find a system of radial planned circulation in which avenues which provide expedited travel meet and diverge at nodes. This system connects the various neighborhoods and districts of Boston. Kenmore Square in particular is a key node. Not only do circulation routes connect at this intersection, but it is a location of cultural conversion. The towns/districts of Brookline, Fenway, Brighton and the Back Bay all converge in this location.
In designing a structure that would encompass the idea of convergence, I first mapped out the qualities of the program spaces in order to understand how they are connected and how they converge. I understood that there would be a separation of athlete’s spaces from guest (public) spaces. Where these spaces meet would have dual functions—the event room, and the entry way. I chose to house two entryways within one structure, separated by the boat storage garages. In this way, the structure itself unites the athlete’s space with the guest space, but only implicitly. From there the “true” point of converge is the 3rd floor event space, which is of the greatest ceiling height, giving it its dominant hierarchy. Structurally floors two, three, and four are dependent on each other. The cantilevered second floor is balanced by the opposing force of the third and fourth floors. The same is true of the fourth floor.
The elevation of the building is a gradual increase in height from water to the Boston. This not only mimics the shore topography, but it allows for better visual sight lines. The observation deck looks out towards Boston. Its height allows sight lines to be less impeded by the barrier that the apartments produce. At its height and orientation, drivers travelling west on Storrow Drive will experience moving towards the building at its equal height as they pass through the elevated Charles Gate bridge intersection.
From Kenmore Square one can see the building through Raleigh Street. This visual connection is enhanced by the 70 degree angle of the east wall on the third floor, which continues the line of sight through the building, to the water. In this way the building acts as both destination in itself, and focused connection to the water and then Cambridge.