Wentworth Institute of Technology



Jan '05 - Sep '06

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    so long, frank lloyd wright

    Michael Bellefeuille
    Apr 29, '06 2:20 PM EST

    We just had our final crits wednesday, so other than tying up a few loose ends for classes and one final next week, I'm done for the semester. I feel pretty good about my project and how my crit went, but I almost shit my pants monday when my VectorWorks file with all my digital model and drawing information crashed. I guess that'll teach me for never backing anything up. I was able to use the floor plans I had just printed in Illustrator to get enough information back into VectorWorks to make a quick model for an axon drawing, so that saved me big time, but I was unable to get new elevations and some perspectives from the digital model that I really wanted. It also set me back as far as the work I was able to get done on the physical models because of all the catch up, but it could have been much worse.

    anyway, about the project:
    At the beginning of the semester we all had to find a pool somewhere in the city and go for a swim and reflect on it and all this to orient us in how we wanted our pool spaces to feel and all that. But I live on a small lake back home and have never really liked pools, especially indoor pools. With few exceptions, I think they're always sterile and utilitarian, just big humid boxes with a rectangle of water at the center. Some of the nicer ones have skylights, that's about it. So as far as the feeling evoked in my community pool space, which was really the primary focus of my design, I wanted it to evoke the same feeling of quiet relaxation, reflection and freedom of swimming outdoors in a natural body of calm water. I also drew on Olmstead Park and the natural elements on the site for this. This, in addition to the other aspects listed in the paragraphs below, was the driving force behind my design.

    here's what I put in a portfolio I put together about a month ago about this project:
    The program called for an enclosed community therapeutic pool, competitive swimming pool, diving pool and accompanying support spaces to be located on an empty lot between South Huntington Avenue and the limited access Jamaicaway in Boston's Jamaica Plain neighborhood.

    I chose to emphasize the more community oriented therapeutic pool and allow the competitive pools to remain secondary. I felt this was important not only in making the natatorium truly a resource for the community, but also to stress the spiritual or experiential nature of water and recreational swimming. I wanted to reinterpret the experience of swimming in a pristine natural body of water by allowing the building to become a metaphor of natural elements, such as the sky and tree canopies, which are all evident just across the Jamaicaway in Olmstead Park.

    I also wanted to frame views of the surrounding area, especially the pond and forest in Olmstead Park, as well as certain elements and spaces within the building itself. My hope was that in framing views specific to certain areas of the complex, the memory of the view would become the memory of being in a certain area or space, whether it be the hot tob, the staircase, the sauna, and so on. In this way the view would frame the experience.

    Finally, the entire layout and form of the complex was defined by the line of South Huntington Avenue where the main entrance to the facility is located, existing trees in the middle of the site that I wanted to preserve resulting in the composition of two seperate boxes for the competitive and community pools, and the various lines of sight used to frame an experience in different areas of the natatorium.

    and here are some images (unfortunately without models photographed or sketches scanned yet):

    stand of trees in Olmstead Park directly across the Jamaicaway

    floorplan of the upper level with locker rooms suspended above the community pool. orientation is with south huntington running parallel to the right of the building and north directly above

    floorplan of the ground/entry level with the community pool at the top. the lobby, cafe and garden are toward the bottom with the four major preserved trees just to the left of the far right building and the roof form of the athletic building to the left

    floorplan of the lower level with the athletic pools and seating in the building to the left, connected to the community building by a long corridor and outdoor staircase. I hope to scan a sketched cross section soon to better explain how these spaces work together

    longitudinal section through the community pool, locker rooms and administration (above) and other community spaces

    perspective of the community pool space

    axon of the various structural, mechanical and facade wrapping treatment components

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