Knowlton School of Architecture (2005-2009) (Evan)

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    Evan Chakroff
    Nov 4, '08 2:54 PM EST

    [midreview 081029 | Studio Critics Dan Wood & Amale Andraos of WORKac, Guest Critics Zach Snyder, Nick Gelpi, John McMorrough, and Ashley Schafer of the KSA]

    Last wednesday, we had our Mid-quarter review with Dan & Amale, immediately before their presentation for the KSA Lecture Series. Their presentation -- entitled "Sur Les Paves La Ferme" (french for something like "Over the pavement: The Ground") -- focused on urbanism & sustainability, and particularly how a series of their projects have utilized sustainable strategies as urban gestures (and urban strategies as sustainable gestures, i suppose). The lecture was good. Definitely recommended.

    The review went well. Here's my project, as presented:

    For a midreview, most of the projects were underdeveloped, mine included, but I think my major points are strong.

    1. CONNECTION. A major ambition of the project is to bridge Beirut's Ring Road to the immediate south of the site. This is a literal barrier between the SOLIDERE masterplanned development to the north in the historic city center and the informal, perhaps more authentic areas to the south. Because the House of Arts and Culture wants to bridge gaps - cultural, social, physical - a literal bridge seemed logical, and the stretching of the building volume across seemed only natural. This met some criticism: as-is, the highway is roughly 8 meters higher than our site, and lowering it as I've proposed would be a major engineering work, and is probably not realistic. It was suggested that the bridge could be implied, or be visually evident without actually moving earth. I've taken this into consideration in later developments, and mostly moved back onto the prescribed site....

    2. GRADIENT. One of my desires was to present a formal, monolithic face to the SOLIDERE side, reflecting the grandeur required by the opera, symphony, etc that seem to jive well with the SOLIDERE plan which favors French-Colonial style over any other aspects of Beirut's rich history (well, French-Colonial punctuated by "Landmarks." Conversely, the southern side should be more of an aggregation, representing the coming-together of disparate elements of Beirut's culture, and perhaps - formally and programatically - facilitating the interaction between artists, and allowing the kind of transdisciplinary work the House of Arts and Culture seeks to encourage. This was taken well, but it was again suggested that perhaps it can be accomplished on the given site. The gradient idea, disregarding the theory, could also allow natural light, ventilation, etc.. which I still need to investigate.

    [my layout]


    So, that was last wednesday. After a long halloween weekend, I got back to work.


    [johnnie walker in Beirut]

    One complaint about the projects, overall, was that no one seemed to be having quite enough fun: WORKac prides themself on their humor, and we've been told the Lebanese are notoriously good-natured, especially when it comes to the war and the (lack of) post-war redevelopment. So, one of my new goals is, well, to make everything a little funnier.

    One of my classmates, Neil, had the this pinned up as an example of what not to do: typical facades in the SOLILDERE redevelopment, applied with little regard to the interiors, and almost always reflecting an inauthentic style.... of course, this seems like a bad idea, but I think I'm gonna go with it.

    so, given my previous plan to make the SOLIDERE-side facade a grand, monolithic thing, why not rip of one of the grandest? Here's my old wood model with Garnier's Paris Opera photoshopped on the front. This could become a translucent screen, with the image printed on, like the trompe d'oeil you see on Italian scaffolding....

    So, with all this in mind I went back to the drawing board, did a quick Grasshopper tutorial, and generated a block massing back on the site, with an attempt at the gradient mentioned above.

    Still working out the kinks in grasshopper - more on this later - but a quick photoshop study on the Garnier facade seems somewhat promising:

    Unfortunately I haven't spent too much time on further programming studies, as we were told to focus on massing first for the time being... and come back soon with more programming ideas: how to mix/separate and otherwise manipulate the program so the form & programming work symbiotically.... "more on that later"....

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Thoughts on the M.Arch I program at the Ohio State University, 2005-2009, plus additional work with OSU as a critic and lecturer.

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