Considering the Predicament of Change


Spring 2008





Non-Singular Definition of Place

Site Analysis and Intervention

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Duration              Wednesday, 16 April 2008 thru Friday, 6 June 2008



GOALS                    To analyze the project site, and develop a thorough understanding of the quantitative and experiential design criteria


                                To understand the nature of an architectural design intervention, and methodically and progressively develop a truly contextually specific and appropriate design response


                                To develop the design of a museum that provides a non-singular sense of place / framing, exploring the notion of a non-singular identity to Portland



Methodology    The first phase of this course has focused on the development of a space that allows for a sense of place that is simultaneously immediate and fleeting.  The goal of this has been to leave  students with a clear understanding of the specific perception of place that is required in a Museum of Portland History that allows for an identity that is, perhaps, not singular, coupled with a keen awareness of what is required (in terms of architectonic composition and spatial experience) to achieve this.


                                With this understanding firmly in hand, students will now begin developing their Museum designs within a specific site context, responding progressively to an increasing level of detail design criteria. 


                                Site analysis will involve a visit to Portland, during which students will collect a vast array of data, collected and observed from the experiential point of view.  Supplementing this data will be information obtained from the Portland Bureau of Development Services and various online resources.  This data will be processed in a manner which, when considering the experience of place the Museum must facilitate, will allow students to identify the most appropriate manner to engage the existing site context.


                                Initial design moves will address site-scale gestures and site development issues, while considering various approaches to the site and the perception(s) of destination provided to visitors to the Museum.  Designs will be developed through a progression of scale shifts, with appropriate design issues being raised as the scale of examination becomes more detailed.


                                Design issues and criteria such as site development, structural systems, zoning and building codes, programmatic relationships, finish materials, and environmental sustainability will all be raised during this phase.  Design decisions made in regards to any/all of these issues will be considered within the context of the overall design goals, with any chosen system or response supporting and strengthening the overall design intentions.



SCHEDULE              04.16                      Introduction of Site / Site Visit

-    While on site, and via subsequent studies, students are expected to develop a thorough understanding of the site from the experiential point of view. 

-    Understand that a primary goal of this exercise is to translate the site into a similar vocabulary as the initial experiential/spatial studies you have been developing.  The Site should be understood as a composition of parts that ‘add up’ to a very specific set of experiences – Experiences that your Museum design will be expected to play off of and respond to.

-    As the site is located in Portland, it will be critical for all students to make the most of the class site visit.  As much ‘data’ as possible should be accumulated – This can and should include the following:

-    Photos / Panoramas (Ref course website for panorama / photomontage examples)

-    Sketches (plans, sections, perspectives)

-    Video recording

-    Sound recordings

-                                  Information should be collected for:

-    Views on/from site

-    Views from ALL approaches to site (from close and distant vantage points)

-    Qualities of edge on / around the site

-    Existing degrees on interiority on site

-    Scale of adjacent conditions and spaces

-    Quality of light on site

-    Qualities of sound/noise on site

-    Existing slopes / grading

-    Existing Vegetation

-    Existing moments of arrival on site

-    Students should bring cameras, sketchbooks, tape measures, video cameras, audio recorders, etc to site visit.

-    Additional site visits to Portland are highly encouraged.

-    Project will assume that all property plots have been consolidated and re-zoned as General Commercial (CG).  Reference Portland Maps for additional information on existing site.

-    Students are required to determine the following code-related design criteria (Information available on the Portland Bureau of Development Services website):

-    Minimum setbacks

-    Maximum Building Coverage (MBC)

-    Maximum Building Height


Duration                Site Analysis

04.16 – 04.23          -   Diagrammatic drawings and models will be utilized to translate and communicate the sites experiential qualities. 

-    Diagrams should be considered “zoning” studies – studies which define existing zones on the site as defined by a number of different factors.  As with all diagrammatic translations, the relationships/changes/hierarchies that are present in the diagram should be synonymous with the experience of the site.

-    2D diagrams may be drawn on vellum and should use the actual site plan (including roads, adjacent buildings, sidewalks and setback lines) as a the background.

-    2D and 3D diagrams are required for each of the following:

-    Degrees of interiority/exteriority (should reflect experiential zones as defined by perceptual edges on/thru the site, experiential edges to the site which may or may not align with the physical boundaries of the site, existing vegetation, exposure to natural light, wind/rain exposure, as well as grade changes)

-    Views / Directionalities (should take into account the adjacent properties and how they frame views)

-    Scalar relationships (areas on site in which you feel large or small – Should reflect experiential zones on site as defined by adjacent building types, existing vegetation, vehicular/pedestrian traffic)

-    Plan / section / orthographic drawings and models should be utilized, but the overall presentation must also involve the use of perspectives.

Duration                Intervention Development – Scale A

04.23 – 04.30          -   1” = 40’-0”

-    Primary goal will be the establishment of the location of museum on site, and how it relates to the “outside” within the site, and around the site

-    Initial development of design from “outside to inside”

-    Spatial Program will be introduced

-    Studies will involve models and drawings that explore primary solid/void, here/there relationships, while considering the primary programmatic elements

-    Do not get too wrapped up in circulation issues within the Museum – Deal with initial questions regarding adjacencies of the primary programmatic elements.

-    Models and drawings should always include some portion of the existing surrounding context.  The exact extent should be derived from lessons learned in the site analysis process.

-    Models should utilize one material only (including the “site”)

-    Should explore the issue of Approach / Perception of Destination

-    Should make clear statements as to what qualities of the existing site the design is playing off of and responding to.

-    Will begin to consider basic site development issues such as parking / loading, grading and stormwater management

-    Engage the ground plane!

Duration                Intervention Development – Scale B

04.30 – 05.14          -   1/16” = 1’-0”    /    1/8” = 1’-0”

-    Introduction of supplementing material definition (two or three materials allowed)

-    Explore quality of edge relationships

-    Thick / Thin:  May contribute to the balance / imbalance within and/or between spaces (This is not a “rule”, just something to consider)

-    Translucent / Opaque:   May contribute to specific understandings of separation or connection between or within spaces (Again, this is not a “rule”, just something to consider)

-    Remember that a specific definition of “thick” only reads as such when put in context with “thin”, etc…

-    Further design and refinement of the experience of approach and arrival.  Work diligently to visualize your design from the experiential POV, posing the question “To what degree can I say I’ve arrived” to better understand the potentials of various levels of transition.

-    Will involve the selection of a primary structural system

-    When considering detail development, begin thinking about the varying levels of joinery that occurs in architecture.  In a sense, you all have already begun exploring the nature of joinery, in the manner in which we will be discussing it, by examining the ways in which your intervening architecture engages the overall context of the site. 

-    Consider the relationships between formal joinery within the architectonic composition, and how that may contribute to a resultant spatial joinery.  While they may be very much related, they are not inherently the same thing.

-    Initial explorations in formal joinery may involve the relationship between the building itself and the ground / site plane, while the next level of detail may require examination of the joints within the building mass, between and within the primary edges. 

-    Joint articulation should contribute to the degree to which, and the ways in which the architectonic composition “completes” itself (ie: a container in which the edges meet seamlessly, or in a balanced and “orderly” fashion, as opposed to a container in which joint articulation works to fragment or isolate the edges).  Experimentation with this type of detail should be made with the full understanding that the resultant spatial quality is what always must be tested (Again - we are manipulating the resultant spatial dynamics, NOT the formal dynamics).

-    Start looking at the wide variety of joints you see in buildings everyday, both at a large scale and at a small scale, and develop an awareness as to how they may be playing a part in a very specific perception of place.

-    When making initial attempts to modify your design to accommodate the programmatic elements, consider the following issues and requirements for each space:

-    The number of people required in each space, and the corresponding required square footage

-    The degree of privacy / publicity required for each space

-    The required proximities and adjacencies for the spaces

-    The Gallery spaces are the main rooms within your design, while the other spaces can be thought of as support spaces.  As you develop your Gallery Space, you must begin considering the specific types of “artifacts” that your room will accommodate.  While this should remain somewhat open, as specific exhibit design is not within the scope of your work, you could / should begin to consider the types of material that might be displayed and make your gallery as flexible as possible. 

-    Group Base Site Model (To be completed in time for the Final Review)

-    Design, scope, material to be determined

05.02                                 Mid Review

Location:  U of O Portland Center (Willamette Block Building), 3rd Floor

Time:  2pm – 5pm

Format / Criteria to be reviewed in class

Parking and Directions

Duration                Intervention Development – Scale C / Details

05.14 – 05.28          -   Might involve 1/8” = 1’-0” studies and/or ¼” = 1’-0” studies – To be determined on a case by case basis

-    Refinement of the overall design goals via supplementing detail design

-    A more detailed examination of Finish Materials and joinery

-    Development of a wall section

Duration                Final Review Preparation

05.28 – 06.05          -   Presentation Requirements to be posted to course website prior to Week Seven

                                -   Final Review Preparation and Processing

06.06                      Final Review

                                Location:  Portland

                                Time:  TBD

                                Criteria and format to be reviewed in class

06.13                      Portfolio Due

                                -   Format / Criteria to be reviewed in class



Materials             Drawing Paper

                                Trace Paper

                                Mylar or vellum


                                Sobo Glue

                                Chipboard / butterboard / museum board

                                Lead / leadholders

                                Ink pens

                                Charcoal sticks (white / black)

                                Any of the following:

-          Clear plexiglass

-          Colored / translucent plexiglass

-          Sheet Metal

-          Colored paper

-          Textured paper

-          Metal / fliberglass screen or mesh

-          Plaster

-          Other materials (Review with instructor)