Sunday, March 19, 2017

Terminal Studio Winter Quarter

Thrilled to be done with the first half of my terminal thesis studio.
Below are process sketches and my final board material.

This studio topic focuses on a food hub in Southeast Portland. Currently there is an existing old foundry, and a newer warehouse building that serves the B-line bicycle delivery business and a couple small local food businesses and test kitchens. The site covers two blocks in a fairly industrial neighborhood, growing in popularity.
As a food hub, the site processes and packages food delivered by local farmers. From there, B-line delivers the food to restaurants, groceries, schools and other businesses in partnership with the farmers. This created for a sustainable food delivery system. From this basic program, students are able to develop their own interests within the site.

I decided to focus on the idea of how B-Line can encourage not only an economically and environmentally sustainable food system, but also introduce a new form of recycling and waste management. During our site visit, I noticed that a lot of the storage warehouse of the B-Line facility contained recycled materials, in which the delivery bikes would bring back to the site after delivering food. This exchange was interesting to me, and became a main source of my idea to expand from a food centered project, to a product producing program as well. My thesis project thus focusses on creating a sort of closed loop "factory" that continuously recycles materials throughout Portland, and generates new products and sells them on site.  By creating a diverse economic system, may a city achieve a sustainable and resilient society. As Portland is well known for its existing recycling and environmentally conscious nature, as well as its local craft supportive businesses, I wanted to bridge these two functions, and understand how they may interact with each other on one site.

Thus, my project site features the Bline facility and warehouse (where packaging and food processing takes place), a low cost blemished produce market (which sells expired or blemished produce brought back from grocery stores), a restaurant (that uses local food or food from the market), anaerobic digestors (that produce energy from food waste, and compost to bring back to farms),  a recycled materials store/ warehouse, a workshop facility that has a wood shop, metal shop, glass shop and pottery studio, a cafe (primarily for workers), a bar and wood oven bakery (using scrap wood from the woodshop) and lastly, a product market selling goods built on site.

Process (not in order):

Finding a relationship between the building form and the anaerobic digestors.

Sketches prior to mid review, understanding relationships between the two blocks of the site.
One of the most challenging aspects of our project is the 30 foot wide road that breaks the two blocks of our site apart.

Early ideas of centralizing machinery, with workshops around it

Sketches after midterm, exploring ideas from the feedback of my reviewers

early concept ideas on site
Here, I wanted to experiment with a central garden on the right block, enclosed by the existing foundry (the rectangle at the right) and two buildings , one an educational function, the other a pavilion, community oriented function.

second concept, of a garden space between the two blocks (I apologize for a different orientation)

Below was my process of understanding connections between the two sites, and forms of the anaerobic digestors. The three circles (one representing the food storage, the second representing the gas storage, the third representing the compost output) generated an idea of connecting the two block with three "arms" or pathways.

Understanding connections between the food block and the product block

sketch model understanding circulation 

Floor plan for my mid review. Here, I am creating pathways that create a "market" like site in which maker spaces have vendor spaces on its edges.

explorations of a green park using anaerobic forms as playful pieces, and green space coming into the existing foundry.

An old iteration of a food market on the left, educational space in the center, and product market on the right

A "two court yard" scheme

Starting to generate ideas of shared spaces, and how the makers workshop can act as one building with machinery at its core.

early schemes, continued development

Beginning schemes

This iteration encouraged nature connections throughout the site, with rain gardens in between the food processing warehouses.

Final Material

I decided to use the water cycle as an analogy to the closed loop cycles happening on my site. I was interested in curved forms creating movement and shaping negative space, and enclosing building space.

As a first pass on materiality, I decided on using a thin  building skin/ metal cladding that can be punched into for openings, and wrap itself around the buildings in blue, flowing like water.

Aerial perspective

View from inner courtyard looking at the workshop bar

view inside the wood oven bakery space

view on the patio
 the building skin perforated on the right, the wooden box on the left... the in between zone thus becomes a partial interior room space, exposed and unconditioned, but enclosed and scaled to human proportion

view from courtyard outside the restaurant.

floor plan
Food processing/ storage packaging on the top left block, market and restaurant bottom left block
Recycled materials storage top left block, workshops on the right side of the right block, and lastly the product market on the bottom left corner of the right block.

Diagram showing related businesses and organizations within a one mile radius

Diagrams noting key design decisions

1/ program
2/ existing buildings vs new
3/ food/ recycled product loops on site
4/ water formation

Left is a section of the long workshop bar, the right is a site section of the two blocks


I started my presentation by introducing the project name, currently it is Re(x) workshop , the x standing for "recycle, rejuvenate, resiliency, reduce, reuse and repurpose". 

I had some critique on the size of my kitchen, and the relationships of the adjacencies of my programs (how can the market be more connected to the kitchen/ to the restaurant? Should the kitchen be open, and more of a learning space than the traditional kitchen?). My reviewers wanted me to rethink my intentions, so that I may introduce my project more on the sense of design principles and what the project is like, rather than what it does. In a sense, communicating what I'm thinking rather than what I'm doing. The doing becomes more arbitrary. 
Reviewers wanted me to think of circulation routes, and how water achieves this naturally. They wanted me to understand how I'm talking about water more clearly- metaphorically? or literally?
Should it be more visible or aesthetic? (cisterns) how educational should the site be? Thinking of the Pompidou center as a public conversation. 

My second round of reviewers wanted me to think of the carving actions in the interior, and how this idea of movement can be achieved more. thinking of erosion, waterbeds etc, how these spaces shape themselves naturally. They wanted me to study edges of rivers, turbulence and other actions of water.
They wanted the buildings on the right block to expand to its edges, so that it becomes completely internally focussed, creating more spaces to interact and be at the center. Perhaps making more landscaping and paths, communicating between the buildings. They suggested organizing my site with a "main stream" in which channels come out and facilitate the programmatic elements. They wanted me to understand the bigger scale of my site, that is, where people are coming from.

all in all,  my concept makes sense to me, and I'd like to ground it more functionally, so that I can begin to develop the practical performances of the building next quarter.