We've got a number of projects on the boards right now-- this is a guest house and main house in Dripping Springs, TX all connectected under one roof. We are considering a variety of facade concepts.
Berekuso Hill Station is an anticipatory development that seeks to remake landscape as institution. As the city of Accra --like all Africa-- urbanizes its environment, the hill station on a summit opposite Ashesi University in the peri-urban village of Berekuso, is an experiment in ecology: a project to grow a 20-acre park as counterpoint to the unchecked ecological pressure of rapid urbanization in the Greater Accra environ.
As a landscape like the Berekuso context --still natural enough to support bush hunting-- urbanizes, what sort of impact on the emerging community can a dedicated ecological sink have? Building an open-source productive landscape can encourage active lifestyles and active architectures simultaneous with a new social force promoting sustainability.
Berekuso Hill Station promotes sustainable lifestyle and interaction between public and nature in support of biodiversity.
Landscape design was derived from GPS-enabled site analysis in order to optimize water catchment systems, existing vegetation and view corridors. (Process sample at Google Map generated by My Tracks Android app).
Rolling in Thyme and Dough began as an organic produce vendor in 2006 and has transformed into a Dripping Springs hot spot -- a place where people can relax, work, and enjoy a wide assortment of food. It has done so by preserving the existing home it operates out of (originally built in the 1890's), building on the town's historic fabric in a manner which enhances the ambience of the community.
The business, however, has consequently outgrown the old house. In order to alleviate congestion and enhance the great social atmosphere it provides, the owner decided to add a new dining room, EI bar, kitchen, storage and outdoor deck.
The design strategy strives to pay homage to the existing house by lightly connecting to it with a series of simple buildings that open to the surrounding nursery. It also applies minimal stress to the existing structure while allowing the business to continue functioning during the majority of construction.
The surrounding nursery provides a great opportunity to integrate the spaces and porches in a beautiful garden setting. A deck will extend from the new dining area, conneced by a series of windows.
"Green" screens provide protection from a harsh sun, integrate the new and old facades, and redirect existing circulation paths.
The farmhouse has long served as an iconic link between human society and the earth. Located in the expansive rural landscape of southeast Texas, this project connects "home" with outside landscape at varying depths through moments of everyday use.
While a house in a more urban setting must obscure its contents--protect those within it--a farmhouse removed from urban contexts, standing alone on acres of land, can celebrate transparency and the proliferation of uninterrupted visual corridors.
Rather than feeling carefully guarded when opening a screen, inhabitants in the farmhouse enjoy the freedom of feeling that their surroundings lay open before them at all times.
The master plan thus situates two pieces, main house and guest house, such that a shared landscape emerges that moves not only from house to landscape but also from house to house.
The buildings are positioned to best take advantage of sweeping views toward the rolling hills and town of Moulton, as well as to best control wind and sun exposure in the hot Texas climate.
LEARNING FROM REALITY TV
This thesis formulates design methods for creating strong relations between the school and public spaces. Download the complete research publication: Rethinking the Contemporary Urban School.
This is a critical notion in an age where students increasingly depend on digital devices that allow them to avoid conflict and confrontation in the physical urban environment, while their desire to be seen and validated by ‘others’ through mediated connections increases. The significance of the public institution as a center for information exchange and civic engagement has diminished in favor of new media, which has become a staple at home and is trending increasingly mobile.
While the potential of digital media to proliferate information, construct knowledge, and connect diverse publics is tremendouse, we must still critically conisder its technologies and how they are deployed in contemporary society. The internet allows for diverse information flows and creates opportunities to gather information that is otherwise difficult to obtain. Digital applications, however, leverage user profiles and patterns to help individuals navigate towards similar types of information, which can have the effect of narrowing the field of interest and desire.
While the influence of the civic institution in society, especially the pubic library, has diminished, the school remains a crucial site for the development and maturation of personal and collective identity; although, in the United States, in many instances its design is still based on the agrarian values from which it originated.
Connecting the school to public space creates an opportunity to empower students to take ownership and provide a voice to that space, effectively connecting them to a large collective where they can watch the consequences of that voice physically unfold.
The MacArthur Foundation’s report Living and Learning with New Media: The Digital Youth Project finds that new media allows young people to develop skills for jobs and careers in a way that teachers cannot, suggesting that teachers should not necessarily focus on developing skills, but guiding youth’s participation in public life more generally, which includes social, recreational, and civic engagement. Schools must become interdiscipllinary not only in their curricula, but also in how they engage the community at large. Therefore, the secondary school might be rethought as a new civic insitution which connects to the public more broadly, directs civic engagement, and links the potential public sphere of digital networks to physical space.
Design proposal for a contemporary urban school: student controlled dynamic facade which serves as a voice for the community:
This prototype design for a contemporary urban high school is located on H-Street in Washington DC and attempt to integrate the school with both it local community and the world beyond.
The client desired an economic barn-style house for a 7,000 acre ranch. He is a major league baseball pitcher who will only live and train at the location during the off-season; therefore, minimal investment for the living quarters was demanded—the value lay in the land.
In order to achieve the space and program requirements for this ranch-style training facility and house, a pre-fabricated metal building package was ordered which included 11 standard sized windows and two garage doors. The prefab building, typically used for industrial warehouses and sheds provides enclosure for living, barn, and training spaces at minimum expense. Two additional garage doors were added: when opened they provide expansive views out to the landscape, embracing the expansive Southeast Texas landscape—they bring light and long views throughout the building's simple yet dynamic spaces.. When closed they protect against the hot texas sun and provide security to the building when unoccupied.
The metal building is transformed from its traditional industrial typology to an intertwined living/training space which sits in the landscape as an art object.
The stairs and patios become the playful connective tissue which weave through the building and bind the spaces together.
The landscape finished a while back, but we haven't had much time to blog. we also recently finished the cascading porch in the back.
The Shiner guesthouse is coming along well with a few bumps along the way, including the loss of our camera which had a lot of the framing images. Its almost completely dried in now.
Great thing about a farmhouse on lots of land: you don't have to worry about privacy all that much. So, we tried to create cross views through the interior to connect the inside and out while framing shots of the beautiful landscape.
The double height living space spans across the barn-style volume from east to west so it should get a great cross breeze (its always windy in Shiner).
We took a little bit of a break after finishing the house to decompress and figure out what exactly to do with the landscape. Now things are going strong again and the yard will get finished up very quickly with the help of American Trees Landscaping and some great designers. We'd like to thank Jennifer Orr and Megumi Aihara for all of their great design advice and suggestions and especially Gena Wirth for taking our design concept to another level and designing a great landscape for this house.
The great thing is we are re-using almost all of the landscape materials we harvested from the site when we originally cleared it.
We had a lot... check out our first post in January to see what the site previously looked like. First steps: we re-used the pavers to create a patio in the backyard.
We built our own custom gabions using metal panel fencing and then started to fill them with the concrete cylinders and general debris. (we'll reorganize the contents a bit later). The gabions are great because they will help slow down water runoff and soil erosion on the sloping site and serve as benches.
In addition to re-using all of the site materials, creating a landscape that was low maintenance and durable in the austin environment is of critical importance to us. So, we are using a lot of low maintenance native plants, only a small planted area of low maintenance grass, and lots of gravel.
More to come in the next few days.