Friday, 6 September 2013

RIBA Silver Medal Entry

Since finishing the M.Arch I have focused my mind on searching for jobs but also on tying up some design thesis loose ends. I have been offered the opportunity by NTU to submit the project for the RIBA Silver Medal Awards so 15 pages required some extra polishing.  One of the central themes of the thesis was the use of design to balance seasonal variations in employment around Boston. The solution was mussel fields and a processing building which I did a little extra design work on for the competition entry.  

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Archiam Centre Visualisation and Outreach Work

Upon finishing the M.Arch myself and Paul MacMahon of took part in preparing visuals and loose design work for the inaugural exhibition of the Archiam Centre.

The research based centre focuses on the architecture and cultural heritage of India, Arabia and the Maghreb and how to manage it around the rapid expansion of cities and infrastructure which threatens the historic urban fabric. The inaugural exhibition was specifically about the heritage management of Oman and a number of settlements in the region. The exhibition focused on the documentation, analysis, heritage management/development and the visualisation and outreach for the settlements. Once myself and Paul M joined the multidisciplinary team led by Prof Soumyen Bandyopadhyay all of the analysis and management stages were completed for the exhibition and it was our role to visualise some potential schemes in their highlighted sites.

The purpose of the images were to be representative of the life and materiality such developments could bring to settlements that are currently perishing. Paul M also created a context model of one of the settlements and I 3D printed a model of an existing building.

Entrance to Exhibition from

Plan of Strategic Square 

Sketch of Pedestrian Access to City Wall

Sketch of Potentail Building for Cafe 

Food Court Sketch

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Technical Training College

This project was undertaken in conjunction with Bhavna Solanki, a colleague from NTU. Earlier in the year she offered me the visual role in the delivery and design of this technical training college in Kenya and the first sketch phase of the project can be seen in this earlier blog post The project consists of an education hub where technical and management skills are taught, a workshop for practical artisan training and tented accommodation. The plans had already been finialised by Bhavna but the form and colour scheme in the ferrocement facade and the details of the classroom were a collaborative effort. It was in the visual production where I could express my creativity and the main aim was to capture the essence of how the courtyard re-represents the surrounding landscape.

Sustainability and conservation are at the core of  this project since it sits in the Ol Pejeta nature reserve and the original intention was to use rammed earth as the main structural element. For financial reasons Ferrocement became the preferred option but a dye could be included to fit the buildings into their context. Recesses in the facade brake the flat plane and give it a rhythm whilst providing areas for seating.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Design Thesis Conclusion and Reflection

I have just finished the final model to hand in tomorrow and I thought that there is no better time to reflect on what I found out during this project. 

The design thesis has proven that the boundary where land meets water is a highly influential force in defining both physical and social characteristics of a region. Boston is the perfect example of a town that has grew and succeeds on the continued development of transitional edge conditions.

The demand to lengthen the canal system and to further protect the town and farmland from flooding presents an opportunity to redefine the edge between salt and fresh water. The redefinition of this edge with a high density program can use the creation of a new boundary as an interchange between the new demographics of Boston. This mixing and exchange between people is currently lacking in the town and causing considerable tension. Furthermore, the seasonal nature of work undertaken by immigrants has left a negative perception towards how they spend there time and how it impacts the town. The thesis established that a new edge can create mussel farms which dilute the seasonal fluctuations and also act as a filtration system for the river Witham.

The importance of this boundary is celebrated in the form of the building with views of different water transitions being highlighted as one uses the various building functions. The light rail platform sits over the pump house where the user can witness the change of water from calm on the canal side to turbulent as it is pumped out. The bar is slightly elevated to reveal the horizon which usually is completely disconnected from Boston. Suspension of the accommodation block over the aqueduct creates a physical relationship between the water transition and the building.

The materials used in the building are mostly concrete and sheet piling below the datum level for resistance against the hydrostatic pressures. Above the datum level recycled pallets from surrounding industries are charred and water power washed and then turned into louvres and cladding systems. 

In conclusion the building sits across the river Witham and becomes an expression of the surrounding landscape in relation to a common datum level. The masterplan seeks to challenge the current social and economic conditions of Boston and the greater Wash area whilst the intervention designed in this thesis facilitates the masterplan strategy. 

Monday, 13 May 2013

Development Render of Circulation

This image illustrates the latest process of finding the best routes around the building using the different horizontal planes. The key routes that have been established are over the central canal berths and then a decent into the horizontal planes that is representative of the residential area that sits below the canal and high tide level.

Short Tangent From Design Thesis

This is a project that I'm undertaking in collaboration with a colleague from Nottingham Trent University. My role in the project is producing the early perspective sketches for the project and then come June some CGI renders. The project is a proposal for a technical training college in Ol Pejeta, Kenya.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Density and Permeability of Intervention

The diagram below highlights the key conditions that need to be maintained upon approach to the building. Since the thesis is about the change of landscape and edges its important that a clear view along the southern bank is outlined followed by the church and greenery in the background. This then dictates that the area most appropriate to have a high density is the northern section of the mass and the southern section is dedicated to permeability and low rise.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Massing Through Panorama View

Boston Harbour Site from River Bank

This photo was taken this morning using a Canon EW-60C borrowed from my friend David. It has got to the point where positions for finial visuals are required and this is one of many potential views taken this morning.

I have spent this morning designing around certain light conditions and the photo below is one of such moments when the morning light is reflected by the silt more than the water. This also helps with the exploration of the different edge conditions that the building will help control. 

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Card Model 09.05.13

This photo was taken from my phone today so excuse the quality. The next stage is to integrate all the horizontal planes to translate the language of the surrounding landscape conditions into the building. Another process photo will be posted tomorrow to document these stages.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Programme and Function Development Collage

This image portrays the different functions that occur along the linear circulation route through the building. The landing point for the salt water mussels is at the very left hand tidal side of the image with the cleansing tanks directly opposite.

Above these tanks is the conveyor belt which carries the fresh water mussels from the fields, across the exchange and into the production plant to the north of the building. The light railway line runs through the centre with the decent to tidal level to the right of the platform.

Next to the decent is the area for eating mussels and a viewing platform which houses the ticket hall and information points. To the very right of the image is the canal level which goes through a route under the building to be pumped into the river Witham and to retain its function of draining the fenland around Boston.

Layout and Massing

The image below shows a quick clay render looking from the canal side, over the intervention and then onto the mud planes beyond. The ordered edges of the canal side become broken and more irregular the closer you get to the tidal side east of the exchange I'm creating.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Interior Exploration

View of the early development of the interior space adjacent to light railway platform.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Latest General Arrangement

Exploration of three core axes that tie together the irregular forms of the site can be seen in the general arrangement below. The relationship between the vast number of programs are made are simplified by the introduction of the three axes.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Thesis Development Sketches

The masterplan in the previous post highlights the presence of shifting boundaries and the significance of creating a new boundary for the canal system, commercial shipping network and the social extents of the town. The concept of the masterplan is to reconnect the town to the coast but to keep elements of the sea removed to encourage the intervention play with the theme of absence.

From a pragmatic perspective the plan to reintroduce the coastal boundary of the 13th century has an understated potential. The flood planes will accommodate mussel and oyster beds which in turn will combat the seasonal nature of the agricultural industries. This brings us back to the boundary where a series of nodes and connections will be created to link the town center with new industries and the existing coastline. 

The development sketches below show the transition between the calm waters of the newly created canal and the turbulent nature beyond the intervention. This will become the key node in the materplan and a point where sculpted hard landscaping meets the dynamic soft landscape of the estuary. 


Sunday, 7 April 2013

Hydro-electric Powerstation / becker architekten

I stumbled upon this hydro-electric station on and the concept struck me as having a similarity with the transition I have been through from engineering to architecture. The deep technical core of the building is wrapped in a elegant concrete exterior that marries the structure with the protected plant built in the 1950's along the river Iller, Germany. The project has significant relevance to my Design Thesis on Boston, Lincolnshire as it is concerned with the boundary of a river and its control over a place.