Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Texas A&M University. Graduate Studio. Spring 2009
Montessori School
Ryan Collier.
“Education is not something which the teacher does. It is a natural process which develops spontaneously.”- -Maria Montessori The Absorbent Mind- For this project, we were asked to design a school based around the teachings of Maria Montessori. For me, the contribution of architecture to a non-linear educational approach was quite appealing. The concept of non-linearity really had to do with shaping the logic of the form, or really shaping the phenomenon of fluids (ie particulate matter) in such a way as to create topological conditions which connect what would typically be the disparate indexical elements of the building. Therefore, the architecture should reflect the ideology: more linear, standardized, compartmentalized pedagogical programs are best expressed through disparate parts - parts that seemingly work together at some compositional level but really never truly interact. Because the Montessori method is based more on the drive of the individual and not the overall, top-down design of the typical American education program, a different logic is necessary. In this particular study, I used fluids to equate with a more fluid, or more interpersonal approach to education. There were a number of elements that had to be considered for the completion of the work. This was a particularly important project architecturally speaking because of its references to more fluid precedent such as the Baroque. The uncalculated logic of fluids creates what is called a "painterly effect" and is perhaps best seen through the juxtaposition between the modern skyscraper boxes and the school (see below). We can understand modernism then as being representational of the high-renaissance - very calculated, calming, proportional, and what not; while what I have done addresses a new emerging trend in architecture, one that reacts to the tired aesthetic of Modernism. As for the site itself, the project is located in a very specific location in Dallas, between the Elm Place and Renaissance Tower (how suiting). I chose this location for a number of reasons: the connectivity to public transportation, the proximity to density, and the reclamation of urban interstitial spaces (such as the Wozoco project by MVRDV); as well as the relative proximity to Thanksgiving Square, the West End, and the proposed Trinity River Corridor Project. Also, it should be noted that at the base of the tower, at the public drop off, there is a no-car zone, the only one that I know of in the downtown area. The two towers have 12.5' floor to floor heights, therefore I've continued this trend so that the new school can cleanly integrate with the existing buildings for life safety considerations. I've also located the project lower to the ground and am proposing stronger "loose" joint between the three buildings, similar to those used in earthquake zones, as to not compromise the independent structural state of each building. The “netting” acts to weave the buildings together monolithically with the slabs using the non-linear tensile material glass fiber reinforced concrete. The tensile strength of such a material is 4710 MPa at failure, almost 12 times that of your standard A36 steel. This material coupled with strong, lightweight concrete provides a solution that allows for such a site condition to exist. As for the building itself, there are a total of five floors, each providing pods of programmatic elements. The first floor contains the main entrance, the administration offices, and the toddler space. The age continues to increase with floor size all the way up to the top story which is programmed to be a mixed use facility incorporating painting, music, art, and PE. The upper story will be visually open to the sky, while the performative glass shields the students from heat and the bulk of the radiation - think transition lenses for a building. Also note that many of the programmatic elements, such as restrooms, will have to have frosted glass as facade instead of the regular performative glass. In conclusion, I will leave you with the following quotes: According to Jesse Reiser "Atmosphere and affect are aspects that the architect has traditionally maintained the agency controls. In fact, affect is a highly determined feature of architecture, whereas much of the importance ascribed to program is intractable - like sand going through your fingers. The affective dimension of architecture not only influences use; at the level of order it also describes zones of intensity that, while real, nevertheless may be experienced in wildly divergent ways. Program by contrast limits these. As (a) measure of people's practices, rather than what architecture can do, programming is a drain on freedom, on the possibility for selection, and thus on information. Ben Van Berkel and Caroline Bos continue such logic "Effects are actions and they emanate from relations. The best effects which architects can produce in the contemporary world are those that are proliferating and moving, effects that are anticipatory, unexpected, climactic, cinematic, time-related, non-linear, surprising, mysterious, compelling, and engaging."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

SWELL. Preview

Texas A&M University. College of Architecture.
Fabrication Project
Opening July 2nd, 2009
Swell produces a physical manifestation as well as an emotional reaction, a feeling of desire and or abjection.
1. to grow in bulk, as by the absorption of moisture or the processes of growth. 2. Pathology. to increase abnormally in size, as by inflation, distention, accumulation of fluids, or the like: Her ankles swelled from standing. 3. to rise in waves, as the sea. 4. to well up, as a spring or as tears. 5. to bulge out, as a sail or the middle of a cask. 6. to grow in amount, degree, force, etc. 7. to increase gradually in volume or intensity, as sound: The music swelled. 8. to arise and grow within one, as a feeling or emotion.
an adjective that works is:physical: 1. of or pertaining to the body: physical exercise. 2. of or pertaining to that which is material: the physical universe; the physical sciences. 3. noting or pertaining to the properties of matter and energy other than those peculiar to living matter. 4. pertaining to the physical sciences, esp. physics. 5.carnal; sexual: a physical attraction. 6.tending to touch, hug, pat, etc.; physically demonstrative: a physical person. 7.requiring, characterized by, or liking rough physical contact or strenuous physical activity: Football is a physical sport.
Old movies used the word "swell" to describe something nice or cool.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fabrication Studies

Texas A&M University. Fabrication Workshop. Summer 2009.
Student professor collaboration.
Some Studies by Todd Christensen for the soon to be opened installation atmosphere.
July 2009

Monday, June 15, 2009

Fabrication. Gothic Atmosphere.
Tracery AEffect
Developed at Texas A&M University.
Gabriel Esquivel
Ryan Collier
Jeremy Harper
This project employs mathematical and architectural logic to bring forth an installation which strives to create a spatial construct and a fluid disintegration of a levitating, patterned surface. The complexity of the project is not (a notion first noted by Greg Lynn[i]) architecturally represented through the complexity vernacular of the post-modern. Because of emerging technologies, new theories can surface which can now be tested thousands of times and acted upon even before their realized in real space. However, this produces a weakness with the current stock of architectural representation: a digital representation which, beautiful though it is, may not be truthful in real space. In order to restore faith in the buildable aspect of these architectural investigations our team proposes a real approach to representation: the built environment. Through research into NURBS (non-uniform B-Spline) modeling environments, rendering methods, fabrication techniques, etc. we propose a construct with implications into spatial affect, form, porosity, pliancy, among others. Ultimately, by employing performative components like porosity, materiality, conductivity, etc we are able to produce an emotional encounter referred to here as, AFFECT, and therefore the production of atmospheres and moods leading us to discussion on the new aesthetic movement. The use of software allows us to look into complex geometries and their control as well as the rediscovery of “old” architectural effects like” Motion”.[ii] Technically speaking, the project aims to exploit formal and structural tendencies in the folding or bending conditions created in materials that are typically weak in compression, such as paper. Through the tessellation of many planar surfaces, and the use of multi-ply conditions, the project will be self-supporting, with no need for hanging wires or other hardware. This will give a desired levitation effect but will also allow the project to be structurally robust; that is exploiting the structural benefit of certain geometries. Looking for examples to work from, the form of the Panton Chair[1] comes to mind. The ability for the back to be supported (z-direction, non-moment forces) not only by material but also by a single geometry is quite elegant. By employing similar logic, the installation will seemingly "levitate" through the use of elegant geometries and not through clunky wire systems or such "impure Gropian" base-weighting systems.[iii]
[1] for a graphic example, see Accessed: February 24, 2009 [i] Folding in Architecture. Great Britain: John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2004. p24 [ii]Esquivel, Gabriel. Affect and E-Motion. The Ohio State University. [iii] Gropius, Walter. The New Architecture and the Bauhaus. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1965. p23

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Water Lilies

Short Competition by Invitation. Organized by the Universidad Intercontinental. Mexico City. The idea was to have the team in Mexico for one day and develop the proposal.
Team: Gabriel Esquivel, Kevin Magee and Zach Kamerer.
The water is indispensable for the social welfare, economic development and the preservation of the environment.
In Mexico more water is required, the quality and quantity in our sources and supply have diminished gradually, situation that worsens by the climatological changes that in the last years have caused recurrent and prolonged droughts. This is due to the fact that two thirds of the territory is barren and semi-arid and those territories begin to present conflicts between the users by lack of water.
To confront this, it is indispensable to consolidate a new culture of water, cradle in its efficient use and preservation in the diverse productive activities and homes. In order to create a Water culture, it is necessary to create actions in terms of the good use and preservation of water, an efficient use of water in the cities, an efficient use in the irrigation for agriculture, as well as for its use in industry.
This project recalls the presence of groups of water lilies that are present all over the canal, their exuberance, beauty and sensuality, completely connected to the water. The idea is to create a atmospheres about water and the possibility of occupying the building inside out outside directly embedded in the unique landscape like Dolores Del Rio in Maria Candelaria.
Water is and will be the subject of greater priority in the history of the humanity. It can help to produce in abundance and to maintain within the limits of subsistence of a region or a community.

Sensual Baroque

A Vatican Reading Room in the Context of Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini
Project by Cody Davis. Yale University. Greg Lynn Studio. Spring 2009.
This project is a manipulation of the Baroque forms found in Bernini's sculptural compositions, replete in the two arms encircling Piazza San Pietro and in the baldacchino at the heart of the church. Respecting the principles of plasticity, proportion, and symmetry, the proposed “Third Arm” finds a state of transition between the horizontal continuity of the surrounding colonnades and the relentless vertical rhythm of the columns themselves. Undulating surfaces culminate in a dome volume, which is suspended by looping scrolls.
Thanks to my dear friend and former collaborator Cody Davis for allowing me to post this project.