Thinking Before Designing: Studio Project

Todays Topics:

  • What is my Studio Project?
  • Why am I Thinking so Much?
  • What am I thinking About?

What is my Studio Project?

This semester for studio, we are doing the ACSA Timber in the City competition. A national competition with typically near 1000 applicants competing for a few rewards.

We have to design a mid-rise mixed-use building in the heart of Atlanta at the Marta Station. This project is located in an arts district where the site is next to the Hugh Museum of Art.

The program includes short stay housing, an urban marketplace, and community use. The brief is looking for a project that is innovative in the way it uses timber construction.

The competition started prior to the semester and finishes at the end of the semester.

Why am I Thinking so Much?

There are a couple of factors playing into this, which are both beneficial and negative towards the potential outcome of this project.

To start, this is the development of my process. During the AIA Virginia competition, I spent the first day just writing and getting my thoughts and ideas out on paper. Doing this fully allowed me to make sure I’m implementing as much as I can for my project.

Following the writing, I went full steam into digitally modeling my project at a simple level where I could see if I liked my idea. Then I went back into with detail to finish out the project.

Another factor is the way in which our class has been proceeding. This semester we have a building analysis class where it has taken time from our studio hours, and then we also spent the first few weeks working in groups to get data for the class. So we have only focused on designing for only a few classes.

The last factor is that I’ve been hesitant to start because I’m afraid that my work won’t be good. This was the same case for the AIA Virginia competition and I was able to get through it, but it is back again. I need to just buckle down and start doing it.

Since the project was announced, I started dreaming about it. Then I quickly released that I’ve begun to think about it every second of the day, so now I keep a notebook and pen nearby at all times so that I can write down or sketch my ideas. So now I have a sketchbook full of pages where I’ve been doing this and dreaming about the future.

What am I Thinking About?

What am I thinking about? Well I’m glad you asked!

With this project I do not want to limit myself and I think my thesis is quite ambitious. We do not tend to think about the future in architecture school, and something that is lacking in the field of architecture is it’s integration with technology as part of the infrastructure.

I’m designing a building that utilizes autonomous technology to help people become more productive. This building will help people be connected to the outdoor fabric of the city, exist in the ideals of an arts district, and serve as an innovative transportation hub.

I do recognize that this is a lot for a semester project, but I have also discovered a new level in how fast I can produce work (AIA Virginia Competition which was completed in 2.5 days).

I’ve started to break down my idea and think about things individually, and as pairs. This allows me to separate my thinking to compare and contrast things.

  • What is productivity?
  • What does autonomous technology need to operate in this world vs what do humans need to operate?
  • how can I redefine short stay housing?
  • How am I being structurally innovative with timber?
  • how does my site plan work with the arts district?
  • At what scale does autonomy fit into my project?
  • In what ways am I innovating with the transportation hub?h
  • Would my proposal be too inefficient with housing?

These are just a few of the questions constantly running through my head, and below are pages of sketches and writings that start to talk about these ideas.

Thanks for tuning into this week’s blog post about my studio project, I hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to leave a comment as I’d love to have dialogue discussing anything good or bad with any of these ideas as they will be helpful. As always, Dream Big!

Published by Alonzo Colon

Architecture Student at Virginia Tech

2 thoughts on “Thinking Before Designing: Studio Project

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