Sunday, October 24, 2010

TBI Tutorials on 21 Oct: Model!

21 Oct: We had a day of tutorials with the design unit in the Marmont LT. First we checked on progress with the model. It is going well, really, an amazingly good job is being done by the model coordinating group... the quality is good, but quantity? there is still a helluva lot to do even with so many hands. We are doing the buildings immediately round the site in higher detail. Everybody has tried making at least one building, so they have evolved a technique using Sketchup and CAD, so things may got easier. The model base size was ambitious at approx 2.4m square.

We spent the rest of the day with table seminars, grouping the 3 person groups into pairs. It really is a very difficult site, with most of the site being in the 'air-rights' space above the tunnel exit, and the points of ground where we can touch down being difficult sites in their own right - already dominated by the neighbouring tall buildings.  Everyone has some ideas, but there are so many site conflicts to resolve, such as view lines, touching points on the ground, pedestrian links, avoiding shading other buildings, etc. Ours would be the tallest in the neighbourhood.
  We wondered at the level of difficulty, if one also remembers the primary agenda which is to research how to extend the Passivhaus concept to a highrise. The next agenda is the specialist topic that we want the students to include in their building - the most popular seeming to be the integration of greenery and public spaces into the building. The other is the task of finding ways to re-invent the ground plane, a better urban space, but still enabling the tunnel to work.
  We asked everybody to make a 1000th scale foam-block model of their own, and do some form investigations, at least three distinct ideas per group.
  On Friday 23rd Oct, we had a lecture from David Leonard on Master planning, using London's Stratford City site as a main example - integrating so many considerations, including sustainability, into a vast urban project. This was followed by Phil's lecture on the history of tall buildings.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Presentation on key themes

14 Oct '10: We had a day of information and presentations. First explaining what is going to happen next - and looking at the first week of work on the model - Phil showed a PPT of examples of previous student work that demonstrated the idea of an 'Agenda': it is a preoccupation that gives the group something special to research that will influence their design, making it unique.

 We had presentations from all groups: Starting with Hi-Builders on examples of Mixed use towers and social spaces in towers followed by their site analysis). Chilmix did a very good presentation on New York - culture, climate and context, followed by a good account of their site. The total area of the site is huge, several hectares, enough for about 8 Freedom Towers. We completed with the Passivers, who delivered their site analysis first (enjoyably it had more photographic content, and how grateful we all should be to the Google photographic car)... and then a very authoritative and thorough presentation on the Passivhaus and Isover's Multi-Comfort house concepts.
The entire unit will spend the next week getting the main model advanced, and during the day all managed to work out which groups they would all be for the next main stage giving us NINE groups in all.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

ARM groups get going

Group Angels
11.10.10: DNC writes: The ARM groups have now made a start. This is for Architectural Research methods, and our workshop is looking at Urban Densification and the role of Tall Buildings in this. I have 23 or 24 students in the workshop group, and due to muddles with time and place, the first day had 19 students (the rest turned up at 3pm!)
The group C - Critics
The first week will be of the students researching chosen cities, and presenting them a week later, looking at key indicators such as growth and decline, population pressures, transport, water, food, climate, employment, open space, zoning, and of course building profiles (eg heights).
Group B Barmin navigators
Group A will be looking at two Iranian cities, Isfahan and Tehran (Iran), Group B are looking at Bangalore (India) and Ho Chi Minh city (Vietnam). Group C are looking at Singapore and Shanghai.
     Later at 3pm, Group D (the remaining five of whom I do not have a photo yet) were found and they will look at Mumbai. As that is very complex, that will be enough for now (had considered including Tripoli, but we might have a problem getting documents.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Tasks for the design unit

The design unit is formed into three groups, all studying the New York site, but also majoring in:
1. Passivers: Passivhaus and Multicomfort house,
2. Chilmix: Manhattan and New York background history, and
3. Hi-Builders : Social spaces, skybridges, atria in mixed use tall buildings.
This all to be presented two weeks after the introduction.

We asked everybody for a 10 minute Powerpoint on their special subject on Thursday 7th, to get things started, but some had already made a good start and needed a lot more time than that. They will get an hour each on the mini-crit day of 14th Oct.

View Larger Map

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Field Visit to London

1 Oct'10: DNC writes: The whole unit took a bus trip to London for the day.... rain rain rain, not the best time to be doing a walkabout.
  We started with the Building Centre in Store St, but for the first time we had a problem that we had never previously encountered: a large group had block booked the entire exhibition area and model and we only had time for a quick look, and a look at the building materials exhibition, then had to move on to Tottenham Ct Rd.
 We took the train to Liverpool St Station and walked up Bishopsgate to Primrose St, in the marketig suite by the Broadgate Tower.
   Paul Burgess of British Land get us an excellent talk, using the very detailed model of the whole Broadgate development, starting with the clearance of the old Broad St Station, and the first office building by Peter Foggo of Arups. The Broadgate Tower is presently the northern boundary of the 'City' but more buildings are planned by Fosters in the future, and the Bishopsgate railyards will be a major new development.
     Amazingly, some of the buildings from the early 90s are already due to be replaced by new buildings, 20yrs after construction.
    On the Tower site, a vast honeycomb concrete raft was built over the railway line before they knew exactly what would go above it. The tower (by SOM) was explained in detail - it is something of an engineering marvel being built in the air-rights-space over the railway lines..... and then we went to the tower itself.
More to be written soon....

Friday, October 1, 2010

Field Trip to London Part 2

1 Oct '10: We were taken up the Broadgate tower by some of the building management team - it has a wonderfully impressive entrance mall and lobby, full of light, and angled space, and suspended glass screens. We were right above the railway, so the great tower seems not to come to the ground, the weight being carried on diagonal legs. We rose in the double decker lift to the 17th floor which has been fitted out ready for letting. Each floor is a huge column free space, with all of the core on the west side of the tower. Rain prevented us getting good photos from the glass wall. We moved on up to the change-level of the 18th floor, then another lift to a floor above (difficult to know which as it's based on hall-call, with no lift buttons, so our host accompanied us up). We were in an unfitted floor with bare concrete floor slab and the bare steel of the composite floor above - and the cellular beams spanning from core to wall - coated with fire cladding. Fit out doesn't happen until a major tenant takes the floor and decides on the layout. The team welcomed all questions we could think of until it was time to go. We walked under Exchange House (also by SOM in the late 80s and bridging 15m across the rail lines) and on to Liverpool St Station for a quick lunchtime snack.

Field Trip to London Part 3

Some wonderful juxtapositions!
1 Oct '10: We walked down Bishopsgate and admired the Heron Tower, long since topped out and now being fitted out - still higher than all its neighbours, although not for long if the Pinnacle gets going again. Heron has a photovoltaic south facade. The facade has a megastructure that is clearly subdivided into 3 storey intervals that also reflects the interior organisation into 3 storey high 'villages'. On the entrance and Bishopsgate facade there will be a canopy or arcade to protect pedestrians and relate to the scale of the surroundings, but the south facade just comes directly to the ground, and we wondered why they would bother to extend the PV panels to pavement level in almost permanent shade.
   After a brief look at St Helen's Place, one of the most photogenic locations in London, we looked at the work on the Pinnacle which was a large hole in the ground last February, but seems to be rising quite well now. We walked on, for a good circumnavigation of the Swiss Re, standing (as most circular buildings must) in its own plaza.
    Moving on past Lloyds and Willis, and noting that Leadenhall appears to have restarted, we walked on to Threadneedle St and the infamous Bank underground station with its miles of underground passages.
    Still somehow in one large group, we took the Dockland Light railway to Canary Wharf where we rounded off the day - disembarked at Alsop's Heron Quay, and meandered back past Foster's Jubilee Line station to 1 Canada Square. As it was still raining, the braver amongst us took a quick run around Canada Square, while the fainter hearted took a hot drink and a muffin in the underground mall. Finally, a quick dash across the floating bridge over India Water, towards Cannon Workshops where our bus was waiting.
They built a vast urban area, but forgot a church
So here it is, floating in Canary Wharf.