Friday, 25 February 2011

2 steps back 1 step forward

A few weeks ago I found myself at a fork in the road. One way took my design down the route of a building designed for autistic users the other an exploration of our academic facilities.

The thing is, buildings designed for the assessment of children with Autism and other special needs are nothing new. My research has shown me this. Though its has highlighted a ever increasing need.

My initial approach was to focus on the children, however as I have progressed my attention has been drawn to the TEACHER. There is a much greater and wider need for teachers who are trained to understand not just Autistic Children, but all aspects of special needs education.

Many universities today offer specific courses for teaching children with various special needs. However, these courses are often part time or on a evening.

The brief for my building has shifted to be the design of a new purpose built Faculty of Education building, for Sheffield Hallam University, into a suburban context in Broomhall, Sheffield.

It is envisaged that the building will create a new direction for the universities teaching program. Sheffield Hallam already provides specific courses dedicated to the education of children with special needs on a part time basis. However, it is planned that the new faculty will provide the platform for the integration of the special needs courses into the main curricular.

The building will also provide a base for teacher training programs on an evening and in the summer months, to provide current educators access to new teaching methods and special needs education courses.

The Goal is to attract Students and teachers from across the country by creating a unique blueprint for future educators, providing them with the necessary skills to better understand the needs of children with special needs.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Shopping List.....

To understand the current chain of events I find my self asking the question what am I trying to achieve and what the building is trying to achieve......

What am I trying to achieve?

  • To Breakdown traditional boundaries.
  • Allow the buildings occupants to actively choose where to go.
  • Create interaction and communication.
  • An open learning environment.
  • Provide a stress free environment to its Autistic users.
What is the building trying to achieve....
  • Blanket its occupants
  • Incorporate various environmental strategies
  • work with is site and landscape to reduce impact to its surrounding context

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Playing with blankets....

So where am I now???.......

A wild concept to generate one fluid space, taking inspiration from the blanket concept.

The working Sketch below shows the floor plan/landscape plan taking shape. The form has been generated from the blanket model produced at the initial design stage. The free flowing undulations in the plan and chamfers to the external boundaries all pay on the folds and curves of a blanket as well as taking certain vistas and site restraints into consideration.

You can see that I am still aiming to produce single fluid space, but understand the need for boundaries. I aim to soften these boundaries with the use of glass and other opaque materials, allowing movement to been seen throughout the building. It is my goal to allow the buildings occupants to see right through the building landscape allowing them to choose where to go rather than conform to a prescribed route.

A single undulating floor plan allows me to keep the building relatively low in its surrounding context. Set back from the road reduces the amount the building would dominate both its occupants and its surround in context.

I am also concious of the fact that it is located in a conservation area, a strong inner city suburb. I envisage the building to be a secluded gem within the local frame work, bouth working with the local university and local community.

I still have quite a few things to cover, but feel that with the building fundamentals in place, I can now get moving on the design of project.....

The blanketing effect of the buildings form on approach to the entrance.

The majority of the facilities will be housed in bespoke pods, although some will be entirely open within the floor plan. Areas such as toilets

Work in Progress......

Following the completion of my initial design I began looking "blanket architecture".
Producing precedents study of built examples within the architectural world.

The question I am looking to answer is "can blankets do both floor and roof, and can I go beyond the wall?

Most of the examples I have looked at seem to use the roof to blanket the internal spaces.

Following my precedents study I have started to design the buildings form and looked in depth at spaces that will be created.

Our institutional buildings, in my opinion are to regimented in there approach, forcing there occupants to conform a set way of learning.

I believe that the role of architecture is to suggest ways to use a space rather than prescribe. Users should be actively encouraged to choose where to go , giving them control over there learning and maximise there independence.

With straight lines we can only create cross roads. Yet with curves we can create so much more diverse interaction.

The form generated is taken from the concept model produced at the initial design stage.

It is derived from the notion that architecture, when used in a certain manner, can create social interaction and a sense of security.

The curves and folds of the blanket will create more diverse interactions both internally and externally. Acting as one fluid space brining is occupants together.

The Buildings architecture could allow its facilities to be programmed into the space created. The curves and contours created in a sense form the boundaries of the individual spaces.

The circulation space between breaks away from traditional and institutionalized corridors we see in many school, university and hospitals today.

The occupants can actively choose there route through the building. Valleys in the buildings form allow congregation, generating interaction between occupants.

Its calm flowing curves produce a stress free, soothing environment for the buildings autistic users.

The Buildings main entrance could be at its heart. Approachable from two directions it parentally blankets its potential occupants with is structure before they step foot inside.

A central entrance allows the creation of a journey allowing the building to engage with its potential occupants and the fluid spaces created hold the occupants attention, thus encouraging interaction.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Beyond the Wall Intial Design

Over the past few months I have be building my intial design,
below is the link that will take you to my Issuu account.

Case Studies

Rolex centre

Situated on a single campus overlooking the shores of Lake Geneva at Lausanne, Switzerland, with extraordinary views of the Alps is the Rolex Learning Centre. The centre is conceived as an integrated learning environment and includes both study and social spaces.
It is designed as a single fluid space, with gentle slopes and terraces, undulating around a series of internal ‘patios’, with hidden supports for its complex curving roof.
Designed as the new campus hub the building breaks down the traditional boundaries between facilities creating spaces where the users are
inspired and made welcome. The building uses its form as its boundaries creating the kind of space that influences social interaction. It actively encourages its users to choose where to go, giving them the sense that they are in control of their learning.
The building plays on the movements of its users. Architectural forms can be created from human movements and in turn influence humans. Human movements are not linear, like the way a train moves, but are alive in a more organic way.

Pod City Taiwan San zhi

Located on the most northern point of Taiwan is the now abandoned Pod City.
Commissioned and built in the 1970’s, it was an attempt at luxurious accommodation for the rich of Taipei. Boarded by the East China sea and lush green hills of Taiwan the area is picturesque.

The development is made up of 17 blocks. Each block houses a cluster of 4 circular pods. The initial concept for the pods may have allowed them to expand vertically as required, simply by adding more pods on top.

Architecturally, its like staring at something from a science fiction movie. The modernist/futurism style creates strong powerful forms, allowing the pods to sit in their own little world. Colour coordination has been used to allow each group of pods to become independently recognisable.

In a sense these pods create a capsulated environment for each individual user. The strong views out from the pods forms a connection between the occupant and the surrounding environment, whilst also allowing them to feel contained within their own personal space.

Leslie L. Dan pharmacy building in Toronto
Located in Toronto, Canada, the building is situated adjacent to two significant historic buildings and state-of-the-art facilities for more than 1200 students. The building skin is oriented to maximise daylight where needed and minimise unwanted solar gain, reinforcing its clear and logical diagram. The full height atrium functions as a light slot, bringing daylight deep into the building's plan.

The buildings design seems to responds in a sensitive manner to its context while also creating a landmark facility for the University. The building is lifted above a 20m-high, five-storey, colonnaded circulation space. This daylit space is the hub of undergraduate activities, providing quick and easy access between the basement lecture theatres and the laboratories and the library as well as encouraging interaction between students.
The main feature of the building is a soaring atrium that pierces the height of the building providing visual connections between all floors as well as creating a central hub. Within this space two reflective silver-coloured pods are suspended. These change colours according to the light conditions, adding a striking focal point for the building. The larger pod houses a 60-seat lecture theatre and a reading room, while the other houses a 24-seat classroom, a quiet study lounge for undergraduate students and the faculty lounge.
The strong forms of the pod act as visual references both from the outside of the building and the inside. This manner of reorganization could be repeated on a smaller scale, much similar to that of the pod city in Taiwan, to provide visual reference for the autistic users of a building.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

I have begun looking at spaces that I feel express their architecture whilst meeting the users needs. Can the buildings architecture connect with its Autistic occupants. My initial thoughts and dicussions with my course mates and tutor have outlined the lack of a need for corridors. This is due to many autistic children's discomfort when there personal space is invaded, as outlined in my background study. Therefore the circulation within the buidling could be space and the facilities themselves could be pods within this space. This could lend itself to planning around routine. Coloured pods, easily identifiable, could form visual reference to the users, creating routine and lowering stress levels. This at least gives me a starting point. I am to progress this over the next few weeks.