Academic Work

FHTW Bibliotek
Berlin, Germany (2007)

This project was completed in autumn 2007 as part of a comprehensive studio consisting of the total design of a library and dining hall for a small engineering college in Berlin.The primary influence for the design is the prevalent system of boundaries, walls and entrances forming the principle elements in the forecourt and surrounding buildings of the campus. Because these boundaries are so predominant, the openings in them become especially important and easily recognizable, creating a counterpoint in the system.

The library design consists of two distinguishable elements: one, a strong, heavy box recalling the existing buildings, which abuts the street and forms as formidable a mass as any on the campus, and the other, an elegant wrapper that peels away from the box as it moves from the street, around the forecourt and toward a small grove of trees. The former, influenced by the strength of the existing walls, honors its context through extensive allusions to the neo-gothic elements of the surrounding buildings. Conversely, the wrapper is transparent, airy and delicate–a glass box draped with a thin, rust-colored wire mesh, whose receptiveness to light recalls the leafy grove adjacent to the forecourt.

Within the building are further layers of distinction, such as distinct material treatments to differentiate between that which is structural building and infill furniture. As such, the idea of walls and entrances taken from the existing campus is reinterpreted and fully incorporated into the design from the conceptual whole to precise detailing, with care taken to ensure that though rigorously implemented, the concept never hinders the pragmatic nature of the design nor burdens the users of the project.

Oberbaumbrücke Hochschule für Musik
Berlin, Germany (2008)

This design for a college-level school of music was the result of a year of research, study, planning and design, beginning with a thorough program analysis, and study of the context and history of the site, through theoretical and practical planning, and cohesive design of the whole project down to careful detailing. The conceptual basis for the design is based on its location in a small, mysterious and hilly mid-block site facing the Spree River at an iconic meeting point between East and West Berlin. It was that history of boundaries and transgressions that led to the idea of a non-hierarchical school of music, based on the experience of sound not in isolation but in the breadth of everyday life.

The project is defined by two adjacent bands that interfere with each other at a central void space—one, the primary band that holds all the performance, rehearsal and educational functions of the project in a heavy object that engages the landscape, and whose floors are influenced by that landscape and by the program of concert halls and gathering spaces; and the second, the supportive band of an airy slab and column construction draped with a wire curtain housing the administrative and living functions of the project. 

The two bands interfere in a central void, around which are wrapped circulation and gathering space, which in the project often occupy the same space. The void is not a place of emptiness, however, but rather it is the hinge upon which the rest of the project is hung, and its richness comes in its function as an acoustical conduit. Adjacent gathering and dining spaces, instructional areas, and open-walled rehearsal spaces allow for a wide spectrum of sound to fill the void and infiltrate spaces several floors above or below, reverberating through the adjacent concrete and wood-lined spaces. In this way, the project echoes the transgression of boundaries—physical and otherwise—that is so critical to Berlin’s history, in an experientially rich manner befitting its program and context.

Miscellaneous Models & Renderings