In the spirit of the spark that ignited Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, the presidential library is in need of change. Typically, the presidential library acts as a synopsis of a presidential term as told by static objects, signed documents, and artifacts. However, its highly secure archival functions acting to protect and preserve history, make it closer typologically to that of a prison, where architectural expression is overridden by the demands of internal security. Because the presidential library should be more than the static preservation of a memory, the typology must be redefined completely. Removing the burden of storing, securing, displaying and maintaining archives from the building entirely, this proposal frees the typology and redirects it towards more vital public functions. This new library fosters a way of embodying the president’s legacy by providing vibrant programmed spaces geared toward a stronger, healthier, and more educated community. Social Container proposes an active engagement between the legacy of President Obama’s policies and reformations of health, education, innovation and the daily lives of citizens.
East Houston Oral Histories Library
Project Type: Library
Location: East Houston,TX
The historical function of the library was to provide a source from which visitors could absorb knowledge and then leave, taking that knowledge into the world. It was primarily a quiet place for solitary reading and study from which a visitor only consumed knowledge. A contemporary library should challenge this historical model and become a lively, engaging and collaborative source for consumption and production. Instead of a visitor gaining knowledge and then leaving with it, the library should also provide an opportunity for visitors to share knowledge amongst themselves and give knowledge back. Particularly in this multilingual neighborhood, a way to establish this give-and-take model for a library is to provide the resources needed to listen, record and create oral histories and stories. Oral histories have been a source for knowledge and cultural heritage for centuries. Now, with new technologies of video and audio recording, histories and traditions that define a culture can be captured and shared. Voices can then transcend the limits of location and time. The recording process, much like a conversation, allows for a two-way exchange of information, where each participant learns and responds to the other. This multiple exchange of information and knowledge breathes new life into the library and re-establishes it as a vital cultural institution. The neighborhood has a rich Hispanic culture and pedestrian scene. It has all the ingredients necessary to foster the addition of a Houston cultural destination: a place for people to find pieces of their history as well as create their own.Architecturally, the library aims to frame a very public and conversive ground floor while simultaneously allowing for more intimate, quiet places above. This ground floor acts like a one- room extension of the already lively sidewalk. The second floor consists of more intimate, quiet spaces concealed as separated volumes hovering above the louder, more public space. Creating a range of acoustics within the library allows spaces for listening and recording oral histories and conversations. Additionally, the two main entrances on either end of the site address both the commercial and residential sides of the site and signify the dual approach inherent in the framework for a dialogue.
The mission of MoCCA is to “collect, preserve, educate, and display cartoon and comic art” with the primary goal of “educating the public about comic and cartoon art, how it is crafted, and how it reflect history.”Keeping this goal in mind, the ideology of the museum could be compared to a tortoise. The tortoise embodies a sense of history, ancestry, preservation, and wisdom. With history and education as the heart of MoCCA’s mission, the library, classrooms, and gallery spaces become the body of the museum. It is then lifted off the ground not only to provide communal space at the street level, but to elevate the contents to a more dynamic position.
Project Type: Material Research
Translucent Mass is a part of our ongoing study into the qualities of architectural mass. It began as a simple question, "Does massivness require weight?"
Project Type: Study
Roof forms are an obession of ours. The builder-house geometries found in suburbs are removed from that context and studied without the overly designed buliding envelope.
Louisville Children's Museum
Project Type: Museum
As the city’s revitalization and design efforts shift south, The Louisville Children’s Museum is positioned to do two things: to be an architectural icon and inspire growth in the area. Architecture is static. Growth is dynamic. Negotiating these two qualities, this proposal establishes itself as a hovering mass tied to its context while acting as a framework to the activity of both the visitors entering the museum as well as the surrounding neighborhood.
To achieve mass and street presence, the LCM is expanded to the perimeter of its site. Setbacks are made to maintain connectivity to Library and the Heyburn Building in the form of a pedestrian path and roof garden. The ground floor is given entirely to support spaces, allowing the main public volume to float one level above the street. This new, raised, public volume forms the horizontal atrium of the LCM. It collects, directs, and filters people throughout the museum above and the support spaces below. Exhibition floors are offset from the exterior walls for indirect daylight. Flexibility being a major concern for changing museum exhibitions, the structure of the building is pushed to the exterior for minimum interruption on the interior. Ramping circulation rises idiosyncratically from floor to floor, providing different experiences and exhibition layouts in the interior spaces.
Architectural mass however, is counteracted with material and structure. Glass and metal mesh screens allow views inside and out. Visitors to the museum can see the life and activity of the neighborhood and vise versa. Visible, braced frame structure creates a framework surrounding and encouraging the energy inside the building as well as the surrounding area. Ultimately, acting as a catalyst for children’s imaginations and neighboring development, the project supports the metabolic health of the surrounding area without strict definition: allowing the city to shift, repurpose, and reinvent itself.
Project Type: Park Pavilion Roof Study
Small House Prototypes
Project Type: Housing
Project Type: Formal Studies
Mass Matters is a part of our ongoing research into architectural mass as a result of materiality, weight, and form.