This is Moganshan, a mountain about 3 hours southwest of Shanghai. It was discovered by expat Shanghainese in the early 20th century and became a villa retreat from the hectic life of the city. I visited here from the 16-17th of July. The bamboo forests were impressive, but, as I learned later at an ecological fair I went to recently, these bamboo plantations were a relatively new introduction. Previously, the mountains in this area were covered with pine and other evergreens. You can still see them in the valley below where this weed tree that is bamboo has not yet taken hold. Read More »
step by step… PrecedentsBy Rem / in thesis / September 5, 2009
This last section of the booklet I have viewed with the most trepidation. Everything else was comparatively easier in this booklet and I had worried -- still worry -- that I cannot find a precedent related to these issues that I have described earlier. I think part of this concern is the question of experience and insight -- my understanding of someone else's work can be very different from their own. I may take something out of that work which I think exists, but, it in fact does not exist. However, I would be remiss to not at least make an attempt:
Fountain Place and Miller Residence -- Dan Kiley
A designer who has been chided for his ecological monocultures -- but whose brazen attitude about them I admire. I think that the idea of a repetitive disposition is most evident in Kiley's Fountain Place (1985) and his Miller Residence (1955). His overall designs leave much to be desired, but his finite material palette works very well in the context in which his projects are sited. His work also makes ample use of groves; The National Gallery of Art has an overpowering grove of magnolia. (Kiley, 83) Its effect is similar to the one I envisioned for the cherry tree parking grove in the Ecology, Site and Design studio.
Landscape Park Duisburg Nord, Germany -- Latz + Partner
The Landscape Park Duisburg Nord is perhaps the most well-known project of Latz + Partner, having been featured in a 2005 MOMA exhibition and numerous publications. All of my terms: awareness of presence, experience of discovery, moments of pause, repetitive disposition, adventures around the corner and even, to some extent, awareness of grade, are present in this landscape park. Read More »
step by step… Synthesis and Projection ForwardBy Rem / in thesis / September 1, 2009
I have six concerns and one method of making that I think will continue to appear in my work. Two concerns began developing as an undergraduate in sculpture: awareness of presence and moments of pause. They may be a part of who I am; I've been attempting to explore these concepts in a related piece of writing. Adventures around the corner, awareness of grade and the experience of discovery are concerns that developed during the program at RISD. An iterative process, or repetitive disposition, first started appearing in college as well, and has developed to a strong undercurrent. The use of mass plantings and a repeated material palette are indicative of this process.
In my sculpture work, one example of this repetitive disposition is what I term a sculptural investigation. It was an assemblage of plasticine panels that recorded a particular process of making as a landscape. The panels were photographed and bound in an album which I titled: "System: Elevation".
step by step… constructed landscapes studioBy Rem / in thesis / August 26, 2009
Constructed Landscapes - Fall 2008 - Emily Mueller De Celis and David T. De Celis
The studio objectives for this course were to integrate our emerging knowledge of...
- Perceptive site analysis
- Constructive mapping
- Innovative tectonics and systems
- Applicable theoretical issues
- Relevant cultural precedents
- Precise material investigation (both built and natural)
...into a cohesive design agenda.
The studio was split into two parts. In the first part we attempted to design a roofscape for the Central Square YMCA in Cambridge, MA. We understood that this roofscape would lead us into the second part, which was to design a multi-program urban park in the back of the building on a several acre parking lot. We first researched green roof precedents and then worked on the roofscape for 3-4 weeks. The rest of the semester was devoted to the urban park. The emphasis on framework and precedent allowed efficient familiarization with the site before we moved into a larger scale and program.
For both the YMCA roofscape and urban park I took the position that the site was a refuge of inter/personal discovery. I attempted to be consistent in this position throughout the studio. The terms that I started with from initial concepts carried through to the urban park and played an integral part in the program, despite the many revisions.
I started with the term "enlighten" to envision this idea of "refuge of inter/personal discovery." Eventually I came up with a thesis:
Enlightenment can be defined broadly as wisdom or understanding enabling clarity of perception. This enlightenment can range from a sudden, highly localized epiphany to a life-long journey. Therefore the experience of the roofscape necessitates multi-sensory experiences that are clarified through the use of moments of adventure around the corner.
It later evolved into: Comfort created by moments of pause, yet having enough energy for a sense of adventure around the corner. This is a diagrammed and defined below.
I had first approached the program as "zonal entities." Each"zone" held a component of the program and there was little overlap. This is illustrated below:
I soon realized that thinking of the program in zones was very constrictive. We were required to design spaces for 1,2 and 10+ people on the roofscape. I could not design each space simply for "adventure" or "comfort" or "enlightenment." Furthermore, these were qualities of presence and not program. That is, a space created for adventure could be used for self-reflection; so I was doing no more than contradicting myself: Read More »
step by step… eco, site and design studioBy Rem / in thesis / August 19, 2009
Ecology, Site and Design - Spring 2008 - Scheri Fultineer and Khaki Martin
- To gain a broad understanding of the ecological factors active in the landscape
- To engage site analysis as a process that initiates a design response
- To develop design skills and methods
- To foster abilities in decision-making, team work, and presentation skills
More specifically, we sought to understand how ecological processes act as a 'generative base for design as well as the ways in which program can be used to reveal fundamental structures and processes of the site.'
Studio exercises will entail an assessment of the dimensional measure, material qualities and phenomenological character of the spatial experiences of procession through and occupation of a site. We will begin with an analysis of a bio-mechanical process that we are all intimately familiar with - the experience of walking - in order to build our understanding, of the basic elements of the landscape such as a topography, exposure, view sheds, physical and visual boundaries, and thresholds.
This exercise will continue with the mapping and analysis of the ecological processes and cultural systems that have and continue to shape the site and its larger context. We will use the findings of these investigations to propose a constructed trajectory through the site that serves to shape and amplify the engagement of a visitor to specific aspects of the site's physical characteristics.
From this preliminary proposal we will proceed to develop a master plan for the site. This plan will include the introduction of a new architectural program for specific site-engaged activities, planting strategies that mediate the tension between the existing native plant communities on site, the remnant domestic plantings, and the proposed programmatic engagement with site vegetation, and finally, the creation of a site circulation system that provides opportunities for the desired experience of the site.
Looking back at my process, I approached the program through the use of a few bold interventions. I chose direct paths of trajectory that subtlety changed at specific view shed lookouts. I used a repetitive material palette consisting of both porous (the 98 cherry trees arranged in a grid surrounding a building above) and non-porous materials (the stone and zinc in the communal areas in center and retaining wall right bottom). However, I also used these materials for their spatial porosity. Though a cherry tree may hinder sight beyond only slightly, if that tree were multiplied, then certain viewsheds would only be visible at certain points. From one point, a visitor's viewing angle may be such that they see a dense thicket of cherry trees. And yet, a small distance further down may suddenly reveal a sweeping vista. Read More »