Archives

TexFab 5 – digital design

This winning submission to the TEX-FAB SKIN competition conducted design research on the structural properties of textured stainless steel sheeting, which typically is used for skinning and other non-structural purposes.

This winning submission to the TEX-FAB SKIN competition conducted design research on the structural properties of textured stainless steel sheeting, which typically is used for skinning and other non-structural purposes.

I’m at UT Austin, where I have not set foot since 1985, for a symposium today about digital design. I had a workshop yesterday, and will have another Saturday and Sunday. “This year TEX-FAB has elicited more of the world’s leading experts in Digital Fabrication to discuss and teach in a four day symposium at the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture.”

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Most of these experts use software like Rhino, Grasshopper, Kangaroo, Processing. I use Revit so I’m taking the Dynamo for Revit Workshop:

….Through the creation of an architectural design concept, we will engage BIM through cyclic, open ended computational design processes anchored in contemporary research on design thinking.

Software Required: Autodesk Revit and/or Vasari Beta 3, Dynamo (latest version), Excel

Screenshot from Day 2.  Excel file of structural point locations imported to generate geometry for adaptive component pipe space-truss.

Screenshot from Day 2. Excel file of structural point locations imported to generate geometry for adaptive component pipe space-truss.


Archives

Monte Vista Montessori School Master Plan

New front gate and fence.   Artistic metal panel fence design concept to illustrate the potential for this fabrication technique.

New front gate and fence. Artistic metal panel fence design concept to illustrate the potential for this fabrication technique.


SYNCRO Architecture Studio was commissioned by the Monte Vista Montessori School to prepare a Conceptual Master Plan for the campus. A school master plan is needed to provide a long-term vision for facility planning and a rationale for several specific improvements needed in the near future. This early stage, broad brush-stroke exercise has identified areas of opportunity and of deficiency. Interior and exterior spaces and features have been analyzed. Multiple improvement projects have been identified and conceptually explored by SYNCRO in the master plan for their potential contribution to the school’s mission. Along with conceptual design of improvements, estimates of their future cost to the school is being documented in the report.

The school was formed in 2008 and moved into this late mid-century building, a former residence for convalescing nuns, with minimal construction. Not surprisingly, one of the findings of our evaluation is the potential for a much more efficient use of the building’s interior. SYNCRO conducted an accessibility survey which will yield suggestions for improvements to facilitate accessibility for the disabled.

Improvements expected to be enacted upon in an initial phase of construction include new perimeter fencing, new exterior doors and an improved drop-off/pick-up area in front of the main entry. SYNCRO provided regulatory agency coordination services including working with the Monte Vista Architectural Review Committee and gaining regulatory approval from the City of San Antonio Office of Historic Preservation for the fencing improvements.

SYNCRO Architecture Studio proposed an artistic metal panel fence utilizing digital design and digital fabrication to convey a sense of creativity and discovery embodied in the Montessori method. Additionally, we proposed to facilitate a series of visioning sessions to develop themes for the artwork and imagery. By utilizing a digital design and manufacturing workflow, unique panels can be economically produced using computer-numeric-controlled (CNC) tools. The illustrations shown here are conjectural and intended only to demonstrate the concept and illustrate some of the possibilities of this design and fabrication technology.


Independent School Conceptual Master Plan
San Antonio, Texas
Design/Completion: 2012 / –
1,820 square foot addition

Project Design Team & Consultants:
Architectural team: David Bogle, R.A., AIA, Juan Aguirre, Charles Dickson

Archives

…Proposal Clears Planning Commission…

Red-dotted line is currently South Main Avenue.  The entire northern half of the soon-to-be superblock is "planned" to remain underutilized and auto-oriented - this on the side facing downtown San Antonio.

Red-dotted line is currently South Main Avenue. The entire northern half of the soon-to-be superblock is “planned” to remain underutilized and auto-oriented – this on the side facing downtown San Antonio.



Iris Dimmick, of the Rivard Report, wanted to speak to me after planning commission vote, and her article, “H-E-B Proposal Clears Planning Commission, Moves to City Council” is in the link to the right with some excerpts below in the grey box. First, here’s a little background and a curt summary of where things stand.

I made presentations to the zoning commission on Tuesday and to the planning commission on Wednesday. I emphasized the fact that the proposed plan by HEB does not comply with the relevant community-input land use plan. “High-Density Mixed-Use” is the community vision, per the Lone Star Community Plan. Bob Wise spoke and presented the win-win solutions from imagineSanAntonio per his article in the Rivard Report.

Zoning commissioners voted unanimously to allow, with a special use authorization, a gas station in the “Downtown” zone, against the land use plan. Like dominoes, and against the City’s 2011 Strategic Framework Plan, planning commissioners voted unanimously to declare as surplus, and to abandon, the public right-of-way South Main Avenue, dismantling the potential of this thoroughfare to become a complete street and to connect to other complete streets.

City Council cinched the deal on Thursday, voting to support HEB corporation’s plan to create a huge superblock in downtown San Antonio. Per their proposed plan it will have a new gas station and store with surface parking lots on its (otherwise potentially) most urban, north-east corner. This new privately-owned parcel will be almost twice as large as any other major American city’s largest superblock!

Architect and urban design professor David Bogle pointed to the Lone Star Community Plan’s call for “high density mixed use” at the sites of the proposed grocery store and current H-E-B employee parking lots.

The proposed grocery store and gas station are “low density, single use,” Bogle said. ”The privatization of a street at this location would work against goals established for downtown.”

….

“These issues are not going to stop after South Main (Avenue) is sold,” Bogle said after the round of “yay” votes approved the closure. Tomorrow at City Council, “we’ll reiterate the valid concerns of the citizens … and the costs (of this plan) dismissed by the government.”

Archives

Open floor plans – San Antonio E-N

Outdoor Rooms Sketch

Outdoor Rooms: Deck, Treehouse, Covered Patio


I was interviewed by Jennifer Hiller for her article for the Express-News and was pleased to see it run with my conceptual design sketch for a series of outdoor rooms I proposed as additions to a house. There are three areas to extend the interior kitchen and breakfast rooms: a covered porch, a mulch-floored room with a tree house above for the kids, and an open deck with built-in seating. Also published with the article is a photograph of the open plan kitchen of the Holland Avenue Residence.

Please view the article on-line or see excerpts below.

Multiuse rooms, open floor plans among trends – San Antonio Express-News – By Jennifer Hiller: November 8, 2013

Home design has gotten practical and wandered outside.

Outdoor living areas and no-nonsense spaces such as home offices and mudrooms are among the most popular trends in home design, according to the latest survey from the American Institute of Architects.

Kermit Baker, chief economist with the AIA and senior research fellow at Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, said post-recession design dollars are being directed toward practical rooms that people use the most, such as great rooms and master bedrooms, or mudrooms where families can stash shoes and backpacks. Low-maintenance or energy-efficient features are popular, as are things such as docking stations for phones.

“During the boom it was about technology-intense media rooms and wine cellars and sort of froufrou areas in the home that you didn’t really need,” Baker said. “Now it’s really much more about lifestyle and more multipurpose spaces. Homes have gotten smaller and you need multifunction rooms. Mudrooms and home offices are very practical. You can telecommute or consult between jobs, or work at home part time.”

Other practical features trending in home design: tankless water heaters, recycled materials, water-saving features, extra insulation, ramps and elevators, storm-resistant design, automated lighting and first-floor master bedrooms. Additions or alterations to existing homes are popular.

And even people with large budgets are spending it in a focused way, Baker said. “It’s not just, ‘I have some extra money to spend on my home,’” Baker said.

Architect David Bogle of Syncro Architecture Studio, said many clients want to renovate existing homes, whether it’s one they already live in or one they’re purchasing, and may take their time.

“The goal is to transform it over a period of years. They want a master plan like an institution would do for the long-range planning of their home,” Bogle said. “I think people are getting smarter about the built environment, and it translates to their homes.”

Smaller square footage means design must focus on the most heavily used parts of the home. “It’s an optimization of what is important,” Bogle said. “That’s where the expense and the space goes.”

Including outdoor living areas as “rooms” of the house is one way to extend the home and take advantage of the yard — and the budget.

“The idea is that through affordable and ordinary, inexpensive, everyday materials you can achieve great things through design,” Bogle said.

….

Bogle recently did a conceptual drawing of a townhome project for a developer who wants to target empty nesters. All the townhomes would have elevators — which would make it easier to age-in-place (another design trend) — installed or as an option.

….

jhiller@express-news.net