Liz Galvez – Crew Boathouse on the Huron River

This course focuses on the social and physical contexts in which we build, how people perceive the built environment in relationship to existing circumstances, and how outdoor spaces relate to built forms. The work to be undertaken includes both analysis of existing examples and synthesis incorporating the many dimensions of architectural environments in design. The course explores these ideas through the design of a building of modest scale and complexity. This course will focus on developing the following skill sets:

  • Students will learn how to understand existing topographic conditions and how to propose alterations (cut / fill) that contribute to the design of a site and a building’s relationship.
  • Students will learn how to analyze environmental conditions (light, climate, water levels along the edge of a river) and will demonstrate this understanding in a building proposal that provides natural light, seasonal flexibility of climate controlled spaces and sensitive siting along a river’s edge.
  • Students will learn how to study examples of similar buildings relative to how each example is sited, programmatically organized, spatially organized and constructed.
  • Students will learn how to develop design proposals with a given program (rowing center / crew boathouse) and will demonstrate this understanding at three scales in drawing form.

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Student Work

Jamie Johnson – “The Boat Blocks”

In the spirit of designing spaces that redefines fitness culture, or human bodily movement, the spaces in The Boat Blocks are inspired by the way in which boats move through the water. By studying the mechanics and movement through water of each type of boat in this facility, I found that each vessel has their own ‘language’ as they carve through the water, creating unique, non-traditional spaces. By aggregating each type of boat with the ‘language’ of the specific vessel in mind, and with consideration of programmatic requirements, I found that the case negative yields wild, occupiable spaces for the occupant to engage with the motion of a vessel.

Kaya Ramirez – “A Day on the Huron River”

A casual day-tripper uses these docks as a place for resting while a rower uses them solely as a device for entering the water. A swimmer uses the river as a place for fun and cooling off while a rower uses it as a surface for grueling exercise. These two actors are near polar-opposites, and yet they both go to the same riverside during the same season; a revamped Bandemer park would have to satisfy the needs of both parties. The proposed boathouse and docks incorporate the needs of two vastly different types of people. In doing so, the boathouse creates a better riverside experience for everybody and even finds common ground among the river’s diverse activities.

Yangtian Yan – “Immaterial Architecture”

As I was walking into Bandemer Park, an oak tree behind fog struck me as “building”. The fog rasterized the image of the tree, acting as a visual screen. The tree trunk supported he thick canopy, separating space without impeding circulation. The sunlight shined through the gaps between the overlapping of leaves; all spoke to me as an overwhelming architectural experience.
A boathouse envisioned with planning the layout of trees and creating fog is an architecture that grows, that responses to time and the change in weather. The immateriality of the boathouse allows the program to be invisible, yet nature around it still gravitates towards the strong presence of architecture.

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