This studio focused on the design of a Supershed, which programmatically functions as a boat house facility. This shed for storing competitive rowing shells, asked the students to develop a spacemaking strategy that began from the arrangement and coordination of fragments into possible structural and spanning systems, with bay rhythms for enclosing space. Students began to operate on these spatial fragments to achieve a repetition and variations that could define the spatial ambitions and possibilities of a new boat house, one invested in the logics of sheds but combined with more affective affinities. With the development of these simple arrangements into complex assemblies of covered space, more architectural considerations were enrolled such as engagement with site and topography, negotiation of envelope, structure, program, and circulation. All of these added concerns served as a vehicle for students to push towards and develop logics for structural, scalar, spatial variations and their resultant experiential qualities.
Located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, this project serves as a frame in which programmatic elements of a boathouse are inserted into a unique structural system. In certain moments, the rigidity of the structural system strictly determines the form and intended use of a space, however, in other moments the system begins to break, and the intended use of a space begins to loosen, creating opportunities for the blending of programs and experiences. The project begins with a family of structural elements which share the same formal language but seek to achieve different architectural purposes including spanning elements, connecting elements, and finally end-cap elements. These elements are then combined and organized into a structural array that ultimately serves as the boathouse and shell storage shed. Triangular openings within the structural array allow for light to enter the lower level of the boathouse as well as provide an opportunity for a main staircase to connect to the second floor. In addition, the large spanning elements connecting the boathouse and shell storage shed reach over a wide ramp that guides visitors from the parking lot before descending into the river itself. Stairs along the length of the ramp allow for circulation between the boathouse and the shell storage shed as well as encourage interaction between skilled rowers on their way to their shells and novices heading to the recreational kayaks.