Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Site Selection And All That Goes With It

A Method To An Architecture of Value: Crafting An Intimate Relationship With Space

What do people value in architecture?  Is there a method that can be applied which achieves maximum and consistent value within built form.  Value, not meaning a monetary worth but rather something that holds a particular importance or preciousness in respects of a defined purpose. In our increasingly universalized world I believe it is an architects human response to his associated landscape in which, he uses architecture as a practiced craft to preserve and create a habitat, which defines the self in relation to social, economic, and physical setting that will provide an innate value to architecture and its environment.

Programmatic Agenda

Program is the use of space as commanded by designed form.  Inferring a system of day too day habits and how they change or insure a consistency through the buildings life.  The variations and transitions between private and public space is very important as is are the factors that distinguish between the two.  The purpose of these variations is to allow inhabitants to not only experience but also recognize the importance and ability of the architecture to act at a range of programmatic levels.  This also brings forth the idea of scaling.  What scales are necessary to show the architectures strength within programmatic ranges?  How many of each scaled spaces are necessary?
            Its seem that smaller more intimate spaces are very important to the functions of the my design concepts and become the private spaces.  Each private space should hold a minimal number of people, no more than one or two at once.  There can be almost an infinite number of these spaces to allow for as much of the sites population to seclude themselves as often as possible.  Within these places a person should be in direct contact with the site and context as to allow for a secluded moment between the person and the world they are in.  Private spaces become a sacred space where a relationship is developed between the self, the context and the built environment.  This brings up the point of the importance of site.  Each private place should be in direct reaction to or on specific site defining elements, brining to the attention of the self an acknowledgment of the preciousness of their specific contextual environment.  Program within these private spaces should be a place where someone can take the time to think in piece and develop a thought process that is consciously and subconsciously in reaction to their environment.  The space should then provide the opportunity for the thinker to experiment in turning the relevant thoughts into physical forms to be later presented to others.  These spaces could form into small personal studio spaces, providing only enough room for personal comfort and small-scaled works of different kinds.
            Public spaces should be formed with more variation and less restriction to its capacities.  These places become the joinery between different magnitudes of human social interactions and those of the non-human contextual environment.  In comparison to the private programs, which provide space for reflection and personal thought, the public realm is to initiate creative dialogue and interaction.  One form of the public realm is not fully public in the sense that it is only for the use of those working with others on their chosen craft, discussing and building this space becomes a workshop or large-scale studio space where creative thinkers inspire one another.  This becomes a production space and its activities are in direct relation to the ideas reflected upon within the private spaces but not necessarily to the programmatic element to follow.
            The final programmatic element is to be considered completely public, an invitation for those both familiar and unfamiliar with the built form and site to come and explore.  This is the moment where the architecture actively gives back to the inhabitants and its environment alike by beams of revealing its uniqueness as something to be appreciated and celebrated.  This is the space where they the ides of the distant “think tanks” are displayed in their crafted forms.  This is the place where artist and craftsmen present their product to a public which is now engulfed in the world where their work, may it be poetry, architecture or a painting has derived from.

Project 05: Site Selection and Documentation

It is important to think of sites as cultural locations as well as physical demographics.  The site should have some sort of sociological history to be researched as to acknowledge the importance of human interaction with the landscapes both physical and cultural.  There should be direct influences of construction or material examples in the surrounding environment to reference when researching design ideas.  It is also of importance that the site contain an idea and or physical existence which at risk of becoming extinct and is deserves to be saved.  These things should be of value to the local community and in someway distinguishing and unique.  The site should contain something or things that will loose their value if they gain a universal character.  I would like to take reference from my researched examples of building renovations, reconstructions, and preservations.  I take personal interest in non-urban environments as I feel I relate more personally to these contexts.

Grock Hill,
Gilsum New Hampshire

Gilsum New Hampshire is a small New Hampshire town consisting of mostly residences that work within the community or neighboring towns.  The town is also home to the Gilsum Woods open space forestry.  The forestry itself is home to a variety a tree species, wild life, a series of small ponds, wetlands, and a small permanent residential community.  The residences reside on a small portion of an over all site not owned by the open space association, containing the largest of the areas ponds and an interesting topographical landscape.  Grock Hill grows out of the northeast portion of the site, privately owned but not lived on, the site peaks at the highest elevation within the community.  The Hill was residence for a man and his wife who built a small cabin and outhouse with a group of friends and family. The couple lived in the cabin for several years but it has now been abandoned for over thirty years.  Since the owners left the cabin house been home to sit in draft dodgers and a variety of animals. Over the years the cabin has decayed to an uninhabitable point. The local community now uses the surrounding site as a campsite escape.  There was never any running water or electricity and the only source of fuel was gathered firewood and a small garden placed in an interior make shift green house.  I am interested on how such a unique site with its own histories can be built upon as an example of human involvement within a fragile and rare environment.  What sort of architecture would this community accept?  What programs could benefit the community and the surrounding forestry?  What sort of architecture could save the site from being sold by the private owner and risk over development?  What can be done to reveal the sites value?