Mings

A New Architectural Project for all to see

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Hey all,

For our project this semester, we were given the task of designing a civil rights museum in the Central City neighborhood of New Orleans. The location is off of Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, named after one of the leaders of the Civil Rights movement here in the city. Once a major commercial corridor that was the Black Canal Street, the neighborhood has fallen into blight and disrepair. Looking at the history of Civil Rights in New Orleans, I came to the conclusion that a Both/And condition exists, as in both Segregated and Integrated. Using this both/and condition and the notions of segregation and integration, I begin to repair, strengthen, and connect the existing urban fabric so that it may once again thrive, but as a cultural district. Culture is usually the catalyst in the revitilization of neighborhoods (See Downtown Indianapolis and sports). By making a bold statement, one that is both different from the existing fabric, yet familiar I create an oscillation and tension that serves create the starting forces of the catalyst. Both/and conditions exist throughout the project, such as a unifying perforated metal skin versus the separated intitute and community buildings, and the two different readings of the facade facing the OC Haley corridor and the facade facing the residential neighborhood. It becomes both an institute and community space through program and green space. The site as it is right now is serves as an informal park for the neighborhood, and parking for the Jehovahs Witness church next door.

Alright enough talk.....here is the goods. Let me know what you think (help on making the dusk rendering look better would be awesome, the context doesn't look quite right yet).

night_shot_final.jpg

entry_stair_final.jpg

4th_floor_true_final.jpg

courtyard.jpg

conduit.jpg

gallery2final.jpg

jmings_final.jpg

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Well, before I even saw the pictures, I was thinking "It should probably be well above ground level". Looks like you were thinking the exact same thing when you were designing the building.

What is the exterior made out of, though? Angled latticework? Some kind of metal grid? I'm trying to get a grasp of that so I can picture it just a little better.

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Well actually, the site is only a couple of miles away from the Mississippi River, so it is about 6' above sea level at that location. I also play with the topography and the courtyard is 4' below street level (but still above sea level). When you get closer to the lake is when you really start to have problems with flooding (although the Academic Quad becomes a lake if it rains really hard).

The building envelope is a perforated and profiled Cor-Ten Steel. The perforations are based off of traditional patterns of the Bamana people, who were the first slaves brought over to the New Orleans area. Surface texture became important in this project to really ground it within the culture, as well as to create both a unique experience and familiarity at the same time (for instance using reclaimed Cypress as the flooring material).

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It's always a pleasure when you post your work, Joshua. I'm no expert in architecture, but I can definitely appreciate the amount of time, effort and dedication it takes to expediently finish a project of this scope. It's really well-rendered, well-planned and well-executed. Fantastic work.

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wow, this is amazing. i like the use of materials and would think that if this building were to become reality it would do a lot to revitalize that community. If I ever need a building designed I know who I am contacting.

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Thanks guys! I appreciate the kind words. This building is actually going to become a reality in the sense that there will be a Louisiana Civil Rights Institute in this particular neighborhood. The State allocated $10 million for the construction of the institute. This semester our project became the Institute to start the initial design discussions and to provide ideas to the firm that is currently doing pre-design work for the project, as well as to the board of directors for the institute. So while this is a theoretical project that won't be built, some of the ideas contained within might make their way into what does.

I had my review today, and it went about as well as a review could go. The main criticism is that I may have went a little too bold and too strong, but mainly due to the budget that the Institute would have....not because of the design. They also thought the lobby/entry area on the 3rd level could be a lot larger (I agree). One of the top architects in the city also called my project amazing (he is also a professor at the school and does some really great work)...and when a reviewer calls your project amazing, well you know you had a damn good review. Looks like this might be my third project in the Yearly Review publication!

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Thanks guys! I appreciate the kind words. This building is actually going to become a reality in the sense that there will be a Louisiana Civil Rights Institute in this particular neighborhood. The State allocated $10 million for the construction of the institute. This semester our project became the Institute to start the initial design discussions and to provide ideas to the firm that is currently doing pre-design work for the project, as well as to the board of directors for the institute. So while this is a theoretical project that won't be built, some of the ideas contained within might make their way into what does.

I had my review today, and it went about as well as a review could go. The main criticism is that I may have went a little too bold and too strong, but mainly due to the budget that the Institute would have....not because of the design. They also thought the lobby/entry area on the 3rd level could be a lot larger (I agree). One of the top architects in the city also called my project amazing (he is also a professor at the school and does some really great work)...and when a reviewer calls your project amazing, well you know you had a damn good review. Looks like this might be my third project in the Yearly Review publication!

Based solely on the rendering, I'm digging the inside and am having a hard time picturing the outside, but am confident that it would be very nice looking in real life. Do you guys still do any renderings by hand in watercolor? I love those.

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Some people do. I don't because mine never turn out very well. There is a kid in the 2nd Year studio that does amazing hand drafting and drawings, and a couple of people that still do some cool watercolors. The professor that called my project amazing does some kick ass paintings and has been exhibited in several places. His name is Errol Barron if you want to look him up.

As far as the exterior goes, the night shot took up a lot of rendering time. The idea was to get a day shot of the same view as well. I'm doing a couple more renderings to round everything out, so I will post them when I get them completed. They should be able to fully get the exterior affect.

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Daytime shot and revised twilight shot coming right up...

exterior_day_final.jpg

night_shot_finaldesktop.jpg

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Love the inside shots and all the wood inside but I hate to be blunt. The outside looks like cardboard. Maybe its just the pictures don't capture the materials well.

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Its probably part coloration/part profile of the skin....and part warranted. Its a both/and condition of something both unique and familiar. I might go back and change the material settings and try another render, particularly on the full day shot to see if that brings it out any more.

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Updated exterior renderings (daylight)

entry_stair_final-1.jpg

exterior_day_final-1.jpg

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So I was one of 6 picked to give a presentation of my building to the Board of Directors of the Louisiana CIvil RIghts Institute, The Directors of the various Main Street/Revitalization Organizations for OC Haley Boulevard, and I believe some pretty big players in the local architecture community on Thursday. So I'm modifying my board which now can only be 40x60 and after a few hours of playing with it I want to get a little sleep and see what you guys think of this first pass. It pretty much has to be printed tomorrow afternoon so the sooner the better for comments and critiques. Enjoy!

jmings_presentation.jpg

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If I'm critiquing just the renderings and not the architecture, it looks like the view points for a lot of the interior perspectives are really skewed. It looks like you may have adjusted the viewing angle in SketchUp in order to squeeze more content into the frame and ended up warping the whole image. Just a guess. I'm specifically talking about the 3rd image down, although the two below it show the same problem. Other than that, the renderings look solid. What program do you use?

I also have some criticism of your presentation board. As a person who clearly cares about (and has an eye for) graphic design as well as architecture, I'd spend a little more time reworking the layout. It looks identical to the other stuff I've seen of yours (essentially a portfolio page pulled out of your book). You've got the basic info (plans, sections, diagrams, etc.) but it doesn't look like a ton of care was taken in how you represent the story and narrative behind your scheme.

Every building should evoke at least some sort of emotional reaction, especially a Civil Rights museum in New Orleans! I want to see a little more context. I want the plans and sections to show a little more about the feeling of the spaces. Its a tricky thing to represent that in an architectural drawing, but the presentation layout is a great way to bring that back into the project.

I feel like you created a great building, and then started making all your decisions with your portfolio in mind, which is the wrong way to go about it. I feel like you just missed an opportunity to truly suck people into your design and experience the emotional power that a Civil Rights museum should carry.

Gross, I sound like my studio professors. Nice project.

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Of course, the second I post that, you put up a much nicer and much more composed presentation. I hope THAT is what you showed at your review!

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So I was one of 6 picked to give a presentation of my building to the Board of Directors of the Louisiana CIvil RIghts Institute, The Directors of the various Main Street/Revitalization Organizations for OC Haley Boulevard, and I believe some pretty big players in the local architecture community on Thursday. So I'm modifying my board which now can only be 40x60 and after a few hours of playing with it I want to get a little sleep and see what you guys think of this first pass. It pretty much has to be printed tomorrow afternoon so the sooner the better for comments and critiques. Enjoy!

jmings_presentation.jpg

Congratulations! That is an awesome honor for putting together such a nice project. I'll try to give some useful critiques of things you might actually be able to use before printing.

- I know its not really your "style", but if you can bring in ANYTHING that relates back to the history of Civil Rights in New Orleans it would help with the richness of your presentation and probably be very appreciated by the Board of Directors, who will likely be many years your senior and have lived through the very things your museum is trying to showcase. I'm talking about photos, historic maps, things like that which can be worked in as background elements. Maybe replace the white background with a grayscale historic map of N.O. Your plans would sit on top of it all and they would "pop" better against the gray background. You could even work your little site plan so that it sits directly in line with the background map (showing how your building relates to ALL of New Orleans, not just the two block radius around it).

- Some Civil Rights photos/images could be worked into the orangeish poche you use below your section. The orange could even sit on top of them as a color mask.

- I'd scale up your section (and scale down the amount of orange showing) to give it more weight than the courtyard perspective directly above). The section is really strong and should be the key element of the layout after the money shot on top.

- The exterior perspective on the lower left is redundant to the big one at the top. Since space on this board is at a premium, take it out.

- Since your floor plans are scaled down, I'd color coat major program areas so the Board can easily tell what they are looking at (exhibition is blue, admin is red, education is yellow, support is pink, etc.)

Thats all I've got. Good luck tomorrow!

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No the first one was. The first board was very rushed but still worked because I had a great review (when the only critiques they have are about how to get the same results but with a budget, thats a damn good review). As far as the first board goes, to be honest I took the one I had last semester and modified it for this semester...which is always a dumb idea but I was short on time (they put our printing deadline really early this time).

The renders that are somewhat skewed are intentional. It was to play up the linearity of the building. I may not like Zaha Hadid's work so much but I love the way she did her perspectives back in the late 70's and 80's. On the other renderings you mention, the floors are sloped which is probably what is giving you the skewed feeling. I like to play with it a bit to get the feel that I want. I use Rhino and Vray to do my renderings. A few people used Revit this time around and it showed, both in quality of rendering and quality of project (they let Revit dictate what they were doing).

Definitely agree with you on the section. When I printed it wasn't worthy of being at 1/8th scale, definitely not like the sections I had last semester. Plans were a little trickier since they were at 1/16th so it was a battle of how much detail is appropriate.

Glad to know I went in the right direction with it. I have a feeling the other 5 people are just going to take the boards they have and shrink them down...but I don't roll like that.

So when are you going to post your project for the semester Stuckey?

Edit: Just saw the next post. The building is actually a lot more contextual than you think. I put a different spin on contextualism. For instance the sinker cypress representing the typical flooring found in New Orleans (old/reclaimed hardwoods), the silkscreening on the bottom two floors recalls the murals found throughout the OC Haley Corridor, The grass layout in the plaza recalls the footprint of an old home that was on the site, as does the massing of the institute and the auditorium. The basic idea with a lot of it was the Both/And condition created by being both familiar and unique and the temporality that the both/and condition creates. The massing corresponds with the context (creates an anchor with a similar height building across the street, and steps down to meet the residential neighborhood). The photos used for the silkscreen were taken by Marion James Porter, who documented the Civil Rights movement here in the city. The Cor-ten steel also represents a both/and as it will always weather and change yet still remain in the same profile. I could go on and on...but I'll just call it radical contextualism.

Edit 2: I put the day shot of the exterior to show the difference of the reading of the building between day and night (another both/and - temporal idea).

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So when are you going to post your project for the semester Stuckey?

Edit: Just saw the next post. The building is actually a lot more contextual than you think. I put a different spin on contextualism. For instance the sinker cypress representing the typical flooring found in New Orleans (old/reclaimed hardwoods), the silkscreening on the bottom two floors recalls the murals found throughout the OC Haley Corridor, The grass layout in the plaza recalls the footprint of an old home that was on the site, as does the massing of the institute and the auditorium. The basic idea with a lot of it was the Both/And condition created by being both familiar and unique and the temporality that the both/and condition creates. The massing corresponds with the context (creates an anchor with a similar height building across the street, and steps down to meet the residential neighborhood). The photos used for the silkscreen were taken by Marion James Porter, who documented the Civil Rights movement here in the city. The Cor-ten steel also represents a both/and as it will always weather and change yet still remain in the same profile. I could go on and on...but I'll just call it radical contextualism.

Edit 2: I put the day shot of the exterior to show the difference of the reading of the building between day and night (another both/and - temporal idea).

That is the story I was talking about! That needs to read through on the boards. Even if it is just an arrow from the section to a material swatch that says "reclaimed hardwood floors", you at least get another layer of information. The murals could be brought up in reference pictures. The grass layout could be shown in a diagram. It is clear that you gave all those elements a lot of thought, but to someone walking up to your board none of that information is available. Its tough with limited space, but just getting a teaser of information so that people know enough to ask questions helps a lot.

You can try and work all that info into your presentation with your words, but you will never have as much control over that environment as you do over your boards. Just something to think about.

As far as the "day" perspective . . . The building doesn't actually read differently in the day than it does at night. The lights come on and the building isn't illuminated by direct sunlight. Thats pretty much standard for EVERY building. I just don't see any new information being portrayed through that image and think you could use the space wiser, but if you think it has value, by all means leave it in. It is a very nice image.

And my project is coming. I'm 28 days from my final review (but who's counting). Its my thesis studio as well, so its graduation as soon as this is over (ahhhh!). The project is a "music innovation center" a semi-new genre of building that will function as a music education/exhibition/performance facility (similar, but not the same as the Experience Music Project in Seattle, the Grammy museum in LA, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland). The building is located on the Rose Quarter site in Portland,OR adjacent to the Rose Garden Arena and Memorial Coliseum. And speaking of . . . . back to work!

Good luck tomorrow.

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I keep forgetting that we get done before everyone else haha. Sounds like an interesting concept you have going for your thesis.

As far as reading between night and day the idea was that the skin is both a unifying mask and allows differences to play out at night. For instance how the institute and community parts become transparent but the gallery stays opaque due to differences in the backup walls.

I have a 1/2" section that I could put in that has all the material information on it. I didn't put it in because my professor told us to not worry so much about the technical info on this one. I'm meeting with him in about an hour so I'll see what he says. It may be using lines pointing to various areas of the renderings to bring the information in.

Good luck in your thesis review. We had some really good thesis projects in our school this year. I'm starting to regret the Summer Study abroad semester that I'm doing. I haven't had a break yet.

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The final board....

jmings_presentation_final.jpg

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