My tutor noted how I have made an enthusiastic start to the unit, which is encouraging. I am demonstrating knowledge in areas of sustainability issues when describing the local materials used on one of the projects. It was also noted that my visual document is well presented and effective. I could improve on this by carefully considering every single image and block of text, to really make each one count. I really need to consider each part as a way to communicate the information as the best I can.
My analysing skills are showing signs of improvement in demonstrating a more critical approach to spatial research and commentary. This is an area I have struggled with and so I’m really pleased to hear that my tutor is noticing improvement.
As I continue working through the unit it might be a good idea to make a note of why I consider different spaces to be small, medium and large as this will help me become more adept at recognising scale in terms of the relation to its surroundings.
Going forward I have made a list to help organise my thoughts and actions
continue to build upon my drawing and sketching techniques
continue to build upon my graphics and presentation skills
consider small, medium and large spaces in my everyday life
keep ideas of sustainability and adaptive reuse in mind by keeping up to date with current ideas and examples
explore how I can organise my ideas and designs going forward
For this assignment I have looked at the impact an interior space can have when you mix multiple spaces together. I have chosen 4 paintings online, that represent spaces with different materials and qualities, are from different eras therefore showing different periods of style and furniture. I chose images with open doorways, windows, different flooring and furniture styles to be sure that I have a good mix of styles.
I then cut them up digitally and mixed them to change the image either slightly or completely. I placed the doorway image into another, I added furniture from one to a space in another, dividing them with architrave or furniture and different flooring. The colour palette on a few of the paintings are very similar so these changes aren’t drastic, but with the two colourful paintings you can see that the style of furniture isn’t aesthetically pleasing. This task was great fun, once I had refreshed my knowledge of using Photoshop, I played around with different scenarios and produced 10 different iterations.
I made a catalogue of the paintings with an explanation of why I had chosen them and an analysis of the different qualities within each painting.
I then made a presentation of 10 different interiors using parts from each image with an explanation of why I created them in that way, whether I think it worked or not. Each one progressive and an improvement on the last.
I watched a video lecture about spatial programme, making notes and reflecting on the information. The image was a bathroom containing a sink, a cabinet mirror, a shower cubicle and a toilet. When designing any space it’s important to consider the user. This image doesn’t consider all humans. It doesn’t consider smaller people or children, or wheelchair users. Spatially there is room to open the door to the bathroom without knocking into the sink or toilet but there certainly wouldn’t be enough room for a wheelchair user to access and move around comfortably. A child would be able to access the toilet easily but wouldn’t be able to see in the mirror or reach the mirror cabinet, which in one sense is not a bad idea as non child friendly items could be kept out of reach of children this way. The shower cubicle has it’s door at an angle so this is a good use of space and opens outwards leaving enough space to enter and exit. The materials used on the walls and floor are tiles and would be easy to clean but the floor tiles would need a grip on them to prevent slipping when wet. There is no bath mat, which is very important, very little amount of shelving within the shower cubicle and where the toilet roll is placed are so important but in this instance hasn’t been considered very well. Practicality for storage has been considered though within the sink unit and the mirror cabinet.
So, reflecting on the video and what I have learned from it, we must always consider the user when designing a space. Understanding the activities that will be carried out within the space will make an impact on the design, as well as choosing the most suitable materials, again with the user in mind. Entering a space that is comfortable and easy to navigate is vital, adding colour and texture will elevate the senses but ultimately the space must work for the intentions of the user.
I have revisited my chosen case study from the previous exercise, The Phantom Restaurant in Paris. I have considered how the building relates to the wider context both before redevelopment and after and asked the question whether the relationship has changed, I have recorded my research below with relevant images and diagrams.
The building was originally built in 1861 and placed strategically amongst international trade, tourism, finance and some of the world’s finest hotels. In a prime position in Paris. It was built for the rich and powerful. The building has stood the test of time, it was the primary theatre in Paris until 1989 when another theatre was built. It continues to be visited frequently for it’s history and the ballet performances.
After redevelopment with the addition of the restaurant it invites diners to dine and enjoy the building’s heritage which wasn’t available for 136 years! The design is thoughtful, with respect to the building and sinuous form that evokes the famous show, The Phantom of the Opera, with the wavy glass curtain and white mezzanine imitating the cloak from the show, giving the restaurant design instant drama, perfect for an Opera House and made for the Phantom Opera Restaurant. The entrance is on the north west side of the building and the relationship between the building and visitors has been enhanced, the visitor experience has elevated by offering a place to sit, eat and drink before or after a performance, both inside the building and outside or even without seeing a show, its a service that the building was never able to offer. I’m sure the restaurant alone will attract visitors, the location is perfect for meeting with friends or even as a solo visitor. Dramatic and luxurious seating inside on two levels whilst parasols shelter from the sun outside. Both options are on offer each day with food being served from 7am. The location of the prestigious building has links to the local bus service and metro line.
The story goes that Napoleon III was attending the Opera of Rue Le Peletier when he barely escaped a bomb in an assassination attempt. This led him to getting a new opera house built where he could safely attend. He designed it so that he had his own private entrance. So in 1860, Napoleon held a competition, internationally, for the design of the new Paris Opera. An unknown architect called Charles Garnier won the competition. In 1861, Garnier began construction and so with his own designs and collaboration with other artists and sculptures, it was finally completed 15 years later.
In 19th century Paris, the Opera Palais Garnier was the place to see and be seen and was strategically situated amongst international trade, tourism, finance and the world’s finest hotels, if you were attending the Opera house it wasn’t to view the great artists or the dance hall, it was to show off your wealth and power. Men would be accompanied by their mistress or wife who would dress to impress weighed down with big gemstones. Or men would attend in the hope of finding a mistress.
Built using marble, stone, porphyry and gilded bronze staging lavishly decorated marble friezes, columns and statues, many of which portray deities of Greek Mythology. This image shows the names of the statues and where they are placed on the facade.
The interior greets you with richly decorated multiple foyers, each one grander and more ornamental than the one before, before approaching the staircase built entirely from marble. The building is so complex, it has 2531 doors, 7593 keys and 6 miles of underground tunnels. Its rich decorating and mix of different religions and cultures gives this building an immersive experience.
The Phantom Opera Restaurant was built within the lower floor of the Palais Garnier in 2008 and opened in 2011. Plans were always in place for a restaurant but it was built 136 years later! The restaurant interior can be seen from the streets outside, the striking red chairs, benches and the floors are very theatrical reminiscent of the phantom of the opera which was once performed within the auditorium, it harmonises with the building’s rich history. Visitors pass the facade’s original pillars to enter the building where a plaster coated steel structure wraps around and through the columns without touching it. Each column consists of a hollow steel-mesh tube cloaked with plaster. To prevent interference with performances, a porous, acoustically absorbent plaster coats the mezzanine’s low walls and concave underbelly. Carefully placed speakers let restaurant staff fine tune sound levels throughout and prevent excessive noise from building up at any location. The undulating glass veil wends its way around the stone columns and soars to the curved ceiling which consists of two sheets of thick laminated glass. The glass and steel structure is removable if and when the space has to revert back to its original state, designed and built as an Insertion; a new element that has been built to fit within an existing space.
The phantom Opera Restaurant sits on the north west facade and will get the morning sunshine. The sun rises in the east and so natural light will flood through the windows all day but visitors will be able to enjoy sitting outside in the shade from midday onwards.
The glass itself is held in place by a single strip of bent metal that runs round the curves following the contours of the building. And then this strip of metal is fixed to the upper cornices of the columns an impressive 6 metres up, by connecting rods, so as to give the illusion of magic, space and uninterrupted views.
With this information I have created an A3 presentation document. It refers to how the building looked originally and how the insertion has been fitted. It was interesting researching the Palais Garnier, finding out why it was built and when and by whom. To know that plans have always been in place for a restaurant but not designed and created for 136 years was surprising. My research methods have improved and my skills to apply the information in a document is also improving. I am taking more care in choosing images that mean something. I’m also thinking carefully about the wording and making the text and images count within the document whilst also thinking about the design and layout. Over the last couple of years I have been creating presentation documents and as I refer to previous documents I can see the improvement. I have also taken advice to sketch more often, I can also see improvement in my sketches and that is because I’m making it a habit.
I have been reading Re-Readings: 2 : Interior Architecture and the Principles of Remodelling Existing Buildings, by Graeme Brooker and Sally Stone. It has introduced me to some amazing interior spaces that have been developed. I have learned how strategies and methodologies have been put in place for each design and how the main three strategies of Insertion, Installation and Intervention are considered for each design. These three strategies have helped me understand how a design begins and then develops into a design proposal. I have chosen a few from the book and some of my own to research further by analysing and making sketches, finding diagrams and I have recorded it all here in my learning log.
To firstly give you some context, in 2008, The Why Factory who were a newly established research institute, accommodated the top floor of the Faculty Building of the Technical University but shortly after moving in, a fire destroyed the building. As a result the historic building was renovated to accommodate the institute. The Why Factory is a three storey bright orange structure positioned in the covered courtyard of the School of Architecture and was designed by MVRDV and Delft University of Technology. The spatial design allows for independent research to explore alternative possibilities for the development of cities in particular and of our Planet in general, by focusing on the production of models and visualisations in the studios hidden within the orange structure that doubles as an auditorium. The steps of the orange structure act as seats when exhibitions and ceremonies are held. The structure has a distinct orange colour and has become a landmark within the buildings. It has been designed and placed deliberately off-centre to enable space for the exhibitions and ceremonies to take place. It’s bright orange colour identifies it as an independent research centre with the Faculty of Architecture Building.
My research confirms that this design comes under the Installation category. It becomes an Installation because it co-exists with an old building. This design has become a very distinguished structure, enabling it to provide rooms and seating, making it a multi functional space.
A large installation can be constructed to sit quite comfortably within an existing space such as an internal atrium or courtyard. Balance needs to be achieved between the magnitude and scale of the new element and the size of the open space that it is to sit within. Too large and the equilibrium is upset and the space appears to be cramped and too compressed to meet the needs of the users. If the installation is too small it is overwhelmed and can appear to be inconsequential. The position of the new element also needs to be considered, inevitably there will be space left over and surrounding it. If the sizeable installation is simply placed in the centre of the room, then there is little hierarchy within the adjacent area. If the object is positioned off-centre, this leaves different sizes of horizontal space to accommodate a variety of distinct uses. Vertical positioning is also something that needs to be considered especially if the installation is to be occupied. If the users can access the top level of the installation, they can develop a completely different relationship with the upper areas of the existing building than they would otherwise have from ground level. The Why Factory is a three storey bright orange structure positioned in the covered courtyard of the School of Architecture at the Delft University of Technology. Local architects MVRDV designed it to house the independent research unit which was actually founded by the practice. Studios, meeting rooms and research facilities are carefully hidden within the orange ziggurat, while the large steps up the exterior of the structure allow the whole space to be transformed into an auditorium. The steps, which act as seats, are also used for presentations, exhibitions, and even graduation ceremonies. The central location and distinct orange colour means the installation has become a landmark within the complex of buildings, and as such also functions as a beacon or way-finding device. (Brooker and Stone, 2018:30)
I have sketched an image in perspective using a pencil on paper. I coloured the orange structure using an orange felt pen and outlined some areas in black fine liner to give these areas definition. This task gave me a detailed idea of the structure sits within the existing space. The original part of the building is brick and the structure sits within an aluminium frame connected at the sides and above, which was formerly a courtyard. The frame houses the lighting, the air conditioning unit and projector device and looks less permanent as it’s the type of construction used on a building site but it bridges the gap between the old and new forms.
I wonder how the space would feel without the aluminium structure, if it was enclosed within a tiled roof? The three storey orange structure would still sit where it is placed and the spaces within it would still function. The area around the structure would also function as it does, but would it feel different? Understanding the reasons behind the design helps me also understand why the aluminium structure was made, but if that was to be removed then you would see the orange structure with a backdrop of brick walls and victorian windows, you wouldn’t have skylights in the roof so this would make the space darker. Observing the space as it is, makes me feel alive, the colour is invigorating. The design is thoughtful because it has functional rooms within it and a functional floor space around it.
I found some more photographs online showing the structure from different angles and the breadth of the space surrounding it. What a fantastic and fun design, a building saved from demolition, a space where like minded people can come together and develop their design ideas. With brick on three sides and floor to ceiling glass on one other, I wonder what the acoustics are like? Brick is a hard surface which allows noise to bounce off and reverberate, but it won’t allow much noise to transfer through. Glass however, will still act as a barrier but not so much, and so many aluminium poles with I did search online for the answer, but no luck. The space is also used as informal work space which is facilitated by a strong wifi connection which can be accessed via sockets within the seats. Developed to be able to adapt to a wide variety of uses, it seems to have achieved this, but has its own distinct identity within the orange floor space. A bright vibrant space for students to design buildings, making models, which they can also store within their tables. The tables have also been designed with wheels to be moved aside should the space be needed for an event.
The images above show the location, surrounded by both commercial and residential buildings with easy access to the building. I can see lots of positives with this design. It demonstrates how old buildings can be given new life by adding a modern structure. The design sits in a former courtyard and has the pleasure of sitting beside the old building, that has been standing for nearly 200 years. It shows definition not only with modern building materials but with the bright orange colour itself.
My second choice is Astley Castle in Warwickshire. It is a 12th century castle, once the home of an aristocratic English family, stood as a ruin since the 1970’s after a fire wiped out the hotel that once occupied the building. In 2007 architectural charity The Landmark Trust launched a competition for the structure to have a holiday house designed within it, the winners were Witherford Watson Mann. They designed a two-storey house sitting within the existing sandstone walls and used clay brickwork to infill the gaps in the structure, showing contrast between the new and the old structures.
Astley Castle’s renovation is an example of Intervention, because there’s an existing building which has been changed by adding new elements, so it no longer exists independently. The crumbling walls of the 12th century building now has new life breathing within it, supported with laminated wooden beams as the new floors and ceilings.
Four bedrooms, with space to sleep eight people, occupy the lower level of the house. An oak staircase leads up to the first-floor living room, where the architects have increased natural light by adding two new windows. Below is a concept model in cast plaster, showing how the Architects have pieced in new walls, lintels and roofs to tie to the remnants. New larger windows have been inserted upstairs to increase the use of natural light. The house is now available for rental through The National Trust organisation. Imagine staying in a building that first existed in the 16th century and was crumbling to the ground, then saved by The Landmark Trust and English Heritage before being restored lovingly and carefully by people who care for the existing shell, creating a home within the porous and incomplete ancient walls, a continuing story of a historic building.
My third example of the design strategies is of an Insertion of a new timber structure within a dilapidated brick and stone shell. Hugh Strange Architects transformed an agricultural barn in Somerset into a family archive building by inserting a new timber structure. The building is located on a working farm amongst a mixture of barns and sheds dating from the 19th century, which now provides an office and store that houses the client’s architectural and family archives.
The building was stabilised and repaired with the remaining front and gable elevations carefully repaired. The shell was then constructed of a single layer of solid wood without insulation, external cladding or internal lining. The cross-laminated timber panels provide insulation and thermal mass, creating a stable internal environment for the archive in terms of its temperature and relative humidity.
The agricultural barn is an example of Insertion, because there’s a new element built to fit in an existing space. The purpose of the new building has been designed to house an archive of light-sensitive drawings. Below is an image of the remains of the derelict building, parts of which have been retained for memory’s sake and a model of the farmyard buildings.
The farm is still a working farm today and it is not somewhere you would expect to find a private architectural archive. Above the archive floor is the owner’s office and residence, it’s been designed incredibly well using the lined plywood to protect from the low winter temperatures and heat of the summer months, creating a stable internal environment for the collection of archive drawings. The buildings are made from cedar, ash and beech using timber felled from the surrounding woodlands, below you can see an aerial photograph of the farm and the surrounding farmland and woodlands.
Now that I have researched 3 different strategies which apply to 3 different designs, I will reflect on my research and how each design differs or resembles each other.
The story behind why the The Why Factory design was initially built caught my attention because of the sad circumstances behind the reason to build, but the opportunity to create a design for this research institute wasn’t wasted. In a place where research explores alternative possibilities for the development of cities, by producing models and visuals, the space seems perfect. Being forced into an interior space through nobody’s fault can be disastrous. But this group of designers embraced the courtyard area by building a 3 storey orange wooden structure which offers lecture halls, meeting rooms and research rooms. Building upwards allows for these spaces within each floor. To paint it orange is just the icing on the cake! I agree that this design becomes an Installation because it co-exists with an old building but I would also argue that it could also be classed as an Intervention because the new element is existing alongside the old. Having said that, this exterior structure looks temporary and could be disassembled if needed, so I wonder whether the new element has to be permanent to be called an Intervention?
Astley Castle is an example of Intervention, because there’s an existing building which has been changed by adding new elements, so it no longer exists independently. This design could also be classed as an Insertion, where the new building has been built to fit in an existing space. Astley Castle and the Somerset Agricultural Barn are very similar in design, in that they both have new elements built within old and existing structures. There are definite differences between these two designs and The Why Factory but all three are new buildings. The Why Factory sits independently within a glass and metal frame structure but alongside an existing building, the space was once a courtyard. The orange wooden design is a perfect design for this space, with a few floors allowing for space to be used within but also giving chance for the floor to be used in lots of different ways, a brilliant multi-purpose space that’s not restricted to individual rooms within a building. Astley Castle and The Agricultural Barn have both been designed with the existing building in mind, to enable the existing structures to be kept in situ means considering what materials can be used and how they can be implemented without disturbing the buildings that have stood for years before them. It is far too simple a job to just knock down the crumbling walls and rebuild on the same site. This is damaging to the history of the building and would mean that these materials would probably end up in land fill. Using the existing structures in this way tells a story of the materials that were used and how it would have looked when it was first built, a much more interesting and appealing property to visit and stay in. It will also reduce the emission of carbon by not creating more new materials, obviously new materials are needed for the new building within the old but it will become more energy efficient with current standards and by preserving our history it will encourage other people to do the same. By repurposing and regenerating it will enhance today’s social and historical value, all buildings have a place in our society and communities and by preserving them, and as designers, we can become even more imaginative whilst being kinder to our planet. It’s important to consider how we feel when entering a building and if we can experience a space within an existing space and consider how the older building would have been built and the materials used, we can have a better understanding and appreciation for that building, this will encourage the implementation of good design strategies rather than bulldozing and starting again.
Researching and Analysing a Medium or Human Scale Case Study
I created a document that illustrates my understanding of the concept of medium scale in relation to a built interior space. As previously documented, I chose a building local to me which I researched both in person and online. I took photographs and found images online to back up my research. That building is a restaurant and farm shop called The Trough. I have analysed the space, researched information about when the building was made and the materials used both externally and internally. Whilst researching the building I made notes to remind myself of what information I would need to compile my presentation document. I have then applied by constructive criticism of the spaces and presented the work in an A3 document format.
I have carried out some research of a building that is local to me. The building is a restaurant and farm shop called The Trough, it illustrates my understanding of medium scale. The Trough was designed and built in 2016 by local Architects BoonBrown. Constructed in a rustic palette of ham stone, reclaimed roofing tiles and untreated timber boarding, the building sits sympathetically alongside the traditional farm. The Trough is part of a continuous farm diversification project and involved constructing a new farm shop and cafe within the land area of the existing working Longcroft Farm. The development has been created to provide the local area with a permanent and uniquely beautiful venue in the heart of the Somerset countryside to sell local farm produce and a restaurant for bespoke event parties and function. Alongside the family run restaurant is The Farmyard, an ideal place to enjoy peace and beauty of the countryside without forsaking the comforts of modern living. The architect designed apartments sit in a quiet spot a stones throw away from The Trough and enjoy the same beautiful surroundings.
The original building was built in 2016 and consisted of one open plan restaurant and bar space, a kitchen for preparing the food and WC’s all within the same building, externally finished with a mixture of timber cladding and stone.
A Glass box was then added to the existing building in 2022 enlarging the space to include a dining area, adding an extra 5m2, made up of a mixture of timber cladding, modern glass panels and brick, which sculpt the exterior. Internally clad walls with up-cycled timber and polished concrete floors add to the character alongside a cast concrete bar with polished top.
The owner’s family have been farming in Somerset for seven generations and each generation has shared the passion for farming. Over the years they have developed and added diversity to the farm of which their grass fed Longhorn cross Devon herd live and in turn produce incredibly flavoursome and naturally lean meat which they serve at The Trough.
As I approach the building, my first impression is how the design has considered the landscape that it sits within. The palette and materials of natural colours in the building sit pleasantly in its surroundings. The views around the building are breathtaking, you can see open countryside for miles. It is no surprise that the interior has a wonderful mix of earthy tones alongside rich greens and yellows. Floral patterns and moody lighting amplify the rich atmosphere. There is a variety of seating, they are functional and inter changeable. The venue offers a space for parties and functions and so the seating and tables can be moved around to suit. This is a clever idea, they are not limiting themselves to a certain clientele and pride themselves on offering a warm welcome and a delicious dining experience to whoever books or pops by.
Human scale is fully illustrated in the design interior and exterior of The Trough. If I start with the exterior, as you drive into the carpark area, there is so much space for parking, which I think is a really important factor when creating a building for visitors. It can be so frustrating when you turn up to a cafe or restaurant and you need to consider parking further away.
The interior, starting with the entrance double doors, have been designed for wheelchair access with a flat pathway leading up to them. Once inside, you can either turn left to enter the huge dining room area or turn right to the cafe/bar area, farm shop and toilets. The concrete serving bar wraps around to include both spaces, which is accessed via a polished concrete floor. Everywhere you look there is colour and style, warmth in the wood panelling and black casement windows to capture the panoramic view. The variety in seating offers lounge chairs, upright leather seating, velour upholstered chairs and comfy relaxing snug areas, something for everyone. The black casement doors open up on to a patio area where you can enjoy dining al fresco in the warmer months.
The space is functional and has been designed to cater for a high volume of visitors. The polished concrete floor runs throughout the whole building, there is even polished concrete sinks in the WC’s with the Trough emblem engraved on them, the attention to detail is evident throughout.
Yes, my understanding of scale has changed since completing Unit One. After receiving feedback from my tutor, it became clear that I didn’t fully understand the meaning of each scale. For micro scale, I was researching miniature scale, whereas I needed to be looking at the detail of how part of a space is made. I understand human scale much better, but I still continued to refer to my tutor’s recommendations. As for macro scale, I understand now that it’s looking at how the space sits within its environment, as I’m studying interior spaces this would take into account a space within a space. I looked back at my findings and read my work to refresh my memory on my findings and reflection.
Before starting Unit Two, this process was really helpful to do, it reminded me how I misunderstood micro scale and how to understand it properly.
On Monday I attended a design sketching workshop with the OCA, I am hoping to attend the majority of these as they are a brilliant way of building my confidence with sketching. My tutor was leading the workshop and explained every step brilliantly.
We started with mark making and specifically learning to use the same pencil but making lighter and darker lines, this will help when drawing interior spaces. For this exercise I used a 2B pencil, it was an interesting workshop. We sketched an image of an interior in a few minutes, panic usually sets in but I attempted to keep everything to scale, a few areas to work on.
We were then guided through sketching a plan and a section of the Pantheon in Rome, an architectural wonder. My drawings are not to scale or even near perfect but the workshop helped me reinforce my understanding of drawing a building and a section.
Lastly, we practised one point perspective. I haven’t needed to draw a room for a while so this was good practise, a reminder to make those lighter pencil marks to guide you when adding walls, flooring and furniture. Adding fine liner pen adds depth and brings the image to life.