I built this 1/8”:1’-0" basswood model of the existing engineering building to test design options between the renovated building facing the quad and the new facade leading the westward expansion. These models were used for client presentations at the university and for internal design reviews. I coordinated with a Seattle-based model making firm to build the foam base and built the rest in-house.
The design approach focused on restoring the east facade connected with the central campus quad and used the modern addition on the west facade to showcase state-of-the-art engineering that would inspire current and potential students.
I was a project team member from pre-design through construction administration and I designed the two feature stairs. I proposed to separate the stair from the elevation by positioning it against the inner gallery wall. This made way for perimeter study areas and allowed the stair to become an aesthetic feature in the gallery. The existing floor-floor height required a landing so I placed the landing closer to the base and enclosed it within the stairwell. By doing this the stair became an sculptural gesture offsetting the symmetrical elevation. This also enhanced building performance by separating the naturally ventilated gallery from the adjacent conditioned zones.
Precast concrete was selected over folded steel plates so that the stair would feel solid and firm beneath ones feet and not “ping” or noticeably pounce during solo use or heavy loading between classes. Native Alder wood panel veneer was selected to mimic the blonde brick exterior, for its sustainable qualities and for the elegant and refined finish it provides.
The wood panel detail was designed in concert with the fabricator so the panel system was efficiently assembled, easily repeatable across the entire gallery, and the reference to the holy cross was a favorable idea for our Catholic client.
The 12” concrete shear wall required to bind the existing building with the new addition created the inspiration for the central stair. My design resulted in a visual extrusion of the shear wall to form a stylized stair profile landing on a concrete pad. The pad extended beneath the stair in response to the cane area code requirement and also provided a shallow seating area, similar to the gallery stair.
Donald P. Shiley was co-inventor of the Bjork-Shiley heart valve and the major donor for this renovation-addition to the engineering school. The third floor elevator door was selected for an elevator door art installation.
I told the story of this biomedical collaboration by showcasing the legal patent scrolling down the right side in conversation with the medical explanation of the heart valve scrolling down the left side. The open-close operation of the disc was central to this sucessful invention. To show this in operation I placed three images representing both the open-closed state and also the three stages development - the schematic design, the patent drawing and the realistic photo-rendering. The graphic splits down the middle and is broken when open and completed when closed. Students can read and learn while waiting for the elevator.