Finalist of Integrative Studio Competition 
Fall 2018 - Integrative Studio
Site: Downtown, Blacksburg, Virginia 
Professor: Kevin Jones
Individual Work 

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The program asks for a complex of residential and commercial space on a piece of a sloping block in downtown Blacksburg – a town economically and demographically influenced by the presence of Virginia Tech. The program requires an archery center with a 25-meter shooting range, a public event space, administrative suits for staff, spectator seating, and other support space. Besides the commercial building, 40 residential units are required. 

Question
How to unify a variety of spaces with the architectural language that speaks to the programs, the site, and the people? 

 

The spatial programs are organized into two separate buildings of residential and commercial connected with grand public stairs. The residential building is situating on the north side of the site, while the commercial building is dominating the corner of the block. By imaging the profile of the site,  the architectural element “roof” starts to play. The roof contour can be recognized as the image of a traditional gabbled-roof house, the tensioned string of a bow, and mountainous scenes in Blacksburg. The whole complex is further broken down into modules through the repetition and iteration for the coherence of the small-scaled neighborhood. The series of modules with different scales and qualities are trying to respond to space underneath. Together, the continuity of the “roofs” is contributing to the image of downtown Blacksburg. 

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The site is at the intersection of South Main street and Eheart Street SE. It occupies half of the block, which is an area of 70,000 SF planned for building and 210,000 SF for range and parking. Adjacent to downtown Blacksburg, the site is surrounded by a variety of mix-use spaces:  residential areas for different accommodations, small-scaled local stores, etc.

The density of this region, determined by the school occupancy, varies significantly across seasons.  

The conditions of Friday nights and summer weekdays at downtown are distinctive to each other. To best preserve the historical character of this region, brick is the primary material to use. 
Through a set of site analyses from different perspectives, the architecture starts to appreciate and respond to the fabric of Blacksburg. 

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Site map

Zoning

Typography 

Circulation

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Step 

 Voids of courtyards and skylights

Step 2

Massing and site circulation

Step 4

Differentiate “roof” for programs

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Site original state

Step 3

Modulate the site with “roof”

The site is dominating the corner of a hilly plain and adjacent to a mixed-use building. The change of elevation reaches approximately 20 feet across the site.

The idea is to step the site into two elevations, then place a three-level residential building next to the existing structure, and the commercial block at the corner of the block.  And the two distinct spaces are knitted by grand public stairs. 

To best accommodate historical characters, the scale of the two spaces on the site is modulated into smaller ranges with the idea of “roof.”  The first floor of the commercial building is the gallery, while the second is for archery centers that can be accessed directly from the parking lot.

The design of each modules’ roof is differentiated to respond to the variety of space below. For instance, the third floor of the residential building of the loft is designed with skylights to penetrate, where the roof is enlarged for gathering area of archery center. Together, the variety of space conditions is sharing the same language.

Void space is inserted into the building to make the space more dynamic, and it becomes the skylight at the gathering space, the courtyard located in the center of the residents. 

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left: residential building; right: commercial building

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The required spatial programs are organized into two seperate buildings of residential and commercial connected with grand public stairs. The residential building is sitting on the north side of the site, while the commercial building is dominating the corner of the block. The archery center on the second floor could be accessed from the parking lot at the back, and the gallery is on the street level. 
By imaging the contour of the site,  the architectural element "roof" starts to play. The roof contour can be recognized as the image of a traditional gabbled-roof house, the tensioned string of a bow, or mountainous scenes in Blacksburg. For the coherence of the small-scaled neighborhood, the whole complex is modulized through repetition and iteration of "the roof." The series of modules with different scales and qualities are trying to respond to space underneath. Overall, the continuity of the "roofs" is contributing to the image of downtown Blacksburg. 

Section Diagarm

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Circulation

Terrain

Stepping

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III - Double

 I -Single

II - Loft

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Language

House

Apartment

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Atrium

Void

Garden

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Balcony

Space

Corner

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Facade

Shifting I

Shifting II

Under the idea of " the roof," the profile of the residential building is unified and strengthened. The building consists of three types of units for different types of accommodations. These are 20 units of one-bedroom located on the first and second floor, 12 units of loft with curvy roof lines on the third floor, and 8 double-floors occupying the two central rows. Each apartment has a balcony formed with curved windows and perforated bricks. It semi-separates indoor and outdoor activities while allowing light and air to go through spaces.  And the arrangements of areas are unified with the central atrium for gatherings and social events. 

Twenty spaces of one-bedroom units are reserved for a single person. The perforated brick walls of balconies allow the light to penetrate while still ensuring privacy for residents.  

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First Floor Plan

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Second Floor Plan

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Third Floor Plan

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View of the central atrium

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View of the central atrium

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Location of one-bedrooms (20 units)

The one-bedroom

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Interior arrangements of one-bedroom

The lofted rooms with a curvy roof profile are located on the third floor of the building. Space is designed to house two people and has a double space for living.

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Location of lofts  (12 units)

The loft

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Interior arrangements of loft 

The double-floor units for three people are occupying the central two rows. Besides the perforated brick walls, the balconies are altering the directions on each floor to make the facade interesting. 

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The double-floor 

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Location of double-floors (8 units)

Interior arrangements of double-floor 

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Interior view of the double-floor

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Street view of the residential building

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View looking towards the balcony of the one-bedroom  

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View looking towards the interior of the loft

Mixed-use of Commercial and Residential
the commerical

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Program

Terrain

Stepping

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Shifting

Fixing

Paralleling

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Skylight

Void

Garden

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Event III

Event

Event II

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Diversity

Roof

Range

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Shifting

Perforating

Multiplying

Under the idea of "roof," the profile of the commercial center is unified as a series of under tensioned strings of bows. By proposing the roof in the form of an arch, repeating and iterating through the module of 16 feet wide and by 100 feet deep light-frame roof structure, qualitative light is brought into a column-free space.

The commercial complex has an archery center (can also be used for the other events), classrooms, a reception, a lobby, and supportive spaces on the second floor. People who are carrying heavy equipment could easily access the building from the parking lot. On the street level, there is a gallery space with a glass facade opens to pedestrians. People could have a grasp of artworks on the wall as they move through the site.  The distinctions between two spaces are revealed through the solidity showed on the second floor and the transparency of the first.  

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Longitudinal facade drawing

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Longitudinal section drawing I

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Longitudinal section drawing II

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Longitudinal section drawing III

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Light Condition during Daytime

Light Condition during Nighttime

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Exploded roof details

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1st-floor plan

2nd-floor plan

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 a. View from the public stairs

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d. View looking at the classrooms

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b. View looking at indoor gallery

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e. Interior view of the lobby

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c. View looking into archery center

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f. Interior view of the archery center