2009 | House of Arts and Culture | Beruit, Lebanon | Competition Entry
Our proposal for the House of Arts seeks both a clear spatial integration to the diverse series of elements that make up the house and a significant place and presence for each element within that whole. At the same time it is our desire to give an image to this whole which conveys the special nature of what it holds and projects as well as quietly integrating and adding to the surrounding urban context.

We do not see the House simply as a theater, cinema, library, museum, or educational institution but as machine for the production and enjoyment of a diverse range of media and performance. With this in mind our proposal for the House is both exceedingly functional – giving the greatest flexibility to the various programmatic elements – and their relationship to service elements – allowing the forms and dimensions of the elements to be determined by necessity – while giving a location to each part – determined by the logic of the whole – in how one element might relate to another through adjacency or vision. Complete proposal pdf downloadable here.

2008 | 99K House | Houston, TX | Competition Entry [Honorable Mention]
The fundamental characteristic of our 99K house competition entry is the utilization of prefabricated technologies that are already in place but are, as of yet, under utilized in the residential building industry. Specifically – our entry investigates the possibilities of adapting a ‘Butler’ type metal building system for this purpose.
In addition, (SIPs) or Structurally Insulated Panels are utilized for the primary interior enclosure. As both of these systems are factory constructed – our aim is to tap into the construction efficiency already in place – the use of green technologies – the control and minimization of waste and the universal adaptability of the ‘Butler’ type system are just a few strong points. In addition both systems allow for an extreme cost savings by minimizing on site construction time and the use of wet trades while maximizing the amount of space for the cost.

With this in mind our entry proposes nearly doubling the overall volume of the project – as outlined in the brief – creating a shaded double height exterior volume on the north side of the house. This enclosed yet open (through the use of a perforated skin) volume allows the back of the house to be completely opened to this space. The need for mechanical conditioning is eliminated by treating the entire house in this way as a type of veranda and allowing the exterior skin to serve as a shading device. In addition the condensation of hard programmatic elements into a core allows for greater flexibility in programmatic delineations.

2007 | House B | Atlanta, GA | Competition Entry [Design Merit]
HOUSE B explores the simple box as an affordable, efficient and beautiful space for living. The house is divided into a public zone on the first floor and a private zone on the second floor, with the living room spanning between the two on a street-facing intermediate level.
The house is meant to feel light, airy, and directly connected to the immediate landscape that surrounds it. Rather than turning our back to the neighbors, we believe active spaces should happen on both the front and the back of the home so as to fully use the entire site and to play an ongoing role in maintaining an active neighborhood. The east side of the building houses a compact utility core allowing the rest of the building to be as free and open as desired. In about 1400 square feet the house can be constructed with either a two or three bedroom arrangement.

2007 | Universel Temple | New Lebanon, NY | Competition Entry
The design of the new Universel reaches both forward and backward in time for its inspiration. With our design we seek to imagine an integrated rebirth and memory of the temple. The design strategy employs the golden rectangle as means of constructing a new identity/direction in combination with the pyramidal form of the previous Universel. The golden rectangle was selected for its significance to the sufi religion. From its form and the dimensions of the existing foundation we derive the outer skin and first view of the new Universel. The memory of the previous Universel, is integrated as an absence – a spatial void within the volume of the new outer skin. This spatial void is conceptually created by the intersection of the pyramidal form of the previous Universel – with the new volume.
Upon approaching the Universel the simple rectangular volume seems to hover above the foundation – there is playfulness between its apparent solidity and completeness as a volume and the transparency of its material. As one gets closer still there is a sense of the inner volume viewed through slats of the outer skin – the structure is more mysterious and complex than it seems. As one enters the inner circle and ascends the temple steps – the light subtlety changes – ones eyes are drawn upward by the progressive stepping of the slats of the inner volume – they play of light and shadow – and ultimately a view to the sky. One finds themselves in an intense, quiet, inner space yet completely open to the surrounding landscape. It is this blending of enclosure and openness, verticality of the void and horizontality of the view out, subtlety and surprise that we believe are the strengths of our proposal.

Additional and important strengths of our proposal are the use of simple and available materials and construction techniques. For its strength, beauty and availability Douglas Fir would be used for the primary structure. Steel cabling, brackets and hardware would be utilized where necessary to help strengthen and facilitate joining. We image that the structure is assembled in pieces on the ground and then raised by many hands – as a timber-framed barn would be. For its durability, resistance to pest and rot, and natural beauty, cedar is used for the inner and outer-slated skins. The entire inner structure, accept for the opening to the sky, is protected from weathering by a roof that has integral ‘scuppers’ – allowing water and snow to run off outside the line of the foundation. Lastly the new floor surface would be a simple and durable concrete construction – potentially adorned with inset stone or coloration and scoring. An integral alter is proposed – positioned beneath the roof opening and constructed from locally harvested quartz.

2007 | Mediascape | St. Louis, MO | St. Louis Folly Competition Entry [3rd Prize]
mediascape is proposed as an immersive media environment that explores the line between landscape, building, and media. The project begins with one simple move that creates two different types of media viewing spaces – an open-air cinema on the upper level and an immersive media environment below.
Taking advantage of the western sloping surface of the site – the mediascape rises as the site drops in elevation and gestures towards the arch monument culminating in a two sided projection screen. The screen is both a response to the scale of the arch and the adjacency of the highway creating a visual draw for the greater market street zone. Utilizing monocoque construction methodology the mediascape tapers to a thin line at its edges – masking its depth, thus playing a visual game with the spectator. The elliptical forms on ground level house light controlled galleries in addition to serving as vertical structure and access between levels.

2005 | Parachute Pavilion | Coney Island, NY | Competition Entry
The design of the Parachute Pavilion began with the simple notion of inhabiting the magical, ephemeral space of the Coney Island boardwalk. The project carries forward the boardwalk itself and gently lifts it up so one can exist both on, and, within it. Its form is inspired by the rolling forms of the seaside dunes, the ocean’s majestic waves, and the former mounds of the steeplechase landscape.

The movement of the piece is forward to point visitors to the view of the water ahead and horizontal to highlight the vertical frame of the Parachute Jump tower.

The structure of the Parachute Pavilion takes its inspiration from the light and thin architecture of Coney Island’s boardwalk architecture, at once dematerialized and dramatic. It is a metal and glass building to minimize its mass. Its steel structure is constructed out of readily available shapes but assembled in a relatively free-form arrangement to add surprise and delight. The roof is constructed out of prefabricated, insulated sandwich panels and inlaid with thin, flush-faced glass skylight strips. This combines the efficiency of mass-produced energy-efficient materials with a fresh, experimental approach to their assembly.

The Parachute Pavilion weaves together public and private domains. In the same way that the boardwalk, as a public zone, offers it space to meanderers, shoppers, workers, and vacationers, the public is invited to filter though the Parachute Pavilion and experience it whether entering its privately held spaces or not. It contains fully accessible circulation paths to both levels with visual access to its interiors. Additionally, there is a public plaza adjacent to the shop integrated into the design and meant to give over a portion of its property to the community and visitors of Coney Island.

Entering the private spaces of the Parachute Pavilion is an experience in having the views to the ocean and Parachute Jump heightened. To do this the building briefly hides its views using the masses of the restaurant and ramps as moments of respite, only to redeliver them to fresh eyes through the narrow horizontal openings in the roofs and building edges. Once inside the experience is dominated by the dappled light coming through the narrow slots of the “boardwalk” above. Visitors are surrounded by the constantly shifting streams of light and are transported to an ethereal interpretation of the complex yet simple space of the boardwalk.

2005 | Screen House | Dallas, TX | Urban Reserve House Competition Entry [2nd Prize]
The Screen House is comprised of two parts. The more private and closed area of bedrooms, bathrooms, and services are contained on the eastern side of the house on the first and second floor.
The more open and public spaces of the house are on the west side. This light and airy western side is composed of a large open space with smaller secondary spaces defined by platforms, which slip into and out of the main space. The primary orientation of this space is southern, facing the terrace and pool. Its main feature is a 48’ truss, which supports the roof and facilitates the opening of the entire south wall – allowing for unmediated spatial flow between the interior and exterior. Wrapping this space is a steel frame clad with a perforated aluminum panel system used to control southern and western sunlight. This system will bath the space in dappled light throughout the day and reduce cooling costs by sheltering the glass from direct light. At night the inner light of the house creates a glowing effect altering the character of the skin.

The terrace and primary living space are separated from the street by a series of screen walls, a motor court, and the service core, creating a very private yet open and connected space.

Other materials besides the aluminum utilized are natural redwood, frosted glass, concrete floors with radiant heat, and built-in wood cabinetry throughout. The house is to be fitted with a lightweight green roof to reduce run-off and the cost of overall cooling and heating of the house. In addition the primary living space has an operable skylight along the entire northern edge – for light in addition to updraft air circulation.

2004 | Suburban Loft | Richmond, VA | C2C House Competition Entry
Today’s generations are faced with the need to change their attitude about the earth’s limited resources. Issues of the earth’s sustainability in architecture have tended to focus around building construction materials and methods. This project has been a way for us to research and learn about these subjects and to incorporate them into our work more fully than ever before. While our design uses a wide array of environmentally sensitive materials, we were particularly intrigued with the notion of the “Technical Nutrient”.
We designed the home to have as many assembled parts as possible. This includes the bolted steel frame, the operable glass windows, preassembled plywood storage units (which act as space partitions), and assembled exterior wood screens.

At one point in the design process, we asked ourselves if the idea of sustainability could have a broader scope. Could a design be sustainable beyond its materials and methods? How can a home sustain a family or a neighborhood or a community? We saw the American suburban house model, while ample in space, as one of segregation and separation amongst neighbors and away from the land that supports it. Our design seeks to use a much more transparent assembly of materials as a means of dialogue between the dwellers and their neighbors and surrounding landscape. The narrowness of the house aligns and exposes the home’s inner life while constantly opening for views and ventilation outward to both sides of the building. It aims to connect one with their surroundings and asks that one be aware of their total environment.

The home is deliberately small in size and minimal in style. It seeks to conserve materials and touch the earth lightly. It asks its inhabitants to live simply and consciously of amassing and cluttering.

The urban loft building inspires the design of the layout of the home. The private zones are compact, providing refuge when needed, while the public zones are one open space for a family to share and negotiate.

The exterior was not designed to fit in to the neighborhood, nor, however, is it meant to stand out. Rather we are proposing an individualistic yet sensitive addition to the community.

2004 | Holocaust Human Rights Center | Augusta, ME | Competition Entry
We live now in a post-Holocaust era. The initial, sharp sting of grief has given way to the lighter, but much more pervasive, ache of long-term sorrow. And we must not forget. For us, the story of the Holocaust should be remembered, studied, and told as fully as possible so as to attempt to understand what happened, and, more importantly, to begin to shape a world in which it can never happen again.
Our project seeks to give time and space to the act of remembering. Toward this, we designed a building centered around the theme of lingering. We created one continuous promenade from which to access all parts of the building. This procession, which always begins and ends outside the building’s limits, is gentle; it is dotted with rests and pauses encouraging moments of contemplation and reflection. Its space will not feel contained. Rather, we envision it loosely fitting into the building and having many long leaks, repeatedly leading one to the outside. Physically, the promenade is designed as a fully accessible ramp for all visitors to experience equally. Programmatically, the ramp is the primary means of circulation, but even more, it acts as a unifying public room with space for exhibitions on its walls, places to meet and gather, and moments to sit and relax.

The most important interior room for us is the Gallery. We imagine it as both contributing to the whole of the building, but also a visibly distinct and separate destination with which the visitor is in constant visual contact. To achieve this we foresee a unique cladding material and gesture signifying a focal point to move in and around.

The character of the building we envision is both heavy and light as a means to express the heavy darkness of systematic human rights violations contained in the light, long residue such acts leave behind. The building has a serious tone, and a quiet, uplifted disposition. It is partially sunken to maintain a modest presence, respond to the site topography, and be more energy efficient, but upward reaching to bring in light and provide transparency throughout. Additionally, we sought to give the project a strong, singular image so that the subject matter would have presence on the campus and in the memory of its visitors.

2003 | Chicago Transit Portal  | Chicago, IL | Competition Entry [finalist]

2003 | 2750 Lawrence Street | Eugene, OR | Design + Build [AIA Honor Award]
2750 Lawrence is a project for the renovation of ranch style house built in 1960. Being fond of this stylistic period and the general spatial qualities of the house, we attempted a seamless renovation, where old and new come together without hard edge (reveals), but where new nevertheless remains discreet from existing.
The original floor plan had a centralized, load-bearing (wood stud) wall dividing the public spaces of the house from each other. In order to open the space, our project removes the sheathing of this wall and partially replaces it with clear-finished birch plywood paneling. The design of the wall exposes portions of the stud construction, water pipes, and electrical conduits and boxes. The forms of these fixtures were conceived and framed as part of the screening between rooms. The rest of the renovation includes built-in furniture (book shelves in the Living Room and a writing desk in the Dining Room), new counters in the Kitchen and a new stained plywood floor in the Kitchen and Dining Room.

Because we build many of our projects ourselves the design process and its construction are intertwined. In this project we did not complete a set of documents and then construct it. Instead, we began with a direction to open spaces to each other, and allowed for the discoveries made during the construction process to greatly inform our design decisions. In this case the limitations revealed by uncovering the central wall became central design and detailing catalysts.