March 30, 2011

Section Design & Reflections on Penultimate Design Presentation

Below is a section drawing of the library, looking south into the courtyard.

On Friday March 25th, our studio had the opportunity of welcoming Mr. Randolf Holmes, Principal of Glave and Holmes Architecture in Virginia, as well as Pauline Marie Smith of the Liturgical Institute to review our work.  This presentation, the second to last of the year, provided me with a valuable set of insight and critique, which I will use to refine and clarify the intent of my design in the final presentation.  The following list is a quick overview of the elements of my design I will seek to edit by the end of the week, when I will begin preparations for the final water colored final presentation:

1. Clarify use and meaning of structural systems. (Vertical hierarchy of structure, internal implications of structural trabeation vs. clear spanning).

2. Illustrate how stacks will be arranged.  Response to direct solar gain?

3. Open up interior hallway to increase depth of daylight access into ranges.

4. Increase prominence of library’s main entrance.

In the next couple days, I will seek solutions to each of these critiques in an effort to design a more sustainable, functional, and efficient library for the future.

Thank-you for following my progress thus far.  I look forward to moving into the final presentation phase and bringing my year-long investment in this project to a coherent, visual presentation.

March 20, 2011

A New Perspective on Aurora’s Library and Context

With exactly four weeks left until the final presentation of my design for the new Aurora Public library, I am eager to make final design decisions as well as to begin working on the final set of presentation deliverables.

My growing awareness of and appreciation for some of the country’s and world’s most beloved libraries (ex. Boston Public Library, New York Public Library, Detroit Public Library, Saint Genevieve Public Library etc…) have not only proven to be excellent models for my own design, but have also served as one of the strongest educational tools for me in the context of the TAU (Traditional Architecture and Urbanism) section.  While the TAU section strives to understand how to design in the classical language, it encourages an understanding of a building’s use, type, tectonics, as well as sustainable strategies.

Steve Mouzon, architect, planner, and advocate of true sustainability provides a wealth of information that is highly applicable to the criteria I wish to embody in my library design.  Earlier this year, Judson’s School of Art Design and Architecture (SoADA) was very fortunate to host Mouzon to meet with our studio and discuss the content of his research.

In his book and blog The Original Green, Mouzon outlines 8 foundations of sustainable places and buildings.  According to Mouzon, truly sustainable places and buildings are nourishable, lovable, accessible, durable, serviceable, flexible, securable and frugal.  Through the process of designing the library building, and more recently, re-assessing its fittingness to its urban context, I have realized the numerous implications of my design as an addition to Aurora’s fabric.   Mouzon’s 8 foundations help categorize and articulate the goals of my own project.  As I continue to refine my building design and urban plan, I will seek to graphically articulate each of the components of my project.

The new Aurora Public Library will be a highly accessible building.  In my initial urban plan, the library’s main entrance fronts River Street.  However, originating from critiques from Thomas Rajkovich and through further discussions with Professor Chris Miller and fellow classmates, I have discovered that a 90 degree counter-clockwise rotation of my building will allow for several advantageous urbanistic improvements to take place.  With the main entrance now on the Benton Street, the private programmatic functions of the building will be re-located to the interior of the block, allowing all three public ranges to gain adjacency to street frontage.  A public green to the west will complement and address the civic nature of the library, while providing dramatic views on an approach to the library as one walks or drives east en-route to Stolp Island.  The River Street elevation will now take on a different role in its contribution to the street wall and context as a whole.

View West on Benton St.


Public Green on Benton St. addressing library building

As one moves down in scale from the urban context into the interior of the library itself, the geometric and regularity of room sizes, as well as the public to private parti of the building plan will lend themselves to both an efficient and versatile use of programmatic space.  Public greens directly to the north and west of the library will address its importance as a building type within its context.  As one approaches the library from either the east or west direction on Benton St., one will notice how the building’s proximity to the street contributes to a strong street wall and brings a civic presence to the west side of Stolp Island.

The new public library will be sustainable.  Through a strategic placement and zoning of activities, the library building will take advantage of passive heating and cooling strategies which will greatly decrease the load on HVAC systems.  Each of the four narrow ranges will allow light to penetrate deep into the floor plan as well as for cross ventilation to take place.

The new library building will be lovable.  As Mouzon states, “If a building cannot be loved, it will not last.  Any serious conversation about sustainable buildings must begin with the issue of lovability.” (Mouzon, 199)  What makes a building lovable?  How does lovability contribute to the longevity of a building?  While answers to these questions may lead to numerous other important discussions surrounding my library building and urban design, I look forward to answering these types of questions through continued development of each of my graphic and verbal presentations.

View East on Benton St.

March 8, 2011

Aurora, IL. Public Library Design: Mid-Term Review

This is the latest iteration of my proposal for the new Aurora Public Library.  Our entire studio presented this work at the Graham Foundation in Downtown Chicago on Friday, March 4th.  Much appreciation is due to our guest critics Thomas Rajkovich, Allyson Vincent and Jared Natalino.  Their expertise and critical insight into my progress thus far will greatly help take this design to the next levels of refinement.  There is still much to do, however, I look forward to digging deeper into the tectonics of the building, a higher development of the clarity, composition and hierarchy of the plan, as well as the library’s relationship to its surrounding urban fabric.  The new Aurora public library has great potential for strengthening the civic presence to the west side of downtown Aurora, providing an amenity to the public, as well as contributing to Aurora’s rich urban fabric in a sustainable, timeless fashion.  Please join us for our final presentation on April 15th!

River Street Elevation

Benton Street Elevation

Bottom: First Floor Plan, Top: Third Floor Plan

Site Plan


February 9, 2011

Storyboard Rendered


February 8, 2011


This drawing in progress illustrates a day in my life in Glacier National Park.  In 2009 I had the opportunity to live and work in GNP.  Each of the vignettes in this composition represents one of the activities I had the opportunity to do.  The arrangement and size of each vignette is designed to best suit each specific activity.  For example, the bottom vignette which is oriented in a portrait setting was a perfect opportunity to illustrate a panoramic view of mountain ranges.  This exercise also incorporates the use of architectural lettering as a part of the composition and design of the entire storyboard.  The storyboard will be finished with colored pencil.

11x17 Ink on trace

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February 6, 2011

Colored Pencil Rendering: Practice

These are a couple of practice renderings I just completed.  I have never worked with colored pencil before, but am finding it to be a very fast and effective media to render in.  The use of ink and color can help to indicate texture, material, and color, adding a level of depth to a concept drawing.  This may become a valuable method of rendering drawings for my studio library project.  Please make sure to take a look at more of my work under the Graduate and Undergraduate Study tabs above.

Ink and colored pencil. Perspective.


Ink and colored pencil. Perspective, plan.

January 28, 2011

Graduate Studio Featured in Judson’s Draewell Gallery

Judson’s Traditional and Ecological Urbanism Studios were proud to pin-up work which highlighted urban analysis, urban renewal and schematic building designs from the first semester.  Each student’s presentation includes a few select pieces of progress work, each which illustrates the iterative process they have gone through in their study of a downtown location.


January 15, 2011

Client Meeting

One of the unique aspects of this year’s studies is having the opportunity to work on a live project and to interact with those who are directly involved in the process.  Yesterday I had the chance to meet with Eva Luckinbill, Aurora’s Library Director.  I was first introduced to Ms. Luckinbill on September 18th of 2010 at the Downer Place Charrette.  This one day charrette, which was dedicated to strengthening the image, vitality, pedestrian friendliness, and economy of Aurora’s downtown brought together architects, planners, city officials, students and interested residents.  Below are a few images from this charrette:

09.18.2010 Downer Place Charrette

In my first conversation with Ms. Luckinbill I explained that I had chosen downtown Aurora for the context of my graduate study and how helpful her involvement in my project would be.  In the weeks following the charrette I had the opportunity to meet with Ms. Luckinbill several more times to discuss her concerns for the programmatic needs of the current library building as well as her ideas for a new library.  Through our meetings and through continued communication I have gained invaluable information regarding Ms. Luckinbill’s vision for the new library building, and have also learned about the importance of the architect/client relationship.  I look forward to further communication and consultation with Ms. Luckinbill as I move forward with the library design and hope to provide any assistance I can along the way.

1.14.2011 Meeting with Eva Luckinbill, Aurora Library Director to discuss new library design


January 11, 2011

Back to the Drawing Board

Today is the first day of the second semester of the year; my final semester at Judson.  While the first semester’s studies were primarily focused on urban analysis and design, this semester’s focus is on my building design for Aurora’s new Public Library.

One of my first tasks is to consider what the style of the new library will be.  It would be easy to simply pick a style for the sake of picking a style, or because a particular style happens to be my favorite style to design in.  Rather, I will make an argument for the style of my building through an analysis of the library’s programmatic needs, it’s size, the types of spaces it demands, the climatic factors of a typical midwest city, as well as a consciousness consideration to the historic nature and vernacular of Aurora.  Along with these considerations, one of the most important factors of the building’s style and design will be the constructability of the building.  How will the building be constructed?  Will the building’s internal structure be clearly expressed in elevation?   How will the materials respond to the structural demands while respecting the aesthetic characteristics of Aurora?  There is a lot to consider, but the outcome will be well worth the process and investigation.