Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Holy cow this term is going to be the death of me!!

The first week of class went by in a blur and then so did week two. Now we're halfway through week three and I have yet to have a single day "off". I'm really starting to feel fried. But enough about me...


(Photo by Amanda Loomis, 2011)
Our studio project site for Tech Studio is located at a commercial office building in Salem. The SAIF Corporation in Salem wants to redevelop/redesign their "backyard." On a side note, it was interesting to hear the CEO refer to the courtyard area between the building and the creek in residential ownership terms. I kept thinking about the connotations of backyard - gardens, swing sets, barbecues, parties. The only thing that happens out there is an annual event and infrequent ice cream socials in the summer time.

It's an interesting project for many reasons, the first and foremost is that it's a real site that will actually be built. There are many constraints on the project and design, including some soil issues (a buried oil tank from prior to the buildings construction 30 years ago), the adjacent creek flooded the property in 1996 and new flood control measures including a 6-foot berm and flood gate installed on site, a three-year phased budget and TONS of existing and degraded concrete that we are not allowed to remove.

(Photo by Amanda Loomis, 2011)

The established goals of SAIF Corp.'s committee for the project are to create a more usable (increase use) and sustainable landscape. The existing landscape was installed after construction of the building 30 years ago. It's a relatively standard commercial landscape for the era -- concrete plaza like area, benches that are located in ways that make them unattractive to passersby (in full view of the conference room/viewable from the CEO's office, etc.)

(Photo by Amanda Loomis, 2011)

Another interesting aspect of this project is that last year's Tech Studio worked on the same project. They established a basic design for the site, but there is a lot of refinement needed for it to work for the site. So, for the last week and half we've been working on designs for the project -- primarily making the suggested plan from last year actually work with the existing topography and site constraints.

My studio team this term is AWESOME!! Logan, Mike, Amanda and I formed a group or in studio design firm. Mike came up with the name Quad Squad, which I love. Then we developed our design firm logo for all of our work:
Top left: Amanda
Top right: Logan
Bottom left: Mike
Bottom right: me!

All three of them are great to work with -- I could have named them the dream team. They all have pretty much the same attitude towards the work as I do. Do the work well, but get the work done. Late nights are not our preferred work time, but so far have been a bit too frequent for our taste due to the pacing of the studio so far.

We've worked hard creating a new CAD file with design, survey, etc. for the site. This past weekend we rendered a new illustrative plan for the project (the colors/rendering style was chosen by the instructor):

Last night we cut out and assembled model pieces for the revised plan. It got too late and the existing model was being used last night, so I haven't taken any pictures of that yet, but I hope to later today.

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