My semester long studio project was not done all by myself. I took the collaborative studio (also known as CoLab) where I worked with a team of seven to design a campus for the sustainability institute at Penn State. On our team was an architect, 4 architectural engineers (each specializing in a different discipline: Mechanical, structural, lighting and electrical, and construction management), and two landscape architects. I was lucky, because I got a pretty awesome team. We called ourselves 4SIGHT. Don’t ask why. Each team had a “pod” – a special area designated mostly for our use. Our pod was in the Immersive Environments Lab (or something) which is basically a very dark, windowless, black room. Here we are chilling in our pod, late in the semester. We made quite a mess of the space.
It’s been a long and tiring semester. Working on a team is cool but also kind of difficult. I got called “landscaper” a bunch in the beginning. It was difficult to coordinate times to meet outside of class. There were also things that are typical of most studios like unclear objectives and general confusion during desk crits. The site we had is a short bus ride from campus where the existing MorningStar solar home is located. It’s in pretty bad shape though. Logan and I took a walk around it and found a lot of trash, invasive species, and ticks. I’ve looked the solar home up so many times that it’s the first thing that appears when I type “m.”
Here is the existing site from google maps. Our site boundary is outlined in red.
Our final design focuses on connecting people to food through design. We used the idea of a “farm-to-table” dining experience for a large part of our programming. We also have an education building and more passively-programmed areas like a pollinator garden, event lawn, green houses, and an outdoor amphitheater. Here is our final plan (courtesy of me 🙂
If you’ve been following me for a while, you probably know that I am not an all-nighter studio work kind of person. I get my stuff done and leave. But not this time. The last week before presentations was a rough one. I was in studio until at least 11 every night and when it was really coming down to the wire, we had some 2:00 AM nights. I know it’s not as bad as some people have it (there is a crew who routinely stays in studio until 1 or 2 AM) but I was still tired. After finishing our presentation on the night before the big day, we had to run through it a couple times and that doesn’t really go over well when we are all tired and hungry. We ordered pizza and that helped. But eventually, we all were tapped out and it was time to rest.
Final Presentation Day
Our group was dead last. Each group had 40 minutes to present in front of a panel of critiquers and 20 minutes for questions and comments. After everyone presented, the panel picked the “best” presentation from made up criteria that they decided on. The winner got a small piece of paper (Some call it a certificate) and they had to present again for 20 minutes. So you can imagine that this wasn’t much of an incentive to win. And, we didn’t even know about the piece of paper. We wanted a good grade but we didn’t really want to win. I thought it was going to be a long and terribly drawn-out day of presentations but it wasn’t too bad. It helped that they provided us lunch. We practiced one last time after lunch but everyone still seemed pretty nervous.
The good new is, our presentation went pretty well! Surprisingly well! I’m very proud to have such a great group for my last final presentation ever! Also, we didn’t win! We lost out on a certificate but it was worth not presenting again. Here is the whole gang, relieved to be done with presentations.