SCHEMATIC DESIGN REVIEW – CRISTINA DIFAZIO

Designer: Cristina Difazio/Reviewer: Bernardo Almeida

I was assigned to attend to Cristina’s review and make comments on her work. I think so far, Cristina’s project was good in the sense of the aspect regarding public vs. private spaces. Her design is based on Louis Khan’s concept of servant vs. served spaces. The idea of the transition between this spaces and how the spaces are organized was very interesting in Cristina’s project. Her idea was based on how to organized this spaces and how to apply this concept of serve and service to a fire station in a good way. She tried to address the idea of circulation, especially for the fire fighters on how to get from the residential area into the apparatus bay in order to maximize efficiency. I think the comments on Cristina’s review were both positive and negative in the sense for improvement but also highlighting important aspects that she had achieved.

Regarding Cristina’s board and presentation, I think she did a great job in terms of board composition including drawings both in plan and section, diagrams that explained her concept, a perspective to show an important space in her project and also a site plan that showed the integration of her building with the landscape. I think in terms of the diagrams I will suggest that for the next review, she could include more information on those and also make her more clear in order for the drawing to speak for itself, how it is supposed to be. I think overall her plans and section were very clear in terms of line weights and also poche. It was very important for Cristina and also for the audience of her review to include the site and context on the first floor plan. I think many of us sometimes don’t think too much about that and I think it is a crucial aspect to consider because it makes a clear understanding of how the building connects to the landscape and vice versa. I think the most important part of her board was the idea of including a picture of her precedent as part of concept explanation and analysis. This is one aspect that sometimes some us of let it pass and don’t think about the importance of including a precedent image on our presentation. Even though some us mentioned it during our presentation, I think it is extremely important to show a picture in the board in order to use it as reference while explaining and talking about it.

Talking about Cristina’s concept idea for her project. The concept that she explained it at the beginning of her review was well composed and explained in a clear way. The idea of servant vs. served spaces is an interesting idea that Cristina proposed but she has to change some things in her project in order to make it stronger in terms of idea and also in terms of architecture as a whole and how to address the site and the building as one. She explained in a clear way how she designs the building in order for the important circulation spaces to make sense. She addressed an important part of the project, which is the boat dock, and how do fire fighters get from the building, through the landscape, into the boat dock. I think she designed it in a good way by locating it in a clear, rectilinear circulation from the dock to the building. One aspect the critics comments on Cristina’s project was the fact that in this building the part of the 2nd floor were all the residential spaces are located it is kind of weird designed. They commented that users could get kind of lost in the second floor and that there is not a clear circulation happening. They suggested making the layout in the second floor cleaner and simpler emphasizing simplicity as Louis Khan conceptual project. In her project, by looking at the plan, she had these vertical strips that acted like volumes with spaces on the inside for program allocation. According to the critics, these volumes look like an important aspect on the project, especially in plan view, and should be emphasized and should read strongly. Cristina’s project includes an A, B, A, B structure with this vertical strips but she needs to allocate program inside the building in a more consistent, simpler and efficient way. This structure is clearly shown in the first floor and it was suggested to her to bring that idea to the second floor as well.

The reviewers talked about the idea of walking into a building and are impacted by something regarding architecture. Some design or focus point on the entrance of a building is essential to gather the users’ attention and make it a welcoming building. One of the reviewers mentioned the library by Kahn which has a open space in the main lobby of the building and makes the people look at the books from the far away distance and bring the people and make them see the books as a main focal point. So they mentioned the idea of coming into the building and looking at the apparatus bay and engines as a main and first focal point when arriving to the main lobby. I think that Cristina’s project emphasizes the idea of serve vs. served spaces.

I think so far I have mentioned some positive aspects about her project and also some aspects that she can improve by taking the good suggestions that the critics made during her review. Other important aspect of her proposal that was discussed during her review was the connection between the building and the landscape on the site and if there is site manipulation in terms of contours at all. In Cristina’s project, she has thought about the idea of designing the landscape and incorporate to the building some how but I suggest that she revise that aspect more closely. She mentions that she came up with the plan of her building by using a structural grid based on the program sizes. What she has right now is a attempt of organizing her landscape and make it work with the circulation of the building. I think that she is not following the same idea of the building, in the landscape. One suggestion could be to use the same grid for the landscape and design spaces in the outside in order to have like a kind of established circulation among the whole site and treat the building and landscape as one element. One thing that was kind of confusing in the first floor plan was the intensity of the colors used in the landscape design I suggest that Cristina could use lighter colors and maybe be more sutil in terms of showing her design idea for the landscape and make the building stand out in both plans and sections. I think overall Cristina has a good project with a clear idea and a good precedent but she has to work out some of the small aspects mentioned in order to make her project stronger and better.

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