Schematic Design Review: Veronica Landron

The main idea through Veronica’s telling of her proposal, is how she was creating a building that will connect the shore line of Bushwick Inlet, and the corner of Quay and Franklin streets. The way she responded to the shoreline side of the site through her building was by creating a unique roof structure using a triangular geodesic “dome” pattern creating a lightweight, environmentally friendly design. On the street side of her proposed project she responded to the corner condition of Quay and Franklin by replicating the angled lines of the streets to form the shape of her apparatus bay. In her schematic design project statement, Veronica stated how she was using the two different structures of the roof and apparatus bay to harmoniously connect the two different characteristics of our site, that being the urban condition verse the park/landscape.

To be honest, before Veronica presented I had no idea what her project was or what direction she was going in. At first glance, Veronica’s presentation board seemed to be a simple presentation, with her site plan being one of the more telling drawings on her board in my opinion. However, her model she had at presentation was also really successfully in showing the reviewers this concept of the geodesic “dome” covering a portion of her building. I would ask Veronica for her to work on projecting her voice a little more, it was difficult to hear what she was saying at times and I was only in the second row of seats.

I commend Veronica for pursuing a design with a complicated structural scheme, as not many of us have yet to delve too far into the structural aspects of our designs. Although, she seems to have a unique structural feature to be used in her design proposal, she does need to rethink her programming. Like the reviewers stated, the idea of a geodesic dome should be in an area that programmatically needs high ceilings and open space, in our design this is perfect for the apparatus bay area. But in Veronica’s scheme right now she has all the private sectioned off residential areas under the geodesic “dome” roof structure. The reviewers told Veronica that she needs to think critically about what programmatic spaces and the benefit of using this roof structure she is looking to implement.

I would encourage Veronica to make the structure of the geodesic “dome” her primary focus. Right now it seems to be secondary. There are more qualities and strengths to the geodesic dome other than the ability to have large open spaces; as the reviewers commented these other qualities can influence Veronica’s design decisions of the rest of the building. One of these other qualities include the transparency of it, how light would be able to penetrate the structure and effect the different functions of the building.

I’m sure Veronica has been studying up on Buckminster Fuller and his uses of the geodesic dome. One particular precedent she should pay close attention to, as the reviewers mentioned, is the Montreal Biosphere. Here the reviewers were encouraging Veronica to start looking at her landscape as being apart of the building. At this point her building just sat on the site being its own object, and now she needs to start seeing how her building can (and should) become integrated with the land and surrounding site. Maybe she should begin to integrate this concept of temporal boundaries within her proposal. Start introducing the idea of the landscape coming into the building since the structure is wanting her to do this since there is the transparent quality with the material of the structure she is using; and with this transparency there is an ability to have the landscape work its way into the building in some fashion.

The residential side of Veronica’s proposal faces toward the views of Manhattan, which is the obvious thing to do in the site we have been given.  However, are there any other programmatic spaces that would be enhanced by orienting them toward the views of the East River and Manhattan? How about the recreation space and dayroom and kitchen area? If I were someone in those spaces, I would want to have a view of the skyline as I was eating dinner or hanging out playing some pool.

Overall, I believe that Veronica’s building is a good start at proposing something interesting and unique for the area. With Brooklyn being an up and coming neighborhood, this affords the opportunity for Veronica to propose a unique building for the area like the one she is proposing with the geodesic “dome” roof structure for a portion of her building. I know it is special for the users of the building to have that view of Manhattan, but with the unique triangular structure Veronica is proposing, her building can become one of the unique buildings apart of the Brooklyn skyline Brooklyn being that dynamic, interesting structure for the viewers in Manhattan to see.

Some main things that Veronica should focus on now are:

  • Look at your programmatic spaces and what works best with your structural elements. I know you have focused on your structure a lot so the programmatic spaces aren’t 100% figured out yet.
  • Think of the the canopy that is going over the structure. What is the material going to be? Is it going to be translucent? This will make your building that dynamic structure seen from Manhattan.
  • How are you treating the rest of your site? Like I mentioned earlier, maybe there is a way to integrate the roof structure in with the landscape somehow creating temporal boundaries?
  • What are the sustainability aspects of your design? What exactly about the roof structure makes it environmentally friendly as you stated during your presentation?
  • The harder task like the reviewers mentioned, and I agree with, is how are you going to integrate the residential, private,  and closed off areas of the program into the structure?

Image: View of Montreal Biosphere

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