Iceland / August 2016 / Competition / Iceland Trekking Cabins Competition / Team: Yewon Ji, Ryan Otterson, Nicolas Lee
The project starts from the understanding that the primary function of eco-tourism in Iceland is the visual consumption of the landscape. The perpetual documentation of the landscape in popular media (ex. Instagram) and increases in tourism of recent years have made the world increasingly aware of Iceland’s natural assets, without acknowledging their sensitivities to tourism, industry, and climate change. The cabin is a reaction to the damage rendered by tourists in the landscape, conceived as a self-sustaining machine for consumption of the dramatic view in real time. Amenities and their systems are self-contained in the building, allowing the building to sit functionally autonomous in its various sites.
The proposed trekking cabin sits lightly on the landscape, on thin 40mm helical piles driven into the earth. Visitors ascend the stair into a structure divided in 2 zones:
I) The service zone: sleeping rooms, restrooms, a kitchen, storage areas and mechanical areas produce energy and clean water to sustain occupants without the necessity of creating a footprint. The service areas are clad in light colored wood, and the exterior appears a minimal dwelling structure, with openings appearing only where functionally necessary, and a dark steel entry stair suspended just above the ground.
II) The dark zone facilitates the singular function of viewing. Blackout curtains may be drawn around like a theater, where the glass wall becomes the interface to the landscape outside. The glass wall is reflective on the dark exterior, refocusing its appearance back onto the landscape itself and denying its visual and physical impact.
SOFT IN THE MIDDLE / THE COLLABORATIVE CORE
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Chicago, IL / September 2015 / Competition / ChiDesign CADE Competition / Team: Yewon Ji, Ryan Otterson, Nicolas Le
Project was selected as a Winner of the ChiDesign Center for Architecture, Design and Education competition organized by the Chicago Architecture Foundation in October 2015. The competition jury featured Stanley Tigerman, David Adjaye, Monica Ponce de Leon, Billie Tsien and Ned Cramer. The project is currently exhibited at the Chicago Architecture Biennale, and will be on display until January 2016.
Chicago has long been known as the birthplace of the skyscraper. Since his arrival in Chicago in 1937, Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe became the leading figure in the Second Chicago School, the City which would become his architectural playground. The clarity and ethos of his work harmonized with the city’s architectural past and trajectory. For Mies, “Less is More” suggested less about miminalism than it did about the architectural legibility of his projects. The repetitive, and to some, mundane qualities of his work bring its platonic aspects to life; the plane of the city (the plinth), the dissolution of footprint (the glass lobby), and vertical movement (consolidated core as a centerpiece).
As contemporary space and the public realm become increasingly fluid, we propose the radical re-a rrangement of these elements that have so defined the figure-ground of chicago’s downtown. We propose the typical hard, consolidated core to be replaced with a a soft one: an extension of the plinth where the core no longer resists the continuous plane of the city, but rather inhales public activity, bringing a new life to Mies dissolved public boundary which before only appeared in plan. The Marble clad cores that defined Mies’ iconic works defined weak sectional relationships between floors. The Collaborative core is the logical extension of Mies’ “universal space” which was never fully resolved in his towers or in his beloved playground (Chicago).
Terminal of Arts and Culture
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Helsinki, FI / March 2015 / Competition
Competition / Team: Ryan Otterson, Nicolas Lee
Project was selected for the Jury's List in the Next Helsinki competition in April 2015 and will be published in 2016.
As the largest passenger terminal in Finland, Helsinki sees 5.4 million passengers every year. The daily influx of large ships has produced a harbor-side condition that is separated from the city center of Helsinki by the large non-descript terminals that populate its edges. Urban life has been detached from the water’s edge of South Harbor.
The unique maritime culture and landscape of the archipelago provides a unique condition in which travel and connection between islands is common. We propose to de-clutter the harbor’s edge by removing the existing cruise terminals, and replacing them with a new terminal in the center of the harbor. By relocating the cruise terminals, the harborfront can be freed up and returned to the city. Furthermore, the proposed cruise terminal would be a part of a larger facility housing a center of arts and culture. The Terminal of Arts and Culture is conceived as a microcosm of Helsinki’s urban activity and Finnish Culture. The distinct qualities and character of the city is celebrated and displayed as a piece of collective art. The activity of ferry travel becomes a spectacle rather than a nuisance to the water’s edge.
With the cruise terminals relocated, the harborfront is freed up to become a continuous landscape, public space and development hosting a wide array of activities. The different program along the harborfront responds to the urban context: The West Promenade Park is an extension of the Observatory Hill (Tähtitorninvuoren puisto), The Harbor Bath utilizes the existing piers to create outdoor pools of different sizes, The Market Square (Kauppatori) is a multifunctional outdoor space that extends out to the waterfront and The East Promenade is a landscape that houses the Finnair SkyWheel, as well as new urban development containing residential and office program. Water taxi stations are spread throughout the harborfront providing direct access to and from the Terminal.
Eight Pavilions for the Senses
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Bologna, IT / May 2015 / Competition / YAC Young Architects Competitions (Food and Wellness Center) / Team: Yewon Ji, Ryan Otterson, Nicolas Lee
This Project was selected as a Finalist in July 2015.
Eight Pavilions For The Senses: A Center for Body Restoration is organized around the notion of retreat. The building is an architectural expression of bodily disconnection from everyday life, and from our typical modes of sensory experience. A new colonnade outlines the site and echoes the famous porticos of Bologna and signifies the act of stepping out of the civic experience, into an intimate encounter with one’s own senses. Between the new colonnade and the existing structure is a lush garden, a densified wilderness that perceptually separates the inner realm of retreat from the civic realm on the other side. As one enters the brick preparation building, showers, lockers, a shop, and staff facilities prepare the visitor for his routine. Exiting this facility to the former warehouse, the visitor encounters a collection of platonic objects gathered around the “soak”, a pool that serves as the datum that ties the experiences together and as a cleanse between sensory experiences. The pavilions gathered around the pool and in the lush garden reconnect the user with specific sensory extremes and strange juxtapositions rather than programmatic simplicities. The lush garden cleanses the user’s palate as one proceeds from one pavilion to another, heightening senses through contrast.
A speculative proposal on thermal inertia, for a shop in Tours, France. Various concrete aggregates with differing properties and geologic origins are mixed, with varying wall thicknesses measured according to their capacity to store and release heat over time. An interior "landscape" is composed of literal geology: ground up, mixed, and re-poured into programmatically derived forms and volumetric heat capacities.