The Pioneer Drafthouse is up

The Pioneer Drafthouse is the subject of my terminal design studio at the University of Oregon. Please visit it’s web page for full details.


[The Pioneer Drafthouse — People:Watching] The Evolution of a Design Concept

The Pioneer Drafthouse is a proposal for a new eatery/brewery/cinema in Salem, Oregon; The programmatic concept is based on the famous Alamo Drafthouses of Austin, Texas.

The original concept statement for the cinema was: “People watching people watching movies”. This was a comment on the voyeurism inherent in the cinematic experience. The act of watching a movie is, essentially watching people (real or fictional) live their lives. The architectural concept was originally explored around creating a series of “theatrically-framed views” through which people would view each other, passersby, and (this was the hard part) the people in the cinema watching their movie. The diagram above is the first attempt to illustrate this idea.

The diagram above shows what the “People watching people watching movies” concept looked like after a little refinement.

The image above is the first in a series of early concept models I did to illustrate the concept statement in 3D. It shows the intent to create numerous theatrically-framed views through which the people-watching experience would take place. This model shows these views at several scales: between the inside of the building and the street, between individuals sitting at the cafe, between cafe-goers and people circulating on multiple floors, etc.

The next model in the series illustrates the intent to create framed views of people walking/circulating.

At the midterm review, the concept started to be called into question. The reality of having lines of sight between the cafe and an active cinema was examined and debunked. The question then became: how does one see the concept statement through? I decided to modify the concept statement into something more directly relevant to the cinema-going experience. The new concept statement ,”People:Watcing”, refers to people viewing experiences in general, rather than just each other. My new interpretation of the statement tells me that I still want to preserve as many “theatrically framed” views as possible throughout the building, but that the direct visual interaction between cafe/bar/brewery and active cinema could be relaxed and reinterpreted. The suggestion was made that by just transferring light (rather than full images) through the walls, it would be possible for the cafe/bar/brewery occupants to experience some of the light and action of the movie being shown inside the cinema without interfering with the cinema-watching experience.

The two models above are a quick study in passing sheets or rods of glass/plexi through the wall to catch the light of the movie and display in for the cafe/bar/brewery to see. If cut appropriately, the glass will transfer light out of the cinema but not in, thus eliminating any light-pollution. These models are simply to illustrate how the mechanics of how this proposal works; they are little boxes with the glass pushed through on one side and colored plastic transparency film one the perpendicular side. When you pass a flashlight through the film you can see the color shining and moving through the glass. The effect is easy to see in full daylight but, unfortunately, it does not lend itself well to photograph.

The photographs above show how this light-permeable wall effect looks in the dark, a condition that would rarely, if ever, exist within the cafe/bar/brewery. However, its necessary to capture the effect with a camera.

Next I thought about ways to compose this effect in a way that would make it beautiful and contribute to creating the architecture of the space. I decided to compose artwork on the wall and to fit custom-made sheets of glass/plexi into contours in the artwork. The image above is one idea of how to do that. The wall above is shown at 1/4″ scale (when you click on it to enlarge), which means it is about 25′ high and 100′ across. The artwork is composed of custom, machine-cut terra cotta tiles measuring 6″ wide and 1/4″ thick organized in columns proceeding across the wall horizontally. The contours shown above in red represent the places where the glass/plexi would be fitted to allow light to flow out of the cinema.

The artwork was composed by “livetracing” various images pulled off the internet in Adobe Illustrator and then superimposing them on top of the wall. Next, I used vector-processors in Adobe Illustrator to color the mural. I then experimented with a few different versions of the color scheme. I tried desaturing the colors and turning the image into black and white- the thought being that the bright colors originally chosen might interfere with the observance of the light coming out of the cinemas. In the drawings above, the light-permeable spaces are shown in white rather than red.

Lastly, I printed my favorite of the above images in 1/4″ scale and mounted it onto an appropriate wall model. The patch of silver flowers and the owl coming off of the wall are laser-cut aluminium screens that project from the artwork but veer off from the wall at 90 degree angles. The owl is shown flush with the wall in this image just to show what it looks like. The flower screen helps to define architectural space between the lobby and the cafe and the owl will help create a ceiling profile and will frame several custom skylights.

The post above shows only one major idea stream associated with the Pioneer Drafthouse, my terminal studio project at the Univeristy of Oregon. I will soon be publishing a full page for the Pioneer Drafthouse complete with a wholistic design record for the project, technical and explanatory drawings and hundreds of process pictures.

Salem North Downtown Urban Redevelopment Project

The Salem North Downtown Redevelopment Plan is now up for perusal on the projects page.

Los Globos Del Luchador at MODERN

Please check out the luminaire page in the product design section of my portfolio to see some of the recent updates regarding the Los Globos Del Luchador luminaires. I have added some process pictures as well as the images of the project being displayed front and center at the MODERN design gallery.

Garden Canvas Build Phase I Completed

After nine months of planning and construction the Garden Canvas Project is finally nearing completing. Build Phase I has been completed and all of the major schematic elements of the project has been willed into existence. So far, the project has been a major success with the whole DB team participating as well as dozens of outside volunteers.

The two images below show the project site as it appears today alongside one of the final schematic drawings of how the team wanted it to look. The resemblance is remarkable.

Please visit the Garden Canvas Project Blog (which I publish) to see the whole post describing the last several months of the construction process.

The Earth Bank is a success!

The Earth Bank is a new concept for a horticultural building system. It is a sort of “living concrete” that can be planted directly into while wet. This is an exciting new technology that has never been pioneered before. Please view the blog post on the Earth Bank and check my portfolio for more details.

I have spent a good part of the summer getting local small businesses here in Eugene interested in having an Earth Bank wall installed on their facilities. I am marketing the Earth Bank to them as a new concept for “living signage”. So far I have three local businesses interested; a pet supply store, a nutrition supplement supplier, and my favorite organic food market. The images below show a small sample of the concept images I have been showing these potential clients to give them an idea of how the Earth Bank could look tailored to their specific facilities.

The Alley House is Up

please check my portfolio page for the Alley House