Last Friday we had our first review, so someone else besides our professor had the chance to see our initial proposals and give us some feedback. I believe that the fact that our reviewer did not know anything about our studio before the discussion made the feedback that we got so much more valuable. I think our main goals and objectives are really clear, and so is our process of thinking, but the boards that we presented didn’t reflect that 100%. I feel that somehow the scale of the project made it a bit more difficult for us to be visually clear and cohesive in our presentation. We are dealing with almost an entire neighborhood and we want to implement various programs within this site, but because of that the human scale approach is somewhat more hard to achieve. I think that our professor’s advice to work with site sections was really helpful and at least in my case it was a really productive way of breaking down the size of the study area.
What i focused on in particular was the residential part of our proposal. We know that some of our objectives are to increase density, walkability and property value. My thoughts are that these will be affordable apartments, rented or owned by singles, young couples, business people, and in general a younger segment of the population that decides they want to live back in the city downtown rather than going to the suburbs. Why would they decide that? Because it’s cheap, it’s a great location close to both the Strip and the Downtown, and it’s situated in a new prosperous neighborhood that is just starting to get developed and has all these great restaurants, cafes, plazas, or the lively and safe streets. In terms of design I think it would be an interesting idea to deal with relatively small units, and pursue a “customizable” modularity. I want to take into consideration sun angles and passive strategies, and overall achieve a net zero building that is as affordable as possible. I imagine that the first and even second story would be occupied by small shops, cafes, restaurants, a recreation center, and some private community gardens, either on the upper stories or above the parking spaces. Since responding to the needs of the veterans is another objective of ours, I think that they could be engaged in building some of these facilities, or getting jobs inside these shops. Our professor and reviewer raised a good point when they said that the best way of helping the veterans is by giving them the opportunity to serve in any way possible, and to mix them with another group of people, so that their common goal would be that both groups would learn or solve a certain task together. An idea that crosses my mind with this regard is maybe a program where veterans would interact with juvenile delinquents, for the greater goal of maybe learning how to grow vegetables, or build solar panels. They would serve the community, they would learn something new, and most importantly they could make an impact on the lives of the young teenagers, offering guidance and life lessons.
Right now it’s Monday and we are going to have another review with another professor. I think the amount of feedback will be sufficient for now to give us an idea if we are on the right track with this project or not.
This is a great article that our professor Ken recommended to us, click here
No words, just watch this
After coming back to Ames from our field trip in Las Vegas we split in teams and started working on our two different sites in the downtown area. Currently there are two team that are focusing on the Victory Hotel site, and one other team on the Veterans Village site, which is in the south part of downtown. My team and I are working on the south downtown site. So far, we had a 36 hour charette, for which we had to come up with objectives, a schedule and some preliminary design ideas. After our team brain storming we realised that we want to increase the density of the built environment, we want to continue the work that’s been done at the Veterans Village. In terms of program our main proposals would be residential and commercial use. Also we want to focus on a urban farm to provide some opportunities for jobs for the veterans that will reside in the area.
Our studio had the field trip in Las Vegas over the last weekend and I feel more motivated than ever to start our design now that we visited our sites and had the chance to get so much valuable information.
Overall, I think that both sites are really interesting and still haven’t decided which one I would like to focus on more. Site 1 is the site that has the Victory Hotel, the oldest hotel in LV. In terms of identity and character, it’s definitely more complex than site 2, which is more spread out and has no real landmarks close to it. Site 1 has so many constraints attached to it that right now seem intimidating. However, I think a positive thing is that we can relate to so many things around, the Art trail, the prison, the Golden Nugget Hotel, the Main Street frontage. I would feel that the old hotel should still have some presence down there, whether we transform it in something else or we just maintain the footprint or the street facade. I would be opposed of tearing it down. The thing that is the most present right now in my mind is the idea of reconditioning the old hotel into a homeless museum or a veteran’s memorial. I really resonated with the stories that we’ve been told about the less fortunate people that live in this city that I feel I should do something about it. The presence of a memorial or a program that helps people in need would raise some awareness within the neighbors, the prisoners of the jail and the residents of the hotel. A sculptural memorial building could be an interesting end for the Art trail too.
Site 2 has a big challenge attached to it, how to bring people from the strip to the downtown area safe, fast and perhaps even entertained by the time they get there. How to make them enjoy the walk through this area, while feeling safe and having various options in terms of programs. The Veterans Village is another major component, and extending it and helping the initiative there spread more throughout the neighborhood is another great intention of my design for this semester. At this moment, I am thinking about linking some key elements that are already there or need to appear there with a playful and relaxing pedestrian walkway. The traffic on the inner streets of the site is nowhere near as dense as it is on Main St or Las Vegas Blvd, so why not taking the pedestrians away from the busy streets and take them on a tour with coffee shops, restaurants or wide and shaded sidewalks.
We had our first big group discussion yesterday. Everyone in studio was in charge of different aspects of Las Vegas, like for example demographics, economics, form based code etc. As I mentioned in earlier posts I am doing my research on the character of the city. My main focus was on the signs and how the street experience of the space influences our perception of the identity of the city. Here are my boards:
From the discussion with the group the key aspects that I should keep in mind are the following:
– my images could be larger and better coordinated with the plans below
– I should focus more on the downtown area
– my presentation could be more clear if I structure the takeaways better
– the conclusions seemed to be appreciated and provide help for the group
– I should be able to explain better the imitation and contrast aspects of Las Vegas
What I will focus on from here on giving the feedback that I received is:
– more boards and larger images in clear relation to the plan of the downtown area
– triple T (this is what I will talk about, this is the content, these are the main things that I talked about)
I came across some interesting readings while documenting the character and material of the city. One of them is Learning from Las Vegas by Robert Venturi. I think there is a lot more than what people usually think or how they perceive this particular place. I’m really looking forward to our field trip almost 2 weeks from now. I want to see how my personal experience with the city is going to impact my research as opposed to just reading and documenting with pictures and articles. I think there’s a fair amount of contrast that I will notice, as Venturi wrote, “the zone of the highway is a shared order. The zone off the highway is an individual order. The elements of the highway are civic. The buildings and signs Continue Reading →
-“sunny place for shady people”
-neons Continue Reading →
Hi, my name is Bogdan Machedon. I am a second year graduate student at Iowa State University, studying Architecture. This semester our studio project is focusing on two sites in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada. I am really anxious about the following months. I will update my progress of my design periodically here. Shuffle up and deal!