Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Final Design Project - Pickett Cotton Mill

Light plays a major roll in my vision for Pickett.  In touring Goldenbelt as a precedent study for Pickett, the light was revealed at Blend, the coffee shop - just as it would appear once the historic windows were restored.  

A guide for my design at Pickett was following the teachings of Thomas Berry's "The Great Story", and emphasizing that we are a member of a community.  Making connections to the natural world is demonstrated with the tranquility of the water feature in the lobby area with the backdrop viewing the ripples in the glass partitions for the restaurant. 

I further developed my floor plan in the mercantile spaces that generate revenue, and bring activity to the the mix use community center.  This section of the mix use spaces is where most of the public activity would be concentrated.  It is at the opposite end of the building from the controlled setting of the child care facility.  I provided multiple access points to parking and egress.  I revised my restaurant area by moving the lounge closer to the parking entrance, separating it from the main dining area using the solid brick wall as a buffer.  I provided two access points to the kitchen, one for the lounge and the other for the main dining.  

Avanti glass wall partitions were the model for my edgy glass enclosure around the library, reading room, and business incubator.  In segregating the spaces from high activity to less active spaces, I transitioned the ceiling height of the corridor.  Adding interest, I included a wavy soffit with cove light fixtures, further establishing rhythm throughout Pickett.   

The perspective view in plan is indicated by the cyan triangle.  The adjacencies of the space are supported with a smooth transition between public and private spaces with the artist studio, library with reading room, and business incubator between the childcare and the mercantile. 

The childcare facility is center stage for my vision of Pickett, enabling their parents to pursue career goals while their children are in a protected and enjoyable environment.  My research of childcare facilities aided my design by separating age groups from infant to teens, providing quiet spaces for nap time, kitchen facilities, and cubbies for storage, and organized activities. The wave rhythm was emphasized with a large aquarium connecting children the natural world. 

In understanding how children move freely about the space, I further developed my childcare plan by smoothing the corners of the main corridor, added glass openings to the rooms for ease of supervision, separated the activities from play time to organized activities, and access to the outside playground. 

The 2nd floor plan contains a mixture of 1 and 2 bedroom apartments ranging in sizes from 1000 sf - 1350sf.   The 2-bedroom apartments are mainly at the corner of the building where there was more access to natural light.  To resolve a concern with dead end corners I added a screened-in-porch that could be shared for community gatherings for the residents while providing egress.    

A close up view of a typical 1-bedroom apartment shows ample access to natural light, plenty of closet space and a stackable washer and dryer with separate hot water heater.  Additional storage within the apartment is contained with built-in features of bookcases in the living area, and window seat chests in the bedrooms.  

The final plan for my second floor apartments resolved optimizing the space for the maximum number of apartments with different configurations the would eliminate dead end corridors.  In the center I included a residents gym, but upon reflection I believe this choice was too generous, and I should have buffered it from the surrounding apartments with public storage units that would bring added revenue.  

The Axon of the 3 floor plans outlines the allocation and adjacencies of planned spaces for Pickett.  The design shows a separation of pubic and private spaces with a buffer transition between them.  

Eddy Belk liked the way my plan progressed, saying I used the space effectively, separating the public and private spaces with a smooth transition and supported adjacencies.  The residential gym was too large, and would be more effective cutting it in half and using the rest for public storage.  Tim would like to have seen the exterior staircase on the second floor brought internally, only adding the external staircase for the first and the ground floors.  

The Design matrix includes material choices and conceptual design for Pickett.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Picket Cotton Mill - 2nd Floor Residences

I have not completed my 2nd floor plan, but I plan to have around 30 apartments that are around 1000sf.  Most will be a 1 bedroom, with a den area near the window.  I have apply closet space within the apartment. I am looking into adding a 3rd space in the open area that does not have natural light.  I'm considering a gym or storage.  The corner apartments will be larger 2 bedrooms.  

My standard 1-bedroom floor plan includes stackable washer & dryers with separate hot water heaters, and ample storage for clothing and kitchen pantry.  The standard 1bedroom is approximately 1000sf with built-in bookcase/entertainment center in the living area, and a window seat storage chest in the bedroom.  A den or artist area is near the living area window.  

After feedback from our presentation I have long corridors that do not meet code.  I'm considering revising my long corridor on the left to end into a community screen porch that will exit into an exterior staircase that will pick up the first floor, and the ground floor egress.  I need to do some additional design work on the right side of my plan where there is precious northern light for artists.  I would like some studios there, but considering the depth to the brick wall separation and the dead end corridor that I have on the east side in this area of the design, I am having some difficulty balancing code requirements with design desires.  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pickett Cotton Mill Midterm Presentation

When I first saw Pickett Cotton Mill I imagined it restored back to its historical context, with its large windows back in place, streaming beams of daylight upon pools of activity.  A renewed purpose, revitalized and full of life and vitality.  It made me smile.  What could I do with this space!  

                    Blend, the coffeehouse at Greenbelt, integrated the windows with functionality

Upon arriving at Greenbelt my vision for Pickett was realized with our precedent study of this repurposed space, and a guided tour from its architect, Eddie Belk.  The combination of the old with the new captured our hearts as the design respected its distinction in history with an authenticity to our heritage of North Carolina.  

                                  Artwork on display in the Blend at Greenbelt

Beginning with a new concept for me, the driving force was always the light.   As humans we seek comfort for our bodies but we all crave a connection to the natural world.  In following with the teachings of Thomas Berry, I wanted to connect the interior space to the land, and design a space from a holistic perspective that was fully integrated, not only for the authenticity of the space, but also to pay homage to the land it rested upon.  

First impressions of a space are most important, but that impressive begins as we approach the space.  What brought us there?  What captures our interest?  Why do we choose one place over another?  I wanted to bring wonder and excitement into the space as I allowed each facet to build upon the other, unfolding into a natural progression.   

A visit to DeBeen Expresso coffeehouse in High Point was a rare find that embodied the spirit of authenticity for an eclectic "third space" design.  

In addition to loving the fountain in the center of the room with fish swimming around in it, we were dazzled as to how well the character of the place washed over us.  Everywhere we looked was a special attention to detail that made the experience at DeBeen richer with our  participation in the amusement.  Above us the ceiling was made of used burlap coffee bean bags adding to the atmosphere, like pieces of a puzzle it all came together. 
Guided by the program of affordable housing for low income families and an artistic community, I considered key objectives that would lead to the success of the project by identifying the needs of users for this space.  Starting with a new beginning I explored the educational resources of childcare as a vital core component.  I researched precedent studies of Thomas Berry's Genesis Farm and the Greensboro Children's Museum, teaching our leaders for tomorrow that we are all members of a community of plants and animals. 

The community is centered around sustainable design practices, an edible garden with small animals, integrated playground into the landscape, with expanded goals for a water collection system and micro power systems like wind and hydro-electric.  Using suggestions from Evan Ben-Joseph's book on "ReThinking A Lot", integrated the parking lot into the landscape with permeable surfaces and vegetation.  Making purposeful choices to design a mix-use space that takes full advantage of a combination of good ecological decisions with tax credits.

I started to develop my plan with the separation of spaces from public and private use, controlling the traffic patterns for childcare and mercantile.  Looking at egress requirements for the most restrictive applications of mix-use space, assembly.  

Design Matrix

After I set the traffic and egress paths, I was able to allocate blocks of space that I could  developed into patterns of circulation for the movement of activities within the space.  In separating the childcare from the mercantile I introduce activities between the two main anchors that would serve as a smooth transition between the spaces.  In understanding the need for a wide range of childcare that included some supervision of after school programs, I placed a library adjacent to the child care.  The library included computers with an adjacency space for a reading lounge.  The adjacency to the library and reading room followed with the business incubator and conference room, and the artist studios spanning the length of these spaces.  The natural progression that followed was public rest rooms, mercantile.  

                                            First Floor Plan

The mercantile spaces include a beauty/barber salon, coffee shop, a drug store with soda fountain, a farmer's market from the produce grown in the urban garden, and community kitchen with restaurant.  The community shared kitchen spaces are a small business incubator venture that residence can rent.  

A new dawn is rising at Pickett Cotton Mill, filled with new ideas and ventures of a new beginnings.  

The Child Care plan will have separate spaces for varying age groups, separate sleeping area for infants and toddlers, a parenting conference room for classing, a directors office, kitchen facilities, ample rest areas, and a reception area.  

I'm focusing on the childcare section in my design because I believe this will play an important role in the community

Child Care Model

The library will also play an important role to the educational needs of the children and adults alike in the community.  It is located between the childcare facility and the business incubator.  It will contain computers and will provide the opportunity for those who could not have access to a computer because of financial needs.  I see this as a satellite public library the will be supported with public funds.

Restaurant Space

Monday, January 28, 2013

Pickett Cotton Mill

The studio gathered together outside of Pickett for our 1st venture into viewing the space and group reconnaissance missions.

Our January visit to Pickett saw it still covered with fall leaves, silent, and still; a timeless beauty beckoning us.  

All that space, and orderly array of columns.  The first thing I want to do is open up those windows.