Post 1980's gentrification transformed the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, into a hub for the professions of medicine, design, and technology. A new business model has coincided with this change in the form of collaborative startup spaces known as incubators. The incubator model allows small startups to share facilities at lower costs and work with one another in versatile collaborative space. An incubator model applied to design, specifically the disciplines within architectural design, provide inciting opportunities for innovation.
Urban Synapse is a proposed architectural incubator space located on the 1600 block of Walnut street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The concept of collaboration impacted the structural and programmatic organization via implementing a voronoi diagram as the buildings main structure dividing the space into a series of interlocking studios, libraries, and shared work spaces. The voronoi orientation allows for the occupants to communicate and collaborate between disciplines, including but not limited to architecture, interior design and landscape design.
Upon entering the site, one sees a large open air courtyard which functions as a pop-up gallery space and provides access to a small cafe and public restrooms. Natural light pours into the area through large light wells which double and ventilation for the building. The light wells also allow all interior studio cells to have natural day lighting. The program is oriented in a three part division comprised of public space at ground level, exhibition space occupying the second level, and the top floors are reserved for studio and conference space.
abstraction of a transect of Walnut Street from I-95 to the Schuylkill River. Looking west.
Perspective looking from the southern side of Walnut Street looking north
interior perspective of central courtyard during small exposition
1. Site Analysis focusing on access, green space, shadows, and program.
2. Building form step-by-step.
3. Building Analysis of important conceptual ideas.
first floor plan
third floor plan
seventh floor plan
Osseous is a conceptual high-rise located in the city of Hong Kong aimed at correcting three major issues that the city faces. The first being overpopulation, so the kilometer tall skyscraper is designed to house 100,000 people. The second issue being loss of green space, a result of over-development in the city core. To correct this, the tower is divided into a series of heterotopias (individual regions) which reflect a specific global biome. In addition, the lower level is comprised of a large park.
Perhaps the most prevalent issue facing Hong Kong is the level of air pollution which negatively affects twenty percent of the population. To solve this, a breathable facade pulls air in and filters it through a series titanium dioxide and prosolve 330E air filters which capture pollutants.
The shear size of the structure presents another opportunity, one that involves the building becoming a hub of transportation specifically for drones. The concept relies on the precedent that in 2050, personalized drones will become a major mode of transportation, further mitigating the effects automobiles have on the level of air pollution. The size and magnitude of the structure is accomplished via a large multi-teared dia-grid structure, which is based off of the idea of carbon nano tubes. Repetition of nano tube structures creates rigidity, especially in tall structures, so the interior was subdivided into three smaller towers which merge into one as they ascend. An outer dia-grid wraps the entire structure with a series of ETFE balloons which serve to differentiate air pressure at high altitudes.
Incorporation into the existing city scape was an important consideration due to the winding roads and contours the urban fabric had developed with. Therefore, pre-existing circulation paths through the Kowloon Bay park became important vectors of transformation. These vectors divided the site and formed the boundaries for surrounding buildings, a new shipping port and sky bridges which link Osseous to the downtown core.
Exterior Perspective from Kowloon Bay (looking South)
Exterior Perspective from Victoria Park (looking East)
Analysis of Air Pollution
Analysis of vehicular traffic
Analysis of population density
Analysis of building heights
Interior rendering of elevated park
Overhead exterior rendering
Inspired by the wind, Breath is a folly located in an open ambiguous location, surrounded by lush meadows. The form drew inspiration from white linens drying on a clothes line undulating in a gentle breeze.
A glass fiber reinforced concrete shell comprises the main structure with a finish layer of fiber glass panels. The undulation of the concrete shell mollified the requirement for support at all corners; rather the opposite corners and the center. Limited visible support structure evokes a sense of weightlessness. A large void at the center of the shell allows the individual to move between two areas of internal programmatic space, while the central space becomes a deconstructed corridor which places the visitor at a place which is neither here nor there, and offers access to the roof. Moreover, the true north orientation allows for the central void to act as a sun dial.
The scale of the project is quite small, so representation is kept rather minimal,implementing sketchy floor plans and sections, in combination with highly demonstrative perspectives.
Detail and cross section
Cities like Tokyo, though advanced in terms of urban planning and infrastructure, are no match for large scale earthquakes; which decimate fault lying cities. It is estimated that Tokyo faces a catastrophic earthquake every ten years, even more commonly are cities like Kathmandu, which suffer damage every five years.
The Term Vinculum means to unite but remain separate. In mathematical terms, it means to join. The project was completed between myself and Dylan Beckwith (fellow architecture student).
Initial investigation included the observation of bone structures at a micro level and macro level simultaneously. This resulted in the voronoi pavilion, which combines the aspects on the micro scale (porosity and air pockets which form a voronoi) and the macro scale (the sinuous form reflect the idea of bone remodeling).
Vinculum aims to mitigate the damaging effects on a building structure during an earthquake. The concept was to create two facades, both of which can move independently of one another. Inspired by bones, the shape of the facades weave together and create rigidity through undulation of form.
The inner facade connects to the buildings interior floor plates while the outer facade connects to the ground. Thus, an isolation of movement is created between the ground and internal structure. A series of socket joint connections between the interior and exterior facade allow motion in all directions, while supporting the outer facade.
As the ground shakes, the interior is designed to remain stable, much like shaking a tub of water back and forth. The counteracted motion cancels out vibration.
Interior entry and gallery rendering
Exploded axonometric diagram
Close up rendering of facade
Earthquake structure diagrams
Bone Remodeling Pavilion (thesis conceptual model)
Thesis concept model 2
Interior rendering of thesis concept model
Öka is the swedish word for crease or fold.
A system of responsive panels which react to stimuli may be choreographed into numerous applications. This system of a base of triangles which fold open at one actuation point allows for easy repetition and customization of both pattern and application. The panels operate by implementing zinc-aluminum muscle wire which contracts when heat is applied. The folding orientation allows for single point actuation, thus the entire system moves with it, limiting and streamlining the necessity for complex wiring systems.
The system is actuated by sunlight through a series of photocell actuators which line the exterior. In the resting position, the panels remain open allowing for natural day lighting. When both the temperature and intensity of day lighting reach uncomfortable level, the system closes, and completely shades the interior of the structure.
A simple yet powerful methodology allows for many opportunities, such as the application to an outdoor open-air pavilion, a facade condition and a parametric skin structure that becomes responsive under the conditions and starts to frame programmatic spaces for things to happen.
The modularity presents the opportunity for pack and ship method of construction and presents as a kit of parts. The system becomes a product which can be installed as one wishes, thus the IKEA reference is all too appropriate by diagramming it like an IKEA kit of parts and giving the product a Swedish name.
Exhibition pavilion on Race Street pier in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (matthew zepp)
Origami Actuation with Muscle Wire (katherine meier)
working prototype (matthew zepp and katherine meier)
preliminary study model (matthew zepp)
working module prototype (katherine meier)
working module prototype (matthew zepp)
working module prototype (matthew zepp)
exploded axon (matthew zepp)
assembly instructions (matthew zepp)
module daylighting analysis (matthew zepp)
sections (matthew zepp)
exterior rendering (katherine meier)
Dichotomy is an adaptive reuse project located in downtown Denver Colorado with the goal of creating a manufacturing space for FABS, a company that installs green walls.
It was a collaborative project between myself and fellow student Marisa Mines. Together, we developed a concept that would invert the conventional building program and express the absolute difference or dichotomy between working space and support space. Rather than hiding the mechanical, storage and bathroom spaces in a building core, they are housed in large structures called chasms scattered throughout the building; doing this accomplishes two things, the first being that the original plumbing, HVAC, and mechanical spaces can be housed here, thus resulting in a less expensive renovation. The second is that the chasms break up the interior programmatic spaces eliminating the need for interior walls.
Another critical design element is the strong juxtaposition between the original shop building and the second floor addition. It was important to preserve the original 1920's-40's architecture within an area of Denver currently undergoing a major revamp. Furthermore, the juxtaposed facades reflect the program in the corresponding spaces. High-tech laboratories, research facilities and offices are located on the second floor, in, essentially, a jewelry box floating above the original building. And the ground floor houses the manufacturing and assembly space, since it reflects the original uses for that space.
The combination of contrasting building facades and calculated placements of the chasms soften the stark banality typically found in manufacturing buildings. As one moves through the spaces, the sense that it is a manufacturing fades.
Interior courtyard perspective
Interior office perspective
Exploded components axonometric diagram
Exploded axonometric diagram
Detailed section of Chasm Module
Detailed wall sections
This project was a collaboration between three students, myself and a Professor with the design firm Rhinescheme. We were hand picked to design a boutique hotel as part of the Wanda Hotel Group in Dalian, China. the site is located along the edge of an old mining pit located in the center of the city. the city of Dalian, which has become a major node of domestic tourism, has decided to re purpose the mining pit into a mixed muse resort campus including parks, hotels, a zoo, and water parks.
Under the direction and needs of the Wanda Group, we came up with a scheme that maximizes the views toward the proposed parkland, provided elegant and economical design, and makes a statement.
The first iterations examined the ideas of flowing water and terraced landscape. To accomplish this, these schemes had an aerodynamic form and moved with the landscape. It was the terracing concept that pushed further due to its cultural significance and feasibility on the site which led to the pinwheel design of the final concept.
The form maximizes green space by replacing it on the roof and allowing the individual to access terraced roof gardens, which become breakout spaces and bars. a central glass spine is the node of vertical circulation and acts as the origin point in which the structure seems to rotate around. At the upper floors, where one enters at the main drop off, program consists of the main lobby, conference wing, boutique restaurant, and wedding venues. The lower floor, where the individual may access the lower parkland, program consists of the spa, gym, wellness center, and pool.
Another important aspect of the design it materiality and it was important to respect chinese culture through this approach, so natural wood is used on the facade to soften the edges of the building and large amounts of glazing are used to bring in as much daylight as possible.
exterior rendering looking northeast- rhinescheme
exterior rendering looking northwest- rhinescheme
exterior rendering entry sequence- rhinescheme
plan view of model- rhinescheme
model perspective- rhinescheme
model perspective- rhinescheme
analysis of airflow- matt zepp
analysis of circulation- matt zepp
analysis of green space- matt zepp
analysis of green walls- matt zepp
analysis of program- matt zepp
George Nakashima manifested the idea of joining two large slabs of Black Walnut wood to form one object, while simultaneously remaining separate top signify peace. Thus, the Altar of Peace came to fruition.
Located in Þingvellir National Park, Iceland, Coalesce is to house the Altar of Peace. The park was formed by volcanic activity, so the park is in a constant state of transformation; and the concept examines how space is formed through the convergence of monolithic forces. A from is generated based on the idea of cooling molten rock, which has joined at a centroid and cooled into a series of jagged formations. Intersecting vectors, which divide the space at tangents mimic the sequential cooling pattern of igneous rock and serve as a division in the building program with the altar at its center. Reinforcing the monolithic volcanic quality of space is the reduction and careful mitigation of natural daylight through skylights, which house photo-voltaic cells to power the space, slicing each apex; and oriented north to view the northern lights. The park’s ecosystem is delicate so integration within the site and minimal impact is critical. This is accomplished by a low profile, aerodynamic blade-like forms and visual recession into the environment.
site and exploded axon
One of the hallmarks of the Japanese culture is the dedication to beauty and using the natural environment to do so. Chasm is an abstracted Japanese garden designed to penetrate the landscape and exaggerate the scale and the human perception of space.
Large swaths of open areas occupy multiple floors which divides the overall garden into a series of plazas. The individual experiences the garden as a chronological series of void spaces in which natural elements dominate the senses. Adjacent to the tower is a recessed courtyard, where earth is the dominating force, so it is completely empty with the exception of scattered small scale plants. Rather concrete walls and a floor make the plaza feel rigid. The entrance to the structure lies on the southern side of the tower, where the individual descends downward into the Japanese garden. This is the smallest space and the most dense. It gives the illusion of compression before descending further down into the main area. The lowest level, and the height of experience is the chasm, which houses a shallow pool and a wooded walking path so that the individual may traverse the large void.
Light is carefully curated here with only long linear breaks in the floors above allow light to wash the concrete walls in daylight. By allowing daylight to define the perimeter walls, the essence of space is exaggerated and the human senses start to fade, similar to a sensory deprivation tank. This area is quiet, with the exception of water, and dark to make one enter a state of surrealism. The term Chasm comes from the towering form which completely differs from the environment which serves merely to mitigate daylight and makes the individual feel that they have fallen farther into the earth.