Title: Diffusion: Revealing the Forest Within
Location of Proejct: Atlanta, GA
Project Completion Date: 5/04/2022
Short Description: Diffusion examines the forest condition and the interior-dominant scheme prevalent in Atlanta in order to blur the relationship between street and interior. Utilizing variations in opacity and the interplay of skylights generates the notion of walking underneath trees in the forest. Thus, the process sought to reject the discrepancies of the interior-facing building archetype, allowing the complexities of Atlanta to come into play. This generated the environmentally-conscious heavy timber structure and custom floor plate. The programmatic layout is diffused within three volumes, generating communal zones underneath and above a connecting floor and around cores of light.
Architect's Statement: Atlanta must be recognized for its rich culture and dynamic history, intertwined with its condition of urban sprawl. This became pertinent in the design process and in the consideration of structure in the heavy timber-inspired studio. We began with early sketch models made of locally-sourced timber in order to explore the inherent qualities of the material. This was done in conjunction with hand drawing. We also addressed the polarities of Atlanta, both socially and architecturally. Thus, we explored creating a space to bring the community together with a consistent design language from landscape to form. The iterative process examined light qualities and degrees of porosity within the spaces of the building. Overall, the holistic structure was desired to be inclusive and inviting, welcoming all members of Atlanta.
This process generated a chamfered form, softening edges and heightening overall circulation and porosity in the structure. This allows interior activity to be expressed at the street level, rejecting the interior building archetype consistent with the city. Glulam columns are the primary structure, spaced at regular bay lengths with glulam girders and joists. Where chamfered edges occur, only the CLT panel is curved and the grid remains regular. Cores for light are removed at the floor plates and additional small-member bracing is provided. Thus, the timber expression reveals continuity from the landscape to the enclosure, demonstrating carbon sink. An aluminum panel system varies in opacity based on privacy and solar orientation. The perforated screen protects from harsh solar heat gain, generating soft light in the interior. Geothermal energy is sunk below the largest volume, with hydronic tubing embedded in a composite CLT and concrete radiant slab. This system is sustainable, less expensive, provides heating and cooling, and has better acoustic performance.
The program consists of an urban marketplace, short-stay housing, and community use spaces. Space for retail is available on the bottom floors of all the building forms for ease of accessibility. Housing space is dominant in the largest volume and community use is prevalent in the intermediate space. The filleted forms and semi-opaque cladding allows light to flood through, meant to uplift residents of the short-stay housing with communal zones. These are enhanced by multi-story light cores. Privacy is achieved with opaque aluminum paneling at the envelope. The gym and pool recreation spaces are recessed on the sixth and seventh floors, with the use of open-air perforated paneling for the pool. This generates a connection to the outside. The community-use volume expresses openness with a large light core that penetrates three stories of the building. The top floor chamfered volume houses an auditorium event space, clad with wood paneling in the interior for acoustics.
The filleted forms continue into the landscape to create sunken courtyards. This gives the open green space back to the community to memorialize the lost densified spaces of Atlanta. The sunken story of the smallest volume houses an open-air public transit waiting area, meant to overtake the existing MARTA while creating a fluid transition to the city. A reflecting pool resides below the connecting floor plate, framed by a light core. This resembles a cooling zone in the hot climate of Atlanta, generating thermal delight for the community.
Thus, Diffusion is utilized for programmatic purposes, revealing the collaboration of the interior to the exterior street. Timber framework also appears diffused in scale throughout the volumes in congruence with an overall softening of light. This heightens the user experience by connecting to the natural forested landscape inherent in Atlanta while diffusing solar load on the building itself.
Diffusion: Revealing the Forest Within
Student Design Award
Diffusion: Revealing the Forest Within
- Student Design Award