2GA Design Studio


Playing Against Type

Instructor: Devyn Weiser
Collaboration With: James Jiang
Fall 2017

Playing Against Type

The first term in the second year of the core M.Arch I sequence builds upon the awareness of the discipline and knowledge of architectural production by focusing on issues of Integrative Design. The studio is structured to hone each student’s awareness of issues involved in a complex architectural project. Elemental spatial constructs and organizational systems are seen as resulting from and reacting to site conditions, program distribution, and structural systems, building envelope systems and assemblies, environmental factors, and building regulations. These influences are considered physical and virtual, permanent and ephemeral, situational and circumstantial. Qualities of site, situation and environment, as well as cultural contexts, are considered as potential tools with which to challenge conventional approaches to architectural design. ( Devyn Weiser , 2017)

This project focuses the fictional iconography of the castle as a typology. We are interested in the castle not only because of its figurative relationship between objects and parts, but also its engagement with the fictional world and its power to generate multiple fictions or readings. For almost a hundred years, Disney has created plenty of animations including the “Princess Series”, which foreground the castle and its related symbolism. As a result, by proposing a castle for Disney’s Animation Studio, this typology both indicates the castle’s centrality to Disney’s history and materializes this history through architecture.

Adjacent to the main building, a smaller iteration of the castle houses the auditorium and visualization program. The smaller building is composed of smaller volumes expected of the fictional castle.

The typological strategy is the accumulation and aggregation of multiple volumes that the mass of the building is composed of several parts. The massing parts were chose from Gehry’s MIT for their complex, doubled, and curvilinear geometries. Through the process of deformation, each object may produce new readings of the total geometry and thus would be able to produce a building made up of identical but unidentifiable parts.

The quality of fictionality is supported by the mass and volume of the building. On the exterior, the building appears to be composed of an accumulation of multiple parts, yet from inside it is a giant open floor plates, against the expectation of a thick poche and intersecting geometries. Within the large volume, the interior division of the building is organized into eight floors, with different programs accessible by three cores.

The façade of the main building is also designed according to the idea of fictionality. The tilted grids of the fake “window” pattern and its scale creates a false speculation of the interior. In addition, the “window” cladding does not function as windows, but the wall inside of the cladding is equipped with punched windows for the inhabitants of the office. Instead of using two different types of material represented by the abstracted black and white color pattern, one cladding material was used throughout, grounding the facade in the world of abstraction representation and imagination.

For the structure, this project uses Type II construction type. It uses three different discreet structural systems for the floors, the facade, and the glass. Columns, concrete floor plates, and three concrete cores are used to support the interior floors, the envelope system, and the cladding. The columns in the interior follow the grid of the referenced geometries, leaving a residue of the original geometry and creating a sense of disorientation through an inside-outside continuity. The facade’s structure is supported by a steel frame in order to allow for these complex geometries. The frame hangs on the interior structure and floor plates but does not entirely depend on being supported by the floor plates and cores. On the outside of the wall hangs the cladding, supported by mullions. The glass cover uses its independent structure to support itself and does not depend on the main structure of the building.