LMK 03 - 17 - 2010

A New Approach Here is a briefing as to what has been developing for my studio project on this side of the pond: First, I struggled immensely with trying to develop different B's and C's for my project. I knew this would be difficult for me to design this way in general, but I guess I wasn't aware just how difficult this would be in context with my site and attempted program. After many discussions and a few frustrated "Just do it!" comments from Ryan, I escaped from the realities that I was trying to enforce on my project and got something on paper for Les to review. Mind you, this really did not fare that well in the review process. Next, after speaking with Ted and Les about my status in the project and some more coaching from classmates, I decided that I really needed to take advantage of Rod while he was in reach. "Rod won't beat around the bush" classmates said. "He is a realist and will give you what you need." Well, after waiting for my turn and then having a great dialogue with Rod, he came to the same conclusion that has been weighing on my progress: Ashland is dying. Ashland does not have the energy downtown to support the changes that I was wanting to enact. So, Rod suggested that I talk to some urban planners or find a new site/new town. Oh man. Well, after discussions with classmates and tears of frustration, I decided that I was going to keep my site and instead make up a new reality that will provide the energy, people, and money that will help revitalize this area. En route to Krakow, Les, Ted and I had a wonderful discussion about what this new energy would now be and how to program and rationalize this energy for the community. So now that we're up to date, I am going to explain this new approach to my project. Ashland lies between Mansfield and Wooster, which both house branches of Ohio State University. Wooster's branch specifies in agricultural research and development. Ashland has always had an economy rooted or involved in the agricultural communities. The land on which I have chosen for my site is located on the old fair grounds, which is also had an agricultural focused use. With all of this, we developed the concept of a new agricultural research facility whose main focus is in the research and development of new sustainable farming techniques and urban/vertical farming practices. My new program is creating a campus for this new facility which includes agricultural fields, class rooms, administrative buildings, research centers, and manufacturing areas. Another step in the program is phasing plans that look, into the future development of involving the surrounding residential and scholastic communities. Here are a few images of first an option for the layout of the campus and a view down Center Street with the administrative building on the left and ideas for classroom/research buildings. Between the classroom centers is space that allows for testing of different crops and the like. Buildings were originally arranged to allow views into the site from passing traffic. Additionally, developing a relationship between the residential areas and the more educationally focued buildings. An idea to achieve this is mixing the designated testing space with space that is welcoming to social space. As the design process has continued, the buildings have morphed from individual buildings facing into the central testing land into being apart of the landscape as the buildings take the shape of rolling hills where the test crops are grown on the southern sides of the hills to maximize sun exposure. This land gently flattens and transforms into a few depressions that are available for free space. This is it for now, but I definitely can sense the wheels a churnin' to create a truly cohesive campus for this new research facility.

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