EARTH

Undergraduate studio working with clients to develop a strong architectural vision to formalize their plans for a studio arts campus

This project focused on two goals: the importance of the individual client and the importance of handcraft. These objectives were married in a real proposal for the future home of the Boulder Studio Arts campus. The site the client was seeking to purchase was on the side of a small butte that had been plagued by mining operations over the previous centuries. The group design of Danny Warren, Gor Djiganian, and myself focused on rehabilitating this neglected landscape through the strategic placement of rammed earth campus buildings and by anchoring them directly into the remarkable topography of the hillside.
Valmont Butte with panoramic views of Boulder and the Rocky Mountains beyond
Existing derelict ore processing operations to be removed by the county as part of environmental remediation project
Topographic map of Valmont Butte with existing conditions and structures. Proposed campus site is highlighted in blue
Assembly of hand-cut topo model of Valmont Butte
Campus Plan      1 : Ceramic Studio     2 : Glaze Room       3 : Kiln Yard       4 : Printmaking Studio      5 : Glass Studio                                                     6 : Metals Studio      7 : Wood Studio     8 : Residency      9 : Courtyard      10 : Cafe      11 : Gallery
Sections
In order to reinforce the synthesis of the arts school plan to the landscape of the butte, rammed earth was chosen as the primary building material. The use of earthen walls not only implies a renewed respect for the land, but also reflects the harmonious relationship that the ceramic arts, the central studio of the campus, has to the earth. In combination with green roofs, the buildings bring users into the land.
Universal access is integrated across the entire campus working within the contours of the slope.
Skylights illuminate the aesthetic qualities inherent in rammed earth with filtered light.
Natural landscape flows onto the roofs anchoring the studios into the butte and providing the ecological benefits of a green roof system.
Procession along the main axis leads to the heart of studio arts boulder, while following the threshold between the natural landscape and the designed environment.
Individual residencies allow for privacy while the continuity of the buildings fosters community between the artists.
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