Category: Process

Final Review- Oh Man!


I am amazed that this is finale of the entire quarter! Wow! Time flies. As an acculmination of the work cultivated in these past 10 ish weeks, let’s dive into OVERLAP.

We find ourselves in sunny San Luis Obispo, California at the intersection of See Canyon Road and San Luis Bay Drive.

arial w model Site Diagram-01

hill across NEW

When learning is open source, a network engages and empowers students, teachers, outside professions, and communities. The web of influence in pursuit of learning is not limited to those within the four plain walls of a typical high school classroom.  The established “lecturer teacher at the front and 30+ silent listeners in individual desks” model is demolished. In an Open Source Learning (OSL) environment, hubs and interest groups become focal points for discovery, participation, and belonging. Students and teachers must have flexibility, variety, and choice, especially with room size, acoustics, and furniture.

This interdisciplinary network celebrates the overlap of the individual and the communal, the exploratory and the focused.

conceptual diagram

Looking at a place of gathering, I started with a single courtyard.


Responding to the scale of 450 students, I made two courtyards.


The next step was to link them with a commons.


This three part link creates cohesion between the student body, the spaces created, and the programatic elements.

final step of commons

Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 12.28.00 PM

The repeated traditional classroom is designed for 25 students. Size of the space affects the nature of the activity to take place. Learning will be more productive, participatory, and engaging where there is a variety of sized spaces. The hub is a communal nucleus for 150 students to find identity and cultivate interdisciplinary learning.

Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 2.09.55 PM

The interactions and levels of engagement are determined by the size of the space. My proposed model of allocated space is to enhance the level of engagement on a personal level as well as provide flexibility, variety, and choice acoustically and in transparency.

Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 2.11.35 PM

By anchoring the interest groups to the ground and organizing the three hubs above, students are exposed to the focused resources they have access to, enhancing this notion of exploratory learning.

hub interest orange


The hubs are indicated in green, interest groups in blue.

Sectional relationships are key to make visual connections between spaces and link programatic elements, reenforcing this nature of overlap and network of learning.

section diagram thing-01 ecs section print without words

This photo was taken before the model was fully assembled but it represents the sectional relationship between the upper courtyard, lower courtyard, commons, and hub in the top right.


On the interior, I wanted to achieve flexibility in the spirit of giving students and teachers choice in how to shape the engagement and shape the size of the space. Ideas to achieve this flexibility involve movable panels. Also, transparency allows for visual connections. From the student’s perspective, you can be made aware of what other students are learning through being able to peek into rooms.

Movable wall large Movable wall corner

Taking advantage of the San Luis Obispo temperate climate and to extend the classroom beyond the walls we put up, connecting the indoor and outdoors became a design strategy.

Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 3.04.33 PMWestmont studio Westmont studio swinging door



lighting integration-01shadows

Reflecting on where the project is now, I would address circulation and further defining it. In some of the hubs, I think there is too much flexibility. Perhaps defining some more fixed spaces would be helpful. I think that two of the hubs are consistent in nature, but one of them is sort of the odd man out based on the geometry I confined it to. On that note, this geometry lends itself to rhombus shared rooms. This obtuse and acute angle could be annoying in the space OR I would have to delve more deeply into those shapes and prove if and how they would work. One of the critiques I received was that more daylight could be let in, so perhaps I overshaded some spaces. The residential section and its integration could be further developed since it has been fiddled with less. Relation to site and how the academy, sports court, and parking relate to the culture and sense of place offered by Avila Beach, that particular valley, and treasures up See Canyon Road could be developed.


Overall, the overlap and multiple levels of integration cultivate a more effective learning environment.

Representation Inspiration

LTL_Building+82_4Many of you have been asking about techniques and / or inspiration for sections and section perspectives.  I have always admired, as many have, the incredible section perspectives of Lewis Tsurumaki Lewis.  As they will tell you, these are incredible labors of love (including photoshopping the office staff into their perspectives).   What I like most about their choice of representation is that they have control of line (vector) – whether hand drawn or digital, in my view, is not the issue.  LTL_Upside+House_04For example, in an early project, the upside down house, what I admire most about this section perspective is how they are able to include the hidden lines of the stair and the cantilevered building form to help communicate the architectural concept – it brings clarity and understanding, while also graphically has character.  Also note the careful composition of the view – typically at eye level and with bias toward one side to emphasize a particular space.  LTL_Nazareth_03For example, in the Nazareth House, note how the section perspective is biased toward this sliver exterior space complete with koi.  The choice of representation complements the concept.

Personally, I think the hand drawn gives great texture, but really isn’t necessary.  A similar control of line can be had digitally – it’s about control of line, not how the line is drawn.

This is just one example, and today you have many resources to look at: pinterest is your friend here.  I did a search in pinterest for section perspective and got an incredible list of visual examples.  Don’t forget pinterest was started by an architect….LTL_TaipeiMuseum_2

Learning as an Ecology


I know I am late with this post, but I really wanted to take my time with it and be as true as I can with it. After looking over everyones submissions, I found some of them to be very sincere. We are dealing with a complex issue and I have been struggling to be genuine in my solution, its portrayal, and my reflection of it thus far.

As someone has already stated, the role of an architect is not simple that of aesthetics and structure. We are a profession which must know a little about many things. How do we combine our knowledge of design and science with psychology and the human experience?

When dealing with the problem of education in today’s society, how do we create a place which can foster learning, not just in its traditional sense, but also in its most natural sense; through discovery? We seem to lose our curiosity as we grow up, because we have been taught how to learn. The role of teacher has become a unilateral one, when it should be one of “mentorship” and collaboration.

Design Intent:

  • To create a learning ecology: A community of people in communication with components of their environments to function as a system.
  • Provide a place where there can be open access to all aspects of education, regardless of chosen focus, leading to fulfillment of general knowledge as well as learning driven by curiosity and discovery.
  • Dynamic and interdependent disciplines can have a place to work together to share knowledge and wisdom while creating a self-organizing and adaptive ecology.

Concept Development:



Floor Plans/Section:

With four educational focuses (culinary design, media design, product design, organizational design), and learning clusters between them, the program was organized to foster relationships and collaboration.

Floor Plans [Converted]


Commons Atrium:

The central commons atrium acts as an agora for the campus: a place to meet, interact, and exchange ideas. With areas for a single person, to spaces for groups to meet, the agora is both a hub for cross pollination between campus focuses as well as a place to relax or focus and reflect.

Atrium Precedents:



Moving Forward From Review:

After mid, a few of the concepts which need development include:

  • Exterior spaces- These spaces need to tie the campus together. I need to further develop them as an integral part of the design rather than an afterthought. With a site in such a beautiful climate, exterior spaces have a great potential to become gathering places and areas for informal learning. These spaces need to be woven between both space and section.
  • Atrium commons- This area has the potential to be something really great, and possibly the most used area of campus. I need to develop the character of the space both in plan and section. It needs to be open and connected, flooded with light and ideas.
  • Connecting the campus- With some more development of the programmed spaces, I can make the project relate, rather than rely on space adjacencies.
  • Solidifying the cluster- I see the cluster as the spaces which glue the campus focuses together. The clusters themselves can be broken up, and will be spread between the focus spaces. They will become the in between for more interdisciplinary learning to occur.

Levels of Community

So far in our OSL Lab we have agreed that the education system is broken, but the real question is how does it get fixed?  But before we can fix it, or even begin to address it, we need to look at the specific reason that our education system is failing us.  To me, the answer is that people aren’t being trained in fields that really engage their passions and education is seen as an activity that happens independent of interaction with your peers.  Education is seen as a unpleasant means to a monetarily lucrative future, rather than an enjoyable transition from adolescence to adulthood as a member of a community.

So if the goal for education is a system that produces overall healthy communities, what do we need to change.  Surely the answer is partly the change of mindset for all involved: the administrators, the facilitators of information, and especially the students.  The culture needs to change from a place of stagnate repetition of tasks to active exploration for knowledge.

But then is the change in culture enough to fully realize the shift in education?  The answer is no.  There are too many obstacles for this type of learning in current facilities.  Then what is the appropriate spatial design strategy for this type of learning?  Well first how is the learning conducted?  This is where i want to start.


The learning is conducted on multiple levels of interaction.  First, the goal is to interact on a school wide level.  The second level of interaction is within your own field of interest, and luckily, we have this designated already with the types of design (product, media, culinary, organizational).  The next level is interaction with individuals in other interest groups, which will lead to both well rounded educations but also a stronger sense of community within the school overall.  Finally there is the level of personal interaction between a small group of peers, whether this be in a formal educational context or just a friendly context.  While these interactions vary in the ratio of individual to the group (from 1:450 to 1:150 to 1:20 all the way down to 1:1), the goal in all of them is create a sense of community, where the students can take ownership of their education and create an atmosphere of reciprocity.

_postINterior Perspetiveduhhpost_plans

This is where I fell short in my design strategy.  Separate the program by specific function…check.  Create a large central atrium…check.  But after that it, it lacks depth.   The main critique was that just because there is a large central space, it does not mean there will absolutely be interaction there.   Which fits with my conception of there being multiple levels of community.  While the large central atrium might be a good setting for 200-300 people,  will it be good for a group of five that wants to meet and work on digital fabrication models, will it be good for people who want to brainstorm and bounce ideas literally off the walls?  I don’t think so.  And I was running into this issue already.  Once I had delegated the central meeting space and the space for the interest groups,  I was lost in the blending of the two and how to create spaces communal spaces between differing groups. And surely their are opportunities for this.

There will need to be spaces around the food, everybody has to eat.  Maybe some spaces near the art. Spaces that are bright and open and inspiring, and spaces that are focused and encourage productivity.  Spaces to display stationary built work, and spaces to actively preform something choreographed.  But its also needs to be adaptable, because if there really in ownership by the users, and the users are as exploratory as possible, then there will be boundaries to push and there will be room to make the space there own.


From here, the goal will be to create a more layered approach to the interactive spaces.  While it might still be important to have a central space for the school to gather, it also will be important to provide a variety of spaces and other scales all with separate atmospheres.  And rather than make this organizational diagram in 2d and then apply it to multiple levels, really working on developing specific organizations per each floor while still maintaining a cohesive community feel to the entire school.Postinformalfomal

Mid-Review Reflection


The concept of “Open Source Learning” was new to me coming into this studio. One of the challenges of designing an OSL center is the term’s flexibility and openness to interpretation. My take on the concept was creating spaces through architecture that would encourage interaction, collaboration, and foster students’ sense of curiosity and exploration rather than squelching it like typical schools often do.

As a starting point, I thought back to my own high school experiences and tried to take that knowledge and apply it to a future school. One challenge was taking issues with the learning system and making it a spatial problem; such as teacher’s attempts to close off their classrooms from the outside world rather than exposing the rest of the school to the knowledge shared and work produced in their class. One solution to this is providing varying types of “classrooms” that would provide more visual connections and flexibility than the typical rows of chairs facing a single teacher model. In addition, by providing numerous outdoor areas and gathering spaces teachers have the opportunity to leave the classroom and get students moving, interacting, and learning rather than just watching or memorizing.

To get the form of the building I started with an “alphabet scheme”, with a C shape that angled in on itself to create a large courtyard in the center of the building. I angled the wings 15 degrees off of the north-south axis to allow for more views to the west up and down the coast. I extended the geometries to create a raised walkway and presentation space, in addition to creating a break between the two center courtyards.


Floor Plans

After our typology studies, I moved from designing though model to drawings, especially plans. I tried to create a logical layout of spaces with circulation in mind. However I know from here the plans could be developed significantly more to achieve my goal of encouraging curiosity and exploration. Right now I have most of the programs as boxes just to show where the size of that space could go, but from here those spaces should be designed more thoroughly. I think moving towards designing in section would help me create more interesting spaces and ways of moving through the building, rather than straight “corridors” which they may appear to look like now.

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Immersive Perspectives

One of my favorite parts about designing is being able to put people in your building and show the atmosphere of your spaces. Through these renders I discovered how big the exterior courtyard was and how opaque and daunting the “wellness” wall appeared in the main atrium. By breaking up those spaces and thinking about how people would actually use them and react to certain elements I can design for more pointed experiences. I haven’t thought too much about the exterior “form” of my building but from playing around in rhino I was able to experiment with multilevel outdoor courtyards and pathways and thinking about the role of the presentation space/walkway connecting the two wings.

Exterior Render Courtyard Render Atrium Render1


My section could definitely use more development. From this I need to focus more on vertical relationships and how those spaces can interact with each other more and be more dynamic.


Looking Forward

The reviews from LPA on Monday and Clare/Beller on Wednesday were both helpful in pinpointing what I need to focus on looking forward. I know one critique was taking a step back and really thinking about my “main idea” or concept that is driving this project. I know that this is something that I have always struggled with in design; I have a concept in the beginning and kind of just make changes and decisions and then try and rationalize them and bring them back to my original ideas at the end. I think truly digging deep into what I believe an OSL school should look like and what that term means to me would help me create a stronger foundation for my future designs. In addition, I know one element that I struggled with its role in my project was the addition of the presentation/gallery/circulation space that connects the two wings. I feel like it has a lot of potential but just needs to be developed further. Rethinking the layout of my programming would be a good start to determine the best solution for that idea. Ideally the space would be as awesome as High Tech High’s hallways filled with student work, energy, and collaboration. Researching projects where these ideas have been successful such as LPA’s Newbort Beach project (shown below), Dexter Lawn, and High Tech High will give me a better direction to move towards successful design the rest of the quarter.

LPA Newport Beach

LPA Newport Beach2

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Weaving some Open-Source-Critiques

Throughout the design process I keep attempting to go back to my initial concept diagram in order to understand what it is I am actually striving for. As R.M. Schindler put it,

the preliminary sketch and design is “the very crux of the architect’s contribution, his main creative effort”.

In a way the concept diagrams we made at the beginning were the unpolluted and ideal relationships we thought best embodied OSL; the hard part is to not lose that along the way. In my opinion, great architecture comes from an inseparable pairing between the initial dream and the following design development.

Open Source Threading-01

For most of my design process thus far I have been organizing. I’ve been laying out the program in such a way as to reinforce a central idea of my concept: making the space your own. But what does that mean? Well it means a lot of things.

One, it means having a space where you can keep your things (projects, backpacks, laptops, tablets, etc…), much like our studios. Two, it means having a space that you can define; a place that you can make your own through decoration, transformation, and even possibly hacking (one of my initial concepts involved the idea of student built homerooms). Three, it means having the opportunity to take responsibility for your work and share it with others.

One of my beliefs is that effort is reinforced and heightened through passive critique. If you’re sitting at home on a Sunday morning watching Always Sunny in Philadelphia with a mug of hot cocoa, you could care less what you look like and will probably wear whatever you slept in. If, however, you are planning to walk around downtown and go get some coffee at Linnaea’s, it’s an entirely different story; the passive critique of things we take pride in (which for many of us includes how we look) completely alters the amount of effort we put into a given activity. As I sit here writing this, however, I continue to struggle with the question of whether or not this is a socially created or built-in behavior. As 80short remarked at the beginning of the quarter, there is indeed a “third party that has a stake in our education” which is Corporate America. So are we taught by commercials and advertisements to increase effort for the commons? or is this a social tool instilled within us since birth?

Depending on the answer I find to that question I think my design could radically shift. My focus for the cluster was this idea of reinforcing work through exposure to the commons. This diagram I created represents how that system works temporally, with “nest” spaces closing for focused study, and opening to encourage information sharing and exposure (the informal learning).

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Through the process of making this diagram I also came to another realization: disciplines share their work differently. For example, where an art student may need public pin-up space to talk with the passerby about his or her work, someone studying culinary arts may need a table or food bar where they can serve their creations to hungry friends and faculty. This idea is also reconstructing how I think of the cluster itself; initially I had linked the clusters to the interest groups, but now I understand that what I had really wanted to do was organize the clusters by how they share their work.

This shift in thinking may also affect the layout and development of my overall plan. Whereas before I saw the interest groups as typologically different cohorts, I now see them as topologically connected.




One of the main critiques of my overall layout was its lack of connection to nature, and the next step of my process is really delving into this connection.

I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out I found, was really going in.

-John Muir

I think that every learner, whether they are studying engineering or performing arts, can draw inspiration from nature; so for an open source learning hub this connection is essential, and yet has been overlooked in my current layout. My current plan to start incorporating this essential piece of the dream is to breakdown my design (which is mostly an organizational layout) and critique it bit by bit, starting with the commons. Another thing mentioned during my LPA discussion was the idea of sequencing the common space; if you barrage an occupant with this grandiose common space right as they walk in the door, filled with information and people and noise and projects, it’s going to be overwhelming. By creating a sequence of events, I can start to create focal points and a sort of narration through the space. The challenge will be balancing the purpose of the common space–sharing information–with this sequence of experiences. One strategy I am currently investigating involves “layers of transparencies” such as those eyarosh referred to in our discussion of High Tech High.

The other area of development I need to focus on is site-scale relationships. How can the area between the residences/foundation and the academy become a cultural/community main street that revolves around OSL and sharing? How can the connections within the Residences and Foundation themselves become more like those in the academy? Is the parking lot just a big asphalt blob on an otherwise beautiful site? These questions and others keep popping up in the back of my mind, but are constantly lost when I scale down to look at the Open Source Learning Academy itself. So as I continue to scale down to even smaller boundaries and systems, I must also address these large scale connections.



As I flipped back through my notebook to my concept-diagram-think-page, I came across the central question that started this all:

How can the physical learning environment become a network itself?

I think I have partially answered this question, but there is still a long way to go before a spatial answer is completed for this complex spatial problem.

OSL[HUB] Model

Process to Understanding Open Source Learning Design

Open-source learning was a concept that I had a hard time wrapping my head around fully.  So I decided to look more into my school for inspiration.  My high school had offered many programs such as dancing, robotics, engineering, drama, culinary, speech and debate, police academy, arts, and architecture.  However, these programs were unknown to many students at my school who did not like to look past their own classroom walls.

Open-source Learning Collage 2

For our studio’s next study on the Dunbar number, I was aware of this notion that some students might not necessarily interact with other students in different programs.  The Dunbar number was an assumption that a single person can maintain about 150 connections.  I focused my collage from the eyes of a high school student.

Dumbar Number Learning Collage

When a new student enters high school, he/she is worried and is exposed to many new things.  Eventually as time passes by, he/she would be more comfortable interacting and meeting people.  Her immediate friends are instantly recognizable.  Through social media, he/she will see more faces and interact with more people, but he/she might not necessarily know these people well.  This collage helped me realize that as connections are made, people either remember the location of interaction more or the person(s) more.

With this in mind, I wanted my design to revolve around creating a comfortable environment for the three student clusters of 150.  This comfort should also be integrated with the wellness portion of the school.  Many school neglect the importance of wellness – “mind, body, and soul.”  Stress levels in high school students are extremely high, resulting in unhealthy methods of coping with the stress.  As a result, I wanted wellness to be the center of the open-source learning academy.  OSL should be a open place that students want to be in.

I initially divided the school into six different subjects based on the core subjects (math, science, social studies, English, languages, and arts).  I later arranged for the interest groups of product design (defab), media design, culinary design, and organizational design to be in between the subjects that they share the most common with.  These connections I made between the subjects later gave way to the curving shape.

20150206_155403 20150206_155409

Later, Open Source Learning DiagramOpen Source Learning Color ChartI decided that these curves can function as my clusters.  To keep with the focus of wellness, I arranged my three clusters to surround the wellness courtyard.  The commons were areas shared between the clusters.  Soon, I considered overlapping the interest groups on top of the clusters and commons.  This did not give me the result I desired, so I experimented with the typology studies.  20150215_101214

The bars helped in the organization and relationships between the clusters and the interest groups, but I felt like I lost the shape.  Through some helpful advice, I decided to take the form more literal.  The bars started to thicken and thin depending on the amount of space needed for each activity.


My floorplans later developed more from the definition of the spaces and programming needed for each of the clusters and interest groups.

Open Source Learning 3 FloorplansOpen Source Learning Color Chart

C:UsersCasey WongDocumentsOpen Source Learning 3 - Sheet - A

From the floorplans and section, I realized the importance of the adjacencies.  For instance, I wanted the entry to be located near the administration.  I also wanted the interest groups to be open and inviting enough for students to be able to explore more about.  Instead of long, dull hallways, I wanted the spaces especially the commons to be open and be filled with activities that students were welcomed to enjoy and interact.

Open Source Learning Mid-review Image 1

Exterior Perspective – Entry

Open Source Learning Mid-review Image 2


Open Source Learning Mid-review Image 3

Culinary Design

Open Source Learning Mid-review Image 4



Despite my efforts, I did not accomplish the things I set to do.  After my mid-review from LPA and Cal Poly, I realized there was still much to improve upon.

  1. Site

    I should take the site into more consideration.  How can my design respond to the site?  What experiences can it offer to the occupants?  Can the bars flex more according to the topography?

  2. Vertical Circulation

    I should look more into the plan vertical and how people will flow through the spaces.  More sections can further help me understand the vertical relationships among the spaces.

  3. Increased Space/Room Development

    More development of the spaces were needed to further understand how students would utilize the spaces.  Even though I wanted students to travel from classroom to classroom across the school, how can I make the classrooms different in experience besides being in a different wing.

  4. Indoor/outdoor Relation

    Instead of just using glass to bring the outdoors in, what other materials or spatial arrangements can be utilized to further expand this relationship of the occupants and their surroundings.  What kind of atmospheres does the OSL want to create?

With all these helpful comments, I am thankful in learning and improving more.

One thing I would definitely like to focus more on is the culture and atmosphere of the OSL.  Even though it’s harder to influence educational policies and curriculum from an architectural perspective, we can always address the spatial issues.  As mentioned in the studio countless times, “How is this a spatial problem?”




I used the farm to table idea to illustrate this system. Knowledge is obtained and applied in the field, in the kitchen, and in the dining room. The dinner table then acts as this culmination of all this knowledge as well as a forum for information exchange.

A starting point for my design focused on the students as a band of HUNTER/GATHERS OF INFORMATION…




WE ARE CONSTANTLY SURROUNDED BY A FLOW OF INFORMATION. It is up for the individual or gathering group to figure out what info is important for their “success.”

The question then is how do we design a space where there is information exchange, synthesis, and activation?

DIAGRAM [Converted]

I broke this into the learning cluster as the information exchange (Formal), the synthesis as the intersection of spaces where students exchange ideas, and the activation where people produce a “thing” to put back into the system.

The “Formal” bands I oriented for daylighting and solar gains for a more comfortable learning environment.


ax plan






Looking west.



Looking forward:

I highlighted a few subjects from the LPN office talk that I found important to my project.  The most important I felt was Sarah’s? break down of a functional school/space. First, is it FLEXIBLE? Do the inhabitants have the opportunity to change their immediate surroundings.  I need to work on this aspect through furniture and also blended indoor outdoor areas. The second was to offer a VARIETY OF SPACES. This is important because different people need different environments to function well. An example that I got from the firm was the splitting of the thought of collaboration space into short term and long term.  Each has its own design constraints. The third was to give people the CHOICE on which space to use so they can find that space that makes them productive.

A couple highlights from both critiques

  • focus on entry…if learning is focus, make more visible
  • make the gym a flex performance space that accepts outdoor seating
  • think of building as a vehicle
  • use atmosphere to determine spacial choices
  • use circulation to confuse people so that they need to focus on surroundings (mine was too streamlined class-exit)
  • sectional interactions between spaces
  • do more research on crop integrated design “go further”
  • more detail in spaces

Design reactions:

  • I like the center stair but I can’t lean on it for causing interaction. I need to do this with more spatial definition of flex/collab spaces
  • I’m trying to figure out a way of centralizing the farm to table aspect by relocating the kitchen and food labs as well as the adjacent eating spaces.
  • Stacy mentioned a green wall of food.  I was already thinking about how to implement a hanging garden into shading or structural pieces as a more building integrated use of greenery.  This also came from the quilt idea I posted earlier where maybe each student gets to plant and take care of a certain part of the garden wall then when it blooms there becomes a mosaic of color that transforms the building experience (another metaphor for the open source system)
  • I also want to break up the long bars that serve as the clusters and focus them on creating more/ smaller courtyards
  • more detail, furnishings, cluster details, inside outside space


In said Open Source Learning land, hubs and interest groups become focal points for discovery, participation, and belonging. When learning is conceived as a network, it demolishes the established “lecturer teacher at the front and 30+ silent listeners in individual desks” model. This interdisciplinary network is conceived as the play between and celebrated overlap of the individual and the communal, the exploratory and the focused.

conceptual diagram

With an understanding that people organize themselves with varying levels of intimacy, I broke apart the typical classroom into spaces that would host 5 people, 10 people, 20 people, and 30 people. This made much more sense for a learning environment. I figured that teaching can remain the same if you have the same sized room but if the rooms are designed for different sized groups, the nature of the learning will without a doubt be different. Variety in this case is an enabler to different types of student engagement. From the studied Dunbar number, the “hub” developed as a communal nucleus for 150 student to engage in diversely sized spaces to cultivate interdisciplinary learning.

Polypeptide Diagramcluster diagram PRINT-01

Continuing the running theme of this studio: How is this a spatial problem?

I’ve addressed this through rooting the interest groups or disciplines (media, product, culinary, and organizational design) to the ground. By placing the hubs in the floors above, this demands that students are exposed to specific work and access to the interest disciplines as they circulate vertically. Connecting the spaces is a channel of commons where students participate, display and show off work, and engage both indoor and outdoor. The hubs are indicated in blue, the interest groups in green, and commons in yellow.

useSite Diagram use-01section 1 thru commons

The site being in San Luis Obispo, California, it is high time to take advantage of the weather. I intend to intentionally connect the indoor and outdoor spaces where appropriate for break out places.

Movable Wall Study Movable Wall Study2

COMMONS RENDERcourtyard render

While in San Diego at LPA’s office, Emily had mentioned the Design Thinking process and how it is being reflected in my current design. She also proposed how students desire flexibility, variety, and choice to make the learning their own.

Design Thinking:

1. Ideation/ exploration

2. Protyping/ iteration

3. Communicating/ sharing

4. Analysis/ innovation

School design especially requires intention at every level.

Movin’ Forward

From this point, I’d like to dive into how I got to where I am now and be able to clearly communicate that process. In terms of circulation, there is a lot to be explored in how the effect of the corridor can have an emphasis on where you are, not where you are going. It is time to articulate how those boundaries between activities and circulation are soft.

One critic pointed out that a diagram showing how the analysis of the Dunbar number articulated the hub and shaped the space would be very helpful. This will help to connect the existing diagram to the floor plans.

Time and time again, the big black line came up. This obviously entails flushing out what kinds of enclosure and where, which invigorates the defining of indoor-outdoor relationship and flexible-fixed dynamic. A story of messy v precise, general v specific, neutral v strong spatial characteristics will follow, taking the design to new depths of specificity. A question to ask is how does this new level of depth in articulating the envelope support my design intent?

Measures of building analysis and performance must be utilized in the determining of mass and glass for a well rounded approach. This can further be developed in the envelope.

The difference between the visited high schools of High Tech High and E3 Civic was striking. Although they held similar project oriented learning core values, they felt like night and day when experienced back to back. The culture and atmosphere from the students and administration speak louder than I imagined they could. Once again, we are brought back to: How is this a spatial problem?

OSL Academy and Mid-Review Reflection

The Open Source Learning Academy is a very different kind of educational environment compared to the traditional school. The typical school generally has a bunch of enclosed classrooms that limits connectivity, relationships, and opportunities. Instead of inspiring students to learn and become passionate about their work, the typical school forces students into a standardized curriculum. Many of us have been there, and many of us have been bored out of our minds or left wondering what the point of it was. The OSL Academy’s goal is to change education. How can an environment encourage students to take charge of their education? How can it alter the relationship between student and teacher so that it becomes more like a learner and a guide? How can it make students passionate about what they’re learning?

At LPA, Emily summed up the design goals with three words: flexibility, diversity, and choice. The OSL Academy must provide these. At the same time, my goal is to encourage students to connect to each other. I took one of my initial typology studies and pushed it forward. It has two courtyards, one on a higher level that overlaps with the one on the lower level.

20150212_222209  20150208_194036  20150207_152346  20150212_221922

I saw the interest groups–culinary design, organization design, media design, and product design–as the core spaces of the academy. While generally disliked, the traditional enclosed classrooms does have its place as a formal learning environment, so I placed these on the third floor, along with the labs. I need to think more about where these spaces belong and how these rooms will fit in an organic, curvilinear form. One reviewer commented that with such complex programs, I may need a more complex form. They saw more potential in the form in the third image than my latest model in the last image. I certainly understand the point, though at the time I felt like I needed to return to a simpler shape and build up complexity. It was difficult to assess all this information about the program, site, and OSL in general.


Site Plan (slightly edited since Wednesday's midreview)

Site Plan (slightly edited since Wednesday’s midreview)

1st Floor

First Floor


2nd Floor

Second Floor



3rd floor

Third Floor



The circulation winds up and around the courtyard, encouraging students to move through the interest areas. Of course, they have the option of taking a shortcut through the lower courtyard, which I haven’t gone into detail yet. The circulation can also serve as additional learning spaces, which again, I haven’t yet gone into detail yet, though I plan to. Adding nooks for privacy and solitude, creating space through flooring or ceiling fixtures, and other strategies we have used in the library project early in the quarter can definitely be applied here. The circulation needs to change a bit to accommodate for daylighting and how I may rearrange my programs to respond to the site.

Circulation2 Circulation1


Renderings are more focused on interior spaces, but they need to convey the atmosphere of OSL Academy.

Interior Entry

Multi-Purpose Volume Space


Informal flex area

Exterior Entry Render

Exterior Entry


Lower Courtyard

I believe I need to focus on the designs for the courtyards–they are prominent features in my design. I asked Emily at LPA about how I could make sure people actually use the courtyard space and avoid making it end up as a big, open, empty area. She suggested adding spaces for smaller, more intimate groups or for the individual. This issue was brought up again by Doug. Just because I make a large common space doesn’t mean people will actually use it. On another note, another reviewer at LPA suggested I use something else besides a big grassy area, perhaps native plants, for my courtyard(s). Not only would native landscaping add a little more variety–it’ll also be good for the environment. This made me think about the qualities of Dexter Lawn compared to the qualities of the Engineering West courtyard. Perhaps the lower courtyard could be used as a quad and the upper courtyard can have more intimate spaces.

The next few weeks will require a big push. I still need to work and refine everything–form, circulation, indoor/outdoor relationships, programmatic relationships–but these reviews gave me a greater sense of clarity.