And the Winner is…

Ok…  So to rehash what’s been going on up to this point, we each came up with an individual idea last week.  Those were narrowed down to 4 concepts on which we all teamed up on to work on further as groups.  (By “all” and “groups”, of course, I’m referring to the first three concepts, because the class abandoned me to work alone on the fourth)  Today at 2:00pm, eleven eager and sleep deprived students presented there four ideas to a jury of five.  The Jury consisted of our professor David Pastre, studio U’s professor Ray Huff, Mark Sloan, Director and Senior Curator of the Halsey Institute, Eddie Bello, former city architect and director of MacMillan Pazdan Smith in Charleston, and Matt Compton, Deputy Director of Parks Operations for the City of Charleston.  Our goal at this critique was to narrow down the four ideas into one idea that we thought would successfully convey information about Blue Sphere’s Earth Art Expo, and do so in a manner that was artistic, architectural, and sustainable.  (that’s a little redundant)  With the constructive input from our esteemed jurors, we now have a much better idea of what we can do in the given time, what we need to do to make our ideas work more effectively, and what sort of things we should keep in mind as far as what the City of Charleston will permit.

Much to professor Pastre’s dismay, all four presentations were good, so we have yet to come to a consensus on what direction we should go from here. David was hoping that three of our groups would fail miserably and make this decision easy.

Anyways…  group 1, consisting of Joe (Jobin) McNeill, Lauren Martinez, and Ben Miskelly,  presented their idea called “sliver.”  (Sadly it did not feature a sultry 34 year old Sharon Stone)  This design consisted of a sliver of a sphere made from a series of skeletal-like arcing members fanned out but kept in tension to each other with recycled rubber bicycle tubes.  The design was “visually dazzling,” said Mark Sloan, but there were still some tectonics that Joe needed to work out.  Matt Compton said that it resembled an amphitheater which apparently used to exist in Marion Square long ago to provide good clean entertainment for the sailors returning home from WWII.

Group two consisted of He Xiaohang (affectionately known as michael), Becca Cook, and Ryan Massengill.  This project was more of an artistic installation within the city, and was more information driven than the other three.  The premise behind it is that reclaimed doors would act as gateways to information about the events hosted by BlueSphere.  The doors would be color coded per each event and people could interact with them at there various locations throughout the city by opening them and reading the information kept within, or they could pass through some.  The doors would be freestanding in Marion Square and onlookers could follow them, one door to the next, to the location of each event.  Ray Huff exclaimed that “it’s kinda interesting how it tentacles out from the park!”  This concept, although very intriguing, ended up being set aside because it involves little “design/build” qualities and is more of an artistic installation.

Group 3 was the largest group and probably was the most likely concept to move forward with for the Kiosk Project.  It consisted of Mike Niezer, Caitlin (Red) Ranson, Elissa Bostain, and John Lindenmuth.  This idea consisted of a series of columns made from reclaimed lumber stacked in a Jenga-like fashion and held in compression with steel cables.  The columns are arranged in a grid pattern that mingles with the trees and walkway of the park, creating an interesting interior/exterior experience for passers by.  At night, lights illuminate the columns from within creating beacons that attract pedestrians like moths to come experience the installation.   Some members of the jury applauded the construction and design of this project but urged them to do something more interesting than the grid pattern.  Ray Huff said to “get radical with this thing!”

Finally…  I, Jim Graham, consisted of group 4.  My concept focused on installing a grand sculptural element over the fountain located at the corner of King and Calhoun streets.  This concept was composed of two simple arches that connected at one end and spanned out over the fountain towards the intersection.  It would be made from curved glulamited beams salvaged from local deconstruction and from the deconstruction of the Haint Blue installation in Wilmington, NC.  (probably the best city in the world!)  The structure would span over 40 ft and reach up to 23 ft in the air above the fountain.  My idea behind this is that it would be a large and intrusive structure, although very elegant, that would grab the attention of pedestrian and vehicle traffic.  I realized about an hour before presenting my project that it was Haint Blue (Carolina Blue) and looked like an abstraction of a Ram.  Maybe I did this unconsciously because i’m so proud to be a Tarheel!

Kiosk Board 2

In conclusion, everyone worked very hard to pull these projects together so quickly (standard Architecture school practice), and they can’t all be fully realized, but I think we have learned from each of them and they will each contribute to the final design significantly.

So…  In Conclusion…   I”m off to Salty Mike’s to meet the group and maybe we will come up with a conclusion over some beers and buffalo chicken sandwiches.

ALSO.   I don’t have the other groups’ images of their projects, so please post them to this link.  Please pardon my poor grammar and sarcastic tone.  I only wish there was a “sarcastic font” to make it more effective.

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