The Site Plan

October 11, 2010 2 comments

Establishing the Context

Design 9: Site Plan 1:500 at A1, drawn by Author, 2008 & Design 10: Site Plan 1:500 at A1, drawn by Author, 2008


The Aim of the Site Plan

The intention of the Site Plan is to show the building or project with its immediate context. This can be drawn at 1:500 but can vary according to what to how much immediate context needs to be shown. The Site Plan attempts to address the following questions and issues:

How does the building relate to the site and context? What are the landscaping and/or urban design decisions being made? How is the building connected to the wider fabric of the context, its environment, sun and wind? How have the features of the site and immediate context been addressed, in terms of, axes, views, main roads, driveways, carparks, trees, lakes and streams, and other landmarks?


The Location Plan

The Location Plan is done at a different scale to the Site Plan and attempts to show the project’s location with a wider context, in its relationship to a nearby city, or within a country or territory. The Location Plan can be done at 1:1000, 1:5000, or even 1:15000, depending on the scope and necessity of showing certain site features, such as roads, bridges, significant buildings or landmarks, or lakes, streams, and/or other artificial or natural elements.

The Contents of the Site Plan

A typical site plan should include:

  • North-Point
  • Scale
  • Street & Road Names
  • Roof Plan of the building/s, ie, the Top View, to be made distinct from the rest of the drawing, eg. through colour. Should be positioned more or less in the centre of the composition.
  • Labels of existing natural and/or artificial site features, such as parks, significant buildings, etc.
  • Labels, whether directly on the drawing as referred to by a numbered key, of the various aspects of the project, eg. carpark, the different wings or complexes, especially in the case of masterplans
  • Carparks should be drawn with the parking lines indicated to convey decisions relating to the total amount of cars to be accommodated and the circulation-traffic of the carpark
  • Cars, buses, and other vehicles as scale indicators at 1:500
  • Aerial Photograph to convey the surrounding built typology and grain as well as trees, parks and other natural/artificial features picked up by the aerial photograph
  • Topography, ie, Contour Lines, to show the relief of the land, sloping up or down, labeled with indicative contour heights, every 5m or 10m, etc.
  • Landscaping, new roads, access/drive-ways, pedestrian footpaths/paving


The Site-Masterplan

Design 7: Master Plan over Site Plan 1:500 at A1, drawn by Author, 2007

The Masterplan overlaid or juxtaposed/composited with the Site Plan attempts to show the scheme and its scope in relationship to its immediate context. The key to communicating this clearly is to distinguish what is existing with what is new, through colour or other graphic device.

The Masterplan figure should attempt to clearly show the various aspects pertaining to the entire scheme, the circulation, the entries, the carparks, the various built typologies, public spaces, courtyards, green spaces, and other landscaping features, trees, streams, lakes, gardens, etc. Existing buildings and other existing features should be included. Labels on/to significant features of the scheme.

Analytical devices can be included such as: circulation, access, pedestrian/vehicular movement, sun and wind, etc. But should not confuse the reading of the site-masterplan itself.




Redirect to Design 7 – Passive Housing Scheme,


Redirect to Design 9 – Investigations into the Interstitial: Drawings,


Redirect to Design 10 – Metaphysics of Light: Drawings,



AD1: Dark Light – Perforous Screens & Dematerialization

September 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Moe Kheir

Advanced Design 1, MArch(Prof) Semester 1, 2010

Tutors: Dr. Ross Jenner & Adrian Lo

AD1 Night-time Exterior Perspective by Moe Kheir, 2010

Perforous Dematerialization

Filtering & Equilibrium: Establishing a Continuum between Polarities; The Experience of the Topological Unbroken Line

The building, a geophysics institute, rises out in a cantilevered bridge-like structure from the site; where the private wing is submerged, and the public wing is extended out. The space between is a Moebius-like mode of interlocking geometry, strongly elucidating the principle of the topological continuum or the unbroken line. This middle zone is also the entry.

Perforous: perforations, filtering and diffusing light through perforous screens, moiré effects, unbroken brokenness of the view beyond. Seen in the facades, refer to sections, renders and model.

Dematerialization: dissolve matter through or by light, the thick and heavy concrete (with limestone mix) cladding appears to be dissolved, eaten, or consumed by light itself. The natural light is filtered again through the timber slits, a double filtering. This dematerialization is reversed at night, emitting pores of artificial lights.

Equilibrium: the act of balancing, of equalizing, equivalences, finding the middle point or medius/mediation, the act of making equal, connecting while separating, made explicit through the buildings formal configuration on site, in the earth and out of the earth, through the interlocking gesture between private and public sectors, and through the perforous façade linking exterior and interior.

Polarities: equalising the binary opposites or dualities, such as light and heavy, thick and thin, light and dark, under and over, inside and outside, private and public, etc

Continuum: to continue, to extend, to continue and extend without disruption or break, ie unbrokeness, unbroken continuity, an unbroken movement and dynamism.

Experience: spatial experience, architecture as giving shape to experience, through form, material and light/shadow.

Topology: the unbroken line, the loop, seen in the volumetric configuration, balustrades and circulation.

ALO in conjunction with Moe Kheir

AD1: Dark Light – The Layering of Transparency

September 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Liz Tjahjana

Advanced Design 1, MArch(Prof) Semester 1, 2010

Tutors: Dr. Ross Jenner & Adrian Lo

AD1 Exterior Perspective composed with Site Photograph by Liz Tjahjana, 2010

The Layered Glow

Layering, Stacking, Interpenetrations, Overlapping & Superimposition; Layered & Phenomenal Transparency

Transparency literal and phenomenal, from the macro to the micro, reiteration of the initial layering precept through successive levels of shifts and slides. The building bends around the contours forming a double direction – dual axis of superimposing linear block volumes, explicating the fundamental notions of the double axial configuration seen as an underlying order of stratification and collision in planning while constituting interpenetrative spaces and allowing for a successive array of various modes of overlapping, layering and stacking, clearly evident in the conceptual studies carried through to the multiplicity of investigative overlapping of the transitional states of transparency, translucency and opaque surfaces in the resolved building.

The spectroscopic institute is situated remotely from the main observatory hill, due to its particular programmatic requirements. The duality of the axis aided to separate while connect the private and the public zones, both meeting at the space of union.

Junctions, collisions, and overlaps occur throughout the scheme, seen from both the inside and the outside. The junctions are expressed through the articulation of threshold moments and the overlapping aids in the provision of continuum effects, such as a delayed entry.

The disruptions, offsets and shifts suggest a strong sense of dynamism and movement within a clearly static scheme grounded to site. The project implies dynamism and movement; static movement, dynamic stability, unmoving movement, seen in the overlapping, disruptions, slides and shifts of the volume, surfaces and materials constituting a depth of façade.

This dynamism is elucidated in the layered glow, interpenetration of space and surface working with the interpenetration of light by means of the overlapping of glass panels as well as spaces divided by glazed portions of walls, where the glow of natural light bleeds and diffuses from one space to the next, creating a successive superimposed overlapping lighting effect, effectively bringing the exterior, that is daylight, further into and deeper into the interior, an act of multi-penetration.

ALO in conjunction with Liz Tjahjana

AD1: Dark Light – The Labyrinth of Indirect Illumination

September 17, 2010 Leave a comment

Cat Doo

Advanced Design 1, MArch(Prof) Semester 1, 2010

Tutors: Dr. Ross Jenner & Adrian Lo

AD1 Exterior Perspective Photograph by Cat Doo, 2010

The Labyrinth: Giving Form to Formlessness

Indirect Light as Points of Visual Interest to direct a Labyrinthine Journey through Geological Voids

The scheme is designed mainly from the inside out, carving a cavernous geological narrative through the site lead by indirect glows around the corners of circulation spaces. The project has extensively considered a multiplicity of indirect lighting mechanisms for both artificial and natural light. This geological physics institute is situated to the west of Lake Tekapo and has expansive views out, as seen in the café and courtyard spaces. The long horizontality of the building is made evident by the narrative or journey which underpins the project, whilst having a sense of being firmly grounded to the immediate context, with a footpath mediating the transition between the building the ground.

The labyrinth relates directly to the sequence, the journey or the narrative, made explicit in the planning, the section and most importantly the sectional model. The labyrinth works on the principle of the indirect light cast onto the leading walls suggesting further progress deeper into the building, these act as points of visual interest directing one’s gaze and movement.

Articulating the formless, that is, natural light, with carefully considered concealed apertures within the architectural formal gesture is the main guiding principle. The formless form concept is made explicit in the blurred boundary between the indirect light and the physical form of the opening.

The multiple shifts in plane and volume in both plan, section, exterior and interior is a clear result of the careful consideration and articulation of the labyrinthian geological-cavernous journey principle.

The building is entered from the southern higher end, where one descends into darkness, and continues to find his or her way through a meandering route of successive heavy geological spaces where at the end of this journey one is thrusted out to the light and airy open courtyard space of the offices sector, which is at the bottom northern end of the scheme.

The choice of materiality elucidates the narrative though shifts in plane, horizontality, color and tonality. The introduction of the timber detached panels provides a natural contrast to the excessive use of stone, while concealing artificial lights useful in expressing the texture and relief of the stone surface behind.

ALO in conjunction with Cat Doo

Internal Elevations

September 9, 2010 3 comments

Explication of a critical implication of the Sectional Drawing.

Design 10 Cross Sections with Internal Elevations drawn by Author, 2008.

Design 09 Cross Section with Internal Elevation drawn by Author, 2008.

A Section is never just what has been cut, but also, if not more importantly, what is behind the cut, namely, the Section’s Internal Elevation.

When a section is cut and made through a building, what is being cut will be here-to-fore known as the “structure”, ie, it is the structure that has been cut, but this constitutes at times, plenty of information, and at other times, too little information about the building, especially its Interior.

With only the “Structure” cut-and-shown in a section, one gets a good understanding of the ‘form’ of the building when cut, but without the internal elevation one will have little idea of what is actually going on inside the spaces, the ‘activities’ will be completely invisible, unless one also considers and draws, if not also details, the internal elevations.

A section that only illustrates the cut, could be referred to as being “diagrammatic”, that is the structure, the floors, walls, roofs, foundations, etc. will only constitute towards a diagram of a building’ section. To provide a fuller understanding of the building that has been cut, one needs to include the internal elevations, the ‘stuff’ happening behind the structural cut, in order to lift it from the ‘diagram’ to become a more experiential holistic section.

Afterall, one does not necessarily experience the building in section, that is, what has been cut, but rather walks the floor’s surface, sees the surface of the walls and ceiling around him or her. The actual experience of the building is manifest by the surfaces not just the diagrammatic cut.

It is hence necessary to explicate the multiplicity of the manifolded manifestations of the walls, surfaces, and other objects behind the cut, constituting the internal elevation. Doors will be shown, if not also their frame, their materiality through texture, any divisions and glazed portions, and of course the door handle, any partitioning or change in the internal wall or façade will be included, the bricks or concrete blocks will be drawn, that is, the internal elevation will illustrate the choice of materials inside the space/building, and of course furniture and all its details, and people occupying the space/furniture will add to the richness of a sectional drawing. The section not only provides the tangible material and occupational cues but since the actual surface is being detailed, lighting, and its opposite, shadows, will start to inhabit the sectional elevation. Patches of brightness vs patches of darkness will occur on the internal sur-faces and start to tell one a story or a narrative about how the building responds to the outside environment, the sun, and its effects, cast into and onto the surfaces of the building. Lighting effects and phenomena can only be shown by means of the internal elevation, as these effects, if not due to fog or other volumetric effects, can only occur on the surfaces within the space.

It is such that the Internal Elevation enriches the Sectional Drawing, makes it more complete, provides additional if not more important information, and contributes to a full experiential understanding of a section through a building. The internal elevation provides information on the materials employed, the activities taking place inside, and the lighting phenomena occurring within the space and on the surfaces. Such aspects need to be considered, articulated, and worked into the section’s diagrammatic or structural cut to interrogate, investigate, elucidate, explain, elaborate, and explicate the implications of the building’s interior.


Redirect to Design 9 – Investigations into the Interstitial: Drawings,

Redirect to Design 10 – Metaphysics of Light: Drawings,


September 5, 2010 Leave a comment

Generalized philosophical theories of Aesthetics are not well suited to architecture, while they often are suited to art, music and literature. Architecture has elements of function, locality and a range of thematic differences that influence ones appreciation of architectural aesthetics.

The appreciation of a building is dependent on it functional performance as a means or end to particular functional requirements. Music must be heard to be experienced, like literature must be read to be experienced, however architecture is able to be experienced without being seen. The functional performance of a building has many other considerations than the visual, and functional determinism is part of one’s appreciation of a building. If one removes the functional attributes of a building then it becomes sculptural, no longer architectural. A building which fails to meet its functional demands is appreciated less, and enjoyed less by its users, however is the condition of the occupants experience suitably classified as an aesthetic one. Those which have not experienced the condition of occupancy, do not have their perspective influenced by that experience. Those which have experienced it, will have an emotional response to it, which in turn will influence there aesthetic appreciation of it. Were those experiences to be reasoned out and communicated to another, the experience could be emulated by the other to a limited degree. The functional qualities of a building influence onces aesthetic appreciation of a building, as when one perceives a building it is not only the visual information which is taken into account, but ones understanding of its meaning, its concept, its purpose.

Works of art, music and literature (AML) can be realized, performed, moved, produced and reproduced independent of a location. Galleries exhibit art work for a typical 3 month term, music halls support the transmission of sound for concerts, libraries hold and manage access to stored information. In these 3 examples of architectural functions pertaining to art, music and literature, the building is the support structure for an art which has a higher metabolism and mobility. AML is able to move independent of location, while architecture as an art is dependent on site and context. The site proposes challenges, people, culture and events which influence ones appreciation of a building, the site can become part of the architectures aesthetic, perhaps in the way it plays with the land, or the way cultural events engage with it. Locality is a key point of difference between architecture and other forms of art, it is the anchor to one location, a location which is inextricably related to the appreciation of a building.

Architecture – Public Phenomenon:
Art, music and literature don’t impose their presence into ones view, nor take up ‘valuable’ sound space. Art, music and literature are chosen by the observer to be experienced, and should the experience be undesirable, then experience can be chosen to cease. Architecture, on the other hand, is massive and dominant, pushing its presence into view and potentially causing disruption to ones life. Architecture expresses itself to the public without observer consent, it continuously depicts the moment in which is was constructed – material use, composition, construction methods. One has no choice but to perceive and experience. AML is able to survive the hardest cultural disruptions because of a higher rate of renewal, it has less impact on ones daily life, it is able to dabble and choose ideas to express and refine a new direction faster than that of architecture.

Expectations for New:
Architectural aesthetics are expected to change and grow organically from the present style, often moving through moments of reflection upon and imitation of a pre-existing style. The expectation for new is there because we expect technology and quality of life to improve. When a new architectural aesthetic is produced because of a technological improvement, it can be appreciated as a signifier for that advancement. While the observer is not likely to consciously appreciate it as such, its newness to the architectural stock arouses curiosity as one seeks to understand its qualities. The new innovation can take shape in many forms, an incremental advancement is less likely to produce the same effect as a radical innovation because of its subtlety. A radical innovation is one which changes the inter-organization of core architectural concepts, and such a bold change could produce a building risk of social and industry rejection. Newness is not merely appreciated because its new, but because of the meaning is carries and the curiosity it instigates.

The capacity of architectural aesthetics is constrained within, and executed by the competence of engineering. Discoveries and innovations in engineering often lead to spin off influences into architectural aesthetics, often with unpredictable uses. “The natural evolution of styles is cast aside, interrupted or set off at a tangent by discoveries that have no aesthetic origin and no aesthetic aim.” (Roger Scruton)

Enjoyment and thought:
Enjoyment is mediated through thought, our previous experiences and expectations, our understanding of history and cultural significance, etc. An aesthetic judgment can be made in relation to the object in question and its relation to man. Use and function come into play with regards to aesthetic appreciation. Our conception of a building determines our experience of it, an incomplete conception of a building, perhaps a single exterior passers-by perspective, will be different from one who has experienced the building under many environmental conditions, explored all the spaces, etc. Conception of the architecture is formed by experience, experience is formed by collective conceptions. What the observer knows greatly influences their experience of it, for example:

You are seeing a Grecian Temple, the weathering appears real the material looks of natural stone. Its cold to the touch, and you imagine the hands of the workers forming the 24 flutings to the columns, tapering gently to the top. The experience of the building is dominated by its scale, grandeur, age and the awe asked by “how did they do that?”

During your experience you learn that it was built recently as a film set, bought after the shooting to become a gallery. The building, with natural stone, built to dimensions in kind with originals was not ‘real’ anymore. Would your experience crash at that realization?

Reasons and experience:
A reason which can be shared and understood amongst others helps with the appreciation of the building. One who has had little experience with a particular building given with such a reason for another’s aesthetic appreciations will have their perception and experience changed.

During an interview (Audio soon to be posted) with Associate Professor Robert Wicks, hosted by myself,  we discussed the nature of aesthetics with a bent on the architectural. An interesting concept raised was the notion of Imaginative Resonance, the manner in which a building has moments which resonate with others. A building which responds well to its history, makes contrasting or balancing statements by orientation and mass, or uses traditional materials non-traditionally can create these imaginative resonances that are enjoyable by the perceiver. The more we know about something influences our appreciation of it, such is with architecture, music or wine. It is not simple to say one building looks better than another because all you may need to do is learn more about the building to appreciate its curiosities.

Primary reference: Architectural Aesthetics by Roger Scruton. British Journal of Aesthetics 13.4 (1973) p 327-345

Categories: AMC Tags:

Architecturality I

September 3, 2010 Leave a comment

In response to Google, I did not mean architecturally, at least not just architecturally.

The key to understanding the concept of Architecturality lies in its –ity suffix. The dictionary definition of the -ity ending is a suffix used to form a type of noun known as an “abstract noun” which expresses a state or condition.

As such, examples include: Reciproc-ity, as a state of reciprocation, or Poros-ity as a condition of being or becoming porous, or otherwise, Modal-ity or Nodal-ity, being states or conditions pertaining to modes or nodes, respectively.

The abstraction of an abstract noun is significant to the understanding of architecturality. The abstract condition or state of architecture is thus a possible reading or implication. The abstraction or extraction of the architectural from what is architecture. If a diagram can be established to identify the architectural, then Architecturality is a diagrammatic diagram, a diagram of diagrams of what constitutes the architectural, and like so, architecture, architecture-ness.

It is hence, that Architecturality is not just architectural, that is in a state or condition of being, relating, or pertaining to architecture, but also expresses the operation of architecturalisation, or that of architecturalising or being architecturalised. What is being teased out is the repressed or hidden conditions of architecture, concealed within the architecturality of the condition of architecture or what is architectural.

Architecturality is a means of opening up divergent and expansive readings and intepretations, as well as possible mis-interpretations.

The notion of architecturality is significant in the question of what makes architecture architectural? And investigates what is architectural about architecture. Architecturality is something peculiar-particular to architecture, yet overcomes, goes beyond, and exeeds architecture. Hence the term Architecturality contains all -like terms, namely, architecture, architectural, architecturalising/sation, architectural-ness, or architecture-ness.

But what about an architectur-ity? An architecturity no longer contains architectural in its root, and does not necessarily capture architectures’ architecturalness. It is necessary to introduce the significance of the suffix, -al, this suffix turns verbs into nouns, so does that mean that architecture is already a verb? without the need to architecturalise?

In that case, rather than from architecture to architecturity, ie, from ‘verb’ (that is, architecture taken as a verb) to ‘abstract noun’, the process of architecturality extends a stage futher, from ‘verb’ to ‘noun’ (with -al suffix) to ‘abstract noun’, containing more within its implication. Here the term pli is implicated in the term implication, the word pli comes from the French fold, and to speak of the implications of architecturality is to speak of the consequential folding or inference of the architectural, these folds or inferences are those other -like terms of architecture aforementioned.

Returning to the implication of the term pli or fold, one explicates and replicates, and in so doing complicates the matter of architecturality, its abstraction, its multiplicity, its multi-foldedness, its many or mani-fold, or inter-fold, which starts to launch into another discussion of the inter-modes (or operations) of the inter-multi-foldedness of architecturality.



Categories: ALO Tags: , ,