aggregated spaces

fall 2016 - arch 501

professor philipp heidemann 

jason bakeer

This proposal for a new nature center at Turkey Run State Park was inspired by naturally occurring branching structures and lightning strikes. Analyzing these structures provided information regarding underlying principles of why branching designs commonly occur in nature. The Constructional Law of Physics describes this phenomenon and influenced the design of this project by promoting aggregation, density, and efficiency. These parameters were manipulated to create three dimensional space that would influence visitors and enhance interactions with the natural environment.

Through density, aggregation and natural materials, the Nature Center’s design engages visitors with the nature and architecture, fusing the natural and built environments. The use of simple wooden post and beam construction alludes to the Constructional Law, providing an efficient method of transferring building loads. The component members of the system are simple; however, their arrangement is complex. Configuring the beams in a rotated and layered grid minimizes member size while maintaining structural strength. Aggregating structural components creates a space defining composition that is not possible using a single component.

Locating the building along existing site contours inserts the Nature Center into the landscape and unites the built and natural environments. Sitting along these contours, and adjacent the Sugar Creek gorge, the building’s form cradles incoming visitors into a courtyard opposite the gorge. Entering the Nature Center begins the visitor’s journey through the park. Inspired by Sugar Creek, the exhibit space meanders through the building’s center, flanked by multipurpose and support space on either side. Glass curtain wall encloses the multipurpose space, flooding natural daylight into the exhibit area and encouraging interactions between interior and exterior spaces. Strolling through the exhibit space, visitors learn of the natural wonders awaiting them in the park. Their journey culminating with an expansive bird watching area, overlooking the gorge beyond. Although the Nature Center’s journey may be finished, the visitors adventure through the park has just begun


indy tower

fall 2016 - arch 501

jordan johnston

Indy tower is a project located on the east side of the Indianapolis mile square. This project consists of 110,000 sq. ft. of residential space, 10,000 sq. ft. of office space, as well as 40,000 sq. ft. of retail space.

This tower is meant to function as a gathering place for the public, with a public courtyard. It also creates a live work environment for young professionals, with an open plan office space with flexible leasing that is centered on small startups.

The building is designed to create a very communal environment with multiple places to gather for both the residents as well as the public. As well as responding to external environmental conditions, such as sun exposure and shading, to create a design that is unique in the Indianapolis skyline while also being efficient in how the form was created.


nature center 

fall 2016 - arch 501 

professor: philipp heidemann

sanghamitra majumdar

This project started with studying a natural system. For this project, the selected system was wild beehives which is a complex and adaptive structural system made by the bees. The cell patterns and different kind of cells were studied and observed. The study revealed the fascinating interlocking mechanism of the cells which gives the beehive structural stiffening. Beehives are continuously growing structures, very adaptive in size and shape and can create tensile or compressive structures as their surrounding permits.

The site of the Nature Center is in a Turkey Run State Park which has lush vegetation, wild life, and unique topography. The design was inspired by the cellular system which twists and folds on itself. Study findings lead to formulation of a self-supporting planar cellular system which can span space and grow and fold in any direction based on spatial needs. The cell structure spans over the functions of Nature Center and the design intent was to make a building that grows from the ground, create spaces, and then grows back to the ground again. So it looks and feels like a part of the natural environment.

The cells are made of timber and metal bolts are used to join them. Overhead skylights and cell opening were placed in locations which allow day light penetration in exhibition spaces, lobby, library, observatory, multipurpose spaces, and offices. These polygonal cell openings also enhance the cellular nature of the architecture. Strategically placed framed views helps visitors experience the surrounding nature as a part of this building. In some places the structure grows upward and make space for the main entrance or to permit uninterrupted view of the descending contours where the bird feeding and animal watching zone is placed. Exhibition space cells open and create an alcove like transition space which lead the visitors to the park trail at the end of their journey inside.