The presentation of this project will follow the structure of the National Wildfire Coordinating Group and will utilize descriptive methods that are practiced in the the Incident Command System during wildfire operations.
Incident Briefing //
Smoke up boathouse is a comprehensive design project by Dina Elfaham and myself during our sixth semester at the Pratt Institute School of Architecture. The project was overseen by our professor Gonzalo Carbajo, who throughout the process provided feedback and design input.
The parameters for the semester established Columbia University as the recipient of a boathouse designed along the Harlem River, adjacent to Inwood Hill Park in Manhattan. The boathouse would serve both as a public space and a private space for the Columbia rowing teams.
The origin of smoke was extracted from my summer position as a wildland firefighter. Smoke columns exist when fire behavior is active and the smoke is heavy. Smoke allows for the human eye to perceived a volume not comprehensible otherwise.
Smoke, through form and volume, served as the initial shell structure to house the boat storage required by Columbia University. This further developed into a solid that could be fashioned using the approach of my partner.
The balance between public and private space served as a common approach among my partner and me, using the idea of boundary - in all forms - to achieve a relationship. A defined boundary, a blurred boundary and the absence of boundary allowed the project to grow within a predetermined context.
Boundary was exercised through clearly defining the relationship between the form of smoke, and the carving action we implemented inside the solid smoke. Carving allowed for an interior spatial network to be created according to program and circulation. The importance of the smoke shell was based on the perception of boundary; it maintained a sense of secrecy of the interior that couldn't be realized until in the space.
Smoke Up boathouse was developed adjacent to the landscape of the site. Our proposal for the boundary between landscape and building was to not exist; the seamlessness of site to structure was key to maintaining the organic roots of smoke in nature.
Smoke Up Boathouse utilizes three mega columns on concrete foundations. The columns serve structurally, aesthetically and programmatically. A column grid rests upon a superstructure of I-beams. A series o then run vertically fhrough each column and tie into steel rings which provide a super-frame. The overall structure was simplified significantly in order to be more practical, breaking down curves into angles.
The facade of Smoke Up was exhausted for weeks. The goal of the facade was to provide a practical sustainable function while aesthetically maintaining the transition from landscape to building. Ribbons wrapped the building and provided a light shelf for the interior. It would also serve as a means to provide a human scale proportion to the building in order to counterbalance it's massive size. Establishing a contoured landscape and facade allowed for boundary to be entirely absent.