Thursday, February 21, 2008

Client Presentation Week!

We prestented to Stephen and Anne from NCS on Wed afternoon and I think it went great! I haven’t had a chance to get the photos of the presentation or the proposals together yet but I’ll upload them as soon as possible. So instead – here’s some pics of the lead up to the main event from earlier in the week.

Messr. Johnson, adding a little style to the joint.

Star, Meghan and myself - nerding out at the model table.

Margot – doing as she does.

Solveig, Ralphie and Jason - three quarters of a Greenline.

The presentation itself went pretty well. We had to pin up in the glass tube room up on the third floor – but it still looked great. There were somewhere around 30 different proposals on the wall since we put up all of our individual and paired proposals as well as our final team proposals, so it was quite a collection of work. Randy Wood and another architect from his office came by as well, and so did Billie (last name) – the original landscape architect on the project. They were all excited to see the amount of work we had produced and we got some great feedback. Stephen and Anne seemed happy with everything and it was really nice to hear them say that they felt like we were really listening to them and truly responding to the direction that they had given us. I was really happy to see that everyone’s proposals were very sensitive to needs of the residents and focused on what their experience of the project would be like for the people who are really going to be the ones using it.

The only thing that everyone thought all our schemes were lacking was a really extensive use of ‘green stuff.’ I’m not surprised by that criticism - I don’t think any of us have super clear idea about how to deploy gardens on the roof – if you ask me – designing gardens is way more challenging than designing buildings! But an explicit use of veggies, especially plantings which are a lot taller than any of us had proposed – now seems pretty important to everyone. Part of the reason that a lot of us were a little hesitant to design in too much garden was out concern over maintenance, but now it sounds as though NCS thinks that full-time maintenance is something that will be possible, so I think we can start to add a lot more green to the project.

The only other thing that was a real concern was the way some of the schemes seemed overly visible to the neighborhood. Originally – the idea of the project as a ‘beacon’ which was in dialog with the surrounding neighborhood, and especially the nearby subway line, was something that the clients really seemed to want. But during the review, they seemed a bit more hesitant about the ‘beacon’ idea and especially the elements that were explicitly designed to allow the residents to talk to the neighborhood. I guess that they are concerned about attracting undesired attention and things like that. So the beacon might have to be toned down a bit –although I think it is still really important to establish a connection between the roof and the street and to provide some real distinctiveness to the building so the residents feel a greater sense of ‘home’ there. We’ll see where we end up with it all.

So today we all met with David as a single group and began to pull the successful elements out of all three projects. We hashed out an initial massing, placing the enclosed space and beginning to program out the other zones. We split into groups for the next week to investigate some of the different sections of the project. Carrie and I will be looking specifically at the garden and really trying to develop a much clearer plan for it. Yikes! So this weekend we need to start looking for some precedents that we think are successful at doing the things we want from our garden: being very visible (as opposed to low sedum green-roofiness), making clear to the residents the value of green stuff, making clear the connections of the residents and their roof to the broader environment – oh – and it should look awesome and function really well too! So, yeah – a tall order to say the least. I’ll let you know what I find. If anybody knows of some great projects to look at – throw them my way!

I promise I’ll post pics from the review and the three schemes as soon as I can get my hands on them. I have a Structures exam tomorrow though, so that all for now. Gotta go study the steel manual. Yee ha.

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