Two Million

Why hello again. I thought I’d take a moment to discuss just what has been eating up all my time as of late. I have been a bit absent as blog-related things go due to school commitments. But now it seems the worst has passed and I’m back on track. So the studio project which has infected my life iiiiiiiis….. (drumroll please)…. a 2 million square foot mixed use tower in the heart of Denver.

What? Two million square feet? Yes indeed, two big smackarels, minimum. That consists of a 400-room hotel and a 300-unit residential component. Oh, and we have to document, theoretically at least, how we would achieve a LEED Platinum rating with such a building. Those of you who have taken a design studio know that it does take a lot of time. I’m here to tell you that this size of building takes up ALL of your time. But it’s not all bad. I’m excited to design something this large and iconic. No doubt it will help my design portfolio.

It has been a retrospective project, really. The design began as I examined this changing profession of ours. I ran across a set of drawings recently which were hand-drawn in the 1990s and realized how far we’ve come. Now IPD, BIM, LEED, ADAAG are things that we, as architects, now incorporate as standard. Of course, this is not to mention the economic climate of today and the difficulties in getting financing to build. With all this, I began then to think about what a physical manifestation of this change would do for a building. And lo and behold, my design concept emerged: SHIFT. Could a building built today represent the shift in our profession? In 50 years, would one look at this building and recall the time in which it was built?

It has been a lot of fun figuring out what this concept could do for a tower; how it could help or hinder. Our midterm was essentially the final design review. Now we are onto detailing this puppy into a quasi-buildable structure, not to mention generating a digital fly-through movie (required).

But a little voice in the back of my head keeps saying: is this really practical? Is a project this large a learning tool for a school’s architecture studio? Or are we getting cornered into designing interior floor plan/space layouts, structural realities, and impersonal spaces? I have found that drawing one floor plan for 30 floors lacks some opportunities which a smaller project would have innate.

So to those of you who have been there: tell me your opinion. Have you done anything this large in your studios? What did you learn?

What’s that? You want to see the project? Very well, if you insist. Below is a little teaser image for your personal enjoyment.

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