SITE: Akron, OH
YEAR: Undergrad Senior - 2017, Semester 1
UNIVERSITY: Kent State University
DURATION OF PROJECT: 2 months
Akron Gardens creates a vibrant space in the heart of the city. The building frames out the street edge behind Lock 3 which creates a unique backdrop for events.
The Lock 3 area in Akron is a major cultural center for the city. Lock 3 hosts events. such as concerts and farmer's markets, and acts as a park for the community of Akron. Parking lots surround the site which is used during the summer months of May to August when events are occurring in Lock 3. Unfortunately, the space is underutilized during the harsh winter months that occur in northern Ohio. The site appears abandoned due to no infrastructure built to hold events during the winter, and completely empty parking lots that take up valuable space surrounding Lock 3.
Figure 1: Site location in downtown Akron
1. Program split by direct / indirect sunlight
Akron Bike Trail
2. Framing out lock 3
Added / rearranged site buildings
3. Manipulated form to create park space and connection to Lock 3 area
Connection gateway to Lock 3
4. Sun study on forms
Apart of the Akron gardens plan is moving the Lock 3 pavilion to the south side of the space and creating shops to the east. By doing this, the Lock 3 area is unified and has more of a purpose rather than just a pavilion in an open space. The building takes advantage of this prominent location by wrapping itself around the site and ultimately connecting the towpath on W Bowery St to Lock 3.
Figure 2: Site plan of design proposal
There were three major iterations of this project. The first model studies how the repetition of a shape can create a space. The space created through this study became one continuous path from one end to the other. The second iteration tried to create spaces that people could occupy instead of a sculptural piece that creates a continuous path. The second iteration became too boxy and lost the elegance of the original process model. The final combined the ideas of both and created a unique structure that was occupiable and elegant as it wrapped itself around the site signifying the connection between Lock 3 and the towpath. The final also focused on the detail of the facade which would fold itself open or closed depending on the amount of lighting that a certain space needed.
Ground Floor - Botanical Gardens
Figure 3: Render of botanical gardens
Figure 4: Section A - Botanical Gardens
Multi-story apartment units
One story apartment units
Figure 5: Section B - Apartment Units
Figure 6: Section C - Connection Gateway
There are two separate buildings that are broken up by sunlight. The northern building has housing units that receive indirect sunlight which creates better daylighting experiences. The southern building is a botanical garden with some housing units on the upper floors. This building opens itself up to allow a lot of sunlight to enter the space to get to the vegetation in the building. Litracon, a translucent concrete, is used throughout the botanical gardens to allow light from every direction into the space.
Figure 7: Render of the facade from street level