Last month (and I'm just now getting around to it...) I worked on a project here at the CUDC where we transformed a vacant house into the "Urban Bean Coffee House." The house would also include some classrooms and a small library/conference room to help educate locals about basic home repair and sustainable initiatives. It was also a way for me to exercise my sketching skills. The short project also included a tire recycling facility which would be located in a site to be determined. This project helped me get involved in the client/designer relationship and it was cool seeing how an urban design project plays out from beginning to end!
To me, a design concept is essential to every project, every design. Its what leads the design throughout the entire design process. My initial design concept is usually a simple thought then jotted down on paper in a sketch form. The sketch evolves into a series of diagrams, possibly further sketches and design iterations. The most important part about a concept is that it guides the design process; the designer is constantly referring to the concept when making design decisions and producing drawings.
For this project: The Las Vegas High Speed Rail Station, the concept was simple: taking a vertical motion of a hotel tower, combined with the horizontal motion of a railway, and creating a dynamic, fluid form that represents the comprehensive function of both elements.
situated along interstate I-15, the las vegas high speed rail station will serve as the main transit hub for las vegas, using the ‘desert xpress’ hsr line from los angeles. the use of hsr in las vegas will reduce vehicular traffic from california and encourage public transportation. the building is a monogeneous structure with a variety of program types ranging from a high speed rail station to a hotel and casino. the layout of these spaces was determined by the proximity of user function as well as the linear path brought on by the high speed rail. as the horizontal rail meets with the terminal and shopping center, the form in thrust upwards in a curvilinear motion. the point of collision becomes the node through which all the programs are connected. this massive atrium space is surrounded by a shopping center, casino, hotel, and terminal. together all of these programs are designed to work in harmony with one another for the betterment of the terminal station for which the design is based off of.
There has been much talk lately about the 'rebound' of Cleveland and whether or not, for the first time in years, Cleveland is in a position to experience real growth. Like many other rustbelt cities, Cleveland has been struggling to grow, especially in its metropolitan region, since the decline of the manufacturing era in the United States. In case you aren't aware of some of the most recent happenings in downtown Cleveland, let me encourage you to read on. But first, you may find it hard to believe that Cleveland may actually be heading towards a new era of growth. Take a look at some of the recent publicity Cleveland has been receiving:
Case Western Reserve University
So what exactly is causing this recent boom in Cleveland growth? It is our generation of individuals--known as the Millennials, that choose to live in the city over the suburbs any day of the week. We want a place with activity, people, interaction, and entertainment. Get me out of the car and into the streets! Take a look at some of the bigger things happening:
1.) Cleveland Medical Mart and Convention Center
2.) Cleveland Casino
3.) Flats East Bank
In addition to these large developments in Cleveland, there are also many other things that can contribute to this new "rebound" in Cleveland. How about the Cleveland Clinic? Their new masterplan developed by Foster + Partners is nothing short of something you would see happening in NYC.
There is a renewed growth of businesses in downtown. " Housing is at 96% capacity and growing (Most of whom are 22-24 year olds). In the last few years alone Rosetta, Dwellworks, MCPc, AmTrust Financial (bringing up to 1,000 jobs downtown), radio station WCLV, Howard Hanna Real Estate, The Payne Firm, IdeaStream Consumer Products (not related to the local Public Broadcasting "Ideastream," which moved to downtown Cleveland from the suburbs in 2003), Mitchell's Ice Cream,Britton Gallagher, and ESPN Cleveland, among others, have moved to the city from the suburbs. This shows momentum and a changing of attitudes in the region."
Not to mention the new CSU masterplan finally showing its potential, the growth of the Cleveland film industry, the new Cleveland Aquarium, the new Cleveland Museum of Modern Art, and the new Rock and Roll Walk of Fame which just opened yesterday...
Recently, I was assigned to design a monument for the city of Streetsboro. Streetsboro is a city wedged between Twinsburg, Kent, and Ravenna. The city slogan "Gateway to Progress" is quite accurate in the sense that it is a "gateway" to neighboring cities. The project is quite simple: design a monument for the city that evokes the sense of a place. Meeting with the steering committee and the Mayor, I was pleased to hear some positive input as to what they envision their city to be... Without a doubt Streetsboro is activated by its commercial corridor: strategically located at the crossroads of 5 State Routes: Rt 14, Rt 43, Rt 303, Rt 480 and Ohio Turnpike, Streetsboro is by all means a driving community.
The monument will the located at the NE corner of the intersection of Route 43 and Route 14: one of the busiest intersections in NE Ohio. As I approach the first part of the design process I beg to ask the question: how do you create a lively, progressive, and visible community space and monument at an extremely busy intersection? Will people use the space? How successful can a public space be in such extreme conditions? This proposal will definitely be a challenge.
Brandon E. Young