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Theodore Gustafson Academic Portfolio 2011-2012

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Application Portfolio for Masters of Architecture


Page 1: M.Arch Portfolio Teddy Gustafson

Theodore GustafsonAcademic Portfolio


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Hybrid DrawingTransitional Spaces

ProfessorsMartha McQuade

Daniel Winden+ Dzenita


ProfessorJohn Comazzi

Illuminated Thresholds

ProfessorsJohn Comazzi

Benjamin Ibarra-Sevilla

+ Adam Jarvi

Fall 2011 Spring 2011 Spring 2012

Peninsula House

Fall 2011

ProfessorJim Lutz

Diagramming Ideas

Spring 2011

ProfessorsJohn Comazzi

Benjamin Ibarra-Sevilla

+ Adam Jarvi

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Informal Learning Station

Indigenous Stone Artistry

ProfessorKristen Paulsen

Lowline in the Greenway

ProfessorJohn Comazzi

ProfessorBenjamin Ibarra-


An exhibition of Sixteenth-century ribbed vauults in la MixtecaExhibición de las Bóvedas de Tracería del Siglo XVI en la Mixteca

Indigenous Stonecutting ArtistryEl Arte de la Cantería Indigena

Spring 2012 Fall 2012 Fall 2012

(K)not Architecture

Spring 2011

ProfessorsJohn Comazzi

Benjamin Ibarra-Sevilla

+ Adam Jarvi

ProfessorsJohn Comazzi

+ Kristen Paulsen

Vertical + Horizontal Boundaries

Fall 2012

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This studio project required us to design an experiential path that would connect the public streetscape to the Cedar Riverside community in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As a point of departure, each student was asked to analyze solid and void spatial relationships along a sequenced path. After examining these solid and void relationships, we interpreted them into a set of interlocking cubes. From these cubes, we developed our own spatial sequence. Throughout the semester, we learned how to build upon our ideas from each previous exploration. We also learned how to recognize our strongest ideas and continue to push them forward. These strongest ideas were pushed further through many mediums of modeling techniques, from the solid-void relationships present in earlier plaster iterations to planar relationships in later paper models. It was a constant challenge to carry our ideas forward through these different modeling mediums, but it taught us how to recognize the best elements in our designs and consistently see them through to the end.

MatErials and forMtransitional sPaCEs

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My major interests throughout this project included the relationship of intertwining paths, compression and release, development of an architectural language through linear geometry, characteristics of threshold spaces versus stopping points and how a change in materials and textures can enhance threshold spaces. My major project objectives where to investigate the relationship between these intertwining paths and how both the spatial and material qualities affected the formal architectural language that I developed. The intertwining of paths resulted from the volumetric sequence that I developed through plaster iterations. I distilled

these ideas and moved them forward through my paper model iterations. Through my exploration of the the planar qualities of paper and the solid massing of plaster, I finalized my design in a way that hybridized the two techniques. The solid massing of plaster harbored the community room and formed the benches that seemed to come straight out of the earth. The plaster base was thought of as the ground plane, rising up to support my floating structural sky-walk. This floating sky-walk was starkly constrasted against the dense spatial properties of its plaster base.

Tubes of space Intertwining Paths Planar ceilings Structural voids

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Bus stop and community room entry Community room Sky-walk

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1. Solid slab base2. Solid massing for community room 3. Structural truss for path and community space

Diagram of floating structure wrapping




Throughout the semester, there was also a strong emphasis on the development of an iterative process. We learned that when presented with a design question, we should solve it by iterating our ideas, whether it be through sketches, modeling or diagramming techniques. We also learned that design is a constant back and forth process, and that we should always consider looking back, hybridizing our early ideas with our current design direction. Overall, the most important project discoveries where that consistent architectural language is a powerful means to define space, that transitional spaces enhance stopping points, that materials and form can define space equally, that we inhabit the void but we design the solid, and that scale can be used to strengthen spatial relationships with the human body.

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Hybrid drawingraPson Hall East stairs

The intention of this project was to analyze the east staircase in Steven Holl’s addition for Rapson Hall through the creation of a hybrid drawing. In making the hybrid drawing, we became aware of how different drawing types can convey different types of ideas and highlight various discoveries that we made through the process of representational hand drawing.

The discoveries that we made fell into two main categories: realizations about drawing conventions, and realizations about the overall experiential qualities of the stair.

Among the discoveries made about drawing types were that scale and line weight can be used to accent or minimize hierarchy; as well as that hardline drawings often only convey certain aspects of a condition.

In terms of the experience of the staircase, through our investigations, we noticed that varied lighting conditions drastically change the experiential quality of the space; sharp angles promote movement; the glass wall provides relief from the massing of the concrete; the intersection of dissimilar materials provokes interest; and material, light, and movement are directly related to the geometrical relationships of the space.

Time and lighting analysis of east staircase, Rapson Hall

in Collaboration witH andrEw gibson

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5’ by 5’ hard line hybrid drawing

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The entirety of this project was completed through a collaborative effort. This was a precedent study of the Peninsula House designed by Australian architect, Sean Godsell. The purpose of the project was to gain a deeper understanding of how buildings are assembled and structured through an exploration in model-making. In making the sectional scale model, we were instructed to focus on how materials turn a corner, meet the sky, meet the ground and form an opening.

in Collaboration witH andrEw gibson

Footing and drainage pipe detailBedroom floor/wall cut away detail Cantilevered bedroom

Illuminated entry path

PEninsula HousEMatErial assEMbly study

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Card CantilEVErdiagraMMing idEas

The card cantilever was intended as a critical thinking project that taught us to exhibit an iterative design process while teaching us graphic representation skills. Through trial and error, we created a design that supported the weight of tennis ball and spanned an 18” cantilever. The analysis of a step-by-step process of assembly helped me understand the importance of diagramming ideas for representation and the importance of showing how materials come together.

in Collaboration witH andrEw gibson

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Open Space versus �exible Program

Speci�c Program surrounded by �exible program. The enclosed spaces also support the overhead roof of the structure. These structural elements can be inhabited, serving multiple purposes

Applying these ideas to my project I started to recognize where the enclosed programatic spaces would be. What supports the structure? how does it a�ect the circulation?

Moments of connection, light enchances the transition of the threshold

Light and materials, how do textures a�ect the quality of a spaces and convey a di�erent idea?

Precedent Research Peter Zumthor: Thermal Baths

Framed views of the landscape, lounge chairs with windows framing the views.

Hollowing out a huge core and providing it with caves and caverns to work, sunken areadaylight �lters in light from the individual ceiling slabsThink about the ground plane, materials and their orientation... How can di�erent materials convey di�erent ideas? maybe light is organized around �gurative lines.Think about spatial organization, the blocks of program. The blocks of program, tied to orthogonal ordering lines.The perspective is always controlled, ensuring or denying the view, guaranteeing the distinct spatial quality of each element of the sequenceThere could be an inner courtyard space sunk into the earth, both intergrating it with the landscape and exager-ating the feeling of scale.

illuMinatEd tHrEsHoldsPrograMMatiC rElationsHiPs

This studio project was an exploration of programmatic relationships and overlap. The building was intended to serve as a center where students could learn, create and share ideas, while also providing a space to relax. The organizational strategy for the building was derived from the possibilities of overlap for these programmatic conditions and inspired by the figure-ground organization of Peter Zumthor’s Thermal Baths. The programmatic divisions of spaces are each centered around illuminated courtyards that enhance programmatic boundaries and threshold spaces.

Natural daylight was used extensively as a material in this project to enhance threshold spaces and support different programmatic needs. Through an iterative sequence of hand drawing, study models, material studies, and renderings there was a rigorous study of how light affects program, movement and the experiential quality of a building.

Lighting quality precedent: Thermal Baths by Peter Zumthor

Figure-ground plan of Thermal Baths by Peter Zumthor

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Diagram of how light directs movement and enhances programmatic thresholds within my design Illuminated thresholds

Extracting courtyards

Figure-ground plan

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Throughout the semester, I became interested in how light directed movement, defined boundaries and separated program. Through a series of light model studies, I photographed the lighting conditions for each of my illuminated courtyards. I tested opaque, transparent and translucent materials for the walls and ceiling plane of each courtyard. This iterative process of model making assisted me in making decisions about both the lighting quality and material aesthetic of the spaces.

1. West courtyard: opaque roof

1. West courtyard: transparent

3. East courtyard: transparent glass

3. East courtyard: translucent glass

4. Northeast courtyards: opaque roof

2. Northwest courtyards: opaque roof





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1. West courtyard: opaque roof 3. Northeast courtyards: opaque roof2. Northwest courtyards: opaque roof

3. East courtyard: translucent glass1. West courtyard: translucent glass 2. Northwest courtyards: translucent glass

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Transparency of courtyard

Throughout my iterative process, I aimed to accomplish several design objectives. By using transparent courtyards and extending roof planes into the landscape, I blurred the boundaries between the inside and outside. These in-between spaces were inspired by Eero Saarinen and Dan Kiley’s Miller House. The placement of the trees create an outdoor ceiling that extends the datum of the roof planes. The shrub layer of my outdoor spaces was also aligned with the interior datum of my tables and window view-sheds. To further accentuate this datum, I altered the ground-plane of my structure, subtly enhancing the threshold spaces between each program. The orientation and texture of materials also supports these transitions through their differentiation between programmed spaces.

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Connection through transparency

Throughout the structure, there is a strong visual connection through a series of illuminated courtyards. There exists both a connection to the sky and to the interior program that is inside the building. The indirect and direct lighting strategies support this transparency and provide varied levels of lighting to meet each programmed condition. Through various studies of lighting situations, I created conditions that supported learning, sharing, making and relaxing at various scales. The overlapping nature of the building’s program allowed me to explore the potential that thresholds spaces have in stitching a building’s fabric to the sky, as well as to landscape and interior programs. Light is a material in this built environment; not only defining boundaries but also enhancing thresholds.

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(K)not arCHitECturEitEratiVE ProCEss

The Alpine Butterfly Knot was the design inspiration for this project. I selected this knot because I was interested in its strength and how its material form supported this quality. The Alpine Butterfly Knot is a mountaineering knot and its strength is sustained when it is pulled from any direction. I pushed the idea of strength by keeping the wireframe model consistently distributed with wire, while also considering how the spaces that the wire form created were balanced and interconnected.

This project explored solid vs. void theory by transforming our volumetric interpretations of positive space into negative space. By abstracting the material form of the knot into spatial relationships, this project became a process of taking the relationships of a real world object and transforming them into a physical construct that can be inhabited.

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Solid-void interpretation of volumetric model

Progression from wireframe to volumetric form

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This project is an example of my work as an undergraduate research assistant for architecture professor, Benjamin Ibarra-Sevilla. I assisted Professor Ibarra-Sevilla in the design of his book, Indigenous Stonecutting Artistry. This project allowed me to extend architectural thought into the design of a book, which I accomplished through a strong iterative process. To the right, there are examples of the graphic layout of the design of the book. In addition to page layouts, I also constructed plan and section drawings for each of the three churches featured throughout the book, Coixtlahuaca, Teposcolula and Yanhuitlán.

rEsEarCH assistant: booK dEsign + drawing ConstruCtionindigEnous stonECutting artistryin Collaboration witH bEnjaMin ibarra-sEVilla

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An exhibition of Sixteenth-century ribbed vauults in la MixtecaExhibición de las Bóvedas de Tracería del Siglo XVI en la Mixteca

Indigenous Stonecutting ArtistryEl Arte de la Cantería Indigena

Keystone and Bosses, Teposcolula ►

Teposcolula: Bóveda / Vault ▲

Stereotomy 99

demostraron un bajo nivel de cono-cimiento de la organización axiomática de la geometría euclidiana. Lo que el-los llamaban “el conocimiento de la geometría” era por lo general un conjun-to de definiciones. Es importante separar los principios elementales de la geometría plana, que son esenciales para el trazo de piezas de piedra, de los principios re-lacionados con la geometría teórica. Por ejemplo, la división del círculo en partes iguales, la división de una línea recta en partes iguales y otros problemas relacio-nados a la construcción geométrica son métodos prácticos que, si bien son útiles, parecen ser triviales o de base en com-paración con las visiones de la moderni-dad del espacio en la arquitectura.

La presencia de la geometría plana y su

Ancient architects frequently demon-strated a low level of knowledge of the axiomatic organization of the Euclidean geometry. What they called “knowledge of geometry” was usually a group of definitions. It is important to separate those elemental principles of planar geometry, which are essential to very specific stonework tracing, from those principles related to theoretical geom-etry. For example, the division of the circle into equal parts, the division of a straight line into equal parts and other related geometric problems to construc-tion. These are practical methods that, while they were useful, seem to be trivial or basic in comparison with modern vi-sions of the space in architecture.

The presence of planar geometry and its

98 Estereotomía

Diagrammatic spread

Book cover

Sobreposición de la iglesia en la estructura prehispanicaSuperposing of the church on pre-columbian structure

The Mixteca Vaults 45

►Exterior del palicio of MitlaExterior of palace of Mitla

las piezas de piedra de estos elementos es-tructurales debió haber presentado un reto para los colonizadores. Estos esfuerzos de nueva construcción requirieron de una fuerza laboral más calificada y la educación de los pueblos indígenas fue fundamental para lograr las metas.

Construyendo por primera vez, la talla y montaje de bóvedas de crucería

Estructuras echas con arcos y bóvedas eran el elemento de construcción más ajeno a los indígenas de México. A diferencia de los mayas, quienes desarrollaron la “bóveda maya” a base de apilar piedras, los mixte-cos no hicieron uso de mampostería para construir los techos de sus edificios, ni tam-poco practicaron la construcción de arcos y bóvedas antes de la llegada de los españoles. Los techos de los edificios más importantes eran planos construidos con vigas de made-ra y un terrado hecho a base de una super-posición de capas de barro y madera. Los edificios vernáculos de ese momento se il-ustran comúnmente con techos de paja que eran soportados por modestas estructuras de madera.

Dado que muchas de las construcciones de iglesias requerían supervisión técnica cali-ficada, a menudo se menciona que los frailes realizaban estas tareas. No está claro en que medida los frailes tenían los conocimientos

new construction endeavors required a more skilled labor force and educating the indigenous people was crucial to accomplish the goals.

Building for the first time, carving and assembling ribbed vaults

Arches and vaulted structures were the most foreign building element to the Native Americans of Mexico. Contrary to the Mayans, who developed the “mayan vault” based on stone corbel-ling, the Mixtecs did not use masonry to confine the roof of their buildings; neither did they practice the construc-tion of arches and vaults. The roofs of the more important buildings were flat, made with wood beams superimpos-ing layers of mud and wood. The ver-nacular domestic buildings of that time are illustrated with pitched hay roofs, which were supported with modest wood trusses.

would form a structural member ca-pable of supporting weight. As men-tioned before, we should remember that there is no evidence of wheels used as a transportation artifact or as a device for specific purposes. Thus, the curvilinear form also suggests as-sociation of divine nature, as the circle

necesarios para diseñar y desarrollar ple-namente las estructuras complejas, tales como bóvedas de crucería. Sin embargo es muy claro que ellos participaron activa-mente en el proceso. Las condiciones en las que se desarrolló la construcción de es-tos edificios hizo considerar de gran valor las habilidades de un albañil indígena. En muchas ocasiones los ansiosos españoles que requerían más mano de obra de la que se disponía, explotando la mano de

was constricted to iconic ideas linked to religion and social status. This building element might have helped the monks to motivate the caciques in recruiting citizen participation in the projects. The natives were certainly captivated by the new structures and the caciques enticed them with the idea of constructing these spectacular temples. The local rul-ers should have foreseen the temples as representations of their new status and

44 Las Bóvedas de la Mixteca

The Mixteca Vaults 34

◄ Interior de la lglesia, Coixtlahuaca Interior of the church, Coixtlahuaca

acterística peculiar de este edificio es que la mayor parte de los elementos de apoyo son las columnas, creando una planta muy abierto. La pared del fondo y las paredes laterales refuerzan la estructura, forman-do un rectángulo que sirve como telón de fondo de las actividades desarrolladas en la capilla.

En los conjuntos de la orden de los domi-nicos, las iglesias se utilizaron en conventos y vicarias. La nave con forma rectangular de las iglesias de Coixtalhuaca y Yanhuit-lán se basa en una secuencia de tramos cuadrados que conforman un módulo que se repete. Estas iglesias fueron utilizadas como estrategias más tradicionales para la evangelización. Al principio, los indígenas se negaron a entrar en las iglesias cubier-tas, pero, a medida que se familiarizaron con este tipo de edificios, aceptaron es-tos templos como sus centros de culto. La mayoría de los conjuntos monásticos en México incluyeron una iglesia de nave única. El esquema de una sola nave per-mitió una solución relativamente simple que proporcionó varias ventajas. La planta del edificio era fácil de definir y evitar complejidades en el proceso de construc-ción. Contrariamente a una basílica que requiere columnas, la principal tarea de una sola nave de la iglesia fue la de con-struir una gran “caja”. En esta forma de construcción los muros no requieren un alto nivel de especialización, además de que este esquema arquitectónico era adec-uado para el uso de bóvedas de crucería de forma cuadrada. El diseño de la iglesia de San Juan Bautista Coixtlahuaca fue re-suelto con cuatro bahías modulares, cada una de ellas con una longitud de12,5 m, y alojando al retablo hay un ábside de me-dio octágono. Esta iglesia incluye contra-fuertes hacia dentro formando una serie de arcos en las paredes laterales que dan origen a pequeños altares. En la proyec-ción horizontal, la iglesia de Santo Do-mingo Yanhuitlán proyecta cuatro módu-

on a sequence of square bays that would form a repeating module. Churches were used as the more traditional ap-proach to evangelization. At first, the in-digenous people refused to walk into the covered churches but, as they became familiar with the buildings, they accept-ed churches as their cult centers. Most ofW the monastic ensembles in Mexico included a single-nave church. The sin-gle-nave scheme allowed for a relatively simple solution that provided several advantages. The building footprint was easy to define and avoided complexities in the construction process. Contrary to a basilica that requires columns, the main task of a single nave church was to build a large “box.” This form of wall construction did not require high levels of expertise. This scheme would be suitable for the use of ribbed vaults of square form. The layout of San Juan Bautista Coixtlahuaca’s church was re-solved with four modular squares of 12.5m length, and a half-octagon apse. This church includes inward buttresses forming a series of arches on the sidewalls that accommo-date small altars. On the horizontal pro-jection, the church of Santo Domingo Yanhuitlán projects four squares of 14m each plus a half-circle apse. The interior walls of this church are completely flat, placing the buttresses outside. Since both churches were built under the sin-gle-nave scheme, the complexity of con-

35 Las Bóvedas de la Mixteca

Balance of images

Full bleed vs. text

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Presentation space Exhibition and seating Individual and group study space

inforMal lEarning stationraPson Hall Courtyard

The design of this informal learning station was an exploration of material efficiency and digital fabrication processes. It was constructed to fit on eight standard 4’ x 8’ sheets of 5/8” plywood. This design was intended to be a furniture piece for the Rapson Hall Courtyard that encourages the interaction of students at multiple scales. The project was a also meant to serve as a small scale programmatic study on how to create spaces that are meant to meet a specific program need but are still flexible enough to accommodate a broad scope of activities. We discovered how material constraints can guide the design process and influence formal qualities.

Removable metal presentation sleeves

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VErtiCal and HoriZontal boundariEsgrEEnway sitE analysis

This project is a site analysis of conditions within the Midtown Greenway in Minneapolis; it is an exploration of the vertical and horizontal boundaries that are created by the physical conditions of the below-grade trench. In analyzin the site, we focused on material relationships, permeable surfaces, visual connections, intensive boundaries and extensive boundaries. The overall analytical strategy was inspired by Russian constructivist Rodchenko, simplifying spatial conditions to planar relationships. The entirety of this project was completed through a collaborative effort.

Vertical boundaries

in Collaboration witH stEVE lEEs

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Horizontal boundaries

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lowlinE in tHE grEEnwaysitE rElationsHiPs

The goal of this studio was to create an integrated design which would stretch along a 600 foot portion of the 5.5 mile long historic rail corridor known as the Midtown Greenway. Along with this ‘zoomed-in’ individual scheme to be prepared by each group member for their own intervention, there was also a collaborative ‘zoomed-out’ site proposal for the entire Greenway. In completing these designs, it was important to question the common idea of site. We considered not only architecture, but also landscape architecture, infrastructure, and the surrounding urban fabric.

Half of the trench is currently used as a bike corridor, while the second half remains held for use as potential future rail. Since the site was previously a shipping freight corridor, there were lots of pollution issues to be considered. Much of the site is in need of remediation due to high levels of creosote and various other pollutants.

To help with our placement of program, our group came up with an organizational language of ‘strips’ based on OMA’s Parc de la Villette proposal. The strips in our scheme spanned the Greenway and sought to weave together the adjacent neighborhoods through programmatic interventions at key street intersections.

Pedestrian promenade Overall site strategy

1-5 Years

5-10 Years

10-15 Years

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Indoor cafe/theater Outdoor theater MIA art education

Lyndale Avenue site strategy

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In each individual scheme, there was an understanding of strips at three different levels: in the form of the architecture, through movement, and through landscape. The Lyndale Avenue site was programmed through an indoor theater, outdoor theater and an art education building for the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. These programs ‘turned up the volume’ of the existing context the urban fabric surrounding the Lyndale intersection by supporting the existing theater- and art-based community. These architectural interventions were supported by strips of restorative landscapes that were woven together with pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle movement. These interventions supported a strategy that stitches the Greenway together with the surrounding neighborhood and existing urban context.

Weaving movement through programmatic strips

Greenway level: MIA art education Pedestrian promenade: fall

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Outdoor theater: evening perspective

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Theodore [email protected](612)-916-9635