We have spent much of the first few weeks working to integrate ideas from our initial individual study models, while clarifying details related to site, circulation, context, and programmatic requirements. Our initial ideas appeared to be contradictory in form and priorities, but we have began to fuse concepts together as one, much stronger scheme.
In our first individual study models, Jamin’s primary scheme had a very expressive, curving form as seen below, where as I focused more on articulating circulation, announcing entries, and an attempt at relating to what I assumed to be “urban” context along the street edge through a more regular, rectangular composition. Sara’s models were also curved and explored possible concepts for structure. You can read more about our initial models here.
We quickly agreed that the overall architectural form needs to be expressive of the velodrome/function inside (ie. probably round). My initial concern about a curved form is it can easily read as a single object rather than a composition broken up with facade that helps related to human scale and other less program-specific buildings nearby. How to create anchors from a curved form also seemed challenging, since it has no corners to extend or cut out. Working through more model iterations, detailed studies, sections, and sketches, we began refining a form with notions of circulation, anchoring entrances, and site relationship.
Through section we have began developing gestures to create a better pedestrian connection with the adjacent residential neighborhood grid north of the site across Memorial Drive. By building up the ground plane, imagined as angular segments (think Seattle’s sculpture park), we extend park / public plaza space over the road engaging the neighborhood. The main entry elevated about street level accommodates an initial seating strategy to enter at concourse level, and also can conceal parking underneath the concourse and the new built up, exterior space.
The angular land conditioning really helped begin to anchor entrances and create a more angular facade treatment along the street. After analyzing the site, we anticipate a large majority of spectators will arrive from the east side, coming over the Boston University bridge from the Green Line T stop right across the river on Commonwealth Ave. Additionally Harvard University is just west up the road bounding our site, and MIT is to the east. The proposed pedestrian connection to the adjacent neighborhood to the north is more of a contextual gesture, as we do not expect an enormous number of spectators arriving from that direction. The Green Line, MIT, and Harvard will likely be where the vast majority of spectators arrive from.
The new rectangular treatment along the street side articulates a primary main entrance on the east end with an angular anchor protruding outward. A secondary entrance would be on the northwest corner where the public space will be built out over the road (see first photo below). Since the most expressive part of the building is it’s tilting lean south and eastward toward the river, we extended the main entrance anchor through to that space. Spectators will be directed in that direction for a large, dramatic concourse space underneath the upper tiers of seating (which would form much of the overhang). A smaller concourse would run along the front side, of course, that provides access to the seating on the north side and connects to the secondary entrance.
We travel to Boston tomorrow for five days, during which we will visit the site and experience the diverse architecture and urbanism the city has to offer.