Brooklynn Cnare (Architectural Design II)
Exploration: Urban Mobility
This was our introduction project to the refined exploration of bike paths. We started on a really broad scale and examined Urban Mobility. For this exercise, I walked around downtown Dallas to get a sense of true urban mobility and related it to the options that are more available to people in cities of all sizes. From there I took pictures of these main four types of mobility I identified (public transportation, automobile, bicycle, and walking) and added an interpretive drawing onto my photograph to express the broader implications of these forms of transportation. I focused mainly on the environmental concerns associated with each type, hence the dystopian wasteland effect pictured in the automobile image. The pictures of the student walking and the bicycle gear were very focused on the lack of a carbon footprint associated with those modes of
transportation. The walking image has retro feel because walking is a timeless form of transportation. With the image of the bus (representing all public transportation), I tried to go beyond the reduced carbon footprint and included the clock hands to represent the rigid schedule it follows which tends to ease the stress of those using it to commute. I also added the silhouettes of faces to show the shared community that you become a part of when you consistently take that mode of transportation.
Project 1: Bike Network and Cycling Architecture
Our project is to create a bike network that connects the entirety of our school district. The goals include making it easily accessible for the communities, safe to ride on, and interesting enough that people would be drawn to use it instead of other more traditional modes of suburban transportation. One key part of the project is to make the trail interesting through architectural design. With the incorporation of buildings such as rest stops, gathering places like amphitheaters, and infrastructure such as bridges and tunnels, the goal is to generate a biking culture within our respective communities as opposed to simply building an effective trail. For this part of the project, my class members and I have each picked two different structures to design and a specific site for them on our trail. I selected a bridge and a rest stop to design and the concepts are pictured and explained below.
Concept Designs: Bridge
When coming up with my ideas for my bridge concepts, I thought a lot about the site and about making sure my bridge didn’t stand out too much from its surroundings. My bridge would connect two residential neighborhoods over a railroad track to the cluster of schools (elementary school, middle school, and career center) on the other side. I imagined my bridge being used not only by the bikers riding the trail, but also school children and parents walking to school. With that said, safety was a big concern when designing. I found that simple shapes worked best to make something geometrically interesting without disrupting too much from the buildings in place. I used the train and tracks themselves as inspiration for these shapes. I edited my ideas down by thinking about how they would fit into the context of the site and about the path that would need to be built to get to the bridge itself. The elevation needed to cross the railroad tracks is quite high and would have to be built into the path because of the flat land around the tracks. A closer evaluation of the site also provided more details that helped narrow down and focus my design into something plausible.
Concept Designs: Rest Stop
In early stages of designing my rest stop, I focused on trying to make a structure that related to the shape of the bike. I wanted to make a simple enough structure that wouldn’t take up much square footage and would be able to be placed in a more developed area or off the beaten path. I also wanted to define a space without having four walls and a door. With these principles in mind, I worked mainly with curved shapes to try and enclose a space, yet keep it open to the trail for easy entrance and exit with bikes. That train of thought produced some good concepts, but it also trapped me in a certain direction (though I wasn't consciously aware that I trapped in that direction) and so I struggled to come up with ideas that broke away from the base circular shape. The minimalist design and function of the building also narrowed my thinking and after suggestions from my peers and teacher, I tried to broaden my outlook and attempted to merge some of my ideas into a concept that I thought accomplished the design goals as well as function goals. The intended functions of my rest stop included an eating space (composed of picnic tables), compact bike parking, and a minimal bike repair station. I tried to keep my designs flexible enough to include restrooms if plumbing was an available amenity on my site.
Final Drawings and Model
Twisted Tracks Bridge
From the concept designs, I chose to continue working with my Twisted Tracks design. The path changed the most from concept model to final model while the bridge design itself stayed consistent. When deciding how to factor in the change in elevation needed to clear the railroad tracks, I looked back to my precedent studies. I found bridges with straight paths eliminated potentially dangerous blind spots. I also liked bridges that offered multiple pathways to ensure that the user found the shortest route to get to where they desired to go. My location connects school district property to two different residential sections and so I incorporated ways to get to each area. With that being said, safety was another key concern. I expected kids and parents would being using it as a shorter, more environmental way to get to school in addition to the bridge's main functions as part of our bike network. I included paths of multiple heights to offer different vantages points to keep the bridge interesting to the users, high edges on the side to ensure a sense of safety, and openness on top to avoid a clausterphobic feeling.
I took the revised concept sketch pictured above and revised it again to create my final rendition of the rest stop. I modified my design to not include a restroom and I added on a ramp that takes a curved pathway to another overlook point. These tweaks make it more accessible to the public and decrease the risk that comes with including a public restroom. The curved, circular design mimics the shape of bike tires and the multiple stories give views of the lake to the west. Initially a rest stop, this design turned into a trail stop attraction aimed at bringing families together with nature. Amenities include picnic tables and benches to enjoy the view, bicycle racks to park and lock bikes up safely, and bike repair poles for quick fixes. The metal shade structures act as a sculptural element and a landmark on the trail that can be seen from a distance.