Awards: Outstanding Architecture and Design Final Degree Project Award Second Prize de IE University (Second Prize) | 10 mejores proyectos de estudiantes de arquitectura de Latinoamérica y España 2022 por ArchDaily (Winner) | Drawing Of The Year 2021 de Archisource (Shortlisted & Published) | Tubadzin Design Awards Young Power Category (Second prize) | World Architecture Awards Student Category 41th Cycle (Winner) | Inspirelli Awards 7th Edition (Finalist) | XXVIII Bienal de arquitectura Colombia (Honorable mention) | The Global Undergraduate Awards 2022 (Highly commended) | Tamayouz Excellence Award for International Graduation Projects Award 2022 (Honorable Mention)
Rhinoceros 3d , Grasshopper , V-Ray
Excerpt:‘Topographic Voids’ is an architecture thesis by Juan Ramirez from Facultad de Arquitectura y Diseño – Universidad de los Andes, that explores verticalization in order to incorporate topographical and environmental scenes into an architectural body. The project is based on a modular structure that expands in tandem with the city’s vertical development process through a wooden structural system distinguished by three construction stages.
Introduction: “Topographic voids” presents a novel approach to the verticalization of a typical Latin American neighbourhood in Bogotá, Colombia. This neighbourhood is distinguished by its primary economic activity, carpentry and joinery, and by certain unique urban features, including a high programmatic load at the first level, low porosity, and a lack of green spaces. In order to preserve the trade as a defining feature of the area, the proposal aims to verticalize first-level activities before the suggested urban renewal processes. It also explores a new vertical landscaping system that would enhance green spaces by elevating them above the dense urban fabric.
The project is based on a modular structure that expands in tandem with the city’s vertical development process through a wooden structural system distinguished by three construction stages. A variety of biomes are proposed for these voids in the structure, which are created by various parametrization processes. These biomes replicate and recreate various Colombian thermal floors, which change their thermal and plant conditions as they grow vertically. As a result, the project explores a unique way of incorporating topographical and environmental scenes into an architectural body.
The site chosen for the intervention is in the neighbourhood of 12 de Octubre sector in Bogotá, Colombia. This region is regarded as the centre of the city, with the majority of residents earning their living through woodworking programmes. The urban fabric has significantly changed as a result of this activity’s growth, creating spillover spaces across the streets. Currently, carpentry and joinery shops occupy the majority of the public spaces beside the streets, turning them into woodworking galleries and laboratories.
“Topographic voids” is viewed as a model that can be replicated in various urban contexts with similar characteristics. Rather than focusing on a particular location within the city, a hypothetical environment is proposed that meets certain requirements like high built-density, low porosity first-floor free spaces, lack of green spaces, and many more.
The project is based on a grasshopper parameterization code that modifies and produces subtractions on a conventional grid, creating voids where different natural biomes are inserted to mimic thermal floors in Colombia.
In order to avoid appearing as an alien entity at the intervention site, a modular reinforced wooden structure is constructed with a variety of joints that enable the building to grow at the same rate as the vertical growth of the city. To do this, rhinoceros was configured with codes and models that enabled the project’s growth and drawing within its context to be simulated.
A series of iterations ensued from the design process, beginning with an exploration of how to incorporate nature into vertical architectural bodies. The intervention site’s topographic profiles were redesigned to function as vertical landscapes and air-cleaning machines.
Iterations of methods to introduce topographies on a vertical mesh were developed, and the carpentry process was reimagined into an architectural programme. Lastly, a prototype of a vertical body that could be replicated in various urban locations was created.
Verticalization: The final outcome is a high-rise structure that is viewed as an opportunity to create green areas and the aggregation of environmental elements as a design principle. Reversing the conventional logic of developing green buildings, the project acknowledges the premise of anomalies and emphasises that nature sets the design guidelines that architecture must respond to.
Spaces: With the consolidation of a large laboratory for the alternative exploration of wood, the project aims to re-signify the carpentry and joinery work typical of the intervention site. A central programmatic core, housing workshops, classrooms, and other spaces devoted to the treatment of wood, is proposed, complemented by a social, communal, and residential programme inserted on the periphery of the structural core.
Construction: Piles drilled into the ground serve as the foundation for the building. Laminated wood is used to construct the central reticulated core. The tower’s construction phases are indicated by belts with stiffening gussets at horizontal level. Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) plates are embedded in the scaffolding perimeter and central core of both the exterior and interior plates. Structural ribs for voids are strengthened by laminated wood perimeter scaffolding. Concrete guniting is applied to form the structure’s shell.
Conclusion: The proposal, which treated emptiness as a performative and urban act, turned out to be a conceptual exploration of space and matter on a vertical architectural system of growth parallel to the growth of the city. It was viewed as a statement piece that not only aimed to establish itself as an environmental purifier but also addressed a pressing issue in Latin American cities: the disappearance of economic carriers that contribute to the identity, prosperity, and social cohesion of urban neighbourhoods globally by giving voice to the traditional craft sector.
[This Academic Project has been published with text submitted by the student]
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