Second Semester Core: Introduction to Design and Visual Studies in Architecture

Ground Leftovers / Program Functions During the second half of the semester students will be asked to develop a building around programs whose specific functional requirements have an oblique relationship to form. Unlike the preceding project –where use over-determined the shapes and sizes of rooms within the building– the uses housed by a Student Center leave little trace of their purpose in the form of the spaces there are housed by. A myriad of spatial and typological models suffice in order to satisfy functional needs. In programs such as this one, lending aesthetic significance to program becomes a suspect strategy difficult to sustain. On the other hand, the design of a formal system into which program is but a mere temporary occupant reverts too easily to a superficial independence of form. Some functions in the building are quite specific: bookstore, cafeteria administrative spaces. The activities taking place in this spaces easily quantifiable categorized and limited. Others functions in the building are vague and can be interpreted in a variety of ways: multipurpose, lounge, meeting room, and resource room. These spaces are open-ended and have limited control over their actions, they may set up possibilities for events to occur, or perhaps allow nothing to occur. Some behave as large public living rooms, others as domesticated waiting areas. Program per say may be absent, boredom may be allowed. While the program might be considered formally vague, the context of a college campus is charged with specificity. Inevitably, the Student Center belongs to a set of buildings that as a group make up the identity of the institution. But at the same time, this program stands alone in opposition to all other buildings on campus. The Student Center is the only one that does not house academic or administrative functions, and as such it does note represent any school of thought or the university\’s hierarchy. By belonging to the campus, the building does contribute to the University\’s institutional identity. By housing purely student functions, the building somehow remains outside the institution. Wellesley, with an all female student body, may have an institutional image all the more unique.The new student center has to contend with a particular family of architectural buildings represented on campus, from the conventional college buildings, to the more daring Science Center, and with the immediacy of Paul Rudolph\’s Jewett Center and Raphael Moneo\’s Davis Museum. These buildings\’ significance goes beyond the boundaries of the institution, and make up a particular body of work within the world of architecture.Rules of the Game:This project will not be subject to limited boundaries. The negotiation between the program and its context will not be framed by geometric or boundary determinants but rather by how the building will construct the landscape around it. As is typical of a suburban project, the building will not occupy the entirety of the site, and the ground surface \”leftover\” needs to be considered as integral to the design problem. The building must negotiate changes in topography, approaches and views to and from the site. This is a building that will be perceived in many directions, and as such will have an impact on the character of its surroundings. In addition the site conditions will have specific programmatic implications since vehicles are a fundamental component of the program.1- The building must be located anywhere between two existing campus structures: The Founders building and the Jewett Art Center2- The building must be directly accessible both from the Academic Quad (above), as well as from the Rhododendron Hollow (below).3- The existing vehicular lop road has to be preserved. It may be incorporated into the building, it may be sunken, or any other device that would allow it to remain functioning as