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Tower within Sphere
Harvard GSD Core Studio III 2017 Fall
Advisors: Kiel Moe
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Perspective Collage  | The New Cone Monuments and Grounds Above Mass. Pike

Air-Right Urban Project


As an air-right project, we cover the turnpike with built properties in the future. With the study of the industrial vernacular prototype of the ventilation buildings along the tunnel highway systems in Boston, we integrate the new performing center for Berklee with urban ventilation infrastructure. Those cores work as structural member, circulation and infrastructure, which as well defines the tower (program oriented) in the building. While the cones wrap the program parts and serve as a sphere to respond to the urban field and the spatial requirement for spectators.

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Prototype and Site Analysis  | Highway Ventilation Building Typology, Turnpike Air Right, Music Space Mixed Use in Berkelee and Mass. Ave

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Program Diagram | Cores as Functional Urban Infrastructure, Cones as Program Container



After the study highway ventilation building typology, we hybrid the programs with the functional orthogonal cores. of the We build those concrete cores on site first. Core type A works as escalator for the passengers from subway tunnel to enter the retail level directly, and the adjacent one is a ventilation exhaust for the green line. Core type B works as the elevator and egress, ventilation for the building is embedded inside as well. Core type C are purely ventilation cores.We start to build the building from these cores. First, we build the platform as a urban ground. Base on these point loaded structure cores, the secondary steel structure is superimposed on it. In this way, we open the ground level to a certain degree.

Each cons are of different type and stands for distinguished programs. They are connected in the middle where the intersections happens.
They create an aggregation with an inner void to accommodate the large volume of the auditorium. Which is then invisible from the external but only perceivable from the interior.

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Model & Fragment Diagram|Urban Condition Model and Cone Units Vertical Arrangement

The model photo above shows how the six barrel shape volume intersects each other and engage with the surrounding urban condition.
The diagram below describes how structural components interact with the program in the volume of cone that creates completely new spatial partition.

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Entrance Hall


Black Box & Storage




Front Lobby


Residence Unit


Side Lobby

Model Fragment|Orthogonal Program in Circular Massing

Tower within Sphere

The circular perimeter defines the externality of the building, in which it does not has a specific orientation in accordance to the expanding urban fabric and intervene as dynamic elements into the urban space --- like a crowed of dancing musical notes with variations interacting with the field, where you can see the tension in between each individual and how they are pushed outward and pulled inward according to its programs scales. The ring edge in the middle of each cones also implies the differentiation of the sections of these floor levels behind the walls because the auditorium lobby have various heights. In light of the rationalized orthogonal structure system planted on the high way , the orthogonal structure is expressed in two ways: First, it is partially exposed at the perimeter envelop that the cones are spited or cut at those places, to create divisions, terrace and openings. Secondly, spectators can come in and discover the contrast between the interior orthogonal wall and the curved, perimeter wall. This inconsistency can highlight the hierarchy of the structure in the space, which creates tension between a horizontal tower inside the sphere.

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Plan |The Urban Ground Floor 

Plan and Model |Aggregation of Six Cones 

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Section Drawing |Core Programs Embedded in the Spheres

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Details and Rendering |The Phenomenal Intersection of Orthogonal System and Cylindrical System

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