Charlie Ekstrom

Journal Entry For
Module 4 - Conceptual Design - Building Context & Passive Design

In my mass exploration, I realized one thing: that to create the desired experience for visitors, I needed to have more than one single structure. I settled on creating stair pathway that follows along and through 2 structures, and allows you to follow along up a hill through interactive and educative spaces.

I have also settled on a location, which will be along one of the hills in the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve at Stanford. The hill I would like to build on would be Russian Ridge, with the viewpoints being midway up the ridge looking North across the Searsville Reservoir, and at the top of the ridge with vantage points of both the reservoir and the southern view. This will be able to serve as an educational space as well as 2 individual viewing blocks, to see different pieces of the preserve from different vantage points.

The materiality of the structures will focus on likely metal or wood for the stairway, with a necessity being finding ways to keep the wood well preserved and having non-slip attachments to it during rain season, as Jasper Ridge is a chaparral landscape but is located in Northern California, which can get quite a bit of rain in the winter. In the coming weeks I will explore options in weather studies to decide whether or not the stair pathway to get from structure to structure will be covered. As for the structures, I would like to see largely glass curtain walls, with metal supports and wood accents so as to accentuate and focus on specific viewpoints by using the wood to block others. Both spaces I would like to be single stories, and would be able to serve as classroom spaces along with viewing areas, so that they could be used as study centers for Russian Ridge or the Searsville Reservoir.

Moving forward, I also want to use the mixed materiality to find the best ventilation points of the structures, as well as find a way to use as much natural light as possible without making the space made of curtain walls feel like a greenroom. I am exploring having an open vent at the top of the structure to allow airflow throughout the space at all times.