March 5: Midterm Review

The main purpose of a midterm review is to have a discussion about the current direction of the project.  Keeping in mind that the past month has been the only time to start designing on the selected site, I chose to focus on the creation of forms and massing at this stage.

Based on the preliminary review discussion revolving around the creation of zones, I divided up the site into three areas to manage: a natural setting to the south, a gathering space in the center between the two stadiums, and a built setting to the north which would house residential and commercial entities necessary for the neighborhood.  As the main juncture connecting to downtown Jacksonville, a hotel/convention center with an organic form is proposed in the southwest corner of the site and mirrored in a pier and pavilion along the new water’s edge.  This natural component would encourage movement across the center of the site even when the stadiums are not being used–inactivity when games are not going on is the main issue with the site in its current state.  Organization of the northern element is currently by block: each is organized into a tower, close, or expressive piece.  The tower, a large, tall building pressing up to the city block, creates a sense of entrance and boundary around the edge of the neighborhood.  The close, with its open center courtyard, starts to blend the definitions of public and private space while also integrating homes and businesses at a more personal level.  The expressive pieces, responding to the north-south axes created across the site, have distinct uses and forms that would weave themselves into the neighborhood fabric.  Being that the forms have been determined to an extent, the next step is to more formally define which elements do what, be they residential, commercial, or something else.

The critics’ main response was that the denotation of zones across the site was a bit too rigid.  After presenting the thesis topic and delving into my understanding of site organization, they felt I was focusing too heavily on the park element and avoiding a full understanding of density across the built environment.  Organization along the axes, rather than simply into predetermined zones, would strengthen what they understood to be strongly determined movement between the stadiums.  This alternate strategy of mixing built elements with the other spaces is another stage of development that I understand needs to take place, and will be incorporated into my further development of the project moving forward.  Still, the last comment was that it’s a cool project on a cool site, so this will definitely make for a cool city.

The deliverables were these four boards printed at 36×48, a 1″ = 100′ site model, and a 1″ = 500′ city model (pictures to come).

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