Journey of an Architect is a blog started by Tim Ung to document his journey to design 30 projects by the age of 30 (May 2020). His posts focus on his design process, thoughts, struggles, and successes throughout his journey.

Residential Timber Skyscraper

Residential Timber Skyscraper

While reading a book at my local coffee shop, I suddenly had an urge to design a skyscraper. Initially, I thought of making this project a core and shell building to study various forms and façade ideas. However, as I started sketching some elevations, I quickly found that having an understanding of the interior program and layout of the building is important for determining the form and façade design. As I began sketching project 14x30, Residential Timber Skyscraper, I decided to design the residential units as modules that would stack to create the building. Here’s the initial design idea for the Residential Timber Skyscraper.

Determining the building’s primary structure

I’ve always had an interest in wood structures and I’ve wanted to try designing a timber skyscraper for some time. So, with some basic research on timber frames for tall buildings, I decided to design project 14x30 as a timber framed skyscraper that uses a combination of concrete for its foundation and beams, laminated timber columns and shear walls for the building, reinforced concrete beams and perimeters on every floor, and steel joint connections.

Sketching building elevations

Once the primary structure was set, I sketched elevations for a few hours to get some façade design ideas onto paper. As I sketched, I applied a grid pattern to the façade and began subtracting some of the mass on the façade. This would create outdoor balconies and shaded glazing behind. As I continued subtracting from the façade, the pattern became a terraced subtraction within the building form, which I envisioned as an element that would continuously wrap the building. The vertical lines represent a wood slat shading device that would go over the façade as well as glazing.

Unfortunately, when I started modeling the design in Revit, I decided to abandon the idea and refine it to be less complex. There just seemed to be so much going on with the design of the building and it became more about the aesthetic of the building than the experience that one would have living within it.

So I went back to the drawing board and carried the inset and outset idea of the initial sketch as well as the wood slat shading device. The next iteration of the façade design was separated into a 4 story module followed by a 2 story module and this would repeat throughout the building. In this iteration, the wood slat façade would be inset and carved into the building whereas the smooth building material would be outset.

Although this idea was visually appealing and simple, I decided to take it a step further and design the façade to be a 1x1 grid. Every floor would also be offset by 1 grid line so that the wood slat shading would alternate on every floor.

Conclusion

As I start to develop the design of the Residential Timber Skyscraper project in Revit, I’ll continue refining the design ideas as I develop the residential modules. I’ll also need to figure out a project site for the project and the design of the base of the building. If there are buildings adjacent to the Residential Timber Skyscraper, I’ll most likely design the base to have a bigger footprint so that every unit has access to natural light and ventilation. I’ll also have to figure out the transition between the public floors on the lower levels of the building and the residential portion.

Design Development of Residential Timber Skyscraper

Design Development of Residential Timber Skyscraper

Making a Leather Tote Bag

Making a Leather Tote Bag