inFORM studio is a research based design practice with offices in Northville, Michigan; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and New York City. inFORM is the fusion of two previously distinct architectural entities, Timbes Architectural Group and Van Tine|Guthr
The DPS Children's Museum's investigation into museum curatorship and exhibit design initiates the advent of a new and innovative pedagogy. The notion of an educational institution initiating a didactic environment through the blending of exhibit within the classroom experience is a pioneering effort wrought with intellectual potential. Blessed with a diverse and significant collection of cultural, scientific, and historical artifacts, the museum speaks to an educational process of immersion, rather than erudition. After 84 years, the pedagogical model employed remains uniquely distinctive and progressive. The biomorphic exhibit, designed to display the museums past, present and future, derives its formal character from the immersive educational process of dissection. Visitors can be expected to view, sit within and interact with the many facets the exhibit reveals through a variation of incisions within the skin. The exhibit endeavors to inform and provoke thought as a semiotic manifestation of the DPS Children's Museum story.
A series of exhibits were developed to provide a flexible rotation of the museum’s 100,000-item collection in various themes. Clear boxes, visible from multiple sides allow objects to be presented in totality. Objects are presented devoid of a spatial orientation, and are objective in their display. Rather than having a preconceived notion of what front is, the exhibit allows for individual interpretation of what top, bottom or sides actually are. The 'dufflepud' wall is a linear themed exhibit suitable for small items, vertical elements and textiles. Clear boxes are inserted into the wall at varying elevations, particular to viewpoints of children. A late programmatic development, the desire to use the gallery as event space, required the 'dufflepud' to be flexibly located. Generally the wall is situated at a point within the center of the space as an organizer for linear circulation. The initiation of a suspended track and glide system above the wall forms a more intimate space against the wall on the south side. To reclaim this area as part of the event space, the 'dufflepud' slides against the gallery wall with the artifacts still on display on the north side. The implementation required easy mobility that can be accommodated by unlocking two casters and sliding it in either the expanded or compressed position in seconds.
-Photography by Laszlo Regos
The Northpointe Medical Center provides a statement of practicality and flexibility for a health clinic within an elegant rectilinear brick shell. Beyond typical exam rooms and offices, a strong vision of health awareness and weight loss assistance inspired the insertion of a modern café within the comfortable two-story lobby space, along with various programmatic elements such as a teaching kitchen, fitness center, laboratory, and large meeting rooms. Exterior materials extend to the interior seamlessly through sections of curtain wall glazing, providing continuity to the landscape. The building’s formal simplicity belies its sophisticated technology within and fits comfortably with its surrounding context.
Project: Cozart Medical Center
The Cozart medical office building explores a low-impact design approach to the conventional suburban office building. Located in the tidal basin region of Myrtle Beach, a sustainable strategy toward stormwater management influenced the integrated approach to civil, landscape and building design. Various stormwater techniques are explored allowing for 100% on-site rainwater capture including green roof, infiltration trenches, rain garden, pervious paving and peat moss gardens which absorb tremendous quantities of water while allowing a variety of indigenous species to flourish. Heat gain and natural ventilation techniques were also employed to inform the design.
The Thorn Apple Valley redevelopment is an analysis into the adaptive reuse of a collection of processing and manufacturing facilities for the future use of office space and distribution for an urban school district. Through a series of diagrams, this study illustrates attributes of the existing site, circulation and structures that require careful consideration as it relates to a typological transformation.
The study is comprised of an evaluation and strategy for the urban development as a whole but more specifically addresses the overall strategy as it relates to the specificity of each structure within the area. Predicated by the project scope, urban design concepts are considered through introductions within the architecture. A brief observation of the site makes it evident that the existing context must demonstrate a new sensitivity to a secure environment, building orientation, scale and pedestrian access. Individual projects are linear in their sequence of thought, as the project scope has increased. However, relationships are facilitated between buildings as each new project is added to the scope. The study is a new paradigm in thought as one explores collective building design as an individual urban design.
Project: Berry Terminal Renovation
The adaptive re-use of the Berry Terminal for general office operations for the Wayne County Airport Authority considered two approaches based on the feasibility study and space program provided:
The conventional approach embraces an infill strategy consistent with the initial feasibility study. The programming is organized within large floor plates to accommodate adjacencies. This strategy is relatively invasive to the existing structure but is the most economically efficient solution for accommodating the required square footage. However, there are several negative repercussions that result from this approach:
• Destroys the integrity of the existing qualitative space
• Eliminates numerous opportunities for daylighting and resulting energy reduction
• Contributes to internal corridors resulting in difficulty for wayfinding and circulation efficiencies
• Reduces potential for exterior views to a minimal level which increases probability of Sick Building Syndrome (SBS)
• Eliminates the possibility of Natural Ventilation and associated energy savings
• Does not acknowledge a sense of entry compatible with new typology without further exterior renovations
• WCAA identity is not considered with any exterior manifestation
An alternative approach is to implement a strategy of addition. The introduction of a slender bar of program integrates a design form specifically for office typology and optimizes the overall project for the introduction of sustainable principles into the architectural form of the existing and new:
• Maintains the spatial integrity of the existing structure and connects all three levels visually with the existing atrium, providing very clear visual connections for large floor plates improving circulation and wayfinding
• Introduction of daylighting to the majority of spaces
• Repurposing the existing skylight shaft as a heat chimney creates a stack effect improving ventilation
• High performance building envelope would enclose the new square footage and a portion of the existing structure helping to reduce the overall energy usage
• Formation of quality exterior courtyard spaces with the orientation and form of the new office bar
• Integration of numerous views to landscape areas for quality of interior space
• New building façade creates an identity for the WCAA and integrates a clarity of entrance into the building form
• Formal strategy contributes greatly to LEED points and reduces the need for more costly mechanical systems to gain energy efficiencies required
Project: Retail Center
Project: Verizon Wireless
Evaluation and analysis of the existing retail strip-center paradigm steered a succession of investigations for Verizon Wireless, the owner and operator of the largest mobile telecommunications network in the United States; aiming to strike a balance between design, visual connectivity and functionality within a range of contextual circumstances. Additional project objectives included the overall enhancement of the retail experience and the generation of a solution which would be instantly recognizable, showcasing the products and identity of the Verizon Wireless brand. Encouraged by the owner’s advice to “think Vegas” as an attraction strategy, these projects developed around the central themes of light, transparency and visibility.
The challenge to generate a dynamic and highly visible storefront design, capable of drawing attention from a distant roadway set-back or down into a depressed landscape basin, would become paramount considerations in the exploration and development of the Westland Mall VW and the Novi VW projects, respectively. Within each project, a portion of the existing exterior façade is transformed to create a strong urban street presence through the insertion of a progressive and transparent intervention of glass, metal and light.
At Westland, the existing non-descript brick exterior of the building is converted into a transparent storefront, while the former mall threshold becomes a display window, concealing the back-of-house’ functions. Horizontal lines delineate a ribbon of panels which visually connect the interior display windows to the exterior entrance. Powder-coated aluminum panels are scored and cut with a CNC router providing pin-point accuracy for the insertion of light boxes which blaze with LED diodes. The opaque siding begins to fragment, giving way to the vibrant red glow below. During the daylight hours, an attention-grasping contrast between the red and white panels exist, while the evening hours present an intense red glow, defining the entire mall façade at night, visually seizing the attention of automobile and pedestrian traffic alike.
Project: Rock Dog Productions
Inconspicuously situated within the industrial region of Detroit, the architecture transforms this 56,000 sq.ft. pre-engineered building at night into a diaphanous object bathed in colored light, splashed with broadcasting media, video and rear projected imagery on the fritted glass entry and stair tower walls. The multi-level interior speaks to the notion of dematerialization, giving rise to a raw industrial atmosphere bathed in the iridescence of the exterior lighting, video projections and adjacent multimedia bar and nightclub.
Rock Dog is an intimate live music venue alternative to the Detroit region. The project includes a three-story concert venue, with a raised central performance stage, accommodating 2500 people on the main floor and an additional 1200 people at the balcony level. The remaining concert hall program includes a spacious entry lobby, leasable concession space, shops and a mezzanine bar & nightclub while the back-of-house program contains leasable office space, artist dressing rooms, rehearsal studios, spa facilities and private lounges.
The conceptual design of Rock Dog is inclusive of sustainable design principles and will be further implemented as the project continues to develop. LEED objectives for the project include;
Site selection in a rural setting with further intentions to integrate the project as sensitively as possible by reducing impervious surface, integrating bio-remediation into the storm water management and provide infiltration into the existing site for re-charging the aquifers. The use of native landscaping will further benefit habitat preservation and restoration.
The site design will integrate xeriscape landscaping and indigenous species to ensure that no potable water will be used for irrigation. Through the integration of rainwater capture, much of the graywater usage in the facility (toilets, dishwashing, mechanical) can bypass potable water usage accomplishing a 30% water use reduction.
Energy & Atmosphere
With an integrated design approach, energy reduction and enhanced performance will be one of the greatest benefits to sustainable design. The envelope design considers a very high R value and spaces are situated to take advantage of “climactic mediation” to greatly reduce the cost of conditioning intermediate zones. Circulation spaces have also been designed to take advantage of natural ventilation. Work spaces, prep spaces and non-performance space have been designed to take advantage of daylighting when in use prior to evening shows, greatly reducing the artificial lighting load and providing better indoor air and lighting quality for a healthier environment. Light fixtures will be energy efficient low wattage with high output. Appliances will be energy star rated where possible. Other potential green strategies are possible as we further evaluate renewable energy such as geo-thermal heating and cooling.
Materials & Resources
Rock Dog has been specifically designed to utilize exceptional stewardship of our natural resources. Implementing a strategy of dematerialization, whereby a specific material or element performs many functions as opposed to a singular function, the design synthesizes the structure, exterior envelope and systems into the overall aesthetic. VM Zinc is chosen for its high recyclability, low energy manufacturing requirement, proximity to region, and natural composition. Zinc is in fact an essential trace element, necessary for sustaining all life. Other materials include rapid renewables and pre-fabricated panels to reduce construction waste.
Indoor Environmental Quality
The indoor air quality will not only be enhanced by the integration of natural ventilation but through air-handling that will allow fresh air to be introduced with low velocity in the lower “human occupied” region of space, allowing stale air to naturally rise as it warms and be exhausted. Additionally, all adhesives, sealants, paints, coatings, etc. will have no or low emitting materials.
Project: Eternal Wave
Popular culture’s awareness of environmental issues is growing due to the momentum of an established movement. There are several issues that are gaining popularity more rapidly than others within society, the most known of these being; ‘green’ building, carbon emissions, energy efficiency, and hybrid/alternative fuel automobiles. The level of sustainability implemented within a building project or a business is directly proportional to the level of commitment the individuals have for environmental concerns.
The approach for Eternal Wave will evaluate four areas within the prototype; food, operations, products, and building. For greening the operation of the business, strategies consist of air quality, waste disposal, products, and food. Greening the building envelope will be achieved by enhancing the efficiencies of a number of systems including lighting, water, and plantings ultimately effecting total energy use. The Eternal Wave is committed to a high level of sustainability in its design and operation.
There are three distinct components to the prototype:
roof, ribbon, and ground.
Each one has their own informative logic that has shaped them into an articulate form.
The roof system utilizes a solar chimney that combines with the ribbon in specific areas to create air circulation. It also maximizes usable area for green roof and incorporates clearstory areas for daylighting.
The ribbon travels through the building creating the different areas of program and linking them together into a single idea, rather than a building with three distinct and separate programmatic aspects. It converges with the ground plane in areas creating furniture, walls, and other building elements.
Blurring the definitive separation between the inside and the outside, the patio area creates an inviting dining experience for customers to enter into the building at their leisure and allows the ground plane to flow to the interior further linking the interior to the exterior. The expansive opening also works in accordance with the ribbon system to allow for natural flow air deep within the building.
Project: Wayne County Offices
The Wayne County Courthouse stands as one of the most prominent and important regional landmarks and is a superb example of Beaux-Arts architecture. The four-story building, with walls of light colored Ohio sandstone standing on a rusticated stone foundation and topped by an elaborate central tower surmounted by a cupola, has undergone a thorough restoration and been named to National Historic Landmark status. However, despite the beautiful and articulate structure and detailing throughout, the interior lacks a level of modern efficiencies, organization, and practical light levels for the current use. The following proposal endeavors to propel the functional performance and its inherent aesthetic to match the reputation of the original architecture.
Entrance- Originally, a grand exterior staircase brought visitors up to a 2nd floor public lobby. Due to the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Michigan Barrier Free code, the original entry sequence is no longer utilized. Public entry to the building currently proceeds below the staircase and into a lower dimly lit lobby space occupied by a security desk with elevators immediately adjacent to the entrance doors. The security desk performs neither as a place that welcomes, due to its confining foreground and lack of orientation to the building beyond it, nor as an adequate position of security because the elevators are immediately adjacent to the entry. The insertion of a more recognizable and significant concierge desk, providing both security and information, located at the intersection for circulation at the ground floor provides an orientation for visitors in pointing out directions, and space for aggregation as larger numbers of visitors enter the building. Additionally planes of translucent glass between the entry and elevators provide a more controlled access to the building through security personnel at the concierge desk. Materially, glass is implemented because of its ability to transmit light and its intrinsic nature is to deny content (that is to say, that its presence is about what surrounds it, not self-referential). The interventions themselves produce light that highlights the architecture of the original structure in a more luminous environment.
Atrium- The atrium space provides a space of grandeur and recognition that can serve for promotional events and a more regular gathering space for lunch or informal meetings. The removal of very heavy stiled glass doors allows a colonnade to exist with more intimate seating located within it. Other heavy doors leading to the perimeter circulation space would be replaced with glazed doors continuing the notion of colonnade to the brightly lit space beyond it.
Workspace- A more efficient aggregation of workspace, particularly in the large corridor spaces of the third floor and fourth floor, could be considered as a space within space. It is critical to consider modern workspace inserted into these historic confines in a pluralistic way. Organizationally, workstations can be set up as single or double spaces at window locations along the atrium wall. Natural illumination enters the workspace and is distributed further into an area for circulation. Artificial illumination is an extension of the workspace and continues as a plane of light as wrapper along the wall and ceiling. It affords a diffuse and consistent light that highlights the existing architecture, provides excellent work illumination and conceals any exposed conduit required for ease of construction.
Conference Space- A very similar language is employed in the conference space to that of the workspace. The luminous translucent wrapper diffuses the natural light through the windows, lowers a disproportionate ceiling height without losing a sense of the volume, provides a bright consistent artificial light source, and conceals any conduit required for power or lighting.
Project: Withers Creek Village
The Withers Creek Village conceptual proposal implements a restorative design approach to a stressed ecology while creating a healthy storm water system, a densification in urban development with green strategies, and an active+passive park system. The park space integrates a diverse set of programs that begins by reconstituting the existing Withers Swash Park as an active space for disc golf. Currently the qualitative woodland is inhabited by a diverse set of species but also by a segment of transient population that contributes to its underutilization. The introduction of the disc golf course populates the woodland providing a sense of security at a minimal investment. A saltwater marsh is also introduced with numerous indigenous species and the introduction of bioremediation to the existing storm water system. A boardwalk, bike trails, picnic space, short field, basketball court, and picnic space complete the program of the park space.
Project: Hudson House
Hudson House contributes to a global shift of industrial landscape to residential and mixed-use zones that are reinventing the notion of neighborhood. Small in scale, the building articulates itself relative to street, program, interior/exterior space, and edge conditions. The project is a compelling dialogue between perceptions of introverted and extroverted living as it explores the synthesizing of interior and exterior living space.
Project: Berridge Place
The Garland Street study, and the ensuing renovation, is illustrative of the nation’s renewed interest in urban living and the many benefits these types of projects can bring to our quality of life. This study yields tremendous potentials but not without many of the challenges facing so many urban renewal plans, primarily cost. Important aspects considered in the evaluation of this study are the identification of it as a catalyst project and as recognition of the context around it.
The development of a proposed conceptual site plan is an important step in evaluating the feasibility of how this collection of structures and space can operate as a cohesively planned unit development. Given the interstitial nature of the site situated between residential, commercial and educational, a mixed-use project with a diverse set of typologies is the most appropriate solution programmatically.
The Berridge Place building is the anchor of the project. It provides more density and the most essential mix of program of any of the proposed renovated structures within the study. The existing exterior boasts a wonderful architectural quality, yet the interior requires a complete transformation. This renovation although extensive provides an excellent opportunity for diverse residential units appealing to a broad range of prospective residents. The mix of retail at the lower level addresses a very public corner and provides an opportunity for much-needed, convenient market-type store to the area.
Project: Ruicci Residence
A single room addition to a private residence presents an investigative approach to a dichotomous program in a wooded suburban setting. A married couple interested in a more contemporary lifestyle favored a space that “seemed like you were outside, with all the comforts of interior space”. However, their desire was to consider this space as a home theatre as well.
Nestled into a pocket of open space within its wooded confines, the addition creates a courtyard between the existing and new with a grouping of trees at its center. The result is an experiential commentary on the sylvan environment. During the processional sequence through the bridge from the existing house, a slender aperture emphasizes the verticality of a single tree. A horizontal slot illustrates the repetition of the grouping, and one then emerges into the main space experiencing the totality of the woods through the transparent envelope. The morphology of the project is predicated by deep overhangs and projected wall surfaces, providing a shaded quality of ambient natural light. Spaces between objects are rendered transparent, blurring the distinction between interior and exterior space. The thick opaque arc, extending beyond the glass walls, shields the entertainment center from the southern sun. The entertainment system itself is dualistic in nature. Predominantly, it is perceived as an elegant library/storage wall. Through a transformative process of sliding panels the speakers emerge and a screen slips down through a slotted enclosure to provide a Lucas approved SDDS theatre system. Slotted niches in the arced wall beyond recognize the surround speakers and projector locations. The custom designed furnishings include the entertainment system, built-in couch, side table and elevated dog bed.
-Photography by Beth Singer
Project: St. Marks Lutheran Church
Project: Our Lady of Guadalupe
ught we all to grieve the way our Lady of Guadalupe grieved when she beheld her son nailed to the cross. Ought we all to rejoice the way our holy mother must have rejoiced when she witnessed the resurrection of her Lord. The church of Our Lady of Guadalupe manifests the life of Christ through the eyes and heart of Mary. The Holy Mother's perspective of the life of Christ is illustrated through the symbolic articulation of Our Lady of Guadalupe beginning with Christ descending from heaven. Water, a continual symbol of holiness throughout the concept, cascades down the west face of the bell tower entrance, averring a semiotic gesture of the father sending his son to the virgin birth. As parishioners pass through the tower threshold, the processional pilgrimage of the life of Christ is revealed before them. The baptismal font, denoting a second threshold between gathering space and worship space, portrays the baptism of Christ at the beginning of his ministry, spilling water into the pool below. The solid stone wall depicting the life of Christ is with the earth, yet not of the earth, residing in pure form elevated above the holy water. It is to be engaged for introspective contemplation at the stones and niches carved for the Stations of the Cross. Stained glass encapsulates the edges of the symbolic statuary penetrating the interior and exterior spaces. The east end of the wall is grounded by the Blessed Sacrament chapel immuring the body and blood of Christ contained by the tabernacle within. The chapel is a threnody to the death and burial of Christ. The tumescence of mourning is articulated through the Pieta of Mary, in the most nadir moment of her existence, ensconced within the western wall. Lamenting over her dead son lying limp in her embrace, Mary reflects upon the life of her son illustrated on the wall before her, from the miracle of the virgin birth at the tower beyond to the moment of anguish at hand. To the east of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel a tower ascending to the heavens bursts from the earth as the embodiment of resurrection, and provides warm, radiant southeastern light into the sanctuary below. The ascension tower secures itself within the heart of the sanctuary as the sine qua non of Christ's victory over death and the promise of his return. Exterior worship space is formed by ancillary program to the south, which tectonically genuflects toward the Blessed Sacrament chapel and shrine. To the west, less supernal program exhibits a topographical morphology yielding views toward the ascension tower while enclosing the inner courtyard. The exterior is filled with invigorating southern light. A fold in the earth to the east defines a place of meditation around the chapel while forming a platform for an exterior sanctuary.