Final Presentation

After four long years in the bachelors of science in architecture field at UNLV, I am about to make my last presentation as an undergraduate. After this I will become a graduate from UNLV and take one more step towards my ultimate goal of being a licensed architect. This final presentation, about a Landscape Observatory, is designed around a naturally occurring process and is designed  to take a single observer through this process on the site and display this process for them to observe. This process that I have chosen is the plant growth that occurs on a particular lava field in the Mojave National Preserve. As such I was able to design four observation points through the two mile long trail that I have created through this lava field. And this is the presentation that I am about to give. Wish me luck!

 Fertile Lava Soil

Fertile Lava Soil

Below are individual squares for better quality images.

Water Drainage

After finally getting and using Rhino, I have created a video showing how water moves through the site where I will propose a shelter for the Landscape Observatory. I did this study to find the perfect place to collect water in the mountainside, which appears somewhat smooth in person, that would also face the location of the second observation point that is within a valley just at the bottom of the mountain.

Hydrology Diagram.jpg

Looking at the convergence of lines that are located within a crest at the top of the mountain is the perfect spot for the shelter. By building here you collect a vast amount of water whenever it rains in the Mojave National Preserve. It also allows me to orient the shelter towards the bottom of the mountain, creating a view of the next observation point along my proposed trail. So by completing this animation and subsequent photo of the water drainage, I was able to confirm my thoughts of where to place the shelter.

After creating the video and looking at where a large amount of water converged to a single point to collect rainwater, and by looking at placing the shelter in such a way to create a view of the valley below, I was able to place the shelter in the best place. This would allow me to start the observation trail in the best way possible, considering where water and views meet.

Water Budgeting

By carefully selecting when water is used, and how much, we can certainly reduce our dependence on this precious natural resource. This is something that is mandatory for a place like the Mojave National Preserve when designing for cleaning, particularly bathing. When the average rainfall is around 4" every year you must collect only as much as needed to reduce the amount of built space that would take up the landscape. In order to reduce this square footage by enough you must use creative ways of reducing water use, such as recycling greywater, reducing cleaning times, using low-flow technology, etc. These images show the process that I used to reduce the amount of surface area needed for a person to survive for a single day with minimal water use. This water use includes potable drinking water, bathing, and even the required facilities of toilet and sink.

The first thing I did was calculate the amount of gallons of water were needed for this one person space per day. This lead to a 10-minute shower at 0.7 gallons per minute and a moderate amount of potable water for a desert environment, 2 gallons. This left me with 9 gallons per day, but also a very large surface area to collect that amount of water.

 9-Gallons per Day, Monthly Water Amount within Cistern between 2007-2012

9-Gallons per Day, Monthly Water Amount within Cistern between 2007-2012

Secondly I reduced the amount of time for the shower as well as spread the potable drinking water to the three separate nodes that I am designing for this trail/process.

 3.5-Gallons per Day, Monthly Water Amount within Cistern between 2007-2012

3.5-Gallons per Day, Monthly Water Amount within Cistern between 2007-2012

The three nodes would be able to collect enough water for 0.5 gallons of use per day from each node. This would lead to a reduction of weight for the person to carry through the trail, as well as disperse the surface areas to these different nodes.

 3.5-Gallons per Day with Reuse for 3 Days, Monthly Water Amount within Cistern between 2007-2012

3.5-Gallons per Day with Reuse for 3 Days, Monthly Water Amount within Cistern between 2007-2012

Thirdly I ended up adding a toilet at 1 gallon per day use, and a sink at 0.5 gallons per day use, while also reusing the greywater from the shower and the sink to extend the water usage from one day to three days. This means that you use the greywater twice before releasing it in the environment. This lead to a dramatic reduction in square footage for collecting rainwater.

 0.5-Gallons per Day for Drinking at Stations, Monthly Water Amount within Cistern between 2007-2012

0.5-Gallons per Day for Drinking at Stations, Monthly Water Amount within Cistern between 2007-2012

All in all the reduction was significant when you thought of some more advanced ways of collecting and using rainwater/greywater. By reusing water multiple times instead of creating a single use for them you have the ability to extend the amount of water that you do collect across multiple days without having to use a fresh supply. And by reducing the amount of fresh supply of rainwater, you can reduce the square footage dramatically.

Mojave Walkthrough

Here is a simple video of the proposed walkthrough for the Landscape Observatory project located at the lava fields in the Mojave National Preserve. Notice the changes in the foreground, not only in the look of the rocks, but also in the plant life change.

I have found while out there that there are eight different levels of rock throughout the lava field where the lava tube is located. Within these eight different zones there are six different plant habitats that I have seen. So going into the design phase for this project I must look at how to express these six different plant regions along the nearly two mile hike through the lava fields.

So by looking at the video you can clearly see that there are differences in the rock layers and what plant habitats that can grow in these different regions. Now I must design different observation nodes to help identify and express these differences.

Process of Building

Even with the best plains laid out there will always be complications, alterations, and some frustration when it comes to the finishing touches for any build. While at the Bakersfield Museum of Art installing the Randall Stout exhibit I found this out firsthand. As such I was one of the most valuable people to be there, with the ability to think fast to fix the mistakes of others, whether student or professional. Throughout the build I had learned that everyone had forgotten certain things about the exhibit space that needed to be altered in some way to accommodate what was existing in the first place. This included the addition of more wood to cover up eyesores, adding ceiling panels, even mirroring the entire front exhibit. As such I am glad that it is all finally over. Now it just needs to last another three months.