Southeast Corner of Scott Gym: Awkward, Isolated, and Uninviting

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Analysis DH

Analysis A: Circulation & Movement

In creating this birds-eye-view diagram and exploring the space for the first time, I learned that the assigned location for the Design Thinking entrance project was awkward, isolated, and not particularly inviting. When I visited the space in the late afternoon, it was difficult to imagine an inviting entrance in its place because it was entirely shadowed and sandwiched between Scott Gym and small parking lot.

To better understand how students, faculty, and potential visitors were going to access the entrance, I analyzed circulation to and from the space. I learned that the space could be accessed from two opposite ends– either via the high traffic pathway between Sage Hall and Mendenhall Center, or through the ‘backside’ along Belmont Avenue past Ford Hall. I realized that I will need to consider whether to accommodate both possible access points or centralize the entry point facing Sage Hall for my design proposal. Although the design could accommodate both access points, in reality, I would expect one entry point facing Smith’s academic buildings to be more user-friendly, considering that the target users of this building are mostly faculty and students who move between buildings on campus by foot. On the other hand, if people are accessing the space via vehicular transport, multiple parking spaces within walking distance (indicated on the diagram) are able to meet those needs already.

Analysis B: Repetition/Rhythm

image3The Design Thinking entrance should fit in and compliment existing buildings surrounding it. If it looks out of place, the space may be unappealing, uninviting, and may not fulfill its purpose of being an all-inclusive, interdisciplinary faculty-student design space. As the space is directly in front of the southeast corner of Scott Gym, I analyzed its design elements to see if I could incorporate them into the entrance design. Repetitious glass windows with white borders seems to be a recurring element on the Scott Gym, Sage Hall, and Schacht Center façade. In this diagram I was also thinking about the contrast between natural and man-made elements, and the scale of eliminated structures. As the diagram illustrates, the house and tree will be taken away to make room, so it may be important for the proposed entrance design to include/replace both man-made and natural elements.

Food for thought:

  • How will I make the entrance inviting for faculty, students, and visitors?
  • How can the entrance encourage people to occupy the Design Thinking space and the area surrounding it?
  • How will the design fit in and compliment the buildings around it?
  • How can the design incorporate natural elements?
  • What would the entrance look like in the day and at night?
  • The Campus Guide: Smith College (2007): “No single style or aesthetic dominates Smith’s architecture; its houses and halls are united in their diversity and eclecticism, animated by a commitment to design that is right for its time and resilient to the test of time”– How can the Design Thinking entrance’s design incorporate elements that are ‘right’ for this time?

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