Student(s): Shelby Wright
Instructor(s): Douglas Graf
Course: ARCH 3420: Architectural Design IV
Term: Spring 2016

The task of this project was to design three civic buildings for the town of Yellow Springs, Ohio: a library, a town hall, and an inn. The buildings were placed on several sites throughout the town. The new library is at the entry of the town, bordering the forest; the town hall wraps the existing post office, and the inn takes the site of the former library.

                The library takes on the form of a massive wall, acting as the boundary between the town and the forest. The wall wraps the building, the peels off to create a gateway into the forest and create the edge of a public plaza. The entrance is marked by the turn of the wall as it moves from the street edge to the plaza. From the entrance the visitor can see the city museum and temporary gallery spaces below, with the opportunity to move down into them. The auditorium sits on the ground floor and a wall of glazing provides views out into the forest. Upstairs are the adult and children’s reading rooms and stacks. The adult stacks is placed across the bike trail and connected with bridges, so retrieving a book becomes an experience for both people in the library and for the bikers down below. The children’s stacks is a microcosm of this, bridging into the mass of the wall.

                The honorific portion of the town hall is placed at the intersection of the two main streets of the town. The council chambers marks the beginning of the axis into the forest (though the library gate), and is seen as a Pantheon-like object upon entering town from the northeast. The council chambers is mirrored by the councilor’s offices on the second floor. A gallery is below the councilor’s offices on the first floor. The space of the gallery extends and becomes the waiting area for the city clerks, and acts like a capsule with the visiting artist’s studio. From the studio is a spiral stair connecting it to the artist’s residence above, which has its own private roof gardens. The mayor’s office is on the second floor and is marked by a procession through the secretaries, which are on a bridge overlooking the clerks. From the clerks on the first floor, the space wraps around to a café and an auditorium. A portico connects the auditorium to the courtyard behind the building, and acts as an object which the rest of the building wraps around.

 

                The inn is located at the other end of the commercial center. The building is organized by a garden sequence which can be accessed by the public and those staying at the inn. The rooms on the first floor all have a private garden from which they can access the larger, public garden. From the rooms, the garden terraces down towards a stream. Across the stream is an island with a picnic pavilion, representing the forest (as a progression from city to wilderness within the site and as a way of mirroring the real forest at the other end of downtown). The stream continues around the site to the outdoor dining and dining room before terracing back up to the street. The dining room and bar are connected to the rest of the inn via a bridge into the living room. The living room itself has an upper level which leads to the dining room and a lower level which leads into the garden.