Designing a refuge to be built on Blanca mountain was a real challenge. Like my other approaches in the design process, I started working on the program at the very early stage of this project.
I examined a daily life of a climber; his difficulties and needs during this excitement journey. After a deep research, I realize 3 main facts that I need to reflect on my program study process, which were encouragement, recalling and motivation and relaxation.
Climbers go through a rough journey which drains most of their energy. By the time, they get to the checkpoint they are so tired to be able to consider the achievement they have just earned. Having said that, I decided to frame a view of the valley and the path they have gone through to remind them about their success and encourage them for future ones.
Recalling and Motivation were my second steps in the program probing process. Now that they have arrived at the checkpoint they shouldn’t let anything seduce them. They need to be focused on their goal and remember the fact that this just an encampment. Consequently, I develop my design in a way that was going to reduce deceptive elements by controlling the opening size and providing targeted prospects without sacrificing the natural lighting. In addition, I knew that I had to place my forms around the hiking path rather than any other place far from the original path. I wanted it to be part of the journey and not to be severed peace.
Relaxation; the last phase. I chose this phase to complete my design and goal. Now that I encouraged them by showing their achievements and motivated them by recalling their goals I needed to provide an environment to fulfill their energy for the rest of their journey. I determined to frame a night sky to emphasize the beauty of this magnificent scenery and use its magical power to relax my guests.
Having said that, I scattered these 3 programs on a semi-flat surface (compared to other dramatically sloped grounds around the site) above the lake Como on a 12000 ft. elevation.
I can’t deny the value of precedent studies on my design development process. I started by searching for some established and well-solved programs of others. During the design phase, I realized how my lines and forms and even goals are getting similar to other famous architects strategy and design which was terrifying in some ways. But developing the idea based on a methodology which is fully developed in my own perception and study of design was assuring me about my approach.
Since I was going to design a form to be integrated with nature, I needed to study nature’s behavior in contact with solid forms. This type of approach brought the idea of fractural lines to the design. On the other hand, I was sure that I had to figure out the formula that could simulate this process for me. Consequently, I decided to implement the Fibonacci sequence to answer this need. I had 4 points of interest to start with; the valley, Blanca peak, Little Bear peak and Ellingwood peak. By connecting these line to the center point of my site, I ended up with 4 different lines. As I said, I was looking for fractural forms. but I needed the angles and directions. hence, I decided to use the grasshopper to apply Fibonacci sequence into my 4 predefined lines. Using series of components with different attractors and parameters in grasshopper I ended up with these lines:
combining these lines with the program that I had, I was able to form my design. I ended up with one social hub and 7 singular and multi-family pods to accommodate 21 persons.
But something was not right! I realized this when we had a break during this project and assigned with another project which was “Desert Refugio“. After finishing that project, I realized how perverted I am from the main concept which was to design a shelter. My design was more likely to a luxury promenade rather than to be a Refugio. Then I started to refine the design without sacrificing the program and form.