Alternative Films: SD


post by john lin + fernando astiazaran
CHI  >  SF  >  LA
REVIEW  //  05.01.2017


Title Sequence Inspiration [under construction]




Alternative Films attempts to combine the innovative aspect of the Helios Collective and the public engagement from the Public Realm.  The concept regarding cinema as the ‘projection of light’ and in turn, a building as the ‘projection of light’ carried over from Fernando’s project.  The essence of both natural and artifical light is a big driver for this quarter’s project.

Buildings as ‘projection of light’


This project in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco hosts a program that invites innovators from all parts of the world to live in the building and contribute to social art.  Filmmaking sets and shops allow the residents to fully realize their own projects in order to voice their concerns about social issues, especially ones that pertain to them, or more generally, the place they live in.  Recording studios and dark rooms also provide for them the opportunity to produce songs or scores, as well as develop camera film and other methods of photography to truly capture the tone and experiences of the social issues they attempt to publicize.  The ‘central hub’ is home to the main cinema room, where current movies are screened, as well as films from the residents.  A spatious sound stage lies above, where most filmmaking takes place.  Metal and wood shops, as well as digital fabrication labs, enjoy some real estate in the hub as well to further connect the rest of the main program, as well as provide an easy mode of transporation for production/stage sets and props between the labs and stage.



Design concept sketches




We were reviewed by the Four M’s: Margarida Yin, Mark Cabrinha, Margaret Pedone, and Mabsoot First-Years [six of them], as well as some comments from j-P.


light diagram

Lighting strategies diagram


The first-years did not really give us any feedback, but they did ask a few questions that helped us reiterate our presentation in a few ways.  Props to the firsts.  They were mainly just amazed at all the 3D prints.



Atrium view


Theater entrance
Approach view
Third floor ampitheater


Margarida found it a bit difficult to find the true inspiration behind the ‘central hub’ in the project.  This quarter we have been having a hard time figuring out its concept, and along the way we have also lost many great architectural concepts and ideas.  Should we host a program that gravitates more toward educational facilities rather than the sole purpose of making?  Should the project emphasize the innovation and contribution of film more rather than promote social art in its entirety?  Margarida geared us more toward educational facilities and focused mainly on how we can  improve this aspect of our project by engaging the public more and making the ‘maker’ spaces more vibrant, as they should be.




Mark commented on the hub as well, and offered some advice in using specific parametric design software and methods to truly design this architectural concept.  He mentioned the Empac at RPI by Grimshaw and emphasized how well this project also dealt with a central motif and how successful it was in ‘sculpting’ the spaces around it. Mark is a cool dude.



Section from review 01


Longitudinal section [N] showcasing central hub


Transverse section [E]

Margaret Pedone asserted that the ‘everything tower’ should be moved out of the hub and possibly spread out on the north wall.  She pointed out how much of our square footage was designated for ‘circulation’ and how we were not utilizing the space efficiently.  Moving the hub to the east side of the building opens up the building and presents more opportunities to efficiently lay out program.  She then mentioned changing the materiality of the hub and designing it to be structural. [Ed earlier today also gave this critique].










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