Foundry

2014

Machinist Studio / Charlottesville, Virginia [Foundry] is a short essay on spatial operability. Programmed as a metalworking studio in Charlottesville, Virginia, the workspace is subject to periods of intense heat and air pollutants from the machining processes. Based on the season, temperature, or task, the machinist can adjust the facades to either exhaust or contain the indoor environment. This project developed within two absolute parameters: by weight, the building must be composed of 96% limestone, quarried locally from Blacksburg, Virginia, and it must be a double square in plan. To achieve this, the simple structure organizes on an eight-foot module, using regularized masonry block for the load-bearing walls and reinforced concrete beams to negotiate the building’s larger spans. A gantry crane services the foundry’s heavier creations, transporting them between the kiln and double-height workspace for refinement. The north windows flood this zone with diffused daylight to satisfy the workbench’s task lighting requirements. This negates the need for most electric lighting during even overcast conditions. For additional light at the days’ extremities, the hangar doors can be also be opened to further reduce electricity usage. High transom windows handle cross ventilation between the north and south facade, and the kiln heats a sub-floor hypocaust for radiant heating during the winter months. Simple in concept and execution, these techniques allow for the machinist to adapt to daily fluxes and ultimately reinforce the [Foundry]'s objective for spatial customization.

Design Criteria
This project developed within two absolute parameters: by weight, the building must be composed of 96% limestone, and it must be a double square in plan. To achieve this, the simple structure organizes on an eight-foot module, using regularized masonry block, quarried locally from Blacksburg, Virginia, for the load-bearing walls and reinforced concrete beams to negotiate the building’s larger spans. A gantry crane services the foundry’s heavier creations, transporting them between the kiln and double-height workspace for refinement. The north windows flood this zone with diffused daylight to satisfy the workbench’s task lighting requirements. This negates the need for most electric lighting during even overcast conditions. For additional light at the days’ extremities, the hangar doors can also be opened to further reduce electricity usage. Operable transom windows handle cross ventilation between the north and south facade, and the kiln powers a sub-floor hypocaust for radiant heating during the winter months. These systems, elementary in concept and execution, allow the machinist to critically adapt the space in accordance with daily fluxes and habits.
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