For the National Coast Guard Museum, Diagram is used to not only articulate the geometry of the sails along the water but also to illustrate the relationship between the museum gallery and the public armature that reaches back towards the railroad tracks and into the surrounding context.
We also use the diagram to describe a specific design element, such as the ribbon like behavior of the public stairs at the Rockwell Integrated Sciences Center at Lafayette College.
Much like the step-by-step instructions of a recipe, we use the diagram to further develop a concept, often as a progression of subtle or calculated changes.
At the scale of the campus, Williams College Science Center considered the surrounding building fabric and campus connections to evolve the building massing; separating the three programmatic departments into separate masses, shifting them to break down scale and relate to the surrounding fabric, and ultimately linking them together through a series of interior social spaces that take advantage of the buildings’ site at the western edge of the main quad. At the scale of the site, the evolution of building form for the Bonney Science Center at Bates College, from programmatic massing to the ultimate geometry, is evident through a progression of direct responses to specific site conditions. At the scale of the building, massing diagrams for the Thomas Jefferson University Biomedical Research Building utilized a linear progression to simplify the complexity of the multi-faceted form.
We also rely on the diagram to clarify design moves. Cape Cod Community College for example is comprised of a series of smaller architectural operations. The assembly diagram clarifies each part. For the Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society at Boston College, the diagram is used to identify the link between seemingly disparate elements of a collegiate gothic façade and cutting-edge high performance interior program.
As a firm driven by the performance of our designs, we also use the diagram as a method of studying data to inform decisions. This can be at the level of the master plan, in the case of a project at Columbia University. And at a more focused level, through the critical lens of building science, as in the case of a diagram for the National Coast Guard Museum to evaluate performance and develop the design of an unconditioned but transiently occupied space to ensure user comfort.
We begin with the parti, but acknowledge that the parti undergoes refinement and transformation. Even if the core concept remains intact, the manifestation of that concept tends to be quite different in the end.