Design Level Six, University of Central Florida

Instructor(s); Kourtney Baldwin

Alexandria, Virginia - Founder’s Park located along the Potomac River, is a neighborhood park in a mixed-use area. Abutting it's green to the west are historic neighborhoods, while to the north, a variety of warehouses exist. This collection of work dissects the anatomy of park by disrupting a public garden through a building placed (east, west) in the center of Founder's Park, scrutinizing a new blend of park and structure. The facility, a center for animal endangerment issues and research delivers to the community a permeable public barrier between industry and residency, marking this transition along the Potomac.

While developing this facility, understanding the dual purposes and connections that needed unification between residents and researchers, the porous nature of the building yielded to the prospect of educating the community through opposite user occupations interfacing in lesson/teacher environments. Investigating animal degradation and decline, humans throughout the world, inherently commodify species in many situations for the production of goods, entertainment and testing. As a result, they disintegrate what was once viewed as a harvest-able  "commodity". Challenging this practice through an architecture that was aware of this degradation but promised hopeful solution, forged a tiered edifice forming lowly at the street  gaining momentous height towards the Potomac. As a user ascends the internal paths of the building, the outer shell sheds, revealing more and more light towards its top floor atrium.

Using this building as a permeable barrier between neighborhoods, spaces of viewable research, in the forms of a laboratory and greenhouse interplay with visitors through the cross-pollination of research methods in communal spaces. A restaurant, elevated park at mid-level, a below grade track and exhibition programming allow residents to interface with the work of researchers at the center. This new boundary adds a specificity to the park, while positioning itself as a pivotal identity for the area.

The sloped, angular form of the project serves as a liaison from the smaller scale of the neighborhood to the grander of the waterfront. In maintaining the functional necessities of  public and private interaction, access for employees is direct from the street while, public access pierces centrally through the center atrium.

Disintegrating Commodity

Disintegrating Commodity

looking west

park entry

site; Alexandria, VA

Model looking east

Below Grade

1. Entry

2. Maintenance

3. Electrical

4. Storage


5. Entry

6. Restaurant

7. Kitchen

8. Office Entry

9. Lab One

Level One

11. Lab Two

12. Open Park

13. Lab Office

Level Two

14. Greenhouse

15. Storage

Collage Alexandria

Early Sketches

Early Sketches

Below Grade

Upper Volumes

Alternating Interiors

Alignment to Street

Conceptual Sketches

Section looking north

Section looking west

Section looking west

Restaurant Level

Restaurant Level

Park Level

Model looking west

Model looking south

Detail Above

Detail Above

Detail Above


Park Level