These are some of the architecture, (landscape) and urban design projects Ioana worked on as a graduate architecture student at M.I.T.
Housing and Community Development, Oshio, Japan
The project proposes sustainable ways of extending the city fabric over the former salt-marshes by floating E-W streets over a variety of open fields. This is contextual to the growth pattern of the old town (E-W streets), to the Japanese cultural idea of linear public space along the street continuum (not the square, as in Europe), and it relates to the proportions of common agricultural green found in Japanese villages.
The buildings - covered in green growth - are oriented in the direction of the cooling summer winds. The neighborhood is knit by neighbors sharing either entrances or communal baths, which float out in the open green. The streets curve, heightening perspective interest, and the “houses” - hard and heavy on the urban side - disintegrate into the landscape, with modular, open-ended construction possibilities. Individual gardens act as mergers between building and large field.
Cemetery Across the Tijuana-San Diego Border
Placing a cemetery across the U.S.-Mexico border arose out of a desire to: create a spiritual link between people on different sides of the border; accentuate the artificiality of the borderline between Mexico and the U.S. (that ignores geography & environment); accommodate Tijuana’s desperate need for open “green/free” space.
The central cemetery complex “free” zone - a symbolic erasure of the natural ground contained by burial walls and planted with crosses - stretches across the border. The central chapel complex grows off of these burial walls and consists of a meeting and a burial chapel. People coming from opposite sides of border first meet in a light wood chapel which faces a garden, east, and a view out through the complex wall. From there, mourners proceed into the large burial chapel which, weighed down by a large concrete roof and concrete walls, forces heads to bow down and focus on the exposed Mexican dirt floor, on which the body is symbolically placed. This chapel faces Mexico, South.
Mercedes Benz Museum & Restoration Center, South Boston
The organization and location of the museum respond to a need for urban regeneration: to reactivate the former working docks and add life to this empty part of town. Thus, the museum head - the Imax theater - sits in a much needed, new, green park, while the rest of the museum rises up off the ground to allow the restoration shop underneath to connect to the docks where ships will disembark cars. A glass floor area in the museum allows visitors to also view the restoration work going on below. The scale and proportions of the museum, and the new urban plan, relate to the existing man-made context: big, undecorated, and simple.
The museum exhibit places car systems and material components in a matrix against time, to allow visitors to understand the care and complexity that goes into the design and manufacturing of cars.
In terms of sustainability, the southern facade is a “double skin” facade which catches the sun’s warmth and distributes it through spaces around the columns They are there to make the “sea of cars” appear light and floating. In the summer, the facade opens up to the cooling breeze. The north wall, by contrast, is a barrier blocking the cold winter winds.
Chapel Along the Erie Canal, Upstate NY
The design of the chapel is born out of a response to the site. While upholding a stoic, protective facade on the exposed canal side, the chapel’s programs and scale break down intimately toward the forest.
The space of the chapel is defined as an empty volume - nothingness - surrounded by a wall which slowly unravels around it. This describes the experience of entering a sacred zone. The wall starts as a heavy mass, housing the clergy quarters within the earth. As it turns, it loses its materiality: getting lifted, cut, bent, and finally removed, to allow the chapel to open its ‘soft’ inside to the soft protection of the forest.
City Development area: 600,000 sq m / 150 acres. Individual Housing Cluster: 550 sq m x 7 m tall
Cemetery: 90 acres. Main Burial Complex: 7 acres. Main Chapel Complex: 30,000 sq ft x 40 ft tall
Mercedes Benz Museum
Museum + Restoration Workshop: 150,000 sq ft. + Imax
10,000 sq ft x 75 ft tall. Land is 20,000 sq ft. Large Cube is 60’ x 60’ x 60’