Context Informs Form

Context Informs Form is a site based design studio exploring the relationship between modern landscape design and significant works of architecture. Students will be redesigning the Alvar Aalto Baker House site and adjacent connective landscapes. The work will be inspired and informed by the site research and the qualities of Aalto\’s building. Refinements to the designs will be based upon frequent site visits, critiques, and other contextual research.Analysis and Conceptual Design: The studio begins with a research phase, including site and project histories and a thorough evaluation of the relationship of site and context; Massachusetts Avenue, the Charles River waterfront and the larger City to the south and Steven Holl\’s Simmons Hall and Aero Saarinen\’s Chapel to the north. Students will develop a conceptual master plan focusing on a dynamic and active circulation system linking the three existing architectural sites. This phase also includes conceptual framework diagrams for the Aalto site and entire block which are to be developed in the second phase.Schematic Design: The second phase of the studio focuses on continued development of the Baker House. Frequent trips will be made to the site to perform on-site reviews and evaluate the site design\’s relationship to the architecture and surrounding context. Physical and three-dimensional models, plans, and sections will be used to develop modern landscape designs that compliment, reverberate, and showcase the existing architecture.Innovative Detailing and Final Design: The third phase of the studio will focus on developing appropriate site details to further the design. Each design project will include the development of a suite of site elements, including site furnishings and lighting.