environment design

Nomadic Environments


Montage: parking structure, repurposed for habitation
Montage: penthouse accomodations

The twentieth century saw the commoditization of housing, normalized to what was then the typical living situation: the nuclear family. In the first two decades of the twenty-first century, family types proliferated and migration patterns globalized. Today, as a result, developer-built commoditized housing fails to meet the needs of a diverse and increasingly nomadic population.

The demand for inexpensive, clean, and safe temporary-to-permanent housing has largely gone unmet. While there are a plethora of reasons, the fundamental issues revolve around a reductionist conception of domus combined with colonial notions of land rights.

Section and Isometric rendering

In this project, I explored novel approaches to solving the problem of nomadic housing for personas ranging from economic refugees to young single professionals, college students to full-time tourists. Perhaps the most successful of these designs is for a modular tensile structure, based on Buckminster Fuller's tensegrity system for enclosing a volume with the lowest mass of construction materials.

Interior rendering: sleeping module
Motion graphic study of a grazing eco-tourist suite

My investigation of novel building types was facilitated by working back and forth between diverse media, including 3D models, scale models, pencil sketches, and animations. Anthropological studies of various nomadic populations also stimulated exploration and reduced personal bias in evaluating alternatives.

Proposed field housing for a wildlife researcher

Environments for Learning

Bartos Architecture

I am a California Licensed Architect who practiced for several years designing public school facilities in the San Francisco Bay Area. A large part of this time was spent updating a Career-Technical Education Facility in San Jose, which trained secondary-school students in a wide range of curricula including Web Design, Solar Panel Installation, Hybrid Vehicle Repair, Forensic Science, Video Production, and Culinary Arts.

Instructional laboratory for Criminal Forensics curriculum

The facility consisted of seven 25,000sf buildings constructed in the 1970s. Although the brutalist concrete structure of the building was still sound, the instructional spaces no longer served the needs of modern career-technical education, which trains students for careers that didn't even exist 40 years ago. Any modifications would also trigger code compliance for Accessibility, Seismic, and Fire/Life Safety.

Interior egress corridor, required for compliance with Fire/Life Safety Code
Computer lab for CNC fabrication class; CNC mills in background

The large open spaces available once the existing buildings were gutted provided a clean slate upon which to design the new instruction areas. For each curriculum, we consulted with the instructors, many of whom are also practitioners in their respective fields, to verify that the facilities we provided were typical of the work environments that the students would find themselves in after graduation. This user research phase of the design process was essential to the program's ultimate success. At the same time, the regularity and repetition of the existing structure allowed us to systematize design details, which made both design and construction more efficient, and allowed a higher portion of the budget to be devoted to providing unique educational opportunities to the students.