This viewfinder realizes its genesis from a coalescence of specificity to site, technology of fabrication, sustainability of material, and ultimately engagement of the viewer as an aid to an understanding of this city.
Mapping the views of the site is primary to the determination of each specific viewfinder. This is initiated with a site survey, documented through panoramic photography, and then digitally mapped in virtual space. The consequent voids respond to both the view and the various heights of the viewer. This process is translatable, and, based on final site assignment, will yield a different configuration specific to that place.
The form of the project is derived from the relationship of streets (corridors) to structures (monuments) thus initiating the rotation of the solid as it rises skyward. Because we operate at the crease where plains meet mountains, our most salient geologic feature is the upward thrust of the mountains toward the sky. This viewfinder, when understood in this context, makes a sympathetic gesture toward the sky and marks a local place in a deferential nod to the specificity of the front range condition.
The viewfinder, as a static object inducing dynamic experience, suffers in its natural state from being largely usable only during daylight hours. To that end, we have proposed the installation of a photovoltaic panel that would charge a battery concealed in the structure, to power L.E.D. interior lighting, and thus turn the piece into a beacon during the evening hours.
Cross laminated timber (CLT) has been chosen for the material of the project for several reasons. Wood is of course one of the most sustainable resources available. CLTs are a relatively new technology in the United States and hold great promise as a replacement for concrete and steel structural systems in mid-rise buildings. This small project has disproportionate power to expose this technology to the general public in an innovative and engaging way. Wood is also a sensual material, carrying in it a silent request to be worked, touched, and admired. The edges of the form and the soft transition at each void invite the viewer to come closer, look, and feel.
The viewfinder will be protected at the top with an integrated metal cap to protect the endgrain of the wood from the elements. The CLT will be treated with a UV protective stain and then a water and graffiti protective clearcoat. All interior voids will slope to facilitate debris naturally falling through the voids and out the lower end, and are also sized to allow maintenance staff to reach into them to clean them if necessary. Should the viewfinder be subject to graffiti that cannot be cleaned off of the clearcoat, it can simply be sanded and re-sealed.
Competition Winner for AIA National Convention
Six month installation in downtown Denver