A Conversation Between Dance and Architecture
This thesis uses dance as a tool to investigate the alleys of Pioneer Square in Seattle, Washington.  This path brings about an architecture that explores a shift of perspective in the attitude of homelessness, shelter and art.
The Billboard Hotel
All the land vacated by the Alaskan Way Viaduct is meant for public space.  Realizing the difficulties of the following site I chose the position of leasing the site to create a high-end hotel that would take advantage of the views. This in turn will help finance the other programs and public spaces of the master plan including a primary school and theater.  There is a lobby, gallery, restaurant and bar on or near the ground level that is all open to the public.  By raising the rooms up above the level of the adjacent building a space for an outdoor garden has been created that acts as a wonderful public plaza.  The rooms themselves are kept as translucent as possible creating a sense of voyeurism that is carried through out the hotel culminating in a glass sided pool on the rooftop deck that looks out onto Western Avenue,  Puget Sound and the Olympic Peninsula.
The Grove School
Two elements of contemporary Afghan culture have been especially formative in the design of the Janet Ketcham Girls School. Notions of privacy embodied in traditional Afghan Qalas served as a point of departure for the site plan of the school, while the addition of a poplar grove to the school grounds addresses deforestation and the lack of green spaces that characterizes Afghanistan, and Mazar-i Sharif in particular. Four bars of classrooms, oriented to receive the southern sun, create a sequence of programmed outdoor spaces on the site, and also provide multiple views to the poplar grove. The use of poplars is also continued in the building, as a structural element in the classrooms. In this way, a traditional material becomes an important element in the school building, and the surrounding landscape. A north/south orientation is important for controlling light and solar gain, with the use of large overhangs to block the summer sun while allowing it into the classrooms in winter. Placement of windows to light the chalkboard, while providing comfortable daylighting has also been a focus of our design work. An insulated and sloped roof resolves issues of snow, and retains heat when needed. The hope is to create a delightful space that the girls can be comfortably educated in while establishing a sense of permanence and ownership.  This project was completed in partnership with Sarah Eddy.
The Treehouse
The Treehouse is an institution designed to enhance the lives of the blind and visually impaired. This center invites those with limited vision to explore the space through touch, smell, sound and movement. The largest spaces have been designated to the movement studio and the conservatory. What makes the Treehouse unique is its approach to the conservatory which creates a tactile environment for its users. This sancutuary acts as a retreat allowing one to escape the city and feel the sensations of a greenhouse . You are invited to smell the moisture in the air, feel the humidity on your skin and listen to the water as it moves through the plants. The ground floor is made up of loose gravel allowing for one to hear the comings and goings of others as they pass by.

© 2014 designed by Benjamin Maestas III