Wednesday, February 13

Second Study Model

After my initial idea, I began to try to incorporate the movement from the apartments into my design. I tried to create an atmosphere that cut through my building, creating a sort of breeze way for the tenants to encompass the storytelling atmosphere as they left or returned to their abode.

I also began to think about materials, but not in depth. I started to think of why, windows would be windows, and the floors would be floors. I also tried to break up the solid ribbon, with keeping the visual aspect by incorporating the windows.

Then, I had a desk crit and some things changed.

After speaking with Instructor Clive Knights, we began to discuss the option of introducing a second "ribbon" to play with the initial ribbon gesture. The introduction of a second ribbon would allow for a more structured central circulation space that would help create a dynamic feeling that would run "cross-grained" with the current flow of the ribbon.

We also talked about opening up the lower basement floor, and creating an entry from Broadway that would help create this public dynamic. Opening up the west side of the structure would also allow for an exposure to the natural lighting. My next study model will show these aspects.

First Study Model

With an idea of what a narratorium should be (in my eyes) I attempted to construct a design. My initial thought would be that of a "ribbon" construction. The ribbon idea came from storytelling. Throughout a story, the text, concept, and ideas need to flow smoothly in order to fully understand and experience the journey. The ribbon represents the flow of the story, while the floors/ceilings that the ribbon creates represent the layers of the story or book. In between these layers is the content, where ideas, intuition and stories are created. With this thought process I began to construct a study model.

Narratorium Site

After talking about a Narratorium and what we thought it was, we began to start our design process. We were informed that our site was located at SW Broadway & W Madison Street in downtown Portland Oregon. The idea would be to somehow incorporate the existing Apartment building located to the east of our site, as well as the existing shop to the south. This would be our home, our life for the next 5 weeks.

Below, I highlighted our site in Red for reference.

Miscellaneous Pictures of our site as it sits today.

Narratorium Proposal


A Narratorium would be a structure with a series of spaces that invoke or promote the act of story telling. Whether it be that of a fable, poem, fiction, daily experiences, personal references or any other form of telling a story. These spaces should invoke human interaction and encourage the act of telling stories.

The act of story telling is one of the main, if not the main process of transferring information, whether it be true or false from one generation to another. Everyday human beings take it upon themselves to interact with each other by expression of stories. Having a place that allows people from all ethnicities, gender, and social groups to emerge into the art of story telling would help the community develop physically as well as mentally.

Structure Makeup

The ideal makeup of a “Narratorium” structure would be something that is both appealing to encounter, as well as easy to navigate and take full advantage of. A structure that allows for use of every aspect of the spaces as well as merging outdoor public space with the interior more private spaces.

This type of structure would incorporate many different types of spaces. Lecture halls, or large gathering areas, private “conference” type rooms, large open galleries, large open hallways, a restaurant, an internet café, as well as large outdoor public areas.

The Lecture halls would be setup similar to that of an amphitheatre. These halls will be used for guest speakers, or public figures that would like to come in and share their stories. These halls would be available for public use courtesy of a sign up program which reserves a slot of time that has been requested. These halls could also be used by corporations, educational facilities or even government officials to hold lectures, debates, presentations or whatever else they may need. The lecture areas would be setup with technology such as projectors, screens, etc. to fulfill any request needed by the users.

The private conference areas would also be setup for both public and private use using a sign up program. These areas could be used as a meeting place for social groups, activist groups, environmental groups, student study groups, or anyone else that may need a private space. These spaces would also be setup with wi-fi access and a projector to help with the user’s needs.

Gallery spaces would be laid out for an overwhelming yet comforting atmosphere. These spaces would be available to anyone and everyone and would serve as sort of a community square. A place that allows anyone to speak of what they know, or what they don’t. A place where people gather to talk about the day’s events, or the weeks upcoming events. The galleries would provide an atmosphere that is strictly public and would provide users with different media to portray their narratives. Computer stations would be located within these galleries to provide the public with limited internet access to help promote story telling. The main features would include email, chat, word processing, etc. but would also allow for roam of many well known narrative sources. The galleries would also be furnished with tables and chairs to provide a setting for people to stay and interact with each other for awhile. Certain smaller galleries would be available for private uses. Educational gatherings, design pinups, community project proposals, etc would be expected to use these spaces on a regular basis.

All of the hallways within the Narratorium would be large enough to hold a massive amount of visitors. The hallways would also be furnished with tables and chairs to promote an atmosphere that intrigues you to stay and interact with the surrounding community. Even though the hallways may act as another gallery space, they offer a more private feel for someone looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the large galleries.

The inclusion of a restaurant will give the Narratorium community a sense of existence. The restaurant will be a place for people to relax from the everyday rush, grab a bite to eat and share their experiences. The restaurant would incorporate an indoor ambiance, while spilling out into the outdoor public environment. This movement will draw people passing by in and allow for them to partake in the story telling fiasco.

Incorporating an internet café will also provide an atmosphere relating to the gallery as well and the conference spaces. These medium-sized rooms will include 20-30 hardwired computers with complete internet access. Ten additional wi-fi stations will be available for visitors with their own laptop computers. This café will provide another source of storytelling through the act of typing, chat rooms, blogs, etc.

Lastly, the outdoor public space will provide a community environment directed and reaching out into the public. This space will provide a public square atmosphere, almost like that of Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland. A place to publicly share your beliefs and strive up a conversation, or debate that will involve all kinds of interaction.

Space Change

Most of the spaces within the Narratorium would maintain the same throughout the years with the exception of a few. The gallery space, as stated above, can be transformed into private “crit” areas for educational or governmental uses. The exterior space would obviously change with the seasons. Summer, Spring and Fall being the most active while winter would be the quiet months. All of the public spaces would change according to the individuals that interact with them. The number of people, type of story telling, etc will be the determining factor of the public space change.


A Narratorium is meant for complete involvement with each of its inhabitants. The success and fall of this structure is all dependant upon how well the structure is used, how often it’s used, and what purposes it is used for. The story of a Narratorium will be completely told by its visitors.