lighthouse for the dutchman by urban playground
lighthouse for the dutchman by urban playground lighthouse for the dutchman by urban playground
sep 28, 2012

lighthouse for the dutchman by urban playground

‘lighthouse for the dutchman’ by urban playground, phoenix, arizona visualization by christoph kaiser

‘lighthouse for the dutchman’ by arizona-based architecture firm urban playground is a chapel at the entry of the lost dutchman state park, located in phoenix, arizona. through a rearrangement of an embryological, mathematical reference known as ‘shrek’s surface’, spatial varieties are derived as a way to alter the combined experiences of both the spiritual and natural environment in the arizona desert. the prototypical, curved surface is morphed and manipulated, creating contextual and functional relationships that are then translated into a series of parameters for the building’s morphology.

the beautiful and special landscape of south-central arizona, offers a unique planting palette inconsistent with most deserts around the world. towering saguaros, groves of man-sized chollas and prickly-pear cactus, dot the landscape amidst a rocky terrain. located at the base of the superstition mountains— whose name derives from an old tale of a lost prospector whose gold treasure, as well as himself, have never been found— offers spectacular views of the massive mountain and valley floor below. the remoteness of the landscape offers a secluded environment perfect for contemplation and self-reflection.

chapel view

the double-layered chapel space is surrounded by a continuous hallway at the perimeter which expands inward at each corner. a concavity in the middle area of each side, accommodates separate programmatic functions. based on the distance from the entrance, this constant passage offers varying degrees of privacy. it creates a cognitive programmatic separation without the use of physical barriers. different from the universal spatial density of the hallway, the chapel space has a defined hierarchy over the altar. looking toward the mountain peak, the altar clerestory contains a transparent window differing from the translucent channel glass used in the other volumes.

visitors then communicate with natural changes in the landscape through this window. the glazing above the chapel dome supported by a gridiron steel frame, has a series of operable roof hatches for natural ventilation and passive cooling. wind passing in-between the raised clerestory volumes, increases wind velocity eliciting the venturi effect. instead of a randomly defined edge on the exterior, the morphed structure is given a strict spatial limitation through the use of a simple boundary. in specifying the functional elements—walls for the chapel, raised clerestories, roof over the hallway, where the structural homogeneity of the exterior boundary regulates the entire spatial variation. 

meeting hall

the structure has an orthogonal sense of both horizontality and verticality in its morphing operations, and experimented with how they coordinated the spatial complexity in strict and constant rules. as a result, the overall structure is acknowledged as an ‘inserted’ entity into a box form, contrasting with typical and regional design custom. this is clearly a counter experiment from the precedential orthodox and local practice found in arizona. this proposal brings some objections against collective imagery regarding regional aspects. common building type here as being composed of a fragmented assemblage with an identically segmented materiality. it distances itself from the widespread architectural design methods such as mixing standardized products for custom detail developments, and the study of planar and/or sectional proportions for juxtaposed materials.

pastor’s desk

exterior view

model 3d printing model sponsored by J.W.P design

model of interior

roof view

site plan


plan and section

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here

  • lovely, despite the rhetoric (\”the prototypical, curved surface is morphed and manipulated, creating contextual and functional relationships that are then translated into a
    series of parameters for the building’s morphology\”)

    dbkii says:
  • Vast curving glass sans bries-sole. Summer sun blast-roasting hapless park goers to a crisp in the cleverly morphed contextual precedential non-orthodoxy. Lovely.

    mArkW says:
  • Boy, you’ve both nailed it!
    The rhetoric and the roasting to a crisp. But, lovely.

    rcvs1 says:

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