Ann Arbor, MI | 2016-2017
A 2,400 sf retail renovation into a downtown bar in Ann Arbor, MI.
Contractor: R.W. Mercer
Ann Arbor, MI | 2016-17
The next major expansion for Duo Security - Ann Arbor. The company will be utilizing 30,000 sf of space in the historic Allmendinger Building in downtown Ann Arbor, MI. Originally an organ and piano factory built between 1890 and 1910. The heavy timber construction and existing brick will be re-exposed for the new offices of Duo Security.
General Contractor: O'Neal Construction
Jackson, MI | 2015
Design of a 2,800 sf restaurant expansion in Jackson, MI. The corian counter folds to bench seating as a continuous band connecting the entry to dining. Likewise, the whitewashed pine wall slips past the dining room to the kitchen entrance. Both moments work to connect spaces through the effort of the white band. The pine wall wrap is bound in contrast by dark tile flooring and an acoustically treated ceiling. The sushi kitchen and bar are carved out of the white band, framing the active kitchen as a dining experience.
2016 AIA Michigan Award of Honor - Small Projects Category
Ann Arbor, MI | 2015
Interior renovation of a 1200 sf historic downtown retail space into a naturally open lit dining space and kitchen for a small plate and cheese bar. Removing drop ceilings and drywall to expose 10 foot ceilings and brick walls brought back the original character of this historic Downtown Ann Arbor building. A palette of white materials in tile, paint, and marble are contrasted with warm walnut surfaces and copper finishes. Synecdoche's custom fabricated tables and shelves made an efficient use of Spencer's small restaurant space to comfortably seat patrons along the storefront windows and at a set of shared dining tables.
General Contractor: Apcor Construction
Collaborators: ABD Architects as Architect of Record
Photographer: Cat Carty Buswell & Synecdoche Design Studio
Status: Completed - Design & Make
Area: 1,200 sf
Ann Arbor, MI | 2016
Interior office design and custom finishes fabrication designed in collaboration with Rapt Studio. Located within the historic First National Building in downtown Ann Arbor, Mi. An exterior perimeter of private offices with glass fronts enclose a common area with custom kitchenette island and meeting table. The island functions as a display entrance as visitors enter the space off the elevator as well as the functional equipment and storage needs of a kitchen. Blackened metal steel panels, bent steel tubing and solid hickory make up the 17’ long island surround.
The sliding doors of the private office and meeting rooms are given custom handles. The asymmetrical loop is a 3d printed high tensile plastic, electroplated in copper. This fabrication process was tested as a means to explore full scale 3d printed fabrication and industrial plating techniques to create durable and striking detailed pieces for the space.
The project is fully integrated between architectural and finish detail designed and fabrication.
Ann Arbor, MI
A midcentury modern single family home remodel.
Ann Arbor, MI | 2016
The latest tech office expansion into 2,300 sf of additional space of Duo's current building, the project worked to remedy lessons learned from the culture and space use by the start-up. As a growing start-up with a dynamic group of departments and expansion to global offices, acoustics and spatial divisions in an open office became key components to develop. The open plan exposes the operational features of visual division, acoustic dampening and variable lighting through tectonic and construction details as final design features.
The company's identity is reinforced by accenting the structure with green. A variation of the green is introduced through a series of moss panels. The moss panels and ash wood millwork brings natural elements into the space infusing living elements into a space of network cables and circuit boards.
The meeting rooms limit sound transference through the sawtooth configuration to mitigate construction seams between rooms. The metal stud walls are infilled with acoustic cellulose. The cellulose is clad in expanded metal mesh, exposing it to reduce echo and increase sound absorption.
Felt walls define the meeting and lounge spaces without visually restricting the open office plan. The felt visually and acoustically provides a soft screen between the open office to phone rooms and meeting spaces to common areas. The twist maximizes material exposure to provide additional acoustic dampening to the space.
Ann Arbor, Michigan | 2015
Interior design of 5,200 sf tech office in downtown Ann Arbor. Designed to keep an open office and multiple types of work zones. Desks, high counters, lounges, and a series of conference rooms with varying privacy levels, allow for a flexible work environment. Synecdoche custom fabricated acoustic ceiling baffles, conference tables, kitchen tables/benches, and coat racks.
Additional Credits: J.S. Vig Construction, Yojairo Lomeli, Joseph Donelko, Brian Barber, Karl Heckman, Ted Bazydlo
Ann Arbor, MI | 2017
Interior renovation of a 2,200 sf space to host a farm to table taqueria restaurant by day, and a cantina bar at night. The existing restaurant space required an complete space planning and branding reboot for the new menu launch. Natural materials highlighted the authentic tone of the space and kitchen ingredients. A large rope wall separates the dining area from the DJ and dance floor, helping to divide and consolidate the spaces for their needs through the change from day to night. Bright calico blue highlights the features and anchors a consistent tone through the finishes. Synecdoche hand painted the murals "Cantina" and "Salsa" to help wayfinding between the zones while drawing on the other murals of the space.
Photographer: Synecdoche Design Studio
Status: Completed - Design & Make
Area: 1,200 sf
Client: Cantina Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor, MI | 2016
The 1,600 sf retail space is the second location for Zoey + Joey, the fresh and modern children's hair studio and boutique. A center perforated wall lightly divides the space into two zones for salon stations.
San Mateo, CA | 2016
The 7,400 SF west coast office of Duo Security for the growing sales team. Updated finishes and layout for additional phone rooms to virtually connect with the company headquarters in Ann Arbor, MI and clients worldwide.
Ann Arbor, Michigan | 2016
The pub pavilion is an immersive experience in collaboration with local watering hole, The Alley Bar. The interior of the pavilion smooths out the geometric condition of the exterior by molding forms of foam into a lofted undulating surface. An aggregate of a simple affordable object works best to create an impact with a interesting visual field. The brick and mortar location serves classic drinks, cocktails and beer. One staple drink is a refreshing can of Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR). An inserted array of blue marking flags abstractly ties together Pabst Blue "Ribbon" with a room of blue ribbon flags. The 360 degree surface treatment provides an intense dash of color for the art festival.
Ann Arbor, MI | 2013
Designed as a second iteration of the culinary adventures of The Lunch Room, the space borrowed design motives from the operations of the start-up food cart. The long continuous counter has variations in detailing for the bakery, point-of-sale and counter service. The open kitchen allows interaction throughout the meal, critical for the charismatic owners to always be engaging with their customers.
Synecdoche designed and fabricated all the custom features of the space. The soffits within the space help define separate zones of dining and service within the cozy space. The typical bamboo skewers are dipped in paint and as aggregate of small details lose their individual appearance and becomes one large installation. Custom cut cement board gives definition and durability to the walls, hinting at the restaurant’s signature yellow color within the reveal joint. A large banquet buffers sound and provides flexible seating with moving tables custom welded with the same detailing as the counter.
Ann Arbor, MI | 2016
The POP-X pavilion is made up of one wall communicating two different situations. The first plays host to an aggregate of water balloons, an icon of summertime fun and a momentarily expendable resource are a jovial depiction of fortunate stability and care-free living. In contrast, comprised of almost identical quantities and materials hosts an aggregate of emergency water rations. These bags of water are life sustaining, and are how many have to relate to water in their day-to-day lives. A back-drop to the public activities of the plaza, the juxtaposition of vessels will offer up a moment of reflection, contemplation, and the possible spark of discourse amongst guests.
As an installation, the colorful wall injects shade, visual screening, and a playful collection of objects into Liberty Plaza. The aggregate quality of materials will also allow for possible surprising transformations throughout the week. Will some objects disappear to quench someone’s thirst, or possibly for a spontaneous balloon fight in a public space?
The socio-economic reality of Michigan in the previous decades has frequently manifested in crisis revolving around water. While the media coverage of these emergencies makes them apparent to us all, the discrete hazardous conditions which impact certain people’s daily lives are all but ubiquitous. More often than not, communities that are already economically distressed are getting the short end of the stick. Conditions that plague the so-called “third world” are being experienced right here in Michigan.
Recently, the water crisis in Flint, MI has led us as a state to face the challenges associated with disparities in water quality and access. Corrosive water from the Flint River was pumped through the city’s water lines causing lead and other toxins to be swept into the drinking supply. Residents were/are being required to filter their drinking water extensively and many were relegated to using bottled or pre-packaged emergency rations for a source of potable water.
San Francisco, CA | 2016
Trade show booth designed to showcase Duo Security's two factor authentication software. The booth is set up as large demonstration tables where users can interact with the system in custom stands that hold an iPad and iPhone together in specific orientation. The large steel and ash wood tables, iPad stands, and Duo hanging letters were fabricated by Synecdoche.
Atlanta, Georgia | 2011
10Up Competition: Winner
As a practice of the temporality Edge Condition challenges the material, assembly, process and effect of public space. The act of the installation presents architecture at a different physical and temporal scale. A short existence of the experience replaces the density of architecture as a permanent object with the ephemeral sensitivity of a condition in time. The installation has become a means of participation by public and practice to work through ideas in iteration. Installations by nature has a plasticity, one which can transition and adapt. At the scale of occupation while nimble and tactile, it also allows the examination of questions in architecture through the process of making the conceptual.
Interrogating material as a device for design, wood edges were discovered as a standardized element which could aggregate to a series of constructions. While variable in length and width the wood edges are consistently one inch thick from the milling process. As the lumber mill planes and trims wood boards for inventory, the wood edges as off cuts become a residual material in the process. Edge Condition finds a way to extract the balance from the process to utilize its capacity in the practice of an installation. The conclusion of the installation also means the conclusion of the wood edges life, but rather than being disposed they are re-inserted to the milling process to be churned to wood chips as a new condition and anticipated capacity for the material. By operating on the edge of definitive material, neither board nor wood chip, the wood edge becomes the temporal object between two phases.
In the same light the pavilion offers the capacity to be an edge condition of construction. The methodical mode of stacking and maneuvering the edges is in itself on the edge of a mode of assembly. The flat stacking method gives way to opportunities for expansion and contraction of the volume between the material. The variable of stacking techniques allow for light to move into the pavilion only through the spaces between the edges transforming the edge condition into an ephemeral effect. The friction fit stack enables a rapid assembly/dis-assembly mode as a condition of the installation.
While in its first life, Edge Condition existed for a 8 day period, the expectation is that the texturized assemblage would transform over time as its exposure continued. In the short term of the installation the wood edges found themselves faded where exposed to sunlight and protected where two edges overlapped. In initial tests of the slatted surface through the seasons, finite particles move uninterrupted through the space while larger accumulations of snow and leaves began to seal and block the atmosphere of light and wind into the interior condition. Searching for the unexpected and anticipating surprising new conditions is the earnestness of installations, it provides what it is and to interrogate its result rather than its expectation is the value of continuing to work on the edge.
Sponsors: wood edges donated by Hardwoods of Michigan in Clinton, Michigan. Young Architects Forum of Atlanta, Octane Coffee Bar, AIA Atlanta, Modern Atlanta
Ann Arbor crew: Christopher Holzwart, Mary O’Malley, Sarah Petri, Kyle Shobe, Peter von Buelow, Robert Yuen
Atlanta crew: Emily Bacher, Keith Brockman, Jason Diehl, Adam Glenn, Nathan Koskovich, Carolina Montilla
Detroit, Michigan | 2009
Inc.com World's Coolest Offices 2009
An office situated inside a house built in 1907 on Detroit’s east side for a group that specializes in graphic design and marketing. The office identity needs to reflect that of a young and contemporary marketing group.
Light and material are the largest factors in the design. The installation creates an interior wrap within the existing room that screens light and and defines function. The perforated panels screen the existing fluorescent lights diffusing the harsh light to a subtle glow. Window panels allow control of natural light and shelving wraps the room for extra storage and display.
The office space requires accommodation for up to four people. On frequent occasion the office is utilized by only two people. To maximize flexibility and flow the workstations become dynamic. Extra desks nestle below the primary desks to maximize space. When all four people are at work, the desks roll apart to reveal more work space underneath.
Ann Arbor, MI | 2014
Collaboration with Robert Adams - Adams+Gilpin Design Studio and Peter Sparling.
PUPP [Pop-Up Projection Pavilion] is a collaborative project designed and fabricated for an internationally recognized choreographer, distinguished dance studies scholar, and former principal dancer in the Martha Graham Dance Company from 1973 to 1987, Prof. Peter Sparling. Architecture and dance have a long-standing relationship that co-locates the performing arts, embodied knowledge, and the ritualization of space that work as a highly tuned creative practice.
Robert Adams / Lead Designer
Peter Sparling / Screendance Artist
Lisa Sauve / Designer
Adam Smith / Designer
Tom Bray / Technology Consultant
Tristan Blackmore / Fabrication Assistant
Caitlin O'Connor / Fabrication Assistant
Secil Taskoparan / Fabrication Assistant
Ann Arbor, MI | 2012
Renovation of a 1950's ranch house in Ann Arbor. The main objective was to remove walls and partitions to bring light and air across the plan of the house. A bedroom was eliminated for additional common area surrounding the stair and chimney in the middle of the open plan.
Ann Arbor, MI | 2015
Renovate garage and entry, new facade materials and updates, addition of entry courtyard. The need to update the garage for structural and weathered finishes gave the opportunity to develop a courtyard through the extension of the canopy. This provides an enclosed place for private outdoor activities with a view from the kitchen for the owner to watch their family.
Canadian Lakes, Michigan
Interior renovation design of a vacation home into an open layout living space integrated with the landscape. The entry directs view through the open living space towards the lake front property to welcome visitors. A nested wall mounted fireplace bends out of the wall from the private corridor to the guest bedrooms. A duplicate version of the bent nested wall gives a place for sitting and storage at the entry. Windows on the east wall give year-round daylight with privacy from the tall switchgrass landscaped outside that frames a path between the house and garden bed.
Clarkston, MI | 2010
Built with found and re-used materials: aluminum offset printing plates, found 2x4s, found pallets, re-used osb board, and bamboo skewers.
Purpose: First level used for storage, second level used for the artist's studio.
In collaboration with:
Sitios_Donn Angel Perez
Quebec, Canada | 2014
Top 20 entry for the New Gardens of the 15th International Garden Festival in Quebec, Canada.
Controlled burn is a contemporary proposal of traditional fire treatment as a material construction and ecological process. A controlled burn would be conducted on the garden during the Inaugural event. The remainder of the festival would exhibit the natural development of regrowth from ashes, putting the process on display prior to the plantings.
A shou sugi ban cedar boardwalk acts as an induced edge effect, a structural boundary between two habitats. It provides a fire resistant material palette during the brush fire and seals the natural fibers preventing rot and insects during regrowth. The structural contour of the boardwalk meeting the ground plane provides a choke point to extinguish the fire. The dark luminous sheen of the wood is balanced aside the light filigree of plantings.
The walk separates an untouched exterior edge of grasses and an interior of ashes. As the interior regrows, the fragrance of charred cedar planks remains as a continuous path wrapping between the two plantings. A pocket in the garden provides a ledge to sit and pause along the boardwalk, feet sweeping just above the surface as to not disturb the growth, absorbing the immediate aromatic sensorial experience and slow renewal of plantings. As a result, the garden is a proposal of connecting built and ecosystems into productive rather than destructive natures.
Flint, MI | 2013
Flat Lot Competition: Top 20
Like the public pool, Big Top is a collector of individual summer adventures in public space. Conceived as a tensile double skin mesh woven from ¾” swimming pool rope the canopy provides a shaded flat lot and sprawling Big Top. Vertically scaffolds surrounding existing light fixtures and base footings at three parking space clusters define the mesh anchor points. Digital modeling and computational physics engines applied the tensile weaving forces on the mesh deriving the parabolic canopy. The inverted pitched canopies into these courtyard stages allow aerial access for lounging and camaraderie. The rope mesh extends the full North-South length of flat lot along Saginaw with aims to extend the width of the street.
For spectators of summer events the canopy gives a birds-eye view from above or a shaded retreat below. When the sun goes down and the summer nights start an array of activated buoys affixed to the rope float above the lot to define space through light and sound. Small solar panels on the buoys nodes provide power to light the stages during evening events and wirelessly project sound through the lot to large crowds. When the summer days end and the Big Top comes down what will happen to the nearly ten miles of rope? We’d like to keep the summer fun going and cut and cap the rope into 6,500 jump ropes for the Flint community.
It is estimated that as many as 80 percent of people in the world have never seen the Milky Way (1). Light pollution from ill designed fixtures, not only wastes economic resources, but reduces visibility of the night sky, thwarting access to culturally significant views of the cosmos. Simultaneously excessive darkness creates physical and psychological distress as we traverse the urban environment. The right to darkness and the right to light are jointly related.
Timothy Ferris, an award winning author on science and astronomy shares these concerns specifically towards the younger generation, "The loss of the night sky is most troubling for children. Whole generations of kids in cities and suburbs are growing up seldom if ever having seen the Milky Way and what a sky full of thousands of stars might look like. (2)" While efforts to preserve dark skies in the wilderness have gained momentum beginning with organizations like the International Dark Skies Association in 2001, access to these places by certain population segments is difficult if not impossible because of limited financial means and public transportation infrastructures. The project seeks to investigate design possibilities to create a balanced infrastructure and educational outreach between light and dark as a means to build safe and thriving environments and cultures.
Photographs and red light cards on exhibit at Cranbrook Art Museum: June 20, 2015 to August 30, 2015. Designing Summer: Objects of Escape
1) P. Cinzano, F. Falchi, and C.D. Elvidge. “The first World Atlas of the artificial night sky brightness” Monthly of the Royal Astronomical Society Vol. 328, 24 July, 2001. p. 701.
2) I. Cheney,“The City Dark” PBS Documentary 5 July 2012.
Visual Research | 2014
The series explores how juxtaposition in multiple spaces of a single place may produce new program, use or design typologies. The overlays introduce the previously unimagined out of existing conditions, shifting the documentation of a place into the representation of an imagined space.
Not consequently a wal-mart sits adjacent to the site which has collected the residual consumer goods of the suburban culture. For years the region has been building it’s own foundation for a tabula rasa, for a landscape project. In the course of ten years since remediation decomposition has altered the site. As our consumer desires grow stronger our landfills also grow larger. In the mid-west there are nearly seventy five landfills nearing capacity. While simple solutions for remediation have been developed, post cap and greening these sites lay dormant as they shift, decompose, and settle through time.
Lyon township acquired user rights to the republic waste remediated landscape. An understated and uninformed reaction by the community was to utilize the site for ubiquitous neighborhood programming; benches, baseball fields, playground structures, and picnic areas. While the programming on top of the cap remained static during the first ten years of acquisition, the waste below continued to dissolve and compact ever changing and moving, a dynamic landscape.
While engineering has imagined infrastructure able to anticipate the changing nature of the contained waste, little opportunity has emerged to image new landscapes of possible futures as eccentric, unproportional and dynamic as the waste below them. Coupling relevant issues of designing through dynamic landscapes and engaging the remediation process, unexpected narratives and scenarios emerge. Designing through projection rather than the present.
As the land slopes and shifts low points wander through the field of monitoring caps. Using the weight of water and the shedding topography of the landscape, the proposal concentrates water to pools which over time create a weight large enough to amplify focused pressure to the compacting garbage. In the end the landscape finishes as a large crater filled with water. The residual berms which retained the waste erode into the lake mixing to a fully remediated marshland.
The transforming terrain also leads to adjusting top soil. As the base decomposes, the water swales and the ground erodes. Building interventions atop such a charismatic territory is reduced down to the simple issue that rigid bodies do not like moving foundations. Instead the work imagines a series of follies; initially nestled within the ground bridging, connecting and grounded. As the earth adjusts to the happenings underneath it wears away from the structure slowly exposing more while reducing its footprint.
Spotted through the landscape are a series of regulation caps. These caps monitor the methane levels being released from the decomposing waste. Currently a $30,000 budget is allocated to the mowing of a landfill. Why? because these caps need to be visible at a distance for safety and maintenance purposes. A small area surrounding each monitoring cap is all that is required to be manicured, this can be done with the mowing capabilities of a small heard of sheep. Tethered to each cap, the sheep graze the lawn providing the necessary radius of short grasses while greatly reducing budgetary constraints and maintenance efforts.
The means of extending our projections to the extreme allows a reach to the ends of reason and find emergent and revealing scenarios which would not have been discovered in the passive attention of resolving issues one by one. To resolve the post-landfill is to propose a projective landscape.
with William Liow
Ann Arbor, MI | 2016
Top 3 entry (out of 54) for the Ann Arbor Art Center Stadium Boulevard Reconstruction Art Installation.
This proposal is a manifestation of a collaborative team, made up of artists, architects, designers, fabricators and builders, who seek to re-imagine the perspectival experience of materials across a seven hundred foot-long wall. The subject matter is the Ann Arbor landscape, which we have honed, abstracted, and re-represented through a scalar topography that evolves over time. Concrete and wood come together to create a visual narrative of a time and place.
The design of the installation is the result of carefully balancing context, fabrication processes, and aesthetics. The expansive wall operates at both an urban and human scale; it becomes a guide along a seven hundred foot-long journey. In order for the installation’s topography to be legible from the vantage point of a moving vehicle, the wall possesses substantial depth across its surface to generate an interplay of light and shadow, solid and void. Simultaneously, since the wall is situated adjacent to a sidewalk, it should be sensitive to the tactile scale of the human body traversing along a pathway. This every-so-slightly curving pathway is sandwiched between moving traffic and a wall that at its full height reaches well above the line of sight. Therefore, the installation is delicate in its respectfulness to accessibility, visibility, touch, and sound; yet, it is a compilation of robust, long-lasting, and easily maintained materials.
The recessed modules in the foundation wall become the framed canvas for the installation. Spanning the length of the retaining wall, the topographical abstraction takes form through a pixelated composition of a tessellation of fragments. The modular configuration allows the project to cover the wall in varying densities along it’s entire length. The design thus provides an efficiency of material use and consideration of logistical installation processes while also harnessing the expanse of the complete project site. From a distance the viewer can fill in the gaps between the components to complete the geometric image, while in proximity can appreciated the material sensibility in detail.