Aaron Kettl | Part 4 Locus For Execution
I am a multidisciplinary professional with experience in human centered design, user experience, design strategy and visual communication. My skills are in uncovering and translating customer insights into actionable principles to design around core need. I believe in prototyping as a fundamental tool throughout my design process.
design strategy, user experience, design thinking, design, prototype, prototyping, rapid prototyping, strategy, visual design, mobile design, usability, ios, experience design, MBA, MBA in Design Strategy, DMBA,
page-template,page-template-full_width,page-template-full_width-php,page,page-id-16688,page-child,parent-pageid-16569,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode-title-hidden,side_area_uncovered_from_content,qode_popup_menu_push_text_top,qode-theme-ver-9.4.1,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-4.12,vc_responsive
A place for the gathering of the social fabric should be an area of convergence. All lines and paths must condense to strengthen a point to create a node. The node becomes a pool of dynamism. Displacement and mobility crafts a stir of activity that invites the interplay between architecture and its environment. The location to introduce the future fitness center should embody a dense amalgamation of a strong climate fabric with an active social fabric.
Site Selection Criteria
• The location must be a place with a rich tapestry of stirring layers.
• A migratory social fabric should exist to encourage a response from the built environment.
• A shifting climate should exist to provide an environment that buildings can respond to.
• The location must be within a context that needs a fitness center.
• The context must have an electric grid to connect to.
• The site should be easily accessible by all forms of ground transportation.
• To encourage an environmentally responsible approach, the site should have an existing building to re-develop.
About the UCSD Center for Recreation
The UCSD Center for Recreation is located on the University of California San Diego campus, and is a collection of three buildings. The Main Gymnasium is located on the west side of the campus next to Torrey Pines Road. The Main Gymnasium was constructed in 1968, making it 48 years old. It is a multi-use recreation facility that houses gymnastics, basketball, fencing, swimming, volleyball, dance, and exercise. The Main Gymnasium is next to two smaller recreation facilities; the Natatorium to the west and the Recreation Gym to the south. The Natatorium is a swimming facility that is connected to the first floor of the Main Gymnasium. The Main Gymnasium is constructed almost entirely from concrete and is capped with a distinct folded concrete roof that has become a strong visual symbol for the building.


UCSD is a state university located in La Jolla, California next to the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Because of UCSD’s location, the coastal climate that it sits within is a more dynamic climate fabric than other parts of San Diego County. This university covers 1,200 acres, and in 2006 it provided a place for the education of 26,583 enrolled students. This campus body shapes a social fabric that is constantly migrating and engaging an architecturally rich built environment on the university campus. UCSD is one of the most environmentally responsible universities in the nation and promotes sustainability solutions throughout the region and the world (extension.ucsd.edu).
These three buildings were designed by Liebhardt and Weston Architects: a La Jolla based firm that was in operation from 1960 to 1990, and mostly designed custom residential homes in the area. While speaking with the occupants of these buildings, many voiced problems about their spatial qualities. The interior space of the Main Gymnasium is exposed to very little natural light, so it is almost entirely artificially illuminated. Also, because there are no windows, there is no opportunity for natural ventilation so a large air circulating system is required to improve the air quality of the space.
Liebhardt and Weston


The Kinematic Operation is performed on the Main Gymnasium, Natatorium, and Recreation Gym. This adaptation transforms these three static buildings into one dynamic center for recreation where the quality of movement is paramount to the performance of the building. To execute the Kinematic Operation the building program is first analyzed to determine the necessary qualities for each space. Then the program requirements are amalgamated with the contextual factors of climate and the occupancy of the student body.


This diagram illustrates in plan view a simplified massing of the center for recreation after the addition to the program where the red outline is the existing building space and the black outline is the modified program.


This is a massing model of the modified program. This model was constructed as a first stage of the design process to understand how the building masses relate to one another and the way that circulation flows through the spaces. The fabrication approach is entirely executed in steel and every connection is magnetized to allow the parts to be easily rearranged. The masses are over simplified so as to suggest the architectural possibilities but at the same time allow it to be interpreted and modified differently.
FLEX: Kinetic Response
This facility is called FLEX, and it will include an exercise platform, food court, and eating platform that serve as conduits of connection between the three existing buildings to create one building that totals 105,500 sq. ft. For the purposes of improving the quality of the recreational environment and increasing its versatility, FLEX is designed to kinetically respond to shifts in the surrounding climate and ever-changing programmatic demands. The kinetic response of the building is determined through understanding the spatial qualities of the recreation spaces and coupling that with the buildings performance to determine how a kinetic assembly can improve or adjust spatial qualities.


After the building massing was established the next step in the design process became possible: to exemplify more detail to propose design decisions. In this model structural systems, material choices, mechanical systems, and circulation are developed to then be critiqued on their performance. The Existing Building model, the Program Massing model, and the Study model are all built at a scale of one inch equals thirty feet so they can be compared easily.


The Exercise Platform is important because it is an addition to the facility, and it is where most of the energy will be generated from human power. This space must control appropriate environmental factors for the health of the people exercising. This is a partial model of the Recreation Gym and Exercise Platform, and it is built at a scale of one inch equals twenty feet so that more detail can be shown.


Flex is a responsive vessel, and its operability is determined through reactions to different catalysts. The catalysts are the climate fabric and social fabric, and without these, the building would be nothing more than an assembly of nonfunctional gadgetry. The analytical device through which the building can study a catalyst is a series of sensors in the building that read interior light levels, temperature, humidity, wind direction, solar orientation and occupancy load. A building management system (BMS) acts as the brain of the building receiving this data, interpreting it, and then responding by activating the kinetic systems to alter the environmental qualities within the building further improve them.


The BMS is programmed to know that when the exterior temperature reaches a comfortable limit so it can open up the building and allow natural ventilation to occur. Also, by knowing the direction of the sun the building would be programmed to know that certain parts of the building should remain closed to prevent overheating within the building. Since FLEX is a multi-purpose facility, many different occupancy types use the spaces, and each occupancy type has different spatial demands, which is also important data to assemble the script.

To illustrate how FLEX adapts through a day, the twenty-four hour scenario was devised. This illustrates a potential scenario of occupancy and climate change for a given day, and compares it at every hour to show how the building would respond.


FLEX responds to changes in the climate and occupancy, but in order to grasp the dialogue between these environmental factors and the building they must also be constructed in a model to understand there scale, orientation, and infiltration. This is a Tri-Fabric model that is intended to illustrate this amalgamation. The building model was constructed with materials that emphasize the qualities of each part instead of there actual material. After the building model was constructed the main circulation paths were modeled to show there direction and where they penetrate the building. Then the climate factors of the wind paths and sun rays were modeled in acrylic because these are transparent layers.