James O’Connor Guest Lecture

Throughout the Lecture James talks about a few common Themes throughout the work. Please tell us what you think they are?

James O’Connors lecture was illuminating in learning about the many different projects in very different sites. Despite the different physical and cultural sites, each design was received well as it responded to every need the client had and preempted the clients needs.

The overriding themes from this lecture are that the building must:

Frame the surrounding views e.g. Parking Structure in Santa Monica

Become a platform for its inhabitants to live their lives in

Use elements in the site that are concerns, and turn these into features of the design. e.g. Apartment in Sweden: the construction of the building couldn’t continue during the winter, so the exterior was constructed from precast concrete with internal insulation. The exterior was constructed in 2 days.

Sustainable Materials to educate people. e.g. after constructing the Santa Monica Project, James O’Connor transformed a parking structure into a green star building (the first in the US), utilising many different technologies (including Solar Panels).

Challenge preconceptions of architecture e.g. University (previously the Lunatic Asylum), Dublin: was transformed into a University, with little disturbance to the existing site. The least number of tree’s were cut down and the least number of buildings were created.

Small changes in a site, can completely change our perception & use of the site. e.g. University of Cincinnati utilised simple canopies & bridge connections.

Connect to the sites sense of place through every element of the building from the materials, to the form. e.g. Fresno Project, Northern California

Become inspired by the culture. E.g. XiangChing, China: the project was inspired by Chinese calligraphy, Rivers. Mountains & the surrounding environment.

Don’t use a Cookie Cutter Approach to design, even though a space is repeated in the design, change it slightly to delight the inhabitant. e.g. Apartment in Sweden: each apartment is different to each other.

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