- A Place For Contemplation
- A Thesis Proposal submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for
THESIS RESEARCH AND PROGRAMMING
- Master of Architecture Degree -
POST PROFESSIONAL PROGRAM
- School of Architecture and Planning-
University of Colorado at Denver.
THESIS TITLE: A place for Contemplation conceived in the form of a retreat, for writers, musicians, artists and
BY: Sonia Contreras.
ADVISORS: Dr. Soontom Boonyatikam.
Professor Robert w. Kindig.
Professor Phillip Gallegos.
Professor Claire Shepherd Lanier.
Academic Year: Spring 1990.
Accepted by The School of Architecture and Planning, University of Colorado at Denver, in
partial fulfillment of the requirement for Thesis Research and Programming.
(Prof. Phillip Gallegos).
(Prof. Claire Shepherd Lanier).
A PLACE FOR CONTEMPLATION
" For centuries, man has had to confront the many complex issues, changes and paradoxes of the age in
which he lives. Now more than ever, life has taken on an incredibly accelerated pace with the introduction of highly
technological advancements in rapid transit, supercomputers, instant bank- teller and facsmile machines. For many
life at such a pace creates a rather impersonal state of existence. Man is more apt to lose sight of his individuality
and frequently neglects the opportunity of attaining a broader sense of meaning in his life. Only after departure
from the mainstream and everyday routine can man completely attend to physical, spiritual
and psychological needs and values.
It has been the belief of many great philosophers, writers and entire cultures of people, that only through
an extended involvement with nature can man simplify his existence, clarify his senses, and
reduce life to its simplest terms. Then man may begin to contemplate life and all its beauties;
contemplation being the highest expression of man's intellectual and spiritual life."1
II. PROBLEM STATEMENT:
To design a place for contemplation conceived in the form of a retreat. It must be a place of sabbatical for
writers, musicians, artists and scholars. It is to be located in the landscape -rural or urban- on a site of the student's
choice. This design shall be communicated through the use of wood and its components.
III. APPROACH OF THE PROBLEM:
MAIN GOAL Create an environment for contemplative life.
DESIGN TOOLS Good balance of appreciation of Nature.
Enhance Technology and Nature.
RESULTS An architectural design that will induce the user to experience a spiritual
1 Ames Anthony. -A Place For Contemplation & Open Submissions- ACSA/American Wood Council.
Eighth Annual Student Design Competition ". Program Document. 1989-90. pg2.
IV. PROGRAM REQUIRENMENTS:
- General Office:
- Living Accomodations for Caretaker
- Communal Dining Room:
- Common Room:
- Billiard Room:
- Gallery w / Storage:
- Each for 22 Single Units w / Bath:
- Toilet Facilities
400 s.f. = 37 square meters.
1000 s.f. = 92
1000 s.f. = 92
800 s.f. = 74
1000 s.f. = 92
500 s.f. = 46
650 s.f. = 60
1500s.f. = 138
500 s.f. = 46
300 s.f. = 28
V. ANALYSIS OF THE AREAS RELATIONSHIP:
Receptor of outside life PUBLIC AREAS
Filter of outside life COMMON AREAS
Communal Dining Room
Man Isolated PRIVATE AREA 22 Units
FACILITIES Living Accomodations for
VI. SITE SELECTION:
The site selected for this project is located near the Rocky Mountain National Park, specifically at Willow
Creek Reservoir, in the State of Colorado.
The characteristics of this site are the following:
- The site is 3 hours away from Denver by car.
- It is located 5.3 miles away from Granby (significant important town), and 3 miles away from Grand Lake town
- It is provided with an excellent road system which includes: -1-25 Interstate route.
- 34 U. S. route.
- Light duty route.
- Its position is 44 North Latitude.
- Its Contour Interval is 40 feet, each 150 feet (26% slope).
VII. CLIMATIC CONDITIONS:
MONTH NORMAL TEMPERATURES F* NORMAL PRECIPITATION j WATER EQUIVALENT PERCENT RELATIVE HU' | MIDITYAV. 11am READING AVERAGE WIND 1 SPEED M.P.H. PERCENT OF POSSIBLE SUNSHINE AV. NO. DAYS OF POSSIBLE SUN- SHINE, SUNRISE TO SUNSET AV. NO. DAYS OF PRECIP- ITATION .01 IN. OR MORE AV. NO. DAYS OF SNOW/ ICE ONE INCH OR MORE
DAILY MAX. DAILY MIN. MONTHLY CLEAR PARTLY CLOUDY CLOUDY
JAN 37 17 27 0.6 67 6 59 9 8 14 7 3
FEB 44 23 34 0.6 51 7 64 8 7 13 6 1
MAR 53 30 41 0.8 39 8 64 9 8 14 7 1
APR 65 39 52 0.8 34 10 67 8 10 12 6 *
MAY 76 49 62 0.6 28 10 71 10 11 10 6 *
JUN 86 57 71 0.6 26 10 78 15 9 6 4 0
JUL 93 64 79 0.5 29 9 77 14 12 5 5 0
AUG 89 62 75 1.1 31 9 75 14 11 6 7 0
SEP 81 53 67 0.8 33 9 79 17 8 5 5 *
OCT 68 42 55 0.9 40 8 73 15 8 8 6 *
NOV 51 29 40 0.6 51 7 63 11 8 11 6 l
DEC 39 20 30 0.6 64 6 60 10 7 14 7 2
YEAR 65 40 53 8.4 41 8 70 140 107 118 71 9
VIII. DESCRIPTION OF THE DESIGN CONCEPT:
Colorado landscape was chosen to develop this project as an appropiate place to practice a spiritual life in
contact with nature.
The design is conceived as a Transition of Spaces; beginning with a Public Area (Main entrance,
Lobby, reception and registration Office, Gallery) and, as the slope goes down towards the reservoir a Semi-
public Area is located (which includes a Common Room and the Dining Room with its Kitchen). Once the
reservoir is closer, a Private Area is conceived (which includes Library, Billiard Room, and 22 units), as the place
were the contemplative life could be achieved. The project concludes with 22 units which are inmersed in the forest,
facing the reservoir.
The transition of spaces takes place through the creation of indoor and outdoor areas, in such a way, that the
contemplation of nature is made gradually, until we get to the units, where the beauty of the landscape can be
IX. OTHER DESIGN CHARACTERISTICS:
Oak wood was used in the design as the main material of the building, as well as, in its structure.
The structure is conceived as a series of wood trusses located in the roofs of the main areas as well as in the glazed
roofs of the circulation areas.
The main entrance was emphazised with a series of columns to denote the importance and singularity of this
A wood path, which goes directly to the lake, is located 1 meter above the floor level; contrary to a ground road
which connects the parking area with the 22 units and with the main buildings too.
The buildings were design following the contour levels, in such a way, that almost from every space of the project it
is a view area dedicated for the contemplation of nature.
The common room is conceived as an interior plaza, where the artists can socialize and at the same time can
develop their creative works.
A recycling falling-water is located in the main building and, besides its decorative function it was designed to
provide space for the sculpture expositions. Another falling-water was located facing the library.
Each unit was provided with a living area, toillet area, the bed area (which is 1/2 meter from the floor level, to
optimize the view to the landscape) and finally a balcony facing towards the lake.
Almost all the areas are connected to each other, in such a way, that the users can move from one space to
another easily. Even though these areas are integrated in the project, the 22 units maintain the privacy necessary for
the spiritual life.
The project was oriented in a perfect north-south axis.
PANORAMIC VIEW OF THE SITE
CLOSER VIEW OF SELECTED SITE
CLOSER VIEW OF SITE SELECTED
UNIT FLOOR PLAN
ij f / ! H C^i-. 1
:J| J n mm i-p=f:.
I// j | '
BILLIARD ROOM. LIBRARY
FLOOR PLAN Esc:
SITE PLAN VIEW
VIEW OF GENERAL SOUTH ELEVATION
SOUTH-WEST COMPLEX VIEW.
CLOSE VIEW OF UNITS AREA, LIBRARY AND BILLIARD ROOM.
CLOSE VIEW OF EAST SIDE OF UNITS AND BILLIARD ROOM
OTHER PROJECT VIEWS