NavCenter Three Facility
June 12 Preliminary Drawing - Zones, Floor and Roof Plans


Concrete earth sheltered, landscaped Roof “floating” above masonry Piers [16] and Walls.


Property Line.


North point of translucent/transparent Roof widening at 30 and rising at 15 degrees “floating” above earth sheltered Roof.


Outside Patio.


Interior planted Landscaping.


Surround Landscaping.


Street landscaping.




Opening glass Skylight.


South point of translucent/transparent Roof - with glass Solar Collector.


Operable glass enclosed Work Areas on two levels; entry level and NavCenter finish floor level.


Lolly Columns for high translucent/transparent Roof.


Opening in earth sheltered Roof to high translucent/transparent Roof above.


Opening in earth sheltered Roof to air.


Circular Stairway from sunken floor in NavCenter to West Balcony Area (base level grade) and up to Loft Area.


Masonry Pier.

This is, in reality, two buildings composed of three distinct yet integrated geometries [link]. This composition reflects the various kinds of activities the space will be put to, as well as, the specific surrounds [link] which are different on each side of the building.
The basic building that faces the streets and neighbors is a rectilinear brick structure of walls and piers with an earth-sheltered roof which “floats” over a continuous 24 inch high glass transom. The plan is “articulated” to provide visual interest, cut down on the length of flat wall run and to make a variety of niches, inside and out, that serve a number of distinct functions.
The finish of this exterior wall is used inside wherever the structure exists thus creating a consistent grammar [link] for this major element of the environment. The masonry materials and detailing will be sensitive to the neighborhood and its architectural history [link]. This anchors the environment on the site.
The form of this masonry construct is “institutional” - the scale is not. The scale is much like a small church or professional building as it would historically be found on the corner lot in a traditional residential neighborhood. The flat landscaped roof - a line that runs the entire parameter of the building - literally replaces the greenery of the lot if it were a park - elevating it 12 to 14 feet into the air depending on the slope of the grade. This roof is pored concrete with the beam system on top of the slab thus creating waterproofed “coffers” to hold various plantings. The top of this grid supports skylights and and the glass between the flat roof top and the translucent/transparent Roof [3-10] that runs diagonally across the whole edifice [link].
The building is composed of three zones. On the North end resides the Offices for the Education Group of the enterprise. On the South end is a NavCenter. At mid point is an enclosed Patio which can be opened or closed - thus serve - individually or both of the other zones at once. You can think of the Patio as a buffer zone and a “spill-over” area - and it is - it is much more than that, however; the Patio is a year around “outdoor” area that is supplemented by similar areas that are outdoor. This enclosed patio zone will have all the functionality of the Offices and NavCenter yet the amenity of a sunlit outdoor area. It will open to the outdoor areas in times of moderate weather.
Working In This Space
The often repeated saying that the reality of a building is the space enclosed is true enough; just what makes the boundaries of this space is a critical consideration. In this work, the space enclosed is layers of semi permeable boundaries: of conceptual context, of landscaping, of solid and transparent walls, the “exterior” walls of the building being only one of these more or less in the center of this sequence of layers which starts out in the landscape not at the property line [2]. There are no hard stops. The eye - or soul - is never trapped. There is shelter and the spirit is given flight.
Every viewpoint - and there are many - works its way along a series of events creating different Combinations of prospect and refuge - each appropriate for the setting and the use of the environment at this local. This rich spatial reality is not constrained to the horizontal only; it is developed vertically with different floor levels and ceiling heights.
This spatial reality - combined with extensive exterior and interior landscaping, including the planted roof area - becomes an urban landscape. This is not a metaphor - although it involves metaphor - it is a reality. A human-made environment that is natural - natural in its use of materials, natural in its response to the greater urban context, natural in the way it houses humans.
A building such as this is rare; rarer still as a workplace [link]. it fully leverages the AI Armature, WorkWall and Furniture system which make the intimate layer that the occupants use, directly touch, and can rearrange at will. This place both sets context and responds in a different way. Compared to it, the typical building is static and dead.
Working here is to live in a different reality. It is a space that addresses human values and requirements; it is comfortable; it responds to human requirements; it respects, reflects and enhances nature and the urban environment of which it is a part; the technology is powerful, augments [link] human performance and is transparent; this is a place where the cycles of life and nature play out in harmony with the cycles of work and human creativity.
So what is different, concretely? The sense of shelter. The typical modern building covers up its structure using different materials inside and out. The roof, and any sense of it, is all but gone. large spaces are undifferentiated. Ceilings are (relatively) low for the size of the foot print. Lighting levels are uniform and that means high to meet the peak requirement. Usually, because of the light fixtures used, their placement and the finish materials used, the space is highly reflective - no shade and shadow, no areas with lighting of a different character. The outside is outside, perhaps a view if you are lucky. There are few living things inside the building, and often, the outside is a sea of asphalt. Life is not what the modern environment is about - a false idea of productivity and economics has become the default norm [link]. Sound is not thought about except something to control - the noise [link] generated in the building or by the building, itself, is rarely dealt with - just ignored. All these, together, destroy a sense of shelter replacing this necessary value, instead, with a ubiquitous sense of enclosure and separation. This artificial habitat has become so common that few consciously challenge it nor realize how they feel until they get “outš to nature. In this era of urban spread, the ability to do this is rare enough. In this building, the structure is clearly defined. The materials are consistently used, inside and out; their finish is natural and simple. landscaping flows in and out of the building. Lighting is natural and augmented by a variety of mechanical means - all user controllable throughout the space. There are areas for individual privacy and commons for a variety of work interactions. The material surfaces are people friendly and something you want to touch. The beauty of the work is in the shape, play of light and how it embraces the larger environment - not an attempt to impress or show off. The materials of natural finish can sustain use and look better as they age. They do not become dated in terms of style and and aged as their “high” finish wears, unrepeatable to be cast away someday as “out of date.” This building expresses Pattern Language [link] - it is authentic.
Someone working in this building - as a resident or event participant - can select the specific environment they want by two means: first, by having extraordinary control over the specific devices: walls, screens, door, window, furniture, lighting, that make up their environment; and next, the ability to migrate to a variety of niches that offer a wide range of different settings. This way, the right environment: size, openness, privacy, tooling, lighting, esthetic setting, indoor/outdoor, temperature can be selected and configured to a precise degree. In order for a building to serve its population to this degree, it must have a great variety of actual spaces and tool-configurations.
At the same time, the building must “read” as a single environment and offer continuity of theme and function. This building achieves both these, often competing, objectives within a simple, open, honest, maintainable, affordable esthetic.
Return: to NavCenters A Network In Development - Facility #3 • link: 3d Model • Link: Index of NavCenter Network Projects
posted: June 14, 2003 revised: July 30, 2003
Creating Personal Workspace
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