277_Kevin Garcia: Dendrite Olympic Museum

Kevin Garcia from Salt Lake City, Utah - The United States: “Graduate Student - Year 1 at the University of Utah.

I believe that architecture is a progressive influence on the living space of both society and culture throughout time. Living spaces must consider the environments in which the pedigrees of the world influence. I know that well thought out and implemented designs can solve solutions to major needs and unforeseen issues. ”


University: The University of Utah

Professor(s): Dwight Yee NCARB, LEED AP B&C

Name of Project: Dendrite Olympic Museum

Project Description: Architectural adaptations can provide us with the vessels in which evolution and reflection can propel society towards a unified front. With history as our guide we push forward towards the future. Seeking opportunities for growth as well as reflection. With the recent announcement that Salt Lake City, Utah would submit a bid to host the 2030 Winter Olympics, we look towards the future.

The growth of tourism, infrastructure, security, and technology will be an all-encompassing vision and plan to solidify Salt Lake City’s status as one of the top winter sport locations in the world. With a storied past and vast experience in hosting Olympic games, Salt Lake City can direct its growth based upon the reflection of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. The design of the Olympic Museum is manifested through the translational method in conceptualizing an architectural dendrite phenomenon that is based upon the impulses of Utah’s natural resources such as its snow and its land. The term dendrite alludes to the extension of a central body which receives impulses from branching tree like structures. Dendrites are a natural phenomenon found in various forms and flow systems. The growth and development of dendrite formations are contingent upon environmental signals’ and high activity levels.

Along, these environmental signals, dendrite formations follow 4 progressive steps. First initiation, second outgrowth or spinal formation, third branching and fourth impulse reaction. The resultant dendrite structure feeds impulses back to its central core thereby creating more growth and activity. The Dendrite Olympic Museum models the natural growth of a dendritic structure and connects Utah’s environmental impulses to a lethargic downtown site. Dendrite initiation begins where the highest level of activity is. For the Dendrite Olympic Museum this begins at the intersection of 400 South and West Temple in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City. These two main circulation arteries feed the city with its daily movement and commotion. Due to the high activity levels generated at the intersection, this provided the project with an exclusive opportunity to attract tourists and occupants onto the site by providing a midblock access point leading to both public transit and the adjacent surface parking. As occupants make their way from the intersection and onto the site, dendritic spinal growth begins to develop.

The dendritic spine is the lifeform of the Salt Lake City Olympic Museum. Within this spine the activity from the busy intersection is transferred into the function and flow of the museum creating an essential extension of activity initiation. The purpose of the dendritic spine is to direct occupancy activity into the main programmatic and exhibition spaces. These spaces grow along the dendritic spine creating a figure ground of both massing extrusion and circulation pathways. The activity levels within the spine are increased as occupants experience and visualize the flow of movement through and out of exhibition spaces and back into the dendritic spine. An occupant can’t circulate through any of the exhibition spaces without first experiencing the raw emotion of the dendritic spine. This emotion is evoked through the access and use of natural light, building monumentality, materiality and activity generation.

Natural lighting is achieved through the use of a two-story atrium space running the length of the dendritic spine. The light is transmitted through gradated punched triangular skylights that allows for the full range of solar motion throughout the changing Utah seasons. Branching is a process of dendritic growth which allows a dendrite to split and cover its environmental targets. The Salt Lake City Olympic Museum branches out from the main dendritic spine offering space for rest, contemplation and reflection. Through this designed outlet the activity increase experienced within the spine is released back into the heart of downtown Salt Lake City. This process ensures a continuation of activity levels through the intersection, spine and back out into the city creating an endless loop of activity generation. Spacious viewports allow a direct environmental connection through the two story glass façade of the natural beauty and surrounding mountains ranges that played a crucial role in the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.

The natural landscape can have an effect upon art and architecture in influencing the work of social interaction. The final process in the development of the Dendrite Olympic Museum is the growth of impulse structures. Dendrite impulses in nature are the nodes that contain, collect and send information back to the central structure. Without these impulses the activity of the spine would remain monotonous. The purpose of these spaces is to create moments full of knowledge and education in regards to the venues, athletes and sports that contributed to the spirit and success of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games.

Maintaining the consistency of the dendrite concept these impulse zones provide occupants with a motivating experience that can affect society as they return back into the energy of the city. There is not any one segment of paths that can be taken that comprises the overall experience of the Dendrite Olympic Museum. As you are led by the emotions and activity of the spaces you can experience the exhibits in a unique and memorable way.

Instagram Username: @kn4garcia