Guest Architect Speaks to Class about Tower Design

Before Matt Martino’s Architectural Design Studio students begin working on their tower design project this semester, they had an opportunity to hear from an expert in the field — Patrick Fraher, a Senior Associate at Pelli Clarke & Partners.

Mr. Fraher, a friend and former classmate of Mr. Martino’s from Cornell University, discussed some of his recent projects including Union Park in Toronto, the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, the Landmark Tower in Abu Dhabi, and Menara 3 Petronas in Kuala Lumpur.

He highlighted notable elements from his projects, such as the L.E.D. display atop the Salesforce Tower, and he also spoke about how inspiration helped shape the graceful and expressive design of the Union Park towers. “For this particular project, the idea was to open up to the lake,” he said. “Celebration and fireworks were a jumping off point.”

When designing a building, he emphasized the importance of considering the context of the city – not just on the street level, but also in terms of the skyline. “You have to remember that it’s part of a bigger composition; it’s going to be part of that skyline forever,” he said.

Most recently, Mr. Fraher designed a tower in downtown Houston – at a site where the MBS Architectural Design Studio students will create their own tower designs this semester. Each group of students will analyze and diagram the city to inform their design decisions. Using SketchUp, they will build a 3D model that depicts their tower at the city scale and create a perspective view of an occupant from ground level. Once students complete their initial designs, Mr. Fraher will show the class his final solution for the site.

At the end of his presentation, Mr. Fraher encouraged the students to think critically and creatively and to have fun with the design process. “When you get around to modeling, don’t be afraid to play,” Mr. Fraher told the students. “You can do some pretty cool things with just some subtle movement.”


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