Studio Professor: Greg Lynn
The project was to design a modern yacht factory in Seattle. Taking cues from the America's Cup Challenge races and the design efforts and advances made in the field of naval and aero-design, this facility aimed to explore, investigate, and propose design methodologies, technologies and inspiration from the yacht and aeronautical industries.
Initial research into yacht building yielded inspirational ideas and images from contemporary yacht designers, space-age composite materials, and the beauty and complexity of fluid dynamics. A field trip to carbon fiber tooling factories as well as visits to naval architect offices provided rich sources of information. These ideas would anchor the design ambition for this contemporary yacht building facility.
The plan and siting of the building takes into consideration the views approaching the facilty from land and across the Seattle sound, as well as the logistics of delivering parts and materials for large boat assemblies. A large outdoor yard is enclosed by the main hull assembly hall and the mast fabrication hall, in order to accomodate assembly procedures that cannot occur indoors, as well as in consideration for the privacy sometimes required for sensitive racing designs.
As the factory essentially required relatively partion-less, large, structured enclosures to accomodate custom built machinery and tools for yacht manufacture and assembly, the focus then turned to the surface. Using the tools and programs commonly utilized by automotive, industrial, and naval designers, this design could then draw attention to issues often considered outside the common realm of orthagonally drafted architecture. This involved controlling the surface of the building as carefully as an automotive designer, but also taking into consideration the ideas of "seaming," "class-A surfacing," and "break lines," developed and honed by other design fields.
Advanced software, made available through a generous studio grant by Autodesk, gave design capabilities and analytical tools uncommon in projects of this scale. CNC manufacturing technology, common in contemporary high-end yacht design and production, were given exploratory forays applied to the scale and issues of architecture.
Project published March, 2011 by W. W. Norton & Co.