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ADS9: Sun in my Mouth and Leap into the Ripe Air

Brad Mortlock

Brad is an architectural designer and artist who is currently based in Essex. His interests are deeply routed in the luxury real estate market and contemporary architecture, that spans from ultra modern new builds, to learning about flipping and reselling property.

He graduated in 2019 with an Upper Second Class Honours degree in Architecture from Oxford Brookes University, where he delved into conceptual and biophilic proposals. Brad went into working as an architectural assistant at BPTW, which saw him work on a variety of master planning, town planning, feasibility and BID proposals, while working alongside the planning department on various projects around West London.

During his first year at the RCA, with ADS12 [Melee], his project was looking at the secondary spaces of a city, that researched undocumented workers as the primary users to a terminal space in central Chicago. Using the underground pedway system and multiple access routes, this proposal was swiftly titled, Hiding in Plain Sight.

This year, his work focusses on reimagining and offering a new type of co-working space in Marfa, Texas.

Show Location: Kensington campus: Darwin Building, Upper ground floor

Co-working spaces as a phenomenon have become extremely desirable. Previously, there was no space itself to allow collaboration and to share ideas together in a productive environment. However, Hackerspaces such as C Base originated in 1995 in Berlin, where space, knowledge, and coding projects together birthed and became mainstream with added seminars and social events that became westernised. Emerged in 2009 David Weekly founded HackerDojo, a 6000-square-foot incubator model which is a college-like community centre. Where Silicon Marfa was initially inspired from, to bring a landscape, views and vistas into a space that is typically clinical and industry in its typology.

The Hackers Space | Collectively Looking into how objects become the inhabitants within a space, to tell the story of its users and how the circulation of surrounding space has been scripted to offer collectivity and openness.
The Visual Space | The Dojo RoomUnderstanding the space in 3D to understand the collaboration and organisation of fully autonomous spaces.
How can we learn from existing typologies? | Rebirthing Exercise Sustainability has never been a higher priority for those that want to be successful in business. In fact, 90% of new start-ups consider it to be a high priority from the point of conception to operation. Even companies without a strict climate focus are under escalating pressure to rethink their practices in the name of the future of our planet. It is the actions and voices of climate entrepreneurs globally that have catalysed action through demonstrating the benefits in their own work.

Emerged in 2009 David Weekly founded HackerDojo, a 6000-square-foot incubator model which is a college-like community centre.

This encouraged outside thinking, hacking, programming, fortnightly communal lunch and dinner socials, product prototyping in their maker spaces, and a strict policy of not “setting up shop” on one desk. The Dojo has an open industrial space that is populated with 24 desks in the main social area, with 10 bookable side rooms for webinars, workshops, classes, and meetings. Its type of hack culture of playful cleverness has the successful qualities of the “hack value” that offers accessible unique skills, networking cross-disciplinary, and collaborations with its network of alumni within their very own “Notable start-ups of HackerDojo History” such as Pinterest and Word lens. 

Canopy and Linking | Distorting ShelterUnderstanding how punching holes and naturally curling the leather can distort and shelter users
Canopy | Playing with texture and suspensionA playful experience of altering excavated spaces with level changes and suspension of the material to help with solar shading and shelter
Time + Heat | The Transition of Time and ColourExperimenting with the idea of colour camouflaging and how I can intensify and mitigate the process
Panelling | De-Installation and ConnectionsExplores the roof strategy and the material build-up of the three pavillion roofs.

To achieve the stiffened vegetable leather, plunging this material into an ice bath and then boiling water at 180 F, changes the molecular structure that toughens and improves longevity while preventing deterioration. The material uniquely transitions its colour over time from the absorption of heat and solar radiation -from the original colour to burnt umber. The process can be mitigated with Beeswax Leather Balm and Leather Balsam. The site manager will determine when panels require de-installation and replacement so the panelling doesn’t obscure from the landscape camouflaging strategy -which poetically resonates with the maintenance of vegetation and the landscape, giving the proposal a forever flexibility.

Moving to Marfa | Creating the alternative modelIllustrating the context of Marfa, to understand the wider relativities for bringing a newly reimagined co-working space to Marfa, Texas, and not Silicon Valley or the Hills.
Current Site | MonochromeThe existing site topographically is relatively flat with changes in terrain of 0.6m over a 15-metre span. Dry grass, hay, and leafless tree branches populate the site, as a result of the annual average temperature of 24.5C that peaks up to 38C in the heights of summer. A desert is a place of repeated landforms, sparse vegetation, and a monochrome appearance.

Silicon Marfa is located within the authentic rural town of Marfa in Far West Texas. It will become a destination for the small town – where entrepreneurs can come to escape into the circadian swings of the Chlhuahuan Desert. The site was selected from multiple aspects, including its environmental conditions that resonate with the tectonics of the proposals extension of the landscape, the community that offers the town a chance to grow and give back to the neighbourhood, as well as the locality of the materiality of abode bricks that vernacularly is used in Marfa. “Co-working on Vacation: A desk in Paradise” which further enforces the new trend since COVID to “workcation” for digital nomads – to work in any given location. It will be occupied with a maximum capacity of 35 researchers at one time. The location was also heavily inspired by theorist Steward Brand which his philosophy of the Outlaw area -“where one is to be removed from one's society – to redefine and cultivate their tomorrow” –utilising the opportunity to reimagine a new living model of work, eat, rest, sleep and network on a secluded site.

GF Plan | Silicon Marfa
Environmental Strategy | Wind and Temperature
2 Types of Pods | Co-working(left) Coders Pods (right) The Quad-Pod
Openness | Capturing the proposal with the landscape
Section AA | Playing with Topography
Section BB | The Descent into the Three Tiers

The proposal was designed to become a frame of view and vistas. With the never-ending sunsets and golden hour opportunities, the site reflects on the true beauty of the landscape and mimicry. Whether the researchers have finished a long day of work and have decided to start a fire in the Silicon Courtyard. Or bringing out chairs from the communal strip to sit on the 12-degree inclined excavated slope, to star gaze, unwind or think about their next steps for research. Even to computing and monitoring data in the two types of researcher pods available. The space has been created to mediate time and mental reflection with the natural resources of the contextual biophilic design.

The RV ParkTo Live, Sleep, Work, and Network. Offering a space for the users and tourists
The Conversation CourtyardTo Socialise, Unwind, Work, and Network. Offering a space of peace and tranquility
Ventilation Device in Courtyard To Work, Network, and conversate. Offering a space for the users of thermal comfort and conversation
The Descent to the Pods To Live, Sleep, Work, and Network. Offering a biophilic connection to the landscape and nature while commuting to work
The Gradient to PonderTo Work and Network. Offering a space to relax, star gaze and unwind
The CamoflaugeTo Live, Sleep, Work, and Network. Offering a threshold of connecting the roof and landscape
The Bench to The Big BendTo Work and Network. Offering a space for the users and tourists to appreciate the connection with nature and work in the collective space
The Versatile CorridorsTo Live, Sleep, Work, and Network. Offering collective space that has multiple uses
Mediating TexturesTo Live, Sleep, Work, and Network. Offering connection with nature, openness and textured landscaping
Regenerating Co-WorkingTo Live, Sleep, Work, and Network. Offering a space to work while surrounded by the beauty of the Chlhuahuan Desert

As a whole, Silicon Marfa a 30,000 sqft flexible residency hotspot for Climate Change Entrepreneurs and researchers, offers an autonomous space for a single user group compared to HackerDojo being open to all. Intensifying the networking and technical data resource pool to be specific and help stimulate greater collaborations and allowing Silicon Marfa to help become a better gateway model for many successful businesses. As well as the relay corner, which will house forgotten or spare resources and equipment that can be shared communally -making it inclusive and collective. The space is unique to the rest of the coworking and living spaces available, which are evidently so clinical and industrial. In turn, the proposed openness with the landscape aids research that proves that getting workers into biophilic settings increases workflow and creativity by 65%.

It’s a place to work, eat, rest, sleep and network on a secluded site.