Nicole Keroack | A Design Portfolio

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A collection of work from the MArch program at the University of Virginia.





    771 Madison AvenueCharlottesville VA 22903

  • AcAdemic + work experience

    Selected workS

    2009 | Intern VMDO Architects | Charlottesville VA

    2008 | Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Studies | Davidson College NC

    2009 | Dripps Studio | Residential College at U.Va

    2010 | Waldman Studio | Culinary Institute in Istanbul

    Summer 2010 | Vicenza Study Abroad Program

    Plein Air Drawings

    2010 | Intern VMDO Architects | Charlottesville VA

    2010 | Cox + Roettger Studio | Roots of Music New Orleans

    2010 | Teaching Assistant || Architectural Theory + Ethics

  • C O N T E N T S

    I believe in a vernacular architecture, not in the sense of those sloped roofs that Le Corbusier would have hated, but in the idea that a designed environment should be sensitive and responsive to the cultural, ecological, and environmental climate that surrounds it. Most of my projects are engaged with exploring not only relationships that concern SPACE, the volumes and relationships formally within a building, but that of PLACE, the social interactions that aggregate over time in a given location and give it a specific identity or character. I believe that SPACE is thoroughly enriched in a dialectic with PLACE. PLACE furthermore has a specific environmental or climactic condition-- whether it be a natural characteristic, or as the result of human intervention. These conditions can be leveraged or altered with the addition of a built component.

    This vernacular architecture requires tools of analysis and of construction. It requires systems thinking-- the ability to place the specific intervention outside of its own context, or furthermore, to design the parts of the system as well as the interaction between the parts. This requires sophisticated tools of analysis and an understanding of the site and its surround both synchronically and diachronically. For such systemic, responsive thinking parametric modeling techniques are often utilized. Combining this technology with older techniques such as mapping--both with the aid of digital technologies, and making experiential and cognitive maps by hand, as well as creating experiential drawings leads to a rich understanding and empowers the design process.

    Lastly, this vernacular architecture should speak to particular social issues in the context. In the case of Venice, the existing water infrastructures were strained to the breaking point, in New Orleans, the students at the Roots of Music needed an environmentally and physically protected area in which to march. In Istanbul, teasing out one of a myriad of problems led to a series of explorations over and over again to discover where the critical point of intervention lay.

    The result is a design approach that is highly sensitive and analytical, producing beauty in the exploration of both space and place, by examining the particular and the systemic.

    2010 | Intern VMDO Architects | Charlottesville VA

    2010 | Cox + Roettger Studio | Roots of Music New Orleans

    2010 | Teaching Assistant || Architectural Theory + Ethics

    2011 | Design Development2011 | Sieweke Studio | Design Research in Venice

    2011 | Teaching Assistant | Lessons of the Lawn

    2011 | Summer Research Project in Istanbul Turkey

    2011 | Design Research Seminar | Addressing Urban Dissonance: Restructuring the Waterfront in Fener Istanbul

    2011 | Menefee + Moellmann Studio | Urban Voids in Charlottesville VA2011 | Soft Surface Operations | Pandora Light Responsive Roof


  • A residential college at UVA emphasizes the creation of a social space by creating and cultivating connections between its residents, the greater University community, and its constituent natural geology.

    Utilizing the concept of emergence to script a building type that adapts to the number of occupants, and parametric design for roofs that direct water, this campus becomes a field of activity in which the students become active participants in their academic life.


    [right] A section and an aerial perspective show how the residential campus is geared to channel water flows to the open space in the center.

    [below] a model showing the structural bays that support the residential college.

    A series of diagrams show the patterns that emerge as the college grows to accommodate a growing student population, with roofs added at the end.

  • Section perspective looking toward Emmet Street shows low lying buildings conforming to a hilly landscape

    DRIPPS STuDIOreSidentiAl colleGe At U.VA

  • Perspective showing approach from the Hippodrome at Night

    cUlinArY inStitUte in iStAnBUl

  • Istanbul is a complex, multi-layered place whose city center is being threatened by tourism. A culinary institute revitalizes the historic center as a generative space its social, cultural, and historical landscapes.

    The program calls for a tripartite space which manifests itself in plan and section: a teaching kitchen, bakery and wine cellar, a grand dining room on the piano nobile with a window that tessellates the reflection of the Blue Mosque opposite, and finally a series of living spaces for the teachers.

    Interior spaces are complemented by three gardens a formal Islamic garden, an entry garden to transition from Sutanahmet Square, and a labyrinthine garden that replicates the fragmented city fabric.


    Preliminary mapping shows the Hippodrome in relation to other major monuments

    Mapping and diagramming exercises show the hippodrome, the site, and the Blue Mosque in Comparison

    WALDMAN STuDIOcUlinArY inStitUte in iStAnBUl

  • Alluding to the juncture between public and private and East and West present in the city, the building has a public and a private side, joined on the first floor by a kitchen. A multiplicity of materials and forms of expression allow for easy movement between these multiple spheres. On the right, A plan shows the two halves of the building, each with their own garden. A series of models explore the different expressions that the sides of the building can take. At bottom, an early collage and sketch shows the context that this building is placed within, on one of the few public spaces in the historical city.


  • First floor plan

  • My music keeps me strong. I take my trombone. My trombone is my order in the upside-down world. I provide the sta-bility for the entire band. They rest on my low-blow beat. My low blow beat is my powerit bounds through the French Quar-ter. It blasts apart the bridge.

    [Academic use only]

    The problems of New Orleans require a careful consideration many factors the creole culture, flooding and land subsidence, and the hot and humid climate. This school for the Roots of Music program provides a space for community building and cultural expression.

    By creating an boulevard, the building provides a perfect space for marching while providing areas for eyes on the street. In addition, passive design strategies are utilized to provide a level of comfort, and water catchment systems allude to the waterborne nature of the city.


    Preliminary investigations into the nature of music, New Orleans, and site explorations provide the foundation for the design work.

    Section showing the exhibition venue and a view into the interior of the complex

    COX + ROETTGER STuDIOrootS oF mUSic new orleAnS

  • [left] A section shows various passive thermal systems at work to keep the school comfortable for the marchers. Evapotranspiration from a water catchment system, the chimney effect, and louvers work to minimize solar gain inside and outside the building.

    [below] a plan and a section show the relationship between the building and a marching space denoted on its interior, and a series of courtyards to provide semiprivate gathering spaces.

  • [above] A series of models show the development of the scheme.

    [above right] A perspective showing an approach from Canal Street, and the marching band.

    [right] A section-perspective showing the interior of the street. The right contains the main marching building, the left is the Library.

  • 1/64 : 1

    The vertical horizon is a learning center located in Charlottesville Virginia. It is made out of precast insulated concrete panels analogous to those manufactured by thermomass.

    The concrete in combination with the insulation provides a great deal of thermal massing to help with cooling, in addition to the strategic placement of fins on the west and east sides to prevent solar heating at undesirable times of the year. Windows are set in deep casings and are also doubly insulated. All mechanical systems are located behind a dropped ceiling above the mezzanine. Passive ventilation is also used extensively.


    A combination of daylighting and electrical systems allow the building to achieve minimum footcandles for reading and writing. Clerestory windows above and strategic fins help to filter direct sunlight.

    Sited at the top of an incline, all water collected on the roof is stored below, while water on site is directed to a low lying retention and infiltration area where it will slowly seep into the ground, just beyond the section for the geothermal wells.

  • Geothermal wells [black], radiant floor heating [orange], air conditioning [blue], and passive ventilation [ye