Portfolio - Derek Magee

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Academic work completed at Tulane University.

Text of Portfolio - Derek Magee

  • Derek MageeP: 612.718.3421 E: mageeish@gmail.com A: Buffalo, MN

    DEsigN Portfolio

  • Derek Magee


    P: 612.718.3421 E: mageeish@gmail.com A: Buffalo, MN

  • 3coNtENts

    BEyoND frEEwAysthesis Project at tulane, spring 2012

    growiNg locAl NolAwith tulane city center, fall 2012

    thE vErticAl strEEtwinning competition Entry, spring 2011

    grEENwAy stAircAsEwith tree trust as crew leader, summer 2011

    BUs stoP / KiosKwith tulane A-week as team leader, fall 2009






    Downtown transportation Plan, Minneapolis

  • 4site Plan

    Aerial view (opposite)

    Possible interventions (opposite)

    Derek MageeP: 612.718.3421 E: mageeish@gmail.com A: Buffalo, MN

  • BEyoND frEEwAys

    During my fifth year of architecture school at Tulane, I spent the fall semester researching urban freeways and in the spring crafted a proposal for possible freeway removal in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.

    Much of my focus was on researching existing transit plans for Minneapolis and trying to use my proposal as a way to enhance present and future transit networks. The plan on the contents page shows existing freeways terminating when they reach the downtown grid, where mobility can be supported by public transit, bicycles, or walking. The former right-of-way occupied by the freeways would be occupied by a new transit line and new development linking downtown to surrounding neighborhoods.

    Zooming in, he plan to the left shows a specific zone of interchange between the incoming freeways from the west (394) and north (94), and the proposed transit loop and bike-share stations serving downtown. Essentially the proposal shows an underground transit station in the former right-of-way of an urban freeway, with new mixed-use development happening at-grade. The renderings on the following pages give an idea of the spaces that would be created by this development. Diagrams, sketches, and model photos supplement the other drawings to show my thought process.

    Additional images include sample spreads from my final thesis manual, which documents both research and design work, and my final presentation boards, which were the result of the spring semester.

    thesis Project at tulane University, spring 2012Advisor: cordula roser-gray





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  • Derek Magee


    08 Beyond Freeways: Transitions to a Livable Infrastructure

    began to make an appearance in urban centers. In order to see just how drastically our cities have been altered to fit the car, it is only necessary to observe satellite photos of any number of American downtowns. Surface parking and vertical garages dominate even our most dense and concentrated portions of our cities.

    It has become evident that this automobile-first mentality has run its course. While the automobile currently enjoys much of the prime real estate in our cities and takes clear preference over all other forms of mobility, the remainder of urban life has been pushed to the periphery.

    During the process of reshaping our infrastructure and its impact on our cities, efforts towards remediation must be as careful as previous interventions were careless. A vision for quality of life in our cities must exist, and any altercations done on our cities should be measured against a common standard for quality. This is not to say that diverse problems require the same solution, but rather a common framework can guide urban design decisions by defining some key attributes that successful cities share.

    William H. Whyte reminds us of the most important attibute of the city, to be spontaneous and pleasant... where people come together.4 People come to cites to interact with other people, even if they do not know them. And while Whyte states that cities are declining as centers of manufacturing and employment, they remain centers for social and cultural interaction.

    Another urban thinker that has investigated many of the attributes that create desirable cities is Jan Gehl, an architect from Copenhagen, Denmark. Gehl champions what he refers to as the human dimension in cities, which is simply a call

    4. Whyte. p.26

    Slow movement allows for greater interaction and life, fast movement allows for very little.

    Figure 7

    09Derek Magee 2012 Tulane School of Architecture

    for places that are walkable and lively.5

    A key portion of Gehls idea of the human dimension is simply the idea of slowing people down, which puts him squarely at odds with the goals of urban freeways. When people move slower, they come in contact with both the city and other people longer, which reinforces city life. Urban freeways are the antithesis of this, simply trying to move masses of people in and out without interaction.

    Gehl also illustrates the concept of induced demand, which is the idea that people change their habits to fit availability, whether that is more lanes for cars or more bus routes. This principle applies to many aspects of urban life; it has been observed that buildings more roadways attracts greater numbers of cars. This has led to the conclusion among many planners that it is not possible to build a way out of congestion, and any expansion of road systems only leads to more traffic.

    The construction of the interstate system in America is possibly the best example of this, with the rise of the automobile quickly following its construction. Now we enjoy heavy congestion almost everyday in our cities, due to the induced demand of lanes and lanes of high-speed arterials.

    Copenhagen has also observed induced demand, but instead of attracting cars, new bikeways are planned to encourage increased ridership. And to a large degree, it has worked, Copenhagen can boast over 35% of commuters traveling by bicycle (while even the most bike-friendly American cities only achieve about 5%).6

    So it seems that induced demand works for both desirable and undesirable elements of traffic. Also, it seems that the 5. Gehl. p.48-50 6 CPH Annual Bike Report. p.19

    The realities of congestion that many Americans experience everyday is a result of induced demand - if you build it, they will come.

    Figure 8

    courtyard view

    Preliminary Models

    P: 612.718.3421 E: mageeish@gmail.com A: Buffalo, MN

    thesis Manual spreads

  • 18 Beyond Freeways: Transitions to a Livable Infrastructure

    Olympic Sculpture ParkSeattle, WashingtonWeiss / Manfredi Architects2007Figures 14+15

    The High LineNew York, New YorkField Operations2009Figures 19+22

    Berlin HauptbahnhofBerlin, GermanySchlaich Bergermann and Partners2006Figures 17+18

    Nice Ride MinnesotaTwin Cities, MinnesotaAlta Planning2010Figures 13+16

    Bo01Malmo, SwedenKlas Tham2001Figures 11+12

    Pedestrain Street NetworkCopenhagen, DenmarkGehl Architects1962Figures 20+21


    Figure 15

    Figure 14

    Figure 13

    Figure 12 Figure 11

    Figure 16

    19Derek Magee 2012 Tulane School of Architecture


    Enrich the everyday through enhancmentof necessary infrastructure.

    Connect positive elements that are currently fragmented.

    Reinvent rather than erase and create from a blank slate.

    Maximize positive effects though least possible intervention.

    Allow for diversity and spontaneity of use to emerge over time.

    Figure 17

    Figure 18

    Figure 19

    Figure 20

    Figure 21

    Figure 22

    24 Beyond Freeways: Transitions to a Livable Infrastructure

    Figure 28

    Figure 26

    Figure 27

    Figure 29

    Metro StationsCopenhagen, DenmarkKHR Architects2002

    Copenhagens award-winning metro system offers an excellent idea into the implementation of simple, efficient, and stylish transit. Key attributes of this system are the simplicity and consistancy of the design, even when applied to a variety of contexts. The metro station is a kit of parts, and while it can be tweaked to fit certain criteria, it largely remains identical when moving from station to station. This contributes to both a easier understanding for passengers and a stronger design conhesiveness that packages the metro identity into a building asthetic.

    The simple sectional strategy to bring daylighting down deep underground is another key attibute of these stations, this is both a sustainble strategy to minimize lighting cost and an effort to make platforms more inviting and safe. Underground never feels claustraphobic, especailly with vertical circulation logically and prominently placed.

    Also, these stations never disrupt much on the surface, only existing as public stairs leading down and small skylights that appear almost scuptural in public squares. The unobstrusiveness is excellent, every peice exists for a function, and does not distract for any other purpose.

    These stations do not have any additional program built into them, but that mostly is possible because of the richness of the context they plug into. It remains to be seen what is possible for Minneapolis.

    25Derek Magee 2012 Tulane School of Architecture

    System MapFigure 26

    Station Plan + SectionFigure 27

    Escalator Interior ViewFigure 28

    Train + PlatformFigure 29

    Sectional ModelFigure 30

    Station InteriorFigure 31

    Figure 31

    Figure 30

    station view

    final Model

    Presentation Board (Next) 7

  • 9

  • Derek Magee


    facility Plan (office, Demo Kitchen, classroom) Pavilion Plan

    campus Master Plan

    P: 612.718.3421 E: mageeish@gmail.com A: Buffalo, MN