USC School of Architecture - 500A
Test Track is a proposal for a 7-story 35,000 square-foot research center for autonomous technologies in San Francisco. The project explores how architecture might be designed to suit human occupants while at the same time providing an environment that contains various challenges for climbing, flying, and swimming robots. It is a building for both humans and machines.
There are various ways to move throughout the project, from traditional fire-stairs and elevators best suited for human occupants, to an open atrium that connects all levels for flying and climbing drones. The primary circulatory path, however, is the test track, which wraps around the building and provides a means of movement for both aerial drones and humans. This track has the ability to be closed off on special occasions and transformed into a FPV quadcopter racing loop. The track ends in a massive column-free zone made possible by cantilevering the top two floors off of the core and structural atrium.
The facade system of the project plays off of the beautiful brick texture and color of the surrounding warehouses in San Francisco's South-of-Market district, while at the same time letting in varying amounts of daylight. These fortress-like surroundings call for a more urban-friendly intervention that takes the form of a public coffee shop and outdoor seating that pierce the ground floor.
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