A Roof in Baker, CA
2019 Columbia GSAPP Kersten Geers (OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severn) Baker. It’s a town that is a stopping point between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The desert in baker is flat and hot and its survival as a township of 700 residents hinges on the economy of the 1000 or so daily transients coming through for gas, rest, food, and the world’s largest thermometer… The scheme is a roof. As opposed to a building that houses all of the functions of a town, the roof represents a simple futuristic vision this desert town. The architecture in turn produces two things- shade and power via solar panel. The form that the roof takes is primarily following the highway. In the other direction it expands to reach over the existing side roads. The roof covers, for a short time, the drive along the highway and entices a longer stay. The strategy for the structure is to paradoxically become as thin as possible despite the enormity of the project, and in so doing is attempting to become an atmospheric part of the life under the structure as opposed to overbearing. The column is the module of the system- its shape is dictated by two equal factors. It’s arched profile allows a large span structural grid with less steel (an in return less columns interrupting life below), and the smoothness of the form resists hard shadow. It is made of welded steel sections that support the upper structure filtering light. The structural grid of columns follow the orientation of the highway, which is 45 degrees to north-south.