Busk Shelter — An Architectural Design Case Study

Kristen S
7 min readAug 11, 2020


Walkthrough of my final CAD of my Busk Shelter Design

Awarded 1st place in the 2014 DX Sears Candian High School Design Competition, in the Junior Architecture/Interior Design Category


While walking through the busy streets of urban cities, busking is a common sight, however sometimes the sound does not project well throughout the area and with larger crowds around you, you will not notice them.


The Street Musician Shelter’s purpose is to provide cover and sound projection for street musicians. Using proper materials, the sound will project outwards more and in a shelter, musicians will have a fixed space to play in, instead of being crammed on the street amidst a crowd. The unique design of these shelters will make them more noticeable, especially for smaller groups or soloists.


In grade 9, my school’s design and technology class entered the Sears DX High School Design Competition, a competition open to all high school students at the junior and senior levels. The competition offers challenges in 5 categories: Architecture/Interior Design, Costume Design, Fashion Design, Graphic Design & Industrial Design. We all entered the Architecture/Interior Design Category.

“Design an urban shelter for a location in your city/town. The structure can be a bus shelter, a cooling and/or warming station, or may serve another purpose of your choosing. The shelter must provide shade, seating and a water source. Consider local weather conditions while creating your design and researching your building materials. The seller should have a maximum foot print of 15’ x 15’.”

​Design Process

The project would last over a course of approximately 4 months, where 1 month will be dedicated to the investigation portion of the project while the remaining 3 months will be for designing and creating a prototype.

Primary Research
The purpose of primary research is to look at real objects, personally instead of making observations through pictures and videos. For this project, our class will be visiting public bus shelters around our school to get an idea of their traits, dimensions and purposes. We will then reconstruct these shelters in either a CAD program (in this case, Sketchup Make) or design program (Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop), using the shelters’ lengths, heights and widths. Below, are the reconstructed shelters that I created, which also happens to be my first time using Sketchup.

Measuring one of 2 bus shelters and remodeling it in Sketchup

Secondary Research
For my secondary research, I first looked into a few different public shelters and tried to find similarities between them whether it was the purposes they served or their design. Looking at how my shelter would be structured, I researched about potential shapes and materials my structure could be made up of. In regards to how I would design the shelter, I chose two architects (Moriyama & Teshima and the Sjölander da Cruz Architects), and researched their architectural styles by looking at notable pieces of work such as the Canadian War Museum and River Douglass Bridge (the two works that inspired two major components of my final product).

Design Specifications

The design stage required that each individual came up with 3 distinct designs, which followed these specifications:

  • The public shelter can only cover a 15 feet by 15 feet area. It can be smaller (for example 12’ x 10’) but not bigger (for example 16’ x 23’)
  • The public shelter must reflect on your chosen architect(s) and the style he/they use.
  • The public shelter must be able to withstand the weather and climate in Ontario.
  • Each shelter must have a water source as well as a seating area.

I also created some of my own specifications as well:

  • Must be very unique and stand out in the area, without the use of strong colours but instead shapes
  • Must look attractive as well and big enough so that it can fit at least 6 people without being crowded
  • The structure is also to be designed for a park setting.

Design #1

Sketchup Walkthrough of Design #1

Key Features
The stage has a diameter of 5’1” while the roof covers the 15’ by 15’ area. This public shelter seems to be in the shape of a gazebo and it has been designed for a park setting. The roof is made up of polygons and triangles around the rim. I have used many shapes for this design to bring out the Moriyama and Teshima style. To meet the uniqueness specification, I have multiplied and scaled each “parasol shaped” ceiling composed of wood and steel bars so that 3 of the shapes of different sizes will fit over the 15’ by 15’ area. I used the sense of repetition to illustrate the architectural style of Moriyama and Teshima and how they created buildings with very similar shapes of different sizes.

The structure is not as open because I did not want the musicians to have too much wind blowing their belongings and sheet music. Glass walls allow for people to see through the sides. Plain colours have been used to allow for the design to blend in with a park scenery (silver makes it stand out while brown and green blend in with trees and such). This shelter has a sink behind it (attached to the back). Musicians can wash hands or clean their instruments. The sink may not work in the Winter (water may freeze) but not many musicians perform when it is really cold as the conditions will not be good for the instruments and people do not walk around as much. (Less usage in Winter)

Improvements in the future would include making sure that each parasol is at the same angle for a neater appearance. I would also change the size of the base because it seems a bit too small.

Design #2

Sketchup Walkthrough of Design #2

Key Features
This design covers the 15’ x 15’ square (15 feet wide in the front and 6’7” in the back). It does not have a sink like my first one, but it does have another water source- my shelter has a green roof on the top and the slanted roof is designed to collect water and send it to a storage area below the grass. They keep the dirt moist and the green roof growing. This green roof provides the electricity for the lights.

In the winter where there is snow, the green roof may not work. Especially in a place with no rain, the shelter would not have electricity. Ontario is a place with lots of rain and it is cloudy during a majority of the year, so I felt that the green rood would be more effective than solar panels.This design does not use bright colours but instead just brown and steel. I feel that if I paint the wood or steel, the paint will peel off in the cold weather. On some of the structures the Sjölander da Cruz Architects created, the materials were not always painted but instead had a special coating that protected it from damage. This finishing is what I would on my structure.

To Improve, I would probably fix the shape of the structure itself because I find that there is a lot of weight in the front from the roof and the width is about 15 feet. In the back, it is much smaller and the structure would probably tip if not secured properly.

Design #3

Sketchup Walkthrough of Design #3

I wanted to create a design that was more open to the park atmosphere. The structure is a rectangular shape, with a roof scaled to a larger size than the stage. The musician shelter contains a sink, between two seating areas, meant to hold one person each. The stage is made to be more open so that sound can be heard from all angles, clearer and people can watch from all angles without a non-transparent wall to block their sight.

This street musician shelter also uses solar panels to power the lights. This is another renewable energy source besides the green roof. I have also chosen to use many geometric shapes that are stretched (as seen with the chairs) to incorporate the style of Moriyama and Teshima. I tried to make the whole structure a stage, unlike the other two designs which had a covered area in the back half and the front half was the stage to perform in.

The Sjölander da Cruz Architects created many open structures as well and that is where I got the idea of creating an open staged street musician shelter.

In the future, I plan to change the shape of the roof so that it is not so plain and more interesting. Instead of using the same colours, I would use darker greys as well as yellows and greens to bring out the structure more. I would also make use of the space in the back a bit more because the seats seem to be off the ground since the pole is attached, and not exactly a part of the flooring.

Final Design

To get a physical visual of my design, I created a prototype made of cardboard, cardstock, bristol board, white glue and hot glue. The measurement conversions from my original design to the prototype was

1' → 1.” The construction of the prototype allowed me to get a glimpse of the structure’s weaknesses such as where extra support is needed in the frame to hold up the heavy roof.

Final Posters

After months of research, designing, and experimenting, the competition required all contestants to present their ideas on a maximum of 3 11"x17" boards. Below, is my final submission!

Poster 1 of 3
Poster 2 of 3
Poster 3 of 3



Kristen S

UW Systems Design Engineering Student and aspiring product designer. kristenshiozaki.me