Materials And Design – The Final Project

Our final project for the Materials and Design course was, in a group of four, select a moment of one of our final projects, and reconstruct it at a larger scale, taking into account how  the larger scale would affect both design and materiality of the moment. The section also had to be movable/transformable in some form. While it needed not be an exact replica of one of the projects, its design intent had to be formed from that of the project.

The section I was in, which included friends/classmates Jesse, Erik, and Lauren as well as myself, chose a moment from Erik’s final pavilion design. We took this reference and constructed a large, long strand or chain, which could be twisted/spiraled to form various shapes. Each member of the chain was built out of three sheets of basswood that were them laminated together. The members each had a slot in the center, through which a sheet of acrylic could slide. These acrylic sheets were used to fit through multiple, parallel members, and thus hold whatever form was chosen together. The members were connected via a pin connection, to allow for free rotation.

Below are some attached images to better illustrate the design.

M+D Final Project

photo credit Erik

M+D Final Project

photo credit Erik


Materials & Design (2) – Curious Concrete

While the rest of my pavilion work stumbled (eventually successfully) along, Materials and Design was also shifting gears. Following our return from a (very short) spring break, our focus was turned from the formation of basic structures to the materials that make them up. The entire class was divided into 12 or so groups, to cover a wide variety of materials – mine was given concrete. Each group would then go out and explore their material in a multitude of forms, taking photographs and documenting how it is affected by light, moisture, time, weather, etc. We were also asked to research the material extensively, from not only it’s composition, but where it comes from and how it is used (with architectural examples). The idea being that, at the end of the semester, all the materials would be combined into a handbook, which would then be properly printed and a copy distributed to each of us. I have yet to see this handbook, but hopefully it will appear at some point soon.

Below I have attached the ten final photographs that my group submitted. These photos were jointly taken by myself, along with fellow classmates Erik, Jesse, Royd, and Aaron.

Materials & Design (1) – An Introduction to Structures

Outside of our main studio/design class, all of the first years also took our first structure-related course, entitled “Materials and Design” – here we were introduced to not only basic structural systems such as the column and beam, but also to various materials. Most of our learning was through hands-on, exploratory work as opposed to straight research.

The first portion of the class, which lasted for about 4 weeks or so, tasked us with the creation of various structural systems that were required to hold a certain amount of weight, usually bricks, without breaking. For the majority of the tasks I was paired up with a fellow student and friend Jesse. Our process usually consisted of various sketches and incredulous head-scratching as we tried to figure out how we were supposed to support a multitude of bricks with such a small amount of material. Eventually we would build a design and test it, at which point it would inevitably fail catastrophically. We would examine the breaking points of the structure, and attempt to modify it to support more weight. This typically repeated a couple times until we had satisfied the weight requirements for the project (or were at a loss as to how to proceed). We would then bring our various designs to class to have them be tested there and allow the professor to comment on the design.

At the end of the project(s) we compiled all the designs into a small booklet, which I have included here.