A Stab at Perforations

One thing that had yet to be addressed in my Artist Residency design was apertures. Windows, doors, any form of opening. I had thought only of the skin, and thus a distinct boundary between interior and exterior. But there had to be ways for people to cross that boundary. I needed an entrance, I needed windows.

My first attempt at windows tried to mimic the triangulation already present on the surface. I created similarly triangular apertures that snaked across multiple surfaces, to try and tie the areas together. I also made the decision for the internal tunnels to be inside the building, meaning I had to create some sort of entrance way where these tunnels exited the structure. Why I chose to enclose this space entirely, at this point I cannot remember. In retrospect, it perhaps would have been more interesting to keep them open.

With these new perforations, I created a couple new exterior renders to give myself a sense of the project.

Preliminary triangulation of exterior skin. Includes window apertures. Front view.

Preliminary triangulation of exterior skin. Includes window apertures. Front view.

Preliminary triangulation of exterior skin. Includes window apertures. Top view.

Preliminary triangulation of exterior skin. Includes window apertures. Top view.

I also began to play around with renderings of the new entrance area.

Preliminary rendering of entrance area, daytime.

Preliminary rendering of entrance area, daytime.

Preliminary rendering of entrance area, nighttime.

Preliminary rendering of entrance area, nighttime.

A Step in the Right Direction – Incorporating Pevsner

After struggling through the past few weeks trying to create something resembling a building, I brought my project to my section critic to ask for some guidance. His first response: “Where’s the Pevsner?” And that’s where it hit me – After spending weeks analyzing and exploring our given sculptures, I had moved on to creating the building and parti from scratch, with no consideration to our previous project. Where was the Pevsner indeed?

With a new direction, I returned to the drawing board so-to-speak, and recreated the massing from scratch using my generative version of the Pevsner sculpture “Developable Column.” I used my initial parti to guide the placement of four “columns”, which I them melded and merged and mushed together in Maya (ahh, alliteration), using the shape of the generative model to create the forms and spaces, and also the voids or “light wells.” The interior spaces of the model became tunnels through the center of the massing, allowing for circulation through the building. This gave me the idea of using these interior spaces as circulation paths for the public visitors, allowing them to enter, move around, and then exit the building without ever moving into the spaces of the artists. Thus, I added one more large depression at the rear of the building, with the intent of creating a “whirlpool” to pull visitors down into the building from the main museum building and Storm King facilities above.

Two contour drawings of the 2nd iteration of my residency - one in plan showing various circulation paths, the other in elevation (from the front).

Two contour drawings of the 2nd iteration of my residency – one in plan showing various circulation paths, the other in elevation (from the front).

A preliminary section of an uncreased (no hard edges) version of the residency, to begin illustrating the interior tunnels.

A preliminary section of an uncreased (no hard edges) version of the residency, to begin illustrating the interior tunnels.

The next step of the project was to build a model for our midterm review. I used the same process as the previous Pevsner sculptural exploration – a stacked model made of 1/16th taskboard. This created a massing model of the building that nicely illustrated my intention to have it flow directly from the site and surrounding landscape.

Residency v2 - Massing Model (front)

Residency v2 – Massing Model (front) (photo credit Andrew and Christian)

Residency v2 - Massing Model (rear)

Residency v2 – Massing Model (rear) (photo credit Andrew and Christian)

I also created a few preliminary renders to help illustrate the form – one from the exterior, and one inside the tunnels.

Residency v2 - Exterior Render

Residency v2 – Exterior Render

Residency v2 - Interior Render

Residency v2 – Interior Render

Light Wells, or “I’m Underground – I Need Light!”

With a preliminary parti and a site location, now I had to deal with the actual structure. I knew that I wanted to have the residency merge from/into the surrounding landscape, but how to accomplish this? Since we were modeling in Maya at this point (and for the rest of the semester pretty heavily), I decided to quite literally take the landscape into Maya, and drag/drape it over the parti to create the building’s massing. Once again, this was a very crude and unsuccessful method (and I very quickly changed it), but at this point I was a bit lost as to how to proceed.

This draping technique, and the fact that a lot of the rooms were underground, led to another problem – light. How could those underground see without using tons of artificial light? My answer? Light wells, or “whirlpools” as they became. This was also a great opportunity to try and re-introduce some of the design elements of the Antoine Pevsner sculpture and my generative reforming of it. This using of our previous sculptural explorations was also part of the assignment, and something that I had yet to properly address.

I also decided to elevate the studio spaces, in an attempt to allow them to see more of the landscape/site, and also to prevent the public that may be milling about to peer into their private space. This also allowed me to bring the public spaces out from behind the rest of the spaces by putting them down below the studios and gathering spaces.

The second version of my preliminary siteplan (left) and a basic wireframe parti (right), this time with light wells.

The second version of my preliminary siteplan (left) and a basic wireframe parti (right), this time with light wells.

Interior rendering of the first version of the residency (massing only)

Interior rendering of the first version of the residency (massing only)

Exterior rendering of the first version of the residency (massing only)

Exterior rendering of the first version of the residency (massing only)

 

 

Phase 1, Part 3 – Generative Model

At ┬áthis point in our 3rd semester, we had all not only thoroughly examined and interpreted our sculpture, but also explored how it might be changed and reformed to meet different needs. Our various analytical and generative drawings attempted to express this clearly. But of course, only so much can be communicated through drawing, and so it was time to build our first model of the semester. In my section, we were all tasked to reconstruct the generative 9 ” cube models we had designed digitally, using a particular stacking method. This was most easily done through a program called “123D Make” – a free program put out by Autodesk that allows you to create physical models from digital ones with relative ease. Import a .stl file (which can be exported from either Rhino or Maya), and the software calculates one of various construction methods, including stacked slices, interlocking grids, and polygonal folding (click here to check out the website). The program will then create the cut files, ready to be sent to the laser cutter (although the settings on our laser cutters require a bit of tweaking first).

For this particular model, all 15 of us in Prof. Saunder’s section used a vertical stacking method, with 1/16 Taskboard as our construction material. Using this software coupled with the laser cutter, model preparation time was extremely quick. And given the ease of assembly with this particular system, actually constructing the model was even quicker. These models were prepared and then constructed in probably 2-3 days. The hardest part was finding a time when the laser cutter was open!

Below are a few photographs of my generative model. All photos taken by classmates Andrew Kim and Christian Gartland.

EDIT 01/13 – Images now correctly show.

Antoine Pevsner - Sculptural Analysis 9" Generative Model (vertically stacked taskboard)

Antoine Pevsner – Sculptural Analysis
9″ Generative Model (vertically stacked taskboard)

Antoine Pevsner - Sculptural Analysis 9" Generative Model (vertically stacked taskboard)

Antoine Pevsner – Sculptural Analysis
9″ Generative Model (vertically stacked taskboard)

Antoine Pevsner - Sculptural Analysis 9" Generative Model (vertically stacked taskboard)

Antoine Pevsner – Sculptural Analysis
9″ Generative Model (vertically stacked taskboard)

Antoine Pevsner - Sculptural Analysis 9" Generative Model (vertically stacked taskboard)

Antoine Pevsner – Sculptural Analysis
9″ Generative Model (vertically stacked taskboard)

Antoine Pevsner - Sculptural Analysis 9" Generative Model (vertically stacked taskboard)

Antoine Pevsner – Sculptural Analysis
9″ Generative Model (vertically stacked taskboard)

Antoine Pevsner - Sculptural Analysis 9" Generative Model (vertically stacked taskboard)

Antoine Pevsner – Sculptural Analysis
9″ Generative Model (vertically stacked taskboard)

Phase 1 (Part 2) – The Generative Process

Moving forward from the analysis portion of our “sculptural phase,” the next task required taking our analysis and “generating” something new with it. Essentially this meant taking the form, movement, and intentions that we had learned about the sculpture from our analysis, and moving them forward with our own interpretation. For our section, this meant taking the form, and “extending” it to meet a 9″ cube. Antoine Pevsner and Noam Gabo utilized in most of their work the idea of a “developable surface”, i.e. a flat surface that could then be warped and turned to form a 3D object. This meant that, while the form has the intention of volume, it wasn’t actually voluminous. But for our 9″ cube, we had to give it thickness, forcing us to consider how volume and depth might suddenly be explored, while still attempting to use Pevsner’s and Gabo’s original intentions (but of course warping them a bit).

To help facilitate this 3D molding process, we were introduced to AutoDesk’s Maya, a 3D animation tool widely used for film and other animations. However, Maya uses a different kind of 3D modeling algorithm – mainly, it deals with polygons that approximate smooth surfaces, rather than Rhino’s calculus-based “absolute” geometry (NURBS – which apparently stands for “Non-uniform rational┬ábasis spline”, whatever that means). This new type of modeling took quite some time to get used to, and I still feel that I do not fully understand all of it. But it quickly became apparent that the software would be instrumental to our design process.

Below are the 4 boards from the previous post, but edited and re-formed to include this new, generative process.

Pevsner - Developable Column - Generative Board 1 Analytical views.

Pevsner – Developable Column – Generative Board 1
Analytical views.

Pevsner - Developable Column - Generative Board 2 Method of construction + Renderings.

Pevsner – Developable Column – Generative Board 2
Method of construction + Renderings.

Pevsner - Developable Column - Generative Board 3 Generative process.

Pevsner – Developable Column – Generative Board 3
Generative process.

Pevsner - Developable Column - Generative Board 4 Generative model.

Pevsner – Developable Column – Generative Board 4
Generative model.

Next up: The generative process model!