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.

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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 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 basis 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!

Final Project Part 3: The Drawings

The final portion of our pavilion project was to continue our digital drawings throughout the process, making similar drawings but in relation to our final pavilion design. This included, like at previous stages of our project, various sections to scale, an abstracted perspective, and a couple photographic shots to illustrate lighting and multiple, perhaps unapparent angles.

Final Sections Final Perspective

Joint Exploration – Various Drawings

Following the transformation and construction of our joint (and the subsequent drawings illustrating our process), we were asked to explore the nature of our joint through two new 30″ x 30″ drawings – one showing multiple views of the joint (plan, section, elevation), the other a more “abstract” perspective drawing. I chose to include a blue color-scheme beyond the simple gray tones because I wanted to emphasize the central connector piece, similar to my choice to construct the piece out of wood for the physical model.

A perspective exploration of the joint. I chose to explode the pieces to emphasize/show the inner and outer natures of the joint.

A perspective exploration of the joint. I chose to explode the pieces to emphasize/show the inner and outer natures of the joint.

Another exploration of the joint, utilizing various views (section, plan, and elevation).

Another exploration of the joint, utilizing various views (section, plan, and elevation).

We were also asked to explore the model we had built through photography, experimenting with camera placement, lighting, and various “construction” methods, i.e. organizing the parts of the joints in systems they may not have originally been designed for.

The four final, edited photos, showing various viewpoints and configurations of the joint.

The four final, edited photos, showing various viewpoints and configurations of the joint.

EDIT 06.25.13: added updated drawings.

Constructing a Pavilion – The Beginning

The main project for our 2nd year Design Studio class is the construction of a pavilion that would theoretically be constructed on an actual site in downtown Troy NY. The pavilion must be constructed as a “flexible” space, allowing for both performances as well as relaxation/lounging, both spontaneous and organized. For our section, the pavilion is limited to roughly 1/3 of the total square footage of the site (or roughly 1500 sq ft out of a total 4600 sq ft), and should address issues such as permanence vs temporariness, exterior vs interior, and public vs private.

To begin the project, each student was given a joint based off of a “connection” between two beams that did not utilize anything other than the beam material (i.e. no external nailing). We were asked to transform these joints in various ways to explore the connection and how it could be opened/closed in various ways. From these transformations we then constructed 4″ x 4″ x 12″ study models of the joint (sometimes multiple times as the joint evolved). I chose a mixture of basswood and cold press (as I wanted to bring out the central piece that attached the outer two pieces) – I was particularly interested in the outer vs. the inner, and how your perception of the joint changed as you took it apart.

Two 15″ x 60″ drawings were also made to illustrate the transformation process – one in axonometric view, the other in plan.

A compilation of the two transformation drawings. The left shows an axonometric view of the joint, while the right shows a plan view of the joint (both top and bottom).

A compilation of the two transformation drawings. The left shows an axonometric view of the joint, while the right shows a plan view of the joint (both top and bottom).

The original study model of the joint (corresponds step 3 on the transformation drawings).

The original study model of the joint (corresponds step 3 on the transformation drawings).

The original study model of the joint, exploded to show its internal nature.

The original study model of the joint, exploded to show its internal nature.

The second iteration (study model) of the joint.

The second iteration (study model) of the joint.

The second iteration (study model) of the joint, exploded to illustrate its internal nature.

The second iteration (study model) of the joint, exploded to illustrate its internal nature.

EDIT 06.25.13: added updated drawings.

Drawing – Phase Two

After our first set of digital drawings were created, we were tasked with the creation of two more digital drawings at 48″ x 18″, one for a pair of our four larger joints. These drawings also used out grids, mars landscape, and various views of our joint – however, we were asked to imagine that the views of our joints were flat and and had been super-imposed onto our existing grids, creating a new grid. We then imagined this new grid to be extruded, and taking four sections of this imaginary extrusion, created our new digital images. These images also included a variation of the same color scheme that we had used on our joints.

One of the two 48" x 18" digital images, showing 4 sections of the imaginary extrusion of the new grid.

One of the two 48″ x 18″ digital images, showing 4 sections of the imaginary extrusion of the new grid.

The second of the two new digital images. This one turned out a bit more precise than the first.

The second of the two new digital images. This one turned out a bit more precise than the first.