Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Monday Lectures

We were lucky to receive two lectures today: Greg Lynn and Nader Tehrani. Greg teaches at UCLA and was giving a lecture as part of a Fall Open House for the school to prospective students. It was mostly an introduction to his work so I had seen most of it before although he presented a large development project in Las Vegas that was interesting. His various schemes for incorporating functions across multiple city blocks relates to our discussions in Research Studio and Thom's belief that architects will more often have to play the role of city planner. Lynn's preferred scheme was more sectional locating public functions at elevated volumes between ground and high-rise. Urban Design seems to be increasingly relying on sectional differentiation more than simple vertical extrusions.
This week's Monday night lecture was a principal from Office DA in Boston. Their work has a formal basis that breaks surfaces down to intricate geometric components. They also were doing a large urban project in Kuwait. Pretty sophisticated geometrically and materially, it outshone his meager lecture,

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Studio- Project Sources

My main agenda for the studio project is to study a compound curving surfaces as a way to get a deeper and broader understanding of controlling curves. Its by far, more complex geometrically than I typically design. Instead of the blob route, I'm trying to create a predominantly concave appearance- spaces collapsing inward but doing so not by eradicating convex surfaces but with a rhythm of concave and convex crossings similar to the time-lapse photographs of milk drops in D'Arcy Thompson's On Growth and Form (a book referenced a lot here). I am also reading a few Greg Lynn essays, not out of an interest for his work but because his writings on curvature are more thought out in terms of the larger history of order in architecture.

Studio- Intake Experience

These are early renderings of the studio project which is a pavilion to present a Boeing 737 both for commercial and educational reasons. The theme of the studio is fluidity with this project focusing on air dynamics and the second project will focus on water. The scale of the project is intentionally between that of architecture and industrial design so new typologies of curvature are considered as well as manufacturing techniques (such as vacuum forming aluminum or plastic) that normally pertain to product design.

Tech- Presentation Boards

These are the five boards from Friday's presentation. Jason really likes our project because it is more of a prototype for connecting a family of details with a topographic surface rather than a literal interpretation of a flower. As of now there are 6 modules that form a cylinder-like volume with compression ring joints at either end. Each module is composed of three pieces: two outer enclosures and an inner piece that twist to use its edge to stiffen and guide the outer two. This week was mostly an analytical week, new pulls are required for next Friday's presentation.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Tech- Vacuum Form Mold

Detail prototypes were due Monday. The vacuum-forming process can take a long time, having first to model and mill your mold then you have to pull it twice: once with ABS plastic to coat and protect it and a second time with PETG plastic for the final product. The mold is an expensive rigid foam that is milled with a three axis mill receiving input directly form the computer.

Lectures- Everywhere

UCLA: Our first lecture of the season was Peter Frankfurt, a partner at Imaginary Forces:
The lecture focused on their projects ranging from their start in film titles (begining with "seven") to what he called experience design which involved information and interface integrated with interior (mostly corporate) environments. they also worked with United Architects on the WTC competition, pushing the group to create storyboards and consider the project from the cinematic eye of the passerby on the sidewalk. The film they made is on the website: http://imaginaryforces.com/if.html

SCI-ARC: Wednesday night a few of us braved rush hour to hear Manuel De Landa speak about Gilles Deleuze and the Algorhytmic in Architecture. Hard to understand at first, it turned out to be eye-opening and very relevant to our technology class and its discourse on manifolds.

BAY AREA: Jason Payne and Heather Roberge of Gnuform will be speaking at CCA October 23rd. I recommend going to all my friends in San Francisco. Jason was my summer studio professor and teaches my technology course this quarter. He has some interesting ideas about biology and bringing physics back to indexical architectural studies.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

TECH- Week 2 Boards

Boards from last Friday's tech class included analysis of the botanical illustration (continued from previous week) as well as three iterations of proposals for translating selected forms and connections. We've focused on the twisting expansion of the petals from the stem as well petal topography and structure. Class consisted of group presentations and discussion of the week's reading on dynamic plant structures and similarities and differences to building statics. It was a great essay from Plant Biomechanics by Karl Niklas (chapter 7- The Mechanical Attributes of Organs). Next Friday, our first vacuum-formed pieces are due: mock-up of primary joints.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Fall Theory Course

My theory course this quarter is with Sci-Arc professor Michael Speaks. It began with the book Supermodernism by Hans Ibeling as a launching point to discuss what is modern and postmodern in order to project what supermodernism (still in its infancy) might end up being. The course revolves around architecture but also counts on art, politics, philosophy, etc for its definitions. So far we're still in the modernism part of the discussion and readings have included: Foucault's writing on discipline and the panopticon, Marx's observations on modernism and modernization, Walter Benjamin's Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, a russian film by Dziga Vertov and Society of Spectacle by Guy Debord. Its an introductory course for the first years, but many of the M.Arch2s are taking it because Speaks is relatively well known and a very good speaker.

Opening distinctions:




Summer Theory Course- book available

Our writings from the summer course Logistical Modernity (I've posted some of my mine already) have been made in to a book and is available through online publisher Lulu. It costs 8 dollars plus another 8 for S&H. Here's the link:

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Research Studio- First Meeting

This morning was our first meeting with Thom Mayne for Research Studio. Our meetings will occur every Saturday morning at the office of Morphosis. The project is a critique of New Urbanism and a return to the ideas of Team 10- an urban planning/ architecture group from the 1970s. Outside of the New Urbanists, Thom sees not much being done in the development of urban planning since the 70s. Rem Koolhaas's criticisms point to a similar reconsideration of 70s planning.

The project will be planning one of the satellite cities that is developing around the city of Madrid. The city is developing in a nodal, networking pattern similar to Los Angeles. In February we will travel to Madrid for a week to investigate the site, meet with the mayor and other city officials as well as meet with local architects like Rafael Moneo. The 14 students in the studio all seemed very excited by today's meeting as Thom is really into the project for this year and is devoting resources from Morphosis towards the endeavor.

Tech- Week 1

For tech class, our chosen flower is the daffodil, scientific name narcissus pseudonarcissus. The class starts with a review of botanical drawings by early 20thc botanist Arthur Harry Church. We've begun with more of a biomimicry approach to the form and structure of the flower and will move to a more abstract project but maintain a precise language and detailing suited to the development of volume and joinery in vacuum-formed plastic.