Archive for the 'Camera Obscura' Category

Arrange and Conquer

Over the last couple of hours I’ve been looking at what I call “arrangement diagrams” but the wider architectural community most probably have a more educated and informed name for. But that’s what I’m using them for so why not create your own name, there’s no point wasting time trying to sound more educated than you are and no time for anything really as deadlines draw closer. I’m going to keep this one short and sweet and to the point.

These diagrams are used to split your building into its individual elements, most commonly to examine the structural elements but also to create a stylised plan view which easily allows the user to group and associate different areas of the building. One of the best examples I’ve seen of this is by the Bjarke Ingels Group (predictably) with their extraordinary breakdown of their “8-Building” but below are some other fantastic examples. It also allows you to visually demonstrate the themes in your building (above you can see I’ve tried to show the light difference in each of the rooms on the right and give some hint of the material quality in the left-hand example) or really show people exactly how clever the skin of your building really is (below). There you are, an effective and beautiful method for showing your work, which is all architectural presentation really aspires to be.

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Design Report Update

This is the difficult part about daily posts, when you’re working on a massive body of work that only really works in its entirity. It’s lovely when I can say “this is what I’ve done today” and even better when I can relate it to something I’ve read or seen, thereby bringing my work into the sphere of the real and relevant. However, this is not always the case. Over the next two weeks I’ll be working on a “design report” which is a complete guide to my progression through this project. This will include precedent studies, acedemic research, generation of form, identity of materials and building techniques, notes on construction and any other details or issues that came up during this term. While this is interesting, it’s a major grind at times so I see this blog, at the moment, as a chance to get away from it, to talk more generally about architecture and to get some distance from my own work. This is different from term-time when I produce smaller pieces, re-hashes and sketches on an almost daily basis.

For what it’s worth, I have a work-in-progress of my design report, it helps to produce a pdf of my work so that I can look at it more objectively, rather than in an indesign document with its janky guides and options flying round the side. Titles remain unfixed till right at the end but the general gist of the material is there. I’ll stop making excuses now… Camera Obscura Design Report IN PROGRESS.

Super Graphics

So we’re swiftly approaching the final presentation for this Camera Obscura Project and I’ve spent this weekend knocking up my sheets for Tuesday. What I’ve done is instead of walking the viewer through my inspirations, my precedents and my site analysis, what I’ve sided with is a more aspirational, experiential montage of how the spaces relate to each other. My design revolves around the projection of data and film and the different ways a person can experience that, be it through immersion, information, scale, reaction or interaction.

This is what is being called a “super graphic”, a quick, punchy explanation of a project in two A1 sheets, It will be presented alongside a 1:500 site model and 1:100 individual models of the different interventions.

Short #1

Something I was knocking up this morning, mind you a solid 3 hours knocking… This is a combination of a V-Ray render on SketchUp, layered with some simple line graphics from SketchUp. Then I took famous buildings from across the world and thresholded them and added a blur layer and other gubbins to fit them into the scene. I’m trying not to sound too much like a 5 year old telling a story but THEN I sketched the figures in my pad, scanned them and inverted them. Finally I took some more buildings (one of which is the Taj Mahal which felt a bit too far but it’s done now) and placed them on the blocks in the scene.

In my proposal, you won’t be able to project 3D objects from the shapes themselves but these type of images are all about the emotive experience of the building. The sense that you can change cities, uproot sky-scrapers.

First Big Weekend of the Spring Term

Right so for better or for worse Tech week is now over, we’ve handed in the initial part of the assessment and will press on with that next wednesday. Above is a render of my model of the Cesar Chavez Library in Arizona and this week we’ve been building both physical and virtual models of its components. It’s been a nice change of pace to be building things and looking at existing buildings but ultimately group work relies on everyone pulling their weight which has sadly not been the case. Overall I’ll be glad to get back to some solo work where the only one to blame for missing deadlines is myself.

Enough moaning though because that way lies madness. What I want to talk about in this post is my plans for Tuesday’s presentation which could turn out to be a bit of a humdinger… After my initial research into QR codes earlier in the week I began thinking about a talk I’d seen at TED where a virtual projection had been associated with a block image to allow the person presenting to rotate the image in front of the camera while on screen he appears to be holding a model of an Eiffel Tower! After some brief internet searches I came across this gem of a website and began coding my own flash program. In the end I got this:

This is basically what I want to achieve with my other gallery space. I want people to be able to move Manchester around and transform the city using only blocks with QR codes on them. This mix of physicality and virtual existence perfectly fits the brief and I can’t wait to realy experiment with this code to use my own models for my presentation on Tuesday. We shall see…

Phase II Projection

This will just be a short post as I’m working on two projects simultaneously at the moment. Above is a video I made over the weekend as part of a proposal for the Lloyd Street area of our “Camera Obscura” project. The idea revolves around a long white piece of material spanning the site, projected onto from below by the “information pipeline” sharing information about the gallery and dedicated server speed for the advanced computing required to run the electronic hub space in the Peace Gardens. The idea reflects the vaulted gallery space in the hall and what will be proposed for the hub space as well, giving a continuity of form to a project that if not properly managed could become disparate and ungainly. The idea of verticle design in Gothic Architecture is brought through in this way and it will also allow for some interesting visual experiments in the space having that connecting ribbon running along above the pedestrians. This also gives reflected lighting to the space giving it a more delicate and nuanced appearance which I hope to visualise in the near future. Until then here’s a quick initial sketch to give a general impression:

The most exciting bit of today’s news however is my ever so massively behind the times acknowledgement of QR codes which, for the uninitiated are those little square labels you find on things like leaflets, clothes labels and the like. They hold more information than bar codes and can be expanded to suit to complexity of the material meaning almost infinite permutations. I found a website called QR-code generator which lets you make your own! So, in true networking fashion I’ve made one for this blog right here. How riveting.

Gallery Tryptic

The gallery I’ve been devising over the last week revolves around three different areas of the space and the light they receive. The first, “display”, is a space for presentation of photography and art. Lit from above the artwork on show will be protected by UV resistant membrane skins suspended below the window. This is the main view of the gallery. The second is “orientation”, a space to arrive, to leave your coat and to arrange your thoughts. Mainstay collections will be arranged here as well as information desks and toilets. Neither dark nor light this is the hub of the gallery. And thirdly, my favourite, is “projection”, A space to watch films about Manchester’s architecture, films about architecture and architectural films. Visitors will emerge into a moving arctive space or possibly activate the space themselves.

It’s nice being able to express a scheme in three simple images, even nicer to be able to express yourself visually in the first place. Some people are good at presentations because they can talk eloquantly and freely about whatever, they can sell their scheme. I have had the problem from day one of this course that I cannot talk to a group. Recently this problem has been dissippated slightly by a rise in confidence in my work but the fear is still there. I have always found it difficult talking to a group of more than four people and every time I present I aim to finish as quickly as humanly possible. This was helped, therefore, by simple clean sheets that show what I’m about without having to hear myself speak for five minutes. After a minute and a bit I just looked up and said “aaand that’s my scheme”.

And that’s today’s post.

Plus my sheets.



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