Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lecture Announcement: Learning, Designing, Making

Check out Ryan O'Connor's lecture "Learning, Designing, Making": Monday, April 6, 1:30PM, UWM School of Architecture, Room 345.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Studying Human Habitation

In her response to Ted’s recent post, Jessie says: “This is perhaps why I have such a problem with the "simplicity" of this next project 4: You can never separate yourself from experience or from the outside city world while considering an active and passive life. Nothing is so simple that it can be expressed without reaction to other things, or be isolated from psychology or personal history.”

Regarding narrowness of the exercise: Many folks are probably feeling the same way. It is a very narrow exercise, isn’t it? (Well, not really. I hope you will discover ultimately that it is not narrow at all.) What does narrowness imply in a studio exercise? It could indicate a desire in a teacher to restrict creativity and experimentation. Well, I certainly don’t want to do that. Narrowness can also arise from a desire in a teacher to help students see something they normally take for granted. In this case “narrowness” is a preconception, one that the teacher hopes to help students overcome. Consider for example Project 1. The material study often seems very narrow to students at first – an extremely constrained exercise. But once students engage the exploration, they realize that the role of materiality in architecture is far broader and deeper and filled with vastly more creative potential than they had previously assumed. A new realm of creativity is opened, and what seemed narrow reveals its vastness.

Regarding the city: Is it true that we pursue the active life or the contemplative life only when out-and-about in town? Why would such pursuit be limited only to an urban context? Why can’t a person engage in active doing or in focused contemplating while inside one’s own abode or workplace? If this fundamental aspect of life (doing or contemplating) is limited to the outside of architecture, then what is left to the inside? It seems that the inside would be in danger of becoming irrelevant. I hope for the sake of everyone that inhabits architecture that the inside – the stage for the vast majority of human activity – has the capacity to influence the active life and the contemplative life. We sure need it to.

Regarding context: It is true that in order to act, we must act in a context, which I think is part of what Jessie is trying to say. The outside world (i.e., the city) provides part of this context, but not all of it. A person’s psychology and personal history also provides part of this context, but not all of it. Project 4 asks you to consider part of the context that is normally overlooked, neglected by designers as too narrow, too mundane. The context of Project 4 is a person’s interaction with the material framework of architecture – its walls, doors, windows, floors and ceilings. But more precisely: the question is how this material framework filters and constructs a person’s interaction with his own work (Scenario A), other people (Scenario B) or the natural surroundings (Scenario C). Each of these is in fact a crucial part of the context of human habitation.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Discovering Your Convictions

My favorite aspect of this class is the relation between our designs and our "world view". Discovering your own convictions and world view is a quite enlightening, if not very challenging, exercise. And the words that define these convictions, especially the phrase "world view", are often discussed in class and frequently mentioned between classmates. My first question is what does that exactly mean?

When trying to grasp my own world view, it always leads down a path of spirituality and religion. Would your convictions about the relationship between Human and Earth differ if you believed in reincarnation? Would your convictions about the relationships between different people differ if you believed Heaven and Hell? I think these are all deep and important questions. I understand that religion and spirituality are often taboo in liberal institutions, Macalester is a shining example of that. So is this what we are talking about when we say "world view"? Or is it a distinct idea, somehow separated from religion and spirituality?

I have another question, but I think I'll save that one for later as I ponder this one...

Saturday, March 21, 2009


After a morning of frustrations, the corner transition is resolved. The issue keeping me from realizing the potential of the system to resolve the corner was my lack of belief in the rules I established for the system's structure. The same tectonic system is used for the flat portions of the triangular grid, but for some reason I assumed that the corner would have to be resolved by breaking the rules at some point. Wrong! Only by following the tectonic rules of the system at every moment was the system's inherent flexibility harnessed. I won't attempt to describe the system's connection rules here (you can try to figure them out from the pics), but they remain unbroken! Oh happy day!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Project 3 Update

Above is the latest rendition of an exploitation of a simple module.

Right now though I will probably pursue the stick and module idea and begin refining the end conditions of the sticks or a connection piece to interweave 3-6 sticks together.
Any thoughts would be appreciated

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Clarifying Theme

This prototype represents 1/4 of the planned model.  It shows top, side, front and corner conditions.  It does not include the redesigned straps that now change relative to their span.   I'm also going to add rough white bristol to the inside surface, which should highlight the oscillation of overlapping edges on the outer surface.  

I updated the wall of pins with my new theme, "a dynamic interaction of opposites," but I'm not totally satisfied with that yet.  For me the opposites are expansion and contraction represented by the circles and straps.  The system uses one connection type throughout.  The expansion of the circle puts tension on the strap.  This is repeated with variation in size and degree of folding.  Each module (consisting of both systems) is connected to four other modules and because of this the enclosure becomes structurally redundant.  So the system is about cooperation, interdependance, and being comfortable operating in larger system of difference.  This is how I would characterize my future as a 'digital craftsperson.'  I expect opposition, I will however continue to act as a collaborator with change in exploring my ideas.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Business versus Art

"A man is never wrong doing what he thinks is right." (Ben Cartwright, Bonanza, Season 4, Episode 13).

This is not a statement of subjectivism. It is not meant to say that whatever you happen to do is right just because you chose to do it. Rather, it is a statement of individualism. It expresses the fact that the only way to have any chance at doing what is right is to follow the independent judgment of your own reasoning mind. It is only through independent understanding and evaluation that each person can hope to stay on a path toward truth, and the only real way to deviate from this path is to subordinate your judgment to that of others - be it your teacher, your employer, your client, your friends, your family, or your peers.

According to Mr. Cartwright, nobody should ever substitute his understanding of right and wrong, truth and falsehood, important and irrelevant - for that of another person. To relinquish the responsibility of judgment is to become vulnerable to all the wrongs, falsehoods and distractions that can thwart life, which one could no longer reliably discern.

If this is true, isn't there a contradiction between Mr. Cartwright's dictum and the one put forth in my reply to Manto's comment under "Life at the BreakWater": "The customer is always right"? How can architects be good businessmen, placing the needs of their clients first, and also be good artists - true to their convictions? The service-provider-architect would say, "Ah, yes - this is precisely why it is foolish to hold convictions. Being idealistic will cause you to fail in business. It is the arrogance of architects who believe they know what is right that is the downfall of architecture. It leads to buildings driven by the egos of architects, rather than the needs of inhabitants."

Do we have to choose between business and art? If not, how do we resolve this apparent conflict?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Structure as Material

At long last, here is my progress for Phase 3.

I am developing a double skin structure that uses opposing tension and compression to hold its form. I'm taking advantage of the natural flexibility and resilience of paper to form components that lock together.

I am very excited about the qualities this system is exhibiting. As hoped, it is more like a material than a structure. It exhibits a quality that is much different from traditional man-made materials in that it is shaped and formed by the size and shapes of its components, not by an outside force or frame. This aspect of the material is more like biological tissue which is grown one cell at a time with each cell's size, shape and function determining the shape of the greater whole. It is created with a simple gradient script and the gradient determines the entire assembled shape.

So far, I am happy with what the system is saying about my beliefs in regards to material authenticity. Every part of the whole is visible but to varying degrees and there is nothing added for decoration purposes. Its success would falter if I were to add anything or take anything away. I don't want the whole system to be immediately understood because that leads to a short and ungratifying experience. Instead, I want visitors to experience an opaque exterior shell, only discovering the compression posts and tension pins on the inside. The outside layer does relinquish some clues about the nature of the system. The tips of the posts are visible and the joints are bigger where the skin is thicker.

My thoughts on the issue of Change vs Stasis become evident in the nature of the grid exhibited in the whole assembly. It is a grid based system but, instead of repeating the same component over and over, every component must change slightly to lead the material in a new direction. From this, one would derive that I believe in a slow gradual change (evolution), which is mostly true. However, I also think that, as humans, we have the ability to cause abrupt change due to free will if necessary. I think I could express that by introducing a "rock" into the flow of the pattern. By generating a system that adapts to an agitator. I know this system can do that but it is easier said than done so we'll see about that.

Any input would be appreciated!

progress update

In my next iteration, I'll be combining the curves from the gray study model with some of the linear elements from the cream model. It's an attempt to steer away from a module-based design and think about this as a continuous enclosure.

Friday, March 13, 2009


For those who signed up for hours we have these dates available:

Monday: CLOSED

Tuesday: 1PM-Until we are finished

Wednesday: NO REQUEST

Thursday: 4PM-Until we are finished

Friday: 4PM-Until we are finished

Agnieszka will be the one assisting us so make sure to thank her

This is the current state of things. The concept driving the model is the idea of the world as a framework for exploration. The images show the progression from ground level to birds eye to overview, revealing and concealing the different elements to be explored and engaged. Also, it looks like a spaceship.

This is a rather crude study of corner conditions. After working with these fairly simple conditions without much success, I realized that the problem was simplicity.
I added more horizontal layers and created a double gable condition. This seems to be working out.
However, I will be creating some components with a triangulated base to make things work. Good thing this puppy is mass customized.

These components seem to work well. I will need to make some adjustments to the tabs and folds but the concept should work.

the latest heading into spring "break"

These are some of the latest iterations of my enclosure system. The next goal is to work on the connection between the more static/structural webbing and the softer-changing-white parachutes. The connection shown here is a crude overlapping and will have to be remedied and toyed with. It's a key spot in that this is one spot where the two conditions of change and stasis are colliding.
This model was a big step forward recently. It starts to address the idea of interdependence as the geometry of the frame interacts with that of the components; one restricts/informs the other; the behavior of one is influenced by the material nature of the other.
From here I started to investigate the further refinement of component parts and edge/corner conditions.

one from many: closer to realization

The newest prototype. The things lacking in the first, have been somewhat resolved in this iteration. The back tying makes it solid, structural, inter dependent and has the latent property of a rhythmic spacing which allows a void between, surprisingly, every element.

The string, I have had the critique, is almost too familiar to the wooden pieces, making the coming together somewhat uncomfortable. This seems counterintuitive, but I see the point. If this is a balance of individuals coming together in a balanced and calm way, should they be less familiar so that the coming together is highlighted in the difference? Or could this critique be more a statement of aesthetics and materiality. The twine, being run through the small apertures becomes somewhat frayed and worked. Is this good? or no? Would more holes and making the connections out of something more thin, perfect and ephemeral like fishing line be better?

In my next iteration I hope to exaggerate and dramatize the "overlapping" of the wooden pieces which create such interesting skin features in their adjacencies (as seen in the first image here). The bending of the twine into the "back wall" will also become more elegant and seamlessly part of the curvature of the wood.

Comments welcomed on the innards.

thanks, have a nice day.


Hey guys- I accidentally removed the website links from the right hand side of our blog...I just wanted to delete one, and it removed all! sorry! can someone please put them back up (minus the Lucio Santos). Thanks!!!!!!!

Project 3 - Study Model

On Change vs Stasis (Evolution of Stasis)...
Chipboard "Ribs" represent status quo(stasis)- has a "forward" propulsion, however, only in terms of time (not necessarily in terms of progress). Wooden "Spines" represent an event(change) that disrupts/informs stasis. Physical layers form in the model because of shifts in stasis, resulting in an overall form respresentational of evolution in stasis.

The major difficulty I've been having with this system is finding a locking mechanism that is both functional and complimentary to the movable scales in the second photo. Shown here, the individual scales are the same size but the interactions between them are always different. This forces the mechanism that lock the complete structure together to constantly adapt.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Current Prototype

Here are some quick shots of my latest prototype. The above represents 1/3 of what I laser cut today (overall it is 1/27 of my digital model). I am really happy with the results, especially the quality of the museum board, it almost has a wooden look to it. For those of you I haven't spoken with lately, the basic concept of my project is exploiting the fact that each triangle in my surface has three sides to it. So what I have done is leave one edge of each triangle physically connected to another triangle. There are then three levels to the system with each level containing only connections in one direction. Each level individually is unable to form a surface, but together, the three levels become interconnected and achieve stability.

The problem that I am seeing is that it is very difficult for me to explain this. And the images above don't necessarily illustrate this either--even when holding the model it is not immediately apparent. The wood dowels I have used are not helping. They appear as if they are responsible for attaching the adjacent triangles together. However, they are only being used to attach the triangular panels to the vertical elements (and thus to the panel below or above it), they don't actually span between any adjacent panels. So although I am very pleased with the current results, I think a change to the wooden dowels could be a needed step.

Any suggestions? Currently I've been toying with a few ideas. Differentiating between when there is a connection between the panels and not. Using a material quite different from the wooden feel of the dowels and museum board (rubber bands, thread, ...). Possibly replacing the dowels with something that actually does make a connection between adjacent panels (although I think this might undermine my original thinking...).

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Geometry of Bending

Here's an interesting blog showing a designer researching bending (read blog from the bottom up). Notice the integration of materials testing and scripting.

Life at the BreakWater

I finally got a chance to look at the BreakWater "debate", which Cassie was kind enough to post. The whole discussion strikes me as an exercise in the arbitrary - on both sides. Renner (the architect) against the architectural critics - what a grand battle! Or is it? Both sides seem to agree that architecture is just a matter of opinion, and each side offers its opinion with no substantive reasons. The architectural critics bash the BreakWater for its allegedly bad connotations: an institution, a McManson. Scandalous! Renner bashes the critics for being Modernists and intellectuals. Thinking too much? - you should be ashamed! But wait. Why are institutions and McMansons bad? Why is Modernism or intellectual inquiry bad? Nobody in this discussion says. I think McMansons and Modernism are bad, but I find the whole discussion pointless because it is filled with Post-Modern subjectivism - a battle of whims and a battle over public influence. Rather than providing clear reasons that might elucidate some truth, both sides seem more concerned with molding public opinion.

More relevant questions: What does the BreakWater mean? What convictions does it express? What kind of life does it promise those who purchase condos there? These are not esoteric questions for architectural theorists to ponder in the classroom, detached from any relevance in everyday life. These questions are simultaneously theoretical and practical. They are desperately important questions, to which every customer of the BreakWater needs real answers. In that spirit:

Comfortable rather than Beautiful

Renner clearly states his intention to make a place that is comfortable for its residents, rather than visually appealing. He wanted to give people entertainment centers, well-equipped kitchens and spacious decks. He values the simple pleasures of ordinary life, rather than the sophisticated delights of the refined life.

Generic rather than Distinctive

Every unit here is basically the same, a fact broadcasted loudly on the exterior by the relentlessly repetitious balconies. Everybody gets exactly the same balcony. Everybody gets basically the same interior living spaces, as well. The conviction expressed is that we are more alike than different. The things that make us distinctive - our individual personalities - are not really relevant. In design we can safely filter that out of consideration. One size fits all.

The same conviction can be seen in the treatment of the structure, enclosure and form of the building. The driving desire is for conformity to an established model, rather than exploration of something new. It is more important to reinforce convention than to deviate from it. We should not question too much (if at all) the way things are normally done. It is crucially important in life to be normal, that is, to be like everybody else.

Money-making rather than Landmark-making

Renner is probably right that the BreakWater will make money for its developer, and maybe also for its residents. According to Renner's own statements making money for his clients is clearly one of his driving intentions. Conversely, he does not even mention such things as pride of ownership. So he conveys to us the conviction that what is most important in life is getting a return-on-investment, rather than garnering rich and meaningful human experiences.

Renner's Ideal

So what is the kind of person who would thrive inhabiting a condo at the BreakWater? It is a person who values physical comfort above beauty, a person without a strong sense of personal identity, and a person who pursues the acquisition of monetary wealth over emotional fulfillment. These are all characteristics of the materialist. Everything Renner says in the debate reveals that he is an extreme materialist, and he has succeeded in giving us a building that embodies his view of the world.

Anyone who purchased a condo at the BreakWater and does not hold these convictions is a poor fool - a sucker who was duped into buying something that stands for everything he hates. That is the real crime here - not that the BreakWater exists - after all, it is an expression of the values of the architect and the client (i.e., the developer), as it should be. The crime is that many of the customers who purchase condos here, now and in the future, are supporting the propagation of convictions they actually consider destructive. If these convictions were identified, as I've tried to do here, those same enthusiastic buyers would run away from the BreakWater with a sick stomach. Ignorance of the meaning and significance of architecture renders people helpless against buildings like the BreakWater, which I actually don't think expresses the convictions of many people.

In an enlightened society the developers (who own the land) have every right to pay to hire an architect of their choosing and construct a building that expresses whatever values they choose. And in an enlightened society, people have every right to buy homes elsewhere, and to watch the BreakWater rot. The fact that the BreakWater is sold-out indicates that either we live in a society with a large number of materialists, or we live in a society with a large number of unenlightened persons, who don't know what the ugly face of materialism looks like. I believe the latter is true.

Postscript: I wanted to clarify a couple points related to the issue of making money through architecture. In this post it might seem like I'm against profiting from architecture. Nothing could be further from the truth. I question two aspects of Renner's mode of business operation. First, his premise that the way to "make money" for your client is to design an ugly, minimalist box. Notice that Renner never even asks the real Capitalistic question: how much money can I make? Is 0.0001% profit really okay? Certainly not. The goal of every good Capitalist is not to merely make a profit, but to maximize profit. The reality is that minimal solutions never maximize profit. People want more (if given the option), and they deserve to have more. Second, I question the process in which customers buy homes in complete ignorance of the convictions embodied there. It is wrong to sell people a chocolate bunny that's really made out of poop. No architect can be considered an honest businessman when he pursues profit by pulling the wool over people's eyes - obscuring issues of conviction and way-of-life under the disguise of "functionality" or "resale value". Architects have a responsibility to help their customers understand the significance of a place, so the client can make an informed decision.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

-some work by Sarah Sze, at the 08 Liverpool biennial. her installations "are like highly organic ecosystems, colonizing the space they inhabit."

more work on flickr...

                                                                                I am searching for meaning with my own project - and struggling a bit.  A thread of meaning has been flowing through my early projects this semester, but distilling it has been tricky.  I started with the choatic, but very purposeful, way that connections form in the brain; then moved to a sectional reinterpretation of that idea in order to explore its layering and spatial implications.  
As I move into serious development for project_03,  I keep coming back to this idea that space is also found within, not just around, built elements (much like the internal structure of the biological precedents we have found).  This idea is important to me because many of the most influential buildings I have inhabited in my life were those where I could climb on walls, see to the floor below, or view into another space through a "mistake" in the construction.  These spaces create a rich experience, and instill memory of the experience - a wall that can be walked on or sat in, a floor that offers a view, a ceiling that reaches down and invites you to go up and dwell.  
These images are examples of such places.  In Berlin, a memorial to the nazi book-burning offers a view below the street into the world of the "purity" the nazi party was attempting to achieve - an empty library, a place devoid of people, books, and therefore meaning.  
In Manitowoc, a view up the silo of my grandparents' old dairy farm reveals a view of imagination and exploration.  I could always imagine myself traversing the "corridor" that led to the top.  
Now that I've rambled on long enough, I ask for anyone's response.  What way(s) can you summarize my disparate thoughts on this subject?  Is there a larger, yet more concise, principle driving this project?

Architecture as:
built exploration playground?
facilitator of memory?
tectonics of imagination? 

I will post pics of my project shortly.

cornfield not crop circle

Assembly of reiterated parts in the idea of fordism and assembly of mass-customized parts in the emerging paradigm (while the latter is undeniably less about consumption and sameness), are, to me, two sides of the same coin. I appreciate the importance of detail and connection in architecture and its primary role in this exercise, but I fear that designing connections and propagating systems for their own sake will result in a wall; a somewhat flat, continuous and boring bubble (a highly sophisticated one, but lacking in human understanding none the less). No matter how much it is differentiated or customized, it is still a field. I prefer to walk through the cornfield, not occupy the crop circle.

Gasometer, Oberhausen. This adaptive reuse project of a museum and concert space in a giant gas container has an interesting connection to my project. The huge truss work pictured here is an inhabited space-- a hallway. You have to walk in, under, through, over and under the truss work to get to the center of the massive space. The structure, which is just an early modern industrial set of parts is truly experienced and open to interaction-- they even wrap some beams in padding so you don't hit your head in the near-pitch blackness.

I am propagating two systems, and their connection is crucial, but I cannot allow myself to forget the whole or stop myself from being seduced by ideas of scale, however changing. I can neither bring myself to separate experience and part. In the images above, the "failing" iteration quickly became a point of immense clarity for me. While I set out to have a changing frame with a sinuous skin following the same lines, the way in which I constructed it did not allow for such things. Instead it has become two interdependent systems, in which the second system (the tensile system) begins to create its own emerging form. By changing the points of connection (the holes of the rigid system), the sectional qaulity created by the position of the tensile system changes drastically, allowing (in my imagination of different scales) a path that changes in experience through the mass-customization of hole positions. diagrams to follow soon.

And this experiential take on structure, for me, is not without thematic understanding. The underlying emotion is about balance, not in one system to the other (however this may be apparent) but in part to whole, tectonic to experience. In the realm of change vs. Stasis, it argues both and neither at once. In quietude, they exist together, without quarrel.

The Half-Resurrected Field of Architecture

It's inspiring to see some midwesterners tearing it up in Minnesota, a state as conservative as ours. Rock on. I appreciated Houminn's devotion to process. When they talked about process, I liked what they had to say, and they talked about it sufficiently deeply to keep me interested.

When they started talking about product, however, I dosed. Houminn is symptomatic of leading-edge practice today, which can't talk about product deeply. Houminn's projects were essentially like the Dubai project Manto slammed on Friday - the one that defined "plant irrigation" as its primary design intention. So Houminn defined "natural ventilation" as a primary intention, or on another project, the reduction of solar heat-gain by 1%.

Clearly they had other things in their head. They mentioned racecar air-intakes and camouflage. But... why? What is relevant about those things? Why did they spend so much time justifying their work functionally, and so little time talking about the significance of their sources of inspiration, or the significance of the experiential impact of their designs? When it came to aesthetics, they were basically silent. Were they holding out on us, or are they oblivious to the deeper significance of their work?

The same problem arose in the Office da lecture. In the Q&A she was very explicit: "Our designs are driven by program." Yet clearly they weren't. No purely functional explanation can be offered for the faceted skin of the gas station canopy, nor for the crazy folded-plate roof of the drive testing facility.

What's going on here? If contemporary architecture is supposed to incorporate a return to meaning - a return to the significance of architecture beyond minimum functional solutions - then why do these folks remain so silent on the meaning of their work? The answer can be found in the nature of leading-edge architectural education, and the rediscovery of introspection among leading designers.

The current generation of leading-edge designers is the first of its kind. When in leading-edge architecture school, its members were mostly indoctrinated into the still dominant Post-Modern view of the world, and its corresponding approach to architecture. Central to this approach is the belief that architecture (like everything) is ultimately meaningless. Meaning in Post-Modern thought is subjective, that is, it is arbitrarily projected onto things by an observer, according to each observer's whim-of-the-moment. What a building means to me, Post-Modernists like to say, is not what a building might mean to you. And what a building means to me today might not be what it will mean to me tomorrow. If this subjective view it true, then designers have no control over the meaning of their work, and thus, according to Post-Modern architectural theory, designers should not be concerned with meaning. The idea that designers can make meaningful architecture is a delusion of the past.

This idea is still deeply infused in the thinking of first-generation Genetic designers. It is as though they have habitualized the turning-off of any thinking about meaning. They instinctively avoid any line of inquiry that might lead them there, steering clear of the "hornets nest of unanswerable questions" it implies to them. This peculiar habit of mind makes them blind to the absurdity of such statements as "Our designs are driven by program." They have contorted their thinking in such a way that they've actually convinced themselves this is true.

(This is a dangerous state of affairs - a vulnerable time in the growth of Genetic architecture - in which the whole movement could careen into a New Functionalism.)

The first generation of Genetic designers have been successful in taking back only the field of design process. Here they have aggressively cleaned out the cobwebs of Post-Modernism. They have opened the field back up, allowing architects to reflect on process and experiment with it beyond any prior age. But they have not yet broken the Post-Modern vice-grip on product and the closely linked consideration of significance (i.e., meaning). This, I hope, will be the great achievement of the second generation of Genetic designers. This will complete the pending architectural renaissance. Designers will again develop the ability to reflect on product as well as process.

Thematic Update

Thanks to the following folks for posting theme-related comments. (If I'm mis-stating your theme, please correct me.) A nice diversity of perspectives is emerging. I love it when things emerge.

Jasenko: Interdependence
Ted: Calm, steady change
Kelly: Change as dynamic and chaotic

Saturday, March 7, 2009


I can't figure out how to add websites to the side list, but here are a couple Ryan O'Connor sent my way:



I took the liberty of doing some housekeeping. We now have a list of discussed websites on the right column.

picture I couldn't attach to my comment

follow, lead, or get out of the way

Suggested blog to add to your "Blogs I'm Following" list...

5axis CNC

Check out this link to a 5-axis CNC machine cutting a model of a whole car out of foam. Its not to far off to begin thinking of building components being mocked up in similar fashion.

5-axis gantry CNC from mike phillips on Vimeo.

Friday, March 6, 2009

"Service" architecture and the Breakwater

More than you ever wanted to know about the Breakwater condominiums...

The Peter Principle
The original Milwaukee Magazine article, by Tom Bamberger

"Rebuttal" to the Milwaukee Mag article (click on PDF link in 5th paragraph)
by Chris Corley of Breakwater

How NOT to take criticism
Journal Sentinel smack down, by Mary Louise Schumacher (Art City columnist)

WUWM's Lake Effect, Tuesday, February 17
Interviews with Tom Bamberger and Peter Renner

Building Blog

Hey everyone. Here's a good blog that I follow, thought you all might be interested. Its Building Blog, written by Geoff Manaugh. It deals with "Architectural Conjecture, Urban Speculation, and Landscape Futures" among many other things, so check it out. Also try the search function, there are a lot of great articles that don't show up on the main page.



Tectonic inspiration

A Calm Differentiation

A Calm Differentiation

I think what I'm looking for in this project could best be described as a calm differentiation. Personally, I'm hesitant about progress. For the most part, I think progress complicates life. I think I lean on the side of statis, and of order. But I also think there is a special beauty in dynamism and differentiation. What I would like to do in this project is capture dynamism in a calm and still state. This image begins to hint at what I am aiming for.


Here's my source of inspiration so far. It's cuprite, very similar to the image nick uploaded at the macro scale, and shown here at the micro scale. I'd like to incorporate the dynamic/chaotic/formal qualities of its crystalline structure into my final enclosure system, not quite sure how yet. I think it would work well as a screen/aperture/filter/etc., and would represent my overall idea well. Still working on some connection/component ideas, as well as scripting. I'll upload some images as soon as I get some models/ideas worth exploring.


Trying to be an apple when you're an orange.

Met up with some family from out of town last night at the Mitchell Park Conservatory (Domes) for a concert- looking at the modernist interpretation of genetic architecture got me thinking how tough that must have been to rectify a design challenge so easily solved with GA within Modern constraints- the geometry (and maintenance) issues are apparent at the domes- but I give an E for effort! (4 decades later Grimshaw gives it another Modernist go...pictured here is Eden Project.) Anyway, looking at the vegetation was inspiring- if you have a chance, stop in.

Circles and Straps (Change and Stasis?)

Change vs. Stasis as, a dynamic interaction of opposed forces, expansion and contraction.

The latest developments.

Starting over wasn't so bad. I went with one of the connection types from the image below. Three sizes of circles and six sizes of straps made all these models, plus a lot of help from Jeff and Robyn. I was considering a move away from the circular shape, but in many of these models it creates rigidity by meeting edge to edge. Some spring like behavior, a couple of surfaces, a branching column, but no corner yet.

Jeff caught using his rapid-prototyping powers and Robyn defusing a chipboard nuclear device.

Seriously. I'm looking for ideas on how to restart my research. At the moment I'm making connections, as many as I can think of. My plan is to let the connection turn into the component rather than making a component that needs a connection. I'm also trying to start with the corner. The idea being that it will be easier to turn a corner into a surface than a surface into a corner. Oh yeah, the last strategy is 'no frame'. Hopefully my bus ride in will produce an epiphany.