Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Microcosm Wallpaper

Here is a jpg 1680 x 1050 px that I made for my wallpaper. I showed you mine now show me yours. If you want, post an image at 300 dpi with the same size and add it to this post. That way we can have a collection of microCOSM wallpapers.

putting yourself in your building

i wonder if this changes how people view my first project 4 iteration. i realized that when i spoke of my space, my model was hardly touched (even though it kept me up for hours). What are a few words that come to mind, cleared now, through time, when you see this image? (try hitting "ctrl - " to see the whole image at once).

"Graduate education is the Detroit of higher learning."

End the University as We Know It
Editorial from The New York Times, April 26, 2009

Architecture Talks_Piano, Zaha, Frank & Nouvel


Thursday, April 23, 2009

RP Machine as Seeds for Growing Spaces

This is a conceptual representation of a series of four spaces formed initially around a waterjet cutter. The spaces were generated using the script from proj_02 and manual modelling. The parameters were changed to make a series of spaces with similar relationships to my proj_04 diagrams. Each space is smaller than the one before and less connected to the group/active areas. The structure is made using pipe bending technology. I mapped an image of my proj_01 wax pods onto the skin of the spaces. The panels making the skin could be fabricated with a cnc mold and vacuum formed plastic. I have plans for using proj_03 as a second outer skin that could also peel away from the structure to form covered outdoor spaces. The gyroscoping elements are currently only used to aid modelling but will be developed into structural thresholds locking the pipes together and allowing people to pass through.

The last image is the same model from a different angle. It looks a lot like some of the wax models I made.

Yes I am thinking that this is what the building will look like. This is an incomplete conceptual model but it is the direction I want to go. Am I out of the realm of the plausible?

Finally I got a particle trace to finish in under a day. The combination of curved and transparent surfaces is killing my machine.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

On Freedom

Birds flying high:
You know how I feel.
Sun in the sky:
You know how I feel.
Breeze drifting on by:
You know how I feel.
Its a new dawn.
Its a new day.
Its a new life.
For me.
And I'm feeling good.

Fish in the sea:
You know how I feel.
River running free:
You know how I feel.
Blossom on a tree:
You know how I feel.
Its a new dawn.
Its a new day.
Its a new life.
For me.
And I'm feeling good.

Dragonfly out in the sun.
You know what I mean, don't you know?
Butterflies all having fun.
You know what I mean.
Sleep in peace when day is done.
That's what I mean.
Its a new day.
Its a new world.
Its a bold world.
For me.
And I'm feeling good.

(Excerpt from Feeling Good, Leslie Bricusse)
here's a link to some more work going on at columbia in nyc

it's the blog they've been keeping for an introductory to digital fabrication studio offered their now. they're investigating some of the same issues as microcosm.

intro to digi fab

Monday, April 20, 2009

Some interesting work on building blog.."Sand/Stone"

"One of the most interesting aspects of the project, I think, is that this solidified dunescape is created through a particularly novel form of "sustainable construction" – that is, through a kind of infection of the earth. In other words, Larsson has proposed using bacillus pasteurii, a "microorganism, readily available in marshes and wetlands, [that] solidifies loose sand into sandstone," he explains. "

Sunday, April 19, 2009

More Photos: 2009 Open House

More Photos on the T: drive.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Comfort of Determinism

"Men heap together the mistakes of their lives and create a monster called destiny."
Thomas Hobbes

Microcosm Open House

Friday, April 17, 2009


The above is a link to some more work going on at Yale - a steel enclosure, milled or laser cut (not sure).  Can't wait to go to the RP lab and cut my designs at 1/16 scale on chipboard.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Parametric Swallow Action


Crazy flock of swallows flying over Rome.

What rule system could generate this behavior?

Monday, April 13, 2009


Here are some photos of my final project 3 model. Lighting it from within was very effective and the red layer achieved its intended purpose of casting color on the adjacent white surfaces. I am now working on adjusting the simple script that generated this box shape to produce a more dynamic overall result.

... more cool stuff

ted... just checked out your link [ shameless plug not included ] but couldn't figure out how to post a picture with a comment.... (possible?) but i had to bring this image in. repetition, variation, mass customized... i was struck by the light qualities - much like the slight shrinking occurring on the image below. very subtle... i also thought the application of color on one side while leaving the opposite raw.

same flickr album, different link
... same, but more cool stuff

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Cool Stuff

Some cool images of work going on at Yale.

Disclaimer: Shameless Plug Begins Now

Also, as I'm sure you're all very interested, WordRobot now supports Facebook Connect :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

check out this new program at the AA.

pretty neat, eh?

Individual Work: Jefferson's take

Architecture as embodying theme, in Thursday's New York Times, no less! I wish there was more architectural criticism of Poplar Forest, but it is a general-interest article.

"Its elegance is as stunning as its impracticalities, its form creating less a place for living than one for contemplation (which is why so many of the home’s owners, over the years, were compelled to make modifications). Restored to original form, the house reflects an ideal, lightly compromised. It seems an echo of Monticello’s larger, more polished expression of that ideal."

"Jefferson's Blind Spots and Ideals; in Brick and Mortar"

individual work; Spatial ambiguity creates habitable opportunity

i'll attempt to elaborate a bit. the premise for this exercise was to address the topic of man's relationship between an 'active' life and the 'contemplative' life. while i agree there is a dialect relationship between the methods of thought and action, i took a stance asserting a proposition that provided opportunities for the inhabitant to adapt and grow (?) into their surroundings without prescriptive measures. i believe while it is true that certain spaces allow one greater ease of contemplation or facilitate more active participation these recognitions, or resonances, are based on deep personal convictions (possibly bordering on unconscious) that cannot be necessarily specifically designed for. daily life is a constant oscillation between the interiors of our minds; thinking, and the participation in the outside environment; making. this design/build space offers no labeling of spaces, merely opportunity.
formally, the plan of this space consists of four conceptual rectangles and four regulating lines arranged in an a-b-a rhythm along a underlying grid. while the framework to set up composition is strict and regimented the relationship between these two formal deployments reveal an overlapping adjacency of spaces. the deconstruction of the four boxes creates apertures and thresholds for interaction between the constructed, inhabited microcosm, and the exterior world; within and without; between the mind and the body. equally relevant, the adjacency of spaces begin to define areas with overlapping, ambiguous relation. the layering of space offers opportunity for habitation based on personal (subjective?) interpretations of space.
I might be trying to get at something like this; thought and action are in a constant symbiotic flow. however, at times, a heightened focus in which one (thought or action) may overshadow the other, but this is temporary and we are drawn back towards the opposite end of the spectrum to maintain a harmony….

my question; do we need defined areas of work or thought to be labeled for us, with defined separation or will we adapt and interpret regardless of any conceptual imposition?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

mankind inhabits nature, nature inhabits mankind

Since the diagrams don't show up too well, I'll describe my intentions for this project a little bit. As the title suggests, I believe there is a dual or symbiotic relationship between man and nature - but only to a degree. Man can gain a great deal studying nature in part or in whole, and the more contact man has with nature the more he understands nature and has the properties of the natural world influencing his thoughts - and actions toward the natural world. Likewise, nature can be made more suitable for human inhabitation, and in this sense improved as far as its suitability for human habitability is concerned. Mankind ultimately determines the nature of this relationship since he possesses a will, and nature is subject to the rules that govern its growth and propogation. Ultimately, mankind can gain an understanding of the physical properties of nature, and a clue to the greater governing laws of the universe, but cannot sharpen his will merely by this study. He must understand that the will dwells above nature, and is governed only by a will greater than his own. This project seeks to give mankind an opportunity to see nature in these different ways. First, on the ground level, is a necessary and intriguing element of shelter and study. Lessons are there for distilling as nature dominates. As mankind progresses to the upper level, he takes a route that gives glimpses of nature in a more exposes fashion, in this case mankind is pushing his limits of comfort, as he sees nature in a more direct way. The uppel level allows mankind and nature to cohabitate the same space in a way beneficial to both. Mankind realizes both the benefit of his natural surroundings, and the dominance of his will over it, but also ultimately his need to utilize nature in a wat that preserves it for his, and its, benefit.
Whew, maybe that makes some sense? Anyway, my question is wide open, but related to this topic: Where does mankind fit in the relationship between the governed and governor? Feel free to answer in any way you feel is appropriate.

Individual work : Maintain concentration as task changes. Distinct spaces with path continuity.

Question: What do you see as the role of the space between the shop and the quiet space? How does this space support or contradict my title?

difficult to sum up in one image and ten words

Would I be right in my thinking that although I grasp the concepts of these exercises that I am failing in my progression of realizing these products? Some of these other products are beautifully crafted diagrams of spaces that would be the pride of any theme-presentation intro or advanced exercise project. I realize that my ideas cannot be summed up so quickly. That my objectives, while distilled, cannot be iterated so clearly. I don't necessarily think that I don't have a clarity (although this is sometimes true), but that I seem to have reservations of such diagrammatic unveiling. Do I not trust people will see the essence? Do I, like I sometimes express, embody subtle meanings that are closer to being expressed through emotions which are best expressed in either lengthy diagrams or emotional drawings, or am I stubbornly and wrongly rejecting the exercise?

A balance of action and contemplation creates a higher degree of meaning in one's actiones

Curiosity and imagination drives a person to explore new and innovative ideas in the active life while needing the ability to detach physically to reflect upon one's actions.

A partial visual connection is established on the exterior while a slow transition into the space beneath the contemplative sanctuary creates a heightened degree of curiosity allowing a person to imagine what may lie ahead.

Yellow depicts the active life while red depicts the contemplative...blue shows visual curiosity.

Question: Does the separation of these two states of being create a heightened sense of free will or does it decrease it because they are both vital to a person's view of the world.

INDIVIDUAL VS. GROUP: Chaotic group interaction; Individual control-reflection, digestion, veiling/exposing connection

The point is made. Does it meet these ideas of group chaos and individual refuge?

Work:Individual - Multiple Discrete Actions Form Larger Interactions

What are the implications of making the small spaces more parametric. Would it change the meaning of the space if they varied in size and location?

man vs. nature: life in nature: man's limitation, innovation and duality

If we are part of nature, why do we ultimately separate ourselves from even collectively living in it and balancing with it. What makes us different? What goals has progress created that really matter? (I see that there are some (and I'd like to further emphasis some), but for the sake of discussion, let's pretend I don't).

mankind and nature: nature as a scaffolding for human free will

This model attempts to describe mankind's relationship to nature through a gradient in which the occupant gradually becomes less reliant on nature. The procession starts in a densely wooded area and ultimately releases the occupant to a grassy clearing.
Question: What meaning might be derived from this model without any explanation?

Individual & Group : Interaction is Voluntary, Comfort = Control, Control = Spatial Gradient

Question: I'm questioning the strength of my base argument. Am I simply trying to please everyone, or is there validity to the notion that a well defined privacy gradient provides for the ultimate expression of free will?

INDIVIDUAL WORK: progression fueled by drive

Here are my raw thoughts at the moment:
Filters(?): thresholds, obstacles
-organize ideas/thought
-diminish distractions
-emphasis drive (only go to core if you really want to)

Challenge an individual's commitment to their work by dramatizing effort, resistance, seclusion...

Man & Nature: Humility before earth's wonders through direct engagement

Question: All building materials come from the earth. If we take a stance of being humble before earth's wonders, is it better to push the possibilities of the earth's resources (translucent concrete) or stick with the simplest materials (adobe brick)?

Individual vs. Group: separation of unique individual(s) thought to enhance the group

What might be seen as a more "hallowed" space here: the exalted pods or the sacred ground occupied below the pods? (clarification: this is an enclosed space- rear, side, and front walls that attach to floor plate are not installed to show off interior.)

Individual & Group: The Individual Must Always Be One With The Group

In previous versions of the "individual and the group", most students have developed strongly isolated spaces for individual refuge. I feel individual refuge is important, but not at a collaborative workplace--refuge is for home.

Question: How will removing places of individual refuge in a design studio affect collaboration and creativity?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

on meaning...

"I used to think of meaning as something that one had recourse to - a touchstone or base. Now it seems to me that unless an act or an occupation is suffused with meaning, constantly and indivisibly meaningful, it is meaningless. It is not possible to work at meaningless work, and then go home or to church or to a museum and experience meaning, as one would recharge a battery. The model would be the life of the primitive hunter or farmer, whose work was never divided from ceremony."

Wendell Berry
"Notes from an Absence and a Return"

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Project01 and Project03 + Light

I like the mix of direct and absorbed light in the wax model. One of the panels had extra bees wax which does give it more color variation as you move past it.

I thought that the structural enclosure model ended up very dense and opaque, but with direct light shining on the outer surface the inside gets a nice reflected effect. The white paper on the outside is coloring the light seen in the photo. If the model is turned around the same effect is not made by the brown chipboard.

So as far as process goes the act of photographing these models gave me more ideas that I will try to employ in project 5. Would I have found these properties without the blog?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

LaDallman Lecture

The lecture given Friday by La Dallman was entitled 'Sedimentation, Strata, and Other Stuff', although I would argue that simply 'Other Stuff' would be sufficient to describe what was presented. I left the lecture surprised and confused by their work for a number of reasons. Let me attempt to frame my thoughts and analyze them in the context of emerging contemporary design.

On material and craft:
Grace described a situation in which panel ties for the cladding system were not placed in the concrete wall with sufficient accuracy. These ties are the crucial link between the heavy CORTEN sheets and the structural walls of the house. Their imprecise placement seems to be not the result of negligence of the construction worker who placed them, but rather an unavoidable byproduct of manual process in which they are placed. Rather than embracing this emergent behavior, it was deemed a mistake. A system of lasers was quickly employed to 'correct' any of these mistakes made in construction. This presents an particularly interesting and troubling scenario to the contemporary designer in which mass customization is used in the pursuit of achieving sameness. In this light, we as designers appear to be apologizing for the lack of precision that is inherent in hand craft and materials. There seems to be two roads to go down from which we must choose. The first has already been described. This is life of abusing the technological power that is now available to us in the name of form. The second requires the designer to listen and observe what is physically happening and extract the best qualities. If we embrace this way of thinking, we do not dogmatically have to accept all of these potential 'failures', but it does offer us a flood of new opportunities. In this case, it seems as though La Dallman missed one.

On meaning and metaphors:
In the Levy House: Peeling the finishes off at particular moments in the interior to reveal the structure somehow connects the occupant to nature. The idea of floor plates stacked on top of one another somehow being reminiscent of the ground plane. A structure that sits as an object in the landscape, but through its form is connected as well, maybe?

Why? Why? Why?

What does any of this have to do with anything? La Dallman describes their projects in a metaphor-rich fashion, but fail to ever take a stance on what they believe. Is a metaphor able to hold meaning in and of itself in the first place? In a formalist tradition it seems as if the building is put in place first, and meaning is applied like a band-aid at some point in the future. There was little to no mention of any of the spaces entrained within any of the firm's projects, which was disappointing. I wanted to know the feeling they were trying to achieve with the marsupial bridge as it wound its way through the ancient ironwork underneath Holton Street, and what about the Levy House that they thought made it so great [other than its shiny finishes, vast swaths of glass, and overhanging floor plates of course...]

I was equally disappointed in the meaning behind the use of materials, although maybe not so much in the arrangement of the materials themselves. In saying that, what I mean is that I think the form and shape of the house are ok aesthetically. They are perhaps a little conventional and boring, but that.s not the point of my analysis [im striving for a not so subjectivist approach to this all]. I was hoping that the title of the lecture implied some sort of research that had a direct effect on the way that firm thought about materials. Perhaps the study of strata would reveal unique and interesting ways in which different materials engage one another. Or how the immense forces inside of the earth push and pull on sedimentation creating beautiful patterns. Unfortunately, this proved not to be the case. Rather, a fairly conventional house was constructed on site, and there is nothing wrong with that. I do think its absolutely ridiculous to design a house in that manner and label it a fabricated landscape. Not allowed. I couldn.t help but feel like I was sitting through a sophomore review as I was, piece by piece, walked around the house. The house is just that, a collection of pieces that seem to lack any greater meaning now that they are in place sitting on site.

Let me just say that I am not cutting down any of the work that La Dallman has done. Rather I think we are better off for it. They are pursuing innovative production methods, and seem to take on the types of projects that other firms would scoff at. Its empowering for us as contemporary designers in Milwaukee to be able to not only analyze but also improve upon the quality of architecture in our fair town and beyond.

The Color of Habitation

Color Theory is the study of the properties of color and the development of a taxonomic system of color. Color theory develops clarifying concepts such as hue, value, tone, and intensity. It also establishes clear relationships among types of colors, which then offer predefined techniques by which colors can be modified and controlled. Color theory is pure science, yet it acts as an important foundation for the work of virtually every serious painter. Doesn't this inevitably destroy the mystery and wonder of the act of painting, which is vital to painting as a creative pursuit? No. It destroys the mystery and wonder not of painting, but of paint. It identifies and clarifies the nature of paint as a substance (along with any other mixable, colored substance), which reveals non-obvious things about its nature, which are vital for painters to know in order to have full control of their medium. Knowing color theory does not turn painting into a formulaic process, it opens up new creative territory, which painters would otherwise struggle to see.

Habitation Theory is the study of the properties of human action and the development of a taxonomic system of human action. Habitation theory develops clarifying concepts such as movement, access, boundary, and threshold. It also establishes clear relationships among types of human activities, which then offer predefined techniques by which human activities can be modified and controlled. Habitation theory is pure science, yet it acts as an important foundation for the work of virtually every serious designer. Doesn't this inevitably destroy the mystery and wonder of the act of designing, which is vital to architecture as a creative pursuit? No. It destroys the mystery and wonder not of designing, but of human activity. It identifies and clarifies the nature of human activity as a substance, which reveals non-obvious things about its nature, which are vital for designers to know in order to have full control of their medium. Knowing habitation theory does not turn designing into a formulaic process, it opens up new ways of life for inhabitants, which designers would otherwise struggle to see.