Thursday, April 22, 2010

Index to my Blog

In order to dissect my entries on this blog more efficiently, I have endeavoured to create this index, which points the way to the important stuff based on summary diagrams.
This index specifically covers the information I have produced concerning my continuing exploration since project 1A.

Soundscaping - the sense of sound

soundscaping in music

Qualitative spatial definition through sound.

Relationship of sound to touch

For explorations of these foci, refer to the process work for my individual task, and my "Caligari meets Chopin" video.

Materials and Texture - the sense of touch

Alegoric response to character - borrowed materials

high tactility

Relationship of touch to sound

For explorations of these foci, refer to the study of graphite on my hand, the process work between my individual room to the group "opening" task, and the model making task.

Sentient Architecture - the sense of consciousness

Organic form development

Dynamic Lighting

User-activated optical illusions

Explorations of these last foci permeate much of my design exploration since Project 1A, in response to the architecture coming alive, or at least creating the experience of being "present", so please find my work in this area particularly in my drawn plans and sections for the task iterations.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Project 1A - a Folie insertion into Howard Smith Wharves

I am posting this more as a reflective entry; looking back upon the origins of the work for this subject thus far, and will show (with diagrams) how I have managed to in project 1B, delve more deeply into the investigations and concepts which I initiated in project 1A. To begin with, here is my original Folie Proposal.
The site analysis centred around my experience of the site through sound; both digital and "mechanical" sound. I identified certain focus points along the length of the site where the dynamic and timbre of the environmental sound was changed. This was informed by the nature of materials, proximity to traffic corridors (ie the bridge), and passing moments of interaction with other site users.
The resultant experience was one which left me contemplating the past history of use on the site; industrial, blue collar workers, practical materials, much less weatherworn textures, bright and lively soundscapes created by the milieu of activity.

And then the formal response culminated in what is essentially a large scale percussion instrument to once again activate the sense of the soundscapes that once may have been heard on the site by harnessing the natural accoustic qualities. By considering the relationship of people to the activation of the Folie, I realised a cyclical relationship where the users must activate the folie, to activate the site, to in turn activate the users' senses. Semi-sentient architecture which exudes an almost autonomous consciousness was the next step.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

finally done - the plan for the "opening for Dr Caligari"

Here is the plan for the section which was uploaded so many posts ago. Once again the primary sensory focus is on touch - the textures of stone, glass acting as tectonic elements to evoke an experience similar to that in a cave. What is displayed in this plan, as opposed to the section, is the layout of intersecting paths which terminate past the nodes where they intersect, leaving the opportunity to optically extend the length of the corridors, where as in reality they close up in a forced perspective - (the walls cave in to each other, the floor comes up to meet the ceiling, and vice-versa). A series of paths instead of a singular hallway was done to trap the lighting effect within that part of the room, and so that the full extent of the room can never be perceived from any one angle.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Learning From the Models

The diagrams shown below express three of the primary discoveries made as a result of completing the model-making experiments. They centre around consideration of haptic fabrication from abstract ideas.
The first diagram articulates how, as a result of the process of plaster-casting, 3 somewhat distinct layers stacked ontop of each other were formed. This revealed the opportunity for the user to experience remnant evidence of construction in the final form.
The second diagram concerns the realisation that in order for the walls of the room to float, they needed some way of being tied to the ground. In the model this was able to be achieved by thin but strong nail legs cut into the fabric of the wall. Obviously here, the goal is for subtlety.

The third diagram shows how we were forced to finally consider the external form of the room, and more importantly, THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE EXTERNAL FORM AND THE INTERNAL ENCASEMENT. This came from originally neglecting how the room was to be encased in the plan drawing.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Analogue Models for the Doctor's Room

Exciting Happenings went on over the easter break. Our group congregated together under the auspices of the Architecture Model fabrication Convention, or AMfC. Therein we decided that the primary technique of "casting" would be the closest match to the sensibilities which we were developing in our drawings of the design. The casting technique allowed us to explore our group's cave-like design in a haptic three dimensional sense, which was sorely lacking until up to this point. Casting the models provided the opportunity to develop and resolve the clarity of the form and structure of the room.

here is a link to my photobucket profile which contains all the photos taken over our 2-day conference:

I would like to explain a few key points of my own reflection on the success of the task.

First, the process was quite a unique experience in that for casting, careful consideration and planning needs to be carried out before things are set in motion to be "constructed". Essentially with casting, you are constantly working between positive and negative - void and solid, so that mould assemblages are opposite to the cast object within that mould.

We experimented with what we could use as moulds for the casts - such as plastic bags filled with bark, cling wrap over newspaper, empty bottles and clay. All of these gave different effects of texture and structure to the casts.

Creating a cave-like environment, we had made decisions to obstruct any views from inside the room to the outside. This however, meant that the experience of the weight and density of the surrounding shell could not be architecturally controlled, but instead up to the unpredictable opinion of the observer. So with our cast models, we paid carefull attention to adressing this key experiential aspect to our design by way of modulating the thickness of material along the walls, having holes, folds and slits slice sections through, and even - in the case of the wax cast - where modulation in material density could actually permit a dull luminance through by being ever so slightly transparent.

The Architecture Model fabrication Convention was a very worthwhile experience which I shall endeavour to apply to my design work from now on.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Dr Caligari's room really starting to take shape - the opening explored

This section should hopefully speak for itself in the representation of textural, scale and light-filtration qualities. What shall be interesting to consider will be how much the models we create next are going to be close to these drawings which we have done thus far, or whether (and I hope it is the case) the process of fabricating our imagination into a haptic three dimensional form will develop the design to a further point of sophistication and resolution. It was clear though, from the way we have represented the room in our drawings as a group, that the process of casting is more closely linked to our underlying conceptual framework for the design. What has been evident in our group and my own individual drawings thus far, is that there is an uncertainty in regards to the extents of volume and void, solid and empty, mass and space. These things which are difficult to explore in two dimensional drawings will be the core focus for our model explorations.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Oh, the troubles of a left-handed person!

Upon drawing my latest pieces for the room for Dr Caligari task, I realised the side of my hand looked as if it had been dipped in silver. Because of the weight I put into the dark pencil medium, as my left hand ran across it, it gradually morphed into a section of reptilian/cyborg membrane.

I resolved to document this phenomenon, to accentuate the link between my drawn pencil technique, and my "collected-by-skin" pencil. So, in photoshop, I primarily worked with brightness/contrast and cropping several photographs of my alien hand, along the lines of cubist and surrealist art.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Decidedly Pedestrian outline of the plan - my section of the design

This is a very crude, under-nourished and probably over-technical representation of the plan for my section of Dr Caligari's new and improved room. What makes it come alive (and it is to exist as an almost sentient body) is the texture and construction of the stone and glass materials. Again there is 2 roads I would consider going down to represent this - rendered with drawn interpretive texturing, or collaged with more realistic texture swatches. The primary focus of this opening is it's capacity for light mediation, reflectance and augmentation, such that at a speculative stage, is probably best carried off by the good 'ole pencil.

Considering an opening for Dr Caligari's room

Now a joint forces effort, this iteration of the room shall continue to develop what myself and my colleagues identified as key concepts in creating a sensory experience which Dr Caligari would be proud of. An opening - in Dr Caligari's case, openings lead to a world of possibilities; they never seem to fully disclose to what they might be a threshold for. They are discreet and subtle, or bold and dominant - much like how one might imagine mapping the human mind.

In our case, we are dealing with openings as interruptions or dissections of the space; intervening elements which fragment the whole interior closed world of the internal environment.

In order to see, light must penetrate somehow. However, to keep the inward reflective nature of the room, visual connections to outside must be avoided. Light sources in this way are more puzzling, and can conform to the lines of folds in walls and ceiling to generate variation in high to low contrast between light and shadow.

I have done a little light test with a paper model made for a different subject (showing similar characteristics of the cave shell which forms part of the environment of the room). What was noticeable was the degree to which light penetrates void as opposed to semi-transparent plane.

The crispness of shadow depended on the TEXTURE of the surfaces onto which light was reflected, as well as the ANGLE of the light source, and the DISTANCE from in this case the floor as the primary reflecting surface. what I didn't test, but which deserves equal consideration is the SCALE of the light source.

Another important thing which I noted was how these variations to the light source effected the reflectability around the rest of the internal surfaces. In order to create an anti-gravity effect where this heavy stone mass which encloses the space is simply balancing on light, it is important to keep the upper reaches of the ceiling in darkness - to maintain the perception of solidity and weight.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Process from the individual Room to designing an "opening"

An opening was developed to respond to the two contrasting spaces in Georgia's original room design. The consideration was in the articulation of this transition. Could it play on optical illusions in the way of being user-activated experience (therefore making the space itself come alive)?

Or Light? A subtle instrusion of natural daylight into the space at this junction between the two ends; not enough to really establish a connection with the outside, but enough so that the fluxuating pattern of luminance of the sun throughout the day would dynamically change the perception of the materials inside enclosing the space.

The way the light infiltrates the space could dramatically enhance the experience of the materials by manipulating the perception of the tectonics - the walls could float on light.

Keeping in mind how the experience of the space is not all revealed at once, but gradually as a journey.

sketch of "opening" iteration

Monday, March 29, 2010

completed wharf section - technical

Hooray, I have drawn all the necessary lines to make the building look like a building. Now it just needs some rendering, texturing, environmental/atmospheric stippling, collage, frottage etc. I will play around with it in photoshop to see what sort of ways the interior qualities can be evocatively represented and abstractedly suggested (as well as being clear documentation).

The sheds have a substantial volume of empty space. The structural fabric is thin and "shabby" - in the sense that the wood is splitting, steel is twisted and rusting, and uneven gaps articulate junctions betwen the elements. In a sense, it may have been better to draw the section without a ruler, to really highlight the unevenness of edges which give it a dilapidated feeling. The rendering must make sure to include the considerable amount of filth which has caked up in the foul - reeking, damp rotten void between the floor of the sheds and the ground of the river bank.

There are 3 different scans of the same drawing because I couldn't decide which one would be easier to work with - bloody trace paper!

Also the completed section needs to be at 1:20, where this section is 1:50 on A3.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Sense of Sound - creating a soundscape for Dr Caligari

What kind of music does Dr Caligari Listen to? What kind of music not only homogeneously fits with the impressionistic visual provocations of the film's sets, but also enhances the experience of them? One suggestion might be the sonority and haunting sound-scapes of Krystof Penderecki (for example his Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima), or perhaps the deeply melancholy expression in the music of Chopin. Perhaps even some more current popular music may be able to add to the feel in surprising ways.

However, for this very primitive experiment, I have recorded myself playing sections of Chopin's grand Ballade no 1 in G minor (yes, it is me playing the piano) and set it to a few movie stills, some of Dali's paintings and then into my drawings of the room design. Perhaps the idea with this (I know this is probably thinking too far ahead) would be that in our Silent Film library Project, sound booths would be set up where the films are accessed digitally and output onto a display, and then visitors to the library have access to this sound booth with a multitude of sound mixing functions as well as recordings of music and sound effects, so that they can select and/or create their own sound-scape to accompany the film as and when they view it.

The video isn't all that long, so it shouldn't become too boring (as I am aware of the stigma of listen to classical music as young hip out there design students!). please enjoy.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

2nd version of Room for Dr Caligari - Plan and Section

Both are at 1:20, as before. This time as well as the alterations which I have discussed in earlier posts, I wanted to create a much richer representation of my concept by incorporating collage. This means a more accurate communication of the tactility of the space (where drawing beautiful black marble surfaces by hand is bloody hard!), and gives variation from the single chunky medium (appropriately so) of dark pencil. In terms of the concept and underlying ideas, this revision remains perhaps truer to my original vision that the first attempt.

This is the plan. Well, obviously. The primary change perceivable in this drawing is the configuration of access spaces, inner core and outer core. The inhabitable meditation core is articulated as a much clearer terminus point when viewing from the perspective of the access hallways. There is also a greater panorama of visible outer core to encompass the platform.

This is the section. Also rather obvious I hope. I managed to get the hang of bevelling/embossing the edges of the marble sections so that there is a subtle hint of relief to the surface. Make sure you click on all of my images for closer looks at details which you mightn't be able to decipher.

Reworking the room for Dr Caligari - process

So in addition to the optical illusion inspiration which helped me resolve the concept of the room even better, there was some sketch work done in my Journal to help me make sense of the new spatial relationships I was considering, whilst still maintaining the very primal and underlying concept of outer and inner core.

This time, much greater consideration has been given to all 3 dimensions in order to create an enclosed and encompassing cave with articulated shadows and brighter edges.

Howard Smith Wharves Site - Wharf Building cross section

Well, here is the beginnings of the technical aspect to the wharf building section. The roof on the right needs to be completed, as well as documenting what is going on under the planks of the raised floor. From what I've seen there is quite a network of perpendicular and parallel beams and logs all dark and murky, sucking in shadows and collecting filth. And then of course, the materiality of the structure needs to be documented with rendering and texturing, and finally there needs to be representation of the internal quality of the volume - light/dark, empty/full etc. This is drawn at 1:50 on A3. The interior width dimension should be 13200 mm at 1:50.

Exciting Inspirational stuff - Optical Illusions

I was flipping through some of the multitudinous books in my bookcase, when I came across one loaded with a whole pile of Mind tricks and optical illusions. Seeing as how my focus for this project has centred around cognition and distortion of spatial perception, I was able to take inspiration from these carefully crafted illusions to enliven the room with a greater confusion of form and volume - to really facilitate critical and creative thinking in the Doctor's mind as he meditates. Certainly this means that for any other "normal people" your sense of sight in the space is disturbed and perhaps made a little uncomfortable.

This one works with grain of opposing directions to produce a three dimensional, dynamic effect.
This kind of optical trick is really irritating, because you know that the lines are parallel, but there is so much fine detail of working again in alternating opposite directions, that the eye cannot focus on the whole at once.
I like the radiating or pulsing effect that this one gives due to the difference in spacing of the lines.
This is one of the classic examples where the offset of the checker squares is enough to irritate the hell out of you.
This one I find particularly intriguing, as to how the two layers of (1) built columns, and (2) their surface treatment work together to distort the perception of equilibrium.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A room for Dr. Caligari - Speculative Design

Add Image

Drawing from my light research into phsychology, the surrealism of Dali, and of course my interpretation of Dr Caligari's personality, I conceptualised a meditation room which is inwardly reflective. spatially constructed with an outer and inner core to surround the Doctor with vast volume, but also enclose him in intimate comfort. This inner core also acts to stifle sound, such that it would seem that the encompassing darkness and shadow swallows it up. He floats in the centre of the space which has the qualities of a deep cave, where there are always places leading off around dark corners.

However noble he may consider himself, the Doctor is also somewhat ragged and rough around the edges - I suppose that comes from being slightly insane. Therefore the feel of the surfaces in the room are harsh, jagged and highly convoluted. Colour is bereft of vibrance in the room, just as memorie's ability to vividly recall colour can be difficult; although a slight shimmer of gold seeps up the walls from the lighting underneath the walkway to activate the outer core's reflective surfaces. As Doctor Caligari moves through the room, the angles of the walls change the reflections which are percieved to create a dynamic, living space.