Unit 4- Project Evaluation
Developing a Theme
What inspires you? What do you find interesting, fascinating, important?
- Historical architecture, small spaces, urban design, abandoned architecture, green design, illumination, interactive spaces/ installations
What do you like to observe? What do you like to experience emotionally or physically?
- Physical space, comfort, tranquility, laughter, green spaces, music
Which artists or designers are you interested in or admire? Why?
- Rachel Whiteread- Whiteread's work provides a new perspective on familiar everyday objects. I am intrigued by methods of casting. Her use of concrete and resin create aesthetically pleasing and imposing sculptures. She has also used her work to confront political controversies in society e.g. gentrification which I find inspiring.
- Do Ho Suh- I admire Suh's architectural installations. Not only are they colourful and exciting to look at, but the use of unfamiliar materials to replicate architectural elements evokes response in the user different to that of a usual room.
- Edoardo Tresoldi- Tresoldi's architectural installations are intriguing. There is a clear historical element throughout his work. The use of wire creates ghostly exterior of the architectural structures. This 'ghostly' appearance is then reduced by his use of rocks- which bring the installation to life.
- Forensic Architecture- I really admire the work of the interdisciplinary design studio Forensic Architecture. Their focus on real world issues is a pinnacle element of design and the key to designing something not only innovative but also functional and relevant.
Which designers do you know in your discipline? What are their themes?
- Tonkin Liu- London based architecture firm who produce socially engaged architecture and art. Innovative, relevant and conscious designs for modern day needs
- Tadao Ando- Renowned Japanese architect popular for his use of concrete and 'simplicity' to expose the beauty in spaces.
- Sou Fujimoto- Fujimoto is a prominent Japanese architect known for his critical designs, which aim to balance people, nature and societal needs.
- Thomas Heatherwick- Heatherwick has a 'problem-solving' approach to design- with his style varying from project to project to ensure the structure is sensitive and considerate.
Theme: Preservation and Innovation
Preservation and Innovation
This theme would be an exploration of architecture and it's lifetime; looking at how some structures have survived the test of time whilst other haven't. How do historical pieces of architecture influence contemporary design? Inspired by an intrigue into abandoned/ lost places and buildings, I want to design structures inspired by historical elements of a site. I also want to explore revitalisation and redevelopment projects which often combine existing structures with new, modern ones, as well as the ethics and sustainability considered during these schemes. I may consider creating an installation which explores this interest further.
Today was the first taught day of the Unit 4 project. Whilst in this initial stage of the project, idea generation and finding relevant resources is key. To help with this process, we did a peer evaluation of our project proposals. I found this task particularly helpful as it provided an external perspective, which provokes new ideas and routes to explore within the theme. It also provided me with research sources which I hadn't yet considered/ wasn't aware of (shown below).
Museum/ Gallery/ Exhibition to visit
- British Museum
- RA- Eco-Visionaries
- Parkland Walk
We were organised into groups based on relating themes for our Unit 4 projects. As a result, my group had a particular focus on historical research, redevelopment and innovation. We each brought ten research images from our projects and grouped them to find connections between our themes of exploration. We had 8 groups: redevelopment, repetition, greenery, contrast, concrete, ruins, form and geometry. I found this workshop particularly useful as a few people in my group had projects which related strongly to mine. As a result, I gathered new and valuable research sources including places to visit, books to read and practitioners to research.
Organising research photos from most colourful to least colourful, which also correlates with age of the artworks.
Today I produced some sketch models in response to the primary research I've gathered so far. Due to my focus on preservation, many of the models took inspiration from historical architectural features such as arches. I have tried to do this using a variety of materials to portray the features in a new light and spark different ideas.
Model Making- Wood Workshop
After using my template to draw out the shape, I carefully drilled 50mm circles into 12mm MDF to recreate the arches.
I then used the band saw to cut along the edges until joining with the arch to form the fully cut-out shape.
I am pleased with the outcome of my MDF model. I think the simplified arch shape (fewer details) gives it a modern element. I think that this structure will strongly influence the design of my final proposal.
Project Overview- Week 26
WEEK 26: Model making and initial design idea generation. Experiment with wood/ plaster/ concrete/ resin. Record and reflect all work on workflow and in sketchbook.
I am happy with the progress I’ve made with my project this week. I have met my targets in terms of material experimentation, which will help with deciding on the materiality of my proposal and final model. I feel as though I should have had a greater focus on the initial design idea generation and so will make this a primary focus during next week’s tasks.
I am fascinated by Crystal Palace Park and the history of what used to exist there. I particularly like sites which have details which reveal elements of it’s history. The ruins that remain at the Crystal Palace site are Italian balconies with arches covered in greenery. These are structures that I have already explored in my project and am keen to include in my final proposal.
Initially I was intimidated by the size of the site and the significance of it’s history. However, I have now decided to use a smaller portion of the site. I will also take inspiration from Joseph Paxton’s structure to design with a sensitivity to the area’s history.
Questionnaire? - What would people like in their local park?
Idea Development Questions:
Temporary installation?- Interactive installation which takes strong inspiration from old structure
Conservatory/ Botanical Garden?- Closely related to nature (as the site is located in a park) and would resemble elements of the original Crystal Palace
Exhibition space?- Inspired by the function of Joesph Paxton’s Crystal Palace (exhibition space)
Pavillion?- Interior/ Exterior space to incorporate the park and expose users to greenery of outdoors as well as indoor shelter
Cafe?- Somewhere for locals and visitors to sit/ rest at the park
The list above contains potential uses for my proposal. As the site is located within a park, I would like to design something to appeal to regular users of the outdoor space. This would be something like a cafe or seating area. Alternatively, I have considered taken inspiration from the history of Crystal Palace and design something resembling the old structure’s original shape or use. This may be in the form of an exhibition space or conservatory. Taking a more light-touch approach, I have also considered designing a temporary architectural installation on the site, as a result of inspiration from secondary research artists such as Eduardo Tresoldi.
Project Overview- Week 27
WEEK 27: Continue with site specific exploration and proposal ideas. Explore possibilities for final proposal e.g. installation etc.
Project Concept- Pergola
Site- Crystal Palace Park
Form- Concrete pergola dominated by greenery with sculptural structure strongly influenced by history of site
Material- Concrete, Glass, Iron, Greenery
Scale- Site- 220m x 95m, Model- 1:100
User- Public site for anyone to visit
Programme- Provide public outdoor shelter to reconnect with nature in an urban environment
Initially I wanted my final proposal to be made from concrete by creating silicone moulds, however my plans have changed without access to a workshop. Instead I must use a more accessible material. To resemble concrete I will use grey card and acetate for the glass. If I decide to incorporate iron in my design I may use thin metal rods or wire for my model.
In response to my site analysis, I would like to ensure that the forestry located behind the site is visible from the structure that I design. This is so that visitors are as exposed to nature as possible whilst also being sheltered by the building.
I have produced some models inspired by the arch structure that I've been focused on. I replicated the shape of 'half an arch' four times to form a foldable and moveable shape. This resulted in a variety of interesting structures and compositions which will hopefully inspire the form of my proposal. It was also an opportunity to practice working with grey card before making by final model.
I have produced some digital replicas of my sketch models using SketchUp Software. This was so that I could experiment with the materiality of the structures and explore other factors such as shadows. These are shapes that I would like to use in my final design and have inspired a more sculptural approach to this project. I initially considered working with Aluminium Mesh after admiring the work of Edoardo Tresoldi and particularly enjoying working with the material. However, due to limited access to resources, I have decided to use grey card (to reflect the materiality of concrete) instead. As an alternative, I used SketchUp to represent the idea of creating my final design from Mesh. I also used the software to visualise the structure made from concrete. I particularly liked the appearance of these digital outcomes and am keen on using concrete as the dominant material in my design.
After looking again at the site's contemporary map, I noticed steps which would have provided access to the original Crystal Palace's upper terrace. I will need to take this into consideration when designing and incorporate them into my design. They work quite well with my idea to design a courtyard, as the steps could provide a rear entrance/ exit. It also backs onto the area of forestry which I wanted to make accessible from my structure.
Project Overview- Easter Break
I have had some exciting progression in my project over the Easter Break. Finding more inspiration through research into related projects has encouraged new ideas within my designs. Producing SketchUp renders of my sketch models was a key moment in the project and feel as though this software will be particularly practical for capturing the sculptural nature of my design.
I've decided to digitally produce my final outcome using SketchUp. This was encouraged by a combination of not having access to enough materials and being inspired by the 3D renders I produced of my sketch model using the software. I also had to rethink the size of my site. I had chosen a very large space to work with and, due to current circumstances, producing a design of that scale would require more resources and more time. By reducing the size that I am working with, the project is more manageable which means that I can produce a more focused and intricate design. The site I am now using is the courtyard area which incorporates remains of the old structure (the steps and Italian arches).
Project Overview- Week 30
WEEK 30: Finalise Project
This week has been about finalising my project. I feel as though I have achieved this by completing my final design on SketchUp and producing a visualisation. Whilst making one section of my model, I realised that I didn't have enough material to also make the other section. This was unfortunate as I was keen to display both structures, however it means that I can concentrate more on this section to produce a higher quality model. I'd planned to have greenery encompassing my final design however due to a limited knowledge on digital software e.g Photoshop I have used my 1:50 model to show this instead. The model also allows me to show scale using figures.
Research Venn Diagram
Theme: Urban Growth
This project theme proposal explores urban architecture. How has urban growth influenced contemporary architecture in cities? What are future solutions to potential over-crowding? I want to closely look into micro architecture and innovative ways to design structures which optimise space. Greenery would be a key element throughout the project- prioritising green areas in urban environments.
Developing a Theme
Preservation = maintain (something) in its original or existing state.
Innovation = make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products.
I have chosen the two opposing terms 'preservation' and 'innovation' for the title of my project. The project refers to how historical architecture fits into the modern world (and vice versa). New problems require new solutions. This is particularly true with architecture. An evolving world, city or place requires an innovative response to the living spaces of it's inhabitants. But how do 21st century practitioners design with a sensitivity to the existing architecture? This is what I will be exploring throughout the Unit 4 project.
How long do buildings survive?
What factors determine a structure's lifespan?
At what point do buildings become 'historical' pieces of architecture?
How do we design for a space occupied by varying architectural styles?
To what extent is modern architecture influenced by historical architecture?
Can historical and contemporary architecture coexist?
We gathered back into our groups from the workshop yesterday. We decided on three main themes which classify each of our projects- contrast, historical research and adaption. Following this, I planned my project schedule for the next 9 weeks (up till the assessment submission deadline). This is really useful for keeping up to date with key information such as when the workshops are open/closed.
Expanding my research
Following my visit to Hampstead Pergola, I realised that my project so far has been focused on historical architecture and renovated/ preserved structures. I began to consider alternative ways to interpret my theme of preservation and innovation. Preservation may not just related to historical buildings. It may also include all of the buildings that currently surround us- regardless of age. Similarly, innovation doesn't just refer to a design's aesthetic. Innovation means responding to modern day issues, challenges and needs. These might relate to factors like climate change and population density. These are aspects of my project that I'd like to explore further to broaden my research. I will produce designs which aim to provide new solutions to modern day challenges and also use a wider variety of architectural styles/ eras to explore the 'preservation' side to my project.
Project Overview- Week 25
WEEK 25: Complete primary and secondary research in sketchbook and on workflow.
Organisation is a key factor in making this project successful. Therefore, I must keep referring back to my timetable to ensure that I am on task. My plan for this week is shown above. I have almost successfully updated both my sketchbook and workflow with research, however there are a few things to finish. This needs to be done by Sunday in order to stick to my schedule.
Model Making- Casting Workshop
Using the wooden arches as a template, I created a silicone mould of the shape. This is so that I can replicate the structure whilst experimenting with different materials (resin and plaster).
I first produced a plaster cast using the mould. This was an opportunity to test out the mould before using the more expensive resin. As well as this, using plaster cast first helps to clean out any stains on the mould which would reduce any staining/ marks on my resin cast. I liked the outcome of the cast, however thought that the colour was slightly too light. Therefore I would use more black paint the next time to get a colour which better reflects stone. As well as this, the edges of the cast thinned towards one end. This was because of bumps on the silicone mould interfering with the shape. To resolve this I had to create a plaster case around the silicone mould to level out the underside of it.
I then used the same mould to cast the shape in resin. As it’s my first time using the material, I decided to keep the resin clear. I like the outcome and think that it provides an innovative approach to the historical arches. In terms of improvements, the resin cast had quite rough edges. This could be fixed by a process of filing and sanding. Learning these things about the material will be particularly helpful if I decide to use resin in my final model.
Pavilion = a summer house or other decorative building used as a shelter in a park or large garden.
I have decided to design a Pavilion for my proposal. This decision was inspired by a combination of the site’s history, the existing infrastructure within the park and my own design interests. I particularly enjoy designing environmentally friendly and green structures and so would like to incorporate a lot of greenery in my proposal. I am also hoping that some use of glass will reflect the original work of Joseph Paxton. Furthermore, with the site being located in a particularly ‘visitor-friendly’ park, I thought that a pavilion would work especially well and attract more people to the grounds and provide some outdoor shelter.
Innovative- Use of glass/ concrete/ curves
Considerate- Ensure the structure is accessible by ramp
Aesthetic- Visually pleasing design which fits is with the site vernacular
Form & Function- Structure should provide a green, open outdoor shelter for public use
Environmentally Friendly- Incorporating plants and greenery
Reflection on Digital Feedback- Week 27
Studio Practice/ Research
Feedback: ‘Very good research, coherent and relevant to the topic you chose but there is no indication of your project design or intention, in workflow or your sketchbook and you urgently need to do so. It would be a good idea to decide your site, perhaps use the Hampstead pergola as it is an inspirational site for you and you already have a lot of information about it. Start by your site analysis, where is the pergola situated in the park, how was it historically used and who uses it now? Focus on the information that you already have and your references to get inspired for your project proposal.’
‘Reflect on the results of your Model Making- Wood Workshop’
Reflection: In response to my feedback, I have decided on a site (Crystal Palace Park) so that I can stay on task with my own project timetable. In terms of my interest in the Hampstead Pergola, I would like to use it as inspiration for my design in Crystal Palace. I have also completed a reflection on my model making in the wood workshop.
Feedback: ‘The workflow is informed and contains research and personal reflection.
Keep references consistent and according to Harvard referencing
Rethink the title to be more specific to your project.
The reflective part is good but the project description part is missing the project .You are defining your intended research, your materials and your possible sites without defining the project.’
Reflection: Some changes have been made to my Unit 4 Project Proposal including parts missing from my bibliography. In terms of having a more specific project title, I have considered titles such as ‘Modern Ruins’ or ‘Contemporary Ruins’. I think that these titles definitely reflect my project focus better than my previous title. I have also made my project description more specific in terms of site and potential final proposals.
I really liked the shape of the models- in particular the positioning in the first photo- and will consider using it as inspiration for designing a pergola on the buildings exterior to provide a walkway as well as shade. This would have plants and greenery trailing along it and create nice shadows between the gaps of the structure.
Project Overview- Week 28
WEEK 28: Refine and finalise proposal idea. Use workshop to experiment with materiality of final design.
Although I have made progress with my project this week, I have slipped slightly behind my schedule. This week was supposedly for refining my project however I am still in the designing process. This means I need to work hard during Week 29 to ensure that I am up-to-date by the end of next week. To ensure I meet this deadline I will create a timetable and try hard to stick to it day by day. In terms of experimenting with materiality, without access to workshops this task has been adapted slightly and instead I have experimented with the materials- like grey board- that I intend to use for my final model.
My project and design development has been predominantly influenced by individual shapes and structures that I like the appearance of. I feel as though my work has also been strongly inspired by my primary and secondary research. My visits to sites like the Barbican Conservatory, the Hampstead Pergola and St Dunstan's Church Garden have each inspired different elements of my project. A common denominator between the sites is a focus on vegetation growth and foliage. As a result, my project has a similar focus on greenery. My secondary research has mainly inspired the structural and sculptural side of my project- particularly works by Xavier Corbero and Ricardo Bofill. Their work relates to the preservation of history with a contemporary approach, which is what my project aims to achieve.
My design drawing has been influenced by exploring the history of my site. This has led to a stronger focus on greenery, as historically the site was occupied by a garden area. Due to the shape and structure of the old remains I have decided to design a courtyard in the centre of the area. My interest in the aesthetic of concrete encompassed by greenery has determined the materiality of my final proposal. This decision was reinforced by overgrown foliage on the existing Italian balconies and arches that still remain from the original complex.
Reflection on Digital Feedback- Week 28
Studio Practice/ Research
- It is great to see that you kept developing the project and that you have found a particular site.
- It would be great to see the final compilation of your project, ate the moment the experimentation is great but seems disconnected from Crystal palace. Make sure that you add a post about this relationship, even if it done in retrospective. Zoom more in your map, you mention that you are using a small area but your plan still shows a large area.
- It is not clear where the colonnade will go. Perhaps it can be adapting to different parts of the Palace?
- Think about your potential users and uses of your proposal. At the moment your project looks very abstract and you have the potential to animate it. It would be interesting to indicate this is an collage merging the users with a 3d of your proposal and the site.
- Focus during the break in creating images that showcase your project.
- Your Sketchbook finishes in Hampstead pergola and it is not clear if the section Digital Feedback week 28 the continuation of your sketchbook or your A2 Pages. If it is part of the sketchbook then you need to create your Sheets during the break. On the contrary if those are your a2 sheets you need to arrange them more tidily. You are perfectly capable of doing so, all the portfolio pages I have seen have been greatly arranged.
In order to begin designing in a more focused manner (as suggested above) I have considered producing more work on SketchUp as I'm finding it more difficult to work in my sketchbook due to limited space. I will also use the next week to prioritise visualising my final design. I have also used Digimaps to show my new site (on my research page) which shows a slightly smaller area than the one I had initially chosen.
- The workflow is informed and contains research and personal reflection. You took on board the comments of the previous feedback and have reflected on your Model Making- Wood Workshop. The project description is still unclear.
- Updated reflective thoughts. Good workflow content, consistent and a good variety of sources used.
- You are clearly documenting your analysis, evaluation, planning. You can write couple more reflective posts on problem solving, what is the issue that you aim to address with your project and how do you plan to do so.
I have reviewed my project description and made my project aims clearer.
Project Overview- Week 29
I have spent this week completing my final design. The process was slightly different from usual and was done in a much more sculptural way than usual. I started by taking structural elements that I knew I wanted to incorporate and arranging them onto the site. This was a way to ensure that I had each of the structures I wanted in my design, but also gave me a good starting point on the overall structure. Once I had put all these structures in, I noticed a slight disconnection between the different aspects of the design- which I think was due to having several stand-alone facades. To solve this, I added an overhead column running along the outside of the upper level connecting the front colonnade to the one at the back.
The shadows stretch and manipulate the sculptural structures to create interesting, abstract reflections of the shapes.
- Create a plan view of map using site location
- Create a final design sheet using five key photos
- Grey card model making- choose key areas of design to model
- Add shadow experimentation using SketchUp model
- Use SketchUp model to show Crystal Palace ruins separate from my design
I have produced more work in response to my tutorial feedback. I have prioritised completing the advise that I feel will most strongly support my project, which on the list above have been the last three bullet points.
Taking on board the feedback I recieved during yesterday's tutorial, I have begun making a 1:50 scale model using grey card. Rather than model the entire structure, I have chosen two sections of the design to create. This is due to limited resources but I think that it has worked quite well as it will allow me to zoom in on particular structural elements and produce more specific and interesting 3D outcomes.
The process of making my model was more intricate than expected. It was carefully made to scale and had to be done carefully to ensure each part fit together. I had particular difficulty when creating the stairs. The steps had to be exact measurements to fit due to the small scale of the staircase. After a few attempts I made one that I was pleased with to put in the model. I photographed the model outdoors as I prefer using natural light on architectural models. I feel as though this gives it a sense of place and surrounding. I have managed to produce a model that I feel represents my design well and I think that the use of grey card was a good alternative to concrete.
- Catalogue Photos- Perspective View of SketchUp model, Front Elevation, Mesh arches, Model
- Adding greenery onto visualisation using Photoshop
- Photograph model from interesting angles with shadows
- Project extensions
I think that I will submit all of the photos suggested during my tutorial to be put in the catalogue. These are the main photos that describe both my process and outcome best. I have zoomed in on particular areas of my model and photographed them to create images that provide a new perspective and show details of the design. Due to limited time, I have decided to keep the task of adding greenery to my visualisation as an extension project. This will take time as I am fairly new to Photoshop software.
I have written my project evaluation and feel ready to submit my work in time for tomorrow's deadline. I am pleased with my progress and outcomes during this project. I do however feel like there's more that could be done on the project. For example, I'd like to attempt to incorporate greenery into the front elevation view using Photoshop. I'm sure that learning these skills now will help with future projects. I'd also like to create some close-up images of the interior covered with overgrown greenery. I feel as though my vision of having the structure as a garden shifted slightly as I was pleased with my current design. These are tasks that I can do to stay busy during the Covid-19 pandemic.