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Over a period of eight or nine weeks I have collaborated with another discipline and also worked with people I wouldn’t of necessarily of worked with from my own course. For the final part of the unit we were set the task of responding to the brief ‘paper towns.’
Paper towns… “Fictitious entries on maps may be called phantom settlements, trap streets, paper towns, cartographer’s follies, or other names. They are intended to help unmask copyright infringements; if caught, copyright violators wouldn’t be able to explain the entry’s presence on their maps.
The fictional town of Agloe, New York, was invented by map makers, but eventually became identified as a real place by its county administration because a building, the Agloe General Store, was erected at its fictional location. The “town” is featured in the novel Paper Towns by John Green and its film adaptation.”
Collectively, our group of eventually six interior design students which was originally five, we decided to create an extension to the famous Tado Ando Piccadilly Gardens wall. This happens to be his only work in the UK and is something that has much controversy attached with it, many people think it’s ugly including myself and there are plans to demolish the structure. Nevertheless, this did not stop us from researching around the topic and coming up with the theme of transactions. Many transactions take place in Piccadilly Gardens, but the more sinister just happen to be more relevant and are often publicised. Drug dealing and the use of illegal substances is happening all the time in Manchester, but particularly in Piccadilly Gardens. Our idea was to design a safe, hidden place on top of the Tado Ando wall for the participants of the drug trade to use, keeping them off the streets and out of the public eye.
My involvement in the project snowballed towards the end. I designed the logo, which was aptly an X. I was given a source image, and drew it in the back of my sketchbook, took a photograph of it and digitised it by tracing it within Illustrator. The rest of the group liked it, so it stayed. I then got hold of some small drug bags or baggies, and drew the logo onto them, creating this idea of a brand or movement. Something which was used a bit like a paper trail to aid the ‘police investigation.’
The process of designing the proposed area above Tado Ando’s existing structure started with creating what is already there. I used SketchUp to complete this task, then with help from the rest of the group, we had some ideas of what the space would look like. Essentially another story would be added, and a roof attached with partitions to create smaller sections within the large area. My trip to Berlin in 2016 gave me inspiration to not extend the internal walls from floor to ceiling. The Jewish Memorial has an information museum type job underneath the memorial itself, which shows artefacts, text and various information. Some of the internal walls in there are hung from the ceiling, but do not reach the floor, which created an atmosphere very different to anything I have experience before. It was this visit that inspired the design of the space.
For presentation purposes, I branched out a bit, and added an extension to SketchUp which allowed me to render my model in real time. Something which I had not done before, but am well aware is something in industry that is completely normal. This was actually really exciting, seeing the space I designed come to life. Having successfully rendered my model I exported 2D graphics and merged them with a photograph I took myself of Piccadilly gardens.
A tour of Ancoats gave me an information and facts ‘top up’ from the street art tour of the northern quarter I independently went on late last year. The Ancoats tour did however show me one or two things that I didn’t already know and it was great to be in the company of someone so knowledgeable about the area again. We were shown around the area via walking tour, the weather wasn’t great but it didn’t effect anything too drastically. The peep holes were not something new to me, however I did learn more about the story behind them.
Later that day we had an urban sketching session lead by Simone. I was looking forward this as sketching is one of my strong points. We had an hour to find something interesting and draw it. I set off in a small group but quickly found myself alone in a car park having found an interesting building to draw. The composition is an important aspect of any drawing, so when drawing buildings, you can cheat this task by choosing the right thing to draw. After an hour past (very quickly) it was time to regroup and put all our work together for everyone to see. Many people find this daunting and aren’t keen to reveal their work. I must admit, I did used to feel this way, but after years of studying art and sharing my work it has become normal. Seeing all the different drawings is a great way to finish the session, it invites people to talk about each other’s work and see what worked well and what could be improved.
Towards the end of the week we were set another small project. Again in small groups, a mixture of Interior Design and 3D Design students, we were told to individually teach a skill to someone else in the group, and be taught a skill. I taught a bit of Photoshop, and learned about ceramics. The slide below was created by myself and presented in a slideshow at the end of the day which showcased everything that everyone learned.
Unit X began with a short collaborative project using the city of Manchester as the protagonist, Interior Design and 3D Design working together. There were four in my group including myself, which seemed like the right number of people. Communicating between the group was easy due to the size of it, and there was enough brain power to keep the ball rolling throughout the project which lasted only a few days. The brief was centred around Manchester as previously stated, and each group was given a section of a map showing an area of central Manchester. We were then told to recreate the information from our map section with very little guidance other than that. The idea being, each group would create a design at A2 then the map would be put back together showing a vast range of different styles and materials etc. The project worked well and between the four of us, everyone contributed equally.
In the second week all students were invited to attend 3D drawing workshops throughout the day. I was apprehensive about this part of the project, as there are many interpretations of 3D drawing, some of which are exciting and others not so much. We were all told to bring a variety of materials and tools to use, and there were boxes of scraps and leftovers free to use. Our instructions were to create our journey to university from that morning. From this point it became very clear that a certain level of imagination, creativity and freedom were required. The examples shown were very expressive and not necessarily accurate representations. This comforted me in the sense that I knew nothing would be considered ‘wrong’ and anything created would be considered in some way or another, perhaps completely differently depending on who is looking at my work. My journey was made from a piece of scrap metal about an inch wide. I bent the metal at right angles to show a ‘literal’ representation of my journey to university that day. I tried to keep things free and allow the material to have a say in the way I made my journey. Living just round the corner, it was easy to do a virtual walkthrough showing rough distances and left and right turns etc.
The second part of 3D drawing was to create something that referenced Manchester in some way. I’m often faced with thoughts of the Manchester bee, so this seemed like the right thing to work with. Whilst rummaging through the boxes of scraps I came across a box of bobbins. These would become the body of the bee. Next I found strips of yellow electrical wire which needed untangling, this would be wrapped around the bobbin to show the distinctive stripes. White tissue paper needed cutting to shape then became wings. I made quite a few bee’s, as one didn’t seem enough. With a little time to spare I decided to try and arrange my collection of bee’s, the simplest thing that came to mind was the shape of the letter ‘M’ for Manchester. We were then told to move around the room and stand in front of someone else’s work that we liked. Little did we know that we would then be invited to carry on working on the 3D drawings in front of us. Images to follow show the addition of a honeycomb pattern on my bee’s.
Analysis of a challenging yet rewarding project completed last year during my college course. The end result of my project didn’t truly come as a surprise, as I allowed myself to develop organically and freely around my statement of intent from earlier in the year. The premise of my statement, did however, seem to become something that I would later challenge and almost counteract. The final piece is more or less a mockery of what I set out to achieve. (Project concept outlined in previous post [college review]). My original intention was to challenge one of the many issues highlighted in the project concept. In the end, my work has reflected this intention, but in an exaggerated manner. Along with an extra concept that I still find incredibly interesting, negative space. Instead of creating simply an enclosed space within an existing structure, I designed an eccentric, stand-alone property, which shares its footprint with a much larger area of ‘breathing space’. I believe that this very simple concept of immersing yourself in green space could be the answer to many of the problems I highlighted in my statement of intent.
Early on in my research I was reading through some RIBA documents and noticed a reference to the UK’s “2020 targets”, something that I was not aware of which regarded property and housing. Figures for employment, R&D/innovation, climate change/energy, education and poverty/social exclusion, all of which work to save money to the public purse and improve the places we live, work and play in the long term. Research continued throughout the project and shaped the way I worked and what I produced. Notably going to the Tate Modern in London, and seeing the collection of photographs of water towers by Bernd and Hilla Becher inspired me to use the general shape of said water towers for the final piece. The techniques and processes I imagined would feature did so as expected, however using a parallel motion board and various other pieces of equipment for scale drawings did come as a pleasant surprise. Furthermore, the range of materials and equipment I needed in the workshops was unexpected due to the complexity of my designs. I have found that it is very easy to work with straight parallel lines and right angles, rather than strange 3D trapezium shapes.
Field trips to Aberystwyth and Berlin opened my eyes to the diversity, not just in culture, but art and how it is received, presented and respected. I enjoyed making early on, starting small and developing a concept using a number of materials e.g. paper, grey-board, ceramics, and various other methods e.g. printing, drawing, writing and digital work. I benefitted from structured research task handouts, which I know will improve the structure of my own investigations in the future. Pathway choice came quite easily having swerved away from my original desire to work on an image based, 2D project, to wanting to involve 3D elements. The fine art pathway made this concept possible.
f i n a l m a j o r p r o j e c t ( f m p ) c o n c e p t
A staggering 95% of government expenditure on housing is spent on housing benefit, and just 5% is spent on building new homes… It is no longer an option to leave the government to deal with this problem, but time to work with it ourselves. Studying Interior Design at University, I am working on similar projects, taking an existing building/space and repurposing it for the benefit of the community surrounding it, concentrating on a human scale. I intended to challenge one of the many issues the UK is facing such as a growing and ageing population, a shortage of space (mainly in cities), less disposable income, physical inactivity, fewer schools and high divorce rates, using as many of my skills as possible but most importantly, a whole heap of creative and innovative thinking to come up with a solution. All of these ‘problems,’ effect where and how we can or can not live, however there are a number of ways that we can address them; building reuse, contemporary insertions, shared spaces for living, using ‘leftover’ spaces, refurbishing our existing homes and new housing models and structures. Using an already accomplished art movement to support my ideas benefitted development no end. Contemporary design, notably the Bauhaus, De Stijl movement and some Scandinavian references are somethings I used to draw ideas from. Focusing on a creative concept rather than a scientific and precise idea allowed me to physically do more work due to the limited available time I had for this project. Encountering obstacles during my FMP was a guarantee, however I strongly believe, still today, that error breeds sense, so as long as I understand and document why the problem has occurred, it will not be a problem. Evaluating my project throughout was key to successful development and essentially a good grade, it allowed me to reflect on what went well and what could be improved on. Throughout my project I kept a notebook and sketchbook to document everything I found, whether it be information from the internet or any drawings I did. I used my camera to photograph visits to relevant buildings and models I made. These models may be simple paper maquettes, planar shapes using ceramics, or high finished, quality architects models. My blog was a useful tool in publishing and sharing important findings and finally, feedback from my teachers, peers, and interior designers/architects.
‘human – meditation – nature’
Architecture is not just about function and beauty, but also a way to connect people with nature. There are currently 7 billion people in the world. Humans have evolved over time to be the only species that do not adapt to the world but make the world adapt to them instead. In our desire to develop the economy through commercialization, industrialization, construction and technological advances, we have changed the world to suit our needs. But human life is always attached to nature. The relationship between man and nature can be seen in everyday life. Nature gives us many benefits but most of us do not know how to respect, protect and preserve it.
Urbanization is inevitable around the world in today’s society. It helps to promote economic development, society and living conditions. But in doing so, nature is being destroyed through large consumptions of energy and deforestation. Society is growing at a rapid rate and people are slowly being separated from nature. In today’s media, we often see hundreds of social problems, from wars, pollution, natural disasters, droughts and floods to name a few. All of these require an effective solution to improve human life, bring stability and peace.
“At Vo Trong Nghia Architects, we see meditation as a beneficial pathway to help people to avoid ignorance, purify their minds, improve their lives and bring people closer to nature. The staff at Vo Trong Nghia Architects are required to meditate twice a day and attend 10-day meditation courses throughout the year to continuously reconnect with nature, as well as to understand their minds at a deeper level. It helps resist cravings, improve concentration and sensitivity to our surroundings, as well as better decision-making in improving our society, not just our personal interests.”
“Within this forest of bamboo and plants, we invite you to meditate and reawaken your relationship with nature. We hope the journey through this pavilion will remind you of the impact of human actions in our daily lives. In our projects, we always emphasize on the relationship between architecture and nature. By integrating nature to our other architectural projects, not only are we able to improve the scenery and atmosphere of the surroundings, but also to provide food through farming and provide resources to the people. Furthermore, it alleviates current social issues by encouraging communication among people.”