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Architectural Design Studio Learning Portfolio Arch. 101 Midterm Project

Marvin Rodriguez Fall/13

Introduction  Chronological documentation of all three-dimensional iteration projects and research carried by written reflections.  Each iterative design was directed with the help of personal responses to a selected weekly question that was assigned. This helped formulate new ideas, and a new hypothesis for thinking and making new designs.  Design prompts labled throughout were derived from Arch. 101 Syllabus, and work handouts.

Iteration 1 Repetition Order

Icebreaker Exercise: Assortment of objects thoughtfully arranged on a 8-1/2 inch x 12-inch stiff piece of cardboard then secured in place.

“What is design? What is architecture?�

Design is the recreation of a past creation. It is exercised by the illusion of free will, nonetheless it is an artistic form of self expression. Architecture is a creation, an adaptation to a given environment. It crafts shape, space, and structure in forms that exudes expression.

Design Prompt 1. What constitutes order and what is its value in design?

2. What is the relationship of one element of your composition to another and to the whole?

3. How does your selection of materials, their surface qualities, and level of craft used in your construction affect the perceptions of others?

Destinations Order is the balance, and coexistence between control, collaboration, sustainability, direction, and equilibrium. Its value in design creates the ability to reflect and support the orderly, civil sides of human nature. Order gives design responsibility. The three circular objects formed at an angle that represented hierarchy, thus promoting order. The pennies illustrated repetition and order using linear formations. These formations formed ninety degree angles, that provided the unity of spaces. The objects of metal exudes a feeling of strength and authenticity. The plastic objects were less solid, and perhaps fragile by comparison, but this represents the order that softer, and stronger must coexist, and being capable of balancing

Challenges  What objects was I to choose? Which could have a particular significance?

 How can such random and miscellaneous items form a design? What is supposed to be designed?

 How will these items adhere securely to the base board so they are structurally sound?

Insights  It seemed that no object was able to express anything by itself. Only until it was placed near multiple objects was it able to signify. Any items that are formed together as a design will communicate with each other and create signals to the observer.  As long as the designer focuses on an architectonic language, he can form something that speaks subtlety. The last challenge would be recognizing when you are satisfied with a design. What you want expressed, must agree with that that is actually being expressed if you want to be satisfied.  After testing different glue adhesives, securing the objects to the base board was successful with no more parts breaking off.

Iteration 2 ď ŹRepresentation

Second Generation Using same craft limitations as the Icebreaker exercise.

“When is symmetry vs. asymmetry appropriate?�

Symmetry is more beneficial when order, and regularity need to stand out more. For instance, if a court building needs to be built, the designer should want to display strength and superiority, and integrity for its functional purpose. It would be more socially acceptable, and understandable for the court to present a civil, and uniform personality, versus having a chaotic and irregular form, which would impose a rebellious vibe(a vibe that suits amore a modern art museum)

Design Prompt


 Second generation of initial constructed composition adhering to the same limitations and requirements.

 Sustaining shapes from the first iteration, I used circular forms only.

 What are the relationships between iterations one, and two, what am I investigating?

 Spherical objects were placed in unity around the yellow frisbee in bilateral symmetry for unity and order. Each sphere has a growing gap that increases two times as much as the previous. This increasing gap, along with the gum balls slightly wrapping around the yellow fris bee, shows a dynamic look, and applies the fourth dimension of architecture, motion(‘Thinking about Architecture’ p 21) versus the static look from iteration1.

Iteration 3 Language Narrative Site Layered Emphasis (Hierarchy)

Kit of Parts assignment

Evolution through formulation and recreation in using kit of parts.

Narrative Prompt

Destinations a.


Describe the most significant aspects and qualities of your design.


Describe what you want others to see and experience.


What does your design represent?



What will the audience see first, second?



Identify what you are provoking in others as they experience your design.



Describe how your design intentions and the physical aspects and its organization relate



Symmetry could have been more developed if only the space of the display board was not constricting its form. Solidity in oneself, not afraid to take up space, confidence, grounded but still have versatility, make impact/change. Having your own vantage points while still respecting the view pints of others. Those dimensional layers and personalities that you can’t see still have an impact on the layers that are visible. Shapes of vast difference, but form to one with such simplicity. Why there’s only one large sphere but only two small spheres? What does the leather signify? Why is one small ball touching the surface, but the other is not? Like the universe believed to be multidimensional, so are people. Our personalities and emotions are sometimes invisible, but can still have indirect impacts on the environment/atmosphere around.

Insights ď Ź I discovered representation surfaces automatically when transforming a design into a new statement using the dissected, and carved shapes from a previous design. Ornamentaion from one design to the next is another discovery. ď Ź How are history, culture, and time related in architecture?

History of architecture is something handed down to future generations, leaving room for architectonic language revised, altered or improved. As time passes, architectural forms beceom more meaningful, and culture changes, making style, and form meanings change.

Iteration 4 Form Scale Proportions Beauty Kit of Parts (continued)

Narrative Prompt


a) Describe the most significant aspects and qualities of your design.


b) Describe what you want others to see and experience.


c) What does your design represent? d) What will the audience see first, second?

c) d)


e) Identify what you are provoking in others as they experience your design. f)

Describe how your design intentions and the physical aspects and its organization relate


Significant aspects are; the textured surface is identical to the figures. The small green object that’s small but noticeably stands out by contrast. I want the audience to feel warmth and comfort that the brown colored, soft, texture creates. It’s about order and being civil, while not being dual and boring at the same time. They will see simplicity, but with daring complexity. The small green sphere in hiding easily stands out by contrast. Each spiral has its own uniqueness and identity. That’s what the green object versus the sideways spiral both represent. The design intention was to incorporate a Golden Ratio. I cut triangular shapes, sizing them up with each shape size increased by a third than consecutively.

Insights  What is the relationship between scale and proportions?

 Scale and proportions both have a natural significance, they both speak to people natural, hey both “feel right”. Natural feelscomfortable, and comfortable feels safe. People generally don’t want to feel out of whack whick may be introduced to them by the scale and proportions of there own home, or place of work is “out of whack”

Iteration 5  Space Experiential Space Sequential Experiences

Scaled-Up Model “How do your shape space to stimulate the senses and evoke memories to create experiences?”

 The more daring and mean a structure is, the more memories of childhood experiences can arise. For instance, a shape or form may resemble and spark a child’s wild, antics, daring stunts from the oddly shaped school jungle-gym, from climbing, and jumping off these structures may exude adrenaline and excitement.  Another example is that of a typical single family, average sized, boxy shaped house. A home is an area, space and atmosphere, that provides shelter, warmth, and comfort in common predictable shapes, and moods of living spaces

Design Prompt

ď Ź

Produce a series of scaled-up constructions that focus on developing hierarchically diverse and expressive spaces defined by your form

ď Ź Demonstration that each evolution of special ideas are derived from the former iterative study ď Ź Spaces are hierarchically layered, that is there are smaller defined spaces within a larger one and are contiguous. These smaller spaces flow into the larger one without being fully physically closed off.

Challenges  The scale was much larger, so I had a slightly tougher time securing the wavy arches into place. The original smaller scale was easier and lighter to apply.  Picking the right materials that I wanted to replace the new abundant space caused by the “zooming in” on the area and scaled up.

Insights  The "Powers of Ten“ video (listed below) really expanded my views of space and has helped me introduce this subject into my architectural crafts.

 By analyzing specific details and "spaces" in a magnified view of my work, I am begining to learn more about the meanings of each part and piece of my iteration designs.

Iteration 6 Space (continued) 3D Montage Construction

Design Prompt


ď Ź Forms defining new spaces that have a felt geometry and a hierarchy of special qualities using the developing kit of parts.

ď Ź Bilateral symmetry is repetive in the triangular shapes used. ď Ź I wanted to close off the spaces within almost completely, while still having larges areas to vent space.



 The physical length of this iteration was just around five inches, so the spacial cavities were difficult to reach my larger hands inside of. If I had crafted it about four times bigger, it would feel as if the small confined spaces would lose some significance from much narrower looking wall surfaces. I would have to thicken all the walls to scale up the form.

 When configuring new spaces within spaces, each surface (cardboard piece) placed, must be carefully observed for what invisible surface edges may continue to extend beyond where the physical aspect ends. This transparency in space forms shape weather you want to or not.

 Each surface needs its own indicators of its, shape, size and formation. Without these indications (cardboard walls) there is just void or empty space.

Iteration 7 Truth Frame Expressions Structure

“How does truth manifest itself in architecture? How many forms of truth are there?”

When function is mainly focused and represented in architectural forms. Truth may introduce itself through various forms such as in “high-tech” style, and representation of truth.

“The naked truth ”

Destinations/Insights  Using previous kit of parts and narrative, I merged two shapes' within each other, squares and triangles(pyramids) In doing so, a symmetric assumption was given by one half of the object formed as a hollow shell, like the space a rain umbrella shapes inside when its opened up.  The other shape(one on both sides) however is not an enclosed frame like the square on the other side. The invisible shape of space assumes that for me, I did not have to finish two more wood sticks that would have been necessary to completely frame the last two out of six edges that make up a cube.  I plan on leaving many walls blank when I begin adding the surfaces. I hypothesize this will leave illusions of voided space, and will benefit from the affect of free flowing spaces.  If there were not enough wooden sticks indicating a closed surface, then the sticks themselves become the surface and whole volume. If there were a missing crease indication in a folded surface, then an impression of a space warping would have been imposed(nothing wrong with that, but I want my surfaces to mostly flat).

Iteration 8 Surface Expressions Incorporation of surfaces to frame expressions

Destinations ď Ź Initially, the frame design had more vagueness and up for interpretation of what frames can represent a surface. Before deciding what surfaces will take form in this iteration, I chose to incorporate translucency, throughout the iteration. I wanted to avoid the sense of enclosure, by allowing more light inside, even though all spaces are physically hollow.

ď Ź From the exterior view, the main center gap is continuous with no breaks, and no easy indication of what is holding and connecting the entire form as one. If it were a building, pillars, or support columns, would be the comparison.

“The truth lies beneath”

Insights ď Ź The free flowing, open ended structure of space created a breathable pathway of spaces that is also visually unpredictable upon every corner. The six-directions-pluscenter idea will confirm this.

ď Ź Limiting the amount of material (translucent paper)used, was mutually exclusive with the effect it created on the perceived volume of spaces. The fewer the walls(surfaces) in form, the more perceived voids in that space.

Nature Research Assignment Nature Precedence Responses to Natural Forces

Sun exposure and views.

Reflective surface is transparent from the inside, but translucent from the outside. Deflects only a desired amount of sunlight..

Sun exposure.

Open view of truss to invite sunlight in, especially sunlight from early hours

to promote sun-dawn ambience.

Plenty of ambient light flows through the restaurant by entering one symmetrical glass wall, to the other on the opposite end.

Citygroup Center Atrium- Financial District, San Francisoco Because the environment is all interrupted by manmade landscape and structures(city) the atrium resembles nature versus simply adapting to a past time nature of beachy lands untouched by man.

This atrium attempts to encapsulate a relaxing mood, that would be found in a rain forest, far away from a stressful congested, busy, street corner.

Insights What is the difference between designing to resemble nature and designing with nature? When resembling nature, ornamentation may be used much more, such as organic structures and processes that mimic nature such as a tree, a branch, or even the front view of a the pointy eyes of a poison snake.

To design with nature, means to adapt to any given environment with there respective weather, landscape, terrain or hostile conditions, such as a manmade structure built near a water stream in the woods, in a high precipitational region, with high winds. The structure must accommodate, and preferably capitalize on the surrounding natural rsources (wind, solar energy) is clean energy is a goal. Architecture responding to nature by resembling it.

Conclusion  Design fixations are broken anytime the goal is to create quality out of quantity.  Although architecture is also a recreation or response from the past, new architecture can still be “new” and rewarding.  Fundamental theory will always be a foundational skill that I will always need for my future endeavors in studying and practicing architecture.

Marvin rodriguez learning portfolio b pdf [autosaved]  

Arch. 101 Learning Portfolio. Midterm project