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Learning Portfolio Arch 101- Spring 2012 Aaron Savage Professor Jerry Lum


When starting my “Bare Bones” activity, I got my initial inspiration from a small bulbous ceramic fish; which is actual a salt and pepper shaker.

My love of the ocean and its creatures inspired my selection of this object.

Although my iteration was based upon this fish, they slowly morphed into more abstract forms that were tied upon feelings and emotions.

Week 1 •

My first iteration of my fish was very literal in the sense that it was a “bare bones” of a fish, other than the fact that it was made out of toothpicks and glue.

I chose to create my simple design by cutting the toothpicks in half and gluing them in hexagonal pattern composed of triangles. I chose triangles due to the fact of their strength and simplicity, while all being symmetrical and having dynamic edges.

Week 1 •

While critiquing my new model in class, I realized my model was literally just a fish skeleton and I came to the conclusion that I needed to start thinking a little out of the box.

I needed to start articulating when speaking about my object and learn how to express my ideas and innovations. Like my other classmates during this time, I too was extremely vague when presenting my iteration and needed to become more descriptive with my language. This would only progress and improve through time and experience.

My new model was going to have more details, personality and a little more attitude than my first.

This was my first iteration and honestly I was pretty proud of it, thought it was simple it had an attractive symmetrical form that drew me to it, just like the ceramic fish did.

Week 1 •

During this week we started our first charcoal drawings. I was a little apprehensive at first because I had no clue what I was doing but once charcoal hit paper I had an image in my head of what I wanted my next object to look like.

What I created was a simplified example of my skeletal fish, basically a robust sphere with two darkened endpoints, where energy would be contained.

My drawing looked like a cycle of energy, going in a harmonious flow over and over again.

This would be my inspiration for my next iteration and would also be the start of my use of tectonic language through my model; which at that time I had no idea.

Week 2 •

By seeing my previous iteration in an abstract manner I feel I deconstructed the obvious and opened my possibilities for iterations to come.

I chose a new material, wire, which changed my life! Wire was the material for me after that...

Wire was flexible, manageable, interesting, shiny and very cost to my ears.

Week 2 •

I wanted to create a streamline form that conveyed movement and energy.

The curvilinear lines of the sphere convey a sense of movement and force.

The two endpoints expressed energy sources that cycle around, organized in a radial direction.

My iteration was a spherical shape; a ball put simply. It consisted of only lead wire wrapped around each other, then tied together at each end point.

Week 2 •

Although my piece was very simple I feel it portrayed an excellent starting point to my abstract view of my original model.

I feel I achieved a lot my making something so straight forward and raw, my craft was clear and neat and I got to the point of what I wanted to convey.

Even though this model was symmetrical ,which we were supposed to shy away from, it was innovative in organization and order.

This would be the launchpad for the rest of my models and use of wire; which would prove to be not be an easy path!

Week 2 •

When my literal mindset flipped to abstract, a whole new door of possibilities opened for me and my iterations to come.

I started to express my ideas on paper which helped tremendously in eliminating wasteful time building models that wouldn’t suffice.

I started thinking about fluidity more and focused on the outcome instead of the object as much.

Week 2 •

My next iteration was composed out of the ideas of harmony and fluidity with an open concept.

I felt the circle enclosed my options and I wanted to enhance the possibilities of its growth.

I opened the sphere of my last model to create more possibilities for movement which was expressed as linear elements and parallels.

Week 2 •

I used the same gage wire again but in a more wave like motion with one side of the wire going up and one down.

Three parallel lines grouped together magnified the sense of depth and energy but it was still very simple.

I feel this iteration lacked use of pattern and complexity which should be a progression with my work.

This model was almost equivalent to the sphere when comparing on craft and use of material.

I needed to introduce a new material, much more complexity and incorporate a new group of organization.

Week 2 •

While my iteration was harmonious and had a sense of motion, it was obviously way too simple, and lacked many fundamental elements.

The next week I yearned to create something a little more complex and out of my comfort zone, meaning something asymmetrical.

I wanted to also convey movement, repetition, while being harmonious and tranquil.

I chose the moods of the piece because they remind me of the ocean itself as I see it; which were based upon my inspirational object.

Week 3 •

I ended up creating a scale- inspired piece using the same wire, in an arbitrary pattern. Scales were something that first came to mind when relating my fish to pattern.


I attempted to make a more complex piece than last time with more pattern and sense of movement in a grid organization.

Week 3 •

I wasn’t necessary excited about this iteration because I felt like it lacked a lot of emotion and depth; as it was just a flat surface.

This iteration was a starting point for me to include more repetition that created a pattern.

For my next model I would need to contain the scales to a threedimensional shape that encompassed more of a sense of harmony and tranquility.

My craft could definitely improve, as I was just getting the feel for wire. I needed to tighten my joints and connecting areas, making them more intentional.

Week 3 •

I decided to go along with the same “scale” theme as my previous iteration but this time making them go in random directions, rather than being in static motion.

I felt the previous static grid organization lacked interest.

I also chose a new material to incorporate, metal mesh, which I felt unified my piece more so than the wire alone.

The mesh provided my model with a second set of grids that I thought added to the complexity and depth of my design.

Week 3 •

My new work kept in the same theme of movement with the use of scales in an asymmetrical pattern.

I elevated my design ,from last time, by making it a threedimensional form.

I did so by curving all the scales in an “S” like pattern which also allowed it to stand up.

Week 3 •

I enhanced the aspect of verticality which evoked a more dynamic sense.

The random movement of scales going up and down created a harmonious flow of energy.

This week I was also trying to focus more on improving my language when speaking about my iteration and make my changes to it more intentional.

This idea was easier said than done because I had ideas on paper but when I got up in front of the class to present my mind totally blanked out.

Regardless to my presentation I feel I achieved a lot on this iteration with my concepts. I obviously still needed to work on my intentions and design language.

Week 4 •

My new iteration was to be more in-unison than my random scales.

I needed to find some shape or configuration that gave my piece some sense of closure without killing the movement.

My solution to this problem (or what I thought was my solution) was going back a few steps to my sphere.

Week 4 •

I decided to introduce a couple new materials in addition to the metal wire.


I included a thiner gage wire to provide some dimension and interest. I also included small mirrored tiles to enhance the movement of the sphere and depth in addition to the thinner wire.


I placed the thin wire and mirrors inside the core of the sphere to emphasis the movement I wanted to achieve.

Week 4 •

The movement was a little chaotic but in order to control it, I used the mesh wire all around the sphere’s “bones” to enclose and balance the energy going on in the core.

While this iteration had many design elements and organizations such as grid, linear and radial; I feel they all got lost on top of each other and came off rather confusing.

What I eventually ended up with was a ball, put simply, the same idea I had a few iterations back. This time my ball had a lot more going on.

I wasn’t satisfied and felt the ball idea needed to go because it allowed for no growth, which to me wasn’t dynamic or harmonious.

Week 5 •

I started by looking back on my previous ideas that worked and didn’t work from previous iterations.

My positive feedback and inspiration came from my first barebones iteration; the simplicity of the toothpicks and use of triangles.

Triangles! This is where my obsession was resurrected; how dynamic they were yet equilateral, and all together had a very strong linear organization.

I wanted to once again unleash the energy that was enclosed by this sphere, releasing the tension that was inside the chaotic ball.

Week 5 •

So it was settled, I was using triangles in my next iteration but this time in a larger scale and something that was much more dynamic than previously. I used wooden skewers this time instead of toothpicks.


My next dilemma was the arrangement of the triangles. So I haphazardly constructed the triangles, incorporated my wire in an arbitrary manner around the triangles, then placed mirrored tiles, carefully on every intersection of each triangle point.

Week 5 •

Although my placement of each triangle was quite unintentional, I feel that it turned out to be one of my most interesting iteration so far!


Patterns were forming and depth was increasing, all keeping in an open and dynamic form; a lot was going on.


There was linear elements and grid patterns forming in a cleaner and organized manner, which I lacked in the sphere.

Week 5 •

The only thing missing was intention, again, I was focusing on the form and forgot about the small details.

My form could have used a little more work also, it was looking more like a jumble of triangles in a static and a rather boring arrangement; when I wanted it to be leaping into every which direction possible.

With my ideas in order to branch out my triangle arrangement, I decided to start my eliminating the mirrored connections; which I felt where very distracting. I wanted your eye to focus more on the potential for growth rather than looking at what had already grown.

I felt like I was improving much more on craft and the overall complexity of my design, at this point very proud of my work also.

Week 6 •

I started with the idea of using two different sized triangles to portray growth and irregularity commonly found in nature.

My next process was the arrangement of wire, which I was still a little stuck on, I knew I needed it to create patterns and to show energy in my triangles but I wasn’t sure how I wanted it to look.

I ended up arranging it the same way around every triangle, overlapping in an arbitrary pattern.

Week 6 •

The placement of the triangles started off with the rule of every large triangle must go through a small triangle, or at least touch.

The outcome slightly morphed as it started to gain height and I decided to intersect a lot more triangles than originally planned.

I was mainly going off how I felt it should look through and emotional sense.

Overall I feel I made another large step! My craft had definitely improved and my intentions were starting to become a lot clearer.

Week 6 •

Everything dramatically changed when it was announced that we could no longer use glue! I was fairly confident at this time that me and my new love for wire would be all I needed to attach wooden skewers together effectively. I was so wrong!

It was to prove after many, many attempts that wire wasn’t as effective as glue...

My new attempts partially held the skewers together but were very distracting to my overall form.

For my next iteration I wasn’t going to drastically change my form because I felt it was very successful but I wanted to mainly focus on emphasizing connections within the triangles and making them seem more intentional.

Week 6 •

The only way my new structure would sustain and support a similar design to my previous was to wrap the wire over and over, which started taking over my skewers.

This is exactly what I planned for but the wire eventually took over.

All you would focus on was the wire, not the structure, not the form, not the dynamic and harmonious flow of the triangles.

Week 6 •

I had a major problem but still managed to produce a “messy” version of my last clean iteration with more intentions on my connecting parts.

I felt this was a large setback for me and I was a little embarrassed of this work compared to previous.

I needed a way to produce the same quality of work, as my previous, without glue and improve my craft with wire.

My solution, I thought, was simple, a thicker wire gage.

Week 6 •

While attempting to start a new iteration with my new and improved wire gage, not to thick not too thin, I stumbled with my new design ideas.

I knew that I wanted my piece to be dynamic and convey a sense of potential for growth but how would I do so?

I wanted to stop thinking emotionally on what I wanted it to look like and wanted to think more logically; this was extremely hard for me because I normally don’t think that way.

Week 7 •

I overcame that gap by turning to nature again. I had the idea of a plant, with the start if the energy in the roots and branching out into open space as the leaves.


My new design ideas sounded very nice and refreshing but I still didn’t know how to convey this in a complex manner, basically trying my best to not make it look like a child-made model of a plant.

Week 7


I started the same way I did with my past three iterations with the small and large triangles then other triangles branching out above them.


This time I experimented with random sized triangles sprouting from the large and small triangle, then open triangles branching off of them. This was a direct reference to nature: root to stem to leaf/ flower.

Week 7 •

As I did with previous iterations I included a thinner gage wire in the core of the triangles to symbolize the trail of energy. I placed the wire starting from each connecting point to the other triangle to emphasis their relationships with each other.


I also included color tiles, one in the heart of the parent root triangles to symbolize their energy, spreading to the stem triangles in a different color.

Week 7 •

While my new ideas sounded perfect in my head, I feel like it didn’t express truly to my iteration.

My craft still lacked the cleanliness that my work with glue had and I don’t feel the breakthrough ideas I thought I had in my head were conveyed in this piece at all.

My issues seemed to keep coming back to haunt me and I felt VERY lost.

Week 7 •

Again back to the drawing board for me; I was a little frustrated at myself for not being able to express my ideas into something amazing.

Feeling lost again I started to look for new ideas and concepts.

My main focus was my craft and connections with wire and wood.

Through all my frustrations I looked back at all my models while making this and realized I have come so far from day one.

I felt proud of what I have accomplished and will carry on my second half of the semester with a higher sense of knowledge and confidence then when I started in January.

Conclusion •

There were many up and downs this semester in ARCH 101, most of the time they were downs but honestly I feel this has become to be one of my most rewarding classes.

When there were “ups” they were monumental ups that made “downs” seem minuscule.

Although I am still a little lost in terms of what I am achieving so far in this class, I have faith it will all pay off at the end of this semester and will all make sense to me.

My iterations have been a slow progression of my new knowledge that each class has brought forth to me.

None of this knowledge would be possible without Jerry’s inspirational talks and impactful feedback.

I look forward to see how this journey will guide me through my future architectural career.

Aaron Savage Learning Portfolio Midterm  

Arch 101 Midterm

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