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Final Learning   Portfolio   Architecture Design Studio Professor Lum Spring Semester 2014 Carmina Khuu

The Narrative   A Wall Transfigured the Gifts of Nature The most salient values we embraced for this project were Sustainability & Affordability. These were not necessarily our original objectives but as our design unfolded we realized how well we could embrace these values in our choice of materials, simplicity in our construction, and minimalism in the kit of parts. The use of press board greatly reduced our material cost and it can all be readily recycled, reused or repurposed for composted or mulch. Additionally all the metal hardware in our rigging can be reused again and again. The stimulus for our design are all around us as seen in nature’s rhythmic patterns and from the visionary minds of great mathematicians, architects, and artists. As such we drew inspiration using the brilliance articulated by the likes of Fibonacci, Ron Resch, Shigeru Ban, M. C. Escher and the art of Origami folding. This is how we arrived at the star or flower – simple folds from square – yet complex in their possibilities, just as in nature. However, beyond the individual pieces themselves we wanted to transform the wall by bringing in aspects that would highlight the natural gifts of nature and be reminiscent of the 4 forces of the natural world: Earth, Wind, Water and Fire. Our use of an organic material, paper, is representative of the Earth and the trees she yields.

The Narrative  Continue   The effect of our stars streaming down the wall emulates a cascading water fall tumbling down the face of a cliff. The fluid engineering of the joints and light construction must respond to the forces of the wind, introducing that element into our architecture. Lastly, the use of metal and steel acknowledge the power of the fire element in the forging of the steel hardware we have used. By including these 4 elements in our construction we are rooted our installation in nature’s wonders and brought the natural world into and concrete manufactured landscape. Furthermore, most of our construction was done by hand, which truly required a human, team effort. And although this may have resulted in minor inconsistencies, this human element added to the natural aesthetic of the piece. As we delve deeper into the notion of morphing the courtyard with elements of nature, more of mother earth’s wonders and topography started to emerge. In this spatial journey one can imagine crawling into the earth’s bowels, a cavernous experience of jagged and faceted geological protrusions or even imagine viewing the world from an insect’s perspective. Viewed from the outside one might also see a mountain range and wonder how to make the visual journey to the highest peaks or see a forest with small plants or flowers at its base rising to the canopy of leaves up above. Or, one might even imagine a Milky Way of distant stars twinkling in the night sky. Come, take a journey through nature with us.

First Iteration Explore Sectioning Concept: •  •  •  • 

Repetition of pattern Transformation Spaces and formatting Relationship between space and transformation

First Iteration  Continue

Pros: •  Defined sectioning •  Meet the require of space and repetition

Cons: •  Does not have a theme •  Unable to translate the tectonic language •  Unrelated to the main theme “The Wall Transfigure”

Second Iteration Still Exploring Sectioning Concept: •  Equally spacing •  Same format through out •  Various of arrangement

Second Iteration  Continue

What could been improve? •  To have more series of the pieces •  To have a better understanding of theme •  To have some of the pieces in the back to create a different meaning/ views

Third Iteration Exploring Tessellation: •  Frame work •  Different use of materials •  Able to create more complex structure •  Able to create hide and seek spaces

Third Iteration  Continue

Pros: •  Able to incorporate different materials •  Able to incorporate folding •  Able to create complexity •  Able to create oblique views

Cons: •  Symmetry

Fourth Iteration Exploring Folding: •  •  •  • 

Ron Resch Origami Different folding style Transformation of folding

Fourth Iteration  Continue

Pros: •  Able to create a canopy which relate more to the theme •  Able to transform the wall •  Able to develop more series of the folding pieces Con: •  Need to develop a better join/connection between each pieces

Final  Iteration  (Group)

As a group final decision, we was able to come up with a design using tensioning as our main support for the project.

Site and  Construction   Process

Indoor Work  Process


We chose this part of the site as it has two sides and it could be used to create an enveloped space. The corner gives us multiple planes to work with and develop, which adds to our structural design. It also frames the structure itself which the wall does not provide. We are applying transformation to the corner, where the corner is the only spot that would allow us to attach our structure in the way that it's designed. We designed it to provide an interactive enclosed spacing in an otherwise open courtyard. Our initial plan was to use wood, but through our prototyping we discovered that the wood material would be very heavy and it would be difficult to achieve our desired hanging effect. We also wanted to emulate the Japanese origami folding in our design, so chipboard would be the most easily manipulated material we could use to create this intricate design. We knew we were taking a big risk, but as Shigeru Ban has shown the architecture world we also wanted to create a statement that not all architecture has to be made out of wood, and concrete. We did not use any nails or glue in the transformational wall structure, but merely paper and string. The design itself is sustainable for a temporary structure, as well as financially sustainable.  Most of the questions Jerry posed during the brainstorming sessions, had us play with tessellation's, and folding techniques. We also studied Ron Resch, Shigeru Ban, and Origami folding. We were drawn as a group to the different uses of material that can go in constructing planes and shadow effects. The critical question we are trying to answer in our design is, how can we create multiples of one object and incorporate in the a structure as a whole. We wanted to find the fastest most sustainable way of creating something that has tessellations, folding, and is site responsive. We are trying to prove that we can make this structure work with as little suspension as possible, and with very cheap manipulated material. In many of our prototypes we tested different materials that would match our original design.

One of the most difficult things we found was what method of material would be effective in connecting each individual piece that provides enough tension to hold the shape of our origami structure. We discovered with the square piece, by placing it perpendicular to the apex and secured by cut notches in the larger planes we were able to achieve a bracing support which would keep the overall structure in it's desired shape. We also found that the fishing line was the lightest, most transparent material we could use to tie each individual piece. It was an integral part of the structure since we used it to create tension between the planes and fasten the joints of each piece. Problems that we faced during construction; joining faces of the origami places in such a way that does not compromise the integrity of the material. It was difficult to predict how the chipboard material would react with the large tension we were going to apply to it, a risk on our part since we did not have time to test the material. The strengths in our design were affordability, it's ecological impact was very sustainable since we used recyclable materials, the kit of parts was easy to make and efficient. The cons of our design, the kit of parts were very simple but it was very laborious cutting out all the individual pieces, since we spent most of our time in house designing we did not get to the installation part till the last week, our material choice was also an inhibiting factor in the installation process since we could not install the pieces we were building because of weather conditions. We had the choice to do an easier design, we wanted to challenge ourselves as a group by picking the more complicated design. Next time we would use a small number of kit parts and a design that would be more practically accomplished with the amount of time that we had. We would also use a material that would allow us to construct our work outside so we could identify engineering issues before it was too late. 

The End

Arch 101 Design Studio Final Portfolio  
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