Learning Portfolio Eric Trinh Arch 21 Spring 2011 Final
Introduction This learning portfolio is a demonstration of my work, the thought processes and analyses behind it, and my reflection on it as Iâ€™ve progressed in my critical thinking, selflearning, and mind regarding the creativity behind architectural design.
Final Project: Temple of Time + Memory With the first half of the semester completed, it was time to move on to the final phase of Arch Design and implementing what I have learned in those months about tectonic language and integrating that with time and memory.
Getting Started In the first week of our final project, I decided to create early concepts of the temple. I had nothing to go by, so I came up with arbitrary drawings to get ideas. While drawing I thought of implementing old design concepts from the previous project, such as the pieces of stairs and a gateway.
First Iteration Jerry reiterated the significance of time and memory, but also explained about the profane and sacred. Through relating these to experiences of my own, I was on the right track so far. After struggling for some time, I finally came up with a model to work with. I was not very satisfied with it, but I wanted to build up from it to change it into something I would be happy with.
First Iteration Narrative: A story of a young boy who is kept from seeing the real world, unaware of what harsh realities exist and the truth behind many things. Site Objective: â€œPoint A to Point Bâ€? design, from the gateway to the mountain ridge. Program Objective: Traveling towards the goal guides the travel through one path, directing the person to the midpoint where the semi-circle structures stand nearly touching. I planned to have the first semi-circle fenced up as a barricade in response to the narrative. Reaching the second structure, the barriers are gone and the young boy can continue towards the mountain ridge, able to see the real world outside now with the barriers no longer protecting him.
First Iteration Time: Time is represented by the direction of heading towards where the temple would reside. Going north from the gateway, time passes on and, as the young boy in the story, you grow and become aware of the world youâ€™ve been living in, seeing things in a new light. Memory: As you walk through your journey, come across an event each time, they are all collected and by reaching the temple, these memories then form the temple itself. Sacred: The mountain ridge is the base of the sacred, where the temple can only be reached from atop.
First Iteration As if expecting it, my first iteration was told it needed more work. What was unexpected, though, was that my semi-circular objects were critically acclaimed. I created the semicircular structures beforehand to work with, but I didnâ€™t think it would be of interest aside from being curvilinear in shape as opposed to my orthogonal approaches.
Second Concepts Going back to the drawing board, I thought up, while sane, a crazy concept involving the “world turtle” or a “turtle island” that is known in Hindu, Chinese, and Native American myth, where the world is carried on a turtle’s back. In traditional Japanese beliefs, the tortoise is known as a haven for immortals and the world mountain, and symbolizes longevity, good luck, and support. I also had the idea of the “City of Gold,” El Dorado in mind, a place that is ideally desired but can never be found.
Second Concepts I decided to go with a more basic approach. Incidentally, itâ€™s the way I had been working before so it was something I was more comfortable doing. With the discussion about landscape and elevation, I focused on having levels of landscape as part of the temple design.
Similar to the first iteration, I added a thin layer of a second level and put some more foam board pieces on the land to make it look more like a landscape.
Second Iteration I reworked a few things and tweaked the narrative a bit: A story of a young boy who goes on a journey to learn of his world and uses his newfound experiences and knowledge to become a new person, different from how he was before, shrouded from the large scope of the world.
Second Iteration It was unanimously decided how ugly my stairs that I consistently reused the whole time was. The stairs had rails with a large opening in the center to response to the narrative, where the young boy would get a glimpse of the world, but not everything is as he sees it. I promised everyone that Iâ€™d get rid of it and the also the thin layer of the second level.
Third Concepts After another week or two of fiddling around with pieces and struggling, I was finally had a narrative down pat and would rework my model around this new narrative. With Jerryâ€™s help, my ideal design was getting closer to reality. In the end, it had to look cool, or so it was the thought to follow in order to keep going.
Third Concepts New narrative: A coming-of-age tale of a young, ordinary boy, who during his teenage years, goes on a journey of self-discovery, developing individuality, independence, and gaining the knowledge, experience, and wisdom. These traits would then meld itself through the passage of time and memory to create the temple.
Third Iteration Critique week â€“ My narrative was rich with ideas and it had a great background to work with, using concepts of defining oneself and individuality, but it was a little bit unclear so I had to reword it and also needed to play more with my model because of my unintentional minimalism. The last weeks were coming so I had to do something.
Final Concepts Before working on the final iteration of the model, I took my time to create a final concept sketch of what I wanted my temple to be like. It was the most elaborate drawing so I was able to work from there. Unfortunately, I took up a bit too much time that I reduced the time for model-making.
Final Iteration Narrative: A coming of age tale about a young boy like any ordinary person in the world. From birth the young boy is raised to follow the word of his parents and elders without question. As he goes through adolescence, he starts to step out of his â€œbarrierâ€? and seeks to think for his own, to change from ordinary to extraordinary by going on a journey of self-discovery, where he can walk on his own path that he himself carves to re-imagine himself as a unique, recognized person, and be remembered for it.
Final Iteration Design Objective: Temple – creating a place that evokes time and memory through journeying from one end to another. Program Objective: The elements of the first 1/3 of the design represents childhood. A child’s mind is not developed yet and follows along with what he sees and hears. This is shown by the rocky forms in the land. The young boy must follow it (like the rules) because it is there and there’s no other way.
Final Iteration The second element is the teenage stage. This is the middle ground and is the foundation of the carved path. The rocks of the land start rearranging and shapeshifting into structured pieces that then form steps, guiding you towards the semi-circles, which symbolizes the turning point. The boy can no longer turn his back as he crosses over to the other semicircle. The semi-circles resembles that of a gear, turning only in one direction. The shape also symbolizes the turning point because it is turning â€œ180 degrees,â€? as the person is doing.
Final Iteration The final element is the mountain ridge, where by reaching the top, and where adulthood comes in. The time and experiences from childhood and adolescence form memories that you gather and after realizing how much youâ€™ve made a difference from a young child, youâ€™ve completed the journey and can now rest at ease knowing you have fulfilled your goal. This is when the boy, now a man, himself becomes the temple.
Final Iteration Time: Represented by the pathways towards the top of the mountain. Time passes from childhood, adolescence, to adulthood. Memory: Represented by the events that occurs as you go along the man-made path. At the top of the mountain, you can look back and see the path you have created through the experiences while on your journey. The spirit of the young boy lives on in the temple, for future travelers to visit and see what he had created. Sacred: The peak of the mountain is a place that cannot be reached by ground. Through the gaining of knowledge, experience, and wisdom can one create a path towards the sacred.
Final Iteration My presentation when over fairly well, and my critics were intrigued by the idea and could see what I was trying to convey. The problems consisted of the modelâ€™s flatness and lacking of more verticality. All true points, as the verticality was what I had pursued, but I had lost time in working on this.
Reflection It’s been a really long ride for me. As an art student, it was the most difficult class I had physically, mentally, and financially. But it helped me see things in another light, similar to my final narrative, the boy perceives things in new ways. I gained knowledge and experience of how design is perceived architecturally. There’s a network of concepts and planning involved that I would not have imagined existed for architecture. The class was very involved and I felt bad for missing classes because there was a lot to learn and I sometimes didn’t want to go through with it. After staying in the course for this long, I think it was worth it, thanks to my classmates and Jerry. I can see video games or media art in new, meaningful ways. That knowledge would come in handy for what I want to do. In spite of that, it really was hard to handle. I think now it’s my left and right temple that needs to be reworked.