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Jessie (Jie Wen) Wen Student No: 586655 Semester 1/2011

Group 8

Natural Process Initially, I looked into various natural processes that I already knew such as waves, and rainfall, but nothing really excited me. ... Whilst looking out my window on a sunny day sadly wondering what I should do as my natural process, I spotted wild mushrooms scattered across the neighbouring park. Lightbulb lit up: WHAT PROCESS DRIVES MUSHROOMS TO GROW EVERYWHERE? Looking deeper into it, I researched what is to be my chosen natural process -

SPORE DISPERSAL OF MUSHROOMS Crux of the process: SPORES. Exploring the actual spores was the place to start for me. They are the simplest part of the process tand I wanted to try and attain every aspect. I found many interesting surfaces that could be incorporated onto the surface of my model.

DISPERSAL: Fungi are immobile so require a way to extend their range and there are two main types of dispersal techniques.. - Passive: spore producing surfaces on the underside‘Buller’s drop’ ->drops into air current -> wind


Successive images of spore discharge from high-speed video recording capture at 50,000 frames per second.

Water evaporates from most surface of the mushroom and collects on the base of the spore.

Drop grows until its curved surface touches teh part of the spore holding second drop of fluid called adaxial fluid.

The fluids fuse and snap as it breaks free because of shift in weight.

Spore shoots off at very high speeds.

FLUID, FUSE, FAST, BALANCE, SYMMETRICAL: I wanted to show the fusing and balance of the two fluids and then the fast high speed launch when the spore breaks off.


Print screens of a video of a mushroom dispersing spores at night

‘Much like smoke’ – David Attenborough.   The dispersal of spores occur much like the ‘ribboning’ of smoke. It has a very fluid and graceful movement and depends greatly on the wind speed and also wind direction. Even though I really enjoy the beauty of the shapes created, I find it very hard to conceptualize these forms to create an abstract that will represent what I want so didn’t continue on to create a model.

THIRD IDEA This trial instead, I wanted to look at spore dispersal from the perspective of distance and speeds that the spores traveled. Researching, I was excited to have found several graphs on this perspective and also new information. The mushrooms with caps have an interesting and useful architecture. Wind tunnel experiments have found that right under the cap is a band where the airflow is significant lower than the incident wi

Slow wind Medium wind Fast wind

 WIND, TUNNEL, FLOW, DENSITY: I wanted to piece together the idea of a wind tunnel and also the shape from the graph to show the relationship. I really like this model because I feel that the shape and the flow represent the idea of dispersing of spores.


-Active: compressed air, pressure builds FAST, VIOLENT, DENSITY: With this trial, I wanted to try and represent the active dispersal of spores. For the Giant Puffball, once a substance lands on it’s surface, the pressure builds up inside and the spores are dispersed. The density at the tip and through the middle would be the highest that is represented by the height of the model. As the spores lessen and die out, the model flattens and ends at a point.

My drawings and models for the first four ideas. However, they were not abstract enough so had to go back to the sketching pad! Having researched and learning about the process in detail, I hope to incoroporate all that I’ve learnt and make a model that embodies the whole process.

EXPERIMENTATION - trying to replicate a mushroom sporing

Trial 1: Blowing a pile of flour off my palm. It made a cloudlike structure. Th particles are very fine and the motion appears very smooth, looping and melding around each other.

Trial 2: Repeat Another cloudlike puff. The little clumped particles are much denser closer to the hand because of gravity. It appears quite intriciate and flowy.

Trial 3: Using a paper tube to blow out flour. Created a much more elongated curvy shape. Very wispy with the heavier particles at the bottom.

Trial 4: Blowing a pile fo breadcrumbs out of palm. Tried to test if it made a basic shape but it turns out a messy shape.

Trial 5: Using a paper tube to blow out breadcrumbs. This one was much more effective than blowing out of hand because the heavier breadcrumsb required more force. Again, it gives a similar puffy shape as the flour but it is more obvoius in the trumpet shape it creates.

Trial 6: Using a paper tube to blow out a mixture of breadcrumbs and flour. This trial showed the density very well. It is quite obvious that the particles slowly dissapate as it gets further away. The whole process appears very connected and a layering of waves that I hadn’t noticed before.

Precedents The Architecture Centre Amsterdam designed by architect RenÊ van Zuuk in 2003. The new unprecedented shape formed because of all the requirements and boundaires on the land, much like boundaires that we have to follow. It looks very conteporary and even though it’s compact, it looks spacoius. It is made of one plane in a fluid, wavey motion that encompases the whole structure much like the flow and wrapping I want in my model.

Spiral Building Architecture in Zurich by Architects Camenzind Evolution was realized in 2007. The upward-winding sequence of segments shapes the character of the building. The space is arranged along a gently rising ramp wich wraps around a centre point. It looks elegant and unique and asthetically pleasing. The wrapping and swirling of the exterior of the buildling is simliar to the movement of the spores as the float and dance around each other, flying off to different directions.



Modelling The model was quite difficult to make becuase of the layering of the swirls. Also, it didn’t turn out exactly like the picture I drew but I’m still really happy with the outcome. Sadly, it was hard to keep standing and to keep teh round central shape as it kept collapsign a bit. Hopefully, this can be relatered and fixed when using the actual paper, instad of clay whcih has limitations.



Left side

Right side


Further Development Looking up lanterns, I really wanted to incorporate some ideas for the lighting of my model. There are festivals in china (left hand side photos) where many people let go off lanterns into the night sky. It really looked like the dispersal of spores to me and I wanted to do something where the spots would be illuminated. I found cut out lamps (bottom right photo) and I decided to include that into my model. It would also be able to show the density component of this natural process whilst making use of the lighting.

Surface holes

Testing of traingular panelling onto the surface

Reflection Module 1 has been a very fast paced three weeks. Trying to understand new concepts such as patterns, geometry, and ways to analyze information has been confusing but also exciting. I really enjoyed researching and analyzing the process of spore dispersal in mushrooms because not only was it interesting but it was an eye opener that there are so many intricate details and amazing processes that the naked eye can’t see, introduced during our first lecture. The hardest part for me during module 1 was that it had to be abstract. It was difficult to let go of preconceptions of the process and I believe this hindered my ability to see beyong what was there. By going through trials, analyzing precendents and exploring ideas, I was able to find the core of my ideas for the model and create something original. The main points of the process I wanted to convey through my model was balance and merging of the first step of the process which leads to the flow of the spores. By keeping in mind the characteristics of the process, I suprised myself with what I had made because it looked nothing to what I had imagined at the beginning. Also, I’m beginning to learn my ways through the basics of Rhino. I was a bit pessimistic towards technology and design because I enjoy freehand, but I’ve come to realize that there are so many new potentials (but also limitations) in using technology, such as the amazing models made by Henry Segerman. I’m excited for the next step to add touches and manipulate my model to make it better!

Module One  

The Dispersion of Spores

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