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By Lewys Jones

FORMFINDING Our Brief was to find a form derived from a natural system. We looked at the Namib desert beetle and its ability to collect water from desert mists. The beetles stand away from the prevailing wind with their abdomens skywards. It achieves this through a series of peaks and troughs on the beetles back, The peaks are covered with an hydrophilic surface that attracts the small water droplets in the fog. Once these droplets reach a certain size their wight overcomes the force holding them to the peaks and they fall into the troughs. The troughs are coated in a waxy hydrophobic surface that allows the droplets to fall down to the beetles mouth.

BIOMIMICRY The process has been developed to collect water in climbs where water is not readily available. For disaster relief.


Looking at how the surface of the material worked at a microscopic level we decided to model samples of the surfaces texture. Using 3DsMax we tried several different apraoches to producing a hydrophillic surface.

THE SITE The site we chose was located in a realatively undeveloped area of cardiff just on the outskirts of the recently developed St Davids shopping centre and backs onto the Cardiff International Arena. There are a large amount of restuarants surrounding the site, a cinema and two music venues of varying size. To the east of the site is a road that provieds traffic and bus routes serving the outskirts of the city centre. Pedestrian links run past the site linking an exit from the St davids shopping centre to the main street and the Queen Street train station.

PRECEDENTS: VERTICAL FARMING For precedents I looked at examples of vertical farming: The process of creating an agriculture within the urban envirnoment. Just as the Namib desert beetle aquires what it needs from its environment I would like to give the occupants of my housing scheme the oppertunity to provide for themselves using their environment. the bottom left image is a photoshop rendering I produced to show my concept for my site.


The Namib Beetle collects water on it’s back by tilting it’s shell into the wind as fog washes over the desert. it uses the harsh environment it lives in to collect valuable resoucres and thrive.

I then cut out of the extrusion where mass wasn’t needed to create my main block for my scheme still leaving the initial form driver in place.

The site gets optimum sunlight from the south and south west, which would make the best sides to harvest resources from the environment.

The application of terraced gardens to the souh facing diagonal faces allows plant growth optimum exposure to the sunlight and the best conditions for growing.

The main form was derived from lifting the northern most corner and extruding a form so that large diagonal faces were at an angle to collect optimum sunlight.

In section you can see how the South facade is ziggurated to produce a series of terraces with access for occupants to use as gardens to grow their own food.

Through looking at precedents such as the design for Sky Farm in chicago, I took the concept of being able to extract energy from an external source i.e. the sun to sustain the inhabitants of my scheme. just like the beetle

These south facing terraces can then be used by the occupants to grow food for themselves. Thus, like the beetle, using the environment to collect resourses we need to live.


3D MODEL Using 3DsMax I produced a 3D model of my propod scheme and set about creating a series of plats that when cut out would slot together to make a physical 3D model.

The sections were made to represent the floors within the scheme to try and give the planes a relation to the model.

FINAL PRESENTATION MODELS These are images of my final model for my scheme. At a scale of 1:200 I produced a model of my scheme displaying materiality through white foamboard used to represent concrete, black mountboard for cladded wall panels and brown card to represent the gardens. The model was produced as a plugin into a site model using the same colour palette to show how my scheme fitted into its surroundings.

Digital Portfolio Lewys Jones