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ARCH 101 Midterm Learning Portfolio Spring 2012 J. Penticuff

Department of Architecture City College of San Francisco

Friday, March 16, 2012

Table of Contents • Icebreaker

Exercise:”Framing the Essence of Form + Space + Structure”

• The Handheld Artifact

• Bare Bones:

Reflections & Constructed Model Iterations

• Week 1 & 2 : The First Representations

• Week 3: Language • Week 4: Form • Week 5: Space • Week 6: Truth • Week 7: Nature • Conclusion

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Icebreaker Bare Bones: Framing the Essence of Form + Space + Structure

To begin explorations in the Bare Bones “Spatial Journey� I selected a small, handcrafted, hand held artifact to be my initial stimulus and inspiration.

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The Handheld Artifact • Graphite Object -->

I selected this object as my Bare Bones Icebreaker because it was given as a gift, to symbolize support on a new path and transformation.

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Week 1

Opening the Can of Worms: Taking stock of what we know, questioning it, and then exploring beyond the familiar

As a starting point in the design process, we are challenged to actively explore, observe, and question the use, design, processes and functions of everyday objects, buildings and social interactions. From this, we can perhaps glean insights to inspire unique or practical designs. Friday, March 16, 2012

Week 2

Representation: What are the differences between literal vs. abstract representation?

•For the first iteration of my graphite object I attempted a literal translation using bamboo skewers and toothpicks...

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Reflection Initially, I only had the bamboo skewers to work with, which was quite frustrating because both the glue took a while to set and the skewers cylindrical form provided less surface area for the glue to coat and adhere to. For both reasons clamping was required. Once flat toothpicks were acquired, they expedited the completion of this iteration because they had a better surface area for gluing and they were easier to bend and manipulate. What worked well in this iteration was that the texture of the toothpicks conveyed the “petals” of my object. Ironically, this should not have been successful in this way because the “Bare Bones” of the graphite object should have been represented, not surfaces.

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Week 3 Language: Of what value are intentionally interjecting ambiguity, complexity, and contradiction into our designs?

• Since the first

iteration was both composed of mostly surfaces rather than bones and the fabrication was painstakingly slow due to glue setting time, I switched materials.

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Contradiction: Lightweight looking wire strapped to a dense bamboo core.

Week 3 As part of an introduction to language, we created gesture drawings of our iterations to demonstrate our perception of structure & form to help identify emotive feel. This promoted an articulation of personality or qualities of our works, thereby eliciting adjectives.

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Reflection The second iteration still represented a literal translation of the original artifact. Although I was pleased with this iteration and it had a wiry external structure more resembling a skeletal frame, it was still too dense due to the leaves being made initially of bamboo skewers before being wrapped in wire. Using wire was desirable because of its flexibility, color variation, ability to retain shape, and the convenience of already having some on hand. The wires for the bud and stem were 12 gauge and strong enough to retain their shape when set down or handled, but the wire for the leaves was 24 gauge speaker wire and did not have the same rigid load bearing capacity as the other wires. On the positive side, the spirals coupled with the linearity gave this iteration a directional dynamic. For the next iteration, we were challenged with looking at our last iteration from a different perspective. This allowed for a bit of visual distortion and instigated a new approach towards the next construction; departing from the literal and approaching the abstract... Friday, March 16, 2012

Week 3 • For this iteration I

focused on the flower bud because it both most closely resembles a portal, and flower buds bloom; transforming from a closed bud to an open flower.

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Reflection This last iteration was a departure from the previous in that it opened up and grew. Inside the spiral wiring I still retained a couple of bamboo skewers, but rather than being a dense core or surfaces, they were sparingly used and represented the stamen of the flower. The leaves of the previous iteration were transformed into spiraling tendrils, which also served as a sort of spine or backbone. The spiral tendrils meandered along the bud much like a vine would along the ground or up a building, but they gave off an impression of being arbitrarily placed. The challenge for the next iteration: develop recognizable patterns and introduce multiple or multidirectional pathways. continued --->

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Reflection For this weeks emphasis on language, we were also tasked with identifying three words conveying significant ideas, positions, or intentions related to our Bare Bones. My ideas and intentions can be identified by the words threshold, cornucopia, and propulsion.

• Threshold: The opening of the bud

represents a transformative threshold; sloughing off the old while entering the new. Evolution

• Cornucopia: The shape of the bud

resembles a cornucopia; symbolizing bountiful possibilities. Inspiration

• Propulsion: Moving forward,

propelled towards transcendence...

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Week 4

Form: How can the quality of character of material used to construct, expand and deepen the meaning of your design?

• Keeping patterns in

mind inspired me in the direction of geometrical shapes. When thinking of geometrical shapes and looking at materials available, origami seemed the way to go.

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Reflections • This iteration was

exciting! Throughout the entire process of construction, I encountered hurdles and methodically worked through them.

• Once I determined the number of sides to make my rings (8), I quickly set to it.

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Joint design for leaves/spines

Joint design for octagonal rings

Reflections • The first hurdle I

encountered was sealing the rings. I regressed and went for the glue bottle. I was quickly reminded of why I abandoned it in the first place. It’s messy and takes too long to set!

• Solution: Cut slits at opposing angles on each end of the ring and interlock them.

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Reflections • The shape of my

Following the outside of the line and folding at designated corners allows for consistency.

design required duplicates of varying sizes for the octagonal rings. The first rings had different angles, even for ones of similar sizes.

• Solution: Create a template for consistency and uniformity.

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Colors prevent confusion when folding rings.

Diagram of ring joints

Reflections The most enriching part of this iteration was the process! I developed two types of interlocking joints that allowed me to bypass adhesives and a template that allowed for regularity in ring angles and folds. Overall, a systematic, organized workflow was developed that enabled me to quicken the construction rate. The end product looks a bit beat up. I did not have time to replace all the rings with the new and improved versions. Additionally, my spinal connections also had not been refined, though they had a lot of potential and left me feeling inspired with more ideas. With this iteration I appreciated that the material was paper. It was readily available, came in colors that offered contrast, and user friendly because it offered versatility by being flexible , rigid, and easy to cut. Qualities noted in this iteration were contrast of color, interesting elements , forms, and displacement due to the slightly curved path.. Things to improve upon were having a neater presentation and introducing an additional angle or pathway to increase interest. This is a material I will carry into my next iteration. Friday, March 16, 2012

Week 5 Design and construction for this iteration was even more

intensive and took longer than I had anticipated and allowed time for. I was unable to present the completed version on time, but instead presented my conceptual diagram. I continued on with the origami octagonal rings but transformed the design from a single portal to one that splits and offers increasing multiple options through each interval. I wanted each interval to have a different feel, so the enclosures (ribs) varied in shape at each one. The final interval ended with five portals, though originally I designed four. Once I constructed the model, my intuition pushed me to make a fifth ring. It seemed to make the pattern make more sense. Since this iteration was a bit more complex, and elongated with extra weight, I decided a strong spine was necessary and constructed one by making a triangular tube. The triangular support worked well and easily supported the entire model.

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Week 5

Form: How do you shape space to stimulate the senses and evoke memories to shape experiences?

• Accomplished in this

model was a recognizable pattern, variation in pattern size, and regular gradation in intervals.

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This iteration was more challenging than I expected. Because of the workflow I created in the previous iteration, I thought this one would go more smoothly. I decided to scale the octagons down for transportation and handling purposes. In doing so, as well as connecting them in a displacement pattern, I had to modify my connecting joints. For more support and rigidity I added a second slit to each joint. This reenforcement provided a securely fastened joint. The splitting and multiplying patterns of portals at each interval was created to present options of change and and stimulate curiosity, giving a sense of exploration. Spiral funnels were added to the 5th dimension to visually represent wormhole portals, furthering the sense of entering the unknown. ---> ----> --->

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Perspectives Friday, March 16, 2012

Reflection • To inform the next stage

in the design process, we were instructed to apply the technique of tracing our models from different angles, rotating them and layering them. This would allow us to see patterns we would not even imagine. I was also tasked with the challenge of applying asymmetry to my design.

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Week 6 Truth: What constitutes ornament? What part, if any, does ornament in architecture play in terms of meaning and expression?

• This iteration was to

address the concept of dynamics. My intention was to extend my model upwards in an oblique angle to accomplish asymmetry...

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Reflection • The image to the right is similar to the starting point of the base.

• In trying to carry over

my origami rings, while simultaneously applying an oblique angle, I was apparently reluctant to see the futility; not one of my better ideas.

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Reflections In trying to employ the bamboo skewers at angles, like in the previous sketch, the load and torque did not allow adequate resistance to gravity. I had pierced the rings with holes for the skewers in the double layered paper, with a second hole nearly adjacent for the next skewer, extending upwards at a slightly tilted angle. This did not hold as the piercing and repeated fidgeting with the paper created too much paper fatigue and loss of integrity. Even with practice this did not improve. The model did not survive... It is clear I should have taken a step back, but I had become too invested (due to the amount of time and effort it had taken to fold all the rings) and fixated to the point of paralysis with this process.

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Week 7

Nature: How do structure, relationships and process define organic architecture?

• In nature, it is not

only rigid structural frames that house life, but also flexible networks incorporating frames.

• For this iteration,

string and tension were added to the framework.

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Reflection This iteration did not get the attention it required. Below are the diagram and illustrated images. Research on knots and networks will follow for the next iteration. The subject of structures supported by networks of tension is fascinating. The following urls are great resources: -this site is amazing! Beautiful Architecture

Also, sites on Biomimicry, which are too numerous to list are also amazing. Bare Bones...........Biomimicry.............Spatial Explorations....?

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Week 7 • For this last iteration, I once again attempted to employ knotted networks coupled with rigid framing.

• We were also tasked

with adding skin to this iteration. Finally, surface membrane to protect our bones...

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Reflections This iteration was another attempt at utilizing frames and tension networks. I was unable to carry this iteration out through to completion. In an attempt to carry over the splitting and multiplying of portals over intervals, and combine it with the frame and network theme, I planned on creating five modules and networking them together. The first sketch is an illustration of a single module. Following that are the side, top, and bottom views of the “intact� model. This idea was too big for the amount of time for fabrication, as well as it is above my current knowledge level on the subject matter and above my current skill level. Oh, but I learn so much from these struggles! ---> ---> ---> Friday, March 16, 2012

Reflections My problems were:

• I couldn’t apply and distribute the amount of tension I desired in the different areas. I didn’t start to get the hang of the knotting until my time was almost up.

• A precaution I took in fabrication ended up undermining the

integrity of my “spinal support” rather than shoring it up. I wanted curvilinear bones and was going to accomplish this by applying specific tensions with the string. I didn’t want the string sliding around the curves so I made a very narrow hole only large enough for one embroidery thread to thread through. My thought was that I would thread one thread through, tie several strands around the dowels and then tie the knots. This seemed fine until the tension was applied. Right before the tension built up to the point I wanted the dowel would snap. I ended up making quite a few splints and repairs, after everything, the shape was completely distorted from my original intention. ---> ---> --->

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Ultimately, the hands on experience with this last iteration taught me a little about applying tension as well as giving me an idea for a jig for future constructions. For the membrane , the visual effect of filtering light works better when there is more surface area to receive the transmission. Friday, March 16, 2012

Reflection Splinted Spine

Tension Knot


Conclusion Adding new ideas and elements to designs, such as adding skin to bare bones, or a new joint require serious consideration because if they are not a remedy to an existing design issue, they can completely change the structural dynamic of the design. In conclusion, my experiences with these iterations to date have taught me that adequate planning, organization, documentation, research, experimentation, peer feedback, and critical, in-depth thinking about inspirations are required for successful models. Knowing these things on a superficial cognitive level does not even compare with the profound understanding that actual experience provides! Moreover, with every unsuccessful model, valuable insights are often gleaned.

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Part 1: Midterm Portfolio sp2012  

This file should be viewed first. It exhibits the first half of the design studio course. This includes the design process from the ice-br...