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MODULE FOUR

RHIANNON RUSSELL VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS FABRICATION 607660


IDEATION: The Dandelion

I chose to base my pattern on the composition of a mature danelion because its pattern is simple, but also has multiple layers that allow it to become a complex structure. When the ball is full it represents a complete circle with all the stems in the same stage of development. As the seeds begin to disperse with the wind, the immediate image and pattern is altered. However, the original repition of the seeds is still apparent.

These analytical drawings represent symmetry, movement and balance. Using Kandinsky’s idea that objects can be simplified from their organic form to geometric structures, I was able to find prominent tensions within the form of the dandelion and emphasise them. Using the idea that patterns are formations that occur throughout nature, I was able to relate the process of creating a design to making a recipe with numerous steps.. I found that this helped to explain Ball’s argment that patterns are evident throughout nature and readily identifiable, commonly using basic structure. This was shown through my drawings that used the same basic geometric shapes like circles and lines yet produced different patterns.


MODELS

Using the analytical drawings as a base point, I created 3D models to emerge the elements of the dandelion that I had previously focused on. I chose to develop my second paper model into Rhino to see my design in a different medium. By creating the digitalised model I could see that I needed to change my design as while it was an interesting form it would not be suitable to make a lantern. I needed to produce a design that was closed enough to produce lighting effects as my initial design was too open.


LIGHTING AND INTERACTION

I began to look at different lighting effects that I wanted my lantern to achieve. I wanted the shadow to have distinct sections where the light would strongly shine through, while also baring less obvious shadows so the reflection would blend into the distance. I also wanted to accentuate the form of my lantern through the light that it projects by highlighting different elements. I considered how the lantern would be held by the user. I wanted it to represent fragility and the delicateness of the dandelion and thus thought of having a small model that could be clutched in the palm of your hands.


RESEARCH Using the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion as a precedent, I was able to see that patterns can be transformed using different processes to create effects. Mark Gracia’s (2009) defines a pattern as a sequence, distribution, structure or progression that is repeated and produces identical or similar elements. Following this and processes raised in lectures like moving, rotating, mirroring or scaling, I can see that while the base structure is generally kept the same, the pattern is transformed and the element as a whole is completely changed.

The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion is a multi-dimensional space. I chose to base my design on it because it has seemingly random elements that make a transformative place with a lot of reflection. It has many different aspects that join together to form a whole in an usual way. I also like the use of different geometric shapes that abstractly fit together, with the constrast between materials.


DESIGN: Emerging Form Looking back on my design from Module 1, I was unsure of where my design process was taking me. I decided that I had moved too far away from my original use of the dandelion into an abstract form with little meaning. Consequently, I resorted back to sketching the dandelion in different stages and came up with a model based around the process of the dandelion losing its seeds.

I used the model by tracing sections technique to create my digitalised model. However, once I had initially lofted the 6 individual shapes to form the surface of my design I decided that it didn’t look right to have a flat bottom. As a result, I copied the first face shapes and reflected them along the x-axis to form a sphere like object. I futher altered the shape by rotating the bottom half so that the intrustion in the top half of the shape was on the opposite side to the intrustion on the bottom half.


PANELLING EXPLORATION

I tested my digitalised model with different patterns and shapes using panelling tools. I trialed 2D and 3D preset and custom panels in Rhino until I found one that would represent my original natural pattern in an abstract way, but with not too much distortion. My original panelling trials demonstrated that my shape was quite complicated. I tried using custom panels but they were not successful as faces continuously overlapped on particular areas of the lofted surface. As a result, I decided to test more complicated panels on a simple object for the second part of module 2. Consequently, I used a simple sphere as the base shape of my first prototypes. The final design used a triagular shape to create a repetitive pattern that reflected my original movement analytical drawing that emphasised the connection between the differing sizes of dandelion seeds.


INITIAL PROTOTYPES

To create these prototypes, I used custom panels within Rhino. I found that the desired effect was not evenly distributed across the whole model and consequently had to tweek the number of panelling points a few times before it would fit appropriately. By printing the unrolled surfaces I was able to see how well the shapes joined together using the required material. In doing so, I discovered that my designs were too delicate and that I needed to make the edges thicker so that the form was not destroyed when the shape was constructed. In following Scheurer and Stehling’s (2011) idea of abstraction and reduction, using my already abstracted design from the dandelion of my Rhino 3D model, I was able to use prototyping as a way of refining my model. I consequently used reduction techniques to represent my design by using optimal use of patterning through panels. Following Dr Alex Selenitsch’s lecture on different types of composition methods, I focused on using an assemblage strategy in my design. Through the collaboration of many disaparate parts with mixed scales and mediums I was able to extract all my ideas and fabricate them together in order to produce a final lantern design.


RESEARCH The Beijing Olympic Stadium (2008) was created to resemble a birds nest, based on the shape of a historic Chinese pot. The braided, steel structure comprises of sweeping lines around a circular vessel. The structure is very intricate with parts criss-crossing to create a very complicated fabrication. The facade is open to allow for natural ventilation, while also creating a membrane that has an inviting quality. I thought that the sheer detail of the Beijing National Studium represented the delicateness of the dandelion very well. After watching an episode of Megastructures of the development of the building I found that many of its identifiable features were also apparent within my own design and process. I used the idea of a porous surface with collective vessels through means of panelling my base structure. In doing so I created a complicated object with multiple layers and protrusions at many angles. While this task was extremely frustrating and I had to greatly simplify my original idea to get it to work successfully with Rhino, I am quite happy with the end product.


FURTHER USE OF PROTOTYPES I constantly thought that my design had little meaning and had strayed too far from my original natural pattern. As a result I kept looking back at my designs and aimed to bring the pattern of a dandelion back into my model. I liked the panel I had used at the end of Module 2, however I further developed it using prototypes. I focused on implementing repetition and scaling effects within the panels.

I found this panel to be too simple. The cut out holes were too large and consequently would not create a very interesting lighting effect.

In this panel I played with the reflection of light through the small covered slits. However, I found that the LEDs were not powerful enough to obtain my desired effect.

I found that this panel was the best to emphasis scale as I could manually decide the size of the cut out section once the shape was unrolled and thus vary it with accordance to the section of the lantern.


PREPARATION TO PRINT MODEL There is a hole at either end of the model to provide places for the user to hold it

In order to assemble my model I flattened the design by unrolling the panels in different layers. This took a couple of trials to see which parts would successfully unroll neatly. As well as testing for the minimum amout of layers that could be used successfully. At first I didn’t label these different layers so I found it very hard to determine which pieces connected to each other when I tried to construct the model. After this mistake I reunrolled the model and labelled the layers in order of descendence. I then lay out the unrolled elements onto a 900/600mm rectangle that could be read by the cutter. I created tabs on the sides of the structures that would need to be connected so I could later join them together. I made these tabs manually using Rhino to allow me more freedom in where I put them. I placed the layers on different layers with respect to whether they were being cut or only scored. I had to repeat this step because the first time I forgot to change a few of the bordered edges to be scored instead of cut so that the cutter didn’t get caught on loose edges.

The model is split down into 8 layers


MODEL PRODUCTION

I printed my model using the card cutter. It took a while to determine an appropriate pressure to use on the scored and cut sections of the model. The first time I tried the cut command did not cut far enough through the paper and the score line barely made an indent.

After the cutter had cut the file, I used a stanley knife to cut the few edges to separate each section from the large piece of cardboard. I then joined the tabs to the corresponding layers to form the lantern.


DEVELOPMENT PROBLEMS Problem 1: GLUE I first attempted to stick my model together using cellotape, but the card was too heavy to hold them together successfully. I also tried double-sided tape, but it had the same result. I then glued the different layers together which worked well. However, the way that I had created the tabs meant that they had to be held individually until they had dried enough to not move.

Problem 2: TYPE OF LINES I initially only used straight lines for my scored edges which became problematic in later stages as the paper could only be bent neatly in one direction. While this was fine for the pieces at either end of the model, the middle layers had sections that needed to be bent in opposite directions to fit with the rest of the model. As a result of only using straight lines my model was rather distorted in shape in sections.

Problem 3: TAB SIZES I found it quite challenging to determine the size of my tabs as the sizes of the panels and cut out sections varied. After a few attempts I found it easiest to set a general size for all the tabs and then if they needed to be trimmed when assembling the model I could do so later.


DEVELOPMENT PROBLEMS Problem 4: FORGETTING TABS IN SECTIONS After adjusting the types of lines I forgot to add tabs to some of the edges of the sections. I tried to compensate by cutting little pieces of card to stick the sections together. While this was somewhat succesful, there were some obvious gaps between sections of the lantern.

Problem 4: INSTALLATION OF LIGHTS The LED circuit that I created used 10 LEDs and 5 resistors and as a result had a lot of wiring joing the different elements together. I first attempted to bundle the the lights together in the centre of the lantern, but the lights did not stay in place or shine far enough. I then tried to place the lights around the edge of the lantern but again couldn’t get them to stay in suitable places. As a result I attached each individual LED to fishing wire and then tied them around a few of the cut out holes. While this is not the most ideal placement it offered more freedom in where the lights were placed and allowed them to be located close to the surface and thus provide stronger lighting effects.

Kolarevic (2003) helped to highlight the usefulness of switching between medias such as digital and concrete forms. In this way I was able to be more involved with the fabrication process of design as I could analyse the structure and effectiveness of the model in different stages and alter it accordingly before creating a final piece. While at times I did not think that Rhino provided more design freedom, my growing understanding of the program created new opportunities through means of trial and error. I could tell that by using prototypes, you effectively eliminate steps and thus make the design process more efficient. Following my experience, I can now understand the concept Iwamoto (2009) raised that the digital age has allowed architects to create a series of unique pieces with as much effort as would be required to recreate the same item as it is so easy to tweek a design slightly and produce a completely different effect. My final design varied from the Rhino file quite a bit. This was mainly due to the material that I used which was very rigid and thus did not allow for much movement. As a result I can see that you can not expect the physical model to directly resemble the digital one - there are limitations with the use of digital programs in design projects.


INITIAL DESIGN

With 10 LEDs in my lantern, the shadows were not as I had previously wished to have. However, by placing the lights very close to the lantern surface I could produce a soft shadow effect. While this effect was different to what I had intended, I quite liked it, the shape of the cut out wasn’t highlighted through the shadows but through the outline of the model’s surface. The model had 2 main ways of being held. The first is a more interactive way, that involves putting the arm through the middle of the model. This way helps to limit the open area within the lantern and thus improves the lighting effect as it is shown more directly on the surface. The second method is to simply hold the lantern at either end, supporting the idea that the lantern is a fragile object that needs to be delicately held. After presenting my design in Module 3, and receiving critical feedback I further developed my design and reevaluated the delicateness of the dandelion. In accordance I aimed to produce a delicate, smaller object to be held in the hands, with more intricate panels.


LIGHTING EFFECTS

INTERACTION


FINAL MODEL


RESPONSE

Evaluate your process of designing and making the lantern against the notion of Craft outlined in the reading. Have you include a degree of design risk in your work? Imagining Risk - design: process of imagination - production: process of technique digital process: geometric shapes -> complex form, incorporates numerous amounts on information

The last reading is intended to project forward to the future of digital design and making. This influential text sets the future context for digital making and how digital making is part of a new economical movement and even politic structure. Drawing inspiration from the reading and your own learning from the last 10 weeks, describe how digital technology has changed your view on design, making and the context of the built environment? Distributed capitalism

Digital technology has changed my view on design, making and the context of the built environment in many ways. Rifkin (2011) My process of designing and the creation of the lantern relates notion of craft that Bernstein and Deamer (2008) draw upon.


REFLECTION

I have found Virtual Environments to be a very inriching subject that has greatly helped me in understanding the process of design. W


REFERENCES Bernstein, Philip; Deamer, Peggy. Building the Future: Recasting Labor in Architecture. Princeton Architectural Press. c2008. pp 38-42 Gracia, Mark (2009): Prologue for a History, Theory and Future of Patterns of architecture, AD: Patterns of Architecture, Wiley, June, pp. 6-17. Iwamoto, Lisa. Digital fabrications: architectural and material techniques. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, c2009. Kolarevic, Branko. Architecture in the Digital Age - Design and Manufacturing. Spon Press, London, c2003 Megastructures. Lance Lewman. Beijing Olympic Stadium, 5 August 2008 Rifkin, Jeremy. The third Industrial Revolution. Palgrave Macmillan, C2011.pp107-126 Scheurer, F. and Stehling, H. (2011): Lost in Parameter Space? IAD: Architectural Design, Wiley, 81 (4), July, pp. 70-79

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