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Catherine Sellergren Architecture Design Studio 1

Spring 2014 Learning Portfolio

Midterm Submittal


Kazimir Malevich Suprematist Composition 2

Model 1 Objective: Study Malevich’s composition. . Strategize translating the two dimensional painting into a three dimensional from. Create a model.

Model 1 represents my interpretation of the upper left quadrant of Kazimir Malevich’s Suprematist Composition 2. I felt that the elements from the original work share a collaborative necessity to the overall design yet assert their independence of each other through volume and seemingly contradictory trajectories.


In interpreting Malevich’s piece, my primary goal was to effectively express each elements’ independence while simultaneously promoting their interactions as a whole. My secondary goal was to learn how to properly use my materials in an efficient way while adequately translating my intent to a three dimensional form.

In order to express the separations between the elements, as well as their significance to or over another, I enhanced the distinctions by way of vertical separation. Each element would be connected, therefore reliant on the next for support, but by varying the planes I could create a stimulating visual journey of the structure. My primary critique of the final product is the lack of drama between the vertical elements. The differences in elevations are minimal, thus perceived as hesitant. By enhancing such factors, aesthetic reliance will be placed upon overall structure rather than superfluous afterthought.


Model 2 Objective: Create a second version of Model 1. Improve vertical juxtapositions. Eliminate base.

Model 2 is simply a reiteration of Model 1, with emphasis on vertical drama, structural integrity, and a consciousness of the aligning planes. Proportioning the elements in a premeditated way was elemental. Simplifying the entire piece was a priority, preferring to place focus on how the elements interact.


Model 3 Objective: Recognize design elements present in Models 1 & 2. Create repetition through layering. Promote interest through hide and reveal technique.

The concepts surrounding Model 3 were to add visual interest while increasing stability and cleanliness. I wanted to provide an element of fluidity to an otherwise highly geometric structure. By opening up some of the planes of the structure, I could reveal its skeleton, and doing so would naturally carry our eyes from one end to the other, creating a visual pathway.

This process increased visual interest from every angle, engaging us better and piquing our curiosity as we explore the variants and dualities that exist between the angles and curves. Light and shadow are enhanced which delivers an amplified vantage. The added complexity of this model, in comparison to the previous two, gave me a chance to express my creative direction with Malevich as a distant starting point. The experimentation that went into Model 3 allowed me to learn considerably more about the strengths and weaknesses of my materials, and how to solve issues that my materials administered along the way.


Model 4 Objective: Simplify the structure. Use language to instruct another on how to build Model 4.

Creating instructions for the building of Model 4 was particularly challenging for me. My tendency is to be very intuitive with my model building: I visualize the structure before my building process starts, and think in proportion rather than measurements. I also build as I go, making slight adjustments of my concept as each element is added to the foundation. Because of this, structuring my plan and expressing it in a way that would effectively translate to another how to build it was complicated. I started by reducing the elements to the fundamental portion of the design, which was the eye shape. The purpose of paring the design back was to simplify the overall process in order to meet time constraints. I focused on being methodical with my assembly, and implemented efficiency rather than the level of experimentation that I would have in executing the former models. While I feel that I was mostly successful in my instruction, I recognize that adopting an ever increasing vocabulary will improve my ability to communicate my intent.


Gesture Studies & Blind Drawings This series of gesture studies, using charcoal and newsprint, were my introduction to the connections between loose, quick efforts that illustrate the basic lines, movements, and forms of architecture. Starting with blind drawings, I quickly captured the linear qualities, meeting points, and the darks and lights of an image of a Japanese train station. Each study served to highlight the individual aspects of forms, which were brought together in two final ten-minute studies where I could reference both the images I was drawing and the sheet of newsprint I was drawing it on, which introduced accuracy.


Model 5 Objective: Create a model based on gesture drawings. Focus on drama and enhancing the chosen adjective “heroic�.

Departing from the Malevich-based models, I started exploring using loose drawings as simple starting points for my next model. I created a series of linear drawings, which I imagined as footprints or profiles for the model, sketching approximately fifteen before I settled on one that utilized a spiral form. Because the basis of the drawing would be the footprint of my new model, I strategized how I would manifest heroic qualities into it. I decided to combine the towering effect of vertical stature with fragile, reaching elements that would support a three-tiered cantilever extruding from the models abaft region.


The contrast of the weight of the three vertical arced planes with the buttresses would provide a balance and element of surprise, and continuing the themes yet applying transformation as the elements rotate would serve as a unifying property.

At this juncture, I had reached a reasonable amount of mastery with my materials, yet I struggled with the new course I was taking with Model 5. The previous models had all been improvements upon the one before, to start anew was daunting and I wasn’t sure where to begin. Formulating a game plan evaded me, so I experimented quite a lot in the building of this model Once I found the rhythm of my process and the model began to take shape, my frustration ceased and I proceeded to completion. I observed that the rectilinear aspects of the tiered annex conflicted with the other areas of the design. I also speculated that creating some reveals in the layered frontal strata could provide a view to the opposite side, and perhaps the shape of that opening could be used to refine the shape of the cantilever I wanted to change. This would unify the elements that were currently working against one another.


Model 6 Objective: Consider how gesture studies set the stage for model studies and how model studies inform further gesture studies. Build a new model.

In this new iteration of Model 5, I decided to explore repetition and texture, dramatic ascensions, and the overall advancement of the cohesion of my design. The repetitive element that is dominant thus far is the use of curvilinear planes and edges which create a rhythm, thus effectively drawing our eyes from the edge of the structure where the dominant planes converge, across to the arms that reach skyward delicately. I chose to continue the repetition of this theme by placing two circular reveals in the two taller forms, and replace the three tiered cantilever with a sweeping plane that was made up of gradating discs supported by buttresses, which concluded at the highest point of the structure with a smaller oblique projection. That smaller cantilever would be made up of three tearshaped layers that projected over the top of the vertical frontal mass.


In approaching Model 6, I wanted to provide viewers an emotional experience that would combine curiosity and awe as they explored the aspects of the piece. Transitioning from the weighty mass of the tower portion of the structure to a fragile connector supporting the transforming climbing round discs, I found that the captivating orbital plane did create such a response from my audience. The heterogeneous aspects between the monolithic curvilinear frontal planes and the more elegant motion of the soaring oblique in the rear accomplished my goal, and the circular reveals unified the two as desired.


Model 7 Objective: Create framing structures for the previous Models. Explore consistency and depth. To build the framing for Models 7, I chose to use basswood as the main material, with chipboard for areas that needed more flexibility. My focus for Model 7 was to figure out a method for building it by adding to a base piece by piece. As I worked my way through the model, I measured, cut, and glued each piece as I went along. As needed, I would cross brace between the upright studs with smaller pieces. My strategy allowed me to create a frame, but it was inconsistent in rhythm, and there was little planning involved prior to starting on the build.


Model 8

I resolved to be more organized in building the framework for1414 Model 8. I worked on a formulated layout before starting the build, using my insights from the earlier framework to better plan its execution. This allowed me to space the studs of the structure in a more organized fashion. By doing so, I created a partial structure that had increased in its visual appeal, I also recognized how consistency in spacing of the supports offered structural integrity.


Architecture Design Studio SP. 2014 Midterm Portfolio  

All models, gesture drawings, reflections, and insights prior to midterm in spring 2014.

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