Building, Dwelling, and the Cosmic Order

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This essay for Design Project I is a response to Martin Heidegger’sBuilding Dwelling Thinking“. In writing it, I drew on my previous reading of Robert A. Heinlein, for his idea of universe as art, and Buckminster Fuller, for his founding his faith in cosmic order on modern scientific knowledge.

Read Building, Dwelling, and the Cosmic Order (PDF, 60KB).

Sometimes it’s useful to be a packrat. First semester, I wrote a paper on Bucky and had made a spreadsheet of fully cited quotations for it.  Since I didn’t throw away that research, I had the necessary notes to add the paragraph on Bucky to this paper complete with quotations and citations. This saved me having to think of a new paragraph to add.

Lilivoltaiq, or Nature as Structure

Lilivoltaiq, detail of peaks This was a group project with Chantelle Hamilton and Maryam Aghajani. The point was to design a structure with 7m or more clear span, based on a natural structure. We chose lilypads, specifically the Victoria Amazonica, which is strong enough to hold up small children. We called our structure Lilivoltaiq because it is a solar collector in addition to being a floating pavilion that can be used for picnics or enjoying views over the water. Continue reading

Presentation on Charles Rennie Mackintosh

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In our art history course focused on furniture, we each did a presentation on a particular style or maker. I chose Charles Rennie Mackintosh because I had often heard of him but never learned much about his work.

We’d had a number of these presentations by the time I started work on mine, so I knew that I ought to spend minimal time on biographical details and focus instead on the themes in his work. I looked at huge quantities of photos, with a few sentences from the textbook to point me in the right direction, and from that developed an understanding of how Mackintosh’s furniture was filled with contrasts — light and dark, feminine and masculine, straight and curved — and how spare and Japanese it was by contrast with Victorian style.

Witch’s Treehouse

Treehouse Model: view from ground Whoever it was that said “it takes twice as long as you think it will” was an optimist. Sometimes it takes three times — as this project did. The silver lining for you is that it taught me how not to manage my time, and how to recognize when I need advice in order to stop banging my head on the wall.

We were asked to design, draw and model a 650 sq. ft. house for two people anywhere in the world but North America. Outdoor spaces were encouraged since they didn’t count towards our square footage, but no major functions could be left outdoors. I asked my friend Allison if she and her husband Paul would be my clients, and we promptly had a brainstorming session over tea. She wanted the house to be on New Zealand’s North Island, but didn’t have a specific town in mind. I located it in the Coromandel Peninsula, between Tararu and Whakatete Bay. Allison is a witch, Paul is a shaman and energy healer, and they are both tall, so they both wanted the house to be in harmony with nature, have high ceilings, and have quiet space to meditate in. There were many other desiderata, but these were the most important. Continue reading

Bytowne Cinema Moodbox

Bytowne Theatre moodbox

For this project, we were asked to visit a place with a strong character and then make a moodbox (a sort of three-dimensional display) to convey what it was like. Maryam, Candace, and I visited the Bytowne Cinema, which has some interesting Modern details, especially on the facade and lobby. It also has a very recognizable mural.

We considered what elements from the Bytowne ought to be used in the moodbox, and decided on the mural, the sign, and red velvet (for the silver screen’s curtain). We also used film and a copy of the schedule in our composition. The curls of film made our entry unique.

Perspective Rendering of a Library

2 point perspective, coloured

A colour rendering of a library that is not unpacked yet. While I understand the system for two-point perspective, I find light and shadow trickier. Unfortunately the scanner did horrid things to the shadows in the bookcases. I’ll try to get a better scan sometime.

Measured Survey of Classroom

Measured Survey: Floor plan

In this assignment from our second hand drafting course, we measured our classroom and then drew a floorplan, reflected ceiling plan, and elevations. Measuring a space is more difficult and tedious than I would have expected it to be — even a simple room has so many edges and corners and objects, all of which must be carefully located, and many dimensioned. Also, thanks to rounding and small errors, one side of a room might not add up to the other side when it is supposed to. In my 1910s apartment, I would conclude the room was no longer square, but not in a modern concrete classroom.

The Spacebox

Spacebox, overview

For this project, our professor wanted us to define a certain number and types of spaces within an 8 x 8 x 8 inch cube, by using a minimal number of walls and columns, which we could colour white or black. We needed to have at least one space of each type: large, small, overlapping, and double-height.

This is one of the projects that shows why I enjoy design so much: even though the rules of the assignment are strict, everybody makes something different. For example, mine is symmetrical, abstract, and sculptural, while many of the other submissions looked architectural.

The model is based around two intersecting cubes that form a diagonal hourglass within the implied outer cube. These three cubes are my large spaces. The rest are all defined by the framework at the pinch in the hourglass. That creates the small space, overlapping space, and double-height space.

The professor kept the model for the next CIDA review, and put it in the display case outside the Interior Design office, along with a couple other entries from the same assignment.

Eileen Gray Exhibit

Eileen Gray-inspired rug design

One of our professors had us do a poster and invitation for an exhibit of Eileen Gray‘s works, and a rug design based on hers. Even though this was the last assignment of our monochrome term, our professor invited us to pick a signature colour for the assignment. Myself, I like red.

I did my typesetting and layout in Indesign CS2, since I wanted some precise effects with colours and overlaps that I couldn’t do by hand. The typeface is Futura. The illustrations of Gray’s pieces are all done by hand, as was the assembly. Oh, the scent of rubber cement in the morning. Continue reading