Order of presentation
- Main Concept (Personal vs Public spaces, Dynamism and fluidity)
- Mock up (Visual description, scale, materials, construction)
- User Interaction and location
- Research and explorations (Initial mind map to final iteration)
On Week 10, we have presented three variation in different material combinations.
We have decided to use wood and metal as the material for the construction of the installation as it seems like the most economic, sustainable and feasible choice of building material out of the other two (Concrete and Polycarbonate).
The following illustration depicts our chosen conceptual form and interaction for our installation that is inspired from fluidity and dynamism. The installation aims to provide students of NTU with both personal and public space within a singular sculpture.
At the beginning, we experimented making the curve with acrylic sheet using a hot air gun. To do so, we made a jig to secure the acrylic in shape.
The process was quite tedious. We had to be attentive to the temperature and distance of the hot air gun to make sure we keep a safe distance so that the temperature is not too high. Ultimately, the experiment did not turn out as expected so we have discarded it. We realised that we would need more practice to ensure that the acrylic do not overheat but is heated enough to retain a shape.
In preparation for the final prototype scaled model, we moved on to working with plywood for a more accurate representation of the installation that we propose to construct with wooden panels. Uploading the dimensions at 1:50 scale, we laser cut numerous repeated panels and two identical cross-sectional profiles.
The two identical cross-sectional profiles are spray painted in metallic coating to represent the internal metal support structure. With the help of the bench saw, we made miniature grooves at each end of the laser-cut panels to allow the cross-sectional profiles to slot into the grooves to connect all the panels in a continuous curve.
For the virtual 3D model, we have constructed each wooden panels with the dimensions 2500mm long, 120mm in width and 25mm thick. There are a total of 142 panels in total, about 70 panels on the inner wall and 72 panels on the outer wall. A continuous metal rod that serves as the supporting internal structure will be sandwiched between the outer and inner wall of wooden panels.
Click on the image above to watch the installation in movement.
We realised that the weight of the plywood is pretty heavy when arranged along the cross-sectional profile curve that is made similarly out of plywood. To remedy the heaviness of the roof, we have placed a transparent acrylic sheet at the overhang to hold the roof up.
During our explorations with making small scale sketch mock ups, we are able to have a better understanding of the different materials to know what are feasible to work with. Through our trial and errors, we are able to have a better plan for the making of our final prototype through improvisations and practice.
For the following week, we aim to have a final rendition of the installation for a more finalised form with the details included.
Also, we will continue to work on the making of the final prototype model. We thought of using wire to make the cross-sectional profile curves instead of plywood for a stronger internal supporting structure to ensure that the weight of the roof will not alter the shape of the intended curve.
For this week, we decided to re-design and re-proportion the shape of the installation. To inject more dynamism into the shape, we have changed the direction and distance of the curve by increasing the inclination and having an upward progression for the spaces between two surfaces. We can observe that the space between the ground and the first curve in the first direction is smaller than the space between the surface of the first curve and the second curve in the opposing direction.
By increasing the space between the second and first curve, the upper part appears elevated and floats above the lower part, reducing the sense of unbalance. By tilting the previous shape backwards and resting the shape at an angle to the ground, the curve appears more relaxed and less static.
We have incorporated grid supporting structures beneath the curvature for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, the grid serves as a pedestal to elevate the curvature.
Secondly, the grid serves as a elevation above the ground by approximately 350 mm so that users can sit comfortably on the curvature at that height.
Thirdly, the grid serves as a contrasting element. Juxtaposed with a rigid and uniform grid, the curvature appears to be fluid and dynamic.
In order to understand what translucent material would be best suited for construction that is safe and strong, we did a research into the different types of glass and properties of thermoplastic that projects an appearance like glass.
Polycarbonate: This plastic is 300 times stronger than glass, is resistant to most chemicals, is twice as lighter than glass, has high abrasion and impact resistance. It can transmit as much light as glass without many distortions. Applications include window, green house glazing etc.
Adapted from Glass as a Building Material. (n.d.). Retrieved March 25, 2018, from http://www.understandconstruction.com/glass.html
We would like to propose using semi-transparent polycarbonate for the construction material of the installation as its transparent property is closest to fluid.
Polycarbonate has been said to have a lifespan of at least 10 years and can be recycled.
Other than the choice of polycarbonate, we also propose using GFRC concrete or wood for the construction of the installation. GFRC is a sustainable material and has a longer lifespan than polycarbonate. Wood would be a more affordable choice of material. It is also a material that is versatile and exude a warm shade (as compared to metal) which makes it a more inviting material.
The new shapes does not require any rails and ladder since it no longer have a second level. Although we have altered the presentation of the shape, we still retain the concept of a personal and public space within a single sculpture.
For the Concrete model, the metal rods are organised in random order like the random arrangement of square holes represented in last week’s model to complement the dynamic flow of the curve.
Whereas, for the polycarbonate model, the wooden rods appears more organised than the metal rods in the concrete model. This is to create a contrast between the dynamic curve and static grids.
Other than a polycarbonate sheet, we continued to explore with grid patterns on the curved sheet. We rearranged the square holes in hierarchical progression to convey dynamism. In terms of construction, we would like to portray the square holes with wooden panels that are connected with metal bolts and supporting frame.
If the installation with patterned surface appeals more to people, we plan to research deeper into the arrangements of square holes in the curvature such as by following a certain mathematical progression or a pattern derived from an abstract representation of the location (eg. ariel view of grass patch at location/ arrangement of windows of buildings at location).
New developments such as the addition of a curved seating, curved shelves, curved ladder and safety railings have been updated in the most recent rendering of our installation. We have also refined on the proportions of the sculptural installation in the renderings for a more accurate depiction of the real thing.
Users are able to sit at the lower deck of the installation on curved seats (extruded metal surfaces) and utilise the curved shelves to place small objects such as water bottle, hand bag, phone, notebook, etc. Users can climb up to the second deck with the help of a curved ladder and sit on the surface of the second deck.
As we are looking at the majority of people in NTU, who are aged above 18, we believe that users would be mindful and rational enough to practice the necessary cautions when interacting with the second deck and roof of the installation (Approximately 3.07 metres in total height) . We have included a 15 centimetres high and 5 centimetres wide railing along the edge of the installation, as a reminder for safety and caution practices. Although the roof is intended to be restricted from access, we predicted that playful individuals may try to access the roof by climbing on the grids, thus we have also incorporated railings on the roof.
We have included an image of the previous rendering for comparison below.
Our intention for our installation is to provide people in NTU with both public and private space within a singular physical structure.
Our initial intention was to position our installation within a natural environment in NTU so that people can have the opportunity to rest under the shade of the installation and experience the beauty of nature. However, after much thought, we find that the installation would match the environment of Banyan Hall at NTU better as Banyan Hall has many gridded and randomly arranged square motifs for its tiles and green spaces which echoes the random gridded pattern of the installation. We have decided to reconsider the placement of the installation in NTU and focus our direction on having the installation possibly placed at Banyan Hall.
We hope that by incorporating the installation in Banyan Hall, non-residents and residents of Banyan Hall can come together to meet under a shared roof or find a personal space within the installation.
We have looked at Junya Ishigami’s Project for the cafeteria on the campus of the Kanagawa Institute of Technology as a study for how to abstract and integrate a location and time period into a new type of hybrid space that could not have been conceived either by contemporary architecture or classical architecture alone.
Possibly, we may research more into Junya Ishigami for a reference.
You may read up more on the project here.
We intend for the installation to be constructed out of Glass Fibre Reinforced Concrete GFRC. To understand the sustainable uses of the building material, we researched into it.
Ingredients: natural ingredients uses recycled materials, including glass and metal with low toxicity levels have no adverse effect on the environment or ecosystems within the environment
Minimal Natural Resources: GFRC uses less cement than traditional concrete does. Ingredients used are naturally occurring and sustainable.
Manufacturing Process: Producing this water-based building material does not emit any chemicals or byproducts that would harm the environment.
Construction Process: GFRC contains fewer natural resources, uses locally available materials, reduces energy use, fuel consumption, and transportation resources. It’s lightweight property means that less material is required.
Low Waste: GFRC produces less waste than traditional concrete
Building Life: GFRC is durable and long lasting so that it can withstand hurricanes, weather, fire and seismic activity, this reduces the need for maintenance, repair, and replacement, which means lower emissions and disruption to the natural environment. A long lasting building also means that it does not require maintenance or repair, saving energy and natural resources in the process.
Highly Sustainable GFRC. (2014, August 04). Retrieved March 19, 2018, from https://www.gfrcinfo.com/highly-sustainable-gfrc/
To begin, we would like to cite DETAIL inspiration on the webpage titled Technology: Metropol Parasol – a Stroll Above the Roofs of Seville written by Frank Kaltenbach.
The Metropol Parasol is described to be huge trees starting from the base of six pylons that extend upwards to merge and join to appear like “parasols” serving as a shady roof in the historic centre of Seville. User spaces are stacked vertically above each other, with an archaeological museum at the basement, a market hall at ground level, and a roof filled with restaurants and bars.
The basement spans 40-metre wide and is contained in a two-storey-high steel Vierendeel frame.
The market hall, that sits above the basement, has a steel and concrete composite roof that extends five metres above ground.
The restaurants and bars sits in a lattice grid of polyurethane-coated laminated-timber sheets at 21.5 metres above ground.
A panoramic route winds through the free form roof and two cylindrical load-bearing concrete towers wrapped in timber sheeting contain lift shafts and support a linking platform where the restaurant facilities are located. The platform is in a reinforced concrete composite form of construction from which the timber lattice grid is suspended. The shafts of the other four parasols and the 11,000 m² undulating roof structure consist almost entirely of laminated-timber elements.
The idea of the Parasol was to make shade, a valuable commodity in a city as hot as Seville, and so make the square more habitable.
Continuing our research on the Parasol, we found out that BESISTA® tension rod systems with a durable hot-dip galvanized finish was used to assemble and create the stable structure.
3,600 BESISTA® tension rod systems, with all their high-quality features, blend seamlessly with the structure’s organic forms. Devised by Anton-Peter Betschart, the BESISTA® tension rod system with its consistently supreme standards of safety and reliability vouches for the stability of the filigree assembly. After scooping the red dot design award in 2012, the exceptional design con-cept was nominated for the 2013 Mies van der Rohe Award.
From the reading, it is apparent that the Seville roof was constructed out of reinforced concrete composite and laminated timber and steel held together by high-performance glue that is tested to be able to withstand the heat of Seville and BESISTA® tension rod systems. We would like to consider similar building materials for our installation and would research more into similar means of construction that would be most suitable for the construction of our installation.
During this interim, we further developed the open ribbon form which we have decided on and researched further into possible construction methods.
In order to visualise the form in the natural environment, we thought about the scale of the form by multiplying it in the ratio of 1:50 (1=10cm).
Alongside deciding on the real scale of the installation, we came up with a few different iterations of the form, exploring mainly on alterations to the base of the installation (where most people would interact with at their height). For example, a form that curves and taper to the ground would provide more void for people to stand in, whereas a form that curves and meets the ground inclined at an angle would provide a slope or protruded surface for people to lean or sit on.
Additionally, we realised that the curvilinear surface for the middle section of the installation can serve as a second deck where people can access by climbing on the grids of the structure.
To design a more stable standing sculptural installation, we thought of incorporating some supporting beams that is attached to the sculpture underground. The underground supporting beams would act like an anchor or the root of the sculpture, holding the sculpture in a stable upright position.
Instead of constantly repeating a fix number of grids in a systematic order to create the curvilinear surface of the installation, we would like to bring attention back to our idea of personal and shared spaces in the single installation by playing with transparency of material and varying depth. As such, we have subtracted voids of the curvilinear surface as it progresses from up to down. The opacity of the curvilinear surface near the base reflects mass and describes a gravitational pull, making the sculpture appear more stable and secure at the base and more porous as it progresses upwards.
In addition, to echo the improvisational aspect of the natural environment where we intend to place our installation, we incorporated randomness to the order of the squared grids as shown in the two right-most 3d renderings in the image below.
As we brainstormed on the possible incorporation of functions to the form of the design, we came up with the idea of a open flap that serves as a seat. However we thought that the feasibility of the incorporation is very low as the flap may breakaway from the installation due to wear and tear as a result of human activities.
We liked the idea of the open flap inspired from the dog-ear pages of a paper (eg. in an old textbook) as it evokes feeling of nostalgia and hints on the revelation of what is beneath the surface. As a further development on the open flap, we came up with a curved extrusion that is joined permanently to the curvilinear surface of the installation to serve as both seating and shelving.
We decided on the direction of the curve extrusion by connecting them with an imaginary chain in void to suggest fluidity and continuity.
Some materials we would like to consider with construction would be:
For our future developments, we have looked at two different presentation of architectural design – daring vs cautious. For example, House H by Sou Fujimoto describe clearly defined rooms within a singular continous living space that features two ladies sitting precariously on the edge of a second storey veranda, displaying a daring architectural design. In contrast to House H, we would like to create an installation that is more cautious by integrating safety considerations into our design.
We decided to work on Concept 1 (lighter form) to further explore on mass and void in a fluid structure to be placed in a public space in NTU.
To be more specific with our selection of space in NTU, we thought of incorporating our installation within a natural space to achieve a balance between architectural installation and nature.
Also, we want to utilise the natural shading of the existing natural space in NTU for a cooler experience.
We drafted a mind map to develop the user journey which helps us define their experience in each stage of the journey.
Identifying the key words for the aesthetics and function of our concept.
We made a mock up of a continuous curvilinear structure that encompasses both public and private space in a seamless transition.
People in NTU (students, faculty members and visitors) can interact with the structure as shown in the image above.
To further develop our idea, we retain the material considerations from Concept 2, which were wooden grid structure, to build the curvilinear form of Concept 1 because we thought that a gridded structure presents a more open structure that gives the sculpture permeability, allowing the sculpture to ‘breathe’ and the user to connect with the outside while being on the inside.
In addition, the gridded structure can serve to convey a visual direction in our installation as the lines give a sense of order in the construction of the fluid form.
With reference to the Seville shelter, we would like to make use of a similar gridded structure for the construction of our installation.
The gridded structure can serve aesthetically as a porous membrane that balances void and mass. To add on, we imagined that the organised and controlled shadows casted by the gridded architecture of the installation under natural light can stimulate visual meditation, using the sense of sight to focus on one’s consciousness.
Perhaps glass planes can be held into place within the grids that serves as a rain shelter. Our choice of glass would be for its transparency into the natural environment, which allows people to look up at the sky and relax their eyes with the greenery surrounding the installation.
Juxtaposing a gridded structure with the natural environment was meant to achieve a sense of balance between man and nature whilst preserving man’s desire for order within chaos.
We intend to explore different smaller modules to be used in the construction of the overall dynamic form.
As part of our exploration on the construction of the wooden grid structure, we made some half lap joints with pine wood.
Perhaps the cross lap joints can be chamfered at different angle as they connect to form a dynamic curvilinear plane.
Proceeding with our presentation from last week, we realised a need to formulate a concept that ties in with the context where we plan to place our installation in order to create an installation piece that embodies substantial meaning to allow us to later develop on its construction. For our installation, we would like to look into the roots of Nanyang and incorporate its history in the installation to remind students of the initial beginnings of the University.
Our context is Nanyang Technological University (Chinese: 南洋理工大学), a University we are currently studying in at Singapore. Looking into the name of the school, we extracted the keywords, Nanyang (Chinese: 南洋; pinyin: nán yáng), and did a deeper research into its essential meaning. According to oxford dictionary, “南洋” in literal meaning, is known as “Southern Ocean” located at the warmer geographical location of Southeast Asia.
Breaking “南洋” into its individual characters, we derive a couple of adjectives: 南 which means south and 洋 which means vast and extensive.
We would like to refer to the keywords: vast, extensive and ocean/sea/water/fluid as our inspiration for the design of our installation.
You can read up on more of NTU history from here.
As NTU is a University in Singapore, we would like to incorporate some elements from Singapore’s traditional landscape as a memory to share with international students who are unfamiliar of Singapore’s traditional landscape. Kampong is a type of traditional housing in 19th century Singapore’s landscape.
We plan to subtract parts of Kampong architecture and incorporate the parts into the form of our installation design.
On top of the new inspiration for our conceptual installation piece, we would like to retain our initial research into the tension of personal and shared spaces in NTU which we did in previous presentations.
As a recap, we derived the tension of personal vs public spaces from the adjectives: hidden vs noticeable which we picked out from George Perec’s extract in week 1 which we found relatable to students in NTU – Students in NTU are constantly affected by the tension between private and shared spaces in the open environment of NTU.
Also, referencing “Crater Lake” by 24 degrees Studio, we would like to create a space that serves as a meeting place to encourage social interaction among students within and around it.
In addition, these are some suggested links we looked into for the explorations of the tension between interior and exterior spaces:
With our inspiration and references in mind, we wish to create an interactive space within the public space of NTU that provides both values of privacy and social interactivity on top of its significance as a space that reminds students of the school’s heritage.
We have broken down the construction of our installation into three parts: Form, Material and sustainability, and Function and Interactivity.
Our installation takes on a dynamic and extensive form translated from the fluidity of water and symbolic attributes of the Chinese character 洋.
We developed two Designs base on our concept:
Design 2 does not have protruding surfaces that serves the seating function. Instead, it is described by repeated revolving modular panels that are positioned in the same dynamic flow like form 1. The modular panels are inspired by the many vertical wooden pillars that were used to support Kampong houses.
For Design 1, our choice of material would be concrete. Concrete is hard, durable and stable, providing a sense of security to its users, serving itself well as a wall that provides privacy to its users.
For Design 2, our choice of material would be a Southeast Asian wood, such as Kapur and Meranti that are often used in the infrastructure of Singapore’s landscape.
Design 2 serves as screens/ walls/ pillars that provides different levels of visibility at different angles and interaction.
The mechanical revolving action of the screens is a possible function that we would like to include into the installation piece.
To summarise, we hope to create an installation that encompasses both private and shared spaces to serve as a common area where students of NTU can seek recuperation/ betterment/ a hide out from the stress and heat of life and provide them with an opportunity to meet and interact with one another within and around the interactive space.
From page 123 of the reading “The Beautiful And The Nice” by philosopher, Vilém Flusser,
Every scientist is also an artist and a politician, every politician is also a scientist and an artist, and every artist is also a scientist and a politician.
I mean like…really? Are scientist, artist and politician all alike? This absolute statement seems to convince us into believing that artist have the power to do what scientists and politicians can do in the world we live today, which is obviously not true. If we read into the context of where this quote lies, we will see more than what we have already seen. Artist have the power to create like politician and scientist does. This ability to create differs as to what we propose to create. What do we as artist propose to create then? We propose to create a unique experience with beauty that appeals to human.
In short: every human communication is an aesthetic one, as it always transmits a model for concrete experience, and in this sense, we are all artists.
From Week 2, we decided to broaden on the idea of hidden vs noticeable from our Week 1 ideation. Our in-class presentation for week 3 can be visited in this link.
To elaborate on what we have presented on week 3, we have selected a few slides to talk about.
We start off creating a mood board from research on artists, designers and architects who experiment and explore different ways of incorporating materials and forms to convey their ideas and propose an experience. One example would be an uncanny way of using concrete to describe the form of a pillow. Another would be Kengo Kuma’s Chokkura Plaza which was constructed out of preserved stones from its original building.
Next we shared our conceptual direction which is the relationship between Personal and Shared space which we developed from Hidden vs Noticeable.
A mood board is not sufficient to give us an insight into what kind of installation we want to make, so we looked into a few existing installation that deals with the tension of personal and public space in the historical context of a real environment. “Crater Lake” by 24 degrees studio ties in most closely with our initial explorations into human and the act of sitting.
We further developed our concept of “sitting” along with an experience of a private space in a public space with a cocoon concept.
After our presentation, constructive feedbacks were given to us. We decided to return to our initial point of juxtaposing what is hidden and noticeable in a space – creating a space that provides students privacy and a meeting place for social interaction at the same time using sustainable materials that speaks a narrative that is unique to NTU and the students’ life.
There are some other ideas we had yet to explore:
We realised that we need an independent direction/ a significant characteristic of our installation that would allow it to stand on its own without a strong dependency on a function to bring out its true value. Function should not be the initial focus of our project. It should not spur our reason to create. Neither should we be focusing on how the object works nor how the form is designed to bring out the most effective utilitarian value. Our idea needs something more significant than a utilitarian value, a material representation and a beautiful form. It needs a reason, a story to tell, a narrative, a unique experience, a memory to speak on its own.
The interactive part of our installation should be anchored by an existing memory which we would look into for next week (week 4).
After our discussion, we picked out a few opposite adjectives from the reading to produce a sketch model for the proposal of an installation in NTU.
The opposite adjectives are: organisation vs chaos, mundane vs abnormal, cause vs effect, hidden vs noticeable.
We did some research work on existing designs and art works to inspire us in the making of our sketch model. We came to the decision of making different iterations of swings to convey the opposite adjectives and to introduce to our audience new ways of seeing the existing objects in an uncanny way. The concept of playfulness and fun came from the thought of making an installation that would bring our audience back to childhood carefree times admist the stressful environment of the University. We re-use “the swing” to evoke a sense of childhood familiarity that all of us have experienced before and re-designed “the swing” by adding more elements to make the familiar unfamiliar and provoke people to question the normalities of “the swing”. “The swing” that is normal to people becomes abnormal as people do not know how to use the iterated versions of “the swing” which they have originally gotten use to.
We made our sketch models out of cardboard, cotton thread and chopsticks. Our initial trial with nylon fishing thread was too stiff and produce a swing that looks stiff.
During our class discussion, we question the swing that has been brought out of what was thought to be normal and we question the act of sitting. Were we suppose to sit? If we were to sit, in what position will we want to sit? What do we want to sit on?
Sitting on the swing is an interaction that comes with a cause and effect – a push and pull that results in our forward and backward movement that repeats in a continuous linear loop.
With our addition through elongation and seperation, we question: What will happen if we lengthen the seat of the swing? Will our audience be able to use it as we planned for them to do so? Will they be willing to share a seat with strangers? What will happen if we seperate a seat in half along the horizontal axis? Will our audience know which half to sit on? Will our audience be able to swing on it?
Another suggestion made in class was to subtract the swing, such that the swing is removed and what is left is just its holding support. This questions: Will people still see the swing as a swing? Will people be able to formulate that what has been left behind use to be a part of the swing?
The swing is an animated object when a human interact with it. It becomes an inanimate object if there is no human interaction towards it. In order to draw attention to our audience, we hope that producing various uncanny versions of the swing would appeal to the thoughtful minds of our audiences and make them want to interact with the swings.
For the later part of the class, we made different sculptures with 10cm x 10cm cardboards, describing different types of nature, namely: Rain (1), Angry Wind (2) and Pinocchio flys out of the whale’s spout (3).