After my final model from last summer was somehow misplaced in the trash, then the compactor where it was crushed into a little cube before being placed in a trash barge a mere 36 hours before the final review, five months later the lazy days of winter break seemed like a good time to rebuild. One of the benefits of digital fabrication is you just have to re-lasercut all the files, though there is a certain level of zen like calm in folding and gluing 300 panels. The modular panels and truss were created in grasshopper, then scripted in rhino to unroll onto sheets.
Quick Project Description: In America, the most active civic space is no longer public plazas or parks, but rather a new typology—“town centers”—Mall/Promenade hybrids of housing, public space, and shopping. This is where people gather, and into each of these places a civic function is inserted—political debate arenas where the viewer is no longer passive but takes an active role in the decision process, and is loudly confronted with a newfound political reality.
The project becomes a version of American Flag 2.0, something that doesn’t only wave from above in the wind, but rather demands work, a back and forth engagement between voter and candidate. The goal is that these can be sold to these town centers and through their sheer ubiquity and the rise of spectacle as a means of increasing shopping revenue, these proposals become the new American generic space.
Moving forward from midterm, I began identifying eight specific sites in the six battleground states that will have the most impact on the 2008 election. Two sites were explored further, specifically the purplest county – Franklin – in the purplest state – Ohio – located in the Columbus metroplex area. The Easton Town Center in Ohio displays a number of contradictions, home to the largest university in the country, but also numerous military contracting connections, including North American Aviation which manufactured components for the B-1 bomber in addition to missiles and guidance systems.
Each site was chosen not only for its status as a battleground state, but also as the 21st century incarnation of what constitutes public and civic space in America today, the outdoor shopping, dining, living spaces that are labeled as the new urban Town Centers, evolutions of the 1970s covered mall. If the goal is to affect and inform the greatest number of voters/shoppers, this is where the project would have to go, a placeless place lacking any form of civic engagement
This was an initial experiment setting up a parametric model in catia that could be tested and optimized in modeFrontier. The goal of the test was to (1) determine the shape of a base surface and (2) calculate the optimal circle radius, that would create an optimal component suface with a minimal amount of circles that maximized the total area. The results produced both a flat surface with a few large circles and a more highly deformed surface that included more tightly packed circles.
Part of the Adaptive Formulations visual studies course taught in conjunction with structural engineers from Buro Happold. We were designing parametric skin components in catia then using optimization software modeFrontier to generate a large design space of high performing designs. The size of the apertures of this system are dependent on the surface deformation of the underlying base surface, and I’m testing for a base surface with a maximum deflection that results in the largest aperture size.