I didn’t really cut anything from the presentation included below. So, yeah, there’s a lot of slides. It’s (almost) the entire final presentation. I left it pretty much intact because not only 1) I can never edit my own work, but 2) the project is conceived more as a sci-fi narrative of Beijing and it will hopefully make more sense if read in complete order. And you can always just scroll way down to the end for some sweet images. This was for Ed Keller’s SpeedTerritoryCommunication studio, Spring 2009.
quick project description:
Architecture is a system of control predicated on limitations. This project is a study of the existing control systems in Beijing and a projection of how architecture and technology will merge to change not only prisons, but also the urban environment, the social stratification of society. Also addressed are what confinement and freedom will mean in relation to our relationship with how we build our world.
It was a certainly good times working with Professor Joe Vidich as teaching assistant for the courses Intro to Digital Fabrication and Advanced Fabrication: Component Systems. In component systems we only had five students, and they were pushed really hard, but there was some great work. I appreciated the sensibility that yes, we would make some cool stuff with the machines, but we also would test it for performance using structural engineering analysis, and explore material properties using Solidworks parametric models. It was an ambitious agenda for a short course, and the waterjet was un-operational pretty much the whole time, but the students came through with some sweet projects using the laser cut plexi and the heat bender, the metal mill as well as the 3d printer. Visit the class blog here.
Student work above from left: HoKyung Lee, JiYoon Oh, Kiseok Oh, Dave Kwon and Christo Logan
Detail from my final studio presentation of one symbiotic cell. See also a sankey diagram of the flows of energy through this system here.
For our living architecture course, we created an interactive light installation in the elevator of Avery Hall, controllable by anyone with a cell phone and a twitter account. The simplified process includes texting an emotion to twitter from any cellular phone using the #livarch hashtag. That tweet is then picked up by a realtime search, fed through our twitterfeed rss, then added to our own twitter account. For a more detailed explanation, see this previous post on getting multiple twitter users onto one twitter feed. That emotion is then directed to our pachube feed and sent through processing to an arduino microcontroller that controls the color and pulsing of the individual leds. The installation non-invasively attaches to the surface of the elevator via magnets. Allowing it to be placed on any metal surface, such as a building exterior, furniture, or a vehicle.
The lights within the elevator respond to the mood of the user. For instance, if a student texted “happy #livarch” the space within the elevator would begin to slowly pulse with a greenish/blue hue. However, if another student sent “angry #livarch” the first light will quickly flash a bright red. There are twelve lights total and show the collective mood of the twelve most recent users.
In this way, the elevator becomes a living representation of the collective mood of the building, but it is also hoped that a feedback loop can be created, a loop that actually influences the mood of those that ride the elevator. The emotion felt in the lobby will be altered by the time you reach the sixth floor. And that new emotion becomes what gets texted back to the elevator.
Lastly, future installations will be physically located away from the target user. For instance, Avery’s mood will be projected to the elevator in Uris Hall and vice versa. In this manner, we can both create a new form of pen-pal with distant locations, but also hope that our mood, whether angry, sad, happy or nervous, will both manifest itself in a new form of architecture, but also have an effect on the greater world around us.
The project team also included Talya Jacobs and Guanghong Ou.
See more for video and code:
My proposal for a post-graduate Kinne travelling fellowship was accepted. Not only does it further delay the inevitable job search, but it affords me the means to visit what I consider to be some of the most interesting territory in the world – the American Southwest and the US-Mexico Border area. It’s an area I’m familiar with having lived in California and Texas, with frequent detours into Mexico, but it’ll feel good to re-visit with a more critical eye. Dean Wigley also seemed to particularly relish reading the title at graduation, giving extra emphasis to “won’t.” Download the entire pdf proposal here. See Abstract below:
The bureaucratic, welfare-state housing policy approaches from the mid-twentieth century have unquestionably failed, but what comes next? The urbanization of the developing world has lent this question a desperate sense of urgency, and while central planners slowly test solutions, it is squatters—lacking developer or nation-state support—who have created a living laboratory of multiple failures and successes. Where the experiments become truly interesting is along the nearly 2,000-mile-length border of Mexico and the United States—the most asymmetrical border in the world. A nomadic, aterritorial space that is neither American nor Mexican, symbiotic in nature, and, while arbitrarily physically split, maintains a cultural porosity. Here is where the aspirations of a whole class of people wash up against an increasingly inward-looking first world barrier. What are the delicate political systems of control that allow this ecosystem to experience unparalleled growth? How does the built environment respond to these systems? What hidden systems can be extracted from a firsthand look at vast informal settlements, which in turn provide a framework for precise applications in architecture, technology and urbanism? Most importantly, this proposal is not merely about the collection of research data, but rather the formulation of a constructed argument regarding alternative future potentials of the built environment based on uncovered models existing within the border region.
The research will be completed through three mutually supportive phases. The first involves an intensive, first-hand documentation of the urban development in the two largest transnational border areas in the Western Hemisphere: El Paso/Juarez and San Diego/Tijuana. The research will be supported by an investigative journalist, a political science professor and the Juarez Department of Urban Planning. Secondly, a self-guided road trip will be taken through the southwestern desert to document historically how, without architects, ecologically sustainable structures have survived through the ages. This notion will be further developed by exploring responses ranging from artists Donald Judd and Robert Smithson to the self-sustaining Anasazi cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde and the U.S. missile testing ground at White Sands, New Mexico. Lastly, guided by a local Mexico City Architect, I will explore the “Tijuana-ification” of Latin America, with a study of the successes and failures of implementing an informal urban growth model, free of infrastructural support, into a metro area of 22 million people.
Final portfolio from my time at Columbia University’s GSAPP. “Arguments” seemed like an apropos title after the discussion provoked during my final final review. And, yeah, I always default to that yellow.
This was my final project for David Fano’s (of DesignReform.net fame) Meshing Course. It was an intense introduction to using Grasshopper with Rhino. My goal was too make a parametric array of cells, where each cell could be controlled individually, but changing one would affect all other neighboring cells in the system. Creating this type of recursive system led to a giant 18mb Grasshopper file, but the logic of the node-based layout made it surprisingly simple if you break it down into steps. See more for Vimeo Vids:
Mark Collins & Toru Hasegawa, the masterminds behind Proxyarch, and instructors of the course Search: Advanced Algorithmic Design at Columbia, ‘remixed’ the audio waveform code into something much more smooth and elegant. They’re awesome, and there were a lot of super interesting projects from the course which can all be viewed in the video here.
…until the final final review. That circadian rhythm won’t know what hit it.
Working on a sustainable prison cell unit for future Beijing. Because of their high population density, prisons are actually prime contenders for tests of renewable energy methods, such as waste to energy, and water recycling features. Much like the panopticons of yore, each prisoner generates energy for their own confinement, but also send excess energy back to a central grid, acting like capacitors. Here, the sankey diagram is parametric, the size of the flows are tied to the things like the volume of the cell, the square footage of the plant growth surface, and the amount of solar heat gain. more »
This was the final applet in motion. Using the minim library for processing, each waveform is generated in realtime as the two sounds play over eachother creating a pretty chaotic sound, but there are some instances of overlapping patterns where the mashup works pretty well. In the third version of the code, the boolean of the two waveforms is generated, producing a new way to visualize the waveforms. View the youtube video here, but I really need to figure out a way to add sound to the video, silence doesn’t do it justice. Charlie Parker, Iggy Pop and Richard Wagner comparison + code:
Somewhat of a circuitous hack through five sites, but it works, unfortunately there is about a 50 minute lag time, and a max of 5 users per half hour. But by pulling an rss feed from a search of all tweets with a certain hashtag (#livarch), then feeding that into a public google reader feed, publishing that back out to twitterfeed, then all the way back again to my twitter account with the pachube feed id prefix automatically appended (“d pachtweet set 1499″), anyone in the world can sms text data to your pachube feed and control an arduino. When a local interactive piece can be manipulated by a global audience, it brings up issues of siting and why a physical, localized kinetic piece of architecture is even necessary. Shouldn’t it be an ephemeral piece living online, able to respond to everyone at once?
“Now I Wanna Be Your Dog” as a 3d landscape. I was using the minim library in processing to visualize the sound level data stream, then exporting out to rhino. Many thanks to the proxyarch team for help with the code.
Added link to processing app, see it in action (loud rock music will begin playing…so turn it up!)
Quick Project Desciption: Airports typically attempt to be all things to all people, resulting in general inefficiency and awkward relationships between program spaces. By seeking new opportunities via trade-offs, for instance a tourist class passenger waiting longer but flying for free, or a business class passenger’s ticket price rises while he waits less in a more luxurious setting, a new circulation map and airport space is created that addresses these disparate groups needs. Optimal relationships between airlines, airport, and users are handled through parametric models and genetic algorithms.
What is the metric for a good design? Or rather, now that parametric modelling allows us to easily create thousands of variations of a given design, how do we chose the “correct” one?
First, Creating a parametric model in catia, whose inputs are optimized through the engineering program modeFrontier with additional structural finite element analysis coming from autodesk’s newly aquired robot. The challenge became how to convert your design position, parti, whatever, into a quantifiable metric that the software can optimize for. For instance, to optimize for material efficiency, you could let the software optimize a shape for maximize volume with minimal surface area. After 3000 designs you’d have a sphere, but things can get very complex fast when you begin optimizing for competing objectives. See our complete studio blog here. Project description…
I was drawn to the metrics of passenger economy and profit. Airports typically attempt to be all things to all people, resulting in general inefficiency and awkward relationships between program spaces and passengers, especially business and tourist class. By seeking new opportunities via tradeoffs, for instance a tourist class passenger waiting longer but flying for free, or a business class passenger’s ticket price rises while creating multiple, separate dedicated entry points that allow shorter waits, a new optimized circulation map presents itself.
Each hanging element is a program + structural column connected by a circulation tube. Within the circulation tube tourist class passengers have the opportunity to fly for free, passing through each commercial program space. One objective is to maximize the length of the tube – thereby allowing more passengers to fly for free maximizing the airports ancillary profits. Another objective is to create an unobstructed space for business class passengers requiring few of the program spaces to touch the ground but rather hang, allowing business class passengers to freely pass through below. The more columns that touch the ground, the more structurally stabe the ceiling space frame becomes, allowing more housing towers above. The program mediates between these competing objectives finding high-performing, unexpected solutions and it becomes the role of the user to rank and chose designs based on desired criteria. Most housing = most columns = fewer business class travellers, etc…
The beginning of our project for living architecture. It’s in its early stages, but we’re starting to get the interaction working. First, a user can send a message from their phone to twitter, then twitter forwards the message to pachube, then pachube feeds the data through the net to the little led’s hooked up to the arduino on my desk. At this point we’re thinking of an interactive light display down in the cafe, that will display the collective mood of the studio above.
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
We had free range of the lab last summer, and tried to use as many of the machines as possible: waterjet aluminum, foam milling with plaster casting, and metal cnc milling of a 1″ thick slab of aluminum (inaugural use!) for the joint capsules. It all came together in five minutes, ten minutes before the presentation.
The project team also included Brad Engelsman and James O’Meara
Whenever you have a computer course at a university, there’s always a struggle to make it more than just about being a software jockey. The ultrareal course did a good job straddling the line of teaching us to use the program, 3ds max, but also thinking about different techniques of representation. I used my studio project from the summer as a testing base, both because I wanted some new images and it was convenient.
This was an attempt to use an excel file to control the openings of a number of powercopies in catia. There is a lot of potential in creating a hive of components that can be individually optimized through excel and modeFrontier. If I get some time, I want to come back to this.
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.
A very early fabrication project using laser cut plexi and the heat bender in the shop. It was super difficult to get a smooth deformation on the petal forms – using a heat gun to slump the plexi over a form would have been far superior.
car/truck shape study model 14.5”x7”x5.5”
layers of bondo molded over a rectangular metal base
The perception of color is relative. The interaction of multiple colors creates a new relationship that alters the nature of the individual shades. The light quality in the project is important to the reading of the building shape, therefore, stable colors were chosen that are also dull, cool and light. The value of the red/blue colors were the same, creating an underlying unity while also influencing the perception of the forms reflecting in sunlight – and hidden in shadow. The colors reinforce the overall formal gesture while maintaining the indivual integrity of the facets. This was the third component of the Shape Studio, the first component can be viewed here.
Far too often the ones advocating increased public transportation are absent when it came to riding public buses. The capital metro brand has become too associated with a misrepresentation of resources and nondescript buses. We proposed to do away with the old name and replace it with ‘Capital Area Transit.’ Much of the imagery for the logo and design of the bus stop came from ‘CAT,’ the idea of nimbleness and sharp vision. This also created something inclusive, bringing more people together by a shared name that allowed the riders to give the transit system their own slang term, not an official nickname.
I wanted to simplify the contradictory organization method, and replace it with a more universal color-coding system: each route will be color-coded and each bus stop will correspond with the color of the bus. With television screens commonplace in automobiles and advertising becoming increasingly obtrusive, we sought to take this one step further: starting with the idea of the eye, I proposed fitting the buses with image protectors. Passing cars, buildings and people all become part of the image. Changing projection and led screens on the bus help target specific audiences. They can be programmed to display different images to specifically target economic and ethnic parts of the city. Also, the coveted rush hour times could bring in increased revenue.
Since its creation as a defensive fortification during the war of 1812, Castle Clinton has undergone a series of reinventions. While the inner activities have changed, the solid masonry walls have withstood, providing a blank slate – or bowl – for new programmatic activities, from an immigration processing station to an aquarium to its latest iteration as a performance space for lower Manhattan and the centerpiece of a renovated Battery Park.
The challenge became how to maintain the ring shaped exterior walls, while creating a welcoming and inviting space for artistic expression. To both emphasize the existing historic walls and the new intervention, the differences between the two were played for maximum effect – avoiding any attempts at a formal or historic similarly. In stark contrast, each could maintain their individual sense of integrity: new vs. old, light vs. heavy, closed vs. open, solid construction vs. modern building techniques all became overriding principles. In addition, because the intervention is without enclosed volume, the relationship between sharp-inside and curved-outside corners were emphasized. Thomas Phifer was the studio critic for this project.
The Challenge: 1) Analyze and choose a site along the 10.1 mile stretch of park along the Colorado River, which winds through Austin, creating Town Lake. 2) Design a space for artistic performances that is movable, able to transform into an “on” and “off” position.
The Solution: 1) A site was chosen in East Austin, near a rundown park in a neighborhood struggling with a lack of facilities for local children. This is in sharp contrast to other parts of Town Lake that are primarily used as walking and jogging trails for more affluent visitors. The site is also geographically unique, having an insular quality – surrounded by water on three sides – making possible a significant, central entry point. 2) A design was chosen that would still provide a functional purpose when the container was in its “off” position. With the rapidly declining public opportunities for skateboarding, the Performance Container was designed to transform into a skate park, providing a recreation center for the neighborhood. This was accomplished by creating three ribbons that lightly touch the ground and actively engage with the natural landscape of the site to create space. Like a roll of paper, each ribbon could be retracted or unfurled based on necessity.
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.
The program called for a combination of leisure activities that any college student is well acquainted with: bowling, drinking and washing laundry. The design reflects some of these playful qualities while also creating a ground, a city within a city. The building is meant to provide a strong presence in an area where the inhabitants are recycled every four years – perpetually created anew.
The design is separated along program and wraps itself protectively around a central sunken courtyard that provides shade and solace. The line between inside and outside is blurred through the use of roof gardens, cantilevered overhang spaces and the absence of a traditional central front door to the business. As opposed to one central building, the programmatic elements are separated into a collection of buildings, meant to evoke the layout of a college campus. Inhabitable outside void spaces were key and provide open areas for outside cafes and meeting spaces. Also, each program is expressed separately to accommodate differing hours of operation. The space is unified by a consistent structural grid of 20 x 45 feet.
The mechanical and support areas are articulated in a grouping of vertical towers. The towers reference both the separate programs as well as reinforce the idea of a place in and of itself. The building’s service areas contain vertical circulation, and the roof-packaged air conditioning units are localized in these towers. The collision of the service towers and program areas creates areas of complexity and spatial interest, while referencing the transient nature of the patrons and the interstitial urban gridwork of the University corridor.
Increasingly, architecture is seen as an extension of the consumer culture, subjugated to the needs of the marketplace. Architecture becomes the physical manifestation of the brand, sharing common visual and ideological cues, as evidenced in fashion houses Prada and Hermes. The studio was tasked with designing a brand and then creating the architecture.
Not only is Austin the self-proclaimed “live music capital of the world,” but the site was located at the western edge of Sixth Street – the epicenter of the music/bar scene in Austin. With this in mind, the brand “LOT49” was born, with the intent of creating a symbiotic relationship with the music culture of Austin by selling fashion influenced by the music scene, as well as targeting musicians and aficionados with high-end speaker systems. The third element became the underground bar, a staple music lore.
The branding exercise became an exploration of coolness and authenticity through design – a natural hybridization when Marc Jacobs outfits Karen O and American Apparel supercedes The Gap. The project uses visual architectural cues/metaphors to tie into the world of music and fashion. Architecture can both reinforce – stay “on brand” – but can always transcend marketing, through the physical, reality of light, form and color.
This was also the first paperless studio project I worked on. I was fumbling around with lightwave 6.0 all semester. It’s incredible how far technology has come in four years.
Architecture is a game of limits. Some studios work within the confines of context, program and site, here we explored limits that were more intangible. The studio worked directly with a strong emphasis on space, shape, color, light, shade and shadow. We searched for limits, letting function simmer while heating up the form. We explored limits in three shape studies in a variety of form and media: 1) Two dimensional shape black and white paintings 2) Three dimensional car/truck bondo shape studies and 3) Building design studies: proposals for an automotive body shop and paint shop.
An early limit arose from light illuminating a distant plane, while backlit shapes filled the foreground, creating space and hope, and drawing the worker into his business. I also advocated the use of a strong void space. The black and white paintings evolved from logocentric gestures, yielding overlapping spaces where smaller elements could be brighter than the whole. Contrast functioned as a powerful space-making tool within the project, as well as with the neighboring context. The play between soft, near edges; and farther, harder planes influenced much of the car/truck shape-making, as well as issues of silhouette, color and perceived mass.
Learning about the site: As part of our analysis of the site, we moved beyond standard topographic information. Frequent visits to the site, meeting people, and making sketches, paintings and photographs led to a fuller understanding of the area and yielded a building intervention that had a deeper relationship to the intangibles of the area.
Learing about the culture: Residents of the neighborhood live in the same house they were born in, the same house their grandparents were born in. It became necessary to meet with people and hear their stories and opinions. Local institutions and neighborhood history became additional site considerations. From this extemporaneous, improvised neigborhood, the studio work took on a messy quality that reinforced the sense of immediacy.
See the second part of the studio here, shape and color.
See the first part of the studio here, black and white shape paintings.