Ca’sah Nanah da gai [Feathers of Initiation]

Ca’sah Nanah da gai [Feathers of Initiation]

The installation centers around the natural forms of feathers and pine cones, both being significant symbols in Native American culture, specifically relating to the Agai-Dicutta Numu.  Feathers were often used as an expression of a certain virtue or to reflect a certain individual or significant event. As such feathers were viewed in a similar manner to a gift from a high official, representing a link between the individual and divinity.

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The sculpture starts in the form of a feather to reflect on the link between man and divine. The bright colours painted across the platforms represent those painted across the barbs of the modern feathers used in Native American ceremonial dress and ornamentation.

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As burners ascend they will make their way up the vane of a feather they will complete their own initiation, drawing similarity between the great events that feathers were rewarded for in the past. As the platforms open they will begin to transform in shape to bear visual resemblance to pine cones.

The pine nuts are important in particular for the Northern Paiutes to survive the winter; and have their own festival in the third week of September. The change in form will reflect the process of change from receiving a symbol from the divine, to receiving bountiful harvest and personal fulfillment. The lighting will help to accentuate the fluctuations in shape throughout the day and night, representing the omnipresent divinity and how it can be seen in many different forms of nature.

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The piece will be both physically and visually interactive, with a changing form that will alter over the course of the festival. Burners can twist the colorful platforms around their central core allowing them to climb to the higher levels. As they do so they will be able to read messages of wisdom from other burners and leave their own along the way. The bridging links are fixed and thus can be used by the burners to sit and relax, observing the surrounding playa. The structure can also be used as a shelter, by rotating the platforms to create shade from the sun’s direct heat as well as forming a barrier from wind.

Special holes carved through some of the platforms will facilitate themselves as climbing holds to aid burners on their ascent. The bridging links are fixed and thus can be used by the burners to sit and relax, observing the surrounding playa. As the platforms are rotated, light will interact with the sculpture in different manners, pouring through the holes and creating intricate shadows. At night, the project will illuminate and create a light show, which will make the climbing possible even during night time.                         feather-elevation

fether options3Model – scale 1:1

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Model- scale 1:50

Materials and components

The varying thickness platforms will be comprised of 12 and 25 mm layers of plywood, depending on it’s span and form. In each platform will be a ring of 10 mm acrylic between the top layers allows for LEDs to cast out a unique visual form at night. Metal ball bearings will separate each platform facilitating the change of form as it is used by burners.

All this will be held up by steel tubes measuring between 5 and 6 meters in height with a diameter of 160mm. The steel tubes will be welded to a metal plate buried in the sand and secured with ground anchors. The feathers are also structurally supporting each other, through the 4 bridge link, made from the same plywood.

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Vulcan’s Flame

A geometric wall of fire burning on the sands of the Black Rock Desert. This immobile blaze stands as an edifice to Burning Man’s original figurehead. A burning yet fireless wall of plywood and acetate that can be encountered, entered and sheltered in.

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This sculpture stands as an abstract image of flames sent by Vulcan the Roman God of fire, an emblem of the festival’s name. Created from a series of plywood shapes and acrylic, Vulcan’s Flame is a blazing wall of light and colour. The structure is created to both imitate and juxtapose chemical fire, sharing real fires beauty but opposing its destructive tendencies. The sculpture is designed as a wall of shelter, behind which burners can be shielded from the desert’s unforgiving sun.

Born from Ancient Egyptian ‘Cairo tiling’, the sculpture is created from morphing polyhedra. The lowest section of the fire is created from cubes which gradually deform into rhombic dodecahedrons – a cubist interpretation of a flames movement. Internally every shape is painted to mimic fire’s bright hues and coloured acetate panels within the wall will project red and yellow tones onto the surrounding desert floor. At night internal spotlights will illuminate the entire structure, creating a glowing inferno of colour. These lights will flicker to create the illusion of movement.

Visually the main structure consists of three main forms;

  • The outer zone: the sparse cubic section of the sculpture, representing the hottest part of a flame, the region of complete combustion
  • The middle zone: this is the central area in which the cubic deformation begins to occur.
  • The inner zone: this is the coolest space, the most densely packed red area of the sculpture. Burners can crawl into this space – sheltered by four layers of dodecahedrons.

Rendered Plan

Physical Description:

Vulcan’s Flame is a long, low plywood structure, the installation is the geometric interpretation of a flame, a curving sculpture of deforming polyhedral that slowly transform from a cube to a rhombic dodecahedron. The sculpture is created from 55 plywood polyhedra constructed from hand cut plywood boards and secured with cable ties. Internally each shape is painted using natural, organic paints, as the shapes change their internal colour alters from yellow to red. Coloured acetate panels in the uppermost faces of each shape will mirror the shapes internal hue, these panels will allow sunlight through during the day casting beautiful coloured shadows on the desert floor. At night the sculpture will be lit internally with fluctuating spot lights, this will create the illusion of flickering movement. The acetate panels will be secured with nails.

Construction Sequence

The structure sits on a base of 23 plywood shapes, secured to the ground with rebar stakes. The sculpture is very stable as the base is the widest section, the rest of the sculpture tapers away towards the top. Each new shape rest on the 4 corners of the shapes below, bolted through the vertices and then secured with rope. The final and highest rhombic dodecahedron is stabilised with a steel column. The highest point on the entire structure is just over 11 feet above ground level and consists of 4 stacked shapes. A full sized version of one of the shapes has already been constructed and load tested confirming that it can support human weight, all of the cable ties securing the structure will be meticulously rubbed down to ensure they are not sharp.

The sculpture curves in a gentle arc – creating a central area of shelter from the wind and sun. At ground level Burners can crawl inside the structure and rest in it’s shady, tinted interior.


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Inspired by previous research of pyritohedrons, these structures are an addition to a series of other models based on polyhedral deformation. Previous models have experimented with density, altering colour and infill panels.

Previous Models

ORBIT

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Narrative | ‘Orbit’, an aluminium tube pavilion stands as a playful take on the orbit of our solar system. A kinetic, inhabitable architectural structure that orbits around itself revealing a central, occupiable space that acts as a ‘center of the universe’  location within which the occupier will experience the rest of the world rotate around them.

Occupiers act as planets orbiting around one another, taking in the beautiful surroundings as each hammock level gently rotates as if it is floating, free from visible connections below, In order to reach these relaxing levels, the occupiers must scale its lightweight structure eventually reaching the central ‘ritualistic’ epicenter.

Physical Description | Orbit stands as a playfully abstract vision of the universes orbit around the sun. Visually the structure is very simple. A series of single recursively scaled down forms provide both the frame work in which to house multiple levels of hammock space to relax whilst also offering a highly structural climbing frame that is scaled in order to reach its epicentre.  It stands tall amongst its neighbours as a combination of both inhabitable architecture and a visually striking art piece.

The structure is composed of multiple interlocking aluminium tubes of varying diameter that hang from a single point supported by the main outer structural framework.  Within the opening at the bottom of each frame is space for hammock netting to be fitted to the aluminium tubing providing an inhabitable space to relax on.

The inset neon LED lighting on the inside of the aluminium tube frame enhances the proposals visual impact at night, illuminating to be seen from near and afar.

Interactivity | There are multiple levels for potential seating, each incorporating a hammock like mesh suspended between the aluminium structure. This provides a comfortable place to relax whilst the structure gently rotates about its axis. As with most exciting Burning Man installations, this structure is climbable with the final point to reach being the central frame large enough for one person to sit in whilst the rest of the structure rotates around them.

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‘Hayam’ Temple to Sunlight

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Narrative | ‘Hayam’: a filigree temple of light and shelter, a spiritual retreat resting lightly on the Playa, a tiny tessellated palace named for love and open to the sky, a miniature caravansary to welcome the weary traveller.

The Hayam embodies the spirit of Islamic geometry: intricately interwoven patterns and repeating themes that speak of infinity. Geometry is the language of the universe; in the very small the infinite can be found.

Physical Description | Erupting flowers of perforated plywood seamlessly joined together to form a beautiful curvilinear structure. Reminiscent of muqarnas and moucharaby but stripped back to the pure essential fretwork and form, leaving behind only what is necessary. Enamels, glazes and precious metals are replaced by the gold of scattered light filtering through the delicate tracery of the screen, elevating the spirit. The treasures are not material things; they are spiritual. A place of illumination, intended for contemplation.

Emerging from a study into the geometry of Islamic art the pavilion references motifs and arabesques traditionally found in mosques and other sacred places though in itself the Hayam has ties to no religion; it transcends time and space, language and culture.

Interactivity | The structure provides a refuge from the heat of the sun and an intimate spiritual place for people to gather and rest. During the night the four pillars illuminate like a giant lantern with gas fires and the flames can be seen dancing behind the filigree patterns. The gas fires heat the area during the cold night so the space continues to function as a comfortable retreat.

More Info: http://issuu.com/josh-haywood/docs/jh_burning_man_submission

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Construction sequence and prefabrication:12 122

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Small scale test model:a

Large 1:1 Scale Test Model:b

Infinity Stone

 

aka The Desert Diamond

A spectral construct unearthed by the shifting sands of the Black Rock Desert, the Infinity stone is left. An Architectural Cipher it lays on its side, open and yawning towards the sun.

The structure symbolizes both the illusion of material wealth and its realization – The diamond, is hollow, and mirrored. It forces us to instead of gazing at the stone, to enter it, to look past it, into ourselves and onto the horizon.

 

The Desert Diamond is a structure based on the morphed and architecturally interpreted geometry of the brilliant cut diamond.

A series of triangulated panels, the principal structure is composed of multiple bent acrylic panels, with mirror tint rolled across the surfaces. Then it is fixed together with cable ties to build flexible joints. A base of wooden ply is placed on the floor to fix the structure, and provide a solid base.

The mirror tint is inverted, so outside the structure one can see inside, and inside is an infinity of reflections, of people, each other – and the desert. Light will reflect and bounce, a multivlance of colour and fire will sparkle and burn into the memories of those who experience the Infinity Stone.

The Cloud

The Cloud at Burning Man
The Cloud at Burning Man

So easily can fun and playfulness be neglected within Architecture. My proposal stands as an embodiment of these aspects, creating an area of inclusive participation, a space that can be explored and is only complete when occupied.

Fallen from the sky and tied down in the middle of Black Rock City ‘The Cloud’ stands as a mirage for weary-eyed travellers from far and wide, a beacon of sanctuary that creates spaces that provide respite from the harsh conditions of the desert using permeable fabric to create a cool atmosphere diffusing light within daylight and emitting a soft glow from within in the evening.

Principle Stress Analysis
Principle Stress Analysis

Walking through the dessert after a long journey along the silk road ‘The Cloud’ emerges as a whimsical mirage. Mimicking the form of a cloud the easily recognisable form is transformed into Architecture; a sinuous billowing form allowing us to fulfil a childhood dream, walking on clouds.

The principle structure of the cloud is composed of hollow rolled steel tubes ,sandwiched between thick perforated fabric, strategically placed to withstand the extreme wind conditions as well as human interaction. Elevated from the floor these tubes are secured to the ground using the kandy kane re-bar method.
Keeping the form soft and playful so that not only is the installation safe but also malleable, responding to people climbing and walking it, bungee rope is securely looped over the steel tubes and threaded through the ‘ground’ fabric to hold it up, as illustrated in the accompanying drawing.

Structural Breakdown
Structural Breakdown
The Cloud Perspective
The Cloud Perspective
Orthographic Cut
Orthographic Cut

Interactivity is an integral part of the installation. Bringing to life the stranded cloud people are encouraged to explore the piece climbing in, over and around it, finding intricate crevasses that provide discreet hidden entrances to the inner cloud where an intimate social environment softly illuminated by the diffused daylight, providing an area of solace.

Physical Model 1:5
Physical Model 1:5
Evening View of The Cloud
Evening View of The Cloud

DIMENSIONS // 5000mm(l) x 3100mm(w) x 4100mm(h)

Lotus Hypars

Lotus Hypars – A study of hyperbolic bamboo structures

The Lotus Hypars symbolise the “Caravansary” trading centre. The structure is assembled as the centre for exchange after journeying across land and water to a resting point, Burning Man. Hammocks offer a space for the festivals unique style of trading to be discussed and carried out. The tangible nature of the Lotus also creates a playfulness in an otherwise formal system of resources exchange. The lightweight structure evolves from the horizontal lines of the desert and forms a hyperbolic shelter. The user can inhabit not only underneath the structure, but also the petal shaped hammocks. Here, individuals can exchange stories, supplies and treasures.

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In Buddhism, the Lotus flower is symbolic of fortune. It grows in muddy water, and it is this environment that gives forth the flower’s first and most literal meaning: rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment. The Lotus Hypar story has evolved from the same principles. In the harsh desert environment, man can create beauty. The folded geometries are playfully excited by human participation. A twist, a fold and a push.

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The structure is assembled using bamboo sticks that are arranged in a reciprocal formation. These canes are then bound using high strength elastic bands. This allows for the flat cells to twist and take on new shapes. The Lotus Hypar is formed by a repetitive series of folds and the result forms petals. These are symbolic of the Lotus flower. The cells are covered with a white semi-elastic membrane that adds to the strength of the structure and the petal geometries become more visible. These are also the hammocks that can be inhabited by the Burning Man users.

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In order to test the structural performance of the proposal, I constructed a series of 1:1 scale models. This was done using 6m and 3m bamboo canes (35mm diameter). By testing a small segment of the full proposal, it is easier to determine the success of the final proposal.

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