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Symbol- Language and Sound into System

Language has a strong symbolic meaning to the mankind. It is not just a sound but with meanings which then allows to self-express, communicate and inspire. The mechanism of the sound system of languages is translated into visually represented geometries using Chladni’s Law.
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3-Dimensional computer generated Chladni Patterns 

When the frequencies increase, the pattern gets more complicated.

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BabelTower of Babel – The origin of different languages

“Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly. […] Come let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11:3~4)

(The Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel)

It is the story from the Bible but also architectural structure found in Mesopotamia Civilisation – called Ziggurat. It was made of asphalt and baked bricks with total dimensions of 90m x 90m, 90m high. This is equivalent 30th floor building.

The united humanity spoke a single language and agreed to build a city and a tower that is ‘tall enough to reach heaven’. God found such behaviour as rude and disrespectful. He confounded man’s speech so that they could no longer understand each other. 


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Concept Development through systematic studies of Ziggurat

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The frequency and nodes of the word is analysed and recreated as two geometrical forms. They are proportioned according to the Ziggurat Algorithm ratio and timber pieces are stacked up vertically reaching the highest deck at 8m above. The structure encourages to climb complex geometry.

While reaching the top, less intense the space becomes. The LEDs are placed underneath the timber pieces which are concentrated on the top of the tower and scattered following the central void of the structure. Lights illuminate with the voice reactive sensor placed at the top of the tower.cymatictotal2

Human always wanted to reach higher points either physical or spiritual. The height of architecture symbolised one’s power and control. This can be observed from the tower of Babel and continues in architectural history. Such expression of the desire of heights lead to competition of building higher structure.

High rise buildings were often found in religious architecture where they had few typical characteristics. First, it was the only tower to observe your land and the only tower which can be seen from everywhere in town. It has a visual meaning that the land within the perspective is the land within control. Second, religious architecture often had music instruments embedded within. This represented the control of the land where music reaches. And finally, high-rise tower was a representation of the centre of universe and sacred space in religious term. The tower, architecture of height is a spatial symbol of man’s deep desires.

The ritual is all about finding the true desire of your own. This begins with constructing the tower where the ritual follows the biblical story of Babel. Climbing up 8m high construct is a challenge then the climbers are rewarded with the beautiful panoramic view of Black Rock city. The climbers will also interact with the installation by continuously stacking up the Babels with anything they can find. Eventually it will deform from the original shape. Then the Babels will be the collective symbol of the Burners’ pure desire.

 

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Dream Catchers by Nick Huard

Legend of the Dream Catcher

‘The legend of a dream catcher began long time ago, when the child of a Woodland chief fell ill. Unsettled by fever, the child was plagued with bad dreams and unable to sleep. In an attempt to heal him, the tribe’s Medicine Woman created a device that would ‘catch’ these bad dreams. Forming a circle with a slender willow branch, she filled the centre with sinew, using a pattern borrowed from our brother the Spider, who weaves a web. This dream catcher was then hung over the bed of the child. Soon the fever broke, and the child slept peacefully.

It is said that at night, when dreams visit, they are caught in the dream catcher’s web, and only the good dreams are able to find their way to the dreamer, filtering down through the feather. When the warmth of the morning sun arrives, it burns away the bad dreams that have been caught. The good dreams, now knowing the path,visit again on other nights.’ (Oberholtzer, 2012, p9).

 

Origins

Dreamcatchers originated with the Ojibwe, a tribe of Native Americans scattered throughout the areas of the lake country in northern Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, and along the southern border of Canada, along the shores of Lakes Huron, Superior and Michigan, whose survival relied on fishing, hunting and trapping.  

Traditionally, the dream catchers were made by tying sinew strands onto a few inches in diameter round or tear-shaped frames of willow and were often wrapped in leather.

The spiritual life of the Ojibwa centred around the Midewiwin, the Grand Medicine Society and focused on the individual spiritual growth, gaining the insight through their dreams or visions.

 

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Grey Owl repairing an Ojibwa-style shoe

Mystical Experience

My project is a re-interpretation of the beliefs that dreams have magical qualities with the ability to change or direct one’s path in life. The bawaajige nagwaagan intends to create a mystical experience, where people are caught inside, similar to the way that bad dreams are caught in the dreamcatcher’s web, and good dreams escape through the centre. The participants are encouraged to climb through the centre and escape their bad dreams and feelings, releasing their spirit through the enclosure. Now they can sleep in the peaceful environment, stimulated by the fantasy of glowing feathers and luminescent rope structures. The pavilion aims for people to sleep, relax and free themselves from stress while being protected by the magical webs of the dream catcher.

 

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The Bawaajige Nagwaagan at night

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Close-up render at night

Romantic essence of the Native American Culture

The proposal is a celebration of the romantic essence of the Native American Culture. The large scale, three dimensional net is inspired by the native methods and techniques of making dream catchers. It is a manifestation of the traditions and significance of the Native Americans, paying respect and pledging support to the indigenous people of America.

The structure situated in the Burning Man festival commemorates the ceremonies of Native Americans, dedicated to acquiring an insight through dreams and visions. Fasting, or giving up of certain necessities for a certain length of time was a common practice used to enhance one’s ability to access different dreams or visions. Another method was to pour water over hot rocks to produce steam, which enhanced the occurrence of dreams, used as source of introspection. These rituals relate to the festival’s assertion of disconnecting from the necessities of our contemporary world, supplemented by the extreme weather conditions, which are hoped to encourage reflection.

The pavilion responds and works together with the Black Rock desert’s environment, and adds to the wider cultural context of leaving behind the essentials and expectations of the contemporary world while creating a moment for contemplation and tranquility in the magical weaves of the dream catcher.

 

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The Bawaajige Nagwaagan during the day

Proposal Development_System

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Form Experimentation_Platonic Forms

Hexahedron

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Development Model

 

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Diagrams explaining model assembly

 

Tetrahedron

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1:10 Model

 

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Diagrams explaining model assembly

 

Physical Description

The structure will be composed out of three, seven meters in diameter, dream catchers, tilted to form a tetrahedron. Each dream catcher’s net will be made out of 275 meters, 18mm, synthetic hemp rope which will be entwined in 1320 meters of 3mm fluorescent cord. Attached to the frame uv lights will make the fluorescent rope glow at night. Three rings hold the net structure together, with the bottom ring anchored to the ground, made out of T-shape plywood frames. The web of the frame will be 4 layers of 15mm ‘banana’ shaped pieces which will create a circle, together with 4 layers of 230mm x 2400mm x 9mm flange pieces bent in shape of the banana edge. Smaller rings, supporting the centre of the dreamcatcher net will be of similar structure, with 2 layers of banana pieces and 2 layers of 150mm x 2400m x 9mm flange pieces, bent in shape. The frame will be wrapped in 13500 meters of 8mm synthetic hemp with attached fluorescent fabric feathers.

 

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Axonometric View-Construction Development

 

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Frame’s web assembly

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Frame’s flange assembly

 

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Initial assembly diagrams

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UV lighting-Construction Development

Testing Ideas in 1:1 Scale

 

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1:1 Scale Test Model exploring the possibilities of glowing net structure and its connections.

Assembly of the net is inspired by a macrame knotting technique rather than weaving which means that the net could be made out of smaller 15 meters long pieces, rather than one 275 m coil of rope, making it easier to assemble and repair. Rope is anchored to the frame with thimbles and shackles, attached to the bolted staple on the plate. The rope is connected with simple S-shape stainless steel hooks. After testing the net I found that although these are easy to assemble, they can create some movement in a connection, therefore I am planning on exploring the idea of ferrules, which could be crimped in place.

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Photographs of 1:1 Scale Model

 

 

 

Whatever has a Beginning has an End.

Inspired by a continuous fractal curve, Snakes and ‘Ladders’ takes its form from the space filling Hilbert curve; an image that grows exponentially while at the same time being bound by a square with a finite area. The curve continues to grow until all that can be seen by the eye is a solid cube. From afar, the proposal will sit on the playa as a cube made up of horizontal and vertical wooden studs fixed together. As the burner approaches the structure, it can be seen that the internal space can be explored and allows the user to interact throughout the climbable structure as they make their way to the central and upper levels. As the person makes their way inside, each layer consists of a reinforced fractal curve that can be used as a ladder progress. When the sun sets, LEDS built into the wooden studs light up the various iterations of the Hilbert Curve giving off a colourful effect to each layer inside the structure. Each layer will be programmed to allow a brighter light sequence to follow the curves creating snake-like lights that envelop the laddered structure.

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Symbols to Systems

“Then it seemed like falling into a labyrinth: we thought we were at the finish, but our way bent round and we found ourselves as it were back at the beginning, and just as far from that which we were seeking at first.”   Euthydemus, Plato.

My starting point began with the famous symbol from greek mythology, the labyrinth; an endlessly running meander. a structure designed and built by Daedalus for King Minos. Its function was to hold the Minotaur. It was said that Daedalus had so cunningly made the Labyrinth that he could barely escape it after he built it. However, despite this, a labyrinth will always consist of a start and an end point. The goal? Reach the centre.

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Many labyrinths today are based on symmetrical patterns,  first seen from the Roman Labyrinth. These represent the first real attempts to create different forms of the genre.CT10_modernlabyrinth.png

The term labyrinth is generally synonymous with maze. However maze refers to a complex branching of multicursal puzzle choices in path and direction,  the original goal is not lost but rather relocated for creating games to challenge the user.

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Looking at the work of M.C Escher I started looking at forms that could be intertwining together. As the number of staircases increase, the denser the stair maze becomes. However from this, each stair leads endlessly and no goal created.

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Fractal Curve Analysis

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Looking more into the Hilbert and  Moore Fractal Curves, I constructed both out of match sticks to look at how the pathing route for each curve differed. It was noticed that the Hilbert Curve looked to be more stable when finished as it’s upper level were more supported.

Structural Testing

As a fractal curve will always be developed from start to end using one line, additional support will be needed.Using Karamba, I was able to generate a script that will allow me to test the strength of both fractal curves until it fails. As the structure collapses I will be able to point out the weakest areas and provide additional support to prevent the proposal from failing.

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Initial Proposals & Development.

Attempting to combine the stairs with the reinforced Hilbert Curve created some uninteresting results as an initial Proposal, from this point, it was decided that to create a more complex maze would be to increase the amount of iterations and strip out the staircases.

By removing the staircase, I instead increased the size of the structure to allow additional interations to be nested externally and internally. From this a 5m x 5m Cube was to be proposed, constructed entirely out of 2in. x 4in Dried Whitewood studs. This allowed the proposal to be built cheaply and quickly using Karamba to identify weak points in the structure and reinforce them.

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Proposal: Snakes & Ladders.

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Snakes and Ladders originated in Ancient India, popular by the name Moksha Patam; associated with Hindu Philosophy contrasting Karma and Kama.The game has also been interpreted and used as a tool for teaching the effects of good deeds versus bad.  The squares of Fulfillment, Grace and Success were accessible by the ladders, which represented virtues such as generosity, faith, and humility, while the snakes represented vices such as lust, anger, murder, and theft. The morality lesson of the game was that a person can attain salvation ‘Moksha’ through doing good and reaching the last square was attainment.

The number of ladders was less than the number of snakes as a reminder that a path of good is much more difficult to tread than a path of sins.

With Radical Ritualism being the Theme for Burning Man 2017, I believe my Proposal can itself be a cube of Fulfillment, allowing people to play the game of snakes and ladders to forget about their sins as they try to achieve ‘attainment’ by reaching the top.

The Snake.

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Like the classical mobile game ‘Snake’ the lighting aims to wrap around the cube, illuminating the ‘N’ Iterations of the Hilbert Curve using LED Lighting.

 

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The Ladder.

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The structure is made up out of 2in. x 4in Dried Whitewood studs and reinforced to allow people to climb all the way to the top allowing either the external or the internal framework to be used as a ladder system to move throughout the proposal. Each iteration has start and end point which is travelled upon during the night which is reinforced by additional studs to allow no failure.

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By Christopher Thornton

Truth is a personal conquest which one attains through a mystery.

The Burning Man festival has evolved from a simple gathering of people on a beach in San Francisco into a spectacular spectacle. Burners travel from all over the world to meet in the Black Rock desert of Nevada where they form a city of temporary structures and burn a huge towering figure of a man. The theme of the 2017 burning man event will be Radical Ritual, an attempt to reinvent ritual in our post-post-modern world disregarding assertions of belief and concentrating instead on the immediate experience of play. Fractured cosmos seeks to provide this year’s burners with an edible artwork experience in the playa, a crystalline structure made from hard boiled sugar candy.

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Fractured Cosmos draws the inspiration for its form from the Shri Yantra Mandala, a mystical diagram used in the Shri Vidya school of Hindu Tantra. The diagram, nine Isosceles triangles interlaced to form 43 smaller triangles, is said to be symbolic of the entire cosmos. The geometry of this symbol, usually depicted as a flat, two-dimensional construct, has been inclined, distorted and fractalized out of its two-dimensional plane to create a series of inclined planes for Burners to inhabit and play within.

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Those cultures which meditate using the Shri Yantra symbol believe life exists between two planes, that of Samsara, this earth plane, and Nirvana, a perfect heavenly plane. One transcends from Samsara to Nirvana when they have gained enough genuine insight into impermanence and non-self reality. This notion has been reinterpreted as a series of transparent colourful planes on the playa, casting colourful light onto the ground beneath our feet. Each of the planes will be made from coloured rock candy, offering burners the opportunity to perceive an altered sweeter perspective of the world, as well as a delicious treat if they’re brave enough to lick it.

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The use of hard boiled candy as the structural material for the pavilion means the structure will be made by mixing sugar, liquid glucose and Creme de Tartar with water. This concoction will be boiled to a temperature of 145 degrees celsius before pouring into formwork to cure. Waterproof LED lights will be added once the liquid has cooled to a sufficient temperature, and these will be used to light the structure at night.

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The plinth of Fractured Cosmos must be strong enough to support the weight of the candy structure above plus the added weight of any burners, tie the structure down, capture any waste which falls off the structure as it is consumed and house the power source for the night time lighting. This has been designed using the same method of recursion as the candy structure to create a plinth using the mandala’s cosmic gate element as its inspiration. the final form generates a climbable podium for burners to ascend before inspecting and consuming.

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This project is a physical exploration of anamorphosis in three dimensions centred around the theme of duality. It aims to combine two widely recognisable figures into a pavilion that will attract burners, provoke debate, and catalyse interaction.



Duality DayThe theme of this project arose from the realisation that even the most widely recognisable symbols contain multiple layers of meaning and mystery.  Social, historical and sometimes even spiritual contexts give a symbol its perceived meaning. For example, while the Christian cross is a symbol of hope it is literally a scaled representation of an ancient torture device – an icon synonymous with good carries with it a darker elucidation. This interpretation led to the emergence of duality as a topic and a title. 
There are many symbols which have multiple meanings and nuances to those who interpret them.

pages-for-blog-re-systemI began by looking at the Ankh, the Egyptian symbol for life/fertility. The Loop of the Ankh represents the feminine discipline or the womb, while the elongated section represent the masculine discipline or the penis. These two sacred units then come together and form life. This is a perfect representation of man and woman in perfect union. I then was led to study the symbol for mercury, which is used in botany to indicate a flower with both male and female reproductive organs.

This duality of meaning in symbols led me to the desire to study how I could physically combine other symbols and forms to create one form. Anamorphosis, from the Greek anamorphōsis meaning ‘transformation,’ from ana- ‘back, again’ + morphosis ‘a shaping’, became an interesting opportunity to do just this.

 

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I want to explore this theme using the iconic faces of Donald Trump and Kim Kardashian as instigators. From a random vantage point or even from up close, the subject matter of the piece is evidently unclear, the image changes until the viewer arrives at a specific pre-set location, only then does the likeness reveal itself. This echoes our warped perception of figures in limelight; anything the media choose to present to the world is an engineered production and if taken out of its context it becomes incomprehensible. My aim is to stir ambivalence among the burners, for them to engage in discussion with one another about these two incredibly famous personalities and what they seemingly represent.

As a physical entity, the sculpture is purposefully made durable enough to be able to endure the brunt of any elicited reactions. Its exposed surfaces are smooth, an open invitation to graffiti, carve or deface in any manner possible. It is large enough to climb and to gather within as a group – it only takes a spontaneous suggestion from a creative festival goer to give the sculpture another unforeseen use.

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The aim of my proposed sculpture is to provoke an exchange of opinions and interactions between burners. It depicts two iconic and highly controversial public figures who personify two tremendously important issues that we as a society face today; political and social change.

As festival goers approach the installation, and the two widely recognisable faces reveal themselves, comments about the likenesses will spiral inevitably highlighting or at least touching upon the shift that these two personalities represent.

The sculpture’s physical form comprises of several spatial elements that lend themselves to fostering the kind of debates that I wished to promote. The hollow centre creates an enclosure, to enable hosting or housing for a meeting, it gives its participants a sense of protection; this is an open forum, please take part. The raised base on the peripheries can act as stages or podia. The expansive smooth external surfaces can act as billboards or banners, the skin of the sculpture will bear the physical outcome of the issues discussed here.

Whether people get photographed with it, or whether they deface, damage or even burn it to the ground, I will have succeeded if among any of the interactions the agenda was heard and a heartfelt reaction was made.

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The sculpture will be made of 8mm CNC routed plywood sheets fixed to a heavy plywood formwork. Standing at 6m tall, one side will represent a 25:1 scale stencilled portrait of president-elect Donald Trump, the other side; the likeness of reality television personality and socialite Kim Kardashian. Much like the oblique anamorphosis incorporated in Holbien’s The Ambassadors, the sculpture’s subject matters will reveal themselves only from some 60m away, but from close up, the installation will seem like a mass of abstract wooden extrusions, something suggestive of an adult-sized climbing frame. Fluorescent LEDs recessed into junctions of the outer plywood skin layer will illuminate the piece at night.

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The pavilion achieves the incredible feat of allowing the viewer to have a personal and intimate connection with it whilst also allowing for reflection. The two images are intended to bring moments of delight to viewers to allow for interaction even from a distance.

Combined with its symbolic and evocative power, it should indeed conjure a deeper sense of place and self, and bring a subtlety and complexity to what might have been just another pavilion.

 

heartThe Heart is an internationally known Symbol for Love.

The Love Nest is a Pavilion designed for Burning Man as a destination to express your Love to another. Wedding ceremonies will take place within the Heart structure, this is the biggest gesture of Love, joining together as one, declaring your Love for everyone to see

The wooden hearts floating toward the sky create a Tower of Love

 

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Inside the Love Nest

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1:20 Model and Heart Bending

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Love Nest – Night Time

 

Developing the Love Nest

The origin of the Heart Symbol

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Symbols as a System

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At Burning Man within the Temple (also known as the Temple of Love) people leave messages to remember there loved ones that they have lost, the temple is then burnt so the messages can get to those who are being remembered. The Idea of the below design was inspired by a book, being a place of words, people add to the pages of the book of love.7

Interlocking Hearts – Heart Tower

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Every time someone is married within the Tower a coloured heart is added to the Structure. 11

Progression of the Form

Developing the design to be more fluid and natural, as love isn’t hard and spiky.

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Bending Hearts

Looking at different ways of bending wooden Hearts to be able to work with the newly designed form and being able to attach to the ‘Ribs’ of the design. I looked at two ways of achieving this:

Laser Cutting

By laser cutting a line pattern into the heart I achieved a material that bends easily

Cutting and folding

Cutting a slit from the bottom of the heart to the centre and taking the two half and bending one on top of the other

Results – The Laser Heart bent easily but did not stay in place and became more fragile whereas the folded heart keeps its shape and is a more solid form15

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The Love Nest – Initial Renders

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The Love Nest – Initial Model

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Folding Hearts – Further Research

Looking at what effects the curvature of the heart.

Variable – Length of cut for bending

Results – The Longer the cut the smoother the curve

 

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Final Design – Love Nest

The Final Design looks at creating a form by connecting the folding hearts, removing the structural ‘Ribs’ from the previous design and creating a system to achieve a Form

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Love Nest – Final Model

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Love Nest – Internal Views

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Love Nest – Lighting

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Love Nest – Night Time

Inspired by the hypothesis of parallel universes, The Multiverse is a timber pavilion that ultilises curved crease folding system to create a fluid-like body that loops infinitely, aiming to evoke a myriad of moral conundrums. The research first looked into curved crease folding, where by introducing concentric fold lines to a flat surface would allow the surface to bend freely and flexibly. Experiments are done by testing with semi-circular modules, where a closed end loop is introduced to create different resultant forms.

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Model Photos

In cosmology, parallel universe describes the hypothetical set of infinite possible universes that exist as we make decisions in our lives – with each choice spawning a multitude of universes. In life, we are often met with these choices where we must make our own decisions in order to move on, and over time we have grown to regret and rejoice. Although it is important to realize that the present times only exist the way it does because of the choices we have made, what is more curative to the mind is that we stay true to these decisions – for it matter not what choice we made, but that we made one. We were in control of our own paths, we are, and will always be.

The Multiverse questions the nature of reality. Burners are encouraged to interact with the pavilion by writing on the surface moments of regrets and joy, leaving a piece of themselves together with others; thus they are encouraged to contemplate on their past and present, questioning their beliefs and morality, and gradually fall into a complete moral maze.

 

Multiverse

The Multiverse is constructed of a segments of 4mm plywood components which, when bolted together, forms a series of semi circular surfaces. By applying the principals of curved crease origami, where the fold angles are proportional to the curvature of the resultant surface, the semi-circular surfaces are able to bend into various forms as desired. Consequently, by fixing the hinge angles between the segmented faces, a resultant form can be established.

The pavilion appears to loop infinitely, symbolizing the hypothesis of infinite universes as generated by our decisions in life. Within the pavilion, burners are encouraged to interact with the pavilion by writing on the surface moments of regrets and joy, leaving a piece of themselves. Overtime the pavilion will be a home to emotions, where burners can sympathize one another and at the same time reflect on the self and one’s morality.

At night, the pavilion will be lit by a series of EL wires placed at the fold of the structure, thus further emphasizing the pavilion’s curvatures.

Multiverse Night