Celestial Field


Whatever your creed your reliance on the sun is unquestionable.

We have worshipped it as a God.

Spent lifetimes studying it through science.

Yet human hands will never touch its surface.

Celestial Field brings our sun to the Playa for us to dance in its glory.

Triggering our own solar flare.

light-rod-render_close-up-night
Internal perspective of the Celestial Field Pavilion

 

From the dawn of time the sun has been a constant in human life. It has been central to the beliefs of nearly every civilisation throughout history. What was once an astrological wonder sustaining life; dictating when to plant and harvest our crops; evolved into a god and deity, woven into the stories and teachings of nearly every culture, from the Egyptians to the Ancient Greeks and even Christianity.

sun-symbols-across-the-globe
Sun symbolism from across the globe and through the ages

 

The oldest man-made structures in the world have resounding astrological connections to both the sun and constellations, covered in carvings they unquestionably align to major astrological events.

Newgrange in Boyne Valley, Ireland, thought to be built in 3500BC, has a tomb in which sits a stone basin lit by a single beam of light at sunrise on the winter solstice.

 

newgrange-sunrise
Newgrange Tomb- Borne Valley, Ireland; built around a single beam of light that exists only for a moment each year

 

The Egyptians, Greeks, and Christians have all referenced the sun within their religion and beliefs.

The Egyptians in 3000BC had Ra, the Greeks in 400BC believed Helios to be God of the sun, and Christians have often depicted Jesus in front of what is thought by many to be the solar cross.

sun-worship-in-religion
Ra, Helios and Jesus all depicted with solar symbols

 

In the past the sun has been depicted as a 2Dimensional disk of light travelling across the sky before dying only to be reborn at sunrise.

The Ancient Greeks believed Helios to be the personification of the sun. A man with a many rayed crown of light, pulling the sun across the open sky with a horse drawn chariot. The Helios named after the Greek god has been used and adapted through the ages, with one of the most recognisable iterations being the logo of global corporation BP which symbolises “a number of things – not least the greatest source of energy … the sun itself..” – bp.com

 

helios-geometric-symbol_01
Building the Helios

 

This once celestial being has now become a tangible thing. Through advances in our technological and scientific capability we have gained an understanding of the suns chemical make-up, uncovering many of its secrets from sun spots to solar flares. Although we have developed an increased understanding of the forces driving the sun, it is still no more accessible to us mere humans than on the first day on earth remaining an impenetrable sphere in the sky only to viewed from a far.

 

light-sphere
Physical model light testing

 

digital-light-sphere

Digital animation of lighting tests

 

The suns surface has taught us much. Galileo’s sun spot diagrams unknowingly demonstrated the unique fluidity of the suns chromosphere. Further study of these sun spots and magnificent solar flares proved that the surface of the sun is covered in billions of interlaced magnetic fields all interacting together to form the whole. When these fields cross swirling plasma burst in an instance out into the corona bringing with it immense light displays that can be seen on earth as the aurora.

 

magnetic-fields
Recording magnetic fields with computer models and physical experiments

 

In an age where endless streams of newfound knowledge are accessible with the touch of a finger – it is easy to lose our sense of innocent amazement and unquestioning awe. We have a constant need for explanation of why and how phenomena exist, no longer blindly excepting their beauty and revelling in it.

The indescribable beauty of these gigantic magnetic fields can often be lost and forgotten in the mundane when scaled down to earthly objects. Viewing them at a micro scale allows us to connect with their other-worldly nature.

macro-magnets
Macro photographs of physical tests of magnetic structure using iron filings

 

Science has taught us how a magnet attracts and repels enabling use in industry, medicine and everyday life. And as our knowledge expands, we move from child to adulthood and our desire to play diminishes – burdened by explanations and reasoning; we are no longer in awe of our ability to make metal move without laying hands on it. It has become the norm and the expected, it is no longer ‘magic’.

Life should be fun and full of mesmerising moments. Our increased knowledge should enable and enhance our experience of ‘magic’ not hinder it.

 

suspended-pins
Experimenting with magnetism to define levels of sensitivity for large scale interaction

 

Celestial Fields captures the unexplainable wonderment the sun once held and makes it accessible through modern mediums, combining two worlds; science and enchantment, imbedding them on the Playa at Black Rock City, Nevada, for people to explore and lose themselves in.

Thousands of swaying rods made of tubes of one-way mirror form an undulating field, rising high above your head, and falling like the plasma pulled in all directions by the phenomenal magnetic forces found on our sun.

By day a field of mirrors reflect and intensify the suns natural beauty and power. Creating a maze of ever changing light to explore, push through and play within. At sunset everything transforms. The field morphs, bursting into a sea of glowing beams reacting to movement and mimicking the fluid, almost pulsing nature of the suns corona.

Like the chromosphere, magnetic fields have informed density and pattern, creating patches of pure brightness and areas as dark as sunspots. With each rod built on a spring loaded base it can be pushed a manipulated, enabling you to forge your own path through the densest areas of Celestial Field, parting rods like magnets repelling polarised iron.

 

Individual rods are clad in a one-way mirror film - creating a reflection of the desert in the day and an illuminated environment at night
Individual rods are clad in a one-way mirror film – creating a reflection of the desert in the day and an illuminated environment at night

 

Movement through the sprung rods creates interest not only for the participants but also onlookers. During daylight hours people weaving in and out can be seen across the playa through the constant glinting of the sun on the reflective rods. An ever changing shimmer, like sunlight dancing across water in the distance, drawing people in from all directions out of wonder and intrigue.

Once the sun has set the lights come on, and the show only gets better. The rods now glow and pulse, changing colour, transforming the world around them – each equipped with a sensor so as to react to movement as people push past; creating tracks of swirling light shifting like the turbulent surface of the sun. Areas of intense and overwhelming light can occur when people team together to trigger a cluster of rods forming a concentration of light evocative of a solar flare.

The sun is not solely about light, with it comes inevitable darkness. Shadows too have been used throughout time as a symbol in opposition to that of the sun; and in this instance the areas of shadow formed in the magnetic layout create areas of calm within the thrill of the lights where one can sit and ponder everything from the dessert to the sky and the sun that brings life to earth.

sun-spot-to-system
The pavilion layout is informed by the patterns of sunspots and flares forming on the suns surface

 

What was once worshipped as a distant god and celestial being can now exist on the surface of the earth as a Celestial Field in Nevada. The sun has risen and set, bringing with it heat and light; powering life on earth since the dawn of time, a focus of incomprehensible wonder and fascination for each and every culture across the globe.

Celestial Field intends to reignite our faith in the intangible, while showing us there are powers and beauty still to be found in the modern world.

 

light-rod-render_distance-night-populated

 

 

 

RIBA Silver Medal nomination and Burning Man build

We are pleased to announce that DS10 student Andrei Jipa has been nominated for the RIBA Silver Medal 2014, for the best part II student project in the UK.

Andrei’s futuristic proposal “Solanopolis” blended a radical futuristic vision with an advanced understanding of mathematics and 3D printing technologies to create a 3D printed city whose design sprang directly from the underlying code in fractals, creating stunning architecture which echoes the implicit mathematical beauty found in Baroque architecture.

In order to physically recreate these proposals Andrei pushed the boundaries of 3D printing, rewriting the code sent to the 3D printer, devising and publicly sharing a new way of 3d printing with the world.

This was all set against a fantastically creative post apocalyptic narrative of an entire culture and economy based around growing potatoes and turning potato starch into plastic for an army of large scale 3d printers to keep on building up from the rising waters of a future flooded world.

It was in our opinion a very creative blending of brave ideas backed up by rigorous technical research and real world physical results, and we think he has a great chance of winning this years prestigious prize.

Andrei’s proposal will be featured soon on the RIBA website http://www.presidentsmedals.com/

Farm Section~  004s 001s

But wait, there’s more! On top of that yet another DS10 project, Hayam Temple designed by Josh Haywood, has been built over the Summer by a team including past and present DS10 students and  is currently bringing joy to the revellers at this year’s Burning Man festival in Nevada and has been receiving praise all over the place.

The beautiful project inspired by the delicate muqarnas found in Islamic architecture has received great international praise and has been featured across the web…

http://www.dezeen.com/2014/07/02/hayam-temple-by-josh-haywood-for-burning-man-festival/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/30/burning-man-2014-art_n_5632531.html

http://inhabitat.com/josh-haywood-designs-stunning-lasercut-plywood-pavilion-for-burning-man-festival/

10608431_532651670195593_877742028231652468_otemple2temple11Me and Arthur are greatly looking forward to yet another year of exciting designs and joyful architecture at Westminster University and very excited about the year ahead 🙂

Please Vote For The Magic Garden

We are finalist for the Architizer A+ award with The Magic Garden, a project that was designed and built with the help of DS10 students last year. We are 1% away from victory and the votes finish this Friday. Please help – Vote for The Magic Garden! Below are the instructions for the vote. It is very simple but requires to “CONFIRM” the vote which is an extra step.

VOTE HERE : http://awards.architizer.com/public/voting/?cid=11

Voting Instructions
Voting Instructions

16th January 2014 Tutorial

Happy new year! We are back and had our first tutorials session today. Students are submitting their portfolio on Tuesday and have started the last brief (see all our briefs for the year here). Here are two projects which are worth sharing for the following reasons:

  • Ieva Ciocyte’s elevation and plan drawings are very clear, with attention to details: traced Burning Man people, perfect shadows and lineweights, labels and dimensions. It just looks good.
  • Andrei Jipa manipulated the G-Code of his 3D Prints to create a continuous extrusion. Instead of slicing the prints horizontally, he generated a print path that follows the geometry and goes up in a spiral.

More beautiful projects on Tuesday evening!

Elevation 1 - Ieva Ciocyte Interlocking Plywood Tower
Elevation  1  – Ieva Ciocyte Interlocking Plywood Components Tower
Elevation 1 - Ieva Ciocyte Interlocking Plywood Tower
Elevation 2 – Ieva Ciocyte Interlocking Plywood Components Tower
Plan - Ieva Ciocyte Interlocking Plywood Tower
Plan – Ieva Ciocyte Interlocking Plywood Components Tower
Andrei Jippa's 3D printed intersecting component - Strange Attractors
Andrei Jipa’s 3D printed intersecting components made from a custom G-Code and used for his Strange Attractors pavilion
Andrei Jippa's 3D printed intersecting component - Strange Attractors
Andrei Jipa’s 3D printed intersecting components made from a custom G-Code and used for his Strange Attractors pavilion
Andrei Jippa's 3D printed intersecting component - Strange Attractors
Andrei Jipa’s 3D printed intersecting components made from a custom G-Code and used for his Strange Attractors pavilion

Objectivism, Ecology, Ecosystems, Cybernetics, Feedback loops, Californian Ideology, Systems Theory…etc…

Three great BBC documentary films by Adam Curtis which help to understand our unit’s agenda: From Ayn Rand and Buckminster Fuller and the birth of the Californian Ideology, Ecology, Eco-Systems, Systems Theory and Cybernetics to George Price, Richard Dawkins and the Selfish Gene, see how the concept of “network” and “nature” has evolved as an ideology through modern times.

Grasshopper
Diagram of the Grasslands Experiment by George Van Dyne, showing how nature is interlinked as a system.

All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace is a series of film about how humans have been colonized by the machines they have built. Although we don’t realize it, the way we see everything in the world today is through the eyes of the computers. It claims that computers have failed to liberate us and instead havedistorted and simplified our view of the world around us.

1. Love and Power. This is the story of the dream that rose up in the 1990s that computers could create a new kind of stable world. They would bring about a new kind global capitalism free of all risk and without the boom and bust of the past. They would also abolish political power and create a new kind of democracy through the Internet where millions of individuals would be connected as nodes in cybernetic systems – without hierarchy.

https://vimeo.com/38724174

2. The Use and Abuse of Vegetational Concepts. This is the story of how our modern scientific idea of nature, the self-regulating ecosystem, is actually a machine fantasy. It has little to do with the real complexity of nature. It is based on cybernetic ideas that were projected on to nature in the 1950s by ambitious scientists. A static machine theory of order that sees humans, and everything else on the planet, as components – cogs – in a system.

https://vimeo.com/73536828

3. The Monkey in the Machine and the Machine in the Monkey. This episode looks at why we humans find this machine vision so beguiling. The film argues it is because all political dreams of changing the world for the better seem to have failed – so we have retreated into machine-fantasies that say we have no control over our actions because they excuse our failure.

https://vimeo.com/73561591

Adam Curtis is a documentary film maker, whose work includes The Power of Nightmares,The Century of the SelfThe Mayfair SetPandora’s BoxThe Trap and The Living Dead.

 

Thursday 12th December 2013

We just finished our last tutorials of the first term! Congratulations to all the students for the great three months and looking forward to the remaining two terms.

Students completed both briefs (brief01:systems and brief2A:festival) and are starting the case studies of events as part of our last brief (brief2B:realise).

Here are couple pictures of the projects we have seen during the last tutorials. Where do you suggest building the structures over the summer?

Merry Christmas & best wishes for the New Year!!

John Konings's towering gridshell.
John Konings’s towering gridshell.
John Konings's towering gridshell.
John Konings’s towering gridshell.
John Konings's towering gridshell.
John Konings’s towering gridshell.
Andres Jippa's 3D prints, driven by Chaos theory's strange attractors.
Andres Jippa’s 3D prints, driven by Chaos theory’s strange attractors.
Andres Jippa's 3D prints, driven by Chaos theory's strange attractors.
Andres Jippa’s 3D prints, driven by Chaos theory’s strange attractors.
Andres Jippa's 3D prints, driven by Chaos theory's strange attractors.
Andres Jippa’s 3D prints, driven by Chaos theory’s strange attractors.
Andres Jippa's 3D prints, driven by Chaos theory's strange attractors.
Andres Jippa’s 3D prints, driven by Chaos theory’s strange attractors.
Andres Jippa's 3D prints, driven by Chaos theory's strange attractors.
Andres Jippa’s 3D prints, driven by Chaos theory’s strange attractors.
Andres Jippa's 3D prints, driven by Chaos theory's strange attractors. Construction Component.
Andres Jippa’s 3D prints, driven by Chaos theory’s strange attractors. Construction Component.
Henry Turner's Curved Intersecting Plywood Wave Structure
Henry Turner’s Curved Intersecting Plywood Wave Structure
Ieva Ciocyte's Flame Tower made of Intersecting plywood components
Ieva Ciocyte’s Flame Tower made of Intersecting plywood components
Sarah Shuttleworth's Moebius Strips made of Steel Stars.
Sarah Shuttleworth’s Moebius Strips made of Steel Stars.
William Garforth-Bless' Bamboo Hammock Amphitheatre
William Garforth-Bless’ Bamboo Hammock Amphitheatre
William Garforth-Bless' Bamboo Hammock Amphitheatre
William Garforth-Bless’ Bamboo Hammock Amphitheatre

Exhibiting DS10 proposals for Burning Man 2014 at the Official London Burning Man Decompression Party

DS10 students exhibited their proposals for next years Burning Man at the official London Burning Man decompression party recently, in Electrowerks, Islington.

It was great to see so many burners outside of the desert, and to have such positive feedback from the community on the studio’s proposals for next year. Great time had by all!

IMG_9125Garis Iu, Charlotte Yates, Andrei Jipa, Joe Leach, Paul Thorpe setting up our exhibitition space.IMG_9138

Wonderful wooden models by John Konings and Joe Leach and artwork by the studioIMG_9130Garis Iu’s interactive art piece ‘field of vibrations’

IMG_9172Garis sporting a leopard print jacket explaining his design to dazzled and intrigued burners.

IMG_9149The DS10 decompression team, Arthur, Toby, Garis, Charlotte, Joe, Paul and the wonderful Jo Cook who was an integral part of the 2013 build team.

Finger’s crossed we get the chance to build again in 2014 😉 Watch this space!!!