The petal has long been a surround for the reproductive parts of the flower, its varied forms and designs attract numerous species of animals and insects, enabling its existence to grow and spread. As a result, the petal will not only encounter pollen of its own species, but also that of many differing plants.
Taking people as the pollen. This caravanserai will attract people both day and night, providing a space for play and discussion, encouraging communication, observation and interaction.The Petal Hypothesis sits expressively within its setting. Exposing the raw structure of the plywood ‘petals by day and revealing the elaborate display of the EL wires by night.
Configured in a circular array, each ‘petal’ is construct from just two ‘pods’ which in themself only take 1 sheet of plywood to construct. Connected together to generate one ‘2d’ curve, the end points then bend around to complete the monocoque structure.
These pods are then mirrored to generate the ‘petal’ form and anchored to the ground. The act of fixing the extreme widths and mirroring the pods minimises the natural flex within the ‘pod’ and enables it to be a strong physical structure.
In place of the EL wires, a cloth stress skin has been incorporated to the top tier of petals. This not only provides shading during the day but also absorbs the light from the EL wires and distributes it across the whole surface.
Observe – Sit around and within the ‘petals’ to observe the activities at its centre.
Inhabit – Climb the structure and occupy one of the many vantage points within the ‘petals’
Connect – Share memories and congregate either on mass at its centre or privately within the petals
Freemetry is a response to the contrast between geometry and freedom at the Burning Man festival in Nevada. The strong distinction between layout symmetry and strong guidelines, with the emphasis on radical self expression is fascinating. Something this proposal seeks to express by exploring the self-organising, Hygroscopic behaviour of wood veneer within a symmetrical framework. Freemetry provides a destination on the open expanse of the nevada desert in the form of a refreshing shower and shade in a harsh exposed environment.
The orientation of the proposal tries to maximise the amount of shade throughout the day, whilst providing a refreshing shower and bathing stream to cool down in. The water used on the proposal sprays onto the veneer to affect change, whilst dripping onto users. The resulting light quality changes throughout the day with use and will also be activated by large changes in humidity or rainfall.
Build Sequence above.
The work of Richard Serra has had a profound impact on my perception of space. When approaching the design, I asked myself how I could introduce elements of Serra’s approach in creating a passageway. Where a person’s perception of that space can change as they move through it. Initially I designed a proposal on a larger scale to Freemetry, with similar components and programmatic elements, shown below.
Further development and scale testing of this proposal highlighted a few key design and fabrication issues. The image below shows the component that was made to a scale of 1:2. The design issues meant it was unable to stand on its own. The issues are highlighted in the following images and initiated a re-design to ensure the proposal actually works.