Here we are – we have reached the middle of the academic year at the University of Westminster. Time to assess and appreciate our students portfolios and hard work during a lively “interim cross-marking” with our colleagues. Here are couple examples of the most remarkable portfolios in our Diploma Studio 10. Very excited to start our new brief03 on future cities. We will soon announce the three winners in our studio which will get the opportunity to build installations at the new headquarters of Buro Happold and students will soon post their Burning Man proposals on this blog. Oh and we are also going to our unit trip to Copenhagen next week!! Pictures by Toby Burgess.
Some joyous proposals for both Burning Man and Buro Happold’s London office at yesterdays crit, the first of the year.
Our guest critics were Andrew Best, James Solly, Andrei Jipa, Harry Charringdon and Ben Stringer. Thank you all for your inspiring comments and tireless enthusiasm throughout the day.
Here are some images of the exciting work coming out of the studio this year, more to come 🙂
21st November 2014 Tutorials
We are approaching the first “crit” of the term and our students are already proposing joyful projects for the Burning Man festival and Buro Happold’s newly refurbished HQ on Newman Street. The talented photographer NK Guy (http://nkguy.com/ and http://burningcam.com/) gave an excellent evening lecture at our campus to inspire our students and for the release of the book “The Art of Burning Man” (Taschen) which will feature some of our studio’s work. Here are couple images of the student’s project and of our buzzing DS10 space (pictures by Toby Burgess):
Thursday 6th November Tutorials
We just finished Brief01:System/Sci-Fi and starting Brief02:Buro/Burn – Here are couple pictures of our last tutorials by Toby Burgess. Students will be uploading their systems on Monday on this blog!
DS10 started the year researching sci-fi novels, movies, magazines and technological discoveries from the past two centuries. Here are the timelines showing the historical and political events,as well as the technological discoveries that greatly influenced Science Fiction from the 1800s until today.
Thin Film Interference
This is the very firs experiment I did in DS10, October 2012. Even if I was unable to find an architectural application, i still find the interference colour patterns to be beautiful images, so I’m posting them here, hoping they will inspire someone else.
Thin-film interference occurs when incident light waves reflected by the upper and lower boundaries of a thin film interfere with one another to form a new wave. Check out the wikepedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thin-film_interference
Technology, politics and visionaries
The beginning of the 20th century, and more specifically, the interwar, witnessed many changes, especially technology wise, which, along with the economical climate of the time and the emerging social ideas, favored new political regimes and carved the way for visionaries to imagine new cities and new worlds.
The spirit of the machine age was becoming dominant, industry was beginning to shape the economy and advancements in the car industry (new engines and new tires were being developed at that time) started changing the way people lived.
At the same time the radio was taking shape, with the first broadcasting station being established in the US in 1920 and quickly spreading. In 1928 the radio beacon was invented, and by 1930 the radio was mainstream, providing people with cheap entertainment (the US were going to the Great Depression, radio was cheap and fun) and political powers with a great tool for propaganda. The TV was also invented in this period, with the electrical TV being discovered in 1927.
Politically, dictatorship was beginning to take shape.
Mussolini came to power in 1922, promoting a cult for personality and laying down the principles of the doctrine of fascism. Propaganda was one of his main tools, and the radio was a very good medium for doing this. He presented his ideas of idealism by imposing ideas of collective and hierarchy.
Shortly after, Germany was become Nazi Germany, with Hitler rising to power. Again, this was a regime were the power was centralized in the hands of the dictator, who, through propaganda, burning of books and controlling the radio, was controlling public opinion and the arts society. Needles to say, Hitler`s ideal society was one based on race, and homogeneity.
Russia was also seeing changes. Stalin rose to power and set the goal for a communist society. He promoted authoritarianism, a centralized state and collectivization. He saw the opportunity of the machine age and carved an industry based economy, reshaping the way Russian society was organized, both at a social level, and at a physical one, by promoting urbanization (villages were turned into cities).
Within this context, visionaries began responding.
We is a Russian dystopian novel first published in 1924 in New York.
Set in the future, the novel depicts an urbanized setting constructed entirely by glass, which allows the secret political police to supervise the public with ease. Life is organized in such a way as to promote maximum production in a system were the power is centralized in the hands of one person, The Benefactor. Principles of egalitarianism are promoted, the people not having names but numbers, and all wearing identical clothing. The only form of entertainment for the society is the marching in forms, while listening to the State Anthem.
However, the novel is a criticism of an organized dystopia, tackling the theme of the rebellion of the human primitive spirit against a rationalized, machined world. This is apparent from the plot, which is centered around the love story between the two main characters, who play with the idea of a revolution.
In his satire, Zamytian had in mind the Soviet Union, which at that time was a single party dictatorship. Future conditions depicted in the novel might also have been informed by Mussolini`s incipient fascist order. Even thought at that time life in the U.S.S.R. wasn`t exactly as depicted in the novel, Zamytian tackled the inevitable outcome of modern totalitarianism.
A center piece in sci fi literature, We has influenced future works, such as George Orwell`s 1984, which depicts a very similar scenario.
Brave New World
Brave New World is a novel published in 1932 and a milestone in modern Sci Fi. The novel anticipates changes in society through developments in reproductive technology, psychological manipulation, classical conditioning and sleep-learning.
Similar to We, the society depicted in this novel is a manipulated one, but, in this instance, it is so by the use of chemically controlled substances and hypnotic persuasion, rather than brute force.
Huxley used his novels as a means to express widely held opinions of that time., probably the most notable one being the fear of the loss of identity in a fast paced world. He feared that no one would want to read a book and that society would be given so much information that it would be reduced to passivity and egotism.
A trip which Huxley made to New York gave the novel much of its essence. Huxley was outraged by the youth culture, by the sexual promiscuity and by the commercial cheeriness he had witnessed. In his novel, he talks about “feelies”, which seem to be a response to “talkie” motion pictures (talking television was invented by Warner Bros at that time) and the sex-hormone chewing gum, which draws parallels to the ubiquitous chewing gum, which was a symbol of American youth at that time.
In response to the same political and technological context, Corbusier proposed his plans for Ville Radieuse, or the Radiant City.
The Radiant City was Corbusier`s ideal for a utopia which would respond to the world`s rapid development of that time.
Centered around rapid urbanization (specifically present in Russia at that time), advancements in transportation and industry, Corbusier`s ideas depicted high rise housing blocks, free circulation and abundant green spaces. Corbusier also believed that only a dictatorial government would be equipped to inaugurate the “age of harmony”, following the opposing values of benevolent imperialism and community control from European and English perspectives respectively.
Frank Lloyd Wright
Broadacre City is a concept for suburban living presented By Frank Lloyd Wright in his 1932 book The Dissapearing City. Is stood as a planning statement, as well as a socio-political scheme by which each American family would be allocated an Acre of land and a new community would be built based on this. Wright depicts a community were all transport would be done by automobile and the pedestrian can exist safely only within the allocated one acre. This proposal was again a decentralized one, with the homestead considered the conceptual center.
2014 End of Year Portfolio Review
Our WeWantToLearn.net students have submitted their final portfolios! After an inspiring day going through the projects, we gave them a final mark with the help of the other tutors from the University of Westminster. Below is a selection of the inspiring work that was submitted.
The projects range from a temple at the Burning Man Festival made of an unprecedented reciprocal structure (Joe Leach) to a 3D printed city based on a fractal algorithm and built using potato starch-based plastic grown by the inhabitants of Solanopolis (Andrei Jipa) all the way to a Pop-Up plywood mosque for Trafalgar Square (Josh Haywood) and a lace tent for the London Burlesque Festival (Georgia Collard-Watson) as well as a Kabbalah Centre in the City made from large spiralohedron (Jessica Beagleman), our students have explored a new kind of joyful and spiritual Architecture using the latest digital design and fabrication technique.
1st May 2014 Tutorials
Our studio is back after a month of holidays. Here are couple pictures from our tutorials today. Impressive progress from our students including a 3D printed potato-based fractal civilization (Andrei Jipa), a series of recursive bamboo structures for the Durga Puja festival (Dhiren Patel), an origami roof for the fashion week (Charlotte Yates), a spiky eco-retreat to meet the Sami people (Natasha Coutts), a temple for the Burning Man festival made of reciprocal plywood components (Joe Leach), a hypar tower for the Damyang Bamboo festival (William Garforth-Bless), a Pop-Up book drop pavilion (Ieva Ciocyte), a surreal Dali Museum in the Park (Lorna Jackson), a promenade concert in Hyde Park (Sarah Shuttleworth) and many more… We are so excited by the diversity of projects this year and the clear continuity between our brief2A and brief2B. Looking forward to the final crit on Thursday 15th May!
The Petal Hypothesis
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