In the previous exploration we observed the spatial and form giving possibilities of the four bar linkage when combined with the servo motor.
The first test was a planar study of space and allows a reading in plan and in section along a flat plane. When we bring in ideas of tectonics and thickness, we can easily extrude up and allow our architectural judgement to build on from this point.
The second test was a study in multiple dimensions and axis. Attempting to assign material qualities was a challenge and therefore this direction seemed like a viable path to further explore.
I decided to move the project forward by testing the idea of the four bar linkage across varying planes through simple paper models.
Each of these tests brought about questions of stability, connection points, anchor points, material qualities, thickness, how it meets the ground etc. Potential for the use of colour, thickness and additional elements that extend out from the four bars themselves can be observed. Although a prototype could be developed exploring a solution for such possibilities, I have not been able to push this study to that extent.
Project 3 and 4 has been a sort of research project into robotics, motorised movement and the exploration of what this other world of mobility can offer architecture. No end result as such was assigned throughout the process and I feel that that has allowed me to really understand the possibilities of these tools. I have hit many walls and found myself immersed in frustrations over what architectural meaning this project presents but overall, it has been incredibly fun and challenging taking an alternative approach to architectural design.
The result of my process throughout this project is a framework for participatory design, that can be filled in by the camp users to easily and intuitively create different kinds of spaces.
Through investigating quite varying themes and processes throughout these past months, I feel like in the end I ended up coming back to the idea of participation that I was initially interested in at the beginning of the semester.
A final addition that might be interesting to add to the project for my portfolio (or at least to think about) is what different tool kits could be given to the campers, and what effects the tools handed to the campers could have on the building process and configuration.
I have spent the past couple of weeks turning the sketches from last pinup into a buildable system.
First, I have roughly sketched out how to build the structure. The basic building system in my summer camp will consist of beams that are pre-cut to have holes, kerfing and a ”zip” on each end, as well as heavier cast bases where the zipped beams can interlock and have their shape defined. The beams are transported unbent to the site, and will then one by one be bent to fit their corresponding bases.
Zooming out a little bit, I have also looked at what kinds of spaces can be created using two curving beams with a third material, such as rope, fastened into the system. To narrow the study down I have focused only on parallel and perpendicular beams, but these different types of relations can be varied further by placing the beams at another angle to each other.
In order to investigate the spaces a bit more closely I also built 1:50 scale models of three of the spatial examples.
Lastly, I have begun to look at how to configure these different types of spaces into a larger campsite, using different kinds of spaces and different scales to create a varied structure for the camp visitors.
Before the final presentation, I will also investigate how another ”shell” layer could be added on top of the tertiary layer of the structure. I’ll also work through the final configuration of the camp, to create a varied structure with some areas that are more designed by me (by adding a tertiary layer that instead of rope consists of a rigid material) and some areas where the camp users can design their own spaces using rope to ”weave” in the structure.
This part of the project started out with a small investigation into the bending capabilities of kerfed wooden strips.
After trying to laser cut a prototype of a combined zip-kerf system (and failing because of the laser cutter being too imprecise), I decided that I would instead continue the investigation by making quick models and sketches based on the behavior of the kerfed wood.
Drawing inspiration from the previous part of the project, where the structure was literally based on the movement of the swarming agents, I tried to make sketches that combined the expression of frozen movement with the properties of the kerfed wood.
Up until this point, this project has mainly focused on the wooden ”backbone” of the structure, with one element, wood. However, my aim is to add another element to the structure.
In the beginning of the semester, I was interested in exploring participatory design. During this recent phase of the project, I have started to think about my summer camp as a scout camp, which could include elements of DIY building, problem-solving and learning by doing. My thought right now is that the second part of the structure will be filled in by the camp-goers, and that the wooden structure can serve as a canvas or backbone for the creativity of the users.
From now on, I will focus on exploring in detail what types of spaces can be created with these systems, as well as how these spaces can be combined on a larger scale.
After working with swarming agents that produced linear curves in the first part of this project, I decided that I wanted to continue exploring linear shapes further in the fabrication part of the process.
One of the first things I tried during the week was make simplified interpretations of some of the shapes produced during the previous part of the project using strips of paper. However, since the thickness of paper is negligible, it has properties and a flexibility that no full-scale material can emulate. This led me to choose a more specific material to have in mind when continuing the testing. I chose to research wood, and different methods that can be used to make wood flexible.
In summary, I have explored three methods of working with wood to produce flexible, three-dimensional shapes. These methods are zipping (based on a concept by Schindlersalmerón), kerfing and interlocking.
Using the laser cutter and 4 mm thick poplar wood sheets, I have experimented with different operations that produce different kinds of flexible beam-like strips.
Next, I will look into combining the different processing methods to create a more complex system where the different possibilities and limitations of the three methods can support each other. I also have to narrow the investigation down from a system that can ”do anything” to a more specific part of the site and program.
For the final stage of the first part of this project, I have experimented further with combining different meshes and settings for the agents in Culebra to see what architectural shapes can be generated based on different criteria. I produced a series of 25 architectural shapes/pavillions, intuitively testing different settings to generate different architectural elements. After generating the pavillions, I zoomed in on them to identify different architectural elements/typologies that had emerged based on different settings.
My usual process when working with architectural projects is quite rational and controlled. Trying to let go of my own expectations for what the end result will be has been a challenge for me during this project. During my presentation, I got the comment that I from here on should try to take a step back to a more rational, controlled process and set of rules for the Culebra agents. Getting that comment was a big victory for me, as proof that I managed to step outside of my regulated and boxy comfort zone and just try something new based on intuition. I am very much looking forward to the next part of the project, since I hopefully will get a chance to keep working on finding the balance between controlled/rational/result-oriented and intuitive design processes.
Moving on from the last pin-up I needed a better management strategy for the site data. When the robot reads and responds to the site it needs to be at a scale that the data is useable and realistic for the architectural design to be implemented. Providing a grid system allowed a reading of the entire terrain in greater detail where each grid tile can be blown up and analysed. Consideration was also taken for the dimensions of a manageable testing area for repeated demonstrations and data collection. Below are two possible methods of grid reading of the site. The maps were sampled at 1:500 scale with the second method of grid division.
The robot has a narrow range of testing limited to its line and ultrasonic sensors. This provides a linear path of testing at 1cm intervals on the sample map which would be every 50metres in real life. This gives a dimension and scale to any output that will be collected. In the simulation drawings, the robot is to respond to the changes in height at any level changes, changes at the highest and lowest areas. The output is a full 360 rotation of the robot leaving circles as the response. The robot is allowed to respond to its generated data again and draw diagonal lines at a 45 degree angle at every circle. This then gives a criss cross of linear data that the building system of precast members could be assembled upon.
The robot allows for direct feedback for the design strategy proposal. In oder to fully apply this method of working I formulated a strategy for the summer camp as an initial system of production, construction and form to allow for freedom in testing.
I took the soviet architectural town planning in 1930 by E. May as precedent. The linear markings on the site appears to respond to the context yet also offer an abstract notation of the program of development. The summer camp proposal for Malmon will be about setting up a grid that will be the groundwork for precast members that can easily be assembled and disassembled. Concepts of sustainability and impermanence are suggested.
To obtain an output from the robot I 3D printed a set of arms/ pen holders to obtain a line drawing from the site analysis. While the robot scans the site, It would produce a line drawing as a data output. The implementation was dictated by the robots sensors, size and my coding capabilities. I did not achieve an outcome that could be presented or represented the idea. For the final task in this project I will work towards focusing on what data I want as an output and a much simpler application of the robots abilities.
This week, I have been working on finetuning the Culebra swarms while also experimenting more with generating meshes in Grasshopper using different raster images of the topography.
After creating a simple script to detect the most dense areas from one of the swarm iterations from last time, I have chosen the southern tip of the island, Draget, to be my site.
The work done this week sparked my interest in looking even more in detail in the different possible outcomes of using image samplers on different topographical data sources; more specifically, I am going to investigate the different outcomes between the heightmap raster image versus the ortho photo from Lantmäteriet. This investigation, in combination with seeing in how the swarming agents from Culebra can interact with both each other and the different topography meshes, is what I am planning on looking at during the coming weeks.