In the article “A Brise-Soleil Without a Building” the author mainly talks about their project in Arizona “Urban Battery”. The project was created to help shade and cool a parking lot and strip mall. All I could think about during and after the reading was how “loud” the project was. I looked up more articles about it and various photos and reviews to try and better understand it. I think the project works but I don’t think its all the way there. It definitively does what its intended goal was but I feel that it dominates the landscape to much. The structure seems to dwarf everything around it and makes itself the focal point, as if to say “Hey! Look at me! Look how green and energy efficient I am!” While the project does a lot of good it kind of reminds me of a drive in movie screen or a really big billboard.
The article dealt with what the author stated was the separation between the design elements of energy and structure. The author stated that too often the structural systems and energy systems are designed and thought about separately leaving a gap and a confliction within the design process and paradigm. I agree with this idea and feel that to often both in my own designs, and those of others, we often try and make an energy system “fit” our design rather than incorporate it into the overall. The statement that “matter is captured energy” is really interesting and I have to agree with that. It reminds me of the “Architecture is frozen music” and helps me understand that statement more. Every solid material we use to build was and is in someway transformed from its original state, this transformation takes energy and time. I thought of a tree growing from a seed and then being cut and shaped into a beam or clay turned into a brick. All of this takes time and chemical energy. Also the idea behind the design, from your inspiration to the final form is a transformation and takes energy and creative force. All of this combines into an experience.
The reading “Tumbling Units” focused on a project that used the same pieces that could rotate into different patterns. The individual pieces of the project were mass produced units that were all identical. As I read the project I kept thinking of the Lego’s I played with as a child. Lego’s can be stacked and rotated a nearly infinite number of ways to create a nearly infinite number of designs and they are all of a uniform construction. Thinking of that helped me to understand the project better. The main question that arose during the class discussion was if the final project kept changing did it matter or affect the intent of the design? At first I felt that if it kept changing and everyone who saw it saw something different than perhaps it did matter; however after careful thinking I see now that this flexibility was perhaps the overall intent of the designer. Furthermore I can see the practical application to architecture of using a mass produced unit to create a wide variety of shapes. This process could allow for a large number of structures to be built for a lower cost.
In chapter 6 the authors discussed the use of materials in the design process to create and interactive space and create an experience for the users of the space. All of the projects used different materials to create different experiences based off of the various hypothesizes of the creators. I like the approach that the authors used to describe the projects, I think looking at something in that way can help someone like myself, who hasn’t been to the installations in person understand them better.
Each of the projects used a different approach to create a different type of interaction. In the first project “White noise White Light” they used fiber optics and flexible rods that moved and changed color as you moved throughout the space. I thought this was a good example of an interactive experience. I felt that this was the most interesting project because it really made me want to see and experience it for myself.
All of the projects seem to be designed to explore the confines and restrictions of the materials used. Fiber optics that sense motion, glass that reflects light and color, the influence of wind, and the reaction to compression and tension. Seeing how the materials responded to these influences was really interesting and showed me a new perspective on their use and flexibility of use. While reading I felt that I was better understanding the impact of materials to create an environment and experience.
In conclusion I feel that yet again technology has a major impact on the creation of such installations and projects. I believe that by embracing new technologies and methods architects and designers can continue to push the envelope and explore more interactions with the environment and people upon the constructed and built environment. I also feel that materiality has a bigger impact than I first thought on the design process in terms of sending a message. Through research and materiality one can design a space that’s not just used but interacted with on levels previously not considered.
“290 Mulberry is defined by its context through a direct response to zoning and building code regulations. Located in Nolita, New York, this building is bound on the north by Houston Street and on the west by the historic Puck Building on Mulberry Street. A zoning district requirement specifying a masonry enclosure for the two street walls created an opportunity to respond directly to the Puck Building, one of New York’s most recognizable masonry buildings. We then focused the idea on the reinterpretation of local laws and regulations with a contemporary response to masonry construction and detailing that doesn’t attempt to imitate the past.” -SHoP Architects
In the selected reading, the author, Axel Prichard-Schmitzberger lays out his thoughts and ideas on his concept of “satisfization” and the importance of detailing. In the author’s opinion, there is a difference between the notion of detailing as simply adding decoration to a building and the harmonization of all of the design and structural components, and this harmonization is what Axel Prichard-Schmitzberger defines as detailing. Satisfization is the optimizing of detailing to reach the optimum solution. Throughout the selection he also talks about the importance of integrating technology into the design process and how it can help in the graphic representation of the design before work on the actual structure begins to provide a solid visualization. He goes on to talk about how, through the use of digital technology, one can experiment with various materials and processes to better learn how to use and apply them. Overall I agreed with what the author had to say. I think the use of mock ups, models and drawings/renderings help us better understand our own design as well as help us to convey our process to others and be able to visualize how the finished product will look and interact.