Monday, July 5, 2010

Experiment 3 feedback sheets

I got you all to write down your email addresses for me in one of the last weeks of session. While I have not lost that sheet, I don't really know where it is. If you would like me to email you your final comments, or if you have anything else outstanding, drop me an email: euphrosyne5ATyahooDOTcomDOTau

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Home stretch

Final points:

- Please don't upload every draft level in your zipped files, only your final one.
- Please remember to tell me which keys trigger your elevators or other moving parts.
- Don't forget your peer review sheets.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Experiment 2 General Feedback

Hey guys, please read this. It's a summary of the issues I found when looking at your submissions. Issues you can address quite easily to make for a stronger final assignment. It may not be evident in the ranty nature of these points, but I was quite pleased with the general standard of Experiment 2 - most of you ticked all the boxes and had good arguments for what you were doing.

1) Constantly scrutinise your work. Pretend you're marking it, and that it's a piece of work you're looking at for the first time and don't know anything about. Are your captures informative? Do they show the labs, ramps and meeting places? I know that you upload your models and environments, but if your captures show me everything I need to know about how your model is situated, how it is occupied, and how the parts relate to each other, I don't need to open these files. It is best if you include just one image of the whole complex from a distance showing where it is on the island (or other landscape) and one close up that shows the textures, among your 5. Include a person on at least one shot too, to indicate scale. Don't put in repeated images of the same view but from very slightly different angles, it's redundant.

part b) Make sure your model works. The submission requirement is that you make your model available to me, so if it is impossible to walk up your ramp I'm going to find out. If your link doesn't work, I will also find out. If I think something in your model is a little iffy I will want to check. If I can't because your Filefront link is corrupted, you will not get the benefit of the doubt.

2) Constantly scrutinise your work. Are there glaring inconsistencies between what you say you're doing in your text, and what you're actually doing in your model? If you say that shadows are important to you, turn the shadows on in the model. If you say the point of something is to be solid, make sure it looks unequivocally solid. The clients you're designing for are paramount, keep their requirements clear in your mind as you design. Test every assertion you make against the internal robustness of the program you have devised for yourself based closely on the brief.

part b) I have been encouraging you to provide some text or narrative of your thoughts alongside your images, and I continue to do so. I understand that you make some decisions for reasons that may not be obvious to me as I look at your images, so it's good if you alert me to subtleties I may miss. Do not, however, use text as a substitute for design. If you write something, make sure that it reinforces what is actually in the model. The text is there only as supporting material.

3) The reason that all of the weekly exercises emphasise the technical procedures (texturing, uploading, importing, exporting, saving) is so that you experience no glitches in the last few days when getting your final model ready. It is hard to accept excuses about technical problems for issues that should have been ironed out 3 weeks before, when the due date wasn't stressfully imminent. Please make sure you take these steps when the independent study schedule tells you to.

4) Proofread. Proofread. Even if your first language is English. Get someone to read your text who knows about the correct placement of apostrophe's (I did that deliberately...). You shouldn't feel ashamed about asking someone, the text you're writing is so minimal I'm sure anyone would be happy to help out. It's a real shame to look at a strong submission that is diminished by bad grammar.... (I'm not asking anyone to proofread my rant here, so if you find some typos you get a prize).

5) When you put things on your blog, make sure you view your blog before you sign out and wander off. Sometimes I see empty posts.

6) Just a little point about lighting: put in spotlights with restraint and taste. Don't go crazy with this, one well-placed light is often more evocative than five bright white lights cranked up to maximum intensity. The more lights you put in, the messier the cacophony of shadows, too, and the less impressive each one. Put in coloured lights if you have a very good reason, otherwise it looks like a kitsch disco.

7) Please render your images at 1920 x 1080 pixels. That way they will be the same aspect ratio as most computer screens. For Experiment 3, please also remove the text that is automatically on the screen (check Andrew's blog for how to do this.) Remember that you will soon collate a portfolio of the design work you do at uni. If, after each semester, you have a selection of really excellent images ready to show to a potential employer, your life will be much easier.

finally) ATTENDANCE. You are required to attend a minimum 80% of contact hours in order to pass. Most of you have no problems here. Some of you are on thin ice indeed. Also, the 10 marks allocated to class participation do not automatically become yours if you have physically come along to each tutorial. They hinge very heavily on you having done enough work to talk to me about each week. I don't mind if you upload your process work to your blog, or if you show me printouts so long as it facilitates a constructive discussion. This will be important for Experiment 3, which is due two weeks after your final tutorial.

All the best with the rest of semester, here and with your other subjects.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Things about Experiment 3

1) Know about this helpful site:

2) You will be assessed on 18 perspectives. You have been asked to draw 36. This means you need to upload your best 18, demonstrating that you know how to draw both 1-point and 2-point perspectives - ensure you have a fine assortment of both.

3) The Es you are drawing are for inspiration purposes. You will not be required to translate them directly into any part of your bridge.

4) The quality of your drawings play a part in your assessment. Do not draw and scan them as though they don't matter.

5) You make holes and caves in your Crysis model with the 'voxal painting' tool. They let you push/pull things sideways.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Landform sculpting

Remember that a key consideration for this Experiment is how your structure interfaces with the landform.

Hugh Ferriss

Louis Kahn, National Assembly Building, Bangladesh. Photo: JS Bhaban.

Hill House by Visiondivision

Hotel in London, Reardon Smith
both above: accessed 25/04/10

Hoover Dam Accessed 25/04/10

Greek Ampitheatre Accessed 25/04/10

Experiment 1 Feedback

The intention of publishing the feedback below is so that all students can benefit by understanding the strengths and weaknesses of a range of projects. Please take the time to review other students' work with these comments in mind. If you have any questions or would like any further clarification don’t hesitate to ask me during the studio session.


Key strength:
Excellent integration of the three spaces; you have solved the problem with clarity and beauty. The staircases are well resolved, and the introduction of the solid internal shard allows variety with this. Well textured.

Most significant weakness:
The shard is no-longer suspended from the frame, which removes its sense of perfect functionality. Making a greater part of the floors transparent or removed, both in the gallery and in the bottom studio, would have enabled a better appreciation of the precipitousness of the pit. You could also have attempted to resolve the structure of the floor in the gallery, as it needs to be supported somehow. It is a shame that your animations are so jerky.


Key strength:
The final submission shows promise in the variety and boldness of your design. The studios look like functional places to work. You obviously have skill at both modelling and animating.

Most significant weakness:
Unfortunately your gallery is incidental, and there could have been scope for inventiveness in allowing light into the underground studio space. The quality of your supporting work needs attention.


Key strength:
Interesting departure from the original concept, without having dismissed it completely. Well-considered connection between studios and gallery, with a strong visual connection that lets light in underground.

Most significant weakness:
Think about what is actually useful in your studios. The glass balls seem superfluous and don't add to your 'fresh' concept as you cannot see them below the opaque floor in your underground studio. Likewise, the 'bowl' shape is irrelevant because the artist cannot experience it.


Key strength:
The studios and the gallery are logically connected, and have a storybook kind of poetry about them. The staircases are appropriate and well-detailed. Your irrigation system adds a level of thoroughness to your scheme.

Most significant weakness:
Be more attentive to presentation on your blog with the quality of scans and the quality of animations.


Key strength:
The forms you have chosen for your studios relate to the words well.

Most significant weakness:
There have been stages in your process work that have been more substantial than your final submission. Both staircases and the integration of the three spaces could have been further investigated.

Hao Wu

Key strength:
The datum and the underground massing are well understood, and the underground staircase is delicate. There are interesting internal and external spaces in the upper studio.

Most significant weakness:
It is unclear where your gallery is. It is also unclear which artworks have inspired your structures, which means that you haven't followed the process from the beginning. Overall this is a very incomplete submission.


Key strength:
The top studio and the staircase are well integrated, and the architecture, although simple, tends towards monumental.

Most significant weakness:
There could have been greater scope for the lower part of the complex - the lower studio, and the gallery which is incidental in the design. The animations are cramped and do not convey your design optimally. Overall, the scheme still looks a bit like a draft.


Key strength:
The forms of all of your spaces and staircases are bold and original, and developed well from your initial words.

Most significant weakness:
Your model still looks like a draft. There is little indication as to how the top studio can be used to make art, and there are very few textures. The datum should have been emphasised more, as it would have grounded the model; at the moment the composition looks like an object without context.


Key strength:
The top studio is more successful than the bottom. You have explored the combination of two discrete shells of different materials to make a space that is both functional and true to the original word. The warped shell of glass encloses the gallery space well.

Most significant weakness:
You didn't fully exploit the potential of the word 'protruding' to make an interesting underground space. The gallery is well situated, but since there aren't any artworks in it, its function is unclear.


Key strength:
Interesting and daring choice for the gallery. You have developed the top studio well and have put a lot of consideration into your stairs. You have also provided some good still images that show the complex in use.

Most significant weakness:
At least one of your animations is redundant in terms of informativeness, and should have focused on the interior. Your lower studio did not reach a high level of resolution.

Meng Xu

Key strength:
You have addressed the datum very well. You have also shown clearly how the spaces are to be used through good animations.

Most significant weakness:
Your spaces are still extruded sections, and it is clear from your images that you have only really looked at your model from a side-on view. Consider all elevations and sections of your model when you're designing. The initial sketch was a way to generate an idea, your model didn't need to be a literal replica of it in 3D.


Key strength:
The 'branching' idea in your lower staircase is interesting, and your overall design looks very playful. You have made a good attempt at using various forms.

Most significant weakness:
Your animations and still images should work together to give an overview of your design. Here they are all very similar. It's also unclear how the public can access your gallery.

Nick M

Key strength:
The glass structure (gallery?) is potentially an interesting building.

Most significant weakness:
There is no connection between the sketches and the final draft. The lower studio is difficult to understand from the images and animations you have uploaded. The upper studio is an extruded section with no attention to the thickness of materials.

Nick Z

Key strength:
You have reached a good resolution with the studio spaces, both internal and external parts are well modelled. Your top studio and staircase are very clearly and successfully derived from your initial concept sketches and words.

Most significant weakness:
Your bottom studio is a reflection of an earlier one, but it is incompletely adapted. Which fins are necessary for retaining the ground? If you can't actually pass between them, you won't know that they're there. The bottom staircase doesn't work because it isn't encased.


Key strength:
The top studio is much more effective than the bottom in terms of both structure and staircase, and illustrates Goodwin's program well. The gallery is well integrated.

Most significant weakness:
The underground studio is just an extruded section with no apparent attention to how it is capped. Consider more variety with your animations. It would have been more informative if at least one had 'inhabited' the model, instead of all three revolving and sectioning from a distance.


Key strength:
You have stayed true to the words that have inspired the schemes, and have attempted to model some inventive spaces. Your 'peaceful' studio and staircase are stronger than the 'lonely' ones.

Most significant weakness:
The animations are minimal and the staircase to the underground studio doesn't work, as it is not encased. Your gallery is very incongruous to the rest of your design.


Key strength:
Your complete submission, with all your supporting work, is very good. Your final animations, particulary no. 2, are very well composed. There is a clarity in your design that is enhanced by a consideration for material properties and thicknesses.

Most significant weakness:
While both your studios are well argued for in terms of structure, they may not be optimal spaces in which to work. If the ideal studio pushes you towards asymmetry, that's ok, and often makes a program more interesting and sophisticated. Your earlier sketches were more free than your models in this respect.


Key strength:
The upper studio contains some pleasant spaces, and you have moulded the earth well around it. This situates the model properly on the datum.

Most significant weakness:
It is unclear where the gallery is, and how it is used. It is also unclear why your lower studio derives from the word 'support'. Unfortunately parts of this submission are incomplete. Your designs are interesting, but you need to work consistently.


Key strength:
The 'foreigner' studio is greatly improved, and your top staircase is particularly successful. You have used strong words to inform your designs.

Most significant weakness:
The animations are fast and confusing, and you haven't provided either an animation or an overall image that shows how the whole complex fits together.


Key strength:
Your designs are strong and distinctive. The development of your forms is well explained, and your top studio clutching the fragile staircase is compelling. The lower studio is thoughtfully situated within the landscape, and you have considered the light penetration well.

Most significant weakness:
Despite how evocative the 'primal' studio is, the space within it is suboptimal as a workshop. What is the tunnel? Also, since the structure of the lower studio and the gallery are extensions of each other, the top studio could have been better integrated into this program. There are small, unresolved elements within your scheme.


Key strength:
A nicely connected model with clear development of the words and sketches into a functional program of spaces. The cosmic pipe plunging through the studio of 'sores' with a staircase that conveys the 'past' gives a poetic dimension to the scheme. You have dealt with admitting light well.

Most significant weakness:
The lower studio is a little conventional compared to the top, and you could have considered more variety with the lower part of the staircase.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Observation tower (Ateliereen Architecten)

Manchester Civil Justice Centre (DCM)

Now look at the negative prisms in this building:

Friday, March 26, 2010

Great site for quirky modern buildings.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

THE GALLERY and other things.

Hey guys, just quickly:

By next week I'd like to see a gallery in the model you're developing, with an example of the work of both artists in it. (Russell probably talked about the gallery in yesterday's lecture, so if he said anything different to below, please let me know.)

The gallery:

1. goes on the ground (datum).
2. is reached by the stairs you're making for each of the studios
3. has an entrance on the datum (or has a different but practical way that the public can enter)
4. can be a building that combines elements from both studios in a considered way. It can also be distinctly different. If you think that the gallery itself should be a sculpture (like Gehry's Guggenheim in Bilbao), make it one. If you think the gallery should be a simple building to show the art but not compete with the art for attention, make such a gallery.
5. can be a third building, or can be fused somehow within the structures you already have, in a meaningful way.

Research some galleries, see how the designers resolved issues like circulation, lighting and ways to display artwork. If you find a good precedent, put images on your blog.

The studios:

Now that you have decided on the studios you're working on, still think about things like scale. A studio need not be the size of a conventional room. It can be enormous, or intimate, or as sprawling or as intricate as you like.

Also, look at how different architects use materials. Shigeru Ban uses bamboo and paper. It is possible to make semi-transparent concrete, glass is not the only transparent material available to you. Opaque screens can have the feel of transparency if they're perforated enough.

The stairs:

You have had a whole lecture on stairs, and the stairs are important. At the moment some of your staircases are fairly nominal. Think about how you are going to resolve them, how they connect, and how they represent the studio they are connected to. Ideally your staircase will not look like one you have seen before, but will be generated by the project and inspired by many images of precedents.


Please keep your blogs up to date. Some of you don't have your second models up, and some of you haven't uploaded any models yet.

I didn't get to see you all on Tuesday, so if you'd like to talk about your work drop me a line.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Hey, I have added an updating blogroll thing, so you don't have to alert me anymore if you upload to your blog.

Rocky, Eddy and Hao Wu, I still don't have your blog addresses.

Now. For your interest, here is a video of Russell explaining his bikes and tattoos. There are also glimpses of my grad studio both in physical and avatar form, including current tutors Jules and Vinh (and me with more hair).

Sunday, March 14, 2010


There was a question last week about whether you should bring laptops so you can use SketchUp. The answer is you don't need to (unless you want to) since you'll be drawing most of the time.

Chikatsu-Asuka Historical Museum, Japan (Tadao Ando)

Rice fields, Yunnan Province, China

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Week 2 Things

1) I have looked at all the blogs that I have on my blogroll so far. I'm not going to comment on them individually, except to say that you have noted an interesting range of buildings - from an anonymous timber hiking shelter, to Petra's carved-out treasury, to something by Calatrava (I think if I had done this exercise I would also have used a Calatrava building). There's also quite a variety of skills in the group - 3D CAD, manual drawing, carpentry etc. It looks like most of you are not new to design of some kind or another.

2) Your blogs should contain the exercises set in lectures, but these can be interspersed with any other things you stumble on and find interesting....text, images, videos, random musings. It's a way for you to broadcast your thoughts and get feedback, and to see the ideas that are occupying other people. If you are inspired by another student's work, by all means put it on your blog (with their permission). On this note:

3) A few of you aren't referencing yet. At the moment it looks like inexperience or laziness, but eventually it can lead to your academic integrity being questioned. Get into good habits now. There are many conventions for how to reference. For now, if you're referencing a website, at least put up the web address and the day you accessed it (if the website doesn't actually credit the photographer or author of the bit of work you're pinching).

4) I take it from the fact that none of you have posted any sketches for me to look at that you're all clear on which sections you're developing for next week. I hope you're not choosing the easy and straightforward ones, but ones that will challenge you. If you look at them now, you shouldn't necessarily have any idea of how you will go about modelling them when you hit SketchUp. It's ok to let them evolve.

5) If you have time, go and see the Olafur Eliasson exhibition at the MCA and play with lego. He does some cool things with planes and shapes, and inserting cold / wet / dark / reflective environments into a very conventional exhibition space. (He also did the quirky loop staircase in front of the bank in Germany that was on one of Russell's lecture slides today).

6) Monika is your student rep. Go to her with ideas for the end of session party. Also any comments about the course or the tutorial if you don't want to come to me.

If you are 'following' me, it doesn't always mean that I can see your blog. Please keep giving me your blog addresses, I have a little over half of them now.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Welcome to Design Studio 1.

Just letting you know that one of your 'clients', Richard Goodwin, is giving a talk at COFA (College of Fine Arts) this Tuesday evening. I imagine Russell has organised for Richard to give you a presentation at some point during the lectures, so at the very least this is a chance for a preview, and a chance to check out the COFA campus (you may find the library a useful resource later on).

(Keep your eyes on this lecture series, and the one held by the AIA (Institute of Architects) for some cheap and diverse talks.)

ALSO, once you have your blogs set up, please drop me a comment so that I can link to you on the sidebar ----->