Final renderings. Done with Kerkythea and Photoshop.
Final pinup, digital version. Click here for large version.
Description (the text in the top right):
This project began with a derìve along Karangahape Road. In it, what drew my attention was the ‘hidden’ spaces behind the main façade of the city - breaks in the smoothness of the shops and fake granite pavements. The spaces behind the buildings seem hidden, but are in fact not. They are perfectly accessible, and everybody knows they are there. We just have no reason to go there. There are no shops, no seats, nowhere to get a cup of coffee; and we’re taught it’s not safe. So through lack of use the spaces become hidden and a secret, and the act of venturing into them is a journey for the brave.
I want to break this. I created a ‘hidden’ space that rewarded people for exploring it. I wanted a space that would fit the definition of the undesirable places behind the buildings. It had to be heavy, grungy concrete; the wood had to be faded and cracked and dirty; it had to be dank and unkempt and underground. Yet it also had to be bright and smooth; and funnel people into its depths; and reward them for their journey; and give them a reason to stay.
As such, I’ve created an underground café, comprised of heavy concrete blocks, shafts and stripes of light, and floating, luminescent fabric. The fabric begins on the top of the extractor fan column, which is outside of the main building on the street, and sweeps into the space. Another piece sweeps downwards, into the ‘hidden’ area. The rest is placed to create partial barriers around the space, and to catch the light from either the daylighting shafts or the glowing sections of wall. The access routes and circulation spaces are sunken down half a metre - enough to funnel people through, but not enough to prevent them leaving on their own journey if they want to. Their sides are plated in chrome, to reflect and funnel the light through the space. It also gives a certain ‘colour-coding’ to the circulation space, inspired by Foster’s Pompidou Centre. The three service areas - the staircase, the café service area, and the kitchen’s extractor fan - are colour coded by daylighting shafts. Another precedent was Kahn’s Salk Institute. Its heavy concrete seems to hang around the user, whilst the warm lighting and timber infiltrate and soften the space.
The chairs and tables of the café are simply wood-topped concrete blocks. The idea of the blocks comes from when I was experimenting with occupying others’ space, toying with the idea of simply extruding sections of concrete based on where cracks naturally lay in the space once I found it. This, however, was not practical, and thus evolved into semi-irregular blocks of differing size and height. To add purpose to different areas of the space, the blocks have cuts in them with storage space. The storage space contains either books, cushions or boxes, for study areas, lounging areas and eating areas, respectively.
1:50 detail model of the top right corner of the underground storey, and 1:100 sectional model of the whole design.
Detail model done with card, gesso, fine pumice gel, chrome paint, fabric, metallic card, balsa, and picture varnish. Sectional model done with lasercut card, 3D printing, normal card, and fabric.
Design is finished. Will update in the next few days.
So I know people in the northern hemisphere are starting college applications for next year so here’s what I’ve learnt:
- For the love of God don’t buy a meal plan
- Live in a dorm or a hall of residence in your first year if there’s any chance you can afford it even barely. You’ll meet people to flat with next year and if you like someone from your major you can often stalk them doubly until they’re forced to be your friend wow
- Even if you don’t learn anything in the boring lectures you skip, you’ll at least learn what you’re being assessed on so you should probably go on them
- If you can’t be assed to go to the actual lecture, you won’t be assed to watch the recording later
- Take coursework seriously because exams suck
- Do everything fun like shopping and going places this year because you will never have money again
- Find your alcohol limits (drink until you puke, once) over summer with people you trust in a safe environment so that you know how to recognise how drunk you are and what tendencies you have before you get to college. Do this semi scientifically, like for every drink you have think “wow I am feeling these sensations and want to do these things and I have had this much to drink and this much to eat.” That way you will know that you hump the table after a bottle of wine and can make an informed decision later on.
- Wine has a very economical alcohol content to price ratio if you buy the cheapest bottle you can find in the supermarket. Once you’re drunk the taste won’t matter anyway.
- Accept you won’t keep in touch with your friends as much as you intend to and have a casual chat with them so that neither of you get upset when you’re never online at the same time. Like seriously if you guys are both on Skype for 12 hours a day you’ll probably only catch each other for five minutes in all of that before someone has to go
- Don’t bring your gaming console/gaming computer with you if you use it only for gaming. If you don’t bring it, you’ll be so bored you’ll do all your work and get really good grades wow
- If you fail any of your classes, you have to pay hundreds to thousands (depending on where you live) of moneys for that paper again to retake it. Seriously, they determine your fees by the paper.
- Don’t choose your papers based on how big they will make your student loan. It’s going to be impossibly massive anyway, so take the ones that will give you the best degree possible so you’re more likely to get a job
- Try and have a part time job as soon as possible (like, before college would be ideal) and work as many hours as you can BUT do not work so many hours you don’t have enough time to do study and coursework.
- Cooking is far easier than you think it is, but can be tricky if you have crap kitchen equipment (eg: our stove burns the shit out of anything above a 4 but takes about six hours to get hot on anything below the ‘burn stuff’ numbers)
- The food you make will be better than what they give you in the meal plan
- If you attach “easy” to your google search for recipes you’ll get recipes where you need fewer ingredients (like, it’s not gonna ask you for a paprika and thyme sacrifice to the spice gods)
- For the love of God don’t buy a meal plan.
Site map, final floor plans, and photoshopped model images for Tuesday’s ‘speed date’ crit. Floor plans and perspectives generated from model photographs.
The next step is to model this digitally, and generate my finalised form, and formalise the fabric locations (which I will probably do through physical modelling.)
Hand-drawn floor plans, sections and perspectives of my almost finalised design for last Friday’s crit. Forgot to scan floor plan for top section. May update later.
An abstracted form of the entrance area. Smashed plaster set in PVA, with card representing the attaching walls. Experimenting with the idea of lifting up blocks where the area naturally cracked, modifying but still using someone else’s space. Top image is view from above.
While my strength is being able to solve a problem presented to me in about ten minutes and come back with floor plans and sections, it is also a weakness when it comes to more artistic spatial exploration. I was instructed to just make some pretty pictures that didn’t have to be useful.
I’ve got no idea how to use these, but they do look quite nice. These are some of the best of them. Thanks to Max for letting me use his camera - my beloved little one is dying of old age.
Smooth or rough? Do I occupy someone else’s space or create my own?
These are Kerkythea renderings of a SketchUp model with textures applied in Photoshop. I wanted to do the renderings with 3DS Max, but couldn’t work out how to apply custom materials to get my striped fabric.
These images are less a sequence of development and more a series of experiments mixing different types of material. The first column is using a smooth texture (perhaps polished concrete or paint?), the second a rough concrete, and the third a cracked concrete of a previously occupied space; the first row is without fabric; the second with plain fabric; and the third with striped fabric.
Using the smooth texture makes the space my own, whereas leaving cracked concrete and damage of the previous occupancy creates the break in the façade/smoothness I am looking for. Using the fabric allows me to occupy the space, and the stripes change the density of the occupation and create more repetition with materials already in use.
I think I prefer to occupy another’s space, as it fits with my concept better. The repetition of stripes is questionable: do I want to keep repeating with the moire effect as I have been, or do I want to explore repeating materials instead, perhaps with a variety of different fabrics inside? The density of the occupation is also questionable, but the answer to this will probably become clear when I have found a more appropriate purpose for the interior (see last post.)
Therefore, the next important step is to experiment with finding spaces and uses for them within the café itself, and experimenting with use of materials in there as well. While doing this, I must allow the experience of the street (or creating a difference from it) to inform the interior purpose; allowing the different elements of the project to inform and develop each other.
This section of exploration was less connected to the moire exploration in the previous post and more a separate pan in the fire with the intentions of answering the questions raised in my sketchbook.
Moire collages of my model photos
A more appropriate way of finding space in my design might be through collage. I took my moire images that I generated from my model photos that I had yet to develop in last crit and laid them over some photos of my models. I let the lines in the images determine where I put the strips of white to imitate my fabric strips so I could find space, adding people in afterwards to flesh out the perspective of them.
I’m not sure if the plants I had planned for my café are actually appropriate any more. They were more a filler of “yeah I like plants I guess I’ll put some of them in it I can justify that” rather than a development from the concept.
Some ideas for progression from here would be to explore a better purpose for the café that rewards people for venturing past the city’s façade, rather than this design being a non-façade doorway between two conforming spaces. I want the café to show them that breaks in the smoothness should be acceptable. Perhaps modelling (analogue or digital) from these images could be a good way of finding a better way of accomplishing this.