Monday, April 27, 2009

review of peer reflections of the black box

Unfortunately it was a little bit difficult to find people that had completed this task, but Brandan Villatora and Art Dejmaneethornchai's reflections on the inspiration they drew from Erika Kruger's Black Box were actually worth reflecting upon in their own right! Art pointed out Kruger's precise use of colour and when combined with varying amounts of light creates an effective experience for the user. Brandan took inspiration from Kruger's use of light to create textures. I think his combination of light and liquids would create quite an emotive experience reminiscent of Cousteau's film that he presented to the public. I look forward to seeing both of their finished designs!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

the black box, the concealed room

Erika Kruger: the black box, the concealed room

Amazing... this piece is inspired, intelligent and dark. I think as architects we often think that good design equals light, but often the most wonderful experiences can occur in the dark. Maybe we dont need to be creating grand gestures of glazing and extreme amounts of artificial light to illuminate how well we've managed to detail a space, but maybe more effective experiences occur in dark crevices and in lonely expanses?

The aim of my cloned rat lab is to be sinister and dark, not as intimate as the spaces Erika's created, but an expanse of repeated forms where you get lost and confused.

What I also related to was Erika's user analysis (top). Are the only users physical human beings, or can we design for dead people; or for what once stood on the site; or design for a concept like a shadow and the feelings that surround it? My previous design for Gascoigne's studio space transformed after I realised she had actually passed and resulted in a much more emotive and effective space.
Visually I enjoy the forms that Erika uses in her architecture, trunkated pyramids, morphed cubes and layer sheets that with subtle differences suggest a new positive space. These forms seems to be a combination of random shapes overlayed and fused together, but the most important and consistant element for me in the intellectual investigation which enriches the entire design.

initial modeling

Cousteau's Cube

Wilmut's plush office with outlook (above) and Campbell's cloned work stations (below)Meeting point


Cousteau's quote that I have chosen is so simple, but extraordinarily beautiful:
"Sometimes we are lucky enough to know our lives have been changed, to discard the old and embrace the new and run headlong down an immutable course. It happened to me... on that summer's day when my eyes were opened to the sea."
Jacques Yves-Cousteau (From 'The Quotations Page')
The aim of his video lab is to open the users eyes to a different view. I want the exterior to maybe represent a certain space, but the realisation of the internal space to be a reward to the user for entering it and for it to present different perspectives of what will be the natural surroundings of the antarctic.
I seem to be approaching Keith Campbell's lab with an ever increasingly critical eye so have actually chosen a quote from Ian Wilmut, the man who has taken the majority of the acclaim for the cloning of Dolly as the leader of the research team:
"Dolly was a bonus, sometimes when scientists work hard, they also get lucky, and that's what happened."
Ian Wilmut (From 'Wikipedia')
I'm thinking the creation of Dolly really wasnt as 'flukey' as Ian may suggest, maybe his fame from Dolly has been luck, but I would put her creation down to extremely hard work by hundreds of people behind the scene, Keith Campbell being one.
Electroliquid aggregation - As a combination of the two quotes I came up with the following:
"Sometimes we are lucky enough to know when scientists work hard, lives have been changed, to discard the old and embrace the new"
Following this quote I thought this could be translated into an experimental medical centre that utilises the cloning and stem cell research from Campbell's lab and advances in the discovery of underwater species and their survival to save lives through new treatment techniques. I also thought the antarctic's laws on stem cell research are probably the loosest in the world due to the lack of population!

second set of axonometrics

This selection was supposed to be a combination of different shapes from the first set, but I also wanted to find an ordering mechanism to give some consistency through the whole design, and by playing with positive and negative space to create the meeting space between the two labs. The final sketch is a square on the plane that has been extruded around the two ramps to order the three spaces. I imagined where Cousteau would be working if he was still alive and after viewing a documentry about the antarctic and it's exploration and reading about Campbell's cryogenic work I decided that the plane could be the face of a glacier of ice shelf with Campbell's 'rat lab' on the interior and Cousteau's film studio on the exterior. I want to take some design cues from ice for the meeting space, and it will also inform the textures used.

initial axonometrics

The following is a selection of my initial sketches. It's interesting to see the quality improve from the first to the last as initially it was very difficult to do. Some of the concepts explored were:
Campbell's lab - After finding out that Ian Wilmut had taken most of the credit for cloning Dolly I thought it was important to have two spaces, one seperate private office for Ian, and a mass lab for not only Keith, but hundreds of other scientist working under Ian...creating a 'cloned lab rat maze'

Exploded Spaces - As I struggled to come up with new designs I exploded some simple shapes to create arrangements with the faces. Initially this was a concept for Nobel, but led to the exploration of shapes that suggest a space that may not exist. This is an idea that parralels with Cousteau as he presented to the public underwater spaces that had only been seen from above, but in reality were totally different when viewed from within.

Nobel's Factory - I envisioned Nobel working in his family factory and thought some design elements could be used.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009