muse, test

Site Series // a test 006

a test 006 –
1 UNIT: space under construction
OCCUPANCY: n/a
TYPE(s): architecture, new building
AR/TIFACT(s): 01

As with my last few, developing unit tests based on my
own personal experiences has been the easiest way to learn. It also helps me go from experience
> pen > paper > digital production > blog
a lot more smoothly. Amidst attending
lectures, visiting site tours and hobby doodling, in my day job, I am still a
full-time (almost) architect. What better place to extract from?

The project I have been on for the past two years is finally
under construction, and being both blessed with great leaders and lucky to have
seen all parts of the project so far, I am now able to drop in site to watch
the building physically take shape. And so this next series (an undetermined
amount as of now) will be an exploration of ground-up architecture. This test actually compiles a few phases of the start of
construction. From site preparation and soil analysis to formwork for the
foundations to sheeting foundation walls with the proper water vapour barriers
and insulation. These diagrammatic tests are in no way an accurate
representation of the exact building construction, but they serve as an
illustration for the phases that I get to observe when I go to site.

There are
currently already several technologies utilizing mixed reality to not only aid
the construction process, for example in commissioning or building inspection
that enable users of a hardhat + visor to get a digital augmented visualization
of the innards of the building as it is getting constructed. One such would be
Daqri’s Smart Helmet. Pretty neat. My idea is focused more on a
finished product detail, but that isn’t to say am AR overlay couldn’t be
applied early on during it’s construction.

I’m excited
for this series because I can see a lot of growth out of it, even if all the unit will ever show is the corner of a building. The only sad part is  the CAT won’t always be in the
picture.

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test

a test 005

A test 005 –
1 UNIT: built space
OCCUPANCY: private office
TYPE(s): architecture, renovation
AR/TIFACT(s): 04

 

Back after a mini hiatus of busy busy. I finally got into the inside view of test 004. I don’t think it’s quite where I wanted but I also have a new idea for a new test series, so I wanted to move on with that. I may have to steer clear of interiors for the time being, it’s not working out too well yet.

Stay tuned, I’m back on a roll.

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muse, sketch

Treading

I have been both busy and tardy about working on my next test as well as keeping up the research. Of course it happens. But I do try to keep up the sketching at the very least, as well as plans for the next tests.

Here’s a sketch of the alternate wework test (from the interior!)

Because of the busy-ness though, I haven’t had too many experiences to provoke thoughts for the next test. The past week I have been reading about neat AR/VR related articles related to construction.

This one is particularly interesting, posted on Redshift, Autodesks’ technology editorial:

“With the combination of where you are with the visual odometry system and what is around you, you know pretty much everything you need to know about the world,” he says. (link)

Did I just do a quote of a quote? In any case, this kind of technology is definitely the direction I want to go. It makes me a bit nervous that all this research and tech is already in development and supported by massive companies like Autodesk. (I wouldn’t be opposed to trying to get my foot in the door.) While the content of this article focuses specifically on use for in-progress construction, I love the idea of being able to ‘see through walls’.

What I imagine with my project is seeing through walls, but not necessarily of pipes and ducts or beams and columns, but neat architectural details and building assemblies that you can’t fully appreciate or admire from the outside. Another issue I would like to tackle is providing this data as information of value to people not involved in the industry so that it can reach a wider audience.

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test

a test 004

A test 004 –
1 UNIT: built space
OCCUPANCY: private office
TYPE(s): architecture, renovation
AR/TIFACT(s): 04

IDEAS:
This is WeWork’s first Toronto location, 240 Richmond St. W. I thought about rotating the view to start looking at the interior fit-out initially, but opted for the envelope view instead. The reason for that being that in an interior fit-out project, understanding the base building and envelope would come first – knowing the structure, existing mechanical or plumbing routes, materials, etc. For example, they found an excessive amount of asbestos in the ceilings that they had to get rid of before even making any headway with the fit-out.

Once there is an understanding of the shell, then we can run right into the interior. Perhaps this test can have a part 2 where I look at the interior.

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muse

wework

I have found that this being an ongoing side project of mine,  the smoothest way for
me to integrate and keep up with it is to draw my tests from real life experiences. Not unlike many of the architecture blogs out there of architects with real full time jobs.

This week, I had a lot of exposure to that global phenomenon that is ’wework’. Participated in a tour of one of Toronto’s first wework offices, listening to a podcast interview with the co-founder (see below), reading many articles about the latest quarterly news on the company…etc.

What does this have to do with my idea? Possibly nothing. But at the same time, thinking more broadly about the project, I want to work on something that can have impact on the multiple streams of architecture, from the urban scale to the interior scale. I have also been quite enamored by ideas of work and office culture – design of the workplace, efficiencies and communities, data driven design – so it has been a fruitful exploration into this so called ‘new’ model of work.

For those of you unfamiliar, WeWork is a co-working startup currently valued at somewhere between $20B and $35B, with almost 400 locations scattered around the world in 69 cities. While WeWork wasn’t the first company to enter the coworking space, they approached it in a very different way, focusing on creating physical environments that connected with workers and business owners, while crafting a culture of super-dedicated members.

interview with Miguel McKelvey, co-founder of wework

I can’t exactly pinpoint how the idea of AR can work congruently with this co-working space model, let alone an office culture setting. The basis of my idea comes from an overlay of information or access to additional information of something in real life. It’s incredibly vague, and the details of that overlay can be anything. So I can’t discount the
connection quite yet. At the same time, the premise of the overlay is to introduce a user base and community interaction, which, as I’ve learned, wework has integrated quite seamlessly into their model.

The best thing to ask then, is how can what I design or helpful to those who choose to use it? And following up, can I move from making it a choice to using it, to encouraging its use regularly in education and knowledge building? In my opinion, it’s not

Test 004 to follow.

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test

a test 003

A test 003 –
1 UNIT: built space
OCCUPANCY: private, semi-public
TYPE(s): architecture, landscape, renovation, addition
AR/TIFACT(s): 05

IDEAS: xx

A reflection of both the ideas from Pedagogy and Reconstruction, based loosely on the recently opened UofT Daniels School of Architecture building. Working with existing buildings is a lot more difficult than building a new one from scratch. The addition as well as interior outfitting have to work symbiotically and coherently as a design while bringing a fresh perspective, all while addressing programmatic challenges. The details at the juncture would be specifically interesting to take a closer look at.

Is colour strange? I’m still working on the graphic consistency and a style that I would be happy with.

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muse, sketch

Architecture + Research

The architect and mathematician Christopher Alexander once suggested that architectural design was the obligation to create “an intangible form in an indeterminate context.” This can certainly be true of the serious, ineffable qualities of good design. But in our modern age, the practical context is increasingly determinate, and outcome-based design practice—enabled by new attitudes, business models, and technology—will empower us to deliver the real value of both.” – Phil Bernstein (on Architectural Record, “Why the Field of Architecture Needs a New Business Model”)

I used to really enjoy Phil’s classes at Yale. He’s a downright downer sometimes (I mean this in a very positive way!), but speaks some really real truths about the industry. I took
his ‘Exploring New Value in Design Practice’ elective as well as the required Professional Practice course. What he’s summarized in this article is essentially the vein of thought that prevailed in his lectures and seminars.

It seems a little cynical as a designer and artist to be so in agreement with what he’s saying. To be fair, I still believe the real lovers and talents of their craft will still exist and flourish, because good design will always be appreciated and their value upheld. On the other hand however, I will say that not everyone is that designer. Some of us (myself included) aren’t at that peak, and thus exploring new value in the world of architecture
is almost a must. For me, I’m highly interested in research and development.

I’m inspired by firms like Kieran Timberlake and Foster + Partners, who dedicate entire departments to R & D. Most recently, I’ve discovered Superflux (why haven’t I checked them out before!), a studio in the UK that focuses on accessing possibilities of the future and how to tackle them with present day solutions.

While this project has only surfaced recently, a lot of the ideas and interests have been brewing over many years (as I noted in the Pilot), and the more I read and learn, the more interesting everything just gets. You could almost say it’s getting dangerous how many things I have told myself I’m  “interested” in.

It is very hard, also, to stay motivated on something I’m such a beginner at, when there are multitudes of large corporate companies researching AND producing similar ideas. The neat thing, however, is that I’m so small no one will notice as I build my kingdom.
And that, is what motivates me to keep pursuing.

Research needs to combine actual research including knowledge acquiring along with theorizing and ideas generating with doing and producing. Tests aside, within the next few months I will get my hands on ARKit, and see where I can go with those.

Test 003 progress is being attempted. It’s been busy here.

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