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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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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Keynote

I tuned into the Apple keynote today. I mostly just listened while having real work to do. But something really caught my attention that I ended up watching all some 20 min. of that segment. It wouldn’t be hard to guess, but it was the section on Augmented Reality. Apple’s doing a lot of incredible things with AR technology and I want in.

ARKit2 has expanded it’s spectrum, allowing for more advanced and accurate real-life tracking of surroundings. This includes live measuring of objects just by clicking from one point to another through their new app ‘Measure’. It can also register geometric shapes (demonstrated was the rectangle, but I imagine other polygonal shapes are possible) and give a relatively accurate measurement of it’s dimensions as well as area. The other neat demonstration was a completely AR interactive game just from registering one built lego building on a table. The ipad was able to detect and then present an entire lego world directly on the table for the users to interact with. Note the use of plural. Now we can have multi-user interaction, live and augmented to reality all from one scan of the surrounding.

You can see, then, where I want to go with AR/TIFACT, relative to these features. What if it weren’t just a lego building that could get scanned, but a real building? In the AEC industry, aside from having a fun filled AR interaction video game with real life buildings, I would like to use this feature to overlay building data – not just your typical building stats and numbers, but 3D details and material samples. Is that useful? I think not quite yet. But this is the vein I want to keep thinking along until it does become something useful. Some great testing grounds for this? Doors Open Toronto? The Venice Biennale?

The next step in my research would be to get a hands-on for ARKit2 and see where I can take it. I’m excited.

Also Test 003 is coming, I promise.

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Reconstruction

I had the pleasure of creating some light-hearted illustrations to accompany the work of art historian Alex Stumm in his recent interview for Pulp #52 (Pulp Architecture). In his book “Architectural Concepts of Reconstruction” (translated from Architektonische Konzepte der Rekonstruktion), he discusses five categories of ‘Reconstruction’ and the different ways architects have approached renovation of, additions to, or for lack of better word, reconstructing a ruin. While I am still teetering between drawing a connection between the large urban scale to the micro detail scale, another spectrum of
thought came to light from this exercise. That spectrum being ‘time’, the scale of ruin to rebuild. There are a lot of things to explore not just in historical architecture still standing today, but also the added layer of the invisible ruin. But let me move forward a little bit and speak to the buildings that are still physically with us today. Rather, what piques my interest is how architects address the dichotomy of working with both new and old buildings.

New building + old building = ?

Downtown Toronto is ripe with reconstructions. UofT in particular, is quite special in that it has such a historically rich campus of old buildings yet also has an alarmingly large number of renovations and additions to said historical buildings. (A personal observation. It happens all over the city obviously, but I happen to notice it more within the university) It seems oddly fitting then, that my last post discussed the new School of Architecture at UofT as it is quite a fine example of some form of reconstruction. While the original home of Knox College and then the Connaught Laboratories, the new building at 1 Spadina Crescent which opened for the 2017-2018 school year has been transformed into the new home of the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, with a bright new addition designed by architects Nader Tehrani and Katherine Faulkner of New York based firm NADAAA.

What are the design strategies, principals, approaches, etc. involved with additions or renovations, particularly with a historically significant building? What are the details that exist in that intersection between the old and the new?

Test 003 will explore this new spectrum to my AR/tifact collection

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