a test 007 – 1 UNIT: space under construction OCCUPANCY: n/a TYPE(s): architecture, new building AR/TIFACT(s): 02
The Cat’s still around busy backfilling the foundation. Slab on grade is in place. Suspended slab formwork is in progress, and the main level peri system formwork boards are getting craned in.
Sitework is progressing way ahead of my tests, but we’re making headway finally! I went to a mini lecture recently where Bjarke Ingels came to Toronto to talk about the new development going up on King West. There is a plan in place to interject my site series with a test from there. Not sure how the numbering will solve itself yet.
Did you see the new ipad pro? The forever question of do I need it vs do I want it.
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.
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.
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.
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
I attended the WHAT IS A SCHOOL? Symposium
keynote at UofT this past Friday. The symposium marked the first use (a test!)
of Principal Hall, the main lecture hall for the Daniels building since it’s opening
last year. It is quite remarkable how early you can occupy a building before
it’s actually completed. If this building is any example, apparently occupancy for substantial completion before 100% completion is “very early”. Criticism aside, the space
worked well, and the acoustics were not noticeably terrible. In other words,
the hall worked great! I sat in the loose seating on the floor but discovered
later that the tired fixed seating further back was not only more comfortable but
also afforded a much better view of the stage. Next time.
What I wanted to muse about this time had
less to do with the content of the keynote (though it is
certainly worth a discussion point for later), but on the topic of education as
it might relate to my project vision. I
had some early notes made for what AR could mean for students. I found that
more often than not, as a student, we spend a lot of time scrounging the
library (now more the internet) for information on buildings. Not just the surface
stuff – name, date, square footage, basic construction. But things like
envelope construction, material data, details & wall/floor composition.
There is now an enormous source available for that, and it’s only growing. The question is then, (and a challenge to myself), can my idea make it worth a student’s
time to use and learn from?
The biggest weakness in AR thus far, imo, has
always been it’s “gimmick-y-ness”. I can attest; once something seems
slow, buggy or clunky, I dismiss it almost immediately. But what if, clunkiness
aside, a database of details on famous as well as new/upcoming buildings can be made readily available? Through a mediated physical/digital world overlay built for users to analyze,
criticize, learn from and show appreciation. I think it would be neat.
But neat isn’t what the world is looking for.
So I have some questions for myself. In the
fast paced and efficiency driven nature of today’s society, new ideas need to
provide value. What is the value for this type of database + interactive
overlay. How often would it be used? Would it be used at all? Would it be more
useful for architects, or architecture students?