Semester 2 - Architecture

As business gets more hectic with the commission of three major apartment complexes so to does the hectic study period of the second study period. With study period 1 behind me with good success  and now being settled in to the ways of online study, which is not as easy as some might think. It was time to do it all over again with Study period 2 and more studio classes... I mean if you're going to over commit you really should do it right huh... So with Study period 2 i took on BAS120 Technology Of Design & BAS140 Architecture Studio.

BAS120 – TECHNOLOGY OF DESIGN

Bas120 ... Technology of design... an interesting class with an interesting bunch of fellow students that's for sure... certainly kept me on my toes in both good and bad ways & was certainly a learning curve for me with regards to learning to work with fellow students. The projects in BAS120 ranged from sketching and creating a poster to essay writing (which i suck at for the moment) all the way to building a sugar cube tower to hold a kilo or so... They were quite enjoyable little projects in particular the poster project and while it did cause the most displeasure having to work with others (which i don't do well) it did show me the positives that come from doing so and allowed me to showcase my sketching and drawing abilities over written abilities. The sugar cube tower was also quite interesting although quite stressful when the tower would reach full height and then collapse through me accidentally bumping the table before loading it up with weight.... whoops! probably the most exciting part of the unit was the writings and sketches we were to work on that related to rethinking parts of our built environment and looking to the future streets cape of our own areas. For me this is something i currently strive to do with every client project that comes my way and was therefore something i felt very comfortable writing about and sketching up works for. In all the class was a blend of strong and weak areas of my working abilities and one that challenged me on many fronts, it was far more exciting that i initially thought it would be and it also pushed me to begin uses markers in my sketching again which is something i haven't done for many years.

I've included some of the work i completed for this unit below with a small explanation of each to help understand the process that i went through in order to achieve the final outcome.

Assessment 2 - Rethinking Parts Of Our Built Environment

Working with our existing street-scape (as in the one on the street we currently live in) we were asked in assessment 2 to rethink the existing housing scenario & re-fit it for future use in 2050. Currently the street i live in contains many inter war houses all of weatherboard & brick construction & all containing very little thermal qualities. These small (for most people) homes sit towards the centre of rather large 650m2 + sized blocks and make little use of the surrounding land. They are also generally poorly orientated and thus make little to no use of the solar orientation of the sites. My concept takes these existing homes and goes about unpacking them piece by piece to then re-use these materials in a more eco friendly, sustainable way. The existing glazing is to be crushed and mixed with concrete from the site to form the new driveways whilst all weatherboards that are salvageable will be refitted as external cladding on the new homes. Brickwork & existing framing is also to be re-used and the roof tiles that currently sit on the existing homes are to be salvaged where possible and those that cannot will go to form paths and filtration systems to the bas of proposed communal vegetable garden beds.

The site itself will be split into two sites that would allow for near identical 3 bedroom homes to be built with orientation towards the north and protection on site from the west. Trees to the north will protect the main glazed living areas from the sun throughout the summer months but allow the winter sun deep into the homes. Eave protection to the north & south has been considered and included on these homes and the parking provisions of each home is to be placed to the west where possible to buffer the homes from the hot afternoon summer sun. All new glazing will be triple glazing and it is expected that the new designs would likely achieve 10 stars (and yes i aim to prove they meet 10 stars through having the designs refined in my own time and rated thermally as well).

The end result of my future street-scape was to create a communal feel within the existing street that made better use of the existing poor layouts and created a change of lifestyle for a population quickly heading towards isolation from our neighbours. With communal gardens and multi - unit sites that impact the land in minimal ways i feel this is a good model for future living in suburban areas & am quite happy with the outcome for the assignment that i reached.

Assessment 3 - Poster (Renzo Piano - Padre Pio Church)

Assessment 3 was all about group work & after a slow start & some trouble within the group we began to get ourselves working well together. A few in our group worked on the research side of things whilst i went about putting together the sketches for the poster we had to create. The concept of the assignment was to select an architect from a list provided and then chooses a project of his/hers from the sublist available. Our selection was the great Renzo Piano & his work on the Padre Pio Pilgrimage Church in Italy. It is a stunning piece of work that flows with the land never once making a grand statement other than to draw those pilgrims and tourists alike within it as one.

Once we had all collated our information and plans/sketches together i then went about putting the poster together and having it reviewed by others in the group. The end result which you can see above is an informative and creative response to our assignment which uses the white background to allow the colours of the sketches to stand out. Once again it allowed me to show off my sketching abilities and gave me yet another opportunity to hone them further.

BAS140 - ARCHITECTURE STUDIO

Bas140.... well this is a class that didn't get off to the start that i felt it should have.... why you ask? well even though it was a studio class all about folio work & site development it was one where i though pushing the boundaries to idiocy and creativity would work in my favour, sadly though the response to my initial site work was not taken to with much pleasure from the lecturers once i had submitted the first assignment and in the end i was lucky to pass that first project. What had caused this drama... well much like BAS 110 in the first study period we were asked to select a site that we felt spoke to us, which i did... i selected the old Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind which is now the Village Melbourne Pub... i chose the site for the park like feel the outdoor beer garden area had and the ability for it to be an escape from the concrete jungle that is the city of Melbourne. So i guess it was a good start that quickly tumbled down hill, for we were then asked to make a land gauge to asses the site and one particular ephemeral event that occurred on the site that caused you to see its beauty. The Village Melbourne contains some wonderful large heritage listed oak trees that sparkle & filter sunlight through them as the sun passes overhead and being a beer garden i noticed too often people were sitting in the sun ignoring the beauty around them. From there as they say the rest is history because i went on to design a hybrid land gauge through materials found on the site... those being a beer glass... with beer in it... and some chalk from inside the pub where they write their specials on... pretty ingenious huh! the idea then being to sit the glass on a table in the beer garden in the sun and mark the shadows caused by the sun in 5 minute increments and each time taking a sip from the glass to show the two major impacts on the site. The first of course the suns passing across the sky and the second being the impact of beer on the consumer with photos becoming more blurred as the glass emptied... winning idea right? i mean it was formerly an institute for the blind.... and now people get blind drunk there... whilst being blind to nature and the environment around them.. well... i was wrong... in the report back from my lecturers i was scathed for my poor response to creating a language and they were not at all impressed with the concept of the sun through the glass thing...

The images above are the end result of the photo mapping of the ephemeral event using a beer glass as my land gauge... brilliant huh...

But being the determined person i am i simply picked myself up off the floor and set about re-working my concept for the site and turned the idea of glasses of beer into the refraction of light through glass ... remember seeing those wonderful rainbows on that near empty glass of beer when sitting outside in the summer sun? well i do... and it gave me the idea of building a prism... like the one on the Pink Floyd album... yep that's right i made my very own glass prism out of slices of glass in a triangular form & then proceeded to take photos of that in the sun over an hour with the idea of showing the prismatic spectrum and refraction of light through the glass which was similar to what occurs with the oak trees out on site. Quite the nifty response to the shellacking i received from the first assignment and a response the lecturers were really rather impressed with...

The final portion of the assignments was to create a place of rest leading into a stopping place, so i worked through the same process of initial concepts that began as workable but not brilliant through to the concept of a journey of discovery on the site all the while using the sun as the main actor in a play filled with filtration and refraction of light. the concept which was in part similar to my response to the assignment for BAS110 where i took visitors on a journey through space and time was to once again create a pathway only this time an open pathway through the oak trees along that path from the main traffic riddled road to the peaceful and serene beer garden of the Village Melbourne. Along the way there were 5 tents each played on the 5 colours of the spectrum we can see with our naked eye and each tent becoming more obscured to the outside world from the inside as you moved along the path until reaching the stopping place which was a tent devoid of openings to the outside world in which a person could cocoon themselves in over night protected from all that could cause harm. When resting in each of the prism tents along the way you are given a different experience of the outside world through the external finishes and thus experience the sunlight in different ways. the prisms in the pathway journey are either open, covered in slatted timber, perspex, metal with patterns cut into it or silk sheeting all causing varied plays on light and giving visitors to the site varied responses to the sunlight.

While i understand it's not something that would ever be built i imagine it would be quite exciting to be able to sit in one with friends as the sun moves over head enjoying the light show within while enjoying the company of friends or strangers and sipping on a few cold beers in what is one of the last bastions of greenery in an ever increasing urban jungle and that is the essence of this response to site for my assignment.

Now for me it is onto Study Period 3 where i am currently tackling two more subjects in my quest to become an architect and not just a designer. Those classes are  "Architectural Histories of Illusion, Power & Imagination" sounds pretty cool huh... and it is as well as "Architecture & Culture" which is a little less exciting but still quite interesting on a different level...