Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Advertising Agency + Museum | Mid-Design

The following images are from the Mid-Design Review on March 4th

Concept Images (see concept statement)

Concept Statement
At the core of the advertising industry are ideas; ideas are both its product and its resource. The relationship between the advertising agency and the advertising museum here in Chicago could be most closely modeled after a factory and showroom typology, where the overlapping of manufacture and exhibition grant a poetic wholeness to a process which might otherwise be relegated as capricious. Unlike typical mechanized factory manufacturing, the manufacturing which occurs within advertising is primarily cogitative and therefore much less suited for a common standardized operation designed to maximize efficiency. Instead, a building which facilitates the manufacturing of ideas must be able to adapt to the non-linear and inherently unpredictable operations of its occupants. And in exchange for the typical exhibition modeled after the streamlined product which it showcases, the advertising exhibition must come to embody the dynamic nature of its own works.

Organizing program elements with site diagram. (click to play)

Before (in the 25 percent review post) I started to look at how individual work environments could interact and overlap. In doing so, I was primarily experimenting by altering and shifting the office programs. Whereas the agency may take a programmatic approach, for the museum these diagrams look at the interactions between form and space to create a dynamic experience.

Study model exploring the resultant spaces of the museum

Organizing museum program elements to create form (click to play)

Model images with site context

Circulation from street through museum entrance

View of museum entrance from street

Advertising Agency + Museum | 25 Percent

Since I just began this blog last week, some of these progress posts will be retrospective. These are some images of my progress for the 25 percent review in February which was primarily concerned with conceptual design.

To start off, I did a lot of research on how the creative process works and what factors can contribute to a creative environment, which seemed like a good place to start when designing an advertising agency. This is one diagram of my synthesis of that.

In the first couple of weeks we also went to visit a few Chicago advertising agencies, including Leo Burnett. What I learned about their operations is that the creative department will usually work in small groups (3-6 people) for a project. This is looking at how individual work environments might interact and influence each other. (click to play)

How the building form might respond to views.

I then began to think of the museum as a collective result of individual creative developments.

Another diagram of my synthesis of interactive creative developments.

Study model of building forms.

View of museum displays/circulation around a center courtyard

View of lower gallery from park entrance

Spring Studio | Advertising Agency + Museum, Chicago IL

My studio project this semester is an advertising agency and advertising museum in Chicago. Since the site is at a very central location along the Chicago River (Wolf's Point) the project will also work to incorporate the existing riverwalk and water taxi.

Looking North to the site from Lake Street Bridge

Just North of the site, looking South

Among all of the other interesting aspects of the site, I think the different levels within the downtown area are really apparent here (river level, lower street level, upper streets and bridges). 

For any project to be successful on this site, it really has to engage its environment at each of these levels. Since the program requirements are much smaller than the high-density developments around it, there is a real opportunity for the buildings, open park space, and riverwalk to all interact in a unique way.

Wood Fabrication Ideas

Everyone has been coming up with ideas on what we could actually make. Since we are focusing on using only straight members, I have been experimenting with creating curved surfaces that are ruled (a straight line is able to run through the surface at any point). This has the possibility of adding another level of intrigue to the project.

My construction of a curved surface created from straight lines connecting two circles.

Here's a little video of my first proposal.

Everyone liked the design, however there is the obvious question of constructibility. However when I was explaining how I modeled the design, what caught everyone's attention was this.

The idea of spiraling straight wood members around the space would definitely produce a dynamic experience for the user to walk through or sit in. So over the next week I continued to develop this idea, trying to emphasize the effect, create a clearer structure, and generate a space that compresses and releases the occupants.

This line drawing represents wood members and it is the latest iteration.

I am imagining that this could be placed along a popular smaller path on IIT's campus and that seating elements could be incorporated where the structure touches the ground. This design will certainly require us to find a fabricator nearby who will lend us access to a CNC machine. We have just visited a few places in Michigan who were willing to show us around, however they did not have the machine we would need to cut and notch our members. 

Our goal is to use a CNC machine to construct something that we otherwise could not do by hand, but since we are the first students to go through this course, we might not find a place willing to collaborate with us in time. We should know within the next week if we have somewhere to cut, otherwise we may have to simplify our designs quite a bit.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Wood Fabrication

One of my courses this semester is an independent study dealing with detailed digital modeling and fabrication of wood structures. The instructor has started the class with the intent that it will become a seminar course which will work in conjunction with the design/build studios. The work that the other 5 students and I produce is going to help dictate the direction the course will take.

At the beginning of the semester we had a representative come in to teach a software seminar for Dietrich's AG, which the the main program we're using. The purpose of it is primarily for timber frame and post and beam structures with an emphasis on custom wood joinery. The program also provides a ton of information from the digital model for the purpose of fabrication, and has the ability to directly produce code for CNC machines.

At the end of the course we will be constructing a small stick-frame structure using 2x4s or 2x6s. We have been experimenting with the software to see what we can do so we can begin designing our class project. Our goal is to create some type of outdoor pavilion using custom joints instead of screws and plates to hold the structure together.

This is a recent project by Kengo Kuma which is a good source of inspiration as it uses the same strategy of custom wood joints and stick construction that we would be trying to do (at a much smaller scale).

Summer '10 Furniture Building

Unfortunately, last summer was probably not the best time to take a furniture design/build class as the college of architecture was renovating a large industrial building on campus to house the college's new model and wood shop so access to our shop machines was quite limited.

It was still a great class but I wasn't able to finish building my bench (choosing a bent-wood-lamination process didn't help much either). I didn't have access to a working planer or drum sander so I had to strip down 3/32" thick plys of poplar (up to 7 ft long) and try to sand and even them out to a consistent thickness of 1/16". Needless to say, a lot of wood was sacrificed in the process.

After some practice and experimentation I was able to get fairly consistent results cutting, laminating, and molding the forms. I completed at least one form for each of the different components of the bench, although I haven't seen how it all comes together yet.

This summer I am planning on making some adjustments to the design and process from things I've learned and hope to use a full wood shop to make a finished bench. I have a feeling that the planar will make my life a lot eaiser.

Summer '10 Furniture Design

Last summer I took a furniture design/build class which was an 8 week course. The first half of the course we looked at a lot of precedents (we even took a trip to check out the Shaker Village community in Kentucky) and we also did some smaller mock-ups of common connection techniques.

The second half of the course we designed, or choose a design for a furniture piece to build.

My design was a large bent-wood-lamination bench and here are some drawings and small models for it

This is a simple model looking at the connection between the seat portion and the frame