Jumping over the lazy dog

or, taking the bull by the horns.

4000 cubic feet and other architectural recipes

Short stories, and illustrated, at that. Bon appetit!

4000 c.f.

Our first project of the semester asked us to create a pavilion on an imaginary site, incorporating a tectonic language that was integral to the form-making of our intervention. If nothing else, my vocabulary is improving.

I created a module composed of a perforated sheet that expands to create internal volume. The module is then repeated and varied to create a wall and roof condition. I was really trying to capture diffused light and create a moire effect as you pass through the site.

One of the biggest challenges of this program so far has been transitioning from digital to traditional drawing techniques. I seem to have a fear of failing in a hand-drawing, and so try it out first on CAD. This might be counter-productive to my desire to get more than 5 hours of sleep a night...

Our final review was last Monday and Tuesday (gosh, I can’t believe it was a week ago – time flies incredibly fast around here…) and I got a pretty good review! The guest critics got a bit distracted by the drawing below, and wound up spending most of their time talking about that drawings potential.

This drawing was a preliminary study of the surface of a ball of yarn...I extrapolated the way a thread of yarn, as a line, pulls itself apart to create an internal volume. We never really got around to talking about that bit in the critique...

But overall, I think it went well. A classmate took notes for  me, and a good thing too, because I barely remember what happened (not because of sleep deprivation, but because it’s a bit like performing on stage – the highlights you remember aren’t those the audience remembers).

Formal Analysis with Peter Eisenman

Where we learned that Louis Khan died $4 million in debt and we should assume a similar fate awaits us. We also try to analyze buildings.

Our first drawing asked us to find the critical difference between Brunelleschi's San Lorenzo and Santo Spirito. I looked at the axial relationships in San Lorenzo that are inhibited by the rigid adherence to the grid in Santo Spirito.

These two drawings were my first attempts at ink on mylar. It's both challenging and very zen - you draw all your verticals, then wait, draw all your horizontals, then wait, draw all your diagonals in one direction, etc...wax on, wax off. (These are the preliminary CAD/Illustrator files, by the way...my line weights for the final drawing were much better).

Other waking hour preoccupations include…

  • Visualisation II: A continuation of my summer studies, with a lot of sketching leading to a drawing each week. I’ll post the sketches and drawings after our first review next week.
  • Modern Architecture: I get to sit and listen to Kurt Forster talk about architecture. That’s pretty awesome. Like most of our faculty, he has a good sense of humor and doesn’t hesitate to bring it into the classroom. Last week he managed to reference both Harry Potter and Star Wars.
  • Structures: I’m really glad we have one no-nonsense class. I’m learning a lot, math and engineering wise, but am glad I did a design degree as an undergrad, because the professor likes to skim past construction terminology that some of my classmates aren’t familiar with (CMUs, flange, shear connection, etc.).

A non-architectural side-note: Brownie Sundae Sunday

My roommates and I hosted a get-together / impromptu house-warming party. There were delicious brownie sundaes and refreshments. Everyone mingled nicely. We cleaned up within an hour of kicking the last person out the door. I’d consider it a success.

The roommates and I in front of our darling black board. Unfortunately, only W got the suit memo.

Next time on Jumping over the lazy dog: Amrita gets to be a prisoner and have a round-table discussion with Peter Eisenman.

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How does an architect sigh?

Oh, void. *badum-schhh*

By the end of the summer session, our appreciation for puns had improved significantly, or our sense of humor had depreciated drastically, depending on your point of view. This was probably due to the lack of sleep provoked by the final part of the Enclosure project: the two-point perspective. A harmless drawing, at first sight, until you add the following caveats: a two-point perspective with a final width of 6′ in its smallest dimension, constructed as a participant in a 2-3 person group. Oh yes, this was a group project.

My teammates and I began with a few sketches but moved quickly to the larger drawing, since we had a lot of ground to cover...literally. Those blue lines were constructed with a chalk-line. Our thumbtack place-holders for the vanishing points were spaced more than 20' apart. That's four times my height, in case you were wondering.

The finished oversized perspective, made with, as the critics noted, a lot of love.

My favorite part was probably the trees - I'd never done trees in charcoal before, so I was winging it. I filled in the shadows and "bulk" while my teammate cleaned up my act by kneading away the highlights. Yes, those are her fingerprints.

I made it to studio the morning of our final review, feeling not terribly tired, since our group managed to stay on track with our scheduling on the massive drawing, allowing me to stay on track with my own work. Unfortunately, I arrived two hours early because pin-up was at 10AM, not 9, and nobody sent me the memo, resulting in an energy slump somewhere between what should have been lunch and my own review (next-to-last in line). So while I’d love to regale you with more curious quotes, they seem to have escaped me this time around. Overall, I’d say it was another series of positive critiques, in the sense that while all critics acknowledge various faults in the drawings presented, they did so with a smile and nod of encouragement. Which softens the blow of someone “hmm”-ing at every line in your drawing.

After the critique, for which many of us were asleep, we went home and slept some more. Then we came back to speak to our professors in an exit interview, where I gathered that while ambition is a good thing, I need to learn time management. While my professors might not be reading this blog, and therefore might not be aware of “the Amrita,” they are right in pointing out that it’s not exactly an efficient method of working. Perhaps I should give more thought to the reasons “the Amrita” comes about…and then figure out a preventive treatment for this ailment.

On the plus side, I also learned I can write! Well, I can write well enough to have my essay for the history portion of the summer session published in our course documentation booklet. If you’re so curious as to want to read my essay, you can purchase a copy of the entire book for $33.50, a comfortably-sized coffee table volume of beautiful drawings, or you can do what us poor grad students do and download a PDF version for free.

Perhaps the best part of the last week of summer courses was the After Party. At an undisclosed location, at a rather high altitude, we danced the night away. Nothing helps you forget the minute details of a facade like getting down to Kanye.

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