Posts tagged with "DIY":

After Oakland, here’s how architects can help make DIY spaces safer

In the aftermath of the Oakland warehouse fire that has claimed dozens of lives so far, two architects are putting together building resources to make DIY spaces safer. Princeton, New Jersey–based Melissa J. Frost and Seattle-based Susan Surface are deeply familiar with DIY (do-it-yourself) spaces like the Oakland Ghost Ship, the live/work space where at least 36 people lost their lives this weekend. These buildings, often repurposed relics of bygone industry, are unofficial but beloved venues, artists' studios, or both. In many cities, DIY spaces flourish in plain sight of authorities but lack the resources to acquire permits or renovate their structures up to code. In light of the Oakland fire, Frost has created a "resource-in-progress" site, safer spaces, for people in need of or offering immediate services like housing and food, as well as longer-term resources for existent venues. So far, the site has a forum for artists to request project assistance or building services, and a growing list of DIY structural harm reduction measures. At this time, Frost and Surface are collaborating on a more in-depth response, soliciting input from others rebuilding after the tragedy:
Our immediate focus is on serving the needs of DIY venues and the people who visit them. We are now working day and night to make sense of available information and others’ efforts, and organize it into usable form. The vast amount of information available, and the unique conditions of each venue, make it impossible for us to be comprehensive, thorough, or perfect. But we intend to compile an affordable and accessible starting point that empowers our community members to implement harm reduction strategies that will improve the spaces where we gather.
In a public online statement, the duo say fellow architects, engineers, accessibility experts, firefighters, acousticians, and others have reached out with contributions. Readers in need of aid or those who would like to share their expertise can find more information here.

Open-source parametric brick wall “hacks the digital” in Iran

Sstudiomm, an Iranian architecture office founded by Hossein Naghavi, has developed a digital brick laying technique and an open-source DIY kit for architects interested in the system. The project, titled Negative Precision, is the outcome of Naghavi’s independent research into parametrically derived brick laying techniques. Using Kohler and Gramazio’s 2006 robotically programmed wall as a departure point, sstudiomm sought out alternative methods to reproduce the same effect with a limited budget, “in order to make the luxurious reachable for a greater group.” Located in Iran’s historic city of Damavand (roughly 50 miles west of Tehran), the project pulls from traditional brick patterning in the city, most notably Shebeli Tower which dates back to the 10th century. The architects digitally modeled an “X” shaped form that references the decorative brick tower, then worked with Grasshopper to produce a script varying brick rotation. The outcome of the script is essentially a stack bond brick veneer wall where bricks rotate within a calculated 18 degree range to register a patterned "X" form across the facade. Sstudiomm confidently calls this the “simplest grasshopper code ever.” From the digital model, a series of precise stencil templates are produced from lasercut stock aluminum plate. In the field, a plum string helps to establish a start point for each course of bricks. Theoretically by adjusting the reference surface in the script, a new textural patterning will be generated, offering a customizable visual identity for other architects. Sstudiomm says the most significant challenge for the undulated brick veneer wall was the handling of gaps between bricks, which vary by almost an inch. As a brick rotates outward, a larger gap is produced between neighboring bricks. “The gaps are never seen from the front view and from almost all of the perspectives they are hidden by staggering bricks around them. These gaps are providing the financial possibility of having a parametric wall built without a robot.”
  • Facade Manufacturer Heidari brick of Tehran (brick manufacturer)
  • Architects sstudiomm
  • Facade Installer Sadegh Naghavi, Behest construction co. (construction) with sstudiomm
  • Facade Consultants n/a
  • Location Damavand, Iran
  • Date of Completion 2016
  • System Independent self-standing veneer wall connected to the main structure
  • Products Iranian traditional bricks by Heidari, lasercut aluminum stencils
Another challenge for the project team was the dimensional stability of the brick units. For this facade, three different colors and dimensions (from 7.5 inches to 8 inches) are incorporated due to a handmade manufacturing process that yields variation based on heat exposure from location in the kiln. Naghavi says the brick laying method was able to accommodate this diversity by prioritizing a clean starting and ending point at the corners of the facade. “You need to align the outer corner of the brick with inside of the stencil, and that’s all that matters. This will result in a change in the width of the vertical bonds which does not matter because they already are a mess.” Negative Precision challenges a “surplus precision” of digital fabrication, which typically drives up project cost. “A considerable part of building industry functions with lower precision, and uses production methods of the last century. In other words, digital technology is a luxury, though it may not be revealed in the first glance,” said Naghavi in an interview with AN. “Precision fetishism is generally interesting as it is a phenomenon everybody is struggling with in some level, whether in buildings or raising a kid. Apparently as a group of mammals we like organizing, and we are very capable of liking it too much.” By allowing for some degree of error in the translation between his digital model and the built form, Naghavi has prioritized economy over precision, embracing a "lo-fi" approach to digital fabrication: “I avoided an accurate 3-D model, not only for my own laziness, but also for generalizing the design method and unbinding it from the 3-D model. The builder is left on site with a new tool.” Naghavi said his work actually consists of three parallel projects: a building, a method, and a paper. “I think the more we move away from the matter [the built work] toward words, the result becomes more important as it will have a longer life.” Naghavi says the paper has taken more time than the building. “This brick project is a very small outcome of the strategies discussed in the paper.” To continue the discussion, another significant artifact of the project—the 17 lasercut aluminum stencils—are up for sale on sstudiomm's website, which offers a DIY kit geared towards design professionals.

Situ Studio’s Maker Space

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A new installation at the NY Hall of Science celebrates DIY culture

The recently opened Maker Space at the New York Hall of Science is just what its name implies—a place to make things. The initial installation is by Singer Sewing Company, which donated 18 sewing machines, a garment steamer, finishing iron, and other equipment that will teach children and families the basics of sewing and quilting. Programming will also include workshops about conductive fabrics and soft circuits that can be used in a range of applications. The space is a symbol of work that can come out of fostering a culture of scientific learning through hands-on projects. Designed and fabricated by Brooklyn-based Situ Studio, the Maker Space itself is contained within a plywood 3-pin arch structure based on themes of craft and assembly.
  • Fabricator Situ Fabrication
  • Architect Situ Studio
  • Location New York, New York
  • Status Complete
  • Materials Plywood, fasteners, acrylic, acoustical panels
  • Process Parametric design, iterative modeling, material studies, prototyping, full-scale fabrication
“Situ Studio and the New York Hall of Science share the conviction that the act of making itself can and should become a generative part of both learning and design,” said Situ’s Wes Rozen at the opening. “We are thrilled to be able to work with the New York Hall of Science on Maker Space as it is a project which, in many ways, is the embodiment of these values.” Situ's structure arches over approximately 1,200 square feet within the Hall of Science's Central Pavilion, designed by Wallace Harrison for the 1964 World's Fair. The space includes a system of modular acoustical panels, display cases, and storage units that tie into the structure with a series of threaded perforations. Furniture units can be tucked under the structure if more floor space is needed for group activities. With approximately two months for research and schematic design, one month for design development (including sourcing materials and securing sponsorship of some products), and two months for fabrication and installation, Maker Space was realized in a tight time frame and on a limited budget. Situ’s greatest challenge was to develop the design quickly enough that production and installation could begin even before all of the major details had being resolved. Designing flexibility into the structure gave Situ additional time to develop the project. Maker Space was designed by Situ Studio and built by its sister company, Situ Fabrication. The teams worked fluidly between digital models and mock-ups from the very beginning of the project. Parametric models built in Grasshopper were quickly tested in full-scale mockups at all stages. The design embodies Situ's practice as a whole: With a well-equipped fabrication shop adjacent to its offices, projects are frequently developed through iterative models, material studies, prototypes, and full-scale mock-ups. Design ideas are always tested through physical experimentation at the studio. Maker Space was no exception—at one point, a full-scale arch reached across the office and bolted into a pin-up wall covered in drawings and renderings of the construction. Watch a video of the final installation here: Making Maker Space from Situ Studio on Vimeo. From a programmatic standpoint, the Hall of Science wanted a space that enhanced science learning and collaboration in a workshop environment that did not feel like a classroom. Situ's task was to create a structure that leant itself to a wide range of activities, from individual experiments to larger projects, without duplicating a school setting. To that end, the Maker Space structure is a pegboard that simultaneously supports the electrical, acoustical, storage, and display requirements of the space. It is flexible in case future uses call for reconfiguration. Similarly, the joinery of the interlocking arches is emphasized through the use of simple materials and exposed hardware. Openness and transparency were important aspects of the museum's goal for the design. The structure encourages passive observation by curious visitors, who can glimpse activities from the outside. Practically speaking, storage was another big requirement. The museum had to store and access all of the equipment and materials needed to run workshops inside Maker Space so that the environment could transition efficiently from hosting a bustling group of students to being a clean, quiet creative space. Double-sided units woven through the superstructure function as storage on the interior. Display units on the exterior now showcase work made by visitors within the workshop, which in the future will host sessions on topics ranging from soldering and circuitry to using open-source hardware.