Posts tagged with "London":
MC/2* is composed of .04-thick laser-cut polypropylene and aluminum rivets. Each component is flexible, but when assembled the surface becomes rigid.The triangular MC/2* is the latest iteration of London-based Romanian architect Vlad Tenu’s Minimal Complexities Series. With this prototype, he continues to explore the idea of creating minimal surface geometries from modular components—a thread that has been present throughout much of his work. This time, he has pushed the boundaries even further by whittling down the components. The undulating structure, made of translucent laser-cut polypropylene and aluminum rivets, was first unveiled hanging from the ceiling of the Open House event for Digital Shoreditch Festival 2012. It was then exhibited months later, at the International Architecture and Design Showcase at the London Architecture Festival 2012. This prototype follows a natural progression in this ongoing series, which gained recognition when Tenu was named the winner of the second annual Tex-Fab Repeat Digital Fabrication Competition for his Minimal Complexity structure in 2011. For this project, Tenu created an algorithm within software program Processing that dictates basic geometries on minimal surfaces. “The method that is behind this project is having a very flexible number of particles added and removed from the system that constantly updates itself into a minimal geometry, and that is what the algorithm originally refers to,” said Tenu. Tenu fabricated Minimal Complexity from 16 modular variants. For MC/2*, he reduced that number to just two different components. Over the course of two afternoons, Tenu and colleagues from Surface assembled the 500 components into 250 modular regions. The entire structure, which can stand independently or be suspended from the ceiling, spans 10 feet in length, 7 feet in width, and 5 feet in height. While the individual pieces are light and malleable, made of .04-inch-thick laser-cut polypropylene, “Structurally the piece is very rigid and quite strong compared to the material which is very flexible. It can easily be self-supporting,” said Tenu. “I am always trying to integrate ideas of very pragmatic applications,” said Tenu. “With these prototypes, the idea is to test systems and learn from the special properties of them.”
Making a strong, modular and architecturally significant pavilion on pocket changeFor the Designers in Residence exhibition, Design Museum London asked four teams to respond to a brief entitled "Thrift." The four resulting projects address the notion that "the limitations of economy require more resourceful, inspired and intelligent use of materials and process" and that the constraints of thrift ultimately lead to "a more creative and fully resolved outcome" than a project with limitless resources. One of the four chosen proposals came from Lawrence Lek, an architect and sculptor who worked with Ken Yeang in Malaysia and Foster + Partners in London before founding his eponymous studio in 2011. For his project, "Unlimited Edition," he reflected on how he has approached fabricating prototypes since completing his studies at the Architectural Association (AA) in 2008. "I remember a lot of students' work, and mine especially, could be very extravagant with materials because being in school you have the luxury of many resources… One thing I found difficult just after leaving the academic world was actually fabricating prototypes." Without the ability to move freely between digital modeling and CNC milling, not to mention the wealth of other equipment available to him at AA, Lek decided to simplify his entire approach. "I use materials in an economical way out of necessity rather than an aesthetic idea," Lek said. "I try to make the most effective shape from limited materials." Instead of seeing this as a burden, Lek commented, "Thrift is the opportunity to create something completely unexpected from a very simple material technique, making the most of whatever opportunities or materials you immediately have." Lek decided to make a pavilion because, among other reasons, "it's like an extra small, deluxe version of an architect's work." He also wanted to see whether he could apply his experiments with bending plywood to create strong, modular, free standing, three dimensional forms that could be transported and assembled with ease, and then disassembled and used for something else. He began by experimenting with symmetrical shapes found in nature and cut small, Rorschach-like patterns out of paper, combining them in a variety of formations. He then made models from thin pieces of plywood, which he soaked and shaped into place. After the wood dries and the ties binding it into place are removed, the wood retains its shape without compromising the integrity of the materials. "I'm using plywood, which is lightweight but just thick enough that when it forms a shell it can be quite strong. Also I want it to be light so you can transport it just by carrying it in pieces. That's more like a tent, whereas most pavilions are made with really thick and heavy components that need a crane to be put into place." Once Lek developed a stable shape he tested it out with larger pieces cut from full size 4-by-8-foot plywood sheets by a CNC miller. He used the larger shapes to make furniture as well as modular units that he used to create the "Unlimited Edition" pavilion. He built a water tank slightly larger than the 4-by-8-foot sheets so he could soak them in his studio. Wrangling them into shape by himself was markedly more difficult than shaping his original palm-size models, but Lek was able to make the six pieces he needed to build the pavilion, which he secured with zip ties. Though Lek's acceptance into the Designers in Residence program afforded him the means to develop this fabrication process, he's still experimenting with all the possible applications. Potentially, Lek can patent his design and either sell the basic plans or manufacture and flat pack the pre-soaked plywood forms themselves. More importantly, his experiments show how large, sophisticated structures can be made from the most basic materials and processes. Wasteful fabrication methods and costly materials are not only unnecessary, they act as a barrier between a person interacting with the raw functionality of the space. "Most design products are designed to be stand alone objects," said Lek, "but it's when I join them together that they form another structure as well. That brings me back to my initial interest with design, playing with forms that by themselves don't really do anything, but it's when you join them together they suggest a function." Designers in Residence runs through January 13, 2013.
A 100 percent PET plastic garden grows in LondonIf you were fortunate enough to visit the London Olympics this summer and happened to walk through Victoria Park or the main quad at University College London (UCL) on your way to the games, then you experienced BLOOM, a big, bright, architectural garden created by complete strangers who gathered over the course of the two weeks to piece together 60,000 plastic game pieces, all dyed official Olympic hot pink. Designed by Alisa Andrasek and Jose Sanchez, two architecture professors from UCL's Bartlett School of Architecture, BLOOM was selected by the Greater London Authority for a series of events and installations mounted in two locations during the games with a third location in Trafalgar Square to follow for the upcoming Paralympics. Andrasek and Sanchez had been developing the idea for an open-ended, crowdsourced game that would encourage interaction between people in a large public space when the opportunity to be involved with the Olympics arose. The timing was perfect. Here was a moment in the city's history when locals and tourists alike would be in the same location to celebrate athletics, and Andrasek and Sanchez hoped to capitalize on that spirit of camaraderie. The game starts with the pink game pieces, called cells. Each 16 inch-long cell is made of 100% PET plastic and has three points of entry, or notches used to connect the pieces together. Once Andrasek and Sanchez created a design for the cells, they were injection molded at Atomplast, a Chilean plastics fabricator that Andrasek and Sanchez had worked with previously. The cells are flexible, durable and can be bent and twisted into different configurations without warping or breaking. There were also several structural steel components on hand for using with the cells to build benches, tables, forts and other larger formations. Andrasek and Sanchez began the game by building the first structure themselves, which completely disappeared by the end of the Olympics as people took turns adding onto it and taking pieces away. "Some people really like building whilst others enjoy the act of destroying what someone else did. For us this is mainly the collection and release of energy," the designers wrote in an email. Though BLOOM doesn't have any hard and fast rules, the basic guidelines for building were posted on large banners and two BLOOM team members were on hand to answer questions and teach people how to create larger formations. "As much as we provided help, most of the interesting stuff that people built came out of a group of people taking some time to learn how the system behaves just by playing." Andrasek and Sanchez also had fun playing with BLOOM and testing out different kinds of structures. "We have built maybe five different versions of structures between Victoria Park and UCL, and each time it's different as we keep developing skills of how to do it better,” they wrote. “We reached 3.5 meters in height, but it could go higher as long as we keep on reinforcing the structure. On the other hand, there's a risk with taller structures that can collapse at any time. This did occur several times but the cells are only 200 grams so it’s quite harmless and such an event becomes a motivation to start the game again." The BLOOM team brought out 2,000 new pieces each day to facilitate the game and encourage people to build bigger and higher. "The energy for BLOOM is sourced from people's interactions. None of the pieces can do anything on their own. Only by putting together thousands of them is when the game and the BLOOM garden emerge. The final piece is a collective act of imagination, search and play." The games are on hold for now, but will begin again soon for the Paralympics, which runs from August 28 - October 9, 2012. After that the pieces can either be collected and used to start another game elsewhere or they can be sent back to Atomplast to be recycled into something new.