January 31, 2010

craft based

Monday January 25, 2010 started with an office meeting. The topic of the meeting was Embedded Knowledge.  He went over how he would like the firm to be more craft oriented which is more of an attitude. Being a craft based firm means having the “want to do” attitude and the skills to make and design well.  We also discussed the importance of job hours, keeping track of them, and why we need to do this. I learned there are only so many billable hours for each job and if we exceed those hours the firm will lose money. Randy went over a few more financial matters and then dove into the details about present projects and the projects to come. Pandora and Wingstop are both projects we are waiting to get approval to start working on. Pandora is going to be a jewelry retail shop and Wingstop is a restaurant with an all wing menu. Another project Jon and I are going to be starting is for marketing. We will be organizing and printing photographs, drawings, renderings, and diagrams for certain projects and create books for them. Randy will then take these books to New York City to multiply magazine publishers such as, Dwell, Architectural Record, Interior Design, and Metropolis, in hopes to be published. But, before the books are started my main goal was the Take a Seat Project.

The Take a Seat project is a non-profit design build program sponsored by the city of Omaha. Many of the local design firms were asked to participate in this effort to provide a new bench in the Gene Leany Park in Downtown Omaha. The city of Omaha is giving each firm a choice of 23 different locations in the park and supplying forty square feet of concrete to anchor the bench to. Randy put me in charge of reading through the program and initiate work. After reading through the program I did some research on what a chair is, different names for a chair, and how people use “chairs”. I met with Randy to discuss what I had come up with. He wanted me to question the definition of a chair and what we could do to make this a remarkable bench. Questions he asked me to think about were, do you have to sit in it, can you turn it upside down, what is it, why is it a chair, how is it a chair. Exploring different ideas was the main objective.  Can people kneel or lean against this thing? Can we make this a place of interaction, such as a center for stretching? The rest of Monday was spent researching these ideas and trying to understand how they could become a reality. Researching dimensions of kneeling chairs, stretching stations, and leaning devices were all part of the process as well.

Tuesday was a day of making our ideas a reality. I went through numerous study models. Playing with the different forms and making the forms into usable spaces was a very interesting process. This was very similar to the conceptual phase at studio. There are numerous study models; some work and some don’t.   It was not only fun but I also learned a lot about how good design needs research to help the ideas be valid. To build the structures I used bailing metal wire. This represents the steel re-bar we have decided to use for the end result.

Wednesday was also spent making more study models. Randy came in to look at the different ideas and the one that caught his eye was actually a piece of scrap wire I had thrown to the side. The way it laid created an appealing form with engaging spaces. We bent and molded more structures to generate more free flowing forms. By the end of the day we decided on that first free flowing form.

Thursday became a challenging day, the days goal was to take the free flowing form into CAD. This task was testing for me because I have never designed free flowing structures before, so I have never had a reason to draw a free flowing structure before.  After an hour or so of trying to get this object into CAD, I decided another form of technology may save time and frustration. I turned to Rhino, a 3D computer program, mainly used by Interior Architects at K-state. I never used this program before; it was very similar to CAD and 3Ds Max, both of which I use in great amounts during studio. I realized this program was an excellent choice for this type of project. Also, it was very user friendly so it did not take me long to caught on. With this program I can draw the bench at any and all views; I was drawing it in plan, section, elevations, and perspective, which made the drawing process one hundred times easier.  After drawing the bench to a scale, I went back to the physical element to create a scaled model.

Friday was spent documenting the work. First, I set up the conference room area into a photography room. The process of photography takes time but in the end, it will save time. Once the photographing was completed I went into Photoshop and cleaned up small issues and then worked on placing the model into a scene from the Park.

Over the weekend I went to Warrensburg, Missouri to visit a friend from high school at UCM for the weekend. It was very interesting to learn how she spends her weekends; it is very different from an architecture student. She is an athletic training major and she will be graduating this coming May. Her weekends consist of sleeping in, then watching TV. in her pajamas until about 1:00 p.m., then most weekends she goes to a sporting event to clean up after each game which takes about 30-60 minutes. When she is finished cleaning up, she goes home and hangs out with her roommates until they find some where to go. It is very different from my weekend schedule because I rarely sleep in, I don’t even use my T.V. at my apartment, and most weekends are spent in studio working on designs, other class homework, or preparing for an upcoming test for ridiculous amounts of hours. The learning styles are a lot different. She lives the more “college life” like many people like to say, while architectural students have “no life” like others like to say. But, I do believe we are learning and appreciating a lot more because of it. We are learning how to manage our time and work hard to get what we want. I feel like I defiantly make the most out of my free time and appreciate it more.

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  1. […] are multiple blogs that go into greater detail about the design process and fabrication – here, here and […]

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