Tuesday, March 31, 2015

RBT light competition

Decided to work on a competition entry for the RBT student light design competition during my winter term. I wasn't taking a studio and had some extra time, and also wanted to play around with rhino vray. I got to work a bit with Esther Hagenlocher, a professor I greatly admire at the program, who works with a lot of the interior architecture classes, teaching things like color theory and such.

The competition was to design two light fixtures for a wine bar, a pendant for the bar, and a surface fixed light for the lounge. Since the concept of the bar was open to students, I decided to take on the idea of a "summer evening" in the backyard. So the idea for the pendant light was to evoke a whimsical feeling of dangling fireflies. The pendant light would be placed at various heights and distances form each other. I played a lot with color in this project and wanted the inside of the wings to be painted yellow so that in a dim setting one would see spots of yellow dangling at various places along the bar. The surface fixed light firstly started out as a leaf like shape, bent in half. They started to take on a more egg-like, round shape, and I decided to call them petals instead of leaves, to keep with the idea of the lounge being the "garden" of the wine bar. Again, I wanted to play with color. The petals of the light kind of curve from the light source so that a slit is created for light to hit the top surface of the petal, which would be painted a peachy color. The color would then very subtly reflect onto the ceiling. Below, there would be a transparent fabric dangling from the petals, I chose gray, but I would like to play around more with color. The fabric was used to diffuse the light a bit more.

I really would have liked to explore how the lights would be technically built, and how the pieces and components would be put together. I kind of ran out of time, as projects always seem to go...

Monday, March 30, 2015

a week at Min | Day

A mentor had the grand idea of spending spring break week volunteering at a firm, in order to gain some intern experience and connections in the workplace. Usually firms wouldn't be too opposed to having some free help for a week, and it's a lot easier to manage than employing an intern. So this past week I had worked at Min | Day from about 10am to 5pm, and got to experience a bit of what a small firm looks like.

They are located in the Dogpatch area of SF. It's an industrial area starting to really pickup and re-emerge into one of those hip new neighborhoods that people always have mixed feelings about. It's pretty flooded with designers and architects as well which was interesting. I chose Min | Day because they seemed to focus a lot on color, material, surface, form, how the user interacts and plays with space. They also have a furniture line called MOD which was highly intriguing to me as I am also interested in multidisciplinary work, expanding past just buildings.

Anyway, the first couple days were pretty labor intensive. I was building shelves and organizing all the materials into their new materials library, a 250 sf space a couple floors below the main office. The next few days were focussed on generating presentation items, which of course was a lot more fun as I got to play around with illustrator and photoshop. They had me generate a site context model on rhino, just basic massing forms of one of their project sites. I also worked on cleaning up floor plans and adjusting line weights so they could use it for presentations for clients and the website. I also generated some diagrams indicating structure phases for one of their larger projects so that the client can understand more easily the various phases of the construction. It was mostly some graphic work the firm usually doesn't get time to do as they seem to be incredibly busy with construction documents and drawings for their multiple projects.

Throughout the week the firm (of only 5 people including the principal) would hold meetings at various times to discuss projects such as the furniture line, etc. In the small firm a lot of people are involved in multiple projects and take on various responsibilities for them. It seemed to be a pretty tight knit culture, and we had a small firm outing to go bouldering and grab some food and drinks after (the other principal was visiting for the week as well).

I think the idea of volunteering for a week provides some good incite into how the firm works, and it could definitely lead to an extended offer to intern for the summer (which really is kind of the goal). I think in the big picture it can be extremely beneficial, as you start making some connections and understanding how things work in the real world. Of course, by mid week I had started to wonder why exactly I am spending my week off of school to do work, since once I start actually getting into the workplace there's never free breaks to just do whatever I want. But of course sometimes you need to just experience and sacrifice a bit before appreciating what you have. I got some really good exposure and got to meet some interesting people, and I think that is highly worth a week of volunteering.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

structures project

This term structures has been less statics based and more design based, allowing for some fun little assignments. Here is one I just completed. The structure is a bit bulky, I later realized after making the renderings that the member sizes could be slimmed down.

This is a tram shelter designed to resist lateral loads as well as snow loads. Dead loads and self weight also were taken into account and calculated for.

 We used the computer software multiframe to help us analyze the shear, tension, deflection and moment caused by the loads.
 Here I analyzed the deflection of 3 different members of the structure.
Hand calculations for assessing loads to be applied to the multiframe model.

This is an example of how I located the numbers to be entered into the excel sheet that calculates the percent utilization of the members, and whether it satisfies the AISC specs.

Loads applied using multiframe.
Simple plan and elevation of the structure.
 Two sections of the structure.
 Although primarily a structures project, I had wanted to integrate a strong design concept and color to the project. I decided to play with how color may divide space, using a transparent medium (perhaps glass). The roof became a playful paper-fold like shape due to the mirroring of the repeating structural system. The shelter is specifically designed as a module to be repeated for any length. I thought color could also help identify the tram stop, so that users may associate color with location.