Unit X: Blue sky thinking – Investigation

Since the last post I have been researching new scripting techniques in order to design on a larger scale. I produced models like the one shown below so I can check that the script is working. The technique I have found most useful is Karamba, as I mentioned in the last post. This works well and has allowed us to develop designs a lot faster than the methods previously used. I also found a better means of labelling parts as they come off of the CNC router. This will be really helpful because in the past I have struggled with assembling models because I didn’t know what part was what.

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To produce the scale of the object we want within the timescale for delivery we need to use the CNC router.  We found out recently we can’t cut the Stokbord plastic on the CNC router in the workshops. This has meant we have had to change the material we are going to use, from the plastic to plywood. This is a bit of a relief because the plastic sheets we have are quite thin, so it would have been hard to produce a stable structure.  Also by using plywood we have less limitations and can focus more on the form of our design. This has given the group new opportunities to look at other materials and textures we might introduce into our design. This is something that I tend to overlook, as I tend to concentrate on form, but because I am working in a group with multiple disciplines I have become more aware of wider possibilities.  This has been a valuable lesson, as it has led to some interesting interactive ideas that I shall now explore within my own practice. One of the ideas that I particularly like is covering some of the panels in a reflective material so that the design engages people differently relative to where they are standing.  From this we are going experiment in laser cutting patterns in the materials and see what effects it would create.

Having resolved the design process we can now think more creatively about how we want to develop the form of the object and thinking about how the pavilion will be realised. For instance I need to concentrate on making the design the right size for people to engage with. As I am interested in designing larger object this part is really important experience and will be a large learning curve. On a more practical level we need to finalise the structure itself in order to work out how much material we need to order and come up with the cutting files. Because of the construction methods we have selected,  actually building the structure shouldn’t take too long as each component comes ready to use once it has been  cut on the CNC router. It only then requires slotting together to assemble.


render of design with smart material covers on

The only thing I can think of that would take longer is the application of the texture or reflective material, but we will have a better idea after further investigation and testing. We also need to research into more of the conceptual side of our design and in particular the covers which would open and close automatically. This could be done mechanically, using an Arduino for example. However, a more interesting prospect might be using some smart materials which will react to changes in the environment with no need for any mechanical input.


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