This project was really useful in developing an understanding and the skills in required to design and build large scale objects. This is new ground form me and has highlighted simple lessons that now seem obvious, but have led on to a wider appreciation of the importance of balancing design parameters. For instance I now realise that the tolerances within a larger object need to much greater than those on smaller object. Whilst this seems obvious it was still valuable to recognise how much bigger the tolerances need to be and how this in turn impacts on other design decisions. Given that the final structure was too tight to fit together properly, in future I will not only need to increase the widths of the joints, but also ensure this does not compromise the ability of the finished structure to support itself. So there is a middle ground I need to find through future experimentation.
The majority of the project was familiar and the way we were working was similar to the way I would normally work. However I haven’t really had to pitch to a client before. Our pitch went well mainly because we had practiced beforehand as a group and we all knew what we were talking about, however I found that when I became nervous I started forgetting what I was meant to say so in future I will practice more so I don’t forget.
There are a number of other lessons that have proved useful. I am glad we ended up choosing to work in plywood. If we had worked with a material that posed so many difficulties, as the black plastic initially considered would have, due to its lack of rigidity, we would have spent so much time trying to compensate for the material. Ultimately other aspects of the design would have suffered. I also think we should have finalised the structure of the design slightly sooner, as by the time we ordered the materials it was getting quite tight for time. It worked out fine in the end, but it would have been good to have more time to practice assembling and I would certainly not want to repeat the experience of cutting on the router on the morning of the exhibition. In that regard the choice of the CNC router proved critical, as allowed us to create a more interesting and complex object, which wouldn’t have had been possible in the time frame if we were using traditional techniques.
My contribution and involvement within most aspects within the project, has been positive. As a group we kept each other quite structured and made sure we all knew what we were responsible for doing. In terms of the research stage I offered a lot of research into design processes using Grasshopper. Also I researched anthropometric measurements in order to make sure our design was functional. I believe this research was invaluable and will be incredibly relevant to my own practice. It is something to be developed in future projects. Overall I think my involvement throughout the project has been good, I have been involved in modelling, group tutorials and research. However I feel in the future at the start of project my research needs to be broader.
In terms of the work we produced I think as a group we all collaborated really well. Each member knew which part of the project they were responsible for delivering, yet maintained a role in decisions affecting the final outcome. For example I was most focused on the structure itself and how it would be assembled. But I also contributed to the dialogue that fed into every aspect of the design. Collaborating on the basis of each member focusing on a single element, meant that we could get more work done in the time than if we had all tried to concentrate on the same part all the way through.
I think that a testimony to how well we worked as a group came as Atul Bansal, whose roof we exhibited on, has asked the group to design him another larger structure, as well as asking to keep the pavilion which we constructed for the exhibition.
Of course there are areas of our design I believe we could improve on, and I have already mentioned that I could have made the tolerances larger, which would have mean the structure would have fitted together better. But also I would have liked to develop the design a little further and have it reach the ground in more interesting ways. However, at the time at least I didn’t know how to script this well enough and so is something I aim to include in future designs
My main motivation throughout this project has been to develop my skills in generative design and to learn some of the skills needed to design and construct larger scale projects which will become fundamental to my practice as a parametric designer who works on various scales.