Unit X: Blue sky thinking – Research

I have started unit X doing two different projects; the MIF competition with a group of 3rd year 3D designers; and the Blue Sky Thinking rooftop project with a mixture of Textiles in practice and 3D students.

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Brainstorming ideas as a group to create our manifesto

For Blue Sky Thinking we started by creating a manifesto within our groups. I think this was really useful because it gave us a focus around which we could start our research. To create the manifesto we each found a design manifesto to show our personal interests. I looked at the Parametricism manifesto written by Patrik Schumacher. This is a manifesto I have looked at in the past and I try to use many of the principles within my own work. We realised after looking at all the manifestos we collected that we wanted our groups manifesto to focus around modern design processes and construction techniques. Also looking at practitioners such as Zaha Hadid, Frie Otto and Mark Fornes from Thevarymany has been very useful.

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Group research for manifesto

I found this development of a manifesto really useful because by reaching an agreement the group could reduce the time that might have been taken up with unnecessary research. I think maybe in future projects I should try and focus my projects in a similar way. After we created our manifesto we had to present it to everyone on the unit.  The feedback we got was that we were being too broad and not focused enough. We believe this is a result of some of the people in our group being interested in other motivations behind their work, as a result the group was reorganised and a couple of people chose to join a different group. I think we will benefit from this as now our group will be more dedicated.

The  group decided we would create a shelter or pavilion through generative design in order to keep with the modern focus of our group. This has meant I have had to research scripts which will design and test structures so I know they won’t fall down.  I already know how to use the Kangaroo plug-in for Grasshopper to create structures in the way shown in the video. However this is quite limited in terms of variables and is intensive on the computer. I know of another plug-in call Karamba which I am going to learn as it allows for more control, is a much more efficient way of designing and allows for testing the structure. So I have decided to research this. The extra control Karamba allows should create a more developed design and give the group more control of the outcome. We plan to use a CNC router as the main tool in the construction of our design because it means we can avoid repetition within our design without incurring an increase time in manufacturing. We have also chosen the materials we want to use to construct our design. Building up these skills in these processes of manufacturing and design will be invaluable in developing my practice as a parametric designer.

Kangaroo script

Kangaroo script

Kangaroo simulation video

We had to choose from a variety of materials laid out in front of us including a lot of recycled materials. In the end we chose to work with Stokbord, which is a black recycled plastic, some reflective plastic, as well as a few other sheet materials. I wouldn’t normally pick the material I am working with this early in the design process, so it will be interesting what effect it has on our design.

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All the materials offered to us

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