This 2nd year project focused largely on designing spaces on human scale. The brief was left open to interpretation, allowing students to choose the structure’s specific purpose. This project was also unique as a number of designs were to be built on a 1:1 scale. For this reason, there was also a large emphasis placed on the buildability of the concept and the construction process. I was fortunate enough to have my design chosen to be built by my colleagues.

The Brief

Students are to design a small space with a maximum dimension of 3000 x 3000 x 3000mm. The purpose of the space is to be chosen by the student but it is to be placed in a public setting. Past years students interpreted the space as a street vendor, reading room, prayer room, or urban shelter.
The design is to be self contained and relocatable. Spatial design is linked with visual composition and construction thinking.
Students are to explore their individual design concept to reveal the spatial, functional and contextual qualities in orthographic and 3D.
The final phase of the project is the full construction of selected designs with an emphasis on material, detail and assembly. Material selection, availability, fabrication and cost become major influential factors in the design resolution.

The Design

I chose to design a small cafe cum florist space. I placed a large influence on the use of natural materials and designed the project to work as both a shelter and as a storage solution for the plants and flowers that will be sold. The materials were specifically chosen to be locally sourced, readily available and inexpensive so as to make the construction process easier.
As the project was to be a street vendor, where goods and equipment are to be kept I also considered the security of the shelter when it is not in use. I investigated ‘vertical gardening’ and drew a lot of inspiration from outdoor landscaping projects to create a timber-framed structure whose contents could be easily viewed from its exterior.



The Internet of Architecture Things

Architects in the adaptive city

Benjamin Bratton proposes that one half of all architects and urbanists stop designing new buildings. Instead, they should be focusing their attention on the design and development of new software that provides for better use of structures and systems we already have.
Bratton proposes the above as an ‘experiment,’ I would go further and suggest that in the coming decades, the architects and urbanists in Bratton’s proposal will have very little say in the matter. Architects will surely have to drastically redefine themselves and the entire profession if they are to survive.
For centuries, one person, or one group of architects, urban planners, politicians, whatever have been defining their perfect city, suggesting that their solution is the perfect answer to urban living. The daily living and working conditions of a city should not fall to one person or one small group. The city and its people are constantly changing, perhaps now at a faster rate than even before, both in population size and culture.
A population can quickly outgrow its city or region in the space of one generation. The people change and the city lags. It’s for this reason, the future city should be an adaptive, inter-connected, self-organizing network that can respond to users’ needs on a scale and at a rate not currently available. An adaptive city that can respond to change immediately, relieving the population of the short sightedness of politicians and urban planners.


The unoriginal manifesto

It’s a strange feeling when you realize that your ‘original’ design philosophy is anything but. When your personal “aha!” moment has been aha-ed long, long before you. What’s more, its one thing to be beat to the punch by your colleagues or contemporaries, but entirely another to be over 50 years late to the party.
My naiveté was made painfully apparent whilst reading the works of CIAM, Jacobs, Archigram, Chtcheglov and Constant in particular.
To give some context, let me quickly present what I thought was my personal contribution to centuries of Architecture:
A self-organized, inter-connected, digital city. One continuously in flux. Responding and adapting to the populace on a scale and at a rate currently unavailable to today’s technology. The city, (though, perhaps urban-organism is a better word (that an architect would use at least)) observes patterns in its people and responds accordingly. The city is a continuous feedback loop: the people shape, both physically and culturally the city and the city in turn shapes and influences its people. Interaction is encouraged, the collective efforts of the people mold the city, rather than one urban planner or one planning committee. Finally, and most importantly, the architecture profession will be a thing of the past.
Admittedly, the modernism critics of the 50s and 60s may not have been thinking of a “digital city,” but an adaptive, self-organizing, user defined city has made itself so clearly unoriginal that I cringe to think it was mine.