Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What do you get when you cross a P, a B, and a D?

A few months ago, I filled you in on the first half of my spring semester studio assignment, where we worked with letter form to create intersecting objects.  As I prepare to go back to school in less than a week, I figured I should finish up my summer vacation by writing about the second half of that assignment, when we made our objects into buildings (arguably).
            The letters I chose to form my building, which was intended for the SMART museum quad at the University of Chicago, were P, B, and D.  I chose them because I liked their similarity, how the curves made up a sort of family of shapes that could huddle together, in a way.  However, I learned that modeling double curves and intersecting curves was hard!
We started with some study models, like this one, where all of my letters were extruded horizontally, leaving a pretty flat roof and flat floors.  These were section models, where we pochéed anything that could be viewed as interior space, to get an idea of the volume that our buildings could hold.  After a number of these quick models, I decided to play around with tilting the letters so that they could form vertical spaces as well as horizontal, also becoming less legible from an elevational view.

a render of my final design, east elevation
            As we progressed with our designs, we studied more of these interior spaces, and where the intersecting letters would afford us large volumes, that we could use for our largest program: a gallery space and an auditorium space.  Because of this, the 3D print that I did for the final review was also sectional, to show off the large spaces and how the letters formed an appropriate space for their use.
a photo of my 3D print, taken from a similar viewpoint; northeast elevation

my 3D print for final, opened up to show interior sections

east section, as modeled

east section, as drawn

ground floor plan

I had mixed feelings about this project overall.  On the one hand, I found it a little kitschy, that we would use familiar forms in this way - it felt kind of Disney.  On the other hand, I think that it gave us an opportunity to create something new with those familiar forms, more than a boxy building, which is what I ended up with the previous semester.

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