Laurent Chehere’s awesome flying house artwork. I want some.
These guys offer a lot of good, comprehensive – and free – advice for people like me setting up as self-employed. Really useful going into a meeting with an accountant tomorrow!
Just finished what i think is my 4th week teaching in 2nd year at the Leicester School of Architecture. Small group today, but good students. We just talked about their projects on a loosely individual basis, where others could take part of they wanted.
I found this quite rewarding. It was nice after having two very focussed sessions in the previous weeks to have an opportunity to look at their projects as a whole, and think about their interim reviews in a couple of weeks time. I guess they’re also getting to know who I am now too. This made things a bit more familiar, and i found it easier to hear them out before trying to empathise with their situation and help them work out a strategy for moving on.
Im finding teaching really interesting. Ive always been quite critical of who is allowed to teach on architecture courses – my employment highlights the fact in can be anyone! Ive no formal teaching qualification and im not fully qualified as an architect…so on what basis can i be trusted with other peoples’ education? Especially an expensive one…
But i guess what is important is actually the reflective nature of the teachers themselves. Maybe the simple fact that i am interested in improving as a teacher is reason enough? Teaching – like the social production of design – is about co-creating knowledge; about building a common ground for dialogue about an idea that can be put into practice, and in this respect i guess i’ve had five or six years of training! In treating my role as an educator like my role as a designer, i can help students on their journey towards bettering themselves. A solution of aspiration and best fit that is not unlike the design for production of a building, product, service, event, etc
But how can i remain fresh? And resist the idea of settling into a job in a way that breeds complacency and – in the worst cases – apathy and dislocation from those whose time you have taken custody? This happens too often, and these formative and (now expensive) years are just too important to let that happen.
Writing up Live Projects, I’ve had the pleasure of discovering this beautiful project. Kyong Park, talking about his nomadic form of architectural and artistic practice, can be found on Vimeo here. In a world where everything is relational, it makes no sense for practice to fixed in one place, Park says. An interesting interview with him can also be found here.
18mins – Brief summary of the Fugitive House
36mins – Concept of Urban Ecology as something we have created, and how dramatic visualisation enables us to view cities as organisms.
This man sounds interesting….
So, another thing I’ve been doing recently is working with Dr Cristina Cerulli to develop a sustainable funding strategy for SKINN’s Furnace Park project in the Shalesmoor / Neepsend area of Sheffield. Currently this involves preparing an application for the University of Sheffield’s Collaborative R+D and Partnership Award….
See here for more about SKINN.
See here for SKINN’s project description for the Furnace Park project.
Here are some things I’ve learned;
1) Use ‘active’ language – see here. Strengthens your writing by making intentions clearer and cutting down word count. For example;
PASSIVE: The design document has been completed by the team.
ACTIVE: The team has completed the design document.
2) Academics can be strange beasts. I thought I’d learned about mouthing off from my posts whilst in Israel….but academics al seem to act like they’re protecting some kind of intellectual capital, when they could really benefit from knowing what each other is up to! This may be a naive view in today’s academic world where professors / researchers / lecturers are appraised on an individual basis and need to ‘stand out’…but it frustrates me to a point where I don’t care. The School is stronger as a School that as a roof over a number of individual academics. For the moment, I’m going to continue operating from my temporary office in the foyer of the Arts Tower, as it means I talk to people. This mean I find things out that are of benefit to my project, and that I can share the things I have found out with others, who can make use of it in their projects.
To Be Continued…
There was a time when I knew how to do all this stuff….
But things have moved on. And every School seems to have a different piece of kit and to have bought different bits of software (and avoided paying for different things like training its staff how to use the equipment.). So after committing myself to building a model of the University of Sheffield’s Arts Tower for the upcoming Heritage Day, I’m finding I have to relearn everything I thought I knew…
More about Heritage Day here.
Lesson 1 – Build model from scratch. Dont attempt to use an inheritted model in an attempt to save time. I was lucky enough that HLM Architects have recently completed a refurbishment of the Tower, and have constructed a detailed Sketchup model to accompany it, also generously making it available via Google’s 3D Warehouse. However, there are 2 issues; a) modelled at 1:1, there is simply too much detail for the 3D printer to handle at 1:200; and b) the process of constructing a digital model in Sketchup often results in shapes crashing into other shapes, and faces and the geometry ending up inside other pieces of model. This sends the 3D printer into meltdown.
Good tutorial help available here.
I could (and probably should) be using Vectorworks or Rhino to create a ‘cleaner’ 3D model to print from…
Lesson 2 – Our particular process is this: Sketchup > Sketchup Plugin (Convert to DXF or STL) > Check in Meshlabs > 3D Printer proprietory software > Print! This is a ‘beta’ method, as the Sketchup plugin frequently has problems. We’re using a Z-Corporation ‘Z-Printer 350’. So my current workflow is;
1/ Take detailed sketchup model (inherritted) at 1:1.
2/ Rationalise into components to be 3D printed by deleting unnecessary detail / tectonic elements and ‘tracing’ over the orginal model (locked).
3/ Copy clean, rationalised components into their own sketchup file (still at 1:1)
4/ Scale (by factor 0.005) to get 1:200 model. Locate with one of the verticies on origin.
5/ Run rubyscript plugin ‘Convert to DXF of STL’.
6/ Find file. Rename with file extension .stl.
7/ Open in Meshlabs to check that .stl export (and file extension trick) has worked.
8/ Email to James at the print unit to check on the machine’s proprietary software, ZEdit Pro.
9/ …and it works!
To be continued…