Thursday, 15 December 2011

Artlantis Render of Winchester Proposal

Concrete and CO2

This video from fast company discusses a possible biometric solution for reducing the CO2 created from the production of concrete. For every tonne of concrete made there is a tonne of CO2 released into the environment.

Light Studies for Winchester

June morning looking into garage at 7:00 Hrs
 June afternoon looking up towards eastern elevation at 14:00 Hrs
 June afternoon looking up towards eastern elevation at 20:00 Hrs

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Thailand Hilton Hotel

I was made aware of this interesting use of material by my model making colleague Kathy. She pointed out to me that the ceiling was made from natural fabrics to give a feeling of flowing water in the main lobby area.

I was strongly be considering using this material in my next design close to a waterfront.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Maison a Bordeaux

The Maison a Bordeaux is now is a private residence that is home to a couple. The husband had a car accident before the house was built and defined in the brief that he wanted a complex home that can also function to his needs. The house was designed around a central lift that moved freely between the levels of the three story home. It was designed by OMA who are a gold star RIBA accredited design practicve. This lift is quite impressive and would have been a good feature in my lifetime home design for Langar.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Episode 5 Biology Channel 4

This series is a brave new world by Steven Hawking and last nights episode included many basics that are used in synthetic biology that will soon be used in living architecture. The broad topic of bioscience was covered and it provided many medical examples as well as the production of natural enzymes to produce fully functioning oil to be used in cars.

This series is worth following to understand the broader science fields that will soon have a large impact on how we design spaces.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Concrete Interiors

Ever since I have started to work at Low Info concrete I have gained a new appreciation for concrete used internally as furniture and bespoke design items. The photos below show a house in Buenos Aires designed by Mathias Klotz and associate architect Edgar Minond. The simplicity of the building and interior makes it a timeless design that I think will mature well. The use of concrete and its blending with other materials creates a coherent composition of resources from the local area.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Cool Garden Shed

I'm definately going to have to build myself one of these in the back garden!!!!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Liverpool and Manchester Trip

This week we went to Liverpool with the first year interior architects from NTU. We visited some amazing Architectural sites with the two cathedrals being my highlight. The first cathedral we went to was the catholic one which had a huge amount of history behind it. In the late 1800's the building was supposed to be the worlds largest cathedral to accommodate Liverpool's large catholic population. Around this time 1 in 4 people in Liverpool were catholic as a result of immigration from Ireland during and after the famine. The cathedral was postponed and only the large vaults were constructed until after the war when the design was changed. The current design was awarded to Fedrick Gibberd after a world wide design competition  and construction was finally finished in 1967.

The second cathedral was the church of England cathedral which is the longest in the world and is quite impressive as you approach Liverpool on the motorway. It sits proudly high on a hill with a steeple stretching into the sky. The most interesting fact about the building is it was only fully completed in October 1978 despite its 1910 Gothic Design. The photo below is the view of the church of England cathedral from the Catholic Cathedral.

The hotel we stayed in was the Adelphi Hotel which was first opened in 1826 and the current building in 1914. I quickly remarked on its resemblance to the interior of ocean liners and with further research it was the hotels intention. The hotel has a Sefton Suite which is a smoking lounge that is the exact replica of the one on the Titanic.

On the second day of the trip we visited the imperial war museum in Manchester and it was designed by architect Daniel Libeskind. The building consists of a large viewing platform that tower above the city and river below. This is supposed to leave you open to the elements and take you back to the views pilots had during wartime bombing.

Our final stop was at Crosby beach to see sculptures by Anthony Gormley. These statues faced the sea and the effect of 40 bodies, some up to their waste in water, gives a effective and eery artistic feeling.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Photoshop tutorials

Recently I have started using photoshop for laying out my projects and visuals. I'm a complete novice so my Dad decided to lend a hand by researching some good photoshop tutorials to help with my visuals. They have helped me and hopefully will help some others.

Here is a tutorial on composition for use in Photography, Art and Architecture.  It will even include the making of a full scale model or actual tool for practical use in your Architectural studies.

 I could'nt have put it together without YouTube so I hope I have kept to the point and that what follows is in some sort of logical order.  There are 7 short videos to watch on the internet and that is it.  Watch them sometime when you want to relax and enjoy.

Here goes!

1   Google - Rules of photo composition.  Simply read the first 3 rules of composition and don't mind anything else on this site.  Next go to YouTube.

2   On YouTube look up - Everything is connected to the Golden Ratio. Chris MintZBarf.  View that and move on to the next one.

3   How to draw Fibonacci Spiral.  Go on to the next one and continue to the end of number 8.

4   Composition - The golden Mean (Golden Section) with Ronald Swanwich.  When you've done that you are about half way through this tutorial, yeah?

5   Fibonacci Guage: Phi (pronounced Fi) & The Golden Ratio.  
     (I went onto the website and downloaded the PDF scale drawing with measurements for your full scale model or actual tool.  See attachment.)

6   Golden Mean Calipers.  
     (This shows a precision tool as against a home made one.  You could check out an engineering department that might make them as part of their project!)

7   SketchUp - Simple Staircase.

That ends this tutorial.  The only thing left to do is actually make the calipers and use it, if only to show people how their hands measure up.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Winchester Site Analysis

This project is a very steep challenging site covered with trees, some reaching up to 20m high. To get a proper feel for the site and the appropriate design it is necessary to build a contour model to combine with our other site analysis.


Deployable Structures

Dr Marisela Mendoza gave a lecture today on deployable structures and the use of reactive systems in controling daylight in buildings. Her experience in this topic was extensive with the subject headlining her PhD and many other papers she was involved in. The references for some papers she has been involved in are as follows:

MENDOZA, M., 2009. Comparative daylight glare analysis between measured and computer simulation predictions . In: International Conference PLEA 2009: Architecture, Energy and the Occupant's Perspective, Montreal, 21-24 June 2009 .   Demers, C. and Potvin, A., eds., pp. 108-111 .

MUNDO-HERNÁNDEZ, J., RODRIGUEZ, S., MENDOZA, M. and BAKER, R., 2009. Living with the sun: using canopy structures in Mexico and the UK . In: Evolution and Trends in Design, Analysis and Construction of Shell and Spatial Structures, Valencia, 28 September - 2 October 2009 .   Doming, A. and Lazaro, C., eds.,  International Association of Shell and Spatial Structures pp. 239-250 .

MENDOZA, M. and CHILTON, JC., 2008. Learning from the shell builder: Felix Candela . In: International Symposium IASS-SLTE 2008: New Materials and Technologies, New Designs and Innovations - a Sustainable Approach to Architectural and Structural Design, Acapulco, Mexico, 28-31 October 2008 .   Salinas, JGO., ed.  International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS) pp. 175-176 .

She opened with descriptions of mechanical structures. She explained their use is much more apparent in product design but should be used more in architecture. The best example of a mechanical folding structure I could find was the umbrella shaped shade used to cover Masjid Nabawi's courtyard which is one of the holiest mosques situated in the city of Medina. 

She then went on to talk about her research into angulated scissor polygonal structures and presented them with her models used for the PhD. These structures were all made from triangles connected at pivot points that allowed them to be opened and closed whilst changing shape in the process. The leading architecture firm in these structures are Hoberman in the States. 

These then led onto the square angulated sicssor structure which can possibly be used as a light control devise such as the ones used in the Institute of the Arab World in Paris. 

Overall it was a interesting lecture and I have begun thinking of where I can use these ideas on my own structures. 

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Nostalgia for the Future

This lecture was hosted by Simon Herron who is a lecturer at Greenwich University. He is a expert at assisting students with finding their creativity and by the end of the talk I was left just wanting to sketch. Simon had also worked in the Bartlett School of Architecture and through the lecture he presented work from previous students which were like nothing I have ever seen before. Many of the pieces of work contained miniature sculptures with immense detail and insane inspiration. The image shown below represents all the patents that have been bought by large corporations to protect their own products. The squares leaving the surface are the patents being released back to the world. 

Simons father Ron had been one of the leading architects in Archigram which revolutionised architecture in the 60's and early 70's. Their futuristic concepts are starting to be really utilised now within responsive architecture. They challenged the architecture of the time as a attempt to break monotonous designs of the 60's and their work still inspires some current projects. 

Alex Hogrefe

Just found this site with some excellent tutorials and tips on uses of photoshop for architectural purposes. This is something I'm pretty new to and I will need all the help I can get so any other tutorial sites please comment and I will post them

Friday, 4 November 2011

Revised Lifetime Home

New additions include,

Different Render,
Addition of soffit to front elevation,
Cladding is no longer undulating and they not differ in length,

The cladding will cover the entire building but for this visualisation it is only shown as a example in places.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Innovative Timber Structures

Part of the external lecture series included tonights lecture by John Chilton on Innovative timber structures. Timber structures have had many improvements in the last 30 years and they are becoming more and more impressive with each development. One of the most significant developments has been Glulam beams which have allowed the construction of some appealing structures such as the Sheffield Winter Garden.

Marlowe Academy, Ramsgate, UK gives a good example of a lamella roof structure with a 28m span enclosing the central space below. Lamella structures are built from laminated veneer lumbar and the main benefit is that it can be transported in small sections and can provide very large spans.

Lamella has been seen as a uninteresting material in the past but it has many features to be desired. Hounslow East tube station decided to adopt the Lamella roof structure because it provided a high quality, economic and uncluttered structure. The small transportable members mean that they can be repeated easily in a offsite factory and it provided a aesthetically pleasing grill that preforms well acoustically in the station.

Finally the most impressive structure shown by John tonight was the Savill Building Great Windsor Park. This building consists of a gridshell roof composing of Larch and clad with green oak from the crown estate.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

External lecture series 01.11.2011

This lecture was hosted by Marcus Cruz from the Bartlett School of Architecture UCL London. Mr Cruz describes himself as a flesh architect with interest in combining different disciplines into architecture such as bio science. Instantly I had interest in this topic because it was similar to the work of Rachael Armstrong. Armstrong's research is in Protocell technology, which is described earlier in this blog, and this also has close links to architecture and bio-science. I was disappointed to find that they had not worked together yet but this may come sometime in the future. I'm especially interested in the development of buildings that repair themselves and I think the knowledge of these two academics could push it further.

I found the lecture quite stimulating with the concepts of Neoplasmatic design being introduced. He covered areas including student work, projects of interest to him, drawing of people, model building and how the skin of the building and the flesh of the building can be two different things.

The photos below are from one of Mr Cruz's Lisbon Book Fair, Portugal. These temporary pavilions created are a prefect example of the use of different lightweight materials to create a flesh. In the second photo its strange how the audience is emphasized rather than the stage by the light but this can also be seen as creative play as you can see in the photo the audience contemplating the two people having coffee on the stage.

One of the designs I really admired was the sales centre in Cairo which uses a double undulating facade quite like the one I used in my lifetime home. 

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Tackling Desertification Through Architecture

Magnus Larsson has a proposal to build a 6000km living sand dune across the entire continent of Africa. The structure is made from bacteria that reacts with the sand to form a structure. It would be habitable and could provide homes to African people whilst tackling the spread of the Sahara. 

Architecture that repairs itself - A different Approach to underpinning

Metabolic materials in Architecture is a very interesting a new concept being developed by Rachel Armstrong. The technology is still in very early stages and is currently more to do with micro biology rather than architecture. It is predicted that it may be commercialized by 2014 and thats when we could actually see breathing buildings that repair themselves.

She talks about the repair of timber piles that support buildings in Venice and how a artificial limestone reef can be created using protocells. This TED talk made me think of the many cases where this could be used. Last month New Civil Engineer (NCE) published a report on the sinking of the Tajmahal because of its failing timber piles. 

This protocell technology is not something convenient for conservation but something essential.


Preconstruct are specialists in creating animations for developments and some large industry players like Jaguar, Pepsi and Ben and Jerry's. My father introduced me to the company after he found them in an article in Advanced Photoshop magazine.

Buildings are now becoming more and more like general products and soon it will be essential for a client to be 100% sure of what they will be buying from architects and contractors. The only way to give them this assurance is to create visualisations such as those created by Preconstruct.

This company has given me an idea of the quality of animations needed in the modern construction industry. The videos on their site will serve as an ambitious benchmark throughout the year in Architectural Technology and Design. 

Friday, 28 October 2011

Are Architectural Expo's Sustainable?

On the 28th October 2011 John Chilton gave a lecture in NTU titled Shanghai Reflections. The lecture was a description of his experience when visiting the expo and was delivered as a series of photos of the pavilion that most interested him and that would be most relevant to a class of mixed architectural students.

The title of the expo was Better City, Better life and the purpose of the expo is to promote architecture and to attract 70 million people to Shanghai to enjoy the different cultures of 200 countries. The majority of the pavilions were dismantled after the expo so this begs the question whether or not it is sustainable to construct so many temporary structures on such a large scale.

All of the structures focused on the buzz word of the time which is sustainability. Even the oil pavilion has used materials derived from oil in a new green processing method. The Spanish pavilion was the most appealing in my opinion as it was completely clad from the traditional method of basket making called wicker weaving.
The more permanent structures such as the impressive entrance to the Expo and the China building have also used as much sustainable materials as possible. The China pavilion used dougong panels which are the traditional cladding to Chinese buildings which date back to over 2000 years ago.

Mr Chilton's favorite feature of the expo was the main entrance which consisted of a steel frame formed in polygonal shapes and then made watertight using a PTFE membrane.

In conclusion the attention to architecture brought by these expo's and the revenue created by the large number of visitors justify their existance. The promotion of different cultures and the massive commercial benifits created for businesses such as the Heatherwick Studio, who designed the United Kingdoms pavilion.

The next 2012 World Expo is in Yeosu, Korea and is themed "living ocean and the coast" and here of some of the designs we can look forward to:

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Vergilio Ferreire High School

When browsing through Archidaily blog I spotted this building with vertical lumars. It was a excellent example of how well they could work on the lifetime home development in Langar. Refer to the video further down the page.

Designing out crime

This video is a excellent example of the design process and how it was used to make the average pint glass safer. It highlights all the aspects involved in redesigning a pint glass which may have been previously  perceived as something simple to do. This video proves otherwise and shows just how much thought is involved in the design process.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Americas Cup Venue 2007 (Veles e Vents)

David Chipperfield Architects designed an iconic pavilion in 2007 to become the focal point of the Americas Cup which is a world class yacht racing competition. The building was designed in a record time of 11 months and is a amazing addition to the coastline of Valencia.

Sailing is a sport that is very close to me and one similarity every sailing club has is that it has to have sea views. Smaller clubs achieve this through balcony's. Wexford Harbour Boat and tennis club has a viewing platform that doubles as a start line for laser racing during the cold winter months. Veles e Vents takes this a step further by creating a cantilevered viewing platform that forms the main structure of the building with outstanding views onto the competition area that is the ocean.

Yacht Club design is something I will be researching further on this blog.

Photo from (2011)

Langar Housing Development Proposal

Rapid Prototyping

Yesterday I found out that when rapid prototyping a solid block with support material, it has to dry out for 24 hours or it will leak acid until its fully dry.

Final Concrete Exploration Poster

Friday, 21 October 2011

Benson Lau

Benson Lau visited NTU as a gusest lecturer on the 20th October and he delivered a excellent presentation on the measurable and unmeasurable in Architecture. He highlighted how the unsustainable use of glazing is being exploited in the majority of high rise buildings in majoe citys such as Singapore, Hong Kong and London. I completely agree that the use of glazing is insufficient for sustainability but I'm struggling to think of any other viable options. A solid mass with small windows would not be a ideal solution because of the cost and weight of the cladding on the structure compared to the lightweight and cost effective properties of glazed facades. The other solution is intelligent systems that are reactive to the environment.

The Commerzbank Headquaters in Frankfurt, Germany was designed by Foster + Partners and was the most ecological office tower of its time in 1997 but even this building has a high use of glazing to provide light to the offices. The building uses 4 story gardens around the structure at different levels to draw fresh air into the central atrium to cool internal offices. One of the differences in this building from the typical high rise is all windows can be manually opened reducing the need for artificial cooling. I think that all new high rise buildings need to have a reactive system to assist air flow through structure without using large amounts of energy.

A few brainstorming ideas of how to power interactive buildings

  • Tidal flow if beside the sea of tidal esturarys
  • Grey and waste water to run through tubines with high pressure created from height of building
  • Solar
  • Wind
  • Biomass used to heat building in winter and sevice ventilation systems in summer
One of the most interesting projects Mr Lau introduced was the Bruder Klaus Chapel designed by Peter Zumthore. This Chapel was built by creating the interal structure out of tree brunks and casting concrete around them. Then the tree trunks were set alight leaving a tee pee shaped room with a hole in the top exposing the room to light and the exterior elements.

Another basic architectural concept that I was unaware of until yesterday was the use of sun path diagrams invented by Corbusier. Sketchup and Revit provide the modern day solution to sun path but Benson highlighted the importance of using real models and light to predict the lighting of space. Modern day programmes sometimes give a misleading prediction. This theory is backed up by our visit to the architectural practice Dixon Jones in our first week of the MSc. This practive also believes that model making is the only true was to predict how a building will behave.   

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Concrete Rapid Prototyping

This is something that came up in conversation when myself and Joe (Fellow MSc Student) were visiting the studio to get our chair models checked for rapid prototyping. The chair models are supposed to be built from concrete in full scale. When the subject of wether it is possible to rapid prototype in concrete came up further research revealed that the technology is currently under development.

The link below is to Rael San Fratello Architects who seem to be leading the way in concrete rapid prototyping.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011


The use of Sketchup is becoming more acceptable in architectural practices and here are a few videos as to why it is gathering pace. The majority of the videos have used other programmes to assist with rendering but the majority of the modeling has been done in Sketchup.

One of the most appealing aspects of these videos are the music and sounds used to create different atmospheres.

Gehry Technologies

Gehry Technologies seems to be one of the leading consultancies in developing the BIM process along with AutoDesk. What I admire from the press releases of Gehry Technologies is that they refer to BIM as a type of workflow rather than a type of program.

Modular Housing used in Iraq