Friday, December 16, 2011

Proposal for an Installation

This is the initial proposal for an installation to combine all of the ideas about ornamentation in terms of texture. The reading pavilion is designed to provide a personal space for reading. Two main factors are taken into consideration for the design of the pavilion: providing privacy, and diffusing light to provide pleasant lighting conditions for reading. Ornamentation is extensively used in a way which functions to solve the design problems associated with the program. Ornamentation is discussed in terms of the textures provided by the use of screens in the pavilion. A double layer of screens with varying openings provides privacy in certain areas, while still allowing views out of the pavilion. Also, on the southern side of the pavilion, the layers of the screen move away from one another increasing the area for the diffusion of the light. The layers of screens move towards one another on the northern side, creating a smaller space between openings. This allows more of the diffuse northern light to enter the pavilion. 

It is expected that the continuation of the design will combine surface texture with openings in the screen, which will be read as one and the same. The pavilion will not be viewed as ornamented, but seen for the function of the apertures as well as how the texture brings a sense of scale to the pavilion. The texture carved into the material will enhance the shadows that the structure creates by casting shadows on itself as well.

During discussions about the work, it was suggested that the enclosure be a complete enclosure, forcing the discussion about how the structure transitions from the floor, to wall, to ceiling, to bending around a corner. Similar projects have been worked on, but often neglect these issues and result in an open ended barrel vault form. Also, it was suggested that the program should be removed. The installation should be an experiment on the affects that can be created rather than serving a specific function. Finally, the method by which the structure is designed needs to be changed. It is clear that the structure was designed based on the u and v coordinates of the input surface, and it would be more interesting to have something more organic or a structure which is generated from a single point.

Monday, November 28, 2011


These texture studies are a way to experiment with designing texture that is embedded within a material as a way to discuss ornament. The intent is to combine the texture studies with the screen studies in a final screen, using the texture where material has not been completely removed. The final piece will be cut out of plywood, taking advantage of the different colors of the layers that comprise the plywood. These studies result in a flat look when there is no direct sun, and the added color of the wood will create more variation in the textures when sunlight is limited. The textures were designed using Grasshopper in Rhino as well as height fields in Rhino and cut out of MDF.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Screen Studies

This is a continuation of the earlier screen studies. These screens begin to look at not removing as much material and designing areas where a person may not be able to see through the screen. A possible application for this would be to design privacy in certain areas and allow for direct visual access in others.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Knife Cutter

This is a current group project in our Digital Fabrication course. We are researching the curved crease to generate forms out of .02 PETG. We finally got the knew knife cutter in the fab lab and had it up and cutting for us the day after we were trained! The tool that does the creasing for us doesn't cut anything, just presses into the material and the PETG folds up really easily afterwords. This particular form works through some of our connection and assembly issues before we get moving on the large installation (still to be designed). This project in is collaboration with John Hilmes, Bennett Scorcia and Matthew Strong.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Screen Studies

This is a series of screen studies with different patterns intended to create various shadows and areas of greater or less density in the pattern. The study will be used to create a larger structure which will use varying densities in the pattern to create privacy and allow light to pass through. The screens also begin to become three dimensional depending on the manipulation of the material. 

This set of screens uses the same pattern which has been slightly offset three times. Each screen set adds one additional layer of the pattern, and the final screen has rotated the pattern creating more density in the screen. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Python Scripting

This was a short exercise to get us familiar with a few functions in Python Scripting. Collectively, a base script was written and then individually modified to create a unique paneling system on a surface generated in Rhino.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Updated Timeline

This is an updated timeline of ornament in architecture. I thought it would be interesting to include various styles of architecture and the periods of time when they were most present. Also, the shift towards reducing ornament in architecture has been noted, beginning during the 1850's. Some quotes have been included as well, describing the shift towards the reduction of ornament from the book Architectural Ornament: Banishment and Return, written by Brent C. Brolin.

Monday, October 10, 2011


This is a brief outline of some thoughts that are going to be explored throughout my research about ornamentation through digital technologies:

Ornamentation has evolved with great speed over the past one hundred and fifty years. In an attempt to remove taste and subjective opinions from the criticism of design, guidelines were created to make design more of a science. The rise of the middle class during the 1850’s and their influence on the consumer market of art changed the dynamic between designers and the products produced. Designers and the middle class did not agree on what was considered good taste. In turn, designers revolted against the middle class and established guidelines that could not be judged based on subjective opinions. With these new guidelines, ornamentation was slowly removed from the designers vocabulary and a new ornamentation evolved. Ornamentation was no longer a representation of natural forms, but became expressed through texture and the accentuation of the structure.

Over the course of the next nine months, ornamentation will be explored through digital technologies. The goal of the work is to frame it in a culturally significant way. The objective will not be to recreate the lavish ornament of the past, but to create ornament in a way that will be pleasing to the current culture. Just as Pugin did in the 1800’s, a new set of principles will be written for ornamentation, specific to the current time period.
How will ornament be created in a way that will not be rejected by modernist ideas which have guided design for the last one hundred and fifty years? One possibility for study will be the embellishment of texture. Texture has been one way for modernists to express ornament. The choice of material based on color, pattern of grain, and shadow is a way that architectural forms have included ornament without calling it ornament.
Historically, ornament was created based on religion or heritage. In the United States, the extreme diversity does not allow for ornament to be based on these types of cultural backgrounds. What forms will be considered culturally significant? What does it mean to be culturally significant and how do you know if you have accomplished a a culturally significant design?
I have begun to classify ornament into one of two categories: solely aesthetic or performative. If ornament is integrated with its structure, it potentially will be more difficult to remove. If it can be proved that it functions in a beneficial  way, it becomes more valuable to the design. Aesthetics also serve a function; to be pleasing to the eye and bring visual delight to the design. Aesthetics are subjective, and this is what the modernists were attempting to remove from design. It brings the question of what is beauty and how can that be analyzed, if at all. Aesthetics are a priority in ornament, but a strong integration to its function is expected.

General Questions:
Is the style of architecture changing more quickly now due to technology? Does architecture change at a more similar rate to fashion (clothing) than it used to? Architecture used to take many decades to build, now only a few years, if that. The turnover rate is much higher. Does this make architecture disposable? Society seems to move much faster than architecture. Are digital technologies the way to keep a similar pace to society? It allows fast construction, fast detail, faster assembly, especially when prefabricated.

This new set of ornamental design principles will be translated into built form. Various forms will be explored, such as furniture pieces, doors, wall systems and installations. Material selections will be chosen based on the design intent in correlation to the method of fabrication.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Book Box

The purpose of this box was to take us through the process of design through fabrication. The box was designed in Rhino, exported to MasterCam and then exported as G Code to be sent to the CNC Router.

A Brief Timeline of Ornamentation

This timeline begins to classify ornamentation as either being performative or visual. The difference being that performative ornament has a function compared to pure aesthetic beauty. Ornamentation is also classified as being derived from pure geometric forms or forms referenced from nature which have an organic form. As time approaches the present, there occurs a shift towards work produced using digital technologies. Although the tools change, there is still a continuity in the materials being used throughout the timeline.