did anybody watch the Mets and Cardinals game...
(Oct. 12 & 13)
At some point I was thinking grad school would be a great oppurtunity to study for my licensing exams and get Metamechanics up and running...um, apparently grad school is a challenge and there isn't that guy in studio you can always count on to make you look good
The trip to LA for studio was no exception. This wasn't an undergrad trip where you go see nice things and party every night. Saturday night we all just passed out instead of going out. Yes, we are a wee bit older than undergrads, but not that old.
Day 1 - Aria Group link
Aria Group - right after getting off the plane we drove to see Aria Group; an independent designer of prototype cars, trains, planes, and well automobiles. They had a CNC machine large enough to cut an Escalade out of foam. You know all those really cool modern cars you see at car shows, that is what they produce and quickly. One 100% custom car could be designed fabricated in 2 months. These prototypes are often in the millions of dollars, mainly in man hours and the details are impeccable. They showed us clay models that looked 100% real. Their process usually begins with sketches and modeling in I think higher-end Alias software than Maya, then a team begins designing clay models while the Alias people continue modeling and at some point they converge and begin fabricating the whole car. Architects have begun using their services since they can do the one-off product very efficiently and cost effective.
Day 2 - Modern Props, Mossland, Audio and VW, and Gehry Technologies
Modern Props - Free T-shirt, hilarious founding of the company story, props from Blade Runner and props for the new Die Hard, and a warehouse that looked like a mega thriftstore...just a few highlights of our tour. The founding story is worth summarizing here (not that I can do it complete justice): basically the founder was a sci-fi enthusiast who at first became an art teacher at various colleges in the Midwest to appease his Italian mother. At these colleges he ran into typical beauracy problems and dealt with them in very entertaining ways, which lead to his eventual loss of employment: 1. in a class full of 30 aspiring art directors who had no talent he showed an add for job openings for such a position in Northeast Ohio where the university was located (2 positions) 2. he kicked out a flute playing hippy in his art class for disruption and later was reprimanded because apparently this kids parents donated money to the program. 3. while being reprimanded he pointed out that the director of the program shouldn't go to the bar after giving his students assignments in class and then return. He eventually moved out to LA and was unemployed for 2 years living on $35 worth of food stamps at his girlfriends place. One day on set of a movie his girlfriend was working at he made a rude comment about a retarded prop fuck-up on stage (don't ever put a 150Watt incandescent bulb in a small plastic container). A lady overheard him and asked him if he could do better in a very heuty-teuty-i-am-insulted-way, and he said in his sleep. Couple days later while standing in line to get his food stamps the lady was walking by and asked if he could really do props like that. Not being Union she had to figure a way out to give him the jobs. Well, as if he were psychic, he always had the props for the movies she was working on, so she didn't need to hire Union workers who apparently were very unskilled; she just had to rent these props that were already made...and hence modern props was born...the story was much better in person.
Blade Runner Phone Booth (left)
some Arnold Schwarzeneger movie gun
Mossland - Eric Owen Moss did say architecture is like chocolate, so I can't say I could give a negative critique about his block of architecture, which apparently is on land his family owns. Why disquise the fact you're having fun with copious amounts of intellectual bull shit...if you can blow money on crazy curved wrinkled glass as exterior stair covers, do it, but don't tell me its because you're so damn good.
Audio and VW - It was quite entertaining watching our tour guides flip posters around, cover drawings, and make sure we didn't run astray in case we might catch the newest design by Audi or VW. I can't tell you much, but I can tell you their process and the interesting note that just like good architects they are trying to incorporate interior colors and trims into the overall design and not just as an after thought; i.e. have the girls pick the carpet and paint after building is done. For design of cars it begins with a prerequisite market analysis packet and an engineering packet. From there it splits off into engineering and design and design splits into Alias modeling and Clay modeling and then it converges right before they begin building it as they begin incorporating colors and trims and then its plopped into a marketing packet for sale.
Gehry Technologies - The future is already here and Digital Project is it. Generative Components is the enemy so maybe this was a bias explanation, but Digital Project apparently is a lot more graphically straight forward since there isn't this switching between code and geometry and because it is in Catia and not platformed on top of TriForma and Microstation. Digital Project is Gehry Technologies development of Catia for an architectural application. Like in the sense of Revit and Generative Components its parametric, associative, and all the modeling is data that can be used for anything. The best analogy I can give you is this: Digital Project is a platform for parametric scripting of a building just like white paper is a platform for black line drawings. A building is not a set of documents, a building is a set of mathematical rules. So instead of developing line drawings you are developing math functions that govern the data defining you building. This means that you can't just take Digital Project home and have it do all your thinking, you still have to design. They showed us many examples and how 1 hour worth of work on complex geometry in Digital Project was the equivalent of 3 months work on paper drawings. They managed to cut the steel budget in half on H&D's China stadium. They work with other architects as consultants, but I imagine they are only worth hiring when you are doing 100 million dollar projects. We also toured the warehouse known as Gehry's offices, can't say I was impressed, I wouldn't work there.