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    A Center for Ants? Oct 31 '06 4
    Project 3
    Topographies. We were given a choice of two sites and charged to devise a method to evaluate and document the topographies. Being precise within the method itself was more crucial than being accurate to the physical topography.

    My group wanted to try to use the idea of simulating the human eye in order to determine the topography. Using the conventions of how we determine distance, and to some extent perspective figured largely in the procedure, which ultimately involved using a digital camera at a low resolution to read eye charts.



    The eye charts were placed at a threshold where 10 lines (of the chart) could be read clearly in the DIGITAL IMAGE (not by the naked eye). The differences as the signs increased in distance would distort from a predictable distance related degredation as the contours of the site deformed.

    The graphs we got were actually really interesting and very telling. The eye charts read at the greatest distances had a propensity to be greatly distorted and varied despite distance, where as those closest to the viewpoint were much more accurate and consistent.


    You can see the data at the top of the hill in the grey graph is very erratic and wild. The subsequent graphs below show the terrain graphs (not a true topological analog) as we moved closer to the top of the hill. The data becomes less and less exaggerated and ultimately becomes quite clear and precise.

    Here's the full field of eye charts.

    Crit
    Crit went well and was a bit confusing for me as we tended to talk about how the data we got could be projected forward into the second part of the project. We got good comments on our graphic design on the boards which was nice. We also presented again on Monday for the prospective students at the Open House. Got a few tougher comments at that crit, but I think it was partially our fault as we didn't explain things as clearly (as we were under the impression that we were pressed for time). We summed it up a bit too quickly and think it left a lot of holes for the critics that hadn't heard our schpiel before. Oh well. Live and learn.


    The Bigger Picture
    Starting to see how things roll. We're focusing a lot on these big abstract sort of projects. We started with something that was almost points-based or nodal and now we're moving to something much more surface based. And from here, I'm assuming we go to something more volumetric, and then finally into something more tectonic and performative. At least that's my best guess.

    I'm enjoying this program a lot though and definitely feel it's pushing me intellectually.

    Other notes...
    Nader Tehrani's (Office DA, Boston) gave a talk last night at UCLA. Was REALLY good. He had an amazing clarity in explaining how he weds a very pragmatic understanding of how buildings are built with morphological and aesthetic exercises and explorations. Some of his residential work is absolutely gorgeous. It just begs an amazing creativity and clarity of how building materials can be used to generate forms while being true to the material.

    Tehrani himself just seemed to be one who was distinctly aware of the realities of building architecture and the goals of architecture as art. Very good stuff. His work is gorgeous.
     

     
    • 4 Comments

    • broccolijet
      Oct 31, 06 10:15 pm

      i'm really sorry i missed the tehrani talk last night. i came for the open house, but had to leave right after the main schedule of open house events was over.

      also got to see/hear your optical topology presentation. interesting stuff. what seemed funny to me was that the critics chose your approach to pick out the inherent faults in scientific rigor that, in my opinion, could've applied to any of the projects presented. perhaps i missed something in the program, but there's an inherent fudge-factor that needs to be accepted in situations where one is inherently "making up" a novel experiment to objectively measure something using tools and processes that aren't intended for measurement (e.g. a balloon, a ball, a digital camera, etc). the dialogue was interesting though and its obvious you guys are having fun with the program (which makes setting up 84 eye charts on a little a bit more bearable i imagine).

      how do you foresee this project linking up with your previous potato chip network/connection system?

      A Center for Ants?
      Oct 31, 06 10:58 pm

      that's what we (my group) struggled with a lot. we felt that there was a degree of subjectivity in ours. we tried making it VERY empirically rigorous which ended up just making the project complicated to a head-spinning level. (you should see my excel charts i started to devise). i started doing all this linear algebra to try to group the operations in to matrices, etc. etc.

      in the end, we decided a degree of subjectivity was acceptable as our method was trying to simulate a human eye, which in the end, is very subjective anyway. in that sense, we were staying true to our overall principle and while not scientifically rigorous, it was a rigorously precise method.

      *whew*

      but i feel bad for you guys at the open house as we did a less than satisfactory job explaining it and i think the method came across as weak. which is far from the truth. we summarized the method quite a bit and i think the gaps we left were what were ultimately critiqued.

      hope you liked the open house. if you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email broccoli

      broccolijet
      Nov 2, 06 12:58 am

      thanks ACfA, i'll probably take you up on the email offer if you don't mind.

      one thing i forgot to mention above was that, when everyone was done presenting, i got to actually get up to your graphic and get a closer look (i was way in the back). i definitely got the impression that your method was precise.

      btw, does this project tie in to your "potato chip" project?

      A Center for Ants?
      Nov 2, 06 1:16 am

      heh. no. no relation to my mutated potato chips... which turned out to be more crustacean than potato.

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