Sep '04 - Nov '06
I'm gonna now try to condense the last 5 months of university in one post...that's gonna be a laugh!
Anyway, when we got back from sweden, the project was already taking shape.
The idea for a winter research center for the car industry fitted quite well with the socio-conomic situation in the area. It was kinda funny to design a non-building, underground and invisible.
(in a nutshell: the centre is an underground building in a hilly area around kiruna, sweden, used to develop new automotive technologies related to extreme-condition driving. The roof of the building creates a new landscape flush with the existing one, and its shape and texture are modeled to control the way the snow accumulates on it, keeping certain area covered and certain others relatively free.
internally the building is organized as a series of layers that bends into ramps and slopes following the different programs and interactions. The structural system is one for the roof and the floors, and copes with both the geometric and performance requirements)
The project became even more interesting and challenging after our meetings with Daniel Bosia at Arup's advanced geometry unit. We got to him quite late in the year, because e the unit as a whole was struggling to pick up pace. And to be quite honest the first meeting and part of the second one was a pain to go through. The projects were still in their beginnings (3 months from the end of the year!), the technical aspects we should have discussed weren't even in our minds, let alone on the paper. The second meeting was slightly better, but still, it showed what was being expected of us, and what we weren't delivering. Daniel was surprisingly understanding, although Jonas proceeded to give us a much needed kick in the ass afterwards
Overall my thesis was developed in 7 months, but my design opened up questions that i simply did not have the time to solve completely.
The structure is based on a non-orthogonabl grid of rc beams. The way this system copes with ramps, sloping surfaces, filleted edges and changes in pitch was understood, but i did not have the time to fully resolve it. Still, it was an interesting insight into some kind of complex geometry.
In the end the project's system was understood, deployed and the limits of the geometry taken into account, but the thing wasn't fully resolved. Same can be said of the skin system and it's interaction with the weather
I worked all the way through easter, and apart from the usual lack of sleep in the final weeks, I managed the whole thing quite well, as everybody else in the unit did.
Some amazing work was produced in the last few weeks, some people came on top surprising everyone else, but i think in the end there was a lack of constant motivation, which wasn't at the level expected from us.
We put up quite a good exhibition for Architecture week, although there doesn't seem to be any photographic record of it...strangely enough, although our installation was, according to most visitors, the best one, in the london metropolitan's website slideshow there is no sign of it...ah, the politics.
As for now, I want to try and do some more research/installation work before i get tied down into "learning the trade" in a standard architectural job. Or at least try to keep that up on the side of a normal job. The perspective of some cash flowing steadily into my pockets isn't without its appeal.