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    jtbr_3 :: FICIAL GLOW

    By TADS
    Jan 26, '07 10:05 PM EST

    First, disambiguate: This blogging is the result of an accumulated effort between four m.arch2 students here at ucla. TADS is an acronym for our first names: jTravis, Aaron, David and Scott. Each post should end in an initialing to let the audience know who's voice is in action. Right. So, I am going to shoot through one of my personal favorite ucla driven projects: Superficial Superglow. I should say, that super-super combination gets tossed around so much as a joke, super this and super that, the term has unfortunately lost some of its creativity and luster. The course was taught by David Erdman. M.Arch2 students start with an abbreviated summer quarter. During this time, the eleven of us get the building and its resources to ourselves. It is nice. But more importantly, it gives sufficient time to get caught up to speed on the inner workings of the facilities and the languages and techniques of digital fabrication technologies and methods. As the title implies, the course centers around this idea of glowing architectural skins. These surfaces communicate information, have multiple personalities and take on certain bioilluminescent[sp?] qualities when experienced spatially. Okay, groups of two. My teammate: Jono. We decided to go down the road of vacuum forming and cnc milling. The design starts with a minimal surface based from a fundamental region. The morphology of this surface is then manipulated along certain design influences: lighting, wiring, aggregation, etc. This project attempts to internalize experience and externalize preconceived impressions. In this way, the “outside” of the surfaces tell a story of organization, equity and foreshadows an alternate experience. The inside is characterized by performance. The lighting is all focused internally. This creates an object that glows from the inside. Additionally, a glimpse of the inside results in a true sense of space, almost as if there is no end to the perspective. The plastic has been formed around the diodes, creating small warts that populate the surface. The wiring is done similarly. I think this gets at the dual personalities of the project when compared with the smoothness of the opposite side. This project was the first to kind of open up this new door of possibilities... which definitely can be found in other projects I will eventually post, and certainly will subsist and mature in future projects. For me, this is very exciting.


    • Sir Arthur Braagadocio

      super-bitchin' it is your work.

      Jan 26, 07 11:51 pm
      job job

      nice work - i like the effort to integrate the lights and wiring. with Erdman, I'm sure that questions of sensors and behaviour arose?

      Jan 27, 07 1:31 pm

      Since we have been here, David's seminars and studio have begun with minimal surface geometry. Those not familiar can check out this website:
      its the website we use for starting projects. jt, i was wondering what your thoughts were on the necessity of starting the projects with rigorous geoemtric exercises if ultimately they are distorted to conform to a larger gestural assembly? alot of groups, like mine, struggled with making these aggregations into a complete, continous assembly.

      Jan 27, 07 4:00 pm

      getch; thanks. I am currently taking the sequel to the course this quarter and those questions are coming into play. I am sure we will go into greater depth as the project develops (the end result will be an installation filling two storefronts on hollywood boulevard over Memorial day weekend). This project was relatively short, about four weeks. And, it was assumed no one had worked with plastics or lighting before the project. So, I think David kept those elements out of the project to keep us focused on glow and surface. It will be interesting to see how these concepts play out over the quarter.

      Jan 27, 07 6:17 pm

      Just to strok jtravis' ego a bit I'll say that I thought this project was the standout project of the class. As far a using lighting techniques to provide specific effects (whether intentional or not) I thought that this project was very successful. By pointing all of the lights towards the inside of the piece the plastic took on very different characteristics, the outside had a matte dull appearance while the inside had a very shiny/glossy appearance. This effect coupled with the double skin technique used to house (or better ghost) the wiring and lights created a very successful 'superglow'.


      Jan 28, 07 5:25 pm

      a; I think the minimal surfaces work in a couple of different ways. Honestly, I am not sure if I totally grasp any of this now, but hope to as this quarter continues. I think the surfaces work as a good starting point to learn the basics of the program (Maya). Next, they can be aggregated in almost any basic way the designer imagines, yet they are each embedded with unique structural cues which often are not understood without having done the first exercise -drawing the piece. This is sort of a key, because it seems to work as a starting point for the deformations. If the surface logic is clearly understood, there should be ways to rigorously transform the surface within the fundamental region as accumulation occurs. Jono and I tried to stick as closely to the fundamental region as possible -as can be seen in the first set of diagrams above. Though, the next problem starts to crop up: time. Often, it seems we get caught up in the dromos of the programme. For us, the vacuum forming, milling, finishing and wiring required the lionshare of our time. Often, the digital modelling would be done in minutes so we could keep up with the demands of the schedule. While drawing the final graphics, I began to find "cleaner" ways to deform the surface. However, I do not know if this is totally a result of an increased attention, or experience from having worked through the process of digital fabrication. I think some of both, but mostly fabrication experience. Also, the aggregation sort of lays the groundwork. The next step seems to be accumulation, as the laws of a more or less grid like, or homogeneous framework are broken down along patterns of lights, connections, wiring, or the network of influences. I think that this accumulation starts to change the fundamental region. No longer are we looking at one surface, but a coupling of multiple surfaces. I have started to notice this in the latest project, as I know we are trying to be much more precise with deformations. So, I think these new genealogies of surfaces demand new fundamental regions and new deformation logics -which may be where it gets most interesting.

      Jan 30, 07 10:26 pm

      Scott; Thanks! You brought up the question of intent. I do not think we could have fully predicted the quality of the glow while in the midst of that thing (partially because we never got a chance to test the intensity of 156 diodes until the final). Still, we were confident. The process was well executed and I think decisions became almost autonomous. By that I mean, we would look at different lighting options, or arrangements and there was always a clear best. So by looking into different options, there was no guessing or second guessing and decisions within the group were very smooth. ie. Our first plastic tube and rubber model convinced us we would need to move the lights away from the surface it was directed at in order to produce a larger gradient of light on a surface. If we wanted the light to be attached to the surface in some way, we would need the fixtures to face away from the surface they were attached to produce this effect. These simple and complex discoveries were the guiding hand in a matrix of design decisions that ultimately produced this model. Incidentally, another by product is fun! Imagine that?

      Jan 30, 07 10:55 pm

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