Cementing Childhood Whims

Few weeks back, I was struggling to align my thoughts and wishes to develop a reimagined version of my childhood home. Now, I am at the end of the lap with a concrete design for my younger self, where the anticipations and wishes are bound within the concrete of the structure. Its been a journey of about a month, a short duration as it may sound, but the development of it over the hours of each day has made it a journey that offered so much to learn and rectify. The weeks that were divided to achieve different objectives of the design slowly allowed this building to evolve and transform into a home, with the mistakes and improvements along the way leading to the foundation of the building. How that building has achieved its completion has already been spread out, with only the finishing touches left to be added.

Moving forward from the reminiscence of the design evolution, lets fast forward to the present time, with holds the result of that process. On reaching the last week of the design, as it is expected, no major changes occur in the design and was to be devoted primarily to the minor resolutions of the technicalities and its presentation. But, having missed the previous week of discussions, naturally, I had to spend extra time to resolve and have discussions on it. Without the luxury of time, my thoughts had to be simultaneously translated into paper and discussed at the earliest. The only advantage I had in the situation was that the week was to be self scheduled and planned for the closure of the design, resulting in no formal studio meetings. Now, all I had to do was to use that in its true and meaningful sense. Easy, isn’t it!

The first half of the week involved back and forth of design resolution and subsequent discussions with my peers or tutors. Unlike the usual routine, where the last step in the process involves cross checking and minor rectifications, I had significant changes in my design, owing to which I tried to obtain as many discussions as possible. But, that is a process that can never see the end, for it always has the potential for change. So, the decision on when to stop was also crucial, marking the beginning of the presentation of it.

To an extent, presentation can be thought of a buffet of food, where each item can be independently taken, but also adds a characteristic to the whole, and of the star of it could vary from a complex dish to a simple savory. Similarly, the representation of the design through drawings and models provides similar information, where an aspect is accentuated or deciphered better. So, while the individual drawing or model is not incomprehendibe on its own, as a whole, they convey the information better. One may choose to see the interaction between levels of the house, or the relation of mass and void, and the palette provides the section and model to clarify it.

Section and Soap Model simplify different aspects of the design; section simplifies the interaction between levels, and soap model the relation between mass and void

Most parts of the presentation were iterations of last week, allowing to improve on the techniques of making it while working on the feedback provided on the earlier one. So, the soap model was cut to resemble more of cuboids than parallelepiped or other irregular forms. One deduction made from it was the significant reduction in time used for making it. The initial iteration of it involved hesitant and raw cuts on the surface while spending a lot of time to understand the material, while the final iteration had significantly developed on that.

The plans and sections which were resolved and set was the first to undergo change where it was rendered to be visually aesthetic apart from ensuring good legibility. Human figures in various activities added life to the non-living building, while reflecting the intended usage of the space. Colors to distinguish the different surfaces add a layer of information to the bare skeleton of the design, providing easy legibility of the design. The collective information from these two dimensional drawings were used to make a virtual model. The third dimension of the home added another dimension of looking at the design, viewing them as volumes of spaces rather than the area occupied by rectangles. While this was the understanding I developed from the medium where I could rotate and move around the model as though in a real environment. To depict that information in a single frame, the building was exploded into different levels so that the information of each of the level can be reach simultaneously without one concealing the other.

While I had already visually imagined the design, the virtual vision of it only strengthened the pre requirement of sketching views of the place. Requiring one to dive into it, rather than being a spectator from outside, it allowed to analyse the unique relations within and between its parts. The quick nature of doing it made me realise how well versed and acquainted I got with the design that I could create a camera angle of any part of it even in my sleep, per say. Zooming in also requires zooming out, and I had the entire house as a thumbnail as it become a tiny part of the neighbourhood it belongs to. While it was already made, the next iteration focused on transforming the thumbnail to follow the language of the entire map, and sit as a part of it, rather than sticking out.

Sketches of views from within the house

The only part of the presentation that was completely new for me was the cardboard model of it, allowing for the different layers of the the 3 storey structure to be independently removable. The cutting of each element of it, from columns and walls and the openings within it was a painstakingly slow process requiring patience and care to see to its finality. As the building began to emerge, for a moment I took time to just admire it, not based on its aesthetics or design efficient but just the fact that I had been the cause for something to be, awaking curiosity and eagerness to see that experience that with a real life building that I design. Now, cut shorting the day dream, the rest of the building was completed, allowing for each of its levels to be slid in and out of the pit, resembling the process of construction, if placed sequentially.

Cardboard Model :The model allows to place and remove the different levels of the building, allowing to visualise the elements that correspond to one another across the levels.

With all this done, a slideshow of the plans of the design from the first to last was created to be viewed in sequence, resembling and depicting the compilation of the journey that the design has been through. While reminding me of the cliché scenes in movies where one’s life passes a moment before their eyes, my entire one month journey had been collected and compressed within that one reel of my childhood home.

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