Unlocking Dimensions

Over the past week, my design for the institute had undergone several changes, in terms of the function and layout of spaces, fenestration used and elements in each space. Each session in the offline workshop week helped me develop my design further and at the end of these discussions, I can say that I was pleased with the way my design had evolved. It was almost like watching something lifeless blossom into something organic-a cafe and cooking workshop run by my mother and her friends that welcomed one and all in the neighbourhood and around. Each deliverable for my upcoming review helped me discover one more dimension to my design and helped me in communicating my ideas more effectively.

Since my first iteration, I had been constantly working on the orthographic drawings of my institute. These drawings showed the relationship between different spaces of the institute. Since I was unfamiliar to the construction system of sloping timber roofs, it took me some time to draft the roof details. Showing the inhabitation of each space by drawing humans performing activities and other objects and vegetation, the drawings came to life and I could get a clearer sense of the nature of inhabitation of different spaces in the institute. I feel that if only I could improve the way I render, the drawings would be more readable. Further, the elevations showed the different facades and the way the building would be perceived by an onlooker.

0m plan
West Elevation

Compared to the one I made exactly a week ago, the 1:75 scale model for the latest iteration of my institution was far different from what I had envisioned it to be. The ideas for each space and the elements used in the structure had changed considerably. The flat concrete roof was replaced with sloping roofs at different levels, the addition of wooden slats at higher levels created a ‘lantern’ in the structure, and removing the trellis boundary along the seating spaces and replacing them with steps and a partial facade of columns made the cafe more inviting and accessable. It was difficult getting the dimensions right in the model. For example, to achieve the required thickness of walls and columns, I had to stick cardboard sheets together. Making the model was a very long process, and I had to make each layer of the institute with precision which took some attempts, but watching it all come together made this ‘endless’ model-making process worth it. In my last model, I had merely made cutouts in the walls for windows, but this time, by adding a layer of recessed fenestration, the articulation became much clearer. On completing the model, I imagined myself as a tiny human walking through each space in the institute, and this made the visualisation of the function and layout of each space clearer. Making the model gave me a 3D picture of my institute as compared to the 2D orthographic drawings.

By drafting wall sections I learnt about the construction and materials that’s made up the different elements of the institute. It was interesting to learn but it doesn’t seem to be my forte. Maybe I’m just new to it and I need time to get accustomed to it.

A 1:100 scale site map was drafted in which I showed the relative size and relative position of the buildings and the context around my institute. I rendered them in different shades of grey to depict different things like buildings, footpaths and roads. I had never noticed or attempted to measure this before but now I had a clear idea as to where my institute lay in the neighborhood. This site plan was then devoped into a 3D site model which provided an added layer of information of the heights of the surrounding spaces. Again, I depicted different elements like the footpath, trees and the building with different materials to make a monochrome model and I really enjoyed this process. Placing the institute in the heart of the site map showed me it’s immediate context and the kinds of openings and spaces my institution might need. Making this model showed me how my institute meets the world and greets the sky.

1:200 Site map

I learnt a lot about the articulation of buildings and how function is affected by this articulation of spaces. All in all, it was a very exhausting yet interesting experience. This exercise has tested me as a designer on all fronts and at the end of this journey, I have grown to understand my field much better.

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