Exploring Materials and Connections
“If you are ever stuck on inspiration just ask your materials for advice”- Louis Khan
Often we can get caught up designing with certain alienation towards the intuitive beauty of material. Our formal introduction to the wood shop is helping us discover the beautiful balance between thinking and creating. In finding, cutting, sanding, or sawing a piece of wood, many of us stumbled upon the stubborn nature of material for the first time in our lives. We have found that the design process becomes delightfully genuine when we experience this stubbornness and understand the natural constrictions of each material.
We very much enjoyed the active process of learning in the shop and, thanks to the extremely helpful and patient staff, within a couple of weeks we were able to saw, bend, drill, and even weld. Through the introduction to the joy of working in the woodshop our models will be better crafted and our designs better informed.
The 302 studio this quarter, led by Brian McLaren and Sam Kraft, has been testing our creative capacities since the very start. Our quarter long design project has been for a community and fitness center in the heart of Capitol Hill on 10th and Pine. It is the largest project that most of us have ever designed, encompassing around 25,000 square feet; maintaining a strong design concept while also dealing with significant programmatic elements has been a challenge for us all. It’s so easy to get caught up in the placement of bathrooms and elevators and handrails, and in doing so lose the clarity that was at the core of earlier conceptual schemes.
At the start of the quarter, we worked with different mediums, such as collage and video, to represent our ideas of the site. Early analyses were very open-ended, asking us to not only generate ideas about the site and program, but to also thoughtfully consider how to represent and convey those ideas. At first, I and many others were frustrated by the vagueness of the prompts. However, as the quarter has drawn on I think we’ve learned to step up to the challenge of working in ambiguous situations, and have taken advantage of the opportunities presented by it.
Written by Gabriela Hidalgo and YsaBella Licciardi