Architectural Modelmaking, Design Development, Bespoke Design & Construction. Part of The University of Manchester (SEED School of Environment, Education and Development) Part of the Manchester School of Architecture
Last week we were very busy dealing with the first real workshop-based project for our new first year students. Their fabricate brief took their initial ideas for an animal habitat a step further to refine the details of design and assembly.
Both myself and Jim agree that a major learning curve of this week-long project has to be in time management. Many students found themselves rushing elements of their projects as it had been left too late in the week. As was said during inductions and many times since – please come to see us to discuss how realistic your ideas are for the time frame. If you do this at the earliest possible stage in the process we can help to get the best results with your project and importantly – to get it completed by the deadline!Â
All in all it was a fun week with many interesting projects making their way in and out of the workshop. Enjoy your trip to Berlin and we’ll see you for your next project when you return!
Following their recent inductions 1st year students have this week been flooding into the workshop to advance their initial ideas for the animal habitat project. We have been really happy even at this early stage with the response from this year in terms of organisation and good practices when approaching making. Hopefully we can continue this for the rest of the year and beyond to produce some great projects.
Due to the high numbers expected this afternoon and Friday we would recommend that you get in early and consult us on what you need to do before starting. We may advise that you work from home due to the nature of your project as we cannot accommodate more than 20 students at any one time. Please understand this and try to organise your ideas efficiently so we can help as quickly as possible and you can meet your deadlines on time.
Polys has used layers of laminated packing cardboard to create a model of the wall and component details he is studying. This 1:2 prototype will test the component assembly before he attempts to make a 1:1 component. Due to the expensive and impractical nature of using the actual construction materials for his models Polys is using cheaper alternatives for his studies. The main purpose of this cardboard model was to clearly define how each element will interact with the next rather than mimicking the properties of the 1:1 real detail.Â Many shapes and forms can be made from cardboard which can also be surprisingly strong when laminated. This curved parts were made using a former and glulamming process.
Last week brought us an onslaught of eager first year students all keen to make their ideas into reality in the workshop. As many found, this wasn’t as straight forward as they might have thought! With projects like this it is crucial that things get moving quickly for avoid disappointment with machine bookings of workshop space as several students found last Friday.
This is an important lesson for future tasks as space in the workshop is at a premium and demand will be especially high in the last few days before submissions. The best way to prepare for this to the organised ahead of time and get to a stage where you can be making as early as possible in your unit.
For the students who did make it in there was a fantastic array of sketch models and concept models produced. As with all students, no matter what your experience within a workshop environment we encourage you to ask for assistance if unsure about your projects before starting. This allows us to advise the best construction methods and materials choice for your purpose and can help us free up space to get as many of your projects completed as possible. We look forward to see what comes our way next!
Development of the 6th year pavilion projects is continuing at pace down in the workshop. Test models often bring assembly issues to the surface which Alexander Valakh, Lorena Chan and Nancy Chan have been finding with their concepts. This is exactly why these models play a vital role in design development.Â Here Alex has created his outer skin from laser cut polypropylene plastic sheet fixed with pop rivets. This has proved tricky and mid way through assembly it became clear that a more uniform stapled fixing would have been more effective.Â Lorena and Nancy have spent the last few days fixing components for this concept together. The original concept was to have a smooth curved structure forming the tunnel walkway. As the components were fixed the group found that the curve was un-uniform due to the varying strain between components. Whilst this isn’t exactly how the concept was drawn it has still proved an interesting experiment and may still be taken to the next stage.
The concrete cast (below) has also had some teething problems with the cast numbers not turning out as refined as the group would have liked. This process will require more thought if it is to be taken forward. The group has found that their choice of aggregate or quantity used may be to blame for the irregular casting around the number details. One thing is for sure it wont be going too far given its weight despite having a polystyrene block inside to reduce the material used!
Much like the brief set this time last year students are currently in the concept stages of designing a series of pavilions to be constructed at 1:1 at Dunahm Massey (Read our blog post here). This project was challenging for both staff and students last year and really pushed the boundaries of what the workshops can handle.
This year the project is aiming to be more refined and, with support of workshop staff, come to an effective and ‘speed-bump’ free conclusion!
Alexander Valakh (Below) is working on several sketch models to help convey his project named ‘The Shadow of War’ to tutors in the hope it will be taken to the next stage of development.
To test his theory for eventual 1:1 construction Alex had produced a plywood sketch model in identical fashion to the full size proposal on our CNC. Producing this model has allowed Alex to explore problems he may encounter whilst using this method and has already identified several areas that will need more thought. These issues are not a hindrance to the design process but feed into it and shouldn’t be seen as a waste of time. problem solving through trial and error models are often the best way of refining a design for production.
This group is also producing another concept pavilion using paper to create the sketch model. The flower-like components are created and joined using pop rivets which will eventually form a curved canopy.Â
Another (!) concept from the same group involves casting concrete blocks as part of a wall sculpture. This is part of the same brief but is less interactive due to the nature of the proposed site. This was poured yesterday afternoon and is still setting so we’ll hopefully have some more pictures of how that is progressing by the end of the week.