‘Wood Street Mission’ 1:20 Section Model by Katie Williams

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Year 6 MArch student Katie Williams wrote about her final major modelmaking project for us:

 

“The project is an extension to the existing building of the ‘Wood Street Mission’ charity, near Spinningfields. Due to it being an extension in a constrained site, the design had to respond to the existing ornate Victorian building, as well as create spaces for the existing and new programmes (and users) to connect. The extension aims to reflect and reinterpret the structural strategy of the existing building by using brickwork detailing on the facade, and a glulam frame internally to support floors and the roofs. Key details include recessed imprinted brickwork on the facade, large perforated brick openings and angled roof support beams. This 1:20 model is a section through a covered terrace area on the top floor of the four storey building. This space was chosen as it incorporates the key design details, as well as showing the terrace floor build-up, the internal floor, curtain glazing wall, the roof build-up and the parapet detail.
Where possible, materials were chosen that are a true representation of the actual construction. The glulam roof beams are cut from hardwood, and the internal roof finish is birch ply. Due to the angles involved in the roof, wood was easy to model with as it could be sanded and shaped. Most of the floor build-up was also done using realistic materials, such as foam board for insulation, and Styrene plastic for the waterproof membrane. The roof build-up is less accurate in terms of showing battens an cross-battens under the tiles, but the waterproof membrane is the actual tape used in construction. The brickwork facade and primary structural blockwork are represented in MDF. The facade brickwork was laser cut to show perforations and spray-painted in brown. The parapet cover is vacuum-formed grey Styrene plastic, which was then cut to fit over and around the top of the walls.
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The construction of the model helped me to realise the construction issues that were not apparent in a 1:20 section drawing, for example the continuation of insulation on the inside of the terrace area.
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When modelling the angled roof beams and working out the angles they should be sanded, it helped me understand the connections that I had previously struggled to model digitally. This was my first time using spray paint finishes and it makes a great difference to finish off laser-cut wood nicely.
On reflection, I can appreciate that in order to achieve the level of finish I am now happy with, the (whole) day spent planning the model was key.
If you fail to plan you plan to fail!
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This project is successful as it carefully balances necessary detail with material choices. The scale of 1:20 is perfect given the amount of layered detail Katie chose to show in her construction and the choice of this corner section was well considered as it shows a good selection of details and finishes that would expand throughout her whole design but are not necessarily required in their entirety to understand their application.

The success of this project is largely down to planning and material awareness. Rather than making the medium her binding constraint and only working around a particular tool, Katie rightly chose to dissect her model into components to help her understand its form as well as considering the most appropriate method of manufacture to represent each part.

It is clear is how well Katie understands the assembly of her building and the lessons learned in making this presentation model no doubt only strengthen that.

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‘Testing The Machines Of A Third Industrial Revolution’ Cross Section Presentation Model, Abhi Chauhan

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This project was completed in the final weeks of the last academic year by 6th year MA Student Abhi Chauhan. The project is the follow on to the 1:100 section we featured several months back. What is particularly appropriate about the styling of this project is the subject matter or the site. Being a 3D Printing Manufacturing facility of the future means no better method of production that the technology in question. This is definitely something to consider when devoting yourself to a major project like this – for example, if you are building an eco-concious design then that ethic should carry through to your presentation and thus model construction. This project sticks to its purpose through and through.

Abhi has been since graduated and started a full time position at Grimshaws in London. We wish him all the best in his future career!

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This piece will be on display as part of our B.15:45 Exhibition so be sure to have a look in person.

Abhi has kindly written us this extensive account of the theory and construction methods he used in this stunning final piece. Enjoy!

This model is a final exhibition 1:50 sectional model. The slice is located through a key component of the building scheme titled ‘The Machines Of A Third Industrial Revolution’ The model slice – in detail depicts the processes of 3d printing of 1:1 architectural components, to be tested on a stalled concrete frame bounding the site. The design of the facility is such that it sits into a trench in the ground and features a folded roof structure which integrates a 3d printed park at ground level with the industrial processes of the facility within. The scale of the facility has been designed to be oversized, to deal with the variety of large scales that are needed in the manufacture of components for the construction industry.

The model builds upon the 1:100 sectional model completed earlier this year, and takes on a similar aesthetic to that of a cross section through a large industrial machine hanging of the walls of the facility.

The model has been constructed with a variety of different techniques.

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The base has been CNC cut from x15 18mm mdf sheets layered and glued together. This method, although not the most cost effective meant that each layer of the base could be designed to incorporate slots and grooves within for housing of the various components that would eventually complete the model.

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The red structural parts forming the portal steel frame structure hung within the trench were all constructed in 3ds max and then 3d printed on the ABS printer. These parts were then spray-painted to get the final red finish seen. Other components that were printed, include some of the facade components, and the series of storage tanks and pipes to the right of the trench. This method of manufacture was chosen sue to the time constraints, the subject matter of the project, and the complex shape of some of the parts.

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The roof was also 3d printed and a shelling script in grasshopper gave the folded structure a thickness to make watertight for 3d printing. This part was the most challenging to construct and after a variety of failed tests the part was printed at Hobs due to their larger printer beds (up to 1500mm wide) which allowed for the part to be printed as one component. Finishing the roof are a series of card panels (depicting a metal skin) which were laser cut and engraved. These were bonded to the 3d printed structural roof frame using spray mount.

The material archives (in white) set into the base of the model were the last parts to be 3d printed on the model, and were done on the powder 3d printers. These constructs were notoriously fragile and once installed in the base had their edges and portions of their rebuilt in white pollyfilla.

The remaining components making up the model have been formed from either 2 or 3mm clear acyclic. For example the 3d printers on the -2 level have been laser cut form a mixture of 2 and 3mm acrylic and then assembled to snap fit and slot together to avoid gluing. This clear aesthetic was chosen for a variety of the model parts as can be seen.

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The landscaped elements including the cranes and gantry and the main internal staircase were all laser cut from 2mm mdf. These part were all spray painted to the final grey and black finish shown.

The facade skin (resembling an ETFE system) was vacuum formed over a 3d printed mould. The mould was designed with groves in it and as such were expressed in the final plastic shells.

Before any parts were manufactured every part was modelled in 3d and then assembled to create a master digital model. (see image) Due to the large amount of parts on this model this was necessary to eliminate any unforeseen mistakes which would be harder to rectify once parts had already been cut.

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Each part of the model was treated as a mini project i.e. the main facade, the main stair case, the 3d printers on the ground floor, etc. Once these were all assembled and sprayed the whole model was put together like a giant jigsaw. Due to the fact that almost every part was digitally fabricated there were few tolerance errors during final assembly.

The model took approximately 3 weeks to translate from an actual section into model drawings and then 3 weeks to get all the parts cut and painted and a final week to assemble together.

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‘In Limbo’ Presentation Site Model, Laura Minca

Laura SiteIntimate Cities student Laura Minca has designed an ever changing settlement within the city centre. The site, on the corner of Whitworth Street and Princess Street in Manchester has been a site of a stalled project for some years now. Laura’s concept would allow the site to continue to expand and develop as required with a construction crane remaining on site to build as the site needs evolve.

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Laura gives us a description of her project below:

The project aims to initially investigate the city of Manchester under a temporal lens, focusing on the spaces ‘in-between‘ worlds, ‘in-between’ stages of development that resulted following the economic downturn. At the heart of the city’s commercial and conservation area lies Origin – unfinished, incomplete, abandoned, hiding behind faded slogans of glamour and projected fantasies of luxury living and work opportunities.

The research and output developed as part of the [Intimate Cities] Atelier will be focused on the current condition of the Roma groups that have targeted the United Kingdom ever since Romania’s entrance in the European Union in 2007. Although their ‘nomadic’ condition is debatable and its deriving taxonomy should be reassessed, the Roma groups provide a fascinating case study in terms of a traveling community’s continuous struggle to adapt within fluctuating social, political and economic climates. 

The temporal context of the project is set starting with January 2014 when the transitional controls on free movement adopted by the UK will end. Following the lift of the travel restrictions and free access to the UK labor market, a high influx of Romani groups are expected to arrive and settle within British and implicitly, Mancunian territory.

Drawing on dichotomies of spatial purity and impurity, on notions of boundary, transience and spatial justice, the scheme proposes a temporary, modular structure that plugs into the existing site infrastructure – a contemporary Roma camp, aimed to provide the incoming community with a set of architectural and spatial principles that develops incrementally.

The focus on temporary, adaptable, shared spaces challenges the sedentary predisposition specific to Western architecture and its affinity towards grand, enduring structures. The approach is driven by the idea that architecture functions as an ideology in built form, that homes are more than just fixed dwellings, more than just sheltering devices: they are tools that enable the communities that use architecture to carve their identities and redefine visions of themselves and their collective subconscious.

This is not a scheme about pristine, perfectly aligned spaces and sleek technologies, but an exploration of imperfection, of the random and the improvised. A breathing, ever-changing structure that echoes the unconventional ways of the Romani people and their ability to adapt in any given environment. (Laura Minca 2014)

Concept renders of how the site would look.

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The scaffold construction that makes up the bulk of the design was represented by engraving the framework on acrylic sheeting and rubbing in acrylic paint to the define the details. This effect is much more efficient that attempting to construct each scaffold piece or laser cutting the frame at this scale.
Laura Minca  (6) Laura Minca  (8) Laura Minca  (9)Laura used wood stain to define the site from the surrounding area. this was achieved by masking the edges and applying more coats of stain to darken her site footprint.

Laura Minca  (11) Laura Minca  (12) Laura Minca  (15) To create the tent like canopy above each area of the site Laura used a vac-formed sheet to create the draped fabric aesthetic desired. This was achieved by creating a former using Ureol Modelboard which was sanded to the correct shape then placed on a base to sit on the bed of the vac former.Laura Minca  (18) Laura Minca  (19) The vac forming process involved heating up styrene vac-forming plastic which is then suction formed around any given shape.Laura Minca  (20)

The completed form is then taken from the bed and trimmed to size for use on the model. Laura Minca  (21)

Laura Minca  (25)Further detail was added to the internal floor spaces using laser cut cardboard fixed to plywood floor plates. This plates were then assembled and slotted into place into the main framework before having the roof canopies fitted above.

Laura Minca (3) Laura used brass etched scaled figures to convey the use of the spaces with figures dotted around the site and near the context. Small pine cones were used to represent trees which always works well with wooden based models. These can be found on various trees and bushes around campus! Laura Minca (4)

Once all scale elements were added and surround massing models were made using Jelutong block, the model was moved into the studio for photographing.

Laura Minca (3) Laura Minca (19) Laura Minca (24) Laura Minca (45) Laura Minca (84)

1:1 Structural Detail Model, Polys Christofi

I have no doubt that many of you will have noticed the unusual 1:1 detail model that was developed here over the last few weeks before our Christmas break. Polys Chritsofi had decided he wanted to produce he structural study at 1:1 on a mock up brick wall facade. This was an advance on his previous cardboard mock-up which was made at 1:2 Scale.

The journey from idea to reality was an interesting one with several learning curves along the way. Rather than using brick slips (thin cut brick faces) to create the brick wall backdrop Polys decided to use vac formed moulds to create plaster bricks to save on weight and cost. It was an unusual approach that turned out very well.

The detail itself was largely CNC’d outside our workshop and brought in for assembly and finishing. To create a smooth joint between cut components the pieces were laminated together and clamped to dry before being coated in sandsealer.

Applying sandsealer, sanding and repeating is often necessary to achieve a smooth finish on pores materials such as MDF. Any flaws in the surface can further be smoothed using a filler. When the finish was smooth after much sanding, the components were primed with spray primer and painted with a roller.

The plaster bricks were painted with spray paints and individual speckle detail added by hand later. The bricks were then fixed to a back board with an imitation lintel as featured on the actual detail. Once fixed to the back board it was clear the piece would be awkward to move and it was decided that the facade should be made into a skate by fixing wheels that would allow the whole model to be wheeled around.

The bricks were evenly spaced and fixed with Grip Fill adhesive.  To finish the look of the facade mortar was mixed and applied to the joints in the same manner as an actual wall would be pointed. Polys had no experience of this but with a little guidance from Jim was able to get the job done.

 

Finally the finished components were assembled and bolted in place on the facade board. This level of realistic detail is rarely necessary to convey a design and could be argued is not in this case but the new skills learnt through the process, and their application in later design ideas, will undoubtedly prove very useful for Polys.