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
Year Six student Richard Coskie has a history of making things from clear cut hand finished materials in our workshop. This project is no exception and as Richard explains, is continuing to influence his design decisions as the project develops.
“My project is an Urban Cultivation Cooperative Centre, located on a site that is nestled between train tracks and the canal, on the old Castlefield junction at the south end of Deansgate. The 1:200 scale site model I have crafted in the workshop from pine, is proving very useful in the development of the project for investigating relationships between different programmes. I hope to display the final scheme on the site model, as well as creating other models at other scales.
The decision to create the site model void of any digital fabrication was an easy choice for me. Firstly, because the site has a low-tech and industrial aesthetic, which is better achieved by sculpting arches from a single, chunky, piece of wood. But most importantly, as a designer, I feel it is important to learn the dimensions of a site, by actually planing the topography to scale, or sawing, carving and sanding the arches to size. For the moments that one is engaged with the manipulation of their model, I believe that it is as vital a time as any for visions to come to fruition.”
Baljit is using a slide system to convey the different mapping she has looked at in her study of Warrington High Street.
The key question for this project was ‘What is the future of the High Street?’.
The project has looked at empty shop spaces and their potential for non retail use as a reinvention of the traditional high street. Baljit mapped the variety of creative industries in the Warrington area and is looking at the potential to place them within the empty highÂ street store spaces.
Her main site focus is the Garnetts Cabinet Works which is due to be demolished. By using this site as an ‘incubator’ or hub for creative services, Baljit proposes a ‘launch site’ for services that would normally be based outside of the high street with the Garnetts site acting as the gateway for those services.
This working model is constructed as a grid allowing pins to be placed in the board to indicate changes in site flow at specific locations across the high street and bigger city site.Points of intervention can easily be updated by simply relocating the relevant pin. Â Each mapped industry or feature has been screen printed onto acrylic slides which are stored in the base of the model and slotted in above the engraved map and below the grid. This model will continue to change and inform as this project is refined and understood, partly due to the creation of the model itself.
Every Tuesday morning is now focussed on the 5th and 6th Year Contested Peripheries Group. The sessions so far have allowed students to voice any questions on their projects and refine their ideas through converse with their tutors and workshop staff.
Having tutors on hand in the workshop has been very beneficial to the group and we hope to encourage other Ateliers to be involved in the workshop in a similar way. As projects are completed we will give a more in depth look at their models and how they are being used to inform their designs.Â
After many months of design and development the pavilion projects have come to a close over the last week with their installation on site at Dunham Massey. The Peak Pavilion project consists of 8 ‘peak’ sections connected by a steel ring. Each peak features CNC engraved poetry written by former Dunham Massey Hospital patients during World War 1. Each text panel was CNC’d using a V-Bit cutter.
Despite the rain construction went smoothly on site and Omer kindly sent us these pictures of the completed Peaks.
Made using an MDF mold this detail model aimed to demonstrate the window detail Becky was focussing on at her site. The mold proved to be the most time consuming aspect of the model but turned out successfully. It is always worth spending longer on mold design to ensure a good cast.
The mold was made using MDF which can absorb moisture from the plaster mix and therefore needs to be well sealed before pouring. Becky used Vaselene to act as barrier and release agent for the cast.
The internal void was made by using blue foam to allow for contracting of the cast as it cured and then be removed. This too was well coated in Vaselene to aid removal.
Once cured the MDF was unscrewed and removed before cutting out the internal blue foam. Additional window details were added using initially laser cut and then modified components.
Matt used stained Meranti hardwood to create the block massing on his model. The majority of the model was hand finished to a high standard with time being taken to sand the blocks a smooth finish. The water in the Arsenale basin is represented with a sheet of frosted acrylic.
The site itself covers the Venice Arsenale and focusses around a small site, as is often the case with Venice, in between a restrictively protected mass of existing historic buildings. Matt intends to use the model as a master to ‘drop in’ his site proposals as they develop with the final model being displayed in place at the end of year exhibition.
Beginning Tuesday 28th January the workshop will be closed between 9.30 and 13.00 to all students apart fromÂ Contested Peripheries Atelier students. This will remain in effect every Tuesday for the rest of this Academic Year.
This is due to a change in teaching structure which,in the not too long term, will benefit all students. Our efforts will be focussed on delivering specific advice based on the whole groups needs whilst being exclusively available to answer questions as a group and to individuals.
These sessions will aim to focus on the theory of modelmaking and question your approaches based on what you are trying to achieve.
Necessary inductions or refreshers concerning machine operation will also be given.
The workshop will re-open as normal from 14.00 to all students.
Here are our amended general weekly opening times:
This project consists of 8 ‘peaks’ which each point toward a significant battle of the first world war. Each peak will feature poetry written by patients at who stayed at Dunham Massey during its use as a hospital for wounded soldiers coming back from the front.Â As with the other ongoing pavilion projects, this concept began in physical form as a sketch model.Â Structural details were designed and refined through a series of test models. This example shows the internal frame construction to support each pillar in the circle.
After test models were made at small scale the group went on to make some details at 1:1 to test assembly and strength in reality. This section below shows how the framework inside each panel would be fixed. These kind of 1:1 details are great design theory tests and offer as close an insight as possible to the finished look without building the full structure.
Making components for this project, much like the concrete mould construction on one of the other pavilions required the mass production of specifically angled cuts using our circular saw.Due to the acute angle required for the top ends of each piece we were unable to cut the required angle using machines. In order to achieve the correct angle the group used a custom made mitre jig and hand saw to cut the correct angle at the end of each component. This proved to be a hand saw learning curve for most of the group after falling into the common misconception about using a hand saw – small fast movements will reduce the effectiveness of your cutting. Taking time to get used to using the main length of the saws teeth and allowing the saw to do the hard work always proves much more effective and less exhausting!Â The panels for each peak will be assembled using screws into pre-drilled holes (below) which will be plugged to make them less obvious.Â The main panels of each peak will be cut using a large CNC bed at FAB LAB Manchester. As with the other pavilion project developments, we will keep you up to date as things progress.
This year 6 Group project uses Jelutong block to create the busy built up area of Venice, Italy where the focus site of their brief is located. Once complete individual site study models will be placed in context to demonstrate their relationship to the existing constructions and canals in the area.
Dividing up time consuming tasks like mass producing bespoke block model shapes can be sped up by involving all team members as long as everyone has a clear understanding of what is trying to be achieved overall.
Danielle Foster and Patrick Gorman have begun making their moulds for concrete casting which will take place at the Sheds over the coming weeks. The actual concrete casting process will be time consuming and potentially costly so spending time to get the moulds right is essential.Â Myself and Jim spent almost two days cutting components on our circular saw to make the moulds for the blocks. each mould will produce a positive and a negative indent to allow each brick to fit together. Each brick will also be numbered using the rubber number profiles the group tested at the previous stage of development. Cutting this material takes a little practice before going ahead to cut hundreds of components. The rubber had a tendency to melt and blacken as it was cut meaning that cleaning was required post cutting.
Hopefully we’ll start to see some of the finished components coming in the next few weeks. We’ll post an update when we do.
Further testing was required in Alexander Valakh and Lorena Chan’s design following some material and assembly issues.Â Once the main structural form was complete Alex and Lorena were able to test the ‘skin’ components that started life being inspired by poppies. At this stage they are still unsure about the exact material that will be used to create this component. This project has been given the green light along with the concrete blocks so we can expect more posts from both of these projects in the next weeks/months.