Workshops

The following is a description of each Possible Medium Workshop organized by theme. Unless otherwise noted, all workshop materials will be supplied.

FIGURAL PROJECTIONS
Figural Projections frames a group of designers engaged in the study of architectural legibility related to figural form and shape. Subverting (often subtly) the conventions of projective geometry, these designers employ narrative, optical deception, and ambiguously precise massing to craft imaginative worlds.

EndgameAngela Co 
End-game transformations can alienate everyday objects, our relationships to them, and our understandings of their capacities and limitations. Under this rubric, the object of architecture is ambiguous, and while possessing specific characteristics and qualities, has open-ended applications and implied rather than expected utility.This workshop will investigate “topotypes”: architectural fragments and spatial hybrids outside of familiar typologies, which straddle a locally-specific context (topo) and an abstract organizational type. We will think about canon, hybrids and mutants, and special powers. We will construct a rotating roster of non-ideal types using machine tools (the shop) and idea tools (games). We will be build models and make drawings.

Materials:
1 hot-wire foam cutter, pink rigid insulation foam (1 4×8 sheet),laser cutter, 3d printer, chipboard and white cardstock (for laser cutter), masking tape, glue, and general model-making materials (exactos / blades, ruled straight-edge, cutting mats*). *Note: students should supply their own general model-making materials.

Eye-con: Or How I Learned to Draw Exactly WrongThomas Kelley
The aim of the workshop is to reexamine and rehearse visual deception through architectural drawing. From the 18th-century developed surface drawings of Thomas Lightoler up through the Atariesque misprojections of Holland’s Speedism, the capacity to baffle reality through drawing has led to innovative strategies in how we perceive and experience architecture. Though often denigrated as a stylistic trope, or worse a gimmick, ‘eye-con’ drawing requires a sophisticated skill set, both as a design strategy and a formal technique. And although the effects of the workshop may not always be immediate, or legible for that matter, they will introduce the participants to an ensemble of misappropriated drawing conventions and illusory devices. By mining a set of analog and parametric techniques that include Droste effects, false shadow projections, incorrect line weights, and reversible figuration, the workshop offers a history and skill set that preys on the inattentive observer. With that in mind, the participants will produce drawings that read ‘i know something you don’t know.’

Software: Rhino 5 or 4 (SR8), Grasshopper for Rhino 5.0 or Grasshopper for Rhino 4.0 (Build 0.9.0014)
Materials:  Zing Paper Cutter, Vellum Bristol Cover Stock, 8 1/2″ x 11″, 67 Lb., White, Pack Of 250 Sheets, Bright White Premium Card Stock, 8 1/2″ x 11″, 65 Lb., Pack Of 250, Silhouette Adhesive Vinyl, Black, 9″x10′ by Silhouette America

Ambiguously MisshapenJimenez Lai
This workshop will explore the relationship between Ambiguities vs. Exactness in cartoonish figurations of mass. Revisiting the Duck vs Shed question imposed by Venturi/Scott-Brown, the study of iconography is a ongoing study about the legibility of mass that many contemporary practitioners still explore. For example, Seattle Public Library is a mass that has enough parts to be read/misread. There is also not an exact prescription a correct way to read it as an icon. In the instance of Hejduk’s characters, the non-exactness evokes multiple-readings from his audience. Venturi/Scott-Brown, on the other hand, was engaging an inside-outside relationship that uses the readability of the mass. This workshop will be using pareidolia as a basis for the control of readability. Using the 4 grids, 9 grids and three-part figures, this workshop will create a series of massing studies to explore this thought.

Software: Rhino, Photoshop, Illustrator
Fabrication: projector, wire cutter, white foam, very nice cameras, micron and paper

EXCESSIVE VOLUMES 
Excessive Volumes features designers who orchestrate depth and calibrate spatial intervals with sharp expertise. They have surpassed an internal discourse of generative computing in favor of a broader focus on the tectonic, optical and atmospheric effects generated by volumetric modeling.

Flight PatternsBrennan Buck & David Freeland
Since the advent of Modernism architects have looked to science, art, and nature for models of complexity that can invigorate the discipline with new ideas and forms.  Recent developments in computational and fabrication technologies equip architects to manage and invent complexity in new ways; to develop subtly differentiated structures, networks, and organizations that offer answers to architectural questions that have not yet been formed.
The Flight Patterns workshop will study how spatial and perceptual variability enabled by computation can be applied to the development of space frame kites.  Developed at the turn of the century by Alexander Graham Bell, these tetrahedral flying machines used repetitive spatial geometries and ultra light materials to create lift through volume.  The workshop will investigate these space frames as potential architectural structures, trading their modularity for subtle modulation to invite new airborne behavior and field based effects.

Software: Rhino and Grasshopper
Fabrication: laser cutter, color plotter that accepts mylar

Buckled Primitives, Justin Diles
Cylinder, Pyramid, Cube, Stele, Sphere:  Le Corbusier’s Lesson of Rome from “Toward an Architecture”, first published in 1923, stripped Roman design of classical detail to reveal a catalog of stark volumes. Nearly a century later, elemental forms are still conspicuous in contemporary architectural language, albeit in aggregated or intricate arrangements. Stan Allen’s Maribor Art Gallery, Aranda Lasch’s PS1 Grotto, and MOS’ Element House are but a few examples of a recent prismatic turn. But how well do we really know fundamental forms? Are there overlooked multiplicities and excessively volumetric developments lurking even in a simple cube? The Lesson of Rome Revisited workshop will answer this question using design techniques combining finite element analysis with advanced animation and rendering.

Software: Rhino/Grasshopper/FEA Plug-in Karamba, Maya

Depth and the Optical VectorMichael Young
Technically, this workshop session will deal with the differential geometry that computationally represents surfaces in a digital model. These vectors normal to a surface and tangent to a curve are the basic elements that define this space. Gaining a clearer conceptual understanding of a differential vector space is a key aspect of designing through a computational mediation. Aesthetically, we will use painting and bas-relief sculpture as leaping off points for experimentation. The discursive focus will be on the history of techniques that privilege the non-geometric aspects of spatial desires, the suggestions of depth often characterized as painterly. These explorations of depth are qualitative, implying movement and duration, across as well as into the plane, created through shifts in color, texture, density, and intensity of stroke. Developing a sensibility through computational mediations must include the subtle sensory responses of aesthetic exploration.

Software: Rhino, Grasshopper

ACTIVE MODELS 
Active Models connects a group of designers that employ interactive technologies to link digital and physical environments. Their work utilizes embedded computation, continuous measurement, and kinetics to propose new modes of visual, spatial, and formal engagement.

… And ProjectionAndrew Atwood 
This workshop will focus on the analysis of objects through techniques of linear projection (geometry) and the augmentation and interpretation of those objects through techniques of image projection (spectacle).Geometry and Spectacle are not new to architecture, however, the suggestion that these seemingly disparate fields coincide at the term “projection” seems to ideally suited for the discipline.Using projection as our excuse, this workshop will attempt to combine spectacle and geometry, in an effort to clear productive space for architecture and search for references and associations not typically associated with either geometry or spectacle or architecture. The workshop will serve as an introduction to Touch Designer (http://www.derivative.ca/). A real time authoring software with a wide variety of applications. The workshop will introduce general concepts and then move quickly to the specific task of object augmentation through projection mapping.

Software: Copy of TouchDesigner FTE 077, Build 18580 installed (and working) on a laptop computer
Materials: projectors, white museum board

Robotic PrototypesJason Kelly Johnson 
The Robotic Prototypes workshop will explore the use of Grasshopper, Firefly and Arduino as creative and technical tools in the design, simulation and fabrication of robotic architectural prototypes, responsive building systems and intelligent skins. Firefly is a new set of comprehensive software tools dedicated to bridging the gap between Grasshopper, the Arduino micro-controller, the internet and beyond. It allows near real-time data flow between the 3D digital and physical worlds, and will read/write data to/from internet feeds, remote sensors, connect with machine vision protocols, and more. Grasshopper, a free plug-in for McNeel’s Rhino modeler, allows designers to create adjustable parametric forms through graphic icons rather than programming.

Software: Rhino, Grasshopper, Firefly, Arduino (all free)
Equipment: Arduino Starter Kit and two regular servo motors

Dynamic ShellsMariana Ibañez & Simon Kim
We will experiment with the disciplinary precedent of shells and their range of outcomes in domes, vaults and conics. Shells keep their form through the continuous maintenance of load across its surface members. The shift will be from tectonically static, fixed profiles for responsive, malleable forms (for example, a bubble to a nautilus, or from vertical to horizontal). This will be determined not only in digital geometric transformations but also in architectural machines of two types:  (1) Deployable Linkages/Pleated Shells, and (2) Dynamic Domes/Vaults/Arches. Both prototypes allow for flexibility and introduce active structures that vary according to real-time input.

Software: Rhino, Grasshopper, Firefly, Arduino (all free)
Equipment: Arduino UNO, Arudino IDE,  Sensors and motors

TACTILE OBJECTS
Tactile Objects brings together a group of designers defining new disciplinary territory for materials and form. Moving beyond the common criteria of performance, complexity, and elegance, this group steers material and formal articulation toward the tactile, the visceral, and the animal.

ModelramaEllie Abrons
These days the domain of the architectural model stretches from conventional, scaled representations of larger ideas to full-scale prototypes or mock-ups. Within this range, there is room for a novel conception of the model as an experiential proposition, opening up the potential for models to be both expedient design tools, or test sites, and fertile ground for predicting the effects and experiential outcomes of material experimentation and spatial manipulation. Using techniques drawn from historical precedents such as catoptric boxes, dioramas, and the polyrama panoptique, this workshop will focus on the design and fabrication of medium-size constructions that explore the occupation of a space through visual, rather than physical means while simultaneously immersing a participant in a saturated world of strange materiality and perceptual novelty.

Software: Rhino, Pepakura
Fabrication: laser cutter, wood shop (table saw, band saw, etc), heat gun, airbrush + compressor

Fat MattersAndrew Holder
Consider, as a problem of material and form, a litter of piglets suckling at the teats of a plump sow. The language of formal analysis is not readily equipped to describe this situation. The disposition of one pig against another does not appear to be regulated by clear systems of repetition and adjacency.  The pig bodies themselves resist decomposition as assemblages of skin and structure; they are too fat – all fat, in fact. What formal analysis struggles to rationalize, the languages of character and posture easily accommodate: the piglets nestle and suckle; the sow sprawls; obese bodies squeeze and abut one another. There is a generalizable theory of fat here, a theory that “Fat Matters” will explore using balloons filled with plaster. With pigs as our exemplar, we will cast a series of characters that hug, snuggle, and copulate their way toward the production of space.

Fabrication: 24″ Tuff-Tex Balloons, Plaster of Paris, Zap-A-Gap, 2-mil painter’s drop cloths, assorted basswood

Pet SoundsMichael Loverich
Working with air filled membranes, premature animal forms, acoustics, breath and some armpit squeezing, we as a group will build a bagpipe. Historically the bag of the bagpipe has been informed by the stomachs of animals so we will be begin by immersing ourselves in the musical world of animals and the anatomy which allows them to sing; primarily their craniums, pouches, sacs and bladders. This visceral study of anatomy will culminate in a carnivorous feast from whose remains we will begin to construct our bagpipe. Carefully crafting together the manmade (reeds, rods, mouthpieces, plaids and drones) with organic raw materials (skins, bones, bladders and horns) a complex musically inclined organism will be created. One that begins as a limp fetal form slung around your body but comes to life with a few breaths of moist air.  Later a quick squeeze beneath your arm will cause it to squeal, fart, burp, whistle or if we are lucky (very) it will sing.

Special Tools: Crockpot, 2 chickens or rabbits, sewing machine, Dremels, hot glue gun, unlikely but possible 3d printer, unlikely but possible lathe
Materials: Thread, Rods, Drones, Chanter, Reeds, Paints, Fabrics, Rubberizers

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