500-1000 Word Design Process:
Our project is designed as a simple shape that rotates to create complexity. We wanted to show that even with a simple, static shape, movement could be created and building performance could be improved. Our system can be set up to respond to any parameter such as day lighting, ventilation, drainage, views, usage, etc. For this prototype we designed it to respond to day lighting.
The gradient that drives the rotation of the petals was taken from an EcoTect image that tested the daylight quality on the bridge connecting the Alms building and the DAA building above the blue box. The south facing circulation bridge is rendered unusable due to its over exposure to the sun. In this case, the installation acts as a shading device that allows daylight to come through in certain areas and be blocked out on other areas.
For this location the design called for a lot of shading, bringing the petals very close together; this lead to the issue of collisions during our design process. Before sending the files to the RPC we created a full digital model of the prototype, and found that some of the petals collided with surrounding petals or supports. We considered combing or cutting those petals that collided, but felt that this went against the purpose of our design. Our solution was to spread out the supports slightly, creating a less dense system. The result we felt was improved by this decision, because it created more variety in the amount of light that came through the petals.
An issue that arose during the fabrication process of our prototype was the need to have an entire second set of petals laser cut. We did not want to label the petals with a numbering system or anything else to make each petal unique as we felt this went against our intentions. So we decided to use tabs to keep all the petals in the sheet until we could label the back’s. But there turned out to be a deficiency in tabs on our petal files that we sent to the RPC. With reference to the RPC site we chose the width of the tabs and assumed that two tabs would be enough to hold each petal in place, this did not turn out to be the case. The first time we went to the RPC to pick up our prototype our petals had all fallen out of their frames. After explaining the issue to the RPC, they graciously agreed to re-cut the petals with three times as many tabs that were twice as thick as the originals to ensure that the petals did not fall out a second time. This change was successful and we were able to label all the petals on the back, before assembling the prototype.
This project was interesting in its process and results. It was a challenge to create the rotation of the pieces to display a sense of scattered chaos on top of the ordered system that needed to be in place for fabrication. It was also a challenge to ensure that none of the chaos collided as well as assemble the chaos. But in the process of this design we learned some of the uses and capabilities of several programs, checking is always advantageous, and that tabbing should be overdone. This process resulted in a prototype that could be used to test this systems ability to affect the thermal properties of a space, as well as in proof that complexity could come from the rotation of a simple, static shape.