10/30/11

Design:Build

“ WAAC design:build seeks to build material reveries through the undertaking of projects which require the skilled application of both mind and hand, with ‘work’ (erga) being both the action and the lasting result.  Since the foundation of the school at 1001 Prince Street, generations of students have turned the school building into a school of architecture through endless modifications, demolitions, and installations.  The current course continues this tradition of building the school, allowing students the opportunity to leave behind a small part of their work to act as inspiration for future work.  Students will have the opportunity to engage in the full spectrum of prudent thinking, from conception and drawing to modeling, execution, and reflection.” 
-Jonathan Foote Professor of Architecture - Washington Alexandria Architecture Consortium 
             I am currently working in a group of three to design lighting fixtures for the “Secret Room" on campus.  The room was a previous design:build project including the walls, table, door, and shelves.  We will be custom making every component of the lighting fixtures that will hang above a 14’ table.  The design is minimalist, circular, and unobtrusive.  Minimal because the room is very small and already has a lot of creative work that making something too elaborate would take away from the quality of work already done by previous students.  Circular so that the lights can freely hang and orient in any direction without needing more material or physical effort to correct their position.  The lights will hang at a height that does not hinder the wonderful workspace that the large table provides and will hopefully not 'bump' occupants.  We have decided to make the fixture a single-cast glass cone.  The cone offers its own surprising characteristics for being such a simple shape.  The process has been interesting but not easy.  Here are a few photos of the work we have done thus far to create our lights for the secret room.   


The “Secret Room” at night + concept mock up of cone light fixtures

Box for the concrete mould.


Foam rough cone shape + angle piece

Shaping the foam on a metal mill

Pouring the concrete over the cone
cone in 2D acrylic 

cone in 2D acrylic
Teammate placing the glass in the hardened concrete mould

Before firing the glass in the kiln

After firing the glass in the kiln (no this is not what we wanted to happen)

Failed end result of cone.  

       As seen from the photos the initial attempt at casting the single piece of glass as a cone did not work.  It either fell to the bottom during the heating process or the kiln became so hot that the glass liquified.  I will post process photos as we continue to modify our construction techniques.  Despite this failed attempt the texture turned out nice! 



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