Project Page is up…

Summaries of our projects can now be found here.


Narratives and Part Plans



Work today has been on developing the narratives that I mentioned earlier….

I used Wim – one of the 16-18 year old residents at Nico’s House – to curate my tech report, and so Ive continued with him…

Ive written the narrative in quite a bit of depth as I think its in keeping with my project (stories, Nico as a ‘storyteller’, yadda yadda…), and Ive found it helpful to get me thinking through the detail. Ive listed the sketched out the spaces I mention in the narrative  in my sketch book, and then Im beginning to place them on my site…documenting the process by which I make decisions on the sheet below. Wim’s day starts in the existing buildings, and so Ive started there. Im aware that its still keeping me from jumping into the big unknown bit of my building, but I think I need to do this bit first, if only to understand where things intersect with the main hostel building.

The second sheet is a snapshot from CAD of my planning work from today…I’ve almost worked out the bit of the building that teh 16-18 year old residents live in.



Model to Plans…


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To update John for tomorrow’s tutorials…

Im working mainly in models – physical and digital – and so I’m trying to cataclogue each day’s work on a portfolio sheet so that Ive got some evidence of my design development.

Please note that the sheet below is unfinished. It is intended for the portfolio, at A2 portrait size (2 sheets). the left hand sheet will include original sketches and photographs of the model, whilst the right hand will layout some iterations of the plan I was trying to draw, with a commentary of the difficulties encountered in each iteration. Where changes where made experimentally to the model, I will include the model photograph alongside.

The text in the top left reads:

From Model to Plan

Planning at 1:200 /// The product of one day’s work on 19_04_2012. Beginning with 1:200 model – apparently resolved in terms of urban form – the plan is used to interrogate spatial relationships between its key spaces. Particular attention is paid to the new ‘front’ building that completes the block.

Results /// It quickly becomes apparent that the formal volumes – developed in response to the urban conditions of hierarchy in the public space, proportional relationships between volumes, aspect and views – is largely unsuitable to some of the key spatial relationships demanded by the programme. The plan simply will not work.

A second difficulty is discovered in the grasp of scale. 1:200 renders it difficult to draw wall thicknesses and key dimensions at a level conducive to playful experimentation. A level of precision in understanding the dimensions of key elements – such as stairs, lifts, corridors and room sizes – is needed to make the planning exercise meaningful.

Thirdly, I found myself to slip undisciplinedly between drawing ground floor, first floor and second floor and often on the same drawing. This can be attributed to the complexity of desired spatial relationships in three dimensions and across floor plates.

Next Steps //// Develop planning from narratives, embracing a level of precision with regard to dimensions and their influence of spatial relationships.

Plans shown at 25% of drawn scale (1:200).

Project Development

Here’s some of the work/ideas i’ve been exploring over Easter. Beginning with the locust life cycle, I wanted to clearly define the growth stages, inputs and outputs as this will inform the farming practice of the pods, particularly looking at ways to re-use waste and farm the locusts in the most efficient way. Alongside this is a quick anatomical type drawing of a locust, exploring ideas such as noise implications, CO2 discharge etc. This sheet isn’t quite finished, I’ll post it up once it’s done. I’ve then been working these ideas back into the design aiming for a closed loop system.

Then moving on to explore the social and spatial assembleges. The social aimed to tie down every type of user, business or employee that could have an input/influence on the space.  These needs then directly influence the spatial assemblage, setting a basic brief for the farms spatial requirements. Using this information i’ve been exploring the overall design of the scheme, mainly in section (if I can find a scanner/photograph it, I’ll post an image up). The aim is to develop an overall section/axo then begin to overlay the different ‘users’ and their exploration of the building. So for example, the sceptic, how far would they come into the space, what impression can the building make in the initial space etc.

Let me know what your thoughts!



EDIBLE ESTATES is an ongoing initiative to create a series of regional prototype gardens that replace domestic front lawns, and other unused spaces in front of homes, with places for families to grow their own food. The twelve gardens planted thus far have been established in cities across the United States and Europe. Adventurous residents in each town have offered their front yards as working prototypes for their region. Each of these highly productive gardens is very different, designed to respond to the unique characteristics of the site, the needs and desires of the owner, the community and its history, and the local climate and geography.


The on-going Animal Estates initiative produces events and exhibitions to consider the animals that we share our cities with, and creates dwellings for animals that have been unwelcome or displaced by humans. As animal habitats dwindle daily, Animal Estates proposes the reintroduction of animals back into our cities, strip malls, garages, office parks, freeways, front yards, parking lots, skyscrapers, and neighborhoods. Animal Estates intends to provide a provocative 21st century model for the human-animal relationship that is more intimate, visible and thoughtful.

Constructing Programme…


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Ive been trying to use ‘quick’ models to construct an inventory of spaces that need to be included in my building, from the point of view of each its user ‘characters’…

This one is from the point of view of a group of tourists who travel to Heijplaat to go on a cycle tour of the Port – with Nico, the host, acting as guide…

Following the journey from central Rotterdam by water, The tourists arrive at the RDM Campus and walk to Nico’s House along the edge of Heyshaven, an ecologically rich habitat and ‘nature walk’. A sign is probably needed as the visitors pass through the ‘wall’ of the former shipyard buildings to guide visitors; and Nico’s House is about a 5minute walk away. Upon arrival, the tourists see the welcoming public front of Nico’s House, and enter to enquire about the tour.

This public foyer is staffed, and serves many functions. In this case, it is a shop – where prospective cyclists can stock up on snacks and drinks – and an information centre, where maps are available of routes. The foyer has a close relationship to a small workshop and secure storage area where bikes are kept and repaired. Cycle repairs – and managing the cycle-hire operation – are done as part of a training programme for a young person, who probably lives at Nico’s House. The foyer also has access to a WC and to a private access (including disabled access) to the upper stories of Nico’s House where the hostel rooms are.

Upon returning from their guided tour of the ‘Spectacle of the Port’ (big ships, cranes, container mountains, hidden ecology…), the group can relax at Nico’s House, either outside in the rich garden, having a barbecue and bathing in the warmth of the reflected sun on the south facing wall of the building, or if the weather is chilly, inside next to a wood burning stove. They may retire to their dormitory room if they are staying, which although sleeping 4 people, has its own bathroom and secure storage. The hostel rooms face onto the garden and are designed for inclusive access, and in some cases have a view back to the ‘spectacle of the Port’.

I’m going to annotate the above model photographs with a written narrative and ‘zoomed in’ sections to produce a drawing for my portfolio. It may need extending – for example, a vignette showing the ‘apprentice’-style training in the cycle workshop, or a section showing guests of the hostel sharing an evening meal.

I’d like to repeat this exercise for all the user ‘characters’ in my project…but this one has taken 2 and a 1/2 days, and so Im not sure if its possible / feasible with all the other things we have to do! Maybe ill try sketchier versions, aiming to take 1/2 day on each (there are 4 more: Nico (as host) / Resident Family / Resident 16-18 year old / Visiting School group). I think its actually the narrative that is the important tool driving the development of the design.


Annotation to model photographs will be done as below (on A2 sheet)…

Cultivating Our Material Environment…


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The two materials / technologies I am looking at are:

–    Cross-Laminated Timber (also known as structural monolithic timber)

–    Greenhouse technology (particularly its transfer to a domestic setting)

Cross Laminated Timber…(TRADA CLT series)


Greenhouse Technology is a domestic setting… (Lacaton and Vassal)