Friday 27 February 2009

Dr Jason Box has and idea...

Dr. Jason Box, a glaciologist from Ohio State University, wants to prevent glaciers from melting by covering them with blankets that will reflect the powerful rays of the sun. Box is convinced that his specially chosen material is resilient enough for Arctic conditions, but just how indestructible is it really? The team goes airborne to reproduce some of the worst weather experienced in the Arctic Circle: a hurricane-force ice storm. After testing, they deploy a 10,000-square-yard, reflective geo-textile blanket on the Greenland ice sheet. Will the blanket indeed reflect the sun and block the wind?

Monday 23 February 2009

LA River

The LA river is a massive network of man made concrete moats and tunnels and wedges that channel excess rain water through the city to prevent floods. What really appeals to me about the LA river is the scale and the sheer defiance of man in the face of nature. My initial idea is slightly similar however i want my concept to live in harmony with the environment. The shapes are extremely important in channeling the water and i must always be aware with my concept that form will play an important role.

Translating the landscape Maya Lin

Maya Lin works with a vocabulary of form culled from her study of landscape. By altering scale and materials, she creates works that connect the ideal and the real. The three installations all engage with the problem of bringing land masses into architecture by translating landscapes, two real and one imagined, into the materials of architecture while inviting viewers to move under, on, or through the works. I feel that Mayas work is excellent inspiration for my concept. I love the idea of translating the landscape from a complex series of forms into one form. This aspect of translation is important to my concept.

Sea defence

Sea defense's surround the coasts of the United kingdom both to protect small port towns and to preserve the ever eroding coastlines. I have decided to shift my attention for my project from actual shelter to sea defenses and flood defences which both store water and provide shelter for many regions of the UK. Above are images of the variety of sea defenses that are currently existing.

Thursday 19 February 2009

Photoshop mockup

Above is an image of my rhino 3d models placed into a context of African desert.

Tuesday 17 February 2009

Rhino Mockup

Above is a render for my first concept an immediate shelter that utilizes the soil around it to anchor and insulate the structure.

Photoshop mockups

Above are some quick Photoshop mock ups of my hut concept the hut is roto-moulded and has a pre-applied surface key (texture) to allow locals to plaster both the inside and the outside of the hut with mud. The mud will hopefully act as both an insulator and an anchor for the hut.

Monday 16 February 2009

Mud Research

After researching surface textures that i feel would benefit my concept i have decided to test mud on a textured surface. In this test i have decided to use a lattice of willow branches and a clay based mud. Because the mud surrounding RGU has a low clay content i have added a clay slip ( sort of clay soup) to the mixture of mud. I further added dry grass to the mix after the mixture was a thick clay like substance i applied it to the lattice.

Results pending.

Wednesday 11 February 2009

Surface Textures

After looking into the construction of Adobe/mud huts i realize that surface texture on the structure plays an extremely important role in allowing the outer and inner layers of mud stick to the structure. Above i have made a compilation of both man made and natural textures that appeal to me and i feel would be beneficial to my concept. Although there are some man made textures above i hope to keep to natural textures as the use of nature and natural materials in African native architecture is extremely important to both the local environment and the customs and heritage that so many African tribes wish to hold onto.

Plastering mud

Above is a short video of a person plastering their adobe house in Mozambique with mud. What has caught my attention about this video is how similar it is to how we plaster our homes here in the west. Another aspect of this construction i need to pay attention to is requirement of a un-even surface to plaster the mud onto. I know from my 3dd days that this is called (KEYING) the rough un-even surface allows the mud to better grip the structure.

Mud hut montage!

Above is a board i put together of different types of mud huts and other structures that are made of and use natural materials around them. The board also contains images of animal, insect and birds nests. The reason i put images of natures nests and mounds was because i wanted to see the links that human made earth homes and animal homes have in common. What i found was that the form each nest and house takes is extremely similar. Also the types of material and the actual finish of the materials used are extremely similar.

Monday 2 February 2009

Mud bricks

Did you know that over 3 billion people in 6 continents live in mud brick built structures. Mud bricks in mt opinion are one of man kinds greatest building materials. Some of the worlds most historical sites such as ancient Babylon were built entirely out of mud bricks, parts of the great wall of china are also constructed out of mud brick.
What really impresses me about mud brick production and construction is the fact that you can have a factory producing bricks right outside of the site. This aspect is extremely eco-friendly.
Below is a link to a company called Envirobrick which create 100% environmentally friendly bricks and they construct some rather impressive structures.


Sunday 1 February 2009

Termites, Thermoregulation and shopping?

The top image is an image of a termite mound these mounds are dotted all over Australia and can be found in Africa. Although they look like a mound of earth these structures are extremely well engineered  to regulate the interior from hot to cold and vise versa. This process is called Thermoregulation. Termites are renowned architects that use only saliva and mud to create a labyrinth  of tunnels that cool these giant mound in the baking Australian sun.
The next image is of the East gate Shopping Centre  in downtown Harare, Zimbabwe. This building is unique in as much as it has utilized the same ventilation  method that termites have been using for millions of years. I find it important to always approach natures method design first as it is often a proven method that has been working for millions of years.

Featured Artist: Guilherme Marconi

Above is an example of some of of Guilherme Marconi's work. The brazilian born artist who self taught himself is a great example of what you can do when you set your mind to something. Most of his works are vectors taken from real life shapes and objects but Guilherme subjects them to new and more radical color schemes.

Please guys check out his website below you wont be disappointed.

MUD (Balmoral Plastics)

For research into creating emergency shelter i am looking at one of mankind's oldest and most trusted construction materials...MUD! This material is extremely useful and exists in vast quantities below our feet and is also Eco-friendly.
However mud has some characteristics that people are not aware of such as its thermal qualities mud can be extremely warm due to its mass and mud also has the ability to cool itself.  These hidden properties are the reason our ancient ancestors chose to use this useful material and to this day all over the African continent villages and small towns are still created using mud.
Recently the scottish government has started to consider using clay and mud in the creation of homes instead of cement because of the availability and its thermal properties. Below is a link to a Times article about the use of mud in scottish homes.