squiggly lines and toothpaste

20th  October 2015

I had to explain what parametric design is to someone. First I tried giving google’s answer

“Parametric design is a process based on algorithmic thinking that enables the expression of parameters and rules that, together, define, encode and clarify the relationship between design intent and design response.”

He then asked me to explain in plain English. This was my response

“In stead of drawing lines (like normal people), I give the computer a set of commands and click play and cross fingers. When it doesn’t work I proceed to shouting at my computer, threatening it will fly out the window soon. If, by fortunate circumstances, it does work, I proceed to smile, humbly, infront of my computer, and then give it new commands to process…”

I also needed to explain 3D printing to my Dad. My best analogy is:

“imagine a tube of toothpaste, constantly squirting out toothpaste – this is called the “extruder”. Your arm moves the toothpaste in a certain path, layering one line of toothpaste over the other – your arm is the robot. Together this is 3D printing.”

antifragile forest fire

14th  October 2015

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This project evokes the negative emotion towards bushfires and intend to invert them by introducing an antifragile means of dealing with bushfire. This comes from the less known basic principle that forests need fire to remain strong. In absence of fire the forest will build up fuel, and when a fire finally strikes (which will happen) it will be out of control. Some plant species need excessive amounts of heat for their seeds to open and blossom meaning they will not reproduce in the absence of fire.

Richard Fuller, a birdwatcher and conservation biologist, has recently purchased the large piece of land surrounding Wye River. He plans on retiring here. He still has some years of work left, so the building process will be long, utilising many of the natural process of the forest. His house will be made from a canopy consisting of bark and other forest debris. A protective layer forms on the above and below side of the canopy once the fire has passed. This process is called charring and the layer protects the structure from rot, insect infestation, water and, most importantly, fire. The heat generated in the process will make the individual elements the canopy is made up of expand and lock in place making is structural in many directions.

The canopy is formed by tree strippers attached to selected trees in the forest. They cut into the phloem layer of the tree, covering the bark strips in sap – making them sticky. They then attach to bark strips from neighbouring trees forming a net between the trees. This net catches all the bark, leaves and other debris falling from the canopy above, condensing over time. The areas under trick canopy will be dense, while areas exposed to the sky will be less dense – these areas become light openings as the fire will simply burn through the thin layer of the net, while it will simple charr the edge of the dense areas.

printed wall

12th  October 2015

photo credit_Cam Newnham

my group focussed on looking at the opportunity 3D printing gives in terms of rethinking the wall. The complex network of cavities contain structure (concrete) insulation (polystyrene) continuous air cavity (preventing thermal bridges) services (pipes and wires). Combining all these elements in one print eliminates the many different trades needed to cooperate in layering of a traditional wall. And 3D printing gives a certain form freedom

video showing the planning and process of 3D printing

created with Eliza, Dai and Alicia


5th  October 2015

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slipcasting is a means of mass producing pottery items, however the road to mass production is long. First you need to make a pattern (in my case I turned a piece of timber on the laithe. This shape is made to ergonomically fit my hand) then you make a mould of plaster (in my case its a 3 part mould to accommodate for an insunk base), then you can pour the slip into the mould. The slip at the edge hardens as the mould “soaks” up the moisture. This thin shape is later fired.