Reform by Design

Let’s talk design! During the course of this semester, I have become a different designer in both thinking and doing. I no longer belong to a large group of design students that let loose their imagination with limitless power, yielding the Godly finger and turning wild ideas into hypothetical (and most of the time unrealistic) projects. Such ambition is not all bad, for we all have and always will design to subvert our own feelings of humble beginnings. That’s why we strive for greatness. That’s why we dream big.

There is, however, one fundamental achievement to reach in architecture (coupled with many more like: don’t steal ideas, don’t make enemies in studio or practice, respect eachother’s projects, etc…), and that is to finally become a MAKER. With the technology in hand, making becomes knowledge, in this way thinking and doing, design and fabrication, and prototype and final design become blurred, interactive, and part of a non-linear means of innovation. If you rely on a certain definite process as a way to make work, you will never discuss anything new. By understanding what belongs and what does not belong within a process you learn how to self-edit. Regardless of the outcome, you have made something. Take my advice, be original (don’t try too hard), give everything and make good things!

I want to talk about my fellow colleagues: Natalie, Brent, and Ben, who have become heroes of mine over the past couple of months. They are what they set out to be from the beginning of the class…makers. Their project not only speaks for itself, it screams for attention in a desolate whitewashed-business-type-walls-because-we-had-to-and-can’t-paint-them-any-other-color hallway. Their project was not innovative in design, by any means, but it certainly was an in-your-face statement of design, something that set a higher standard for every other architecture student taking a digital fabrication course in the future.

I was able to witness the process of design take shape throughout the semester. The team poured their sweat and hard work into their project; yet made the process look effortless (see the time-lapse video below). After all the rib structure pieces were cut, the assembly was easy. The concrete pieces used were coated with a wet-look water sealer (same as the plywood). The final assembly took a bit more adjusting because the concrete pieces needed post-processing work. All in all, everything worked out! Stay tuned for some more info on the next blog entry!


Pandush Gaqi is a senior undergrad at Lawrence Technological University and currently taking Digital Fabrication class in the MArch program.

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