Tuesday, May 13, 2008


The first set of images represents the model in its original form. The intent of the model was to duplicate the curved surface of the digital model through the use of a literal triangulated surface. This surface was built up on a clay form work. As with the digital model, it is meant to be a surface that both acts as object and frame to itself.

The second set of images show the model after it has received a spray coating of rubber. This process was meant to remove the geometric look of the surface, however, this coating was not as thick as planned; even after three coats, the geometric appearance remains. The one benefit is the binding of the form.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


This animation shows the digital counterpart for the second attempt at creating a surface construct from the movie clips. The intent is to create a surface that acts as both frame and object itself. The walls of the "canyons" are meant to act as a framing device. The "hills" being objects. The hills also act as framing devices for the next set of terrain. While the hills are both object and frame, the canyons only serve as frame. The surface was created from a NURBS plane in Maya through use of the sculpting tools; the animation was also created in Maya.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


These first two images are of the CAD drawing used to make the physical surface construct. These were generated with stills taken out of the movie scene. The magenta represents what was cut through, the green what was etched.

These are photos of the construct. The idea behind it is perceptions of a surface. There are two types of framing at work in the movie scene. Framing done with the ships, and framing done through the view screens on board the ships. Each face is meant to represent one of the two. The top is intentionally left open, an is meant to represent a world view where there is no framing. The bottom surface was the surface meant to be framed.


This analytical animation is much different from the previous version of the project. Rather than interpreting the movie and changing it into something different, this one has overlays over the original scene. The "white" is representative of framing objects, while the black shows objects. The reason the white is in quotes is because of the use of gifs. Since they are index colored based, if a frame did not have white in it, the lightest color was substituted, so the light colors in some frames was meant to be white. An improved version with white white is in the works. This is based on the first scene chosen. There is no sound. The overlays end about halfway through, when the camera changes become more important than what is actually portrayed.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Mark Burry: "Between Surface and Substance"

In the article "Between Surface and Substance," Mark Burry attempts to reconcile the differences between conceptual surface constructs and the intellect and craft of substance. In recent times, digital technology has provided for a separation of surface away from substances. Surface becomes a digital construct, while the crafting of physical form becomes the container for substance. In recent history, just before the advent of digital modeling in architecture, we have Le Corbusier's chapel at Ronchamp and Earo Saarinen's TWA Building. These two buildings represent the fusion of surface and substance, the conceptual molded into physical substance. These two works serve as examples of how to best utilize the technology available today. In the transition from surface to substance, Gaudi's Nave Roof for the Sagrada Familia Church illustrates part of the challenge in turning concept to reality. The mathematical work done to give form to the surface cannot hold to create a surface with thickness. While the exterior is mathematically derived, the interior surface is offset to provide for uniform thickness, and does not follow the same rules. However, this adjustment does not significantly interfere with the realization of the idea. A studio project undertaken by staff and students from Gehry Partners, MIT and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) to design a reading room for the Melbourne Botanical Gardens illustrates this problem in a more modern way. The designs were done as conceptual constructs. They were realized by those not involved in the design process; however, the conceptual digital models contained intersecting forms containing thin forms not possible in reality. The resolution was the addition of thickness at these thin points that allowed concept to become reality without undermining the concept itself. Deleuze's term "perplication," meaning "cross-foldings" between complex repetitions, illustrates another element of the challenge between surface and substance. Perplications can take form as concept through digital modeling; however, though they can be rendered to look like a realizable surface, these constructs cannot exist in the physical world. The Aegis Hyposurface of dECOi Architects illustrates another part of the challenge. The idea of a wall reacting to it's environment in real time was easy to document in conceptual digital realm. When they won the competition they entered their design in, they were presented with the challenge of how to make their surface reality. In making the form physical, compromises were necessary; one compromise of note is the surface construction. No uniform material can react as the digital construct, but the piecing together of triangular plates with rubber in between made their surface possible. The point Burry is making is that today's digital technology should be used to make the processes that went into Le Corbusier's chapel at Ronchamp and Eero Saarinen's TWA Building easier than they were before, rather than attempting to separate the richness of the concept and the beauty of craft.

As the technologies of digital modeling become ever more sophisticated, there exists great potential to either unite surface and substance, or widen the chasm between. Physical limitations are becoming better understood, and more realizable in the digital world of the conceptual surface. These limitations cap concepts to better hold them to the principals of reality. The potential for the union of substance and surface lies in the ability to remove the bias carried with the word "limitation." The negative connotations of limits can be lifted by the notion that these are not limitations so much as guide points; something to work from, rather than work to. In following the guide points established by physical reality, there is the potential for the conceptual surface to become the kind of well crafted substance that evokes symbolism characteristic of the world and environment in which it occupies, as opposed to serving as a reminder of the limits architects must deal with in the world of construction and design.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


These are two stills of moments from the animations in the previous posts.

This image is from the first animation, and highlights the moment when the Reliant emerges into the view of the Enterprise, ending the period of "calm" that takes place in the first half of the animation.

This still is from the second animation, and is taken from the bridge of the Reliant as she pursues enterprise; this is the final moment of the animation, where the Enterprise is visible to the Reliant crew.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


The scene I analyzed for these animations came from the ship battle at the end of Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan. Due to copyright stuff, I can't really post the scenes here. I chose these scenes for several reasons. There are two levels of framing in the scenes; a world view outside the ships, and a framed view through the view screen of the ships. The ships are moved around in ways that take advantage of an environment that has a form which is neither constant or specific. There is sectioning to a small degree in one scene where one ship is hidden away from the other until is "emerges" from a blind spot. Lastly, in both scenes, the camera changes start out slow, like a kind of calm before the storm, then change more rapidly when the two vessels encounter one another.

The first animations are from the scene that starts with the Enterprise unable to "see" the Reliant, even though she lies directly ahead.

This scene is from the perspective of the Enterprise's bridge. The "view screen" frames the view out into "space," as the Reliant emerges from a blind spot created by the environment the ships occupy.

This scene is from the perspective of the underside of Reliant. The engines and the saucer form a frame as the ship pursues the fleeing Enterprise.

This last animation is the complete version. The point to make about the combination is the camera changes. In the first 40 seconds, before the ships encounter one another, there are only 4 transitions, showing that while the viewer can see Reliant moving from one angle, the Enterprise crew cannot. After the encounter in the last 20 seconds, the camera changes twice as fast, attempting to bring forth the chaos that ensues as the Enterprise attempts to get away from the Reliant.