2/23/15 – Light Terrain

Developing a ‘lamp’ for File to Fab, using black Strathmore and white LEDs to create a crater-like light terrain. We met with Mikesch today in class, who suggested I look into money clips to both structure the polygons and to allow for string to suspend the lamp from above. I will post my next round of photos of the updated prototype later this week, but the clips, when strung and weighted, allow for an interesting contraction and expansion of the surface (think star coral).

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2/10/15 – In Process

Working on a number of drawings and models in all of my courses (this is my semester of MAKING and I’m absolutely thrilled) – the following are in process photos:


concealed interiors – operative drawing

separated lovers_2

Lovers’ Bridge

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structural paper studies for lighting project – gray strathmore


blox packaging concept – gravity toys

2/2/15 – Abzen Blocks

After a few failed attempts to get a conceptual toy up and running after last week’s masterclass I’ve finally arrived at a first draft of what I’m calling ‘Abzen Blocks’, a play on the recent baby game zenblocks, designed for patience, practice and contemplation. Where my blocks differ is in their internal configuration. Each block is weighted internally by small steel weights, making their center of gravity’s irregular relative to their external profile. In this way they might expose children to counter intuition, irregularity and deviation – all necessary qualities for the creation of culture.

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1/30/15 – Zenghelis Masterclass

This week ISU’s Architecture Department wrapped up an intensive eight day masterclass with OMA co-founder Elia Zenghelis. Elia’s lectures and discussions led us to construct a provocation: an emblematic image of a particular architectural precedent or paradigm, all in the guise of a social condenser.

The workshop was a resounding success for both the students and the department. The 50 or so of us selected to participate were divided into groups of three and four, but we all grew together in the same studio almost nonstop for eight days. I am especially pleased with our group’s final provocation (seen below and in the previous post).and I know for many students the exercise really opened up some exciting new avenues for representational study.

The following images of the masterclass were taken from the Iowa State University Architecture Department webpage (unless captioned otherwise).


Elia Zenghelis with the (majority of) 50 students who participated.


Team Alhambra explaining their provocation to Yvonne


A beautiful re-interpretation of Leonidov’s ‘weightlessness’



Team Rockefeller Center did a mash up of the Rockettes and the famous “lunch atop a skyscraper” image.

mclass sketch

sketch during presentations

round circle


The panel: Elia, Deborah, Ross, Yvonne ,Tom and Marwan

Elia was extremely pleased with our energy and participation, saying in earnest that we  had ‘beat the AA’ in terms of quality projects and provocations (having recently done a similar workshop in London with the same brief). That statement alone was enough cause for celebration.


Team Akropolis: Jessica, Kyle, myself and Sultan in front of our final image.


Basking in the pixels I pushed around for three days. Photo by Sultan AlSamhan

Our final image was a section cut (the most explicit and violent drawing convention….right behind the exploded axonometric) through a sacred well in the Akropolis: a ‘hidden interior’ consisting of a symmetrical union of platonic solids that remain veiled through their in-articulation and the section’s extension off the page. The original space was entered only by nominated children, having been too natural and pure for for the eyes of others. We re-purposed through collage Henri Rosseau’s ‘The Dream‘, which contains elements of the particular agricultural mystique surrounding ancient Greek rituals (specifically the Eleusinian Mysteries): a kind of vegetable fertility, pleasure and food – a visual feast – as well as the original zodiac constellations. Time, discovery and the subsequent demystification of the universe converge into an image of myth, hallucinations and the paradox of creative discipline.

Our statement posted alongside the image read as follows:

“In our quest to expose the wonders of the Akropolis we discovered a sacred space hidden within its great mass: a natural spring used in the ancient rite of the Arrephoroi. We regretted our explication, having revealed a virgin spring that was only beholden by the pure innocence of children. We have taken its purity with our vision and can no longer “unsee” it, returning with the evidence of our act: a hidden interior; a section permanently veiled.

As architects we are trained to expose and discover and come to realize that every section is a potential act of profanation: a vision which cannot be withdrawn. The hidden interiors of myth must remain hidden to maintain their cultural significance.”

The work will be exhibited in Gallery 181 later this semester in addition to being published in next year’s issue of DATUM.