Thursday, 19 November 2009

Satish Kunar

Heard of Satish Kunar before? - have a listen to this - Search the site for the rest of the presentation.

this seems very timely right now... and then interestingly there is a very strong link with Satish Kunar's thinking and that of the click-raft. The link is via Mahatma Gandhi, and what Kunar calls Gandhian philosophy. Gandhi's philosophy was deeply influenced by Henry David Thoreau's writing which i have in my hand as i write this.... 'Walden and Civil Disobedience'. The idea of non-violence via the indian principle of 'Satrik' or 'truth' that a building should do no violence to others in terms of equality, ie not taking more resources than necessary, and to inspire joy... hmmmm.
Kunar suggests that because we are not able to solve the big problems of the world like global warming, or how to live in harmony with each other and the earth, or how to solve poverty.. that it is not cleverness that we need or simply technical solutions but rather wisdom, we need a compass - he suggests that compass is to do things with 'Satrik', so that everything you do, the food you eat, the clothes you wear, the architecture you design, the business you run, is done honestly with integrity, with fairness, and with joy.... to tread the earth lightly.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Home Ideas Centre - talk

I was asked to give a presentation to the Lower Hutt Branch of the New Zealand Institute of Architects at the Home Ideas Centre
Below is their CPD review of the click-raft project -
... Truly an 'Elegant Shed'... the sophisticated, complex, elaborate and yet simple idea of carefully thought out components to be ‘assembled’ together with minimal fuss and fixings, to create sophisticated building forms that a layperson could understand and assemble… So simple it’s brilliant and it completely makes the bureaucracies overwhelming codes, rules and regulations obsolete... It’s quite possibly the future…

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Wellington Museum Talk - 23 August

The Wellington Museum of City and Sea have very generously asked me to give a talk on the Click-Raft - 23 August, at 5.00pm for those interested.

While it seems that the worst of this tough recession is largely over, the challenges of global warming are not. Both are having a huge impact on how we live on this fragile planet, which raises the urgent need for a different approach towards sustainable shelter (not just housing).
I am basing the talk around two wonderful sources of inspiration. Henry David Thoreau's experiment in minimal living at Walden Pond and the development of a radically spatan minimalist and inexpensive car - the citroen 2cv.

So how could we learn to lead a more simple life? How could we do more with less...or as Thoreau pointed out in Walden...

"... I would rather ride on earth in an ox cart, with a free circulation, than go to heaven in the fancy car of an excursion train and breathe a malaria all the way.
The very simplicity and nakedness of man's life in the primitive ages imply this advantage, at least, that they left him still but a sojourner in nature. When he was refreshed with food and sleep, he contemplated his journey again. He dwelt, as it were, in a tent in this world, and was either threading the valleys, or crossing the plains, or climbing the mountaintops. But lo! men have become the tools of their tools.
The man who independently plucked the fruits when he was hungry is become a farmer; and he who stood under a tree for shelter a housekeeper. We now no longer camp as for a night, but have settled down on earth and forgotten heaven. We have adopted christianity merely as an improved method of agri-culture. We have built for this world a family mansion, and for the next a family tomb..."

Thoreau's is a radical philosophy, yet in the late 1920's and early 30's a similar approach was developed at Citroen. Enlightened boss Pierre Boulanger introduced a radical re-questioning and returning to 1st principles to develop a minimal vehicle, a Toute Petite Volture (TPV the Citroen 2CV prototype). As writer LJK Setright noted many years later on reflection - the TPV philosophy goes something like this...

"If you cannot get at anything, it is not there. If it is not there, it is because it was unnecessary; and if it was unnecessary why should the poor customer have to pay for it, maintain it, bear its burden, endure its interference, and possibly - oh the bitter irony of cultivated consumption, in due course replace it."

It is this spirit that has driven the adventure, and development of the click-raft, returning to 1st principles, and a minimal approach to shelter, yet one that is appropriate to 21st century living.

Thoreau's Hut at Walden

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

prototype 02 C

the click-raft concept is also intended as an open, extendable and flexible building system capable of wider applications at larger scales. Prototype 02 C explores an architecture which can adapt to difficult urban sites, and is able to create opportunities under, through and around existing structures. Its fluid forms can help to define and mediate between the tough, noisy and polluted nature of urban streets and more pleasant inner environments such as courtyards which are more condusive for outside activities such as cafes, or extended work/live environments. The example posted here was developed for Tolaram Capital as a third building which sits below the office and hotel buildings above combining their separate services and facilities into an integrated innovation campus at one-north, singapore - refer to the fusionopolis video adjacent

Monday, 1 June 2009

Prototype 02 B - house addition unit

The design of prototype 02 is now being developed for house addition/ independent units (version 02B). The images show a 30m2 independent living unit. This includes three mini plywood modules for kitchen, bathroom and storage units. All services are independent of the grid, including compost toilet, underfloor water storage, 12 volt electrical systems run off solar panels with integrated eutrac beams for all data and power throughout. The roof and wall systems are polycarbonate transparent louvres and plywood panels (other lightweight materials can also be used). Not shown are the transparent bi-folding doors and fold down hatches in front to provide outside decks.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Prototype 02 A - pavilion

Prototype 02 A: explorations into next step developments on the click-raft are slowly starting to emerge. I have been exploring the design of a new prototype click-raft together with jaap dankerd.

The CLICK-LEAF Pavilion is an inexpensive, personal fabrication
architecture – inspired by nature of leaf design – a playful accessible open system has been invented (big lego for big kids).
Click-Leaf architecture utilizes the qualities of CNC cut plywood in click-leaf’s and click-beam’s to form a lattice of structure/networks assembled from standard panels which can be quickly ‘clicked’ to-gether to form floor, wall, and roof click-rafts in different configurations
Click-leaf’s are assembled into Y-frame pairs and clicked into 3 transverse click-beam’s which together integrate structure, cladding, power/data networks, plumbing, energy, water systems, storage and furniture within the weave of the plywood structure.
The system’s flexibility offers many alternative open ended con-figurations to enable user/builder to respond to site specific conditions. Construction is generated by an assemblage of click-components which can be tuned on site – engaging user input, imagination, and exploration.
An outer skin of PV powered louvers provides shelter, which is tuned via a dance of self-adjusting robotic sensors & servomotors. Robotics, data, power, switching and lighting can be plugged in where necessary, distributed throughout the click-beam structure.

minimal design, delight, ambient composition, and serious construction system.
Play: Rather than ‘design’ on paper or computer, you can explore/play directly with click-leaf components. Like lego, the click-leaf is a tool to explore a world of possibilities…
“traditional tools of plan and section to design a building are not
really relevant…who knows what you’re going to make…you explore, and along the way discover …”
Minimal Design: minimum material to create shelter, just as the citroen TPV (2CV prototype) was for automobiles. TPV research
explored a minimal architecture from 1st principles to achieve an umbrella on wheels. Each component reduced to its bare essentials.
Delight: “I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey work of the stars..” Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman
Ambient Composition: ‘ imagine a territory rich in possibili-ties and try to think of how you might get to it..and then suddenly one day you look around and realize that you have been there for quite awhile..’ AMBIENT 4 - ON LAND, Brain Eno
Construction System: ‘click-leaf’ construction system enables real time feedback loops at 1:1 scale, relevant to the real parametrics of real materials on a real site, in the rain. (ie its time for the computer to leave the design office, and head for the building site).
Click-Leaf: 2440x240x18mm plywood click-leaves are assembled into Y-frame pairs clicked into 3 transverse click-beams.
Click-Beam: 2440x300x24mm plywood beam with integrated eutrac data/power beam to provide a flexible network for lights, switches, sensors, micro-processors and servo motors to be freely located.
Click-Joint: (or search-joint) a negative joint to connect click-leaves and click-beams, also called a search-joint to provide multiple click-able opportunities – there are 21 click-joints per click-leaf.
Click-Raft: Assemblage of multiple click-leaf’s woven into Y-frame pairs on 3 click-beams. This can form a floor, wall or roof.
Click-Louvre: 2400x250x16mm polycarbonate louvre slotted into click-joint’s to form robot-operated roof or wall membranes.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

crystalisation: light, materials, sequestration

crystalisation, sequestration, materialisation... exploring realisation through material that captures light and carbon in its structure and growth system... timber and polycarbonate click-leaves
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