Today we wrote a one week action plan to keep us on track as there are only two weeks left before the Easter Holidays. I found it helpful to plan in more detail on a weekly basis so that I have something more concrete to focus on and short term goals to meet. I think it helps me to be more productive as well. So far, my goal is to choose and finish my site analysis by the end of this week. I am aiming to focus on the residence in the Hoxton area, close to Old Street Station, that has a large amount of green space that can be put to use. The main residences open up onto Pitfield Street so I walk by them every day and it's interesting because on most days, at all different times, the only use I've seen for these grassy areas is dog walking. I think they have to potential to be used to a much higher capacity.
I was also only in for half a day today because I wasn't feeling well about something that happened over the weekend. I felt that it was better that I sorted myself out before I came in, instead of coming in and not being productive. I rarely take half or a whole day off but I felt for today, it was the better choice.
With Central Saint Martin's more independent approach to teaching, I've learned how to better meet my own needs so that I can make the most of the time to be more efficient and productive. This independent environment is very new to me. So far, I'm not sure if I work better like this versus a more guided teaching environment like what universities in Canada would offer me. I've grown in ways I never would have here because of this environment but at the same time, I feel that having more pressure would push me to produce more and grow more. I'm quite conflicted about this, especially concerning my university choice for next year.
Laoura's suggestion for developing ideas:
Research -> Concepts -> Site analysis -> Idea development (investigate design possibilities in relation to site, user, scale, program)
I finished my wire-wood site model today and I must say I am very pleased with it. I like the fact that it turned out very intricate. I also like the contrast between the two materials as it really does highlight the difference between the buildings and the spaces. If I were to re-do this model, I would definitely measure a little more carefully because some of the wires aren't sized as accurately so they flop over. I've yet to think of a cleaner, more secure way of attaching the wires to each other but if I were to remake this model, I would test welding on a very low temperature. As well, after speaking with Laoura, I realized that my site model loses a lot of context as it became very conceptual in the process. Perhaps I could turn it into a axonometric model with a map underneath or I could mount it onto a base and label the major streets. But even then, I worry that in the context of all of London, it will still be difficult to recognize where it is.
After speaking with a few of my peers and working through the research and ideas that I've had up to this point, I decided to organize my project into four sections. I did this because I felt that there were too many concepts going on at once that didn't integrate with each other so either something had to be eliminated or I would have to find a way to make things work together.
These are the four steps that I believe should be followed when bringing farming into the city and into the hands of city-dwellers.
Step 1: Occupy natural land (soil) that is not being used/not being used to its full potential. Consider the infrastructure needed and the type of farm that will be implemented. Each farm will have the same general foundations and equipment to a certain extent, (depending on whether the focus of the farm is plants or animals), while still being site specific. Site specific means that the infrastructure will take into account the surrounding residences and how they and their homes will integrate with the farm, (ex. greywater and stormwater irrigation, food waste for composting, etc.). The distribution of the food will also be site specific. This will depend on whether the area will benefit most from an open market, selling the food directly to local grocery stores or directly to residents living on and around the land. As well, already existing infrastructure that pertains to urban farming in the city should be incorporated and put to use, whether for growing or for education.
Step 2: Occupy outdoor man-made land that is not being used/not being used to its full potential like vacant lots and rooftops. Make all the considerations that one would make for natural land in terms of site and infrastructure. Add on the need for a planter design as the land is not able to be cultivated.
Step 3: After all of the 'vacant space' in the city is being productively and efficiently used, occupy vertically by creating extra spaces in homes of all types for gardening and growing by attaching a parasite-like structure onto the façade of a building.
Step 4: In the future, when energy is produced sustainably, (because realistically we will run out of fossil fuels one day), large-scale, vertical urban farms can be put to use.
I spoke my themed group today as well and they gave me a few tips.
-Critique your own work.
-Step 1: Make more drawings of how I intend to take over these green spaces.
-Step 3: Make some visualizations from the interior looking out.
-Step 3: Make some visualizations in plan view and of the exterior.
-Step 3: Make a visualization of the rainwater dripping through the tubes of the scaffolding to water the plants.
-Step 1 & 2: Take into consideration planning commission.
I don't know if I will take this into too much consideration because of time restraints. I understand that it is something that needs to be looked at but for the sake of producing something and not getting bogged down in research and too much detail, I will probably look over it.
Alaistair started the day by introducing an interesting exercise in which you put on different 'hats' which symbolize different ways of thinking and examine your design through those different perspectives. I find I lean, as I'm sure most people do, to a certain hat so actively making myself examine my design through other perspectives was very helpful. I also found the green hat to be very useful. I find I drag out the process of brainstorming because I really only consider the practical ideas. But when I force myself to be quick about it and to put down on paper everything I think of, including the ideas that may or may not be possible, it allows for a lot of unexpected thinking to occur which is both useful and exciting.
On speaking with Alaistair:
-Green spaces: go into detail about how they will be used.
-Consider trying asset mapping during site analysis.
-Consider the theme of the project: is this a critique of our distance with the origins of food? If so, can you visualize the alternative?