It is interesting how the group of people who been given the task to research viewing platforms would all pick completely different designs, not only varying in scale but ideas behind it as well. After looking at such examples and discussing them with the group, few of them stood out the most that later on had a great influence on design ideas.
Cap de Creus in Cadaqués Designed by Estudi Martí Franch and Ardevols Assocaits converted complex of vacation homes into a nature preserve. Architects used the materials from the buildings to create a completely new landscape. The materials used were corten steel and concrete that inspired the design of Highbury Park viewing platform. It also changed groups understanding of traditional viewing platform by questioning what viewing platform really is.
It is really interesting how the understanding of the ‘viewing platform’ and what it is, depends completely on each individual. It could be very defined object for one person and very loose phenomena for another. It almost could be anything that helps a viewer to see something in a greater detail, defined, emphasized and appreciate it.
Reflection on the last session:
Site analysis turns out to be a complicated task, especially if it touches on features such as pond and it becomes a matter of living systems.
Initial ideas –
After looking into the precedents and analyzing the site it was important to express thoughts and visions on a piece of paper. I would like to concentrate on biodiversity of the site and look into the ways that it could be emphasized. It is clear that site is abandoned so interaction would be something that needs to be brought to the site.
Decision: to create the design that would not only combine two but enrich them as well. To somehow capture the whole site from different perspectives, views and levels was an important part, in order, for people to interact with the parts that attracted them the most and also give a possibility to go that extra mile to see something unexpected and new.
‘Interactive walk’ through the site became an initial idea. It is constructed out of three parts, starting with ‘stepping stones’ across the pond that lead one into the ‘tree top walk’ and finished of with bio diverse ‘observation tower’.
2.tree top walk
3.biodiverse observation tower
After having the discussion with group members it became clear that stepping-stones became a favorite part of ‘interactive walk’. It is contemporary – which allows to be forward thinking and keep up with the history of the site.
It is phenomenal how a group of individuals could go to the same place, take the same walk, talk to the same person about the same site and yet after a day, come back with ideas that would be completely different and alien to each other. It reveals how differently each individual perceives the space and its qualities. One might think of something very physical and strict in form while another creates non-physical system that enables the same amount of engagement in a very different form. The important and interesting task within the group becomes a dilemma how the best parts of each could be taken into account and combined into one design system so the best of the site and the ideas are revealed to its best potential.
Things to think about:
Everyone else’s ideas and possible ways of integrating it into mine?
Great Precedents – stepping stones:
• Invisible Pedestrian Bridge in Netherlands
• Exchange square in Manchester
• North Shore Riverfront Park
• Estate Hageveld by Hosper
• Sandworm by Marco Casagrande
• Suspended Platform at Iguazu Falls
• Cap De Creus Observation Platforms
Once the group agrees that stepping-stones should become the key tool of the design it is important for these different individuals and designers to visualize their understanding of the same design element. It has already been proven in a process that each individual will come up with completely different layout, amount of things, sizes, shapes, colours, textures and etc. of ‘stepping-stones’. The process of collaboration also has proved that in order to progress quickly and fluently it is important for each individual to be convinced and be driven by the idea. Even if one individual out of eight does not seem to realize the positives, benefits and potential of the design, it might drag the whole process into wrong direction and have a big effect on a final outcome.
That was why
After another group discussion we picked the key parts of every individuals design and tried to combine it into one layout and system. Surprisingly, picking out the strong points and combining it together turned out to be very successful and easy.
Initial layout, combining everyone’s ideas together, collaborating:
Initial layout included shed, bridge that leads onto the platform that sits on the water and expands into the stepping-stones that are laid out throughout the pond, overlooking the living systems in the pond.
In today’s session it was really interesting to watch the dynamics of collaboration between team members. Working in a group turned out to be a harder task for me than working on my own as I find it quite hard to adapt to the way some people work and approach things.
While doing design development each team member had to come up with their own layout of design elements and the way they sit in the site. Everyone had to take shapes, textures, materials, planting, levels and ways of interaction, accessibility, users, sustainability and eco-systems into account while designing.
After the long design development process one of the group members came back with the layout that was one of the initial designs but improved in a very sophisticated way. The new design meant the bridge structure was no longer needed as it was replaced with stepping-stones coming out of water and merging into the ground and disappearing as getting closer to the shelter structure. New and improved designed seemed elegant and seamless that were the key points that needed to be considered while designing and got lost while trying to combine each individuals idea into one design, it became overcrowded and lost its lightness.
Areas to research
After the development and agreement of the final design new factors needed to be researched and new teams within the team needed to be addressed. The group was excellent at realizing everyone’s strengths and the way they could be applied towards designing. Teamwork was fluent because everyone was comfortable in the area they worked in. Roles in the team were: group manager, researchers, illustrators, and model-makers. Researches needed to look into planting, materials and maintenance.
After creating final design, the most enjoyable part of work that needed to be done was creating visuals for it. It is intriguing to see how things turn out once drawn onto piece of paper and how different do they look from the design that you were picturing in your mind as I have noticed that things always turn out slightly different.
Putting presentation together was a challenging task as it takes more time than I could imagine. When working with a team rather then on your own, you need to be aware of different personalities working in many different ways. Always think of alternative ways if someone does not present their work on time.
Working with a group of people is always a big challenge but more importantly than that it is a great way of self-reflection as well as realization.