Thursday, 18 November 2010

studio session - master planning workshop 1b (SAGALAND)

I like Mondays.
The nine o'clock start may be less than ideal, but I really like the studio environment, the exercises and the sharing of work and ideas.
Feel like we have a good group this year. Reminds me of first year when we'd all gather with the certificate students and crit our Greenhithe/site design work.

Anyway, enough nostalgia.
What perhaps reminded (or remound...) me the most was the exercise below- a large sheet of newsprint, divided into eight rectangles, into which we had to make a quick diagram/sketch based upon a key word.

Beneath, we have formal:



unsymmetrical [sic (- and I have checked this! There is no such word! Still, asymmetry has other connotations I suppose... and I was totally off with the in saying a grid must be symmetrical)]


(always end up drawing amoebae- or plant cells without the detail)


(coz someone said "nature has no straight lines"- bullshit)



(yeah, here's an asymmetric grid:)

This series of exercises was- I suppose- reproducing classic organisational structures.
Next, we had to produce quick sketches to more detailed instructions.

Asymmetric grid - orchard

A grid is a logical organiser for an orchard. I went with a hexagonal framework- trick to render asymmetrical! The asymmetry was in the random placing- sometimes at nodes, sometimes node left empty.

Grid - points- focus

With points on a grid I thought density could indicate or command focus- a dense cluster of points draws attention to that area. Conversely, a point in isolation also invites attention.
Interesting because I decided to exaggerate the focal points. Nailing the point a bit, ay?
Some discussion about points- all I could think of was the novel flatland...
A point has position but no extension. It is defined by its co-ordinates.

Path - linear - sequence

Linear does not mean straight!
It just means possessing one dimension, so it can curve all over the place...
The fluctuations create the sequence, statuary is placed to emphasise this.

And lastly, a bit of culinary master planning:


1 Pie
5 Potatoes
3 Carrots
100 Peas

When I was asked to draw this I was reminded of a famous adage:
"The map is not the territory; the menu is not the meal"

I think this is a particularly apt subtitle for any exercise in master planning...

...also another case of curious coincidence, which I shall discuss below.

Michel Houellebecq has just published a new novel.
It is called La Carte et le territoire
(The map and the territory)

His first bestseller was les particules élémentaires.
This was translated as Atomised.
I think of molecular man, the body without organs, crossing the urban landscape- deterritorialised and primal.

But I digress...

The map is not the territory, the menu is not the meal.

The plate contains all the elements- it is the existing topography.
We then impose various elements on top of this, following some underlying organisational structure (in this case, a pea-grid), but obeying some predetermined rules as to how the elements are supposed to interrelate.

Split into groups, we began to embark on our final master planning exercise for the day.
Neil, Adele, Susan, Jim and I were tasked with creating a master plan for a theme park.
The master plan would consist of 1 A1 sheet with a site plan and 1 A1 sheet of text.

The master plan should consist of:

1. Organisational structure
2. A thematic concept
3. Spatial hierarchy and character
4. Description of the experience we are looking to induce
5. What assumptions have been made

We had to name 3 big ideas behind the plan

Okay, so we settled on a theme park for the elderly.

This gave us a thematic concept (and a "Big idea")
The organisational structure we utilised was a surgical glove.
The palm of the hand acts as a central node with meeting places and shops- all other areas radiate away from this, and offer different experiences (same size, apart from the central finger, which is a pier)
Our aim was to create an environment that is fun, sociable, stimulating, safe, comfortable and a little nostalgic for our target demographic without patronising them.

Our three big ideas were:

1. The theme itself- a theme park for the elderly, not for children and/or families
2. Sympathetic to the needs and desires of our target demographic without being patronising
3. Off road mobility scooter circuit- the first of its kind?

I think we responded well to the exercise.
I hope you will come and visit us at Sagaland... maybe not now, but certainly in a few years.
We'll be waiting for you

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