This blog documents all the work, makings, research, thoughts etc relating to Oliver Blair's major design research project.
The research focuses on the notion of urban intensification in Wellington, NZ, and asks "What strategies can spatial design offer for increasing positive urban intesification?"
Student (4th year, 2012)
Bachelor of Design (Honours) (4th year)
Spatial Design Department
Institute of Design for the Industry and Environment
College of Creative Arts
Option Y The Valley and the Tunnel
This project is a critical response to the National Memorial plan, which will trench state highway 1 between the Basin Reserve and Taranaki st, and then cover it with a park to “…increase connection between the Corrillian tower with the planned Memorial Park.”
This project radicalises the concept that to have greater connection, we must bury the car.
Cambridge/Kent Terrace has been chosen as a test site for developing the project as here pedestrian connection across the city is particularly disrupted by traffic flow.
Adjacent car sales yards and servicing stations become opportunities for new typologies of urban development that increase liveability in the center city, intensifying and increasing connection in and with the city.
A continuous native lowland forest, wetland and stream replace the cars. This new native infrastructure connects to the coastal grasses on the waterfront. Birds and insects can journey unencumbered from one end to the other.
A walkway layers above the native infrastructure, connecting buildings and shop fronts directly to the park and each other. This layer is broken into various “parcels” of lawn, urban agriculture, playgrounds (here indicated in pink) and walkway.
The native infrastructure also bursts through this layer, in parts being framed by or framing the walkway. Line of sight across the park is maintained by planting low lying ferns, grasses and reeds, while the Pohutakawa and Kowhai establish a strong canopy so that while the path meanders and intersects these various conditions and parcels, the destination is always clear.
Stairs extend this rich experience down underground. The stairs also become a gathering space, an arena.
The project takes a stance of cognitive dissonance, where the spaces of pedestrians and automotive transport are both considered in a positive way.
The tunnel becomes a shrine to the car instead of limiting, encouraging and celebrating the benefits of automotive transportation. The tunnel increases capacity of transportation, and becomes a subterranean spectacle where light streams down from above ground through fibre optic sun collector “lily pads”. The monumental structures NZTA seems to appreciate so much are well represented here, with meandering carriageways that flow together and between each other in convoluted spaghetti junctions. Unlike a fixed rail option for public transport, this design is future proof. It can react to changing technological conditions by maintaining a carriageway suitable for driverless cars. The post tensioned monocoque ring structure of the tunnel can also flex and react to changing geological conditions, like a super slinky.
This creates a rich urban experience, where people can easily connect with nature, the city and each other.
Date:Thu 18 Oct 2012 Modified:Mon 05 Nov 2012
Date:Wed 17 Oct 2012 Modified:Wed 17 Oct 2012
Finally getting around to designing the tunnel exits and carriageways within.
Getting some nice imagery from the export to cryengine, but taking ages and really just mashing the digital models together to achieve certain views I want/need.
Should have started earlier to develop to a better resolution.
Date:Tue 16 Oct 2012 Modified:Wed 17 Oct 2012
Merging the “Arena” stair model with the valley pattern model. Getting some super interesting results, again I feel like it’s more “keeping discoveries” than “designing”.
One of the discoveries that needs further development is the stairs that enter the stream. This was a mistake that immediately brings up semi-religious associations, but super beautiful, and really speaks to connection (connecting people with nature etc)
Date:Mon 15 Oct 2012 Modified:Mon 15 Oct 2012
Working on cross section.
Changing the clipping plane distance effectively does a section cut in cryengine.
Then it’s a matter of exporting a huge image (HiRes screen shot) and editing.
Doesn’t neet much editing in terms of the render, just adding the “Cutt” drawings will be difficult, marrying the aesthetics together.
Date:Sun 14 Oct 2012 Modified:Tue 16 Oct 2012
The Tunnel needs lighting, lots of lighting to make it not “Morbid” (courtesy ICD students)
Here I’ve done a few quick studies for a lightwell type system, the same tech that the “Lowline” will use: http://www.fastcodesign.com/1670806/can-these-guys-really-pull-off-an-underground-park-in-nyc
Here are a few diagrams:
Date:Fri 12 Oct 2012 Modified:Mon 15 Oct 2012
The design needs context, during the animation, and also in the drawings.
In the animation (CryEngine) I’m aiming to have a lower poly version of the city, for the wider context, with higher poly buildings adjacent to the design.
I’m hoping to also have the adjacent buildings with the low res textures from sketchup (that the WCC model included) but toned down a bit, slightly darker.
Hopefully this will give an abstract context that doesn’t overwhelm the design.
Date:Fri 12 Oct 2012 Modified:Tue 16 Oct 2012
Fitzgerald, Thomas Henry, 1824-1888. Ward, Louis Ernest, 1866-1938 :Sketch plan[s] showing the original sections sold by ballot in London, July 29th 1839; the original purchasers and claimants, or subsequent owners (in parenthesis) / compiled by Louis E. Ward from T H Fitzgerald’s survey 1840 [ms map]. [ca 1925]. Ref: MapColl-832.4799gbbd/1840-1916/Acc.16123. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.http://beta.natlib.govt.nz/records/22317278
and via: http://beta.natlib.govt.nz/records/22317278
Courtesy: Averill Clarke (WCC Urban Design)
Date:Fri 12 Oct 2012 Modified:Fri 12 Oct 2012
Option Y is too “Codename”
The Valley and the Tomb/Shrine/Tunnel is too “Binary” or “Opposing”
Need a name that sums up the best parts of the project.
The Valley of the Giants, is already a name for a park in Oregon, among other things.
Option Y talks about the virtual power transfer process from R & D, frames and theoretically positions the project as an alternative to the current plans.
Also, Option Y seems to outline more of a system, rather than a specific park on a specific site. It’s an Option that can be reproduced elsewhere.
I think it males most sense to go with the original thinking at this moment, a title, and then a subtitle that informs the title (This thinking is straight from Dir of Spatial: Ant Pelosi in 3rd year)
The Valley and the Tunnel
Date:Fri 12 Oct 2012 Modified:Fri 12 Oct 2012
Date:Thu 11 Oct 2012 Modified:Thu 11 Oct 2012
The landscaping strategy is getting pretty crazy, so I’ve created a separate post to talk about the walkway process ideas and development.
Here I’ve sketched out a flat walkway, with native wetlands and forest growing in a valley underneath.
The idea being that now a continuous and open native stream, wetland, coastal and forest ecosystem can exist all the way down the park underneath the walkway.
So the people get a nice flat connective and easy path from one side of the street and down it, while the native flora and fauna get a nice dark wet and continuous path too.
This extends the ideas behind the valley and tunnel mutually benefiting each other, with a third native ecosystem component.
This project appears now to be about pedestrians, cars and native flora and fauna.
Date:Sun 07 Oct 2012 Modified:Fri 12 Oct 2012
Starting to design the furniture elements for the valley park (and maybe tunnel).
Here I’ve quickly sketched out an idea for a semi moveable type of seat and table combo.
It utilises the same language as the tunnel structure system.
(A series of monocoque rings that are linked via internal cabling.)
With the furniture piece, there is a series of vertical concrete slabs that are held together via a cable compressing them together for the table, while the cables extend out, forming a “leash” for the seating elements, slabs of timber held together in a similar fashion.
Date:Thu 04 Oct 2012 Modified:Fri 05 Oct 2012
This capsule was curated by John Pollock
Date:Tue 02 Oct 2012 Modified:Tue 02 Oct 2012
Some of the identified groupings/areas:
SCRUB AND SHRUBLANDS
THE HARBOUR & COASTAL WATERS
Date:Mon 01 Oct 2012 Modified:Mon 01 Oct 2012
1. This project takes a stance of “cognitive dissonance” regarding urban spatial connection.
On the one hand, cars move people quickly around the city, increasing economic activity and encouraging a variety of spatial interconnection.
And on the other hand, pedestrian movement encourages a slower, deeper and more rich spatial connection between people and people and people and space/place.
This project attempts to design space that encourages both these points of view, while mitigating the negative outcomes of their interaction.
2. This project needs to be represented as a possible future. Taking into account the massive feat of engineering it would take, it makes sense to represent it as science fiction. Utilizing a science fiction mode will allow the audience/public to “suspend disbelief” and digest the content more readily. This means not to have laser guns and flying cars, but a wholistic perspective of a future world. I’m not talking about aliens and space flight, but a more probable future forecast, where today’s fringe technology is common place.
This project shall envision Wellington in 2062.
So, electric driverless cars,
Ubiquitous solar power.
Embedded technology (the interface is the tech)
Sustainable civilization grounded in a bond with natural ecosystems.
Though specifying all this stuff might be trouble…
Cognitive dissonance is the term used in modern psychology to describe the state of holding two or more conflicting cognitions (e.g., ideas, beliefs, values, emotional reactions) simultaneously. In a state of dissonance, people may sometimes feel surprise, dread, guilt, anger, or embarrassment. The theory of cognitive dissonance in social psychology proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance by altering existing cognitions, adding new ones to create a consistent belief system, or alternatively by reducing the importance of any one of the dissonant elements. An example of this would be the conflict between wanting to smoke and knowing that smoking is unhealthy; a person may try to change their feelings about the odds that they will actually suffer the consequences, or they might add the consonant element that the short term benefits of smoking outweigh the long term harm. The need to avoid cognitive dissonance may bias one towards a certain decision even though other factors favour an alternative.
Date:Sat 29 Sep 2012 Modified:Mon 08 Oct 2012
Planning ideas using digital terrain model grouping intersections and patterns.
In the BAP (Biodiversity Action Plan) key groupings and areas of native planting are identified (listed here are the ones that relate to this project):
Date:Fri 28 Sep 2012 Modified:Sat 06 Oct 2012