15th of February
Today our tutors have talked more about the UNIT 7 project and gave us an idea bout what we could do in class to help us organise our research and do our project proposals. We identified some main topics and my groups topic was Reflective Spaces as most of us were going to look into comfort and perception of space. We made a mind map where we looked at the things that we were going to do research on and came up with these topics; memorial architecture, usage of light, usage of water, sensory, sacred architecture, architectural well-being, spiritual architecture and symbolism. We realised that by just researching these topics wouldnt be enough which is when we started looking at the architecture diary to find some architectural activities that are going on in London. We found a talk about comfort and perception in space Organized by: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios. And we decided to visit some of the churches in London because we thought that it would help us understand the concept of comfort in such spaces.
My initial idea can be summed up as;
I want to design a sacred place that all people with all kinds of beliefs can use. I will look at what makes a space sacred and do research about symbolism to create this space. This space will be interacting with nature and the outside world; it will be protected from the outside but sensuous and intimate on the inside. I will use lights and movement as a basis for the research and to come up with a form for this structure.
20th of February
Today I and my group decided to visit the St Dunstan in the east. Here is a brief explanation of the St Dunstan's history;
"The Church of St Dunstan was originally built around 1100 and is a Grade I listed building. A new south aisle was added in 1391 and was repaired in 1631. It was severely damaged in 1666 by the Great Fire of London. Rather than being completely built, it was patched up. A steeple and tower were added in 1695-1701 by Sir Christopher Wren.
The Church was again severely damaged in the Blitz of 1941. Wren's tower and steeple survived the bombing. During the re-organization of the Anglican Church after World war II, it was decided not to rebuild St Dunstan’s.
In 1967 the City of London decided to turn the remains into a public garden, which opened in 1970. Maintenance and improvement works took place in spring 2015 which new planting throughout the garden to revitalize this popular space.
You really will feel secluded in this gem of a City Garden. Those with green fingers will appreciate the range of plants wending their way around the ruins, an unusual plant in the lower garden is winter's bark, Drimys winteri. Its leaves are high in Vitamin C and were once eaten to prevent scurvy."
While we were there I found that people mostly come here to sit down and relax, it is not a very usual church because it constitutes of a garden in the middle of a semi-enclosed space. I thought that it was really nice to have such a private yet public space in the middle of the city because it is almost like it separates people from the rest of the world. While being there we though that it would be a good idea to ask people some questions such as; Why do you come here?, Do you think this space is sacred? Why do you think this place is sacred? and what makes this space sacred?
Question: What do you think it is that makes this place sacred?
Answer: I think that it's got a very nice disposition of the walls, they're really tall and they make you look up to the sky which I think is quite nice. And the way in which the lights fall through the windows and creates shadows and illuminates individual bits rather than the whole space which gives it nice sort of feeling. I guess the fountain in a way as well because it focuses the attention of the people on itself.
Question: what do yu think about the place in general, as in where this church is situated?
Answer: I think its a bit unfortunate because its surrounded by many office buildings and I think that it would have a greater effect if there was more space surrounding it.
Here are some pictures;
I think that this was an amazing idea of a church because it combines nature and sacredness in a very simple way by opening it up. In my own project I will use this idea of having an aspect of openness and nature, i also really liked the way the lights made the place even more beautiful. It is not all illuminated but it is in parts which accentuates some of the more intricate details of the church which I found really interesting.
After visiting this church we decided to go around the area and found another church called The Guild Church of St Margaret Pattens. We found that this church has been renovated four times and the fourth was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666, it was also damaged by World War ll and was restored at 1955-56, and the north gallery was turned into lecture rooms. I felt like this church was a bit more like a church. It has all of the aspects of architectural and religious terms of a church which makes it sacred for most of the people that go in it. Here are some pictures of this church;
After this, we decided to visit Christ Church in Spitalfields which was a completely different experience because of the architecture and because of the place it was situated in. The two other churches were very much in the city and surrounded by office buildings which made them hard to find and experience completely as they were almost like blocked by the big buildings surrounding them. I really liked the idea behind this church because even though it is in the city it is in an area where there are no tall buildings and the church looks very graceful in the midst of its surroundings. Here are some pictures of the church and the inside of the church;
The thing that I found really interesting about this church was the fact that there was a separate room downstairs which was called prayer room which can be seen above. This idea of having a big space for all people to complete their rituals and a more private and small place for prayer interested me and made me think about doing something similar in my project.
26th of February
Today we started out by coming up with a few words that could describe our project and I came up with the words; open, introspective and inviting. We then started making some models for these words. At first I didn't really understand how I can make models for these conceptual words so instead of thinking about how I would make them I just took a piece of paper and started making. We had two minutes fro the first two models and 5 minutes for the thrid model. I really liked the shapes that came out of this exercise and I think that I might actually use one of the models as a base form for the final project. Obviously there are going to be many more models and ideas but I really think this is a good pace to start from. Here are the model that I did;
After doing these models I felt more confident in doing models based on words. Even though they don't seem like they reflect the words at all I feel like they have aspects of the words and I think that they are really good in terms of structure.
27th of February
Today we had to print out some pictures that we thought would be relevant to our project and group them in a way that all of our pictures would go in groups; sacred, light, threshold, structure, colour, water and nature. We all put the pictures on a wall according to the categories we made up and this was the result;
After doing this we decided to make it a bit more simple and identify these categories; light, dark, still, movement, closed, open, manmade/ artificial, and natural.
These categories helped us get our pictures in such an order that we would understand where everything integrates and where some structures differ from others. We built this photo dictionary in a form of axis where north is light, the middle is dark; east is open, middle is closed; south is nature, middle is manmade/ artificial; west is movement, middle is still.
Here is a picture of it when we were done putting up the pictures on the board;
At the end of this activity we all understood why and how we categorized these pictures in this way. i think that this exercise really helped me realise that its really useful to put things in certain categories because you can see how some structures that do not resemble can still be similar to other structures in some aspects. Plus since my group is reflective spaces it actually helped me see some more examples of sacred spaces that i didnt know about.
1st of March
Today i did some interviews with people that I found when I was visiting the churches and what I found was that some people really believe that the architecture of these sacred places affects their mood and affects the atmosphere in general. Some people think that the architecture is nice and elegant but that it doesn't contribute to the sacredness because the only thing that contributes to the sacredness is what they do inside of it.
Interview at St Dunstan
- what do you think it is that makes this place sacred
- well I think that I has a very nice arrangement of the walls, they're really tall and make you look up to the sky which I think is quite nice. and the way that the light falls through the windows and creates intricate shadows gives the space a very different feel. it illuminates individual bits. I guess the fountain as well, because it focuses the attention of the people that come in here,
- what do you think about the place in general, like where its situated and how it affects the sacredness
- I think its quite unfortunate because its surrounded by very tall office buildings and that makes it a bit more closed but I think that the idea of having a sacred space that is open (doesn't have a ceiling) and that doesn't have the particular architectural elements of a sacred space is very nice. I think it would have a greater effect if it had more space around it, but it seems to be a really popular space as a kind of community garden where people can not only pray but just escape the city life for a little while.
Interview at Christ Church
- Why do you think this place is sacred?
- I consider this church to be sacredbecaus I see the cross of Jesus Christ at the end of the hall, and also there are many pictures depicting his life and all sorts of events that took place; his birth, death and ressurection.
why would you say people use this space, or how they use it
- the church is open for worship to attract people who work in the area and want to meet with god in a relaxed an informal atmosphere, and during the week we have open church on Tuesdays where people come in to look at the wonderful architecture of the church, to talk about their life and links with the area, we also have people coming in to learn about faith.
- how do you think the architecture affects the people that go in the church
- I think that this space makes people feel comfortable and safe with its architectural features that compliment the sacredness of the place. But also the fact that there is a cafe downstairs makes it easier for people to come here and be more relaxed and just spend a good time. There is also a little chapel downstairs, a kind of a prayer room separate from the big hall in which people can feel much more safe and secure as it is a smaller and more intimate space.
Interview at Gurdwara Sikh Sangat in London
- What do you think that makes this place sacred?
- I think that the thing that makes this space sacred and important for us is the fact that we can all come together as a community here and complete our rituals in unity.
- Do you think the architecture of this place affects the sacredness of it?
- I do believe that architecture is really important in places of worship but I don't think that this building is particularly sacred because of its architecture, maybe the interior portrays that but the outside is quite different to what classic Gurdwaras look like.
Interview at Hagia Sophia
What do you think about the fact that there are elements of christianity and islam at the same time?
I think that it shows the history of the place but I also think that it is a great way to attract both religions into one place.
Do you think that this space is sacred?
I think that this space is sacred but as it is not used as one it looses its specialty a bit, it is used as a museum. I think that this is a very special place because it is important to history but also religion. The architectural features of this space definitely make it sacred and special to the people that walk in it.
5th of March
Today was a really interesting day because we had to draw some sketches of patterns that we thoughht about in 10 minutes. later on we were instructed to cut out one of the patterns out of card. I chose this pattern that i drew.
As I was cutting it out of the card i realised that it would be a good idea to give it some kind of 3d feel. So when I was cutting out the pieces, i started pulling the out of the card. I didnt cut out exactly the same shape but it was pretty similar and i actually think that it was better than the sketch that i did. Here is the card cut out.
After this we were instructed to make this shape into a 3D structure which is when I decided to cut some parts off and make it into a hexagon like structure to then be able to fold it and make it into a dome like structure.
Making this helped me a lot with how I want my structure look like. I wouldn't necessarily have this many gaps and cut outs in the structure but in the way that it lets light in I think that it is very good. Considering that my possible sites include Hyde park and primrose hill, i think that this kind of structure would look good in these places because it closely interacts with the nature and its surroundings by being so open.
After talking to my tutors i understood that in fact what i did was good but the purpose of this activity was to make a structure by folding the piece of card in different ways which should have created multiple spaces rather than just one.
6th of March
Today i decided to make this model to try out some different materials and see how well they work with each other. While making this model i was also looking at the specific shape that i would like to use in the final model, while i liked the structure and te shape i thought that this was a bit too simple for the project that io wass going to do. I really liked working with this type of wood because I could bend it and give it a different form than what it comes out as. As for the mod-roc, I think that it gave the structure that kind of protected look which is what my initial idea was about; "protected on the outside, intimate and sensuous on the inside"
I liked the way that this structure turned out because i wasn't expecting that wood and mod-roc would look good together but I figured that while the wood gave the structure that playful
7th of March
Today i decided tto go and visit Primrose Hill which is one of my possible sites. The reason why i want to make my structure here is because i would like it to be in a park but I would also like it to be a part of the community, which in Primrose Hill can be achieved by it being so elevated. The hughest pont in the park is at 67m and when you get up there you can see the whole of London. Because you can see the whole of London I think that this is the best way to bring peoples attention to this structure that i am going to make. There are definetly advantages to the structures aesthetics caused by the view. Here are some pictures i took of the site.
i think that this is a really great place to make this structure not only because of its position but also because it has such a wide range of people who come here. While i was there i saw ; young people who came to work out, people of age taking a walk or sitting down on the benches, parents who brought their kids to play, parents with babies, people who came to walk their dogs. I went around and i asked people what they would think about a religious space on top of the hill. While some of them said that it would be a great idea, some of them didn't like the idea of having a place for multiple religions under the same roof, and just the idea of a reflective space in the middle of the park.
This made me think about how important it is to certain people that they go to a church to pray rather than a place of multiple faith. After talking to these people I decided that i was going to look into the idea of natural DESIGN. Because I do not want to break up the naturalism of the park by building something very bulky and just unnatural. So it is very important for me to use materials that will compliment the nature and act as a part of it rather than stand out and make people feel uncomfortable.
8th of March
Today we did the SCAMPER test with our peers. First we were put in groups of two or three and we were intsructed to tell the other people in our groups about our projects and intentions, the research we did so far etc.
After this we went on to look at the projects and did the SCAMPER test which stands for; substitute, combine, adapt, modify, put to another use, eliminate and reverse.
Doing this has showed me that my options are very open and not as limited as i thought they are because other people can give much more feedback on your project than you can. So by doing this my project ideas expanded and i came up with much more creative and different approaches towards this project.
Some of the ideas that i loved were ; why don't you do it in reverse, so instead of having it as a dome just turn it upside down. I am definitely going to try too do this because once I started thinking about it it became impossible to not think about doing it.
In my initial idea i said that i was going to make a space for everyone which meant that it would be secular. But then this question emerged; If a space is for everyone, is it actually for anyone?
This is when i started thinking about having individual spaces for each religion that I am going to make this structure for. While doing this I still want to keep the aspect o having them in the same space whch is why u am going to have a commo space where people who want to com in will be able to enjoy the view of the park (Hyde Park or Primrose Hill) and complete theitr religious rituals as they wish. The thing that I would also love to incorporate with tus idea is the idea that anyone could come into any of the separate rooms and be able to learn about oter religions.
I think that nowadays most people have a loot of misunderstandings about what different religions are and how they work. This can be caused by multiple reasons but i think that an important thing to note is that we are all people no matter what and that we should not have misconceptions about each other based on our religion.
I believe that this is a really hard subject because to this day there have been numerous disputes because of religion and extremists who believe that any other religion but theirs doesn't exit. While I understand that this will be a different topic to handle, i believe that it is possible to have a place for everyone because it comes down to one person, if a Muslim wants to go and see how a Buddhist monk prays he or she should bee able to do this.
12th of March
Today I decided to make a site model of the site in Primrose Hill because I wanted to illustrate the elevation within the site. Each level is 5m higher than the other one except for the very top one which starts at 65 and the highest point is actually 67m. While doing this model I found it quite hard determining the levels because of the print out that i took off digimaps. I think that by doing this model, i now have a sense of where exactly my structure will go and i definitely am much better at understanding the different levels and different aspects of maps.
Whilst it was helpful for me to do this model, i think that I am going to make a much bigger site model next because it is a bit hard to build anything on this one. Wheen I do the bigger one i will use a different material and make it much more realistic. But as this one was just a trial model, I think I succeeded in that.
13th of March
Today i did some research on specific architectural features that are included in almost all of the religious places that people use. I found this aspect of the research very interesting because i found out some parts of temples that might seem like they don't matter but actually they make all the difference.
For example almost every Mosque has a minaret but there are modern mosques which do not have minarets but the idea of it is still there. The research that i did on thus is going to be in the RESEARCH section of Unit 7.
Here is the collage that I did by using the architectural elements of all of the sacred spaces that I am looking into.
18th of March
Today I was in Istanbul which was a great opportunity for me to go and visit some mosques which helped me a lot in my project because I found out more about the interior and the exterior architecture of mosques.
I decide to visit the blue mosque and Hagia Sophia. Interestingly Hagia Sophia was a Byzantine church and then was converted to a mosque in the Ottoman empire. Which is why in the interior it is possible to see both Muslim and Christian features.
Here are some pictures that i took which show the clear architectural forms that associate with islamic architecture;
19th of March
Today I started looking into how to design the structure that I want to build. I started out by buying some metal mesh as I thought that it would look good because of the qualities of this type of material. I started out by cutting out a piece of the metal mesh and shaping it in a way that I would have multiple fold in it which would form the entrances into the structure. I really enjoyed working with this mate as it is easy to manipulate and still stay in a certain structural form. I think that I am going to use this material in th final model as I really liked the way that it compliments the structure because of its reflective feature. Since it has holes in it it also lets the light through which is definitely a quality that I am looking for.
Here are are some pictures of the model that I made;
20th of March
Today I started thinking about the sheets that I am going to do and I figured out that I as I have a lot of research that I need to include I am going to make a sheet for each religion but I am going to include pictures of traditional and modern versions of each of the religious space and compare the architectural elements of these places.
I think that a key decision that I have to make is what I am going o make the structure out of and today I did some research on materials that work best with models which is when I decided to make it by using metal mesh, acetate, plastic, resin and maybe clay.
29th of March
Today I made some more sketch models and I found it really helpful because it showed me that I want to work with light and movement in my final model. Even though I am still unsure about what shape my model should be now I am definitely sure that I and to make a circular shape which will have gaps in it, by which light will be able to go through and illuminate the whole structure from the inside.
4th of April
Today I started making sheets and I decided to start with the site analysis because I thought that it would be good to get that out of the way as I am still in the designing stage with the project itself. I decided to make two sheets; one with the site model that I made to show the elevation and the map of the place pinpointing where the structure that I am going to build will be, and the other one where I show pictures of the site in relation to where they are on the map.
6th of April
Today I visited skip garden in kings cross and even though it doesn't relate to my project from a religious point of view I found some of the structures present there very fascinating as they portrayed a very different architectural style compared to the rest of the surroundings. There was this one particular structure that caught my eye because of the way it used different sized windows to emphasise the need for light within the structure as the plants inside it need natural light to grow. The fact that the architecture of that building related to the function of the building is why it attracted me so much. In my project I would like to portray the same thing; relate the structure of the building to its function through the design. My building needs to be spacious, yet feel cozy, people have to feel safe and calm inside of it. Research has shown that the more natural light there is in a space the more spacious and comfortable it feels. As it is going to be a religious space it also has to have some privacy.
From now on I will try and make structures that will be able to portray the needs of the design idea that i want to make while also allowing myself to experiment with shape, form and materials.
7th of April
Today i made a sketch model using metal mesh and resin. As resin was a new material that I was going to work with, I was a bit confused as to how I should use it. In the end I decided to use it as a tool to enhance the structural material in the model (the metal mesh). The idea behind this sketch model was to use metal mesh in order to get something similar yet different to the wooden sketch model that i did before. As I liked the form of the wooden model I wanted to repeat it using a different materials. In the wooden model I used mod-roc on top, in this model I used resin which gave the model a completely different feel; the metal mesh is quite see through but the resin that fills in some of the gaps makes it look more opaque than normal which is an effect that I would definitely like to use in my final model. Here are some pictures of the model and some sketches that I drew of them in my sketchbook.
8th of April
Today is a day before our break is over and I still haven't gotten a conclusion out of my material experimentations and sketch models as to how I am going to build my structure and what it will look like. As I really liked the model that i did yesterday I decided to use the idea of this fluidity and put it in contrast with something very structural such as a cube. I made this cube out of transparent plastic.
I really liked the idea of having something quite solid and strong in contrast to something with fluidity and something fragile. As I started making the box I realised that I didn't just want to put the old model into the structure so what I did was take another sheet of metal mesh and try to bend it in such a way that it would almost look like a vessel of some sort. To do this i cut a few slits in the mesh and manipulated it in such way that it turned out to look like a vessel.
Here are some pictures of the idea generation process and the model that I made
9th - 12th of April
Today is the beginning of our last week and we started thinking about our self evaluation during the morning session, in the afternoon we continued thinking about our models and going to the workshops to finalise our models. As I really liked the idea with the structure being inside a box I started making the box that was going to be on the exterior of the structure as a layer that protects the intimacy of the structure on the inside. Religions all being inherently different and having distinct and clear values and rules represent the structured part of my design, while the more natural one without such clear edges represents what I am aiming for religions to become- less distinct, more interwoven and open to the idea of sharing their values with other religions.
While making this model I struggled a bit because it was really hard to work with metal mesh as it bent very easily but not necessarily in the shape that I wanted it to bend. I think that I succeeded to portray the things that I wanted to portray with this model but the only thing that would be hard is to make it in real life, as the structure of the metal mesh wasn’t quite repeatable. After speaking to my tutor I decided to remake the model and instead of having the surrounding structure so random I decided to make it facetted. While trying to make the roof of the structure I started bending the metal mesh into different facets and folding it so that it would form a facetted roof. The problem with this was that it was impossible to achieve a certain size as it is quite hard to have differently shaped facets and still having them connected.
After this didn't work out I thought that maybe it would work if the material wouldn't be so flexible so I tried cutting out triangles out of foam board and started making a structure;
After having seen that cutting out facets and then putting them together works better I thought that it could also work with mesh so I started cutting out different shapes out of metal mesh and sticking them together;
This is why I started cutting out the facets first and sticking them together using a glue gun. Even though it worked out, the glue was quite disturbing to the eye which is the reason why I decided not to use metal mesh in the end. As I had the different pods placed in metal mesh it would be hard to make a roof using a heavier material than the mesh.
What I also thought about was the fact that this is a religious space which means that it should have some privacy and intimacy included in the design, which is when I made the structures that hold the pods in it from foam board because it would protect the inside from being seen from the ground level, but the pods would have access to natural light through the parts that are outside of the structure and through the roof which I decided to make out of transparent plastic.
I enjoyed making this model very much because I realised that I went through a series of experimentations in order to come to a conclusion on how to make this model. i tried out a lot of different materials, shapes, and most importantly I improved each model based on the things that I liked and changing the aspects that I didn’t like in order to perfect the design.
After i was done with the model, I realised that I could still perfect it. Because I was just trying out how to do the walls and fit in the pods inside the walls while making the model, and as I had limited time, there are multiple parts to the walls of the model. if I were to remake the model I would cut out the pieces of walls as one to have less pieces. Even with the little flaws in the model, I think that this model really represents what I intended it to represent.
The facetted structure of the roof, being both structural; in the way that the forms are composed of quite strong and very inelastic forms, and elastic at the same time; with the shape that is created from these shapes. When I made the model with the box, the idea was to have two different aspects fluidity and solidness in one model; with my final model I was able to put these two aspects into one through the facetted structured roof.
I believe that I succeeded in making this model as well as I could have given the restricted amount of time, I have explored different materials, different textures and ideas to create this structure which made me realise how important it is to always keep experimenting and striking out aspects that you don’t like and developing the ideas that you do like. It is very important to keep in mind that not everything may go as you want it to go but it is also important to realise that sometimes good things come out of that, and instead of leaving it as a nice coincidence, you should develop that which is what I did with this model.
Here are some pictures of the final model;
REFLECTIVE REVIEW April 2017
I think that at the beginning of this project I was quite sure what I was going to make and that this structure would be secular, but as some time passed I decided to make this structure multi-faith. I realise that in reality this is a very serious issue that has been debated upon for a long time but the reason why I want to do this project is because I want people to realise that even though they believe in different things, that should not be a reason for hatred or separation.
Looking back at my work throughout the year, I can spot the progress that I have made. I have learned to incorporate my research into my Unit 7 project more effectively that I was able to in the beginning of the year, by only including the relevant details. For instance, I started out by making an A2 sheet representing the structures of places of worship per religion, but by the end of the project I realised that having one sheet that includes all religions, a selection of only the places I have used as an inspiration, shows their contrast and similarities clearly. For Unit 7 project, I have dedicated some of my time to researching other design areas such as the art inside the places of worship and fashion associated with them. This aspect has helped me gain a better insight at the cultural part of religion and has influenced my model making. In the beginning of the foundation I would have held my focus strictly on architectural elements and neglected the aspects that could prove helpful.
2- Idea Development and Tutorial Advice
Beginning the project, I had various ideas of how the structure should look like and throughout the 6 weeks I have exhausted most of them, resulting in the final model that represents what I imagined the structure to be. I have started out by making sketch models that I then changed according to the possible materials I will use and the site that the model is aimed to be in. After making my final sketch, I tried making a 3D model using metal mesh, which looked fine at first until I have received feedback from my tutor about the practicality of the mesh and the possibility of making it in an actual size. This has led me to a change of materials which has then transformed my structure, however I kept some of my original ideas, such as the dome shape of the model. This has affected the inside of the model as well, making me change the arrangement of the pods, while keeping the original idea – for there to be a common space that unites religions. After trying several arrangements, I have made the final structure, which although looking different that I have originally planned to be, still represents the concepts I wanted to explore.
While making my model I went through a lot of experimentation and I think that experimenting a lot with different materials helped me achieve the most out of the making process.
At the beginning of the project I was very confused about what to do but as I started doing sketch models and material testing I started picking up on aspects of each model that I liked and developing them into new models in order to create the final model. I think that this project has really made a difference in my understanding of material manipulation. By using a range of different materials I was able to understand which materials would be best to use for my final model. Even though I faced a lot of problems while making the models I was still able to push myself to do the best and I think that because I had so little time to complete my final model I was able to focus on the most important aspects of it and did the best that I could.