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Sightings: If you build it they will come

Fantasy Architecture from the Digital Studio

Kath Weider-Roos is the Creative Arts Producer at A&D. She snaps photos and asks questions.

I finally found the source of the new miniature cityscape that sprouted up in the hallway over the weekend. It's not an Architecture class after all but a class called Digital Studio, a required course for all incoming A&D students. The class is an intro course in how to use digital tools within a creative art practice, so students get exposed to 2-D and 3-D computer programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator and Final Cut Express.

I caught Elona Van Gent taking pictures of the installation, otherwise know as "documentation." Aha! Elona indeed knew the origins of the alien landscape. She is one of eight faculty teaching the eight sections of Digital Studio. "We came up with this assignment because we didn't want students leaving the class without some experience in translating digital thinking into the material realm," she told me. (This portion of the class began, by the way, with a visit from Geoff Mann who creates ceramics in 3-D and then casts them in real clay.)

The assignment was called Fantasy Architecture.  Each student played real estate developer for a 12x12 square of the city which they were to occupy with fantasy buildings, created in a Google app called Sketch-Up and a paper modeling plug-in called Waybe. Turns out, without messy limitatons such as structural integrity, the laws of physics, building codes and livibility issues, we really would have more interesting places to live.

Here's how the plug-in works: design your dream building in Google Sketch-Up, then the program will help you translate your design into a flattened fold design which you can then print out and fold. (According to Elona, this was not as easy as it sounds. Many of the buildings required multiple parts and scaling techniques in order for them all to fit together.)

So this is how all these buildings were made. The best part, I think, is that Sketch-Up allows you to dream up ANY surface texture/style you want, including hand drawn, custom-made designs.

Heck, I'd love to go with this look for MY house....

Or any of these would do, too.....

 



COMMENTS

These are wonderful! The transformations from mind to e-scape to physical existence make a fine challenge, and these works produce unexpectedly engaging presences for me. I love the surface play. I'm a digital builder and artist in Second Life, so this kind of thing feels quite natural for me. In the digital setting, however, animations and responsive objects, along with image play and shape-changing installations, make for very rich work. My digital underground city was featured on a screen at the 4th Annual Alumni Art Show this past summer - you can see a 2-minute clip of a tour of that build at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWntVl622cI . The clip is inadequate, but it gives a feeling for the scope and space of the work. Everything you see is part of the work. I'd love to see what you and others can do in such a place! Warmly, Dana Dana W. Paxson dwpaxson@acm.org

Posted by Dana Paxson A&D 1964 on November 12, 2010

Thanks for your comment and the link, Dana! I'm forwarding your message to Elona who teaches a class in the 3D software program, Maya.

Posted by Kath Weider-Roos on November 12, 2010

Some very cool designs here. The building with four swirling legs is beautifully executed.

Posted by James Holloway on November 12, 2010

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