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  • Our urban park project called Modular Park is a visual representation of a social network that doubles as a work and social area deep in the heart of Boston's Financial District. Our idea was to incorporate human to human interactions as demonstrated through the proliferation of social networks and river networks into the design and esthetics of our park structures.

    Our project solves two problems, the first being the amount of unused space in the area, the second being the public's disconnection from nature and real human connections. Most of the people in the Financial District spend their whole day sitting in front of a computer, and we wanted to give this part of the city a more "Boston vibe" with real human to human interactions in an area where a user can still be a productive worker. 

    Boston prides itself on being family-oriented with human connections; however, the Financial District seems as if it could be any city's financial district. This project is important because it could provide an aspect to the city which it currently lacks: human interconnections, in an area that currently is completely unused. 

     

  • Our group worked on designing a unique bike shelter in a local park. We were inspired and fascinated by dynamic topography, which is essentially the layout of an area that can be changed by a user. The entire project is not only a bike shelter, but also an urban gathering place. Chairs, tables, and platforms can be constructed out of triangles/triangular prisms that are pushed/pulled on a plane to become whatever the user wants. This is made possible by a simple knob on top of each prism, connected to a rod that goes down through the center of the triangle. When pulled up, the mechanism releases a stopper connected to the bottom of the rod, allowing for the movement of the prism.

    This was a really interesting and relevant project because despite the wealth of opportunities dynamic topography provides, there has been almost no work utilizing it.

  • We started this studio off learning about architecture-specifically about the architecture of unique bike shelters/racks over the world. When my team first came together, we were very focused on the form of our project, rather than the concept. The very first idea we came up with was a gathering place constructed out of varied-height triangular prisms. While potentially interesting, it just wasn't very interesting. However, the different heights and the triangular shape served as a base for the rest of our project.

    We were inspired by the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin and its very symbolic, purposeful construction. Coupled with the then-new-to-us concept of dynamic topography, we started to make a small scale model, and investigate our site (a nearby park by a Salvation Army).

    Iterations:

    This iteration was the first chance we had to put our ideas into an actual object. We found that an easy, abundant, and accessible material we could use for a scale model were the .5x.5 wooden rods in the shop. We cut them up all into a uniform size of around 4’ in length. Tying a rubber band around 16 of them arranged in a square gave us a good, early representation of the kind of topography we would be using on the final project. This also helped us compare and contrast what the topography would be like with squares as opposed to triangles. An challenge with this model was the fact that the this model in particular didn’t represent what it would look like in our chosen site. We would later on have to remake this but the second time around surround it with mini buildings so it would look more realistic. Once the newer model had the mini objects around it, it will be a better representation of what our final would look like once it’s assembled and placed in the ground.

    The second iteration was an updated version of the last, with newly shaped topography including and a site plan surrounding it. The movable objects implanted in the cardboard were now triangular prisms, laser cut out of a triangle grid and taped together. Once this was completed, we cut out the same amount of triangles out of the cardboard, giving the prisms a place to slide in and out of. Now we had a bigger, prettier model, with a better idea of how it would look when integrated into society. However, in this iteration the triangles were still pretty hard to slide, and tended to bring others with them when moved. We also wanted in the next model to build up the surrounding buildings to 1/20 of their real size so as to give a more accurate representation of the possible future installation.

    Lastly, we made our third iteration with updated topography and a bigger site plan. In this model we printed out the site plan on an even bigger scale, and remade the triangular topography to be larger as well to fit the site. We printed these out of a tougher paper, so that they would hold together better and slide easier. We still used tape as our method of connection and still used cardboard for the base. (If we had a chance to continue with this project, we would have developed a better way of connection-probably a slotting system.) The 1/20 version provided us with a very solid idea of what our installed product would look like and function in public.

  • Our project began with a brainstorm. The entire studio was thinking of things that didn’t happen in a normal city, which we could make into public structures that doubled as bike shelters. Our idea was the fluid motion of waves. We were introduced to a book called Sensitive Chaos, about the motion of waves and air currents, to help with our project. After looking at the images in the book, our first plan was formed. The plan was to do something we called ‘voxelization’ to an image from Sensitive Chaos. What we meant by ‘voxelizing’ was raising up the image in pillars of 3d pixels, called voxels, based on how bright they were. We did this through the medium of Minecraft. We wanted to create a physical model with the voxelized model, but the voxelized model was too detailed for the printer. Not letting this stop us, we shrank the image to half size and tried again. This seemed like it would work out well, so we exported it to the printer. This produced a model which looked cool, but lacked depth. We realized then that depth was the problem with the idea as a whole; white that was high up in the original picture looked the same as white that was lower, and there was no flow. We then scrapped the idea of voxelization, merely using it as inspiration. Our next idea was to use pieces of wood to outline the flow in the image. This worked well, but did not have the crashing and flowing feel we wanted. Our last idea was to trace the park we had chosen as our site, and raise and lower the sketch to get a landscape. We tried this on the Sensitive Chaos image as well, but it did not produce as good results as the site plan.

  •  If you go anywhere around Boston and Cambridge, chances are you will see some part of the Hubway system. The Hubway is the name given to the series of bikes and bike racks that anyone can rent for a few hours. But these bike racks are just scattered everywhere and some parts of the city don’t have a single Hubway Rack whereas others have several. Our idea was to create a nicer way of storing the bikes while also creating a common area that anyone can enjoy along with maybe bringing the Hubway to more communities. While creating “Bike Shelters” might not make the most noticeable difference on the everyday lives of those living throughout the Greater Boston Area, it will make some small differences such as freeing up parking spaces that are currently taken up by the racks. (*in the render there are objects which wouldn't be in the redesigned Lafayette Square such as the columns) It could also create more public spaces and methods of transportation while promoting a healthier life style. We wanted to use the fluid properties of water to create natural and flowing structure with gentle slopes and “waves” that mold and flow into one another. Our “Bike Shelter” was based in Lafayette Square and is composed of two “waves” with the bike racks set in ramps on the outer rim of the park. (**due to scaling issues, in the pictures and renders above the ramps are much smaller than what we had in mind.) The bike racks in the ramps would also be available to use for bike that are not a part of the Hubway. Benches would also be located alongside the racks. This will create an environment where members of the community can gather and relax. 

  • Our idea started as simple a simple place to have lunch, charge your phone and, enjoy the day. We wanted to combine the ability to communicate throughout the world while also connecting to nature as well as reestablishing the "Boston Vibe" of human to human interactions. We felt that the Financial District in specific lacked a "Boston Vibe" . We soon decided to look closer into this connection between technology, social interaction, and nature and found that the similarities between the two were uncanny. We soon explored the idea of an interconnected network. We decided that we could best represent an interconnected network with simple shapes laid out flat and than folded up into structures. We came up with several prototypes that we like to call modular pods. These modular pods could contain anywhere from 1-8 people and their sheltered but still open structures would provide users the ability to socialize but also work in private but still in nature. They would support free wifi as well as electrical outlets for various devices. An open atmosphere inside would give people a place to talk as well as pick up food from the food trucks that are parked in the Financial District nearly everyday. 

    For our second iteration we laser cut about 45 small pentagons and taped them together in symmetrical patterns. We than folded them into structures and what we hoped would be our modular pods however we soon figured out that these structures were not the most visually appealing. Although we did not end up using this method we decided that it was still a success because it formulated a way for us to continue in further iterations. 

    On our third iteration we decided that we needed to embrace our theme more. We realized that the river map as well as the twitter map were in no way symmetrical and we decided that to create a truly interesting modular pods we would have to randomize the base. We had a lot of success with this iteration and created four different pods that incorporated different sizes as well as visually appealing and interesting esthetics. 

    Our site is one of the mostly unused grassy parks in the middle of the financial district (Rowes Wharf). We decided that their would be no better place to integrate a tech/social space into the community. Business men and women would be able to take advantage of our free WiFi while also enjoying the more natural setting of fresh air and trees. Business would increase for food trucks who like to park along this street. We also singled this site out because it fit our theme well. It had an existing interconnected network in its various paths that extended past just that one park to parks similar. We decided to take advantage of this and add more paths on to it. We than built a third interconnected network; the way the modular pods fit together. We decided that it would be important to fit them together in a way that would encourage human to human interaction.We incorporated one idea three times throughout various parts of our project.