Monday, October 31, 2011

Jason Pomeroy visit

31 October 2011: Jason Pomeroy, head of the Singapore branch of Broadway Malyan visited the school for a day. He delivered a lecture on the recent construction of a zero-carbon house in KL, Malaysia. The main thermal load is cooling; natural ventilation and water management strategies are important. It was impressive to see the design process explained clearly. He also brought copies of his book and was sold out quickly.
  After that, he delivered his lecture that follows the topic of his PhD, that is about the ideas of Social Spaces in Tall Buildings.
  By the way, we were delighted to meet Jason's wife and mother who had come up to see the Nottingham school.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

TBI'11 First design tutorials

27 Oct 2011: Tall Buildings design is now underway for Autumn 2011, and we have had our first design ideas. The first few weeks have consisted of the Field Course in London, the Tower building exercise, the Site analysis preparations, and now we have had coverage of key topics useful to tall building knowledge. We also have had the first design and agenda ideas.
At this early stage, we encourage the model making to  be very simple and to enjoy the use of free materials like foam, wire, mesh, kebab sticks etc. No laser cutting! We encourage a lot of freehand drawing too - plenty of it. The students also develop ideas on the 'agenda' - the research topic or the special unique qualities that their building will have. We are not commercial developers working for a standard office tower - it has to maintain our interest for the whole of the semester, so we are looking for mixed use buildings with unusual complexities.

In this picture, Pelin and Soni have a model that is quite advanced after only a week, constructed with foamboard and with a credible agenda already. The students are now in 10 groups of 2 and 3. Today, some people came with as many ideas as people, and in the next couple of weeks, they have to move their focus on to a single one that they can agree on. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Things to Remember

7 Oct 2011: Motivational talking! Every semester, DNC delivers a talk on how to work in groups, but actually, most of the talking is done by the students - that's the point.
   Each person in the group has to think of something important about how to work in groups, or things to avoid. We have a scribe who writes it on the wall. Nobody can repeat anything that has already been said. DNC elaborates on each suggestion with an anecdote or illustration or clarification. It's a lot of fun, and it keeps people friendly right through the semester.
  DNC usually starts off the game by offering one suggestion which is "Remember, this is Business" i.e. we must always remember we have a job to do, and not let personal differences stop us achieving that.
  He rounded off the session with a final one, the friendly converse of the first one, that "we shouldn't take ourselves too seriously because we are here to learn and have fun." !
  Thanks to Seetal for writing them on the wall.

Field Visit to London

6 October 2011: Early in each semester, we usually take a bus to London and have a look at the city and some tall buildings. We have to do it all in the one day, so time is short, but we managed to see a lot. On this occasion we had to give the Building Centre (Store St) a miss, because there was much to see. We took the bus to Wembley Park, seeing the great Wembley arch by Fosters. After a long ritual buying Oyster cards we all got on the tube into Liverpool St station.
We first did a turn around the Broadgate Tower and Exchange house both by SOM (this photo is from last Feb 2011), and walked on to the Heron Tower, Bishopsgate, which we had arranged to visit.

Paul Simovic, of architects KPF (Kohn Pederson and Fox) showed us round the Heron Tower, taking us to two key floors, the mid height marketing suite and the upper one. we enjoyed seeing the interior of the building, and appreciating what Paul told us about the construction, and we also enjoyed some wonderful views of London, including this one, looking down on the Gherkin, and seeing Willis and the Shard in the distance.
After admiring Heron (and the glass elevators and the amazing water tank inside the lobby), we walked on to St Helens Place, the Pinnacle, the Gherkin, Lloyds and Willis, the Leadenhall tower site, and on to the Bank of England. Our intention to walk to London Bridge was dashed by a rain shower so we got the tube to London Bridge to see the Shard by Renzo Piano.

  Our final destination was Canary Wharf, for a brisk walkabout before getting the bus home. Here, emerging from Fosters Canary Wharf station canopy.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Meet the new students

4 October 2011: We meet the new intake of students to the Tall Building Studio for 2011-2012. The first semester includes a design on the New York model, so we've been unpacking it, to rebuild. Its far too large, so the peripheral base panels will be lost. We will also use Singapore and Abu Dhabi.

As before, it is very international with student from India, China, Chile, Turkey, Sudan, Vietnam and even Wales!

We are lucky this year to have for the first time, our very own studio - we don't have to hot desk any more, yay! This room in Paton house is not really big enough, but it's ours, and there is plenty of table space for tutorials and for model displays - so we will enjoy it!