How is it possible to envision a space that doesn’t already exist? This is the question the Realizing Architecture Through 3D Modeling (RA3D) class aimed to solve this semester.
The first step in their design process was research. Students were asked to identify a location in the world and then explore the culture, geography, climate, current events, political make-up, economics, arts, natural resources, tourism, etc. Using an empathetic lens, they then identified a need within their chosen community.
Students also gathered visual references from their location, including architecture, cuisine, clothing, and landscapes, which they used as sources of inspiration to design a single shape. These shapes each aimed to reflect an aspect of the community, and they also served as the building block for the creation of a three-dimensional structure. The individual shapes were recreated using CAD and then laser cut into foam several times to create the material for a hand-built, free-standing structure that also embodied the feeling and characteristics of the community it was serving.
These structures stood as stunning designs with unique arrangements, intricate details, and exquisite use of repetition. While these structures served no functional purpose, the beautiful, original designs then became the inspiration for a functional space that each student went on to create. Using CAD, students took elements from their foam structures and re-envisioned them as usable spaces, with entrances, exits, traffic flow, and purpose.
The final products are stunning examples of how inspiration from the world around us can generate original and creative ideas. You may view the work of the entire course under “Student Portfolios.”