Sunday, June 10, 2007

[...upon] 3D Design

I have finished my first official year as a teacher, so I’ll attempt to reflect upon the different courses I have taught as a part of a personal evaluation process.
I’ll start with 3D Design course I gave for second year students…

My basic rule in that course was to forbid students from using any 2D expression tools, so no sketching, drawing or graphical presentation was permitted during the whole process of design… students were to express their ideas using 3D models from the earlier stages of concepts till the final stages of presenting their work.

The first exercise given was called [exploration the cube]… I had my inspiration from a similar exercise I read about in the internet proposed by Dr. Mohammed Al-Asad while teaching second year Architecture students at the University of Jordan.

In the first stage students were asked to think of a transparent cube and creating different compositions using lines and points on it’s outer surfaces and then inside the space. Concepts were welcomed but students were not grasping the process of coming up with a concept that can be translated into a form.

Most of the students who worked through a conceptual framework had notions of mass production, media, personal dilemmas, and conflicts.

work by: Mira Awad

work by: Ala'a Tabba'a

work by: Dina Nagwar

Work by: Xena Darwazeh

Other students were bold enough to defy the rules of the exercise and de-constructed the cubes. One student even proposed an interactive cube where she allowed the viewer to create his/her own tension forces that can deform the cube.

work by: Farah Abu-Roos

And some students stayed at the safe side and put all their effort on creating interesting visual compositions.

work by: Sama Saba

work by: Dina Khouri

Work by: Rasha Haddad

In the second stage of the cube, students were asked to start composing on the surfaces of the cube using lines and planes. And on that final stage of this exercise the students were to assumer an explosive force [not in a literal sense] that had deformed and broke the beauty of that platonic cube they were creating. [No images available].

The second exercise was called [folding a space]. Students were to use strips of different materials, the forces of tension, compression, folding and bending and manipulate them to create an abstract 3D open space that is defined using the strips. The goal of this exercise was to make students aware of how to create a space in an unconventional way rather than of constructing vertical walls and a ceiling.
In this exercise students were not to use any concept and work only through a compositional framework. Functions were not introduced as well.
The duration of this exercise was short and was more of a playful exercise.
I felt the students were more at ease while working on this project and most of the work produced was good.
A common problem though was how to end a strip, start another or join two together. But due to the short time provided I wasn’t able to concentrate on the details of making a strong connection between two or more different material.
[No images available].

The third exercise was called [street furniture]. Students had to work with a function and a site. The site chosen was the pathway leading to the faculty. Students had to do a site analysis focusing mainly on the different events and functions taking place on the site and from there propose new street furniture to serve the site’s needs.
Students were encouraged to use the basic two tools they learnt till now, the cube or the folding.
Students came with brilliant ideas regarding what they can call street furniture.
Some of them chose an existing problem and instead of solving it the easy way they mocked the situation by proposing a cynical solution.

work by: Dana Qabani

For example in this design the student had to solve an existing closed pathway that had access to no where and students were forced to climb the curb to go to the other side. So in her solution she made an exaggerated ramp that students have to climb to get to the other side.

work by: Dina Khoury

Some good designs were focusing on the form but had good concepts.

work by: Rasha Asfour

Work by: Dina Nagawar

work by: Diana Abdullah

work by: Mira Awad

Others produced a typical solution to a typical problem.

work by: Rasha Haddad

And others were very much affected by the faculty that he designed a series of sculptures that had no function but a visual impact.

work by: Diran Maltajlian

Also the idea of a narrative was produced in a couple of designed where students worked along the pathway creating a story of how their [street furniture] evolved as you get nearer to the gateway of the faculty.

work by: Farah Abu-Roos

work by: Xena Darwazeh

As for the final project, I came up with an open-ended imaginative exercise. Also it was more of a personal conception and expression by asking the students to create their own intimate space in Amman. They had to design a space of meditation, inspiration and/or celebration of the place it inhabits. They had to choose a place in one of seven old mountains of Amman. And they had to find what makes these mountains special! Looking around them for clues of tactile qualities that make Amman’s 3D environment unique and they had to celebrate these qualities or defy them. They had to work within a concept.
The students had fun exploring Amman and searching for the best place that they can place their space in.
The designs they introduced were interesting as well. Some students picked up certain 3D qualities and celebrated them successfully.

work by : Yasir Abu-Thuriya

work by: Mira Awad

Other students focused on the composition and form.

work by : Rasha Haddad

While others tried to make use of the tools they learnt so far.

work by: Maisa Jabir

work by: Rana Almouallem

Other students had a nostalgic Arabic/Eastern influence on their designs.

work by: Rahma Bani-Hasan

work by: Sama Saba

work by: Fatin Huirimi

Others went wilder exploring notions of interactive architecture.

work by: Dina Nagwar

Some times that didn’t serve them as they expected but nevertheless they allowed themselves to be used by technology than using it.

work by: Dina Khoury

Notions of ascending to the sky and joining the earth and the sky were used as well.

work by: Farah Abu-Roos

work by: Ala'a Taba'a

Others designed their space on the idea of celebrating the view by creating a simple lookout space.

work by: Dana Qabani

work by: Hala Abu-Mizar

work by: Xena Darawzeh

On a theoretical level lectures were given about subjects relating to the exercises. As the course progressed I used the analytical case study approach to explain ideas and projects in an attempt to explain the process of conceptualizing and creating a 3D form or space.
Students were asked to write an article about a certain movement that I assigned to them starting from Modernism till reaching interactive design. In the article students were asked to analyze one of the each of architectural, furniture and industrial examples following that movement. The results I got was very weak and mostly online copied. Students were not confident enough to express their own opinions and instead of analyzing the designs they described them.

To sum up, I felt that students were given a chance to explore a bit of the 3D world. Maybe at some points I have overwhelmed them but they handled the pressure quite well. I liked the approach they had toward 3D given that they are not architecture students but more art oriented.
What do you think? If you are a designer or a visual practitioner… please share your feedback with me…


Anonymous said...

Miss Rusaila I really enjoyed the course, it was interesting and challenging at the same time. Maybe at some points of my process I felt clueless because I've always wanted my work to be based on a concept, but working with different materials and discovering the way they combine and interact with each other, provided me with the motivation to defy this task. I was glad to see my work and my friends' work as well.

MOna said...

dear super devoika,
i haven't checked out your blog in a long time,and it's obvoius i missed out on a lot, I am neither a visual practitionaer nor a designer, but i can see that you have provoked a different way of percieving and expressing images and ideas in your students. It must be los of fun to be in your class. I hope you keep up the good work despite the frustrations life presents.