Research & teaching / Έρευνα και διδασκαλία
Ecoweek workshop / teaching
The functional dependency between properties and structure in the natural world provides the starting point for the discussion in what concerns the integration of the man-made construction into the existing ecology. The workshop will focus on the production of a cellular structure made of a series of repeated structural units, identical and differentiated. In order to assign specific green properties on the construction, it will manipulate the structural unit in terms of differentiation according to the change of the unit’s properties. The research includes studies using modelling,
analysis and fabrication of the physical model.
(Special thanks to M.Tsiliakos for his help with the grasshopper definition)
Jewel / PhD research / NTUA
This is a travelling jewelry exhibition. The ephemeral nature of the proposal called for minimal interventions of the building envelope: most functions related to the exhibition are enclosed in a series of "items - objets". The objets can be arranged in different ways depending on the site dimensions.
The design is influenced by micro human body characteristics, like knots and dimples. In a holistic design gesture, the objets are wrapped in an artificial skin that contains different programmatic areas. The objets host showcases for jewelry, seating and hidden lighting, and can even receive secondary elements such as mirrors, small screens and printed material. These functional requirements are translated into specific sub-areas on each objet's skin, creating a micro "topography".
Rapid prototyping methods were used for the fabrication of a scale of 1:25 mock ups. The objets were fabricated using 3axis CNC miling and then vacuum forming of ABS plastic.
Special design topics 9, NTUA / teaching
National Technical University of Athens, 2008-11
Students are asked to design and fabricate a small scale installation with specific programmatic demands, using only computer aided design and manufacturing software. The project varies each semester; our last scheme was a multifunctional public bench that was designed for architecture and art schools. The focus of this course is exploring the morphological and programmatic abilities and limitations of digital design tools, combined with the current methods of prototype fabrication using CAM hardware.
The bench had to have seating, lying down and reading / desk areas, as well as bike and poster stands. Again, the students were asked to analyze and present in class built precedents, like the AA DRL pavilions or the “Element” installation by architect Marcelo Spina. The deliverables included illustrations, diagrams and drawings as well a physical model that was fabricated on a scale of 1:1 using the in school 3axis CNC milling machine. Midterm models were fabricated using 3d printing and laser cutting, allowing them to become acquainted and experiment with different prototype fabrication methods.
the student project won the first prize at the "Future Bench" competition held by the Athens municipality in 2010
Special design topics 8, NTUA / teaching
National Technical University of Athens, 2008-11
The “Special design topics” course of the 8th semester at NTUA is usually the design of a mixed use building and the exploration "from within" through digital modeling and exploration of elements like light, materiality and scale within the buildings interior and exterior spaces.
Organizational diagrams serve as abstract, yet firm moulds for subsequent analyses. The role of the diagram was to represent a strong, though not yet fully rationalized, conceptual potential.
A question I often pose is what will their project mean and “do”, today, within the current social, cultural, built and natural context. From that point, elaborating that idea into the design of a building, means using diverse design tools, from hand drawn sketches and diagrams, to 3D digital modeling.
Design problems from circulation, programmatic distribution, connection to the city grid and skyline, visual connections to ambiance and atmosphere are some of the pin points that students are called to answer throughout the course. At the same time, the design diagrams come to underline each of the design steps, providing a clear aspect of the schematic design phase.
for more student projects,
please visit the course blog: simlab1.blogspot.com
Hollywood Hills House proposal / research
University of California, Los Angeles, 2005
with S.Patel & D.Guerrero
Two of the questions one could face while designing a residence on the Hollywood Hills could be narrowed down to how? and what?
How could one build on a sloping site that generates diagonality and rotation, without creating radical cuts and deep retaining walls that have major ecological and aesthetical repercussions?
At the same time, experiments like the Case Study Houses in american residential architecture sponsored by Arts & Architecture magazine in the early ‘50s and ’60s, have become reference points in architecture on a global level, bringing up questions regarding what could a contemporary case study house stand for nowdays.
Major architects of the day, including Richard Neutra, Charles and Ray Eames, Pierre Koenig and Eero Saarinen, where comissioned to design and build inexpensive and efficient model homes for the United States residential housing boom caused by the end of World War II.
The building site is located below the Hollywood reservoir in the Hollywood Hills. Its surrounding area is currently undergoing rapid development. As a result, the proposal could be loosely understood as prototypical. Another issue with which we were addressed, was the ‘atmosphere’ we would create both inside and outside the dwelling, taking advantage of diverse elements, like the views or the structure of the building itself.
As an effort to answer the what a contemporary case study house would stand for nowdays, we were inspired by the suburban and film industry culture of Los Angeles itslef. The search of the perfect proportions in a female model, the media exposure or the embellishment of movie stars, were few of the abstract - and even banal- notions that could be embedded in the design process. The morphology and physiology of this experiment were informed by such ideas, depicting a side of the current pop culture condition of Los Angeles.
As an alternative to common stabilization strategies, we deployed structural and “envelope” systems capable of finessed, graduatd transitions from horizontal to vertical. These included studying grid shells, lattices, cable nets and structurally formed skins. Finally, the house was founded using reinforced concrete spikes that formed floor plates. A structure of metal tubes was used to form the exo-skeleton of the building, while ETFE pouches were used throughout the exterior .