Function as a Function of Orientation Fall 2016
In my class Computational Design, an architecture course exploring generative/parametric design, fabrication and sensor technology, I was tasked with designing a one-person dwelling. I developed this concept of a structure that flips as its inhabitant steps on the walls. Every time it flips, the function of the dwelling changes as the interior forms take on new orientations.
To conceptualize the different processes conducted in a dwelling, I photographed someone in the stages of sleep, waking up and work. These operate as a cycle, with alternate and sometimes non-linear activities also taking place within that cycle.
Sketching the Essentials
To avoid being distracted by the form, I made a diagram of how a person might move through a simplified space by leaning against walls.
After constructing a basic geometric form in Rhino (a 3D modelling tool), I did a conceptual atmospheric rendering of the space to the scale of the human figure.
To reframe the problem, I did a vector-based diagram of the space, showing how the functions of sleep, work and rest translate to the objects of a bed, desk and sofa. That led to an exploration of how a single form could serve all three functions when set at different orientations.
The final part of the project was to demonstrate the concept using Arduinos and sensor technology. I attempted to make this geometric form flip automatically by detecting which face was down.
I put a light sensor and a servo on 3 faces, and programmed it so that the servo would fire and kick out whenever its face was down. Although it was a rough prototype, it helped to understand the level of energy required to flip a structure with a given weight.
To show how a piece of furniture can change function with its orientation, I developed a form that could work as a chair, bed and desk. Here one could use it as a desk.
This orientation shows the piece as an upright chair. The space where your legs might rest under the desk in the previous version becomes an ergonomic pocket.
The furniture's final function is as a sofa or bed. What was a high back in the chair format becomes a rest for one's legs.