PG Reflective Writing on D1
I guess you could consider this a condensed version - or an abbreviated version of the D1 process post I wrote and recently published. But both "reports" needed to be produced, so I will go ahead and post this one as well.
Grid -> Model -> 2D -> Pegging It Out -> 2D
Grids, Grids, Grids
This is the part of the process that gave me the biggest headache literally. My head was hurting so badly after I finished with all of my grids, I think I went and bought some aspirin! I remember coming to the point of delirium and I couldn't tell if what I was doing was leading towards anywhere positive or not. It's a good thing Andrew and Marcus were there to tell me which ones to develop further. I do remember thinking, “if I use this process after I leave the school how will I know which grid to explore and use without someone telling me?” I was concerned.
I am not sure if I would have chosen the grid that Andrew and Marcus selected for me had I been on my own. I really don't know what would have happened or which direction my grids would have taken – I don't think I would have done as many grids as I did, but I am learning the value of persistence and exploring in the process.
In the end, I was grateful for the guidance and I enjoyed the result and the process. As I was thinking the other day – Process is Progress!
Moving into Model: Cardboard @ 1:100 / Foam Core @ 1:50 / Photos
I had never made any kind of model for any design I had done so I was very excited about this part of the design process – and that we were exploring with model so early on, even before we could think about gardens (sure, sure). The models were a challenge for me. I started out using cardboard at a scale of 1:100 and focused on positive and negative shapes and tried to focus on mass and void as well (which was the point?), though I felt rather inhibited by the cardboard in creating mass especially. It was at the 1:100 scale that I resolved the overall motivation for my garden, but felt like I was blocked by the small scale I was working with. When I moved to 1:50 I brought some foam core to work with, which was MUCH easier to cut. And while I was able to develop my model a bit further by way of structures and existing tree placement, I still felt frustrated in creating mass and void. I did not have the patience to cut out the same shape 10 times just to create height. Also – I couldn't see it in my minds eye, I couldn't see via the model where there should be mass and void and that was frustrating to me, because I believe that mass and void are very important elements in design and a space, especially a garden. I remember staring into the space, waiting for it to tell me something, but it never spoke. Once I reached my limit with the foam core model at 1:50 I needed to go back to the paper/2D to get my mass and void (kind of ironic, I think).
Looking back I am still not sure if I nailed mass and void in my design. I can see visions of my design, but the vignettes that flash through my mind...have I captured them on paper? I suppose a 3D computer system would help me decide that. But I want to be able to see it and know it on paper. I think that is something I will make a conscious effort to create in my designs this year – effective mass!! And void!!
Back to 2D
After the models were completed (or as far as I could take them with my patience) I went back to paper and developed the skeleton of my design (now being allowed to think of it as a garden). It was here that I was able to better push and pull with the mass and void, define obscure areas and also make some practical decisions. Soon enough I had a semi-final layout that was ready to be pegged in the square to see how it was working in reality.
Pegging It Out in Eccleston Square
I knew what I had come up with on paper wasn't working for me 100%...there was a nagging that I couldn't quite shake or resolve, but I didn't know what to do. When my turn came I was curious, nervous and anticipatory. And while I enjoyed this part of the process, it was a disappointing day for me in that what I had prepared on paper didn't work fantastically in the real world. I knew beforehand it wasn't working...and pegging it out only confirmed that. But it was through creating it in real life that I was able to know that the seating area needed to be larger, the pond a tad smaller...and that is what made the difference, pegging it out made the difference.
I do need to add here that the day didn't quite end in too much disappointment, read on to see why...
Resolving Concerns – Back to 2D!
Once I was done with my “pegging out” I was motivated to do some twisting and turning in my design back on paper – with the dining area and the pond especially. And it wasn't too long before I came to a resolution I could live with, that the garden could live with! It was a relief and I knew I had it when I did. I was back in the saddle!
Creating (many) grids led me to positive and negative space, the beginnings of mass and void.
Model helped push that agenda further and started to define strong elements in the garden.
Once I was blocked there I moved back to paper to develop the spaces in 2D, now thinking of it as a garden (although I was earlier) – still struggling a bit seeing mass and void.
Once I exhausted that process – pegging it out confirmed my uneasiness about some areas of my design, but it also helped me pinpoint where the problems were exactly.
Back at the drawing board, I was able to come to a design resolution that I was happy with.
The process of moving between design methods, for me, was a really great way to break through designer's block, which I seemed to run into in each method of the process. It allowed me to consider ideas that otherwise, would have gone unthought of. When did I have my eureka moment? I am not sure – it seemed that each stage of the design process had a eureka moment – I can't say that my design would have been as successful if one of those steps had been omitted. Receiving guidance from Andrew and Marcus also proved invaluable.