Monday, 18 June 2012

Welcome Everybody!

So the Final Study Project is supposed to be the culmination of all our skills developed through out our time on the MSc.

We started the project officially at the beginning of May and should be bringing it to a close for the 12th July and the Free Range show @ The Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London.

We will be exhibiting there between 12/07 and 16/07 before returning to Nottingham Trent University for an MA/MSc Degree show running from 16/07 until 20/7.

The brief of the project is entirely up to us, though it should be generated through an interest in a particular technology or area of study discovered in the past 8 months. The project should also look to tackle a current issue through innovative thinking, thorough research and appropriate technologies ... going beyond the ordinary.

I shall be documenting as much as i can in a sort of running commentary fashion (albeit with a slightly delayed start) So keep your eyes peeled for regular updates. 

Oh and just quickly... ignore the dates listed on each post, unfortunately i have had to alter these in order to get the posts in the right order!! I feel it reads best as a story if the oldest post os at the top. I cant seem to find a logical way of doing this though via the blog! If you have any quieries regarding dates please just let me know.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

To kick things off i looked over all my projects done to date, went through sketch books and generally read over lecture notes and any other material i still had. 

I had in my mind that my project was likely to be based, in some manner, around adaptability, but through reading all my notes i was able to pin point a couple of key areas of interest.

I was also set on steering clear of anything residential based, i've got previous experience in this, 2 or 3 of my projects covered it and i was keen to explore new areas of architecture.

As my research progressed i began to notice a small gathering of information and precedents using cad/cam processes to produce temporary structures and installations. Having a keen interest in joinery and having previously worked in carpentry i decided to explore this route further...

Turns out 2012 could be a pretty good year for temporary.. not even touching on the poor economy... there are events such as the Queens Jubilee, Poland and Ukraine Euro 2012 and the London 2012 Olympics. All these events will in someway bring lots of people together which got me thinking.

Research then led me down the route of temporary stadia, cinema, and performing arts. The idea was that using cad/cam processes the same file could be sent worldwide allowing for a temporary structure to be erected using sustainable, recyclable materials.

But where? Where in, say... Nottingham, might this work? somewhere public, somewhere central, but would it be in door? out door? would this vary depending on the climate on a larger scale? how many people might it hold? could this be increased easily for bigger events? An interesting project was evolving in just a short period of time...

Saturday, 16 June 2012

MA/MSc Degree Show Catalogue

Arriving way sooner than expected was the request for an image and a small amount of text to be published in the Nottingham Trent MA/ MSc Degree Show catalogue. Being in the early stages of the project it was decided that the image produced would be representational of what my project was going to be based on whilst not giving too much away, inviting the reader to want to see more.

Without having a site at this stage i actually decided to use two images to show the extents at which this method of architecture may exist.

Below is the image and text submitted...

Joe Williams
MSc Architectural technology and Design

An occupation of negative space
This project sets out explore and develop an experience-driven design approach for the manipulation of space. Questioning our relationship with the spaces we use and inhabit it challenges design as a medium to incite new or different ways of interaction with the current state of our environment.

Technology driven, the project investigates and tests CAD/CAM processes as a means of generating temporary structure that is affordable, recyclable and adaptable. Its intention is to use open source technology to develop and refine architectural interventions.

Image: Negative ground space within a figured plan
By: Joe Williams

Friday, 15 June 2012

Taking things forward..

Whilst on a walk through Nottingham city centre it became apparent to me that there were unusual amounts of empty shops.. and after some research in to this i found out that Nottingham is listed in BNP Paribas' 'Retial Risk Index' as the riskiest major city in the UK.

On a one hour walk around the centre this is what i saw ... Just click an image to enlarge it..

I found that there are a number of city-based initiatives in place to help revive the high streets but few involve occupying the empty spaces and most are merely covering up whats behind.. This provoked some research in to the 'pop-up' movement, usually associated with a temporary installation that is used to experiement, promote and gauge interest in a new idea or product.

A Knight Frank report too supports the idea of a 'pop-up' shop, especially during these tough economic times. They state that landlords are embracing the short term contracts, they believe that this sort of tenant help keep the site occupied whilst negotiations for longer term contracts take place. 

Nationwide there are many projects and concepts that strive to regenerate the units that are left abandoned following the recession, many of which i have noticed involve art.

At this stage i started to bring together a few notes i had made and began developing a brief.

- The project should include a series of temporary structures
- They should provide a space with in a space without affecting the original sturcture
- The installation should be easily deployed and removed when necessary

> Next stop is to identify a site and to continue exploring technologes suitable for the task in hand.

Thursday, 14 June 2012


The document below taken from the City Council 'Urban Design' brochure shows the location of alleyways around the city. My aim was to try and find empty shops that feed off of these alleyways allowing my installation to offer both inside and outside spaces whilst also giving me the opportunity to create a journey, a new experience for the user.

From this i was able to identify 6 potential sites, these are highlighted below in red along with photos... Once again just click to enlarge..

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Site : Picked!

Soo, I have chosen i site! I went for Site 6 shown in the previous post. Bridlesmith Walk, Nottingham is currently home to a public footpath and a small arcade of 8 shops, two of which front the busy Bridlesmith Gate high street, a boarded up pub and a small cafe.

Of the 8 shops currently just three are occupied, that is the two that face the high street and then a beauty salon further up the walk. For the purposes of this project the two shops at the front will remain however it will be deemed that the rest of the shops are free and ready for regeneration. This decision has been made by myself along with my tutors so that the area can be re-branded as a whole, increasing the scope of the project and the potential of the space.

It was also decided that in order to get the footfall required through the site it may be necessary to include some permanent fixtures to the design as well as the original temporary 'pop-up' idea.

Below are plans and sections of the site generated from various sources including site visits and the planning portal...

Now i could see the spaces in plan and the site had been visited several times i began brainstorming what occupation might best suit the site...

Further research in to the site actually showed that over the past 15 years it had been redeveloped on 3 occasions, and always with an 'A1' use class. This prompted a widening of the thought process and an exploration in to a more substantial, permanent but still adaptable redevelopment.

More research and brainstorming needed at this stage!! Time is getting tight!!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Space Intervention Precedent

Designing a space within a space is nothing new, and whilst the scale of my project is increasing the more i analyse the site, here is just a selection of some of my research into temporary and deployable architecture as well as some on CAD/CAM processes..

For me the last two pages shown above really capture my original vision for the occupation of empty shops. Oriented strand board (OSB) in my opinion is a lovely, sustainable material that that can be used in many different ways.