May 30, 2013
Feature Article @ ArchitectureAU

October 18, 2012

October 14, 2012

A short stop motion of the view from my window. I feel this is the beginning of a whole string of these.

May 20, 2012
Milk Crate Massive…

DESIGN COLLECTIVE:

Jason Lu
Milos Carkic
Mark Webster
Michael Mckeon
Tynan Freeman 

(A video of the building process of Dutton St Milk Crate Bar)

Milk crates are modern day items we tend to forget in our everyday lives, yet in the western world they have been servicing us for decades. They are a part of our culture as much as the auto mobile or the iPhone, but somehow they have become insignificant to our conciousness, consistent with most things humans lack interaction in.

An investigation into milk crates suggests that humans have a great ability to follow orders and instructions. We enjoy being told what to do, instructions are placed in every item we buy. An iPhone cover is meant for the iPhone. Any teenager will tell you that having a blackberry in an iPhone cover is "tech-blasphemy. So society tells us that milk crates are strictly for milk, But equally to our passion for order and mandate we have an undying ability to reject the nuances of society and an indistinguishable flame within us called curiosity. 

Ever since the inauguration of the Milk crate we have found ways to manipulate and re-define it’s purpose with great success. Dairy companies have been forced to alter the size of milk crates because people in the past have taken them for use to store records. Milk crates have also been an expression of art, thought and experimentations in design.

As a graduate architect the lure of design possibilities the back alley milk crate had to offer was too compelling to neglect. 

Me and a few Architecture graduates got together one day and started to conceive on how we can be a bunch of nuisances yet create something practical. We started brainstorming and concluded our possibilities into two categories, either the milk crate structure was to be of

1. Symbolic (sculpture, message)
2. Pragmatic (purposeful, functional)

We researched previous experiments on milk crate designs and came across a variety of interesting and outlandish ideas people have implemented in past.

Ultimately Mark mentioned a party he was to hold at his house the idea of a milk crate bar became the all round winner, runner up was a giant question mark, and as the old saying goes the rest is history. 

The structure serves as a functional temporal bar which was installed and successfully used by the attendees of Marks party, we took into consideration on storage of items and convenience of not just service but also comfort.

The design is pretty straightforward, having the bar-top 2 milk crate wide and the height of from ground to bar top being 3 milk crate tall. The storage was fused with the walls of the structure in a chequered pattern, since milk crates are naturally designed for storage it was perfect for our purpose. We implemented seating around the bar with structure itself because separating seating and bar would’ve meant less interaction. The cold weather of Canberra actually worked in favour for us, since it was about -2degrees that night hence we stored all the alcohol in the crates and there was no need for ice or a fridge, our environmentally concious bar … (although what it takes to make the plastic crates is up for debate)

As a result we came up with an interesting take on the conventional milk crate and a self mad bar built for under $30.

Please note, all milk crates where returned to their rightful locations.

Computer Aided Design …

Dutton St Bar

Cable Ties

Seating Area

Seating Area

Storage

Bar at use (sorry for the bad image quality)

140 Milk crates…



May 13, 2012

Video to go with the Artwork below.

May 12, 2012
Geometric Abstraction

Step 1 // Plan

Step 2 // Decipher Geometry

Step 3 // Abstraction

Suprematism was rampant during a time of social unrest in Russia. 2012 Australia is hardly in chaos, but in times of peace we can reflect on our past and see how in times of strife people tend to want the simple to overcome the complex.

El Lisstzky inspired artwork

February 20, 2012

Teepee Activism - How do you get home?

February 20, 2012
Teepee Activism

Bill “William Woodbridge” 

Design, Teepees, Corporations. What do they all have in common?

So on Friday night i was attending a street art exhibition organised by a few Architecture majors at the University of Canberra. If i wasn’t already consumed by the fantastic show of art and culture unravelling before my eyes, i was definitely impressed by a fellow design student from the university. 

William Woodbridge was his name and my friend introduced him to me in an ecstatic frenzy telling me "Mate you have to meet this guy, he’s protesting CLV by building a Teepee on Lake Ginninderra and inhabiting it"

Needless to say i thought it was garbage. He then quickly produced his phone and showed me a few photos of the project, i was surprised and asked if he would be kind enough to show me the structure, he agreed.

Today, I met with Bill, and we set off to his home for the past 2 weeks. (A video of his journey to and back from Work/University). Ultimately after seeing the arrangements and taking in the scenery the obvious question came around “Why?”.

I like to begin with saying that after speaking to Bill, he is not a charity case or in search for any sort of publicity. He’s taken this path out of choice but many factors have pushed him into the choice he has made today. 

So Bill was a lodger at student accomodation provided by CLV (Campus Living Villages) Australia. They are a international organisation in the business of student accomodation catering to universities. Before 2008, The university residences were run by the University itself and there were some protests from students prior to the take over of residences by CLV.

Nevertheless after CLV took over the on-campus accomodation at UC not surprisingly the prices of student accomodation increased to as much as 30 - 50%, this is not including new fees and charges which CLV felt like they had to implement. Many will think “well tough that’s life” yes, but when you consider that a university student if unreliant on parents or guardian for finances may have to work up to 30 hours a week to pay the $180 - $280p/week on rent you might understand the frustration many students have. The tipping point for Bill was unfortunately for him a fire alarm fine which he set off whilst cooking. Because of this he was hit with a $380 fine. Ultimately he chose the decision he made because he refused to live under a money orientated organisation with very little thoughts on their customers. 

As a student this left him stranded and homeless. He refused to kowtow to a large profit driven institution so he took the first step into designing a teepee. A floating teepee for that matter, where he could live rent free and not have to worry about the bureaucratic nonsense involved in living under the direction of CLV.

But it’s not just defying large corporate entities in his list of agendas, it’s also a wider argument of unsustainable living by average Australians. Bill is an environmentalist, a greens supporter and not afraid to do for what he believes in. We talked briefly on numbers and somehow we stumbled upon the population of India, i suggested it was nearing 1.1 billion. Bill corrected me and stated it’s actually 1.2 billion, the point of the conversation was that the difference when talking about the figures was figuratively small, only 0.1 of a difference but in reality I just missed out on 100,000,000 people. The logic behind this is that China and India are full throttle in terms of reaching a higher living standards, but just a simple slip of the tongue on the population is already 5 times the population of Australia. One can see how unsustainable it will be when 2.6 billion people are striving to live like us; 2 cars and a double garage. Again thats 2600000000.

I think the essence of what was discussed is how we can help by setting an example to the rest of the world. The old saying "it starts from 1", might not be that far fetched. If we push forward a sustainable way of living perhaps we can create and preserve a future more catered to our needs rather than our wants

In the midst of what can only be described as left wing hippie talk, i couldn’t help notice the tranquility of his new abode. He kept stressing the healthy lifestyle he now lives. Even though there is a big possibility he could get moved off in a matter of weeks, he claims that living around nature has improved his physical and mental attributes, since he rows to shore then back everyday. I don’t dispute it’s benefits. 

I think what Bill has created here is something extremely positive, not only for himself or for the environment, but for an institution like the University of Canberra, he is a terrific addition to the old Uni, and I hope the University will recognise him for his accomplishments. We forget sometimes that University is a time to explore and experiment, I believe that we should question the very nature of authority, perhaps sometimes authority is unjustified and that maybe the lecturer you have shares a different opinion to you. The conservative surroundings and nature of society sometimes restricts what we are actually capable of, I respect the steps he has taken into standing up to authority, his peaceful way of demonstrating a social issue which many university students are facing, but aren’t being heard and I hope the University will see the reasons in why somebody in second year Industrial Design has chosen to live in a Teepee in the middle of the lake. 

Regardless of his reasons, i feel that Bill has expressed something we all think of, he is that voice inside of us when we hear of injustice and unfairness. The only difference between us and him is that he decided to do something about it.

The table was built with a bit of innovation and fun

2 Bags of ice and you have a fridge for a week

A security box where he keeps his valuables and tools, he keeps a generator for a small TV, his one and only outside luxury.

The design of the Teepee was chosen as it provided a basic form of built insulation and provided excellent cover from the elements. Contrary to popular belief it is not because he is a native american fanatic.

The deck was created from basic timber and wood boards from Bunnings Warehouse and was one of the easier things to assemble as it came from a kit

January 27, 2012
"Refuge Beacon"

SYNOPSIS

 This project aims to outline the issues facing boat people who try to reach the coast of Australia in order to seek asylum. This project proposes a scheme which will highlight and bring awareness to the plight of refugees. A reinterpretation of the nature of the tower is presented through the structure of suspended balloons from an anchored floating platform in the ocean, which serves the purpose of raising scientific equipment into the sky and electricity generating solar panels. On the platform at its base temporary sleeping quarters and basic amenities are provided to refugees who happen to get caught in rough weather. This platform is divided up into two separate parts; one dedicated to seafarer’s pit stop and the other to a permanent research centre. The balloons are a beacon to safety and also a reminder to the issue of asylum seekers.

The plight of refugees who take to the seas to reach the Australian continent has unfortunately become sharply politicized in Australia over the last few decades. The Australian public today are generally distanced and desensitized to the issue of boat people. People are actually not generally aware of how many refugees arrive by boat and how many actually eventually succeed in reaching Australia.  Refugees have existed throughout history and will continue to exist in the future. As long as war and natural disasters occur, resolving the issue is impossible. It is a human condition which we have to accept. So what can then be done to ameliorate the situation of refugees? What can we do as a global community to address and communicate appropriately the problems of the refugees?

For most refugees who successfully reach the Australian coast by boat, their journey does not yet come to an end. Australia has one of the poorest statistics when it comes to detaining and processing asylum claims. Refugees detained in Australia have the highest detention period anywhere in the world.

The problem of refugees is inexhaustibly complex and redesigning detention facilities is out of the question. Going to the root of the problem is a start. Why refugees become refugees is what determines this project. Refugees are forced to leave their environment and must then embark on a journey. The journey is the most important thing to this project. Since reaching the desired destination is not necessarily a solution to the problem.

Space has become exponentially more divided, categorized, multiplied, redefined and controlled. Undoubtedly the notion of ‘space’ is very relevant to the life of a refugee; being restricted access to space and always imagining the kind of space where one would rather be are all determined by the papers which one has. The notion of ‘other space’ defines this sort of utopia of hope that exists for a refugee. This ‘other space’ indiscernibly exists during the ‘journey’. Is this a state of mind? Does this notion of ‘other space’ cease to exist when a refugee reaches their intended destination? Could this notion of ‘other space’ actually exist as a space? If it can, what could it be?

Michelle Foucault’s makes a point about the evolution in attitudes towards cemeteries. Modern society has arrived at a point where death is  treated as an illness, and in many modern cities the cemeteries have been moved from the traditional place in the centre of a city to the perimeter. The issue of refugees can almost be seen in similar light where the public has been distanced from the issue through the saturation of media and political jargon.

Intercepting the ‘journey’ of the refugee and bringing awareness to the public are what constitute the proposed structure for this project. Multiple proposed ‘beacons’  and pit stops will be placed along paths  which asylum seekers take in the Indian Ocean and the Timor Sea, between ‘Transit Countries’ like Malaysia and Indonesia in South-East Asia, and Australia. The presence of these ‘pit stops’ will bring attention to them through their pronounced form on the horizon. Large balloons attached to floating platforms by steel cabling, comprised of shipping containers containing  basic sleeping quarters, amenities for 200 refugees, and a permanent research centre. The balloon structure serves the main purpose of suspending equipment for measuring weather and generating electricity to power the platform. The vertical form of the balloons is a reinterpretation of the tower, and serves a secondary purpose of behaving as a beacon and a visual reminder of the plight of asylum seekers.  

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