May 30, 2013
Feature Article @ ArchitectureAU

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…



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

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