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Assemblage of Elements

Construction Design

2019 Semester 1

3rd Year Bachelor of Design

The production of a 1:25 model of a section of a public building aimed to use it as a tool to demonstrate my understanding of the construction processes and methodologies.

Objective

Design of the construction methodologies are often informed by the logical reasoning of constructability. This project involved understanding why something in the construction process is completed in a certain way - whether it is selecting suitable footings, slab types or roofing materials, there are considerations for functionality, durability and material integrity.
This model is not supposed to be perfect or good-looking; it was built to reveal what may be usually hidden in the finished building, and to highlight what could happen when things go wrong.

Precedent - Olympic Park Community Facility by Croxon Ramsay

The case study building consisted of two levels: multi-purpose space, change rooms, theatre and amenities on the ground floor, and pulti-purpose community rooms, lounge and other amenities on the upper floor. Since it is located adjacent to the Olympic Park oval, the open plan community room faces towards the oval. 
The area I was assigned to contained fitness multi-purpose room on the ground level and the community room on the upper floor. 
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Elements for Problem-Solving

Focus on 'Why'

Elements of a building could be categorised into construction systems based on their roles. While Complexity of Systems analyses these systems (e.g. structural systems below/above ground, environmental protections, etc.), here we explore why components in those systems or their specifications are necessary or crucial for constructing a well-functioning building.
 
The question 'why' goes beyond a component's functionality. For example, covering the ground using a waterproof membrane before pouring a concrete slab is not only so that the moisture from the ground doesn't get into the concrete slab. It also complements the limited thickness of the concrete cover under the steel reinforcement in the slab.
 
Through undertaking this project, the question 'why' deepened my understanding of individual components and not-so-obvious reasons that are the results of a chain of design and construction considerations.
Venn diagram

Hover your cursor over images below to see some of the details

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Elements That Once Existed on Site

Physical presence vs implied presence

Whilst we tend to focus on materials that become parts of the building, there are equipment and materials that are utilised temporarily during construction but do not become part of the finished work. 
Concrete formwork is such an interesting material which is removed once concrete reaches adequate strength, but its surface impression remains on concrete. Different types of formwork deliver varying outcomes for textures and quality. In the famous case of Tadao Ando's concrete formwork, we can observe that one formwork panel implies a unit/module which is repeated in a proportional composition.
What we can observe often tells heaps more about the place or buildings than what exists in front of us. This idea is also applicable in the larger context of a city. Check out the videos exploring the laneways in the urban fabric of Melbourne.
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Sketched section of Tokyo Design Sight by Tadao Ando
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Consideration for the Site Contexts

Responding to the site context

Responding to the site contexts often refers to the design consideration where an architect understands the environmental, geographical, cultural, social and historical cues of the site and integrates relevant elements into the design process. Through undertaking construction subjects, it became evident that the construction methodologies, details and material selections also need to respond to the site contexts.
For example, the site of this building had a narrow entry/exit point which could potentially become a bottleneck during construction if the whole building was to be built in one go. To mitigate the risk of the delay in construction, the team decided to split the building into two, constructing the rear half of the building (farther side from the access point) first. It allowed the safe access of materials and equipment to the back half of the site.
It is more of a response to the site based on constructability, not ''architectural''. However, it is as important as selecting the right types of footings or having deep and narrow steel columns for north-facing curtain windows, based on the site contexts.
In regards to the architectural responses to the site, have a look at projects below.
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