Introduction to the Atelier

Incompiuto Siciliano

Image credit: lituzzu.dontexist.org

The studio will be organized in two main exercises:

Firstly, a three week long Mapping Exercise, ”Uncharted Cartographies”, to tahke place in the Jardins du Luxembourg in Paris. The outcomes of this assignment will be a map as well as a three-dimensional version of this map (see detailed brief below). During the exercise, students will have a first attempt at working parametrically (with grasshopper), working with mappings and drawing and produce one document with the laser cutter. The exercise will be concluded in a small presentation.
The second exercise is the main design project which is an investigation on the subject of the “Sicilian Incomplete” developed as an architectural project located  in the village of Giarre, more specifically on the site of the Polo Stadium, incomplete and abandoned Athletic Sport Facilities. The project will be initiated by a trip to Sicily. From then, the work will occur during an additional 11 weeks. The project will be presented twice, once as a midterm crit and as a jury at the end of the semester. The extended brief for the project will be handed in before the studio trip.

For both exercises, Brice Maurin will provide occasional support in grasshopper. However, today, the best way to learn software is online. He will therefore be available for specific question, but do not expect him to give you classes. The course requires you to be proactive and to find many of the answer yourselves, starting from simple online tutorials.

The studio will run on Fridays and Saturdays and will sometimes occur in the form of meetings, collective work sessions or tutorials. Students are required to keep these days free for the course with the potential exception of overlapping classes. 
All the dates and requirements of the studio will be indicated in a Google Calendar which will be communicated to you. Please do have a look often. Tutorial times, juries, trips… will be specified and listed there.
The briefs will be shared with you as Google Docs.

The deliverables/documents will often be clearly specified. They are to be followed very rigorously. This applies to scales, drawing format, materials and technologies… You will sometimes be asked to submit document via email. The evaluation of your work will be partially based on these documents and the delivery on time.

The portfolio is an important part of the studio. While the work evolves during the projects, documents will be produced and it is important to keep them recorded. The format of  the portfolio is A1 and will consist mainly of drawings, vectorial and black and white. These drawings will be produced constantly through the semester and not at the end. Since you might be working several weeks on the same drawing, you are encouraged to keep the different versions. Your drawings will be always be printed from a pdf file, the advantage of this technique is that you can reprint anytime and send the information by email or publish on the web… It is advisable to be rigorous and clear with the naming of these files since you might end up with many drawings at the end of the Semester.  

Although the studio will be run in French, most of the crits/juries will be done in English. The official language for the drawings and all documents produced is English.

Soerabaja Djokjakarta, Java railroad line 1937

Brief - Exercise 1: “Uncharted Cartography”

The main objective of this three-week long cartography exercise is the production of graphical information or maps which feature characteristic of the chosen site, the Jardins du Luxembourg. The assignment is both an exercise in the registration of selected information and construction of the form under which it might be represented.

Geographical maps normally feature metric information, topographical values, political borders… Climate charts communicate values related to the environment, for instance wind represented by vectors with a direction and an intensity or temperatures as zones depicting temperatures and gradient conditions in between.

Although cartography as a discipline requires invention when it comes to the graphical codes used to represent the registered information, they are precise and unquestionably thorough in displaying the recorded data. 

The exercise is to take place in the Jardins du Luxembourg, inside the area defined in the drawing which will be handed out to you. You are asked to choose, during your visit of the park, one or more subject that characterize the place in your eyes or you feel might be interesting to focus on. The subject should be alien to the information normally featured on maps (height levels, borders, paths, trees…). It could be related to movement of people, the concentration of pieces of rubbish on the floor, pieces of unwanted vegetation, dog excrements, rays of light or shadows… You might want to consider time in your mappings… The condition is that the information is to be registered in a quantitative manner: the movement of a person could therefore be recorded as it’s steps (amount, direction, size…) and not, for instance, intuitively skecthed. You will have to invent your own way on how to record the information. The technique that you use to register the information is open, but should not be merely photographic.  If your subject includes time, you might need to spend several hours on the site or maybe even days!

The outcome of the exercise is a three dimensional map.
We will first work on the production of an A1 black and white vectorial planar drawing printed on white paper from a pdf file, in which working with the thickness of the line and it’s dashing will be your only drawing attributes.
This drawing will then be manipulated to use verticality to add layers of information. The technology used for this will the laser cutter which will cut or engrave your map in order to fold, perforate, overlay… the paper.

The translation of the information from the context to the paper will be done digitally using Rhino and Grasshopper following  techniques of drawing that are so-called parametric. This topic will be discussed in details in the class and examples will be shown.
Every student will need to produce his map using grasshopper. Support will be provided. This means that the drawing will have to contain certain logics which will have to identify and define a very simple parametric definition to enable its representation.
Brice Maurin will give an introductory class in grasshopper this week to give some examples, and another couple of sessions to help you with your project. 

AA Singapore Visiting School 2012.

To reflect on the work, students are encouraged to consult the references listed below.

Recommended readings and references:
1.      On cartography
The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Edward Tufte, Graphic Press, 2004.
Envisioning information, Edward Tufte, Graphic Press, 2003
Cartographies of Time, A History of the Timeline, Rosenberg and Grafton, Princeton Architectural Press, 1966.
2.      On drawing
Grid Index, Carsten Nicolai, Gestalten Berlin, 2009.
Cyclo.id Vol1, Ryoji Ikeda and Carsten Nicolai, Gestalten Berlin, 2011.


Week 1 – Studio Kick-Off – “Unchartered Cartography”
03/09 – 08/09        
Friday: General Meeting and beginning of the three week long Cartography Study.
Saturday: Tutorials in groups of 5 on the Cartography Study. Every student should have a clear idea of the subject or parametres that they wish to map and have figured out how to record the information.
Each student will present
-          An A4 printed photograph, which features the subject of their mapping. 
-          One or several sketches featuring  the representation of  the information registered.
-          A graphic proof (skectch, iphone app…) of the recording of the information in the Jardin du Luxembourg.
-          Optionally bring an existing map to be shown and discussed.

Week 2 – “Unchartered Cartography” – Week 2
10/09 – 15/09                        
Date to be announced: Grasshopper work session with Brice. Introduction on Grashopper.
Date to be announced: Grasshopper individual tutorials on student’s project. Every student should have an idea/proposal on how to represent the data recorded on site, this proposal will be discussed with Brice. At the end of the day, every student will send a screenshot of their “definition” and model to Edouard with Constance and Brice in copy.
Friday: Tutorials with Edouard in groups of five. Every student will bring their printed drawing/map printed in A1, the scale is optional but should fit within the area given.
Saturday: Tutorials in groups of 5. This tutorial will be used to discuss the next step which is the operation which will enable the maps to become three dimensional and a strategy on the use of the laser cutter.

Week 3 – “Unchartered Cartography” – Week 3
17/09 – 22/09                        
Tuesday: Grasshopper work session with Brice. Continuation of the development of the parametric definition, the drawing/map and the laser cutting patterns.
Friday: Tutorials in groups of 3. Students will show the latest version of their map both as a printed A1 and as a three-dimensional laser cut assembly. 
Saturday: Presentation/jury and introduction to next phase. 

Week 4 – Studio Trip
24/09 – 29/09                        
Studio trip to Giarre. Exact dates will be set in a common agreement between students and teachers.
The trip will be the occasion to get to know Giarre, the “capital” of the Sicilian Incomplete but also to make a rigorous site analysis under the form of mappings as learned in the first exercise. It is the responsibility of every student to prepare the tasks he will fulfil during the trip, this can also be discussed with teachers before.  
Hand In of the brief for the rest of the semester.

Week 5 – Design Project Week 1
01/10 – 06/10                        

Week 6 - Design Project Week 2
08/10 – 13/10                        

Week 7 - Design Project Week 3
15/10 – 20/10                        

Week 8 - Design Project Week 4
22/10 – 27/10                        
Saturday: Mid Term Crit

Week 9 - Design Project Week 5
29/10 – 03/11                        

Week 10 - Design Project Week 6
05/11 – 10/11                        

Week 11 - Design Project Week 7
12/11 – 17/11                        

Week 12 - Design Project Week 8
19/11 – 24/11                        

Week 13 - Design Project Week 9
26/11 – 01/12                        

Week 14 - Design Project Week 10
03/12 – 08/12                        

Week 15 - Design Project Week 11
10/12 – 15/12                        
Final Jury

Post Studio
17/12 – 22/12                        
18/12 - Nuit Spéciale Hivers