Posted: January 16, 2006
In this design experiment I was investigating the different types of topographical modeling typically seen in architectural renderings. I wasn’t completely satisfied with the traditional layer method, where layers of card are placed on top of one another and cut in such a way as to suggest the topography of the landscape. I didn’t think the solution accounted for dynamic landscapes with sudden and frequent changes in their depths. So I set out to rethink the architectural model.
At first I simply looked into things which have the ripple effect that may inform me as to the design parameters (for example, the surface of a bed or water ways). I then developed a series of 3-D models to emulate these ripple effects, and it was this very process which informed my final designs.
Then I took crumpled-up pieces of paper, which also acted as a type of experiment when I was thinking about how to remodel typography. I experimented with various organic techniques, but was dissatisfied in the end as I wanted a new technique for dealing with digital renderings and traditional model building materials like cardboard.
The final product (photo on bottom right) was actually quite complicated in its idea, but was very easy to build. I divided a computer generated 3D rendered topographic model into the X Y planes and cut these planes into cardboard based on the Z plane. I then cut tongue-n-grooves in the cardboard in such a way as they could fit together like a puzzle and came up with a new computer generated and hand crafted topographical modeling technique (last photo on bottom right).