Cyanotype is a process that uses light to imprint an image onto a surface. The technique was often used to reproduce architectural and engineering drawings as a cheap and quick alternative to other early printing procedures. The cyan colour gave these drawings their name – blueprints.
Typically, to produce an image, a contact negative is placed over a surface treated with the photosensitive cyanotype solution. When exposed to sunlight a chemical reaction causes the solution to become insoluble and the remaining unexposed chemicals are washed away to reveal the image.
Anything that blocks or controls the intensity of ultraviolet light hitting the surface will produce an image and therefore the shadows and reflections of three dimensional objects and models can also be captured. Creating an image like this requires the control and composition of space, light and time – all crucial considerations for an architect.
Skyline Shadow Show
Skyline Shadow Show is a dramatic demonstration of scale where children design their own skyscrapers to join the London skyline. They are performers in a giant filmed shadow puppet display show.
Each workshop begins with projected silhouettes of London’s skyline. We reveal that each silhouette is of a different size placed at different distances away from the spotlight, which leads into a discussion about scale.
Children then have an opportunity to design and make their own skyscraper silhouette by assembling pre-cut card and coloured acetate shapes or cutting their own.
Groups of children experiment with scale by slotting their silhouette shadow puppets into moveable rails at different distances from the spotlight and composing how large it appears in their skyline.
Tall Stories is a children's workshop for the RIBA based around Brutalist architecture.
Participants create their own relief drawings which are cast in plaster. The workshop investigates the textures of cast concrete brutalist buildings and the internal lives of individual flats within a high rise.
In collaboration with Amy Butt we created a 5 day workshop for children aged 6–10 years. The first three days focussed on building models and structures to explore how architects respond to wind, sun and rain. The final two days involved designing and modelling a full scale structure before constructing it outdoors.
A three day workshop for secondary school students at the RIBA.
Perspective drawings provide us with a singular view of architectural design and create the illusion of a three-dimensional space within a two-dimensional medium. But they also create the impression that a building, as an architectural object, is fixed and immovable. In the workshop, we explored and expanded the scope of traditional architectural drawings to allow participants to reflect on design perspectives and inhabit their individual vision for the city.
Participants learnt physical model making techniques to explore key architectural challenges such as scale and materiality. These models formed the basis for the development of their design proposals that explored how we experience architecture as a narrative sequence of spaces. Finally, these sequences were combined to create digital games, a collectively-designed playable cityscape.
This workshop was coordinated along with Amy Butt with help from Catriona Mole.
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City Scale Collage
A collage workshop with second year architecture students at Newcastle School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape to teach city scale design.