2019 NGV Architectural Commission Competition Entry – refinement & presentation

This is part 2 of the two-part series on my design process for NGV Architectural Commission Competition entry. Please read Part 1 first so you understand what’s going on…!

3. Further development & research

3D modelling

From sketches, I started modelling the design on Rhinoceros 6 and Grasshopper. I categorised the elements in different layers so that it’s easy to make changes to them.

These are the rough layout for sharing the design ideas with my colleagues (not for presentation at all… simply for explaining ideas). You can see that there are conflicts of the architectural languages (circular/curved form vs rectilinear/angular form) that are creating a sense of awkwardness. Also there are spaces with no specific programmes which need to be resolved. At least, putting together layouts helped me simplify the ideas and understand what needs to be developed further.

Visiting the Royal Botanic Garden

Since the landscape has a crucial part of the design, I decided to visit the Royal Botanic Garden to understand the plants in season during summer. I recorded the names of plants and researched them on the Burnley Plant Guide (requires the University of Melbourne staff or student ID for access) which is a platform for looking up plant’s properties (e.g. average dimensions at maturity, tolerances, characteristics, suitable planting conditions, etc.). It helped me select the plants that may be used for the project.

The relationship between landscape and architecture

I became very curious about how we interact with the landscape. We often create boundaries for where we ‘should’ walk (path) and where we ‘shouldn’t’ walk. Rather than the horizontal planar relationship to plants, can we establish a vertical (above-below) relationship? This led me to think ‘what if we have a platform above the vegetation that lets you see through the vegetation underneath?’

Materiality & Design concept refinements

Since juries can only understand the project through what’s on the presentation panels, I paid close attention to the design statement. I rewrote the statement (150 words) four times as I got feedback from colleagues. Conveying a complex concept (or the network of numerous ideas) is not easy, and a lot of time and effort were required to clarify expressions and phrasing of the sentences.

At this stage, the materials and design components are finalised. The design had been simplified to the expanded mesh platform with vegetation underneath, the transparent brick walls, gabion walls and Corten steel profiles with LED lighting. Materials play with the perception and the tactile qualities while the presence of the sculpture (Draped seated woman) is focused.

4. Designing presentation panels

To get the presentation panels done before the submission due, I made a list of drawing types (plans, isometric and perspectives) and what processes are involved (e.g. setting up perspective views, exporting linework to Illustrator, photoshopping, setting up InDesign file, etc.). I wouldn’t be able to complete it without the support of my colleagues.

Of course, I knew the sheer number of applications submitted to the competition, and I’m sure that those that got through to the next stage are amazing. I’ll reflect on this project to do a better job at the next project.


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