STUDIO

Forbes and Market

Street sign at Forbes Ave. and Market St. intersection.
Market Square; no sidewalks, open space.

Did you know Liam and Chris Hemsworth have an older, less-famous brother? No one knows who Luke Hemsworth is because his C-list celebrity status is overshadowed by his A-list brethren. If streets were people, Market St. would be Luke, and Market Sq. would be a powerful combination of Liam and Chris.

If you search Forbes Ave. and Market St. on Google Maps, it will route a path to Market Sq. My initial annoyance included a few choice words for Google Maps, but upon finally finding the actual intersection, I realized I’d be a hypocrite.

As I stood under the Forbes and Market street signs with my heavy camera and Chipotle-filled satchel, I had almost forgotten my assignment to analyze the actual streets of Forbes and Market (Luke). My attention was completely stolen by Market Square (Liam and Chris), across the cobble street that traced the perimeter of the hub. Loud music, a huge set of Connect 5, takeout-littered lunch tables and head-bobbing smokers decorated the public space.

One of the first things to note is the lack of a sidewalk. Sidewalks primarily serve as convenient barriers that separate pedestrians from oncoming traffic. The lack of such a barrier creates an accessible, open space that marries pedestrians with infrastructure instead of segregating them.

One-lane cobble streets, high pedestrian traffic, wide sidewalks.

Additionally, the cobble street is purposely one lane wide. Urban planners employ this planning tactic (decreased width of streets) to increase pedestrian traffic. It has been shown in many downtown areas that pedestrians are more likely to occupy streets with a less overwhelming sense of cars and traffic. This is a factor of Market Square’s occupancy success.

Note: The only consistent presence of cars is regulated parking along storefronts.

The leafy trees provide shade in areas specifically designed for rest (tables and seats provided). This encourages pedestrians to utilize the resting spaces throughout summery weather. The greenery and resting spaces are well-designed and serve their purposes.

Monrovia Library Park

Side note: A poor and contrasting example is Monrovia Library Park in Los Angeles, California. There are benches along an un-shaded walkway. Mentioned benches are mostly unoccupied, given the year-round summery weather in Southern California. The park’s existing large trees are randomly placed elsewhere in the park. This is an example of poor planning and misuse of shade and outdoor resting space.

No sidewalk variance.

Another design tactic that urban planners use is sidewalk variance. By varying the sidewalk design (i.e. cement to tile), planners create a visual separation that draws pedestrians’ eyes to business entrances. This serves as a visual reminder of the existing storefronts. Imagine: walking down a long, gray and unvaried sidewalk in comparison to a sidewalk with differently materialized entrances to each store. Which would draw your eyes and attention to individual stores, and which would cause you to focus on the long, never-ending sidewalk?

Note: The only visible variance is the change in buildings.

Regardless of the “No Smoking” signs, the first thing you notice upon entering Market Square is the abundance of smoke in the air. This creates a sense of uncleanliness and lack of concern for civic upkeep. There were large groups of smokers and drunks occupying Market Square, creating a feeling of unsafeness.

On the contrary, the space was nicely kept. According to Project for Public Spaces, cleanliness is key to a successful public space. It makes occupiers comfortable and more inclined to spend time in the given space. Trash on the floor was rare, trash cans had been properly sanitized and emptied, sidewalks and streets were swept and had minimal stains.

Another noticeable contrast was between the modern, corporate parking structures and the small-business, family-run restaurants. This seems to draw a parallel with the clean space and unconcerned occupants. This displays a local government that wants to progress into a space for high-income occupants regardless of its residential, long-time occupants. Infrastructure can only progress properly if its residential culture progresses with it. The residents of the city are not at the same income level as the incoming businesses. This creates a split between the people and the new buildings, as visually displayed in the above photo. Forcing unprecedented corporate companies in the middle of spaces that are still moving through small-town, locally operated phases does not speed up the pace of progression in the local culture. It does the opposite.

Reference: China’s Ghost Cities (http://www.wired.com/2016/02/kai-caemmerer-unborn-cities/)

PROJECT PROCESS

1st try (white):

Temple’s commentary: “It’s almost like you’re representing the street for what it should be instead of what it is” in regards to the road block I purposely left out.

Self note: use bone folder to press pieces flat and avoid “glue boogers”

2nd try (white):

In my attempt to simplify the street and represent its basic infrastructure instead of its details, I think I oversimplified and ended up with a dimension-less piece. However, I have made noticeable progress in terms of craftsmanship. My cuts are faster and my paper is cleaner.

In my next attempt, I will stick with the idea of representing the street’s infrastructure and not details, but not sans out details completely.

3rd try (grayscale):

I dissected the photo on Photoshop and created a layer for each piece. This made it easier to test what grayscale color to use for each piece without actually cutting into the limited paper. This did not save time (it actually made the progress longer), but it was necessary.

Steve/Stacie critique: cannot utilize pure white — only the four given colors.

Self critique:

  • too plain
  • car looks out of place
  • try not to match grayscale colors to imitate exact photo — doesn’t translate well
  • try gradient look on next grayscale try

4th try (grayscale with one color):

I decided to zoom out and include more of the street. By doing this, it will not look oversimplified, but is simple enough to show an honest version of the street. Temple had said to me earlier that it is not the random people or things on the sidewalk/street that matter — I had to decide what was essential to representing the street. I chose orange as my color and added a background of clouds to incorporate it. I also changed a few cutout details to include certain windows and shadows I had not shown in earlier drafts. Such details create a more realistic look without being over-detailed in an unnecessary way.

Critique: orange sky makes it represent a specific time of day and creates a mood

Self note: I like the new crop.

9/26 NEW PROJECT: CARDBOARD MACHINES

Assignment: Create a cardboard machine that makes a mark.

Beginning idea: Drawing with sand. A machine that dispenses sand in a specific shape/pattern.

Inspiration

LEFT PAGE, TOP LEFT: Possible base, will create patterns for sand to fall/run on. Creates movement once sand hits base instead of standstill result. LEFT PAGE, BOTTOM LEFT: A specific shape for a base so that the result creates a drawing with the sand and base working together. RIGHT PAGE, TOP LEFT: Possible dispenser shapes. BOTTOM LEFT: Tube dispensers.

Initial drawings/ideas

TOP LEFT: Cubes that get gradually smaller, like a funnel. TOP RIGHT: Revised idea — stacked cubes would catch sand instead of letting it flow out smoothly. A straight triangular slope would make more sense with the flow of sand (gravity). BOTTOM LEFT: Possible fanned out dispenser.

First try

A series of 5 rectangular columns, bound with hot glue, release sand in circular shapes when spun. The columns are held up with a simple bar structure. The sand is released into a square tray.

How it works: There are four strands of string that combine at the bar. When the string is wound, it creates a tight coil. When the user pulls the string apart, the coil is gradually undone, and causes the column contraption to spin faster and faster. The speed helps the sand fall out of the hole at the bottom of each column.

MODEL 1: (with white sugar; colored sand to come later):

Results: Because I only had white sugar, it was hard to see exactly which circles were being drawn by each column. The white circles of sugar in the tray were almost indistinguishable from each other. Some sugar spilled out of tray — might try bigger, circular tray to match the pattern of sand. Additionally, after the sugar was loaded, it was hard to keep all of it inside the column until it was spun. I will try making a stopper for the columns.

Kaitlins’ commentary: Consider making a crank to wind the string, instead of winding it manually each time. Consider a compartment in the bar that can drop the sand into the columns, instead of having to pour the sand per round.

MODEL 2:

Modifications: Instead of releasing sand, there is a pendulum that draws in the sand. The pendulum is made of 4 different “claws,” each made of 4 stacked triangular shapes. It is weighted with 5 pennies in the middle. The pendulum must be wound (like model 1) and when released, digs circles into the sugar.

The bottom angles are taped to reduce traction. Without tape, the sand gets into the corrugation and slows the spin.

The pendulum is held by a simple arm. The string can be pre-coiled and held in its coiled form with the small hook attached to the arm.

The whole machine is simplified, but still creates circles with sand.

Test 2:

Result: Pendulum stops two rounds after it hits the sand. Pendulum is not aero-dynamic (sand-dynamic?) enough. Should be sharper — thick triangles are unnecessary. String should be longer. Coil-holding hook works well. Pennies provide sufficient weight.

Experimented with bionic arm at this point (all tries thus far have been listed in chronological order). Please see pictures and description further below.

Going back to sand drawing machines:

Temporary test with chopstick: When inserted the right depth into the sand, the chopstick, suspended with tape, is able to drop multiple rounds of oval shapes. It is thin enough not to be slowed down too much by the sand. My revised pendulum will need to be as aerodynamic. Things to consider: girth, weight, length.

New prototype, altering the base/crane forms: I wanted to change the base from a square to a circle, as a circle better first the way the pendulum swings/the marks it makes. A square makes no sense. Same goes for the crane — the rigid 90 degree bars don’t make sense, so I want to test a more slanted arm that mimics the shape of spider legs.

Post-test: Assessing spider legs — slanted leg makes more sense for circular pendulum motions, but lacks ability to be flexible because angles must be rigid in order to create the slant.

Sand marks: Not permanent, not prominent. Is that good or bad? Returning to this question: good I think — allows user to re-use and make decisions with mark made.

Consider light source? Is that too distracting? Maybe not distracting, but perhaps not enough time to pursue.

What adhesive should I use for the base? Tape: acts as an adhesive for the cardboard panels and keeps sand from flowing out

Random mech I experimented with. Left: “Fingerprint” mark maker for bionic arm. Acted as a stamp at the tip of each finger. Middle: possible pedal that pulls string when tapped. Right: Base of first pendulum.
New base: First base was a square shape — made no sense considering rotational pattern of pendulum. This base better represents the way the pendulum swings. It is sealed with hot glue so sand does not escape.
Bionic arm experimentation: Temporarily abandoned pendulum trials to test bionic arms. Inspired by actual bionic arms that move with signals from existing nerves/muscles. I made the one pictured above to study the form of a hand. My intentions were to make a second prototype (after studying the form with the first one) where the fingers could move individually. They would have each been connected to strings that the user could pull and move each limb with. However, after consultation with instructors and TA’s, I decided it was too literal of a “drawing machine.” I did not pursue it further. The bottom middle and right pictures are of the platform that the hand was attached to. The wrist and lower arm were attached to sliders that allowed the hand to move in a curved motion.
Returning to pendulum testing: sticking with sand. Unable to steal sand form kiddie playground. Texture is sticky but is can be displaced well when not clumped.
Third (and final) base: I wanted to be able to make the base out of one piece of cardboard. The last base (circle) did not feel like a “happy” use of cardboard. It was hard to curve the edge to the bottom circular piece and did not make for a seamless look. My new base is an octagon with small triangles cut into the outer layer to create flaps that flip up and form the edge. I am still able to create a circular base that mimics the motion of the pendulum swing, but in a much more sensical shape that accommodates the cardboard. The cardboard seems much happier.
Two octagonal bases. The one on the left has a tracing paper base that holds the sand. The tracing paper is so the sand can be lit from the bottom. I decided to pursue a lighting aspect because I felt like it was hard to see where the sugar was being displaced since it was so white. The octagon on the right fits beneath and holds the lights. It has four tabs that can each hold one phone. Phone flashlights are accessible and removable. Much more efficient than installing other lighting fixtures I thought about (such as: simple light bulb screwed in to a hole cutout).
Final pendulum: weighted with pennies. Aerodynamic because all the long triangles converge at the tip and create a strong mark making point. The triangles are all one piece of cardboard. It is held by the string with a small upside-down T-shape. Simply attaching the string to the triangles created a choppy pendulum swing because the shape is so irregular and the string cannot be perfectly attached.
Final crane: includes three horizontal chopsticks, held together by the two layers of cardboard. The pendulum’s string rests on the three horizontal chopsticks and falls right in the center of the base. There are two chopsticks on the lower part of the crane where the user can adjust and tighten the pendulum string. This is important because sugar particles are a natural object that act on their own and cannot be exactly/perfectly placed in the same way each time. Therefore, instead of trying to adjust the sugar, a natural object, the user can just adjust the man-made machine (pendulum) to hit the existing sugar correctly. The crane also has an “X” shape at the very bottom. This allows the user to attach the crane to the octagonal base either bending towards or away from the center. The direction of the crane completely affects the pendulum’s movement. Cardboard was cut against the corrugation to parallel the chopsticks.
A closer look at an edge of the octagon.
A closer look at the light (phone) holders. I used tape because when the phone sits on and leans against it, the tape pulls itself and creates a taught holder.
A closer look at sand base (top layer). Far right: Small tab that kept the top octagon aligned with the bottom octagon.
Phone lights in use.
Un-displaced sand with lighting.
A closer look at the alignment tab in action.
A closer look at how the crane is attached to the base.
A closer look at how the pendulum string can be wound around the bottom chopsticks to adjust the pendulum’s height.
Pendulum in motion.
The best mark results.

Link to video of mechanism in motion: https://vimeo.com/187766524

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