Well, I’ve been severely lacking in initiative for this blog, due to a few different factors, including being sick with mono for a little over two weeks. But now that I’m full recovered, I’ve decided to jump head first into a few projects / learning endeavors.
First, I’m taking or signed up for a few massively open online courses (MOOCs) through websites like Coursera and edX. These basically let you audit actual courses at universities around the world (including Harvard, MIT, and Yale) using streaming lectures. Currently, I’m taking ‘Introduction to Computation Arts: Processing’ through Stony Brook University. I’ll post some of my “sketches” on here as the class goes on.
A fancy way of drawing 4 lines
In a few weeks, I’ll also be starting “Introduction to Computational Thinking and Data Science” through MIT and “Discrete Optimization” through The University of Melbourne. These both might be way out of my league, but that’s the benefit of MOOCs, little to no risk. Plus, anything to boost my computational thinking chops will be helpful.
On the fabrication side of things, I’m joining a local “makerspace” here in Ann Arbor called MakerWorks. They have a 14,000 square-foot warehouse that has a Wood, Metal, Craft, and Circuits section. In terms of equipment, they have your basic wood shop power tools (bandsaw, chop saw, table saw, planers, sanders, etc), 6-axis CNC mill for wood, 3D printer, laser cutter, MIG and TIG welding, CNC plasma cutter, CNC mill for metal, and even a CNC embroidery machine! Basically, I’ll be a kid in a candy store.
This baby can cut through 1/2” steel plates (cue Tim Allen grunt)
Project-wise, I’m looking to create a lamp/light bar with an integrated Raspberry Pi that will respond to a variety of inputs (be it music, network activity, or user-defined alarms). I also owe my dad a piece of personally made furniture or art, and now that I have a whole slew of hand and digital tools at my disposal, I feel like anything is possible.
Finally, I’ll be able to Achim Menges serving a guest reviewer for MArch, MSArch, and PhD student at the University of Michigan’s Taubman School of Art + Architecture. He is the director of the Institute for Computation Design in Stuttgart and many of his projects served as inspiration for our Independent Studio last year at Iowa State. Not only will I be able to get a glimpse of what UMich’s graduate programs are producing, but I’ll also get to hear insights from someone who is pushing the limit of what is possible for architecture and design.
by Achim Menges, ICD Stuttgart