March 28, 2009

3d tessellation

Greetings All,

Today we were hard at work in the studio. Thank you to all those who dropped in to see us!
(BTW Katie, you left some mail on our worktable in case you are looking for it)

As you are all developing your projects, Blaine and I are working on advancing the design of the Bushwaffle. In addition to helping y'all work on you're sites and ideas, we hope to have something to show and contribute to our group exhibition Friday.

Part of what we are exploring are alternate potential geometries for the Bwaffle. We started with the 5 pointed star shape, which works reasonably well (as you all experienced on our tour) and now we are looking into shapes that might work better in terms of folding and connecting to create larger and more interesting structures.

What we're interested in is 3d tessellation. We're hoping to get the Bushwaffle to function more like this:

In doing some research on the topic I've bumped into the practice of modular orgami, which seems to have some promise in terms of what we are after.

a stellated icosahedron

and thats leading me into research into molecular geometry. I'm posting this to see if anyone has any contacts on campus for people who are exploring this kind of stuff whom we could talk to.

Is this the next generation Bushwaffle?

Surplus store

Katie, Mike, Charul, JB, and Blaine went to the surplus depot. Here are the photos of what we found there that might be useful.

We will coordinate a return trip to the depot on Monday. Reply to this thread if you see something you need and what your schedule is like Monday...

March 27, 2009

Rebargroup: Mike Droske


Ok, well it looks like this idea isn't that original:
But maybe we can put a spin on it by making it BIGGER!
Yeah, tetris pieces that are more 3-D, more modular, and that you can sit on/lounge on /sleep on/survey the realm from...

I'm talking big tetris.

If we're going to do this in Diversity Plaza, it's gotta be big. Foam would be so perfect for this. Cardboard might work, too. Are there some cheap/readily available sources of foam anywhere?

Rebargroup: Katie Smither


We went to the surplus The pictures will be up soon, maybe via a link, but I have another thought on a potential project we talked about using mobile chairs. Simply, we found these old chairs with wheels attached to the base and there was talk about giving them to the public for their interpretation and use. Perhaps with some sort of guideline of where the chairs belong....a place designated as their home. See JB and Blaine for the scoop.

Quick idea.....rather than saying "Please Sit" on each painted chair.....perhaps each chair has one letter of the phrase "PLEASE SIT" painted on it. That way you are able to initially instruct the public, but eventually the use of the chairs are completely up to the players. The users can direct others from there if they choose, with the individual pieces or letters. All the parts allow a different interpretation of the whole depending on who's playing. Maybe this idea is not realized best as letters on separate chairs....that might be a little bit too obvious....but perhaps this is another way to think about the chair project. I think it's interesting that each piece would contribute something unique, while still being integral to the whole project. What are ya'lls ideas? Alright, done and done, see ya'll soon.

Katie Smither

Rebar: Blaine Merker

Blaine Merker directs Rebar with Matt Passmore and John Bela. His background and training are in landscape architecture (MLA Berkeley, 2005), history (BA Reed College, 1998), construction, activism and theater. Originally from Oregon but raised partly in Amersterdam and Zurich. Currently based in San Francisco he works during the week at Royston Hanamoto Alley and Abey, a landscape architecture and urban design firm. Interests: the intersection of theory and practice, quietly bringing radical ideas into prosaic realms of everyday life; deconstructing the beliefs underlying spatial habits; how modes of transportation affect world view; crafting objects and situations that provide joy, relief and puzzlement; exploring wild nature in its urban and non-urban forms. Special powers include messaging vague notions into academic sounding prose, listening to all sides of a story, and including eggs in almost any dish.

March 25, 2009

Charul Mehta: Potential sites(under the bridge)

potential site:
-area under the bridge that connects the architecture A building with architecture B and C buildings.
-area under the bridge next to the C building step down entrance could be considered - maybe over the grill or the platform whichever suits the design
-the area under the bridge is a high traffic area as a majority of the students, faculty and staff use it as an entrance/exit and during the day. Also students form other departments use it as a cross over area at times.

potential site:
these alcoves along the facade of the architecture A building.
- another site which will be visible and accessible to all the students, faculty and staff at the college of architecture + high traffic area
- around 7 to 8 alcoves which could be used for different designs/installations
- both the sites in the same department where our class is held.

Profile: Charul Mehta

Grad- M.Arch .
undergrad - B.Arch(Mumbai,India.)

anything to do with design and construction in any way
music.. (mostly oldies)
playing around with photoshop

talents-- basic architecture and graphic design softwares
-worked in an architecture firm for 2 years in Mumbai.

March 24, 2009

Rebar is coming!

Hello All,

Thank you for posting images and thoughts on potential intervention sites as well as your bio's. What a fantastic group! We are very excited to be working with you.

At this point you should begin to assemble yourselves into groups of 3-5 people, ideally interdisciplinary teams. Carol, perhaps you can assist with this process if this does not come easily. Next the team should identify a preferred site or two for intervention, and a back up site.

Once you have identified a site, the team should produce a rough site analysis diagram. This diagram should summarize the site's opportunities and constraints: people traffic patterns, weather patterns (simple sun-shade analysis, wind direction), observed behaviors, unmet needs and opportunities for intervention.

Using these site analysis diagrams the team should come up with some goals and objectives for your intervention. What is the broad purpose and intent of your project? These should be listed as bullet points on a design concept sheet.

The next step is to begin to source materials for your intervention. Anything is up for grabs. Blaine and I are bringing some materials to experiment with inflatables but you could choose any material that you wish. Ideally we can pull something out of the waste stream, re purpose it, and then compost or recycle it when we are done. Scrap wood, cardboard, newspaper, sheet metal, found objects, etc. But don't be constrained by this goal. If your intervention is best realized using plastic, ballons, car tires, circuit boards, etc. that is OK too. You also may approach the intervention as a social sculpture and execute an event that uses no other materials than your own bodies, minds, and voices.

If team members want to propose individual interventions, or a come up with a proposal for a permanent intervention that is great. You may work on a physical or digital model. Just be prepared to assist the team with a physical intervention for our final class period on April 3rd.

The way we see the week unfolding is as follows (rough description, subject to modification):

March 27: First Class Meeting. Blaine and I will be ready with inflated Bushwaffle. We would like you to lead us out to your proposed intervention sites. At these sites we will explore the spacemaking potential of bushwaffe. We will describe some of our groundrules for working in public space - namely that we are out to create an atmosphere of playful inclusiveness, if we create a siutation that includes accidental participants and they walk away smiling we've done a good job;-)

March 28 - April 2: Blaine and I will be working in the studio testing inflatables and trying to evolve the design of Bushwaffle. At anytime during this week you are free to drop in on us, pitch an idea, ask questions, or ask for help with your intervention concept or fabrication.

During this week you should choose an intervention site, finalize your concept, and complete fabrication.

By wednesday evening teams should send us their intervention location. We will map out a route to follow for Fridays class and post to the blog Thursday evening.

Friday,April 3 - Intervention Day!: As a class we will proceed to each team's intervention site and witness, explore, experience the intervention. We will have 30- 40 minutes at each site. At the last site we will have a closing discussion.

Following the last class we would like each team to post documentation of their working process:models, thoughts, experiments, successes, failures, and the documentation of the final intervention. This may be with photos, drawings, videos. etc.

Rebar will review and comment on the class experience and create a webpage of the class projects on and

And here is my bio:

John Bela directs Rebar with Matthew Passmore and Blaine Merker. As an artist, designer, and activist, John devises and executes tactical urban interventions intended to remix the way we occupy and inhabit urban space. Trained in art, science, and environmental design, John works with CMG Landscape Architecture and SF Victory Gardens designing and building public landscapes and urban gardens in San Francisco. John is described as an ideas volcano that has an unnatural ability to tap into concepts with broad cultural currency. A passionate urbanist, he simultaneously sees the way things could be and the humor and absurdity of what is.

John has taught Capoeria to villagers on the Osa Penisula of Costa Rica, drank magic potion and built medicinal plant gardens with Shamans in the Ecuadorian Amazon, and solo climbed granite spires in the Sierra Nevada. John travels and lectures internationally, most recently in Venice, Italy and Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

JB on tee vee: Watch Blair Randal, John Bela, Alice Waters, and Gavin Newsom interviewed by Jamie Durie of The Victory Garden—television's longest running gardening show—on PBS.

Recent Lectures
Featured Speaker. Sustainable Systems: 3 Local Solutions. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco. 8/27/08
Featured Speaker. Design Strategies and Conflict Resolution. The Design and Technology Department, San Francisco Art Institute. 11/19/08
Featured Presenter. Urban Farms Now. The Seed Fund in collaboration with SFMOMA A + D Forum 11/11/08

See you soon!

Rebargroup: More on inflatables

Ant Farm published this great inflatable how-to manual back in the 70s. Much of it's still relevant....except maybe the advice to burn polyethylene after using (they had yet to worry about carbon emissions).

Rebargroup: Kristina Waller

Similar Sites...Sunnier Day

A Slide Show I made of places around campus on a slightly sunnier day than some of the other pictures.


Link to a Texas A&M University Vitual Campus Tour

March 23, 2009

Information: Kristina

I saw this and thought I would share it. Julian Lwin, a designer from Brooklyn, has been making biodegradable furniture. Below are several images of his "Biodegradable Biotube Bench."


Rebargroup: Briana Morrison

An idea for a social intervention on campus:

1. The Scenario: It's campaign time, so people in matching t-shirts are everywhere, holding painted sheets and handing out fliers. Some people have gotten quite good at throwing fliers at me while I'm riding my bike, which I thought was near impossible. Clearly, there's no escaping this.

2. The Problem: In an effort to avoid being berated with fliers, cheesy slogans, and irrelevant campaign platform speeches, people plug into iPods, cell phones, feign craziness, or avoid campus plaza spaces all together. Social interaction in plaza spaces is averted, because anyone could be a campaigner.

3. The Solution: An anti-campaign campaign. A nothing campaign. I'm imagining a group of people in blank white shirts, holding up a blank white sheet, maybe even handing out blank pieces of paper. Perhaps people would be so confused, they'd snap out of their zombie-esque state and pay attention to their surroundings. Maybe they'd talk to someone who was stopped next to them, or even talk to the anti-campaigner.

When I was in Germany, I noticed some chalk writing around the city. The translation is "This is an ad-free space." Instead of white signs, they could say "campaign free space" or something.


Of course, this doesn't involve street furniture really. So, taking the idea of creating a "safe place" for people...maybe new plazas could be created. For instance, offer picnic blankets to people by a field. They borrow a blanket, go out and create their own plaza, then return the blanket when done. This could happen at the Simpson Drill Field or the plaza outside Langford.

Just ideas!

Rebargroup: Kristina Waller

Profile: Kristina Waller
Field of study:
Curriculum & Instruction BFA from VCU in Crafts 1998 BFA from VCU in Art Education 2005 I have also studied at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn; The Studio at The Corning Museum of Glass; Scuola Lorenzo de Medici in Florence, Italy; and most recently with David Darts of NYU.
Special interests: Politics, technology, my former students, hacking, open source software, watching C-Span while I’m asleep…this is also a talent.
Talents & Powers: cat handling; working with cold, warm, and hot glass; removing glass splinters from hands; making flying paper mache animals; as well as, paper mache animal repair; impersonating a green dragon flawlessly; stacking up clutter to optically minimize the overall amount; driving from Virginia to Texas with a cat, a dog, and a shortage of sedatives - resting only at rest stops; and finding things on the internet. I think most problems can be solved with either a little innovation, duct tape, zip ties, whiskey and whatever is in my purse. (The whiskey is not usually in my purse.) I also have a special talent for doing my work early and turning it in late.

March 22, 2009

R&Sie(n) House - Francois Roche

Last summer, I visited the house of R&Sie(n) in Paris. They had just finished the exterior hydroponic system. Attached, are some images for your interest. The glass vessels were hand blown into chicken wire. Each form is slightly varied from the next. Here, Roche returns to topics related to making and craft to create non-standard parts.