Sunday, 20 September 2009

Unit Programme


Image: Dazzle painting plan, Norman Wilkinson, British marine artist & inventor of dazzle.


Camouflage patterns and forms in the animal kingdom are the outcome of both genetics and the physical conditions of their habitat: creatures adapt and mutate to ‘become’ their surroundings. We are interested in this interactive process of becoming that is not uniquely about disguise, but also about changes in our perception. We will study instances of camouflage, both artificial and naturally occurring and investigate their potential relevance and application within architecture.

Disruptive Pattern

Disruptive Pattern Material was first used as battle costume or applied to military vehicles in the battlefield and vessels at sea. Differing forms such as dazzle (borrowed from cubism) didn’t actually conceal one ship’s presence from another but instead distorted their perceived trajectory and proximity.

Buildings are generally inanimate but our inhabitation engages the effects of stillness and motion. The unit will explore disruptive pattern as a device for making and evolving material approaches responsive to movement and light, which can be applied at various scales of operation.

Image: Illustrations from Adaptive Coloration in Animals, Hugh Cott, 1940


Our approach will be both experimental and analytical. Research will oscillate between the fabrication of material constructs and a critical evaluation of iterations and their effects. Specific surfaces, textures and geometries will be created using both digital and analogue fabrication techniques. Repetition will be explored and applied through evolutionary processes such as unfolded nets or woven organisations. The task will be to produce new tectonic patterns with inherent spatial qualities.


Fieldwork will be focussed in Tokyo, Japan, examining the complex pattern of the city and the roles of camouflage at the scale of a building. A unit-wide catalogue of our findings will be published, classifying key principles for future spatial intervention and strategic use at an urban level.


We will use the conflict of different uses and users as a context in which to test building skins, morphologies and organisational approaches. Polarised programmatic types will test effects such as concealment alongside models that highlight awareness. The objective will be to crystallise the sensation and effects of camouflage through the construction of tactile drawings, relief and sectional models and large-scale fabrications.

Unit Schedule- Extended Brief

Term 1- Production of Camouflage Catalogue + Research of Habitat

The development of camouflage pattern-making through 2d drawings and 3d modeling (physical and computer) will be the focus of initial work, through the study of camouflage precedents both natural and artifical. The purpose will be to develop critical attitudes towards effects, spatiality, tectonics, instruments for production and establishing criteria for their assessment.

Other key objectives for the first term will be:

  • Production of Catalogue (individual + group)
  • Understanding of Urban situation
  • Development of building precedent in context of individual research
  • Site research and developments of attitudes towards response/ intervention
  • To build an argument, not a portfolio. The research must advance the project.

Development works and case studies will be carried out in order to understand the context of patterning, origination, application, adaption and response to context

Week 1
• 29/09 Unit presentation
• 30/09 Interviews
• 02/10 First Unit meeting and Introduction to Project 1- Pattern JD/ DB/ FK

Brief 1- Pattern
Pattern studies will be initiated with the development of wallpaper pattern interpreting given image- manipulations through vectorial scaling, geometrical distortions, colorations, combinations and manipulations.

Image: Chance, Order, Change 27 (Green) History Painting- Kenneth Martin

  • Create samples, explorations through colour, tone, line, depth, perception, perspective, hierarchy, background/ foreground.
  • Present context of pattern, effects, research and potential of precedent image- as powerpoint/ group seminar presentation.

Week 2
• 6/10 Tutorials JD/FK
• 09/10 Tutorials JD/DB + seminar camouflage

Week 3
• 13/10 Tutorials JD/ FK
• 16 /10 Pin Up patterns + individual camouflage presentations
Introduction to Project 2- Foil
Rhino tutorials RL
• 17/10 Foil Workshop JD/DB/ RL

Brief 2- Foil
Make patterns into 3d constructions through relief, hierarchy, depth, layers, contours, variegation, perspective. Develop drawing/ wallpaper into handheld 3d constructs- surface becomes space/ enclosure/ envelope. Explore 3d influence of sheet material to create solids and voids. Depths, cavities, repetitions, scaled morphologies, composite materialities, superficialities. 3d envelopes/ surfaces may be conceived through the notion of a net/ cut fabric pattern.

Image: Mikimoto Studies, Toyo Ito

  • What are the causal surfaces/ textures/ angles/ effects?
  • When developing iterations, ask what is redundant or obselete in the model.
  • Develop spatiality, construct, material sensibility, testing and recording of effects-

Week 4
• 20/10 Tutorials JD/ FK+ tech tutorials RL evening
• 23/10 Tutorials JD

Week 5
• 27/10 Tutorials JD
• 30/10 Foil Pin Up + Introduction to Brief 3- Catalogue

Brief 3- Catalogue I

Individual catalogues will question spatial and material approaches alongside the comparison of effects. This will enrich discussion / criteria for techniques and instrumentation of assessment of camouflage techniques. The categorisation will focus upon mimicry, disruption, counter-shading, adaptive and cryptic effects.

Image: Study models, SANAA

Establish clear strategy, programme and ambition for testing camouflage patterns.
Speculative massing, topological surface
Scope/ extent in urban context
Adaptive techniques
Physiology and structure developed

Week 6 (Open Week)
• 03/11 Tutorials JD/FK
• 06/11 Catalogue Pin Up/ Interim Crit JD/ DB + guests

Brief 4- Site Analysis/ Strategies
The site will be located along a highly activated armature between Piccadilly Circus and Soho in Central London- populated with a highly diverse mix of programmes and activities as a catalyst for future intervention. The location is one of the largest open development sites in the locality and has been vacant for over 30 years. Collective site research will focus on physical readings of topography, programme, street scale, temporal activity and other patterns for critical assessment and development of strategies.

Image: Farm Site Plan, Jun Aoki

Research criteria/ Objectives:
  • Context- wider effects/ influence- political, social etc. through inconsistencies of pattern
  • Techniques- mapping refinements relating to Camouflage Effects
  • Strategic precedents- similar developments/ situations
  • Endgame- Synthesis for production/ proposition
  • Collective vs. Individual
  • A4 book publication

Week 7
• 10/11 Tutorials JD/FK
• 13/11 Urban research workshop- Site in London- JD/DB
• 14/11 Urban research workshop- Site in London- JD/DB

Week 8
• 17/11 Tutorials JD/FK
• 20/11 Tutorials JD

Week 9
• 24/11 Tutorials JD
• 27/11 End of Term Jury JD/DB

Week 10
• 01/12 Tokyo prep tutorials JD
• 04/12 Leave for Tokyo

Brief 5- Tokyo Research
In Tokyo research will focus on building/ urban precedents and the changes in perceived effects upon uses and users.

Image: Aerial Photo, Central Tokyo
  • Methodology: Changing patterns of our perception
  • Transparency/ depth/ coloration/ trajectory/ scaling
  • Map effects of things
  • Record causal surfaces- not footprints
  • Visual effects/ relation to street
  • Phenomena of skin/ surface
  • Programme/ differentiation/ organisation
  • Techniques Drawings/ photos merged
  • Visual/ temporal perception
  • Scale/ orientation shift
  • Examples Venturi/ Scott Brown
  • Diller/ Scofidio
  • Objectives Understanding of scale, relation/ adaption to context,
  • Hierarchy, programme, materiality, perception
Building Precedents:
  • Prada- Herzog & De Meuron
  • Dior- Kumiko Inui
  • Dior- Seijima
  • Tods- Toyo Ito
  • Mikimoto- Toyo Ito
Urban Precedents:
  • Department Stores- Seibu, Tokyu, Parco
  • Shibuya Mark City
  • Dogenzaka District
  • Signage- Christmas Street

Friday 04th December
Am: Depart London Heathrow

Saturday 05th December
Am: Arrive Tokyo Narita. Travel to Hotel Fukudaya
Pm: Walkabout in Shibuya/ Omotesanto/ Harajuku/ Nishi Azabu
Unit dinner

Sunday 06th December
Am: Briefing Group Fieldwork I- Pattern 1- Building Precedents
Pm: Group Fieldwork I
Evening visit- Ginza

Monday 07th December
Am: Group Fieldwork I
Pm: Individual Tutorials- Starbucks, Shibuya Scramble

Tuesday 08th December
Am: Group Fieldwork I
Pm: Presentation- Group Fieldwork I

Wednesday 09th December
Am: Architectural Office Visit
Pm: Introduction to Fieldwork II- Urban patterns
Evening visit- Akihabara Electric City

Thursday 10th December
Am: Group Fieldwork II
Pm: Group Fieldwork II

Friday 11th December
Am: Tsukiji Fish Market
Pm: Free Afternoon

Saturday 12th December
Am: Group Fieldwork II
Pm: Tutorials

Sunday 13th December
Am: Fieldwork II
Pm: Fieldwork II Pin up- Tokyo Geidai University

Monday 14th December
Am/Pm: Free Day

Tuesday 15th December
Am: Depart Tokyo Narita
Pm: Arrive London Heathrow

Term 2- Development of scheme

Establish clear strategy, programme and ambition for testing camouflage patterns.
Speculative massing, topological surface
Scope/ extent in urban context
Adaptive techniques
Physiology and structure developed

Week 0 Tokyo wrap up
• 05/01 Tutorials JD/FK
• 08/11 Pin Up Tokyo work JD/DB

Work to include:
  • Coded scale model of building precedent
  • Associated diagrams and spatial analogies highlighting connections/ programme/ temporal/ organisational properties
  • Camouflage- interpretation of patterning
  • Drawings examining context of effects
Camouflage Exhibition Jan/Feb 2010

Prepare Unit Exhibition to include:
  • Catalogue of models
  • Accompanying exhibition catalogue as bound booklet
  • Larger scale Fragments (joint)
  • Wallpaper (patterns)
  • Case studies Tokyo (coded models)
Proposed Camouflage event including guest speakers to occur simultaneously.

Week 1
• 12/01 Introduce Brief 5- Catalogue + Progress Reviews
• 15/01 Group Tutorials JD

Week 2
• 19/01 Tutorials JD/FK
• 22/01 Exhibition Construction Unit + JD/DB

Brief 6- Final Proposal

Image: Trutec Façade, Seoul- Barkow Leibinger

Establish overall anatomy / programme/ strategy/ intent of project
• 26/01 Tutorials JD/FK
• 29/01 Tutorials JD/DB

Week 4
Pick area of focus, material interest and develop fragment within single area focussing on skin, wall, floor.
Important to establish what task the element performs and its relationship to the potential larger project- also questioning scale and interpretation of larger scale moves. Workshop to synthesise to larger moves.
• 02/02 Tutorials JD/FK + Workshop RL
• 05/02 Tutorials JD

Week 5
Develop fragment through diagrams, models, sketch studies, tests (effects). Record effects through photos- group session.
• 09/02 Seminar JD/FK+ Workshop RL
• 11/02 Technical tutorials DB
• 12/02 Tutorials JD/DB

Week 6
Present clear strategic models (coded) plus fragments of spatial collisions/ conflicts and programmatics/ diagrams of situation becoming- refer to precedent scales.
• 16/02 Tutorials JD
• 19/02 Pin Up JD/FK

Week 7
• 23/02 Tutorials JD/FK
• 25/02 TS3 Interim Jury DB
• 26/02 Tutorials JD/DB

Week 8
Develop sectional drifts of schemes in relation to context/ programme
• 02/03 Tutorials JD/FK
• 05/03 Tutorials JD

Week 9
• 09/03 Tutorials JD
• 11/03 TS3 Final Jury DB
• 12/03 Pin Up JD/DB

Week 10
Wrap up tutorials
• 16/03 Tutorials JD
• 19/03 Tutorials JD

Term 3

The third term will provide an opportunity to crystallise materials and effects in detailed models and images/ drawings of inhabitation and spatial effects of becoming. Drawings should explore how camouflage pattern mediates condition of shifting use, conflict of programme.

Image: Mark Smith (student 2006), commendation, Bronze Medal, RIBA President’s Medals

Week 1
• 20/04 Tutorials JD/FK
• 23/04 Tutorials JD

Week 2
Establish agenda for completion of project
• 27/ 04 Inter3 Previews JD/DB
• 28/ 04 Inter3 Previews JD/DB

Week 3
Develop views, qualities and characteristics of whole scheme and establish areas of focus for presentation
• 04/05 Tutorials JD/FK
• 07/04 Tutorials JD/DB

Week 4
• 11/05 Tutorials JD/FK
• 12/04 Tutorials JD/DB

Week 5
Final Jury
• 18/05 Tutorials JD/FK
• 21/04 Final Jury JD/DB
Week 6
• 25/05 Tutorials JD/FK
• 28/04 Tutorials JD/DB

Week 7
• 01/06 Tutorials JD/FK
• 04/06 Tutorials JD/DB

Week 8
2nd Year reviews
• 07/06 2nd year Reviews JD/DB
• 08/06 3rd year tutorials DB/FK
• 11/06 3rd year tutorials JD

Week 9
3rd Year reviews
• 14/06 3rd year Reviews JD/DB
• 15/06 3rd year Reviews JD/DB

Week 10
3rd year externals/ exhibition

Unit Structure/ Support:

Jonathan Dawes- Unit Master

Jonathan graduated from the AA Diploma School and the University of East London (where he taught from 2002-2006 as Degree & Diploma Unit Master). Founder of Flowspace Architecture, he is currently Project Architect for Brentwood Sixth Form Centre at Cottrell & Vermeulen Architecture. AA Unit Master since 2007.

Dagobert Bergmans- Unit Master

Dagobert studied at Technical University Eindhoven and at the AA with Pascal Schöning and Raoul Bunschoten. He has worked for S333 Architecture & Urbanism and founded Pool Ruimte voor Architectuur en Stedebouw. Won Europan 8 in Erfurt, Germany, 2006. He was Architecture Design Tutor, TUE, Eindhoven 2003-2005 and is now working for Dana Ponec Architects in Amsterdam.

Fumiko Kato- Unit Tutor

Fumiko studied at Osaka Institute of Technology in Japan and the University of East London. She is currently a director of Flowspace Architecture, with ongoing projects both in the UK and Japan.

Rui Li -Software Workshops
Suyeon Song- Software Workshops

Technical Consultant:
Scobie Alvis, Technical Director, Structures, Hyder Consulting

Proposed Guests:

Hardy Blechman- London lecture/ seminar
Roy Behrens- USA lecture/ seminar
Kumiko Inui- Tokyo office visit/ lecture
Neil Leach- London lecture/ seminar
Yuji Fukui- Tokyo host
Tom Heneghan- Tokyo critic

real time tracker
Dollar Car Rental Coupons