architecture school + eric.

current/past work of eric lawler. i'm a third year architecture student at ball state. this blog will encompass my entire undergraduate and graduate experience in architecture school.

some recent work of mine. working on practicing my grasshopper and illustrator skills. these are all renderings from rhino + vray. 

"why not?"

The best question I can ask myself when thinking about a project. A skyscraper of skyscrapers, why not? A house made from plastic bags, why not? Robotic-everything, why not? Evolving architecture, why not? 

I made this series of graphics while reflecting on the direction I should be taking this project. I don’t think I’d be pleased with a simple project in the normal sense of that word. I want to be able to say something with it, ask questions, create conversations. That’s the focus I’m trying to have. I’m reading a book by Rem Koolhaas  called Delirious New York and he talks about NYC in a way that really inspires me. It’s definitely an influence on me right now.

a try at metaballs.

100% Recyclable & Reusable Plastic Bag Emergency Shelter

I’m working on an emergency shelter made all from plastic bags to hold 1 or 2 people during times of disaster or perhaps even given to those without homes. 4 typologies were used to make up the whole: plastic bag tubes, plastic bag fabric, plastic bag bricks, and plastic bag ties.

The tubes form the structure held together by ties. The fabric forms the weather-proof tarp, rooted to the earth by bricks, holding the tubular structure down with it. 

The design of the presentation boards come from the desire to communicate simply. IKEA and LEGO instructions provide the necessary information for anyone to build their designs. Language, customs, or other cultural boundaries are avoided when universally understood signage is used. Some English does appear, but they are only supplemental. The instructions don’t rely heavily on the text. This idea is definitely something I’d like to research further to the point of as little text as possible on a presentation board, with its content being understood fully even with complex information. 

Here’s a quick look as I’m working on boards for my 100% Recyclable & Reusable Plastic Bag Emergency Shelter project. This is a draft of the second of six boards I’ll have. At the moment, the boards go as follows: PLASTIC BAG TUBE, PLASTIC BAG FABRIC, PLASTIC BAG BRICK, PLASTIC BAG TENT, PLASTIC BAG TARP, 100% RECYCLABLE & REUSABLE PLASTIC BAG EMERGENCY SHELTER. The interrogations I did with plastic bags will culminate in a final project using all three. A tubular structure tied together with ties, protected with a tarp, and held to the earth with bricks. More to follow.

Here’s a quick look as I’m working on boards for my 100% Recyclable & Reusable Plastic Bag Emergency Shelter project. This is a draft of the second of six boards I’ll have. At the moment, the boards go as follows: PLASTIC BAG TUBE, PLASTIC BAG FABRIC, PLASTIC BAG BRICK, PLASTIC BAG TENT, PLASTIC BAG TARP, 100% RECYCLABLE & REUSABLE PLASTIC BAG EMERGENCY SHELTER. The interrogations I did with plastic bags will culminate in a final project using all three. A tubular structure tied together with ties, protected with a tarp, and held to the earth with bricks. More to follow.

This fourth interrogation involves a method of fusing plastic bags with the heat of an iron. The fused plastic bags create a tough, flexible fabric-like material that can be used to keep out the elements, insulation, or maybe even fashion. But for my project I intend to use it for two things.

The first use will take advantage of its airtightness. I plan to create triangular tube sections that inflate into a structural system capable, when bound together into a triangular prism, of holding people as they lie down. 

The second use is as a weather fly to lie on top and prevent wind and water from entering the prism. 

It’ll be recyclable shelter, 100% plastic bags. Held down to the earth by plastic bag bricks or plastic bag stakes. When it’s no longer needed, it can be recycled or reused. Essentially all of it can be reused again. Holes in the fabric can be mended by merely fusing more bags onto areas of weakness or rupture.

As for next Monday, I won’t be making a full prototype. However, I’m focusing on a set of drawings that are essentially easy to follow instructions for grassroots groups to construct these shelters themselves. All they need are lots of bags and a few other tools. LEGO instructions for humanity!

In the third interrogation I’ve been testing plastic bags for their strength at both retaining air and not popping. It’s been interesting trying to use only plastic parts, the ties keeping them air-tight and linking them together are simply ripped plastic bags. 

I plan to next iron plastic bags together to create a tough, flexible, fabric-like material so that I can explore its strength and practical uses. I want to unite all my interrogations into a single comprehensive study by the presentation time. 

Each interrogation I do opens up new possibilities for the use of plastic bags as a material of design. Who knows, maybe I’ll become the plastic bag Shigeru Ban?

The second interrogation I give plastic bags includes a second pot to be placed inside the first to avoid any contact between plastic and oil. This results in a product that isn’t oily which gives me the 100% plastic bag result I was looking for. I wasn’t pleased with the oil in the past interrogation; it gave me a creation that wasn’t pure. 

However, I forgot to get a nonstick pot and the plastic got stuck to the sides of the steel one and wouldn’t separate. I was intending for the plastic to bunch up into a ball an basically resemble the same “loaf” as the last study I had but without the result of oilyness. My next plan is to unite these past two studies with a new one: inflated bags. With the addition of the element of air, I can create a material that’s not hard and heavy. I hope it can hold human weight and serve as a seating material.

New project! Much different from the others I’ve posted on this site. I’m looking into how to mold plastic bags into shapes. Maybe as bricks or large blocks. This first step is stirring cut up bags in a large bowl of oil until they turn gum-like. It’s taken a ton of bags. I really should have been counting but I’d estimate between 15-20 bags.

No fumes, no smells, it’s a pretty convenient process. Except getting boiling oil on your skin, that’s not convenient…

Update: I’ve used at least 30 bags at this point, still probably only equals a few cups of plastic bag goop… It’s a pretty efficient means of recycling if so many bags can occupy such a small amount of space.

Final Update: Just about the size of a loaf of banana bread. It’s really slimey from the oil. Next time around I’m going to try a double pot method that will avoid having oil touch the plastic. It’ll be 100% plastic without any gross oil in it. That would be a more realistic model. I also need to find a more cube-shaped mold. Or make one. Too bad we don’t have any ABS 3D printers at school for me to use for mold making.  the powder printer we have would be too expensive for mold making. I should probably give it a shot anyway.

Anonymous asked: Nice CAP banner, I saw it today when I walked through CAP (I'm an LA student) and I was like, "hey I saw that on tumblr!"

Thank you! Glad to hear it’s been well received.