Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Model house

Next to surfing the web for some design inspiration, my next favorite thing to do is digging thru my archives...of pictures saved on my computer from way back when. In this high tech age of digital pictures, the joy of sitting in a comfy chair and flipping through photo albums is no more. One has to sit in front of a computer and flip through flickr or picasa albums......still fun to do, but nowhere close to the real thing. I was going thru my archives, I found these 3 photos, of a project I did in my final year at design school. It brought back memories of late nights and lattes, puffy eyed mornings and last minute deadline panic attacks!!

A bit of background here...the assignment was to design and create a to-scale model of a house for a fictitious couple. The only criteria was that one of them had an elderly mother who came to visit them once a year, and to keep that in mind while designing the house. My teammates on this project were Shirley and Joan. I still keep in touch with Shirley who has her own design studio in Portland, OR. Lost touch with Joan......

So our imaginary couple was a lady who was a writer of childrens' books and her husband, a man of Japanese heritage, who played the violin in the Seattle Symphony, and who had an aged mother who visited them from Japan every year. Nice huh? The scale we used was 1" = 1 foot. In architectural terms, that means that each inch of the model we build, has to represent 1 foot in real measurement. So our model ended up being 20" high to represent 20 feet. I don't remember the other details. All I remember is the three of us spent weeks working on it, measuring and cutting out foam core to scale, tiny tiny cardboard pieces for furniture, sewing minute bits of cloth with little balls of cotton inside for pillows, cutting out felt for upholstery, visiting miniature furniture shops for little things, lots of Elmers glue and Super glue.....and last but not least lots and lots of paper cuts! And oh that spiral staircase...!!! Nearly drove me mad....without my husband's engineering skills to figure out the angles and the circumference of the spiral with relation to the height of the steps, I would have gone over the edge!

But all in all it turned out well. When we presented as  a team in front of the class, we had classical music playing softly in the background. I remember it all so well. And if I am not mistaken, I believe ours was the best presentation.....maybe Shirley can confirm this?

Here are the pics to share with you on them for a larger view

A front view....the first floor had the couple's bedroom and the lady's writing desk/study. The man practiced his violin while pacing along the balcony embellished with musical notes. That's a kimono on the back wall with tansu chests on either side. 
The ground floor has the living area and a TV room separated by a sliding shoji screen, which can be closed off for privacy for when the mom visits, or opened up for large gatherings. The TV room also doubles up as a bedroom with a futon.

Close up view of the living and entrance, with a moon window, typically a Japanese feature. I wish you could see it, but the flooring between the front door and the living room had teeny tiny pebbles, like a Zen garden. 
I wish I had better pics, but for now this will have to do. I held on to this model for the longest time, from 1997 to 2006 till we moved to India, by which time it was starting to fall apart. I wish I hadn't thrown it away....! I miss being a student!


Anu@My Dream Canvas said...

Wow, very impressive! Good to have you back.

Emreen said...

A beautiful model indeed...!!

GB said...

Nice! I know who'll love this post--sans! I like how you have their (the couple's) whole routine figured out!

Nisha said...

very good design...simply superb...