Volume 64 is a design platform that emerged during a series of conversations between architecture students in the second half of 2016.
1 // HOW // BACKSTORY
The idea behind volume 64 was conceived when Lloyd (co-founder) was in a workshop on the usage of conceptual diagrams. The workshop, mostly shown through different OMA/AMO projects, made clear how ideas behind each project were challenged. One of the main focuses at hand was typology. Accepted as a series of existing norms in architecture, re-investigating the typologies of each project changes how we look at spaces. Though it takes much time and study to reinvent the typology of an entire building, we, as spectators, experience architecture at a much smaller scale. A corridor, followed by a room, perhaps a kitchen followed by a reading nook – a succession of smaller interior spaces create our daily experience of architecture. Challenging the typology of everyday-space, thus questioning our perception of architecture became the motivation of volume 64. The idea of a platform manifested: to express these small exercises that could challenge existing rules without the limitations of academic or professional submissions. What if there was a space dedicated purely to the experiments and drawings resulting from this line of questioning? Discussions moved towards formulating a graphic language that could express these experiments in a radical, yet manageable way for each person trying out their idea.
2 // WHY 64?
4 x 4 x 4 = 43
43 = 64
The experiment was there, now we had to decide what we wanted it to look like. Back in Edinburgh while working on a social housing project, a tutor explained how double beds are automatically 4 square meters of space taken up in planning. The human scale of inhabited spaces is felt and expressed vividly when a designer has lived through them. Through living in student residences (some which were 3x3m rooms) we had an intimate view of how small living spaces could become. We decided that a fixed symmetrical space (that way it could rotate!), not too small, not too large, would be the first of two limitations imposed on this series of experiments. The ‘safety regulation’ of a 2.5m height seemed rigid, while 3m seemed too dedicated to more private typologies such as bedrooms and living quarters. Adding an extra 1m to a cube of 3m in dimensions more than doubled its volume space and made its purpose more ambiguous, which struck the balance that we were looking for.
A cube that measures 4m in width, length and height has a volume of 64m3
This cube is then filled with experiments and expressed through an isometric drawing. Legible for both architects and non-architects alike, an isometric allows for a comprehensive overview for each idea taking shape in the cubic space. Drawn in 1:50 scale, the drawing is freed from requirement of the real. It does not need to show the nuts and bolts of every detail. However, the scale is just enough to include consideration for different materials and its experiential aspect – it almost acts as a detailed diagram.
3 // WHAT WE WANT TO DO
As designers preparing to enter this industry, we need our creative muscles to get enough exercise and stay fit. Just as many of us will find ourselves working jobs that are yet to be invented, there will be new typologies added to the built environment that don’t exist now, but will in the future. Contemporary urban life has contemporary needs that require reinterpretation and reinvention, and we’re growing up as parts of that story.
Additionally, there is another side to why we want to create this platform. No architectural education is perfect. And a lot of the time, we feel that despite our degrees and qualifications and hours of work experience … we aren’t as confident at designing as we’d like to be (We’re serious! This happens all the time!) Following a submission to its grading requirements or an office task teaches you valuable skills, but not creating for creating’s sake. Through this blog we’d like to address and dedicate time to the enjoyment of pure creation, which can lead to exciting possibilities.
We want to use this platform to bring back some of the risks we wanted to take but couldn’t. To make new and thought-provoking solutions to new and hard questions. In this space, what will you ask?
– Lloyd Lee and Sabrina Syed // January 2017