Product Design students collaborate with OB architect Patrick Lewis

By Alisia Leach, 6.1

This half term 6.1 Product Design students started a new architecture based project to design a new stand-alone learning space situated somewhere on the school site. In the first lesson of the project we were introduced to the OB architect Patrick Lewis, who has his own architecture practice in London under the same name. The project was kick started in collaboration with Patrick to offer an authentic, professional and objective perspective. Alex McNaughton launched our project alongside Patrick via an online video conference where they set out the constraints of the task and allocated each of us a prominent historical designer and two driving materials to focus our research on and to use as inspiration for our designs and concepts.

We then had a couple of weeks to research and build up a designer profile and a location and need analysis of our building. I personally have been allocated the Italian designer Aldo Rossi, so I built up a detailed profile of his him by looking at his most iconic works, his design philosophy and his influence upon others. My two driving materials are acrylic and fibre reinforced resin, so I spent a few lessons experimenting with my materials and working out possible ways of incorporating them into my building. I also concluded that I wanted my building to be located in the Dunannie orchard and for it to be a sensory room. Last week Patrick was able to come into school to have a one-to-one COVID-safe critique with each of us where we presented him with our research, showed him our initial material investigations and discussed some early design intentions.

In my one-to-one crit I expressed the fact that I wasn’t really sure how to incorporate the primary shapes of Aldo Rossi’s design style into my design as I didn’t want my building to simply be a cube. Patrick suggested that as I am pursuing a sensory room, I could create for example, five separate cylinders to each explore a different sense. He also helped me to come up with ways I could incorporate the senses into the design of the building such as for sight, peep holes at different levels focusing on prominent details of the surroundings, whereas otherwise I may have just used the furniture to turn it into a sensory space.

It was overall really beneficial to get someone else’s perspective and I think we can all agree that Patrick has helped us to begin to bring our projects together and we will all enjoy the final critique after Christmas where we will get to exhibit our final models and projects. We are looking forward to seeing where the project will take us for the next few weeks.