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  • Stormhouse

    PPB2 member gaffaman was kind enough to mention in another thread that for the second time I have a project appearing in AIArchitect newsletter's annual fantasy architecture theme issue. I have been asked to embed a copy of the images and my text for the article here in a new thread.

    ...the site (this is where to build, this is what can be put here)...the client (this is what they want, in exactly this shade of this tint of this)...the crass economics (this is what can be put here...this is where the not-a-cent-more money can be spent)...even the the vagaries of formal operations (this is the shape...this is what the style/procedure/computer-program says happens here, as if it matters)...

    Must it always go that way, petty commonplaces driving each project from assigned purpose to imperfect-if-not-botched realization? As if any of those considerations matter ultimately, at the final trumpet-blast, in the end!

    That phrase in the end itself can--in fact, does conjure--in fact has conjured up a potential mythology, something with which I might defy the quotidian: this is the house where I wait for the world to come to an end.

    Having latched on to this Mythology as the basis for a work of architecture, in defiance of the usual conventions and rituals I must next determine a site. Where does one go to await such an occasion? Not for me the conventional-conventions for "going out with a bang", now that I have a Mythology: no typically-grand (or even typically-snug) house in a great city; no typically-soaring cathedral for my typical-prayers; no typically-beautiful spot in a beautiful country; not even a typically-favorite little resort with a typically-special friend for company. I strive to think of some place hard to reach--for I'm not coming back--with little to call me there other than it will be one of the last places to succumb to whatever thing or things (as if it matters) will consume the world. I think of desperate literary journeys and undertakings. I remember Poe's Pym and his unfinished narrative of an unfinished voyage to the antipodes: South. All the way. Until things start to stop.

    The correct site leaps off a map of the Antarctic at me: Deception Island. I like the name. The whole of existence is generally recognized as a deception; so let me witness it being swept away from the vantage of an island named in honor of the great untruth. And the map I have is from 1829, so my site is a deception now too (a volcanic island in a disputed sea is unlikely to remain geographically quiescent for decades, let alone a century and a half). My Deception Island is metaphysical: no oil spills, no noisy tourists looking for penguins and icebergs, no "research" stations waiting for the next eruption or a pointless change of sovereignty. My Deception Island waits alone, stark and unvisited in a southern sea, for the end of all deceptions.

    So: a dark coast, green-less and forbidding, a bleak shore of rock and sand, backed by "ice cliffs" (from the 1829 map), north of a forbidding headland like a giant boulder. This is where (metaphysically, mythologically) I will make the last voyeuristic stand against oblivion in the appropriate architectural vessel and prepare to watch something that might be a storm (but could be any fashionable version of apocalypse, personal or universal) sweep in from the sea (my proxy for the courts of chaos).

    Ship it down, pound it down, lift it up, sheath it up, insulate it in case I have to wait, put on a black cloak--and stand there waiting for the end to come up like the most picturesque of gales:

    I imagine the place on pilings to last a bit longer as whatever floods in (ignoring, because this is Mythology, the animosity of wind-driven mini-bergs towards relatively-weaker fiberglass-composite poles...there is probably a way around the issue, and anyway perhaps the bergs will have all melted). The curve of the water-front elevation is a bulwark: metaphysically, spiritually hydrodynamic/aerodynamic. Back of the house is a same-elevated deck for the be-tarp-ed supplies (or nothing, depending on how long I must linger).

    Since the end will come (in my Mythology) from out the sea or over it, I face the openings that face the sea with a shielding grate in front of heavy (insulated and impact-resistant, to be certain) glass set in stout steel doors. Of course, this is primarily a place to watch something or watch for something, so those shielded window-doors must open onto shielded lookout-balconies which take their brunt-shapes from the curving steel arch of the roof (minimum radius of curvature 10', according to the manufacturer). Re-purposed acrylic arena-spectator shielding will permit view of that ominous horizon. When the waves get too high, I will back into the hull-house proper, shut the grates (I'll have to heroically struggle against the wind, no doubt, to get it done), push the doors closed until the gaskets engage, and watch the last act through the glass. I probably wasn't as careful as I should have been with the flashing details, given the amount of whatever (waves, rain, tears?) dashing against the front, and the salt will eventually eat into the galvalume. But then this doesn't have to last forever:

    my Stormhouse.

    --Lewis Wadsworth, 2008
    Attached Files

  • #3
    (out-takes and alternate versions of renderings)

    There is a Picasa Web Album of higher res versions of all renderings here.

    There is also a slightly disjointed album of screenshots and development studies going back quite a while...I started thinking about this a long time ago.

    Just for comparison, here's a high res album of my "Pavilion for Oblivion" project published in the 2007 AIArchitect fantasy theme issue, posted a year ago here at PPB2.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Lewis Wadsworth; 23-08-2008, 04:59. Reason: added Picasa links


    • #4
      Stunning work Lewis; great to see it posted

      Shot 2 in post 2 is exceptional....the sky beautiful


      • #5
        Wow this is fantastic. I love the idea and the 3d work is superb. Well done!


        • #6
          I'm curious about your workflow - do you work on all the images at once, running the same filters, layer exports, and operations across the body of images,

          or do you work them up one at a time following roughly the same process but tweaking each one individually.

          Sort trial and repeat, vs continuously dabbling..?


          • #7
            Originally posted by lavardera View Post
            or do you work them up one at a time following roughly the same process but tweaking each one individually.
            It's that one...I've occasionally tried to set up elaborate Photoshop Actions to apply the same settings across multiple sets of images, but in fact it is easier to keep a set of images visually consistent "manually" according to a general recipe, generally doing the same thing but applying the filters or changing the layer orders on a case by case basis. And often enough I have to use other packages along with Photoshop (GIMP, Piranesi, or renders of the scene made with ray tracers to indicate interior lighting), which means that I have to keep track of multiple "recipes" across different software packages.

            I've attached side-by-side layer stack snapshots for two of the above renders, the first and third in post #1. Notice that the left stack required considerably more elaboration (generally through additional Smart Filters or Adjustment layers) than the overhead view's stack.

            I think there's a sort of stylistic consistency from project to project that actually derives from the sort of drawing I did twenty years ago with rather intense-colored pastels. Even my non-SketchUp projects seem (to my eyes) to have a certain "look" in common with the sort of things you see here.
            Attached Files
            Last edited by Lewis Wadsworth; 24-08-2008, 17:03. Reason: wording change


            • #8
              excellent work!

              All these 3D renders impress me but never move me, they are a simulcra and can never be the real thing, however long the render time.......your images are what us architects should be doing, using the tools and stamping our own individual style onto them.....keep up the good work lewis and hopefully others will follow your lead and we can rid of the banal ubiqity of people trying to ape real life and start thinking about what thay are actually creting the image for.....




              • #9
                Loved your narrative. Its very refreshing to see the words around architecture compliment the imagery of architecture.

                The design reminded of the "Maunsell Sea Forts" or The Thames Estuary Army Forts.
                Thank you for the inspiration.
                Attached Files


                • #10
                  Originally posted by manc View Post
                  ...can never be the real thing, however long the render time....
                  Thanks, manc. I very much agree, although I suspect the tide of things is against us. Talk to an industrial designer or look at an ID site to see what the minimum expected level of realism is for a rendering of one of their projects: SketchUp and a VRay plugin would never cut it, and there is no such thing as NPR for those people. Only the fact that architectural training rarely includes the kind of computer and visualization technology demanded in other design fields has kept the same demands from being made upon architects...but that time will come.

                  I'm actually interested, in depicting my own projects, to being both true to my own motivations and the means for realizing them. I'm not sure I am at all successful there, yet...the first AIArchitect fantasy project of mine looks like "Andrew Wyeth meets Myst", and this one is a strange combo of the illustration styles of Woods and Schuitens (albeit with a bit of "dying photocopier" thrown in).

                  These are artists and architects whose work I consult constantly, and whom I couldn't help but aspire to emulate. But they are also artists who do not work with computers. I'm not being true to my own medium, for whatever it is worth (and maybe that is an idea not worth much). What kind of computer rendering indicates and is true to the fact that a design has been largely developed in a computer modeler? Or modelers, in this project's case--I haven't sketched anything by hand for this particular Stormhouse thing since 2002.

                  Page, thanks as well. I spent a lot of time on that narrative, as I did on the previous year's description...and AIArchitect printed them both without editing, or (for that matter) asking me to supply any further description.

                  I am very much aware of the sea forts, too, and similar structures mainly in the waters around the UK, although I've found a few similar things in other places. There is really a kind of last-stand look to these sorts of structures that I find inspiring, though of course in the real world they were a first line of defense! I keep a folder of printed images of such things by my desk for inspiration. [off-topic: Do you know that the Shivering Sands forts actually appeared in a Doctor Who episode? I barely remember the plot (intelligent seaweed or something), and I'm not sure that I even know which Doctor (two or three...a long time ago in B&W). But I remember being fascinated by the aerial camera shots of the supposed site of the story.]


                  • #11
                    Lewis, its is just amazing creative master piece, i like it so much that i will be honored is you let me render it for you, it is one of those projects that inspire me just by see in it.



                    • #12
                      Thanks, Nico. I sent you a PM.


                      • #13
                        Hat's off Lewis!!

                        Excellent Work!!


                        • #14
                          Excellent !!

                          Lewis, your work is inspirational
                          images awakes imagination, fantasy ...
                          Thanks for posting this one!,


                          • #15
                            Beautiful work Lewis!