Diary of Vardiya 6 – (N)everland

31st July Tuesday

As the participants of the 6th Shift, today was the first day for us to dive into the main theme of (N)everland and discover the Biennale.

After meeting up with our coordinators inside the Arsenale, we had our first lecture in the Turkish Pavilion. The world of Digital Fabrication in Architecture was introduced by David Jenny. Examples from ETH Zurich gave us a general understanding of what we are planning to do during this week and what can be done in the framework of this topic. The basics of the robotic machine in the Turkish Biennale was also explained. The machine is now being exhibited here with the sands around it. We will be working on it more in the coming days.

In addition, we had a chance to explore the Arsenale part of the Biennale during the rest of the day. Tomorrow we will have some other lectures and tour the Giardini exhibits.

1st August Wednesday

Today we received a lecture from Orkun Kasap about his work at DFAB HOUSE. This helped us acquire some general knowledge about in-situ construction, smart slabs, dynamic casting and complex timber construction.

Our main workshop included a lecture/discussion from Luka Piškorec about a general introduction to digital fabrication. He gave a general background about the history of digital architecture and then presented examples from his collaborative works regarding the digital fabrication in ETH Zurich.

After our discussion with Luka, we were left to go out and explore the Pavilions at Giardini. We each explored and questioned different aspects of each of the pavilions, allowing us to gain a deeper understanding of the Biennale.

In the evening, we had the opportunity to dine with our tutors. This allowed us not only to talk more about our thoughts and experiences in architecture but also to get closer with them.

We will be diving into the robots’ world more tomorrow.

2nd August Thursday

This morning we had a quick Rhino workshop to prepare us for designing our own nozzles as robot-arm attachments. After that, we broke off into teams and began our brainstorming processes for possible nozzle designs.

When we returned from our lunch break we had the opportunity to have a discussion about VARDIYA’s main questions with David Mulder. He talked about architecture as a tool to experiment with collectivity and the agenda of architecture as it pertains to different contexts and typologies. After a couple of interesting exchanges between David and students, we then got to listen to a lecture from Sevim Aslan, who talked about the relationship between architecture, archeology, and landscape. Afterward, we continued working on our nozzle designs.

3rd August Friday

Together we went to San Giorgio this morning to view the Vatican Chapels. We saw Norman Foster’s and Souto de Moura’s pavilions, as well as various other chapel designs for the Vatican’s exhibit at this year’s Biennale. Afterwards, we broke off into groups to experience various art and architecture museums such as the Galleria dell’Accademia, the Punta della Dogana Museum by Tadao Ando, and the Fondazione Berengo in Palazzo Franchetti.

When we returned to the Arsenale, we continued working on our nozzles for the robotic arm. Some groups had already begun 3D-printing study models to see how their designs interacted with sand overnight, so these were able to be tested and revised. Everyone watched with enthusiasm and curiosity as the first iterations tried to produce sandscapes.

After hours of modeling, Selen Ercan gave us a tutorial on how to use URStudio, a program that we will need to use for our robot nozzles. Some groups then tested their own designs.

4th August Saturday

We worked the whole day! After finalizing our nozzle designs for the robot arm, we printed them from the 3D printer. We defined paths for the final versions of our nozzles by using UR Studio’s own software. We tested the nozzles’ performances when attached to the robot arm, when they followed their paths and reacted to the sand, helping us to adjust the small problems and finalize our work. Meanwhile, we created diagrams and created a presentation for tomorrow.

At one point we also had a digital session with Chintan Gohil and Jason Taylor who are the activist-videographers working on their project called The Source Image.

Since we are going to present our work to the juries from ETH Zurich tomorrow, we continued working and tested our various final nozzles after the discussion.

5th August Sunday

For the final presentation, we created a booklet and explained our work to the juries online. After the presentations from three groups, we had a feedback & discussion session with them where we had the possibility to have a debriefing about our work. We got valuable feedback about our groupworks and discussed mainly about the position of sandscaping in the design process. Additonally, trying to elaborate the relation of digital fabrication and architecture helped us to grab different points of view under the topic of digital world.

When the online meeting was over, we kept working on the design of 6th vardiya module inside the exhibition. Making a work division allowed us to work efficiently since while some of us were creating the video, some of us were printing the publishments and some were preparing our module. This also helped us to have at least a bit of more time to visit the parts of the city or biennale which we could not see before.

At one point, our tutors took a leave and left the stage for us. When the stage was ready, we said goodbye to the biennale with a bit of sadness. Besides, as the previous nights we spent together, we all again gathered together and ate our ‘last supper’.

We-as the participants of 6th Vardiya- are done but this is not the end of our pavillion’s changing process. It will keep being freespace with the next Vardiya’s. Team of (N)everland wishes the best for them!

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