New project ‘Pop Up and Sell’ shows students the relationship between design and technology

Applicant Visit Day

First year BA (Hons) Architecture students at Birmingham School of Architecture and Design have recently embarked upon a new project coined ‘Pop Up and Sell’.

Architecture courses

Birmingham City University

The project, also widely known as ‘Project 4', involves students designing small timber structures to sell items of their choice, from coffee to clothes.

Development of the students

‘Pop Up and Sell’ highlights the “rapid” development of the students by encouraging reflection on a similar project in principle called ‘Folding Architecture’, which was integrated into the Applicant Visit Day. Victoria Farrow, Programme Director said:

Principles of timber construction

Running parallel to the Materials and Structures Module at level 4, the students learn about the principles of timber construction in their technology modules. They apply it in their design studio projects, emphasising the links and collaborations between subjects that is encouraged within the school.

Revisiting Applicant Visit Day

The project commences with a revisit to the Applicant Visit Day brief, "Folding Architecture". The students get the opportunity to reflect on their models made on their first day at Birmingham School of Architecture and Design and consider all the new skills they have learned.

Rhino – 3D Modelling

Having produced a series of folded card models, the group was then introduced to Rhino - 3D modelling software. Constructing forms in this way allows the students to explore the digital realm without being assessed but purely as a learning exercise to explore a new communication tool.

Using both Rhino models and card models made by hand, the individual students then worked at 1:1 scale in collaboration with others to develop a form for the design of a shelter.

The exercise took place at Glenn Howells Architects. Made from broom handles and left over Christmas wrapping paper to ensure low cost constructs, the group made a total of 23 1:1 scale shelters. Victoria Farrow added:

The final stage of the project saw the students working individually to bring together their knowledge from the previous stages of the project. Selecting their clients, pop-up structures were designed to be located in one of three sites, including Victoria Square, Centenary Square and High Street. A local context allowed the students to take photographs of the site, which they used in Rhino to produce 3D visualisations. 

All phases of the project were recorded on the students’ blogs, which present a rich array of explorations and ideas together with new skills learned. The blogs have then been released to the new applicants on their visit days to enable the project to go full circle and link into the new cohort due to arrive in 2016.

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