I was browsing the Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) site, saw a poster for a Boeing related exhibition while cycling today, and stumbled upon an exhibition of one of my Product Design Diploma (mid 1980s at UNITEC) Tutor’s work.
Gifford Jackson taught us design drawing (a mixture of illustration, rendering and drafting) sharing his decades of experience working in the US (New York in the 1950s – 60s) and his own New Zealand practice. He was old school, everything by eye and hand, and used his incredible portfolio of maritime and industrial design drawings in the classes.
I remember a refined, elderly (to a teenager, although he was then in his mid-60s) and patient man who quietly inspired by example and entertained with stories from his amazing career. This included meeting, working with, US design icons like Donald Desky, Walter Dorwin Teague, Carl Otto, and Harold van Doren. For Kiwi design students they were people you just read about in textbooks.
Gifford died (aged 93) in 2015 but his life, and character, was captured in these 2013 interviews by Michael Smythe:
Discover just how close Auckland came to a world-class integrated public transport system in the 1970s. This exhibition, in the Walsh Memorial Library, tells the story of the Auckland Rapid Transit (ART) scheme through vivid illustrations by New Zealand’s ‘godfather’ of industrial design, Gifford Jackson.
Jackson was employed to develop concept drawings of the interior and exterior design of the ART locomotives and carriages. The ART project brought together a team of engineers, town planners and others to plan a rapid rail system – nicknamed ‘Robbie’s Rapid Rail’ after its staunchest supporter, Mayor Sir Dove-Myer Robinson. The ART system never eventuated, with the plans shelved in 1975 following a change in government.
More than forty years after the ART scheme was abandoned, works are now underway for the completion of Auckland’s first underground rail network – the City Rail Link.
The museum would like to acknowledge MOTAT volunteer Richard Croker for his generosity in donating the artworks. This is the first time an original rendering has been on display since Jackson created the works in 1974.
The Walsh Memorial Library is located at MOTAT 1 on Great North road. Open hours are Monday to Friday from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm.
Normal MOTAT admission fees apply.
Image: Gifford Jackson. (July 1974). Auckland Rapid Transit: Concept for train 124 and passenger platform. Richard Croker Collection, ART-2017-8.6. Walsh Memorial Library, Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT)
Updated 2018-11-27: Russell Brown has some better images of Gifford’s ART work on Public Address The lost ART
I haven’t modelled with, or thought much about, LEGO for decades—the photo below is my collection in the mid-1970s, my first building models—but recently created a logon for the LEGO IDEAS site.
The motivation was to support an awesome Kākāpō bird project. The real Kākāpō is endangered, once considered extinct, and this LEGO tribute was promoted on Twitter by astronomer turned conservation biologist Dr Andrew Digby @takapodigs; Kākāpō and Takahē Scientist for the New Zealand Department of Conservation.
I’ve followed him since seeing his presentation at the NZ Skeptics Conference (2016) about a career/life change that went from creating/using telescope sensors to detect planets around other stars to chasing giant endangered parrots around the most remote parts of New Zealand in an effort to save them!
If you have heard of Kākāpō at all it was probably thanks to Sirocco. He rocketed to fame in 2009 after his encounter with zoologist Mark Carwardine became a YouTube sensation. Carwardine was filming the BBC documentary Last Chance to See with British actor Stephen Fry. Footage showed a rather frisky Sirocco attempting to mate with Carwardine’s head as Fry laughed from the sidelines.
The Kākāpō project has gone from 1500-2500 votes in the past few days (I was #1567) but needs your support!
Siemens Catchbook is a sketch application for iOS, Android and Windows 10. I first saw it a year or so ago and was intrigued by the way it interpreted sketch input (pen or mouse on Windows) and captured sketched relationships.
Unfortunately Catchbook was not available in New Zealand at the time—something to do with aligning store arrangements across the platforms—but I recently got an email with some good news:
Oh, and one more thing: Catchbook is now available in Norway and New Zealand. This should make quite a few people on the boards and emails happy.
I was familiar with Dame Zaha Hadid’s work but Desert Island Discs gives some insight into Zaha Hadid, the person. Due to copyright restrictions her chosen eight music tracks are trimmed to 10 second clips but that just leaves a fascinating interview.
Vale Dame Zaha Hadid, who leaves a remarkable legacy.
Kirsty Young's castaway is the architect, Dame Zaha Hadid.
The first woman to be awarded architecture's highest honour, the Pritzker Prize, she designed the Aquatic Centre for London 2012, Glasgow's Riverside Museum and has twice won the Stirling Prize - first for the MAXXI museum in Rome and secondly for her design for the Grace Academy school in Brixton, London. She recently became the first woman in her own right to receive the RIBA Gold Medal.
She was born in Baghdad in 1950 where her father was a prominent member of the opposition National Democratic Party. After attending school there, she travelled to Switzerland and England to boarding school before returning to London in 1972 to study at the Architectural Association.
In 1983 she won her first competition to design the Peak Leisure Club in Hong Kong. It gained her international recognition though it was never built: her first building was the Vitra Fire Station in Germany in 1993. In the late 1990s she built a contemporary arts centre in Cincinnati & a BMW car manufacturing plant in Leipzig. She won competitions to design a new opera house in Cardiff but it was never realised and her first permanent building in Britain was a Maggie's Cancer Care Centre in Scotland built in 2006. She has designed stations for the Nordpark Cable Railway in Innsbruck, Austria and in 2010 the Opera House in Guangzhou, China. In 2014 she became the first woman to win the Design Museum's Design of the Year Award for the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Centre, in Baku, Azerbaijan.
She was made a Dame in 2012 for services to architecture.
A place to think, dream, tinker and play with ideas that could change the world. Imagine it packed with all the design and manufacturing technology you could desire. Imagine the ultimate location for your ‘shop’: harbour side in centre of a beautiful city, a short walk from a bustling commuter hub and market with restaurants, cafés and gourmet fresh food & produce.
You just imagined Pier 9
Part of the AutoCAD Blogger Day was a tour of Pier 9. A short walk from Autodesk’s 1 Market Street office, past the Ferry Building Marketplace, you find a converted waterfront cargo pier. These sheds, once the domain of ships and cargo trading, now house offices for lawyers (this is the U.S.A. after all), Architects and Autodesk’s innovation hub: The Pier 9 Workshop
A place to explore
Pier 9 is a place for Autodesk employees and artists, designers to explore the limits of design software and manufacturing technology. Autodesk support this by offering small stipend, software, hardware and an impressive workspace through the Artists in Residence Program. As we wandered through the various workshops the it was fascinating to see a wide variety of disciplines and industries working side by side.
A place to build
The simplest way to explain the scope of Pier 9 is as we experienced it, a tour. From the reception, with meeting rooms overlooking the harbour, you move through a variety of open plan office spaces. There is typical designers clutter of computers, sketches and (not so typical) desktop printers churning out prototype models!
From there we went into the first workshop. The CNC Machine Shop has industrial spec CNC 5 axis machining centres, lathes, routers and milling machines.
Add to that a 10’ x 5’ (say 3000 x 1500mm in real measurements) water jet cutter that can blast through 8” (150mm) of material. I watched it, somewhat mesmerised, cutting organic shape components but never thought to ask what they were going to be!
The Woodshop has industrial spec table saw which features a Sawstop Accident Prevention System designed with Autodesk Inventor. It detects when skin (or any conductive matter) touches the blade, stopping and retracting it almost instantly. I didn’t dare to test it but have seen a demo which proved it works (on a BBC science program).
Add to that table routers, drill presses, planers, bandsaws, belt/drum sanders and hand tools making this Woodshop better equipped than some Kiwi cabinet making companies I’ve worked for!
Into the Commercial Test Kitchen where there was, from memory, a range and other commercial kitchen equipment. I most remember being captivated by the view!
Then it was upstairs to the 3D Printshop which which is packed with direct manufacturing technology. There are seven, yes seven, Objet 3D resin printers, five laser cutters of various types, a 3D paper printer (contour printing with paper), Arctec 3D scanners and a wide format printer vinyl cutter.
Next was the Sewing and Project room with industrial sewing equipment and a Centroform Vacuum Former. It has a view of the Electronics Lab which I didn’t get to see in detail but looked to have the oscilloscopes, spectrum and logic analysers you see electronic techies playing with.
From what I saw Pier 9 is a place to explore new frontiers. Autodesk Employees and Artists in Residence get to use their software with the latest in technology. This ‘eating your own dog food’ experimentation goes beyond the usual industry work streams. The mix of disciplines working together must also generate some interesting collaborations.
In a short tour we saw engineering projects, furniture manufacturing, additive printing a logo onto an existing product, apparel design and electronic design and production. The kitchen was empty, sadly no samples, but there was talk of making sugar and flour from insect protein. Not exactly your typical foodie recipe.
The 3D printers were making cityscape models of New York and San Francisco, for urban redevelopment planning. I was interested to see a 3D paper print (the bust below) as had only recently heard about the technology. The Mcor IRIS 3D paper printer uses copy paper as the medium printed on the cut edges. You get a paper thickness resolution contour model with reasonable colour reproduction.
Some bloggers, and Lynn Allen, had fun on the meeting table swing!
Pier 9, evidence that Autodesk is far more than just a software company?
Autodesk has always had a relationship with the industries that use its products. Pier 9 shows they are looking to enable industry professionals, artists and the rapidly growing maker movement take new processes, new technologies and combine them in new ways.
Some projects investigating mixtures of biotech, engineering and new manufacturing technologies (also showcased in the nearby Autodesk Gallery) were fascinating. Imagine growing a building, self assembling furniture or flying in aircraft printed, even grown, running on fuel harvested from bacteria…
Beyond Manufacturing, it’s happening in AEC too.
While the Pier 9 focus seems to be ‘making’, a move mid last year indicated Autodesk are taking a similar approach for AEC. They acquired David Benjamin’s Design Studio | The Living. It will concentrate on research and development projects in the fields of architecture, art, industrial design, aerospace, computer science, engineering, manufacturing and synthetic biology.
Another sign that Autodesk is rapidly evolving far beyond the traditional software business model?
I’ve updated my blogs to a new responsive layout using a beta TypePad Responsive Theme Builder. Responsive Design lets the site to resize and reflow to a variety of screen sizes (below right). The old template just cropped the view and added scroll bars (below left).
TypePad has had pre-set responsive themes for a while. The beta Theme Builder, which allows customisation, still has a few wrinkles—sidebar items and emphasis tagged <em> text formatting mainly—but I thought worth a try. The TypePad support team have been great with rapid answers/fixes for a few questions I had.
I have tested the blog on PCs (I.E., Chrome, Firefox), Windows & iOS Phone/Tablet and have been told Android/Chrome devices are OK. Interested to see how you find it, leave a comment or email me via the sidebar link with any hardware, screen, browser combo which doesn’t work.
You’re a TypePad blogger and want to try it?
If you are on the TypePad Beta (info and join here) you’ll see a responsive option to tick in the Theme Builder. I use Microsoft Windows Live Writer to post and had to add (with TypePad Support help) some custom CSS to get the heading styles it creates to format correctly. The Custom CSS follows…
I saw this lecture in Auckland and enjoyed it. Professor Marcus du Sautoy covered the influence of Maths* in music, visual art, design, and writing. I really went to see him present, as much as the topic itself, but came away with some new things to investigate. I hadn’t heard of Jorge Luis Borges but his short stories sound really interesting.
Was glad to find the Nelson presentation on Vimeo to review. In the Q&A he mentions his website mathsinthecity.com, a mathematical adventure in the city of London (and a place to create your own).
The Art of Mathematics and the Mathematics of Art
The 71st annual Thomas Cawthron Memorial Lecture was presented by Professor Marcus du Sautoy, Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of New College.
* At the Skeptics Conference the weekend before there was some debate if Mathematics should be abbreviated to (US) Math or (NZ) Maths. Prof. Steven Galbraith presented both sides of the argument but concluded:
“I’ll use Math when you [those who prefer Maths] shorten Statistics to Stat!”