The Hilltop Living Wall project is the culmination of an exploration of parametric design, botany, site analysis, interdisciplinary collaboration, and 3D printing in the medium of ceramic. While I first undertook this project in my third year of school, I did iterate on the designs and concepts generated here in later semesters for other projects.
At the beginning of the semester our class began our exploration of parametric design in Grasshopper, a visual programing language that runs in Rhino 3D. Here I learned to write a basic script which generates a vase form. After several iterations I developed program which generates an adjustable, twisting, hugging design. I test printed this result in the more common 3D printing medium of PLA plastic. After the PLA proof-of-concept I moved onto clay (reworking the design to overcome the challenges which this medium produced) and finally fired the result.
Living Wall Phase 1
For the second phase of this project, the class was tasked with using the techniques we had previously learned, parametric design and ceramic printing, to create a living wall. The site I selected to respond to for this phase was a location on LSU campus, Hilltop Farm, which operates as a classroom and garden for students studying Agriculture. This site is has a large blank CMU wall which receives constant light making it ideal for beautification as well as plant growth. Furthermore the area is under threat of redevelopment by LSU which would result in the complete expulsion of student gardens from the main campus. For this phase, I took the code to the next level in order to generate a curving adjustable wall with fully tunable containers that generated hundreds of completely unique pots that form one complete composition. In order to specialize the wall and make it an important (non-redevelopable) focal point of the campus, I also designed fully adjustable seating areas.
Living Wall Phase 2
After creating our individual wall designs we presented each one to a panel of experts consisting of architectures professors, landscape architecture professors, horticulture professors, and LSU's facility planers. This panel picked my design among my peers as the best designed and most feasible. As a result of this the entire class was brought under my leadership to reiterate my design and ultimately produce a prototype. After adjusting the design a bit we presented the following concept to the horticulture department and LSU's facility planers who enthusiastically approved of the design. Both groups intend to actually build this design after research on how well plants would survive in our prototype.
In the final phase of this project we set out to produce a prototype. To incorporate the same structural, parametric generation, and usability concepts of the larger composition into a smaller scale, I designed a companion bench for the wall. Like I mentioned previously, I was put in charge of directing the efforts of the class to complete this mini-project. Myself along with two of my colleagues, Braiden Bean and Hanna Simpson worked closely to polish my initial design and manage the rest of the class in the this phase. This process was very informative to me as I had to learn not only to motivate, delegate, and manage a large group, but also how to achieve this in a mostly remote way due to the ongoing pandemic. While we had a few hiccups, and a sever lack of time, the group did an excellent job at meeting the challenge of fabrication.