Eric Anderson
Eco Navigator Personal Cube Vessel Project Personal Device


Eric Anderson,
Tom Merriman,

Generation of Form is the name of this studio and the focus of our efforts for this semester. The word “form” is used in the usual sense, referring to all the visual qualities of a three dimensional object: it’s size, proportion, massing shape, surface qualities, detailing, etc. The word “generation” is used to imply deliberate creative processes that operate with regard to some principles. While these processes may sometimes be reasoned, or intuitive, or playful, they should not be allowed to degenerate into mere mechanical calculation at one extreme or chaotic doodling at the other.

The broad ability to generate form subsumes a process of understanding and applying a range of narrower abilities. This is process is abstractly called “the design process.” It is one that we ultimately take for granted, but which requires focused attention while we are learning the details of its various phases. An overview of the phases include:

A. Conceptualization – broadly and creatively exploring ideas that respond to a stated problem or given set of parameters
B. Development/Clarification – selection of a concept(s) and thoughtfully investigating its details, opportunities and merit through the application of realistic constraints such as physical geometry, and construction considerations
C. Description/Refinement – defining the overall and specific details of the concept through techniques of drawing and/or modeling
D. Realization – the final expressed concept

Your instructors in this course will be working with you in this studio to help you make progress in this complete range of skills and to help you merge them into your personal ability to generate competent, appropriate and beautiful form.

To succeed in this studio, you will have to demonstrate sufficient progress in both specific skills and in integrating them toward an overall process. It is also important to recognize that some aspects of designing, which may be important in other contexts such as – mechanical invention, production manufacturing processes, human factors, marketing concerns, to name a few, will be peripheral to this studio. Some of these additional aspects will be addressed in your other courses, “Prototyping” and “How People Work.” These courses have been coordinated with this studio to present a holistic platform of instruction. Our concern in this studio is the ”generation of form” which is a part, or “plank” in this holistic approach.

For pedagogical purposes, this studio emphasizes three modes of generating form: development of complex surfaces, construction of geometric solids, and sculpting of plastic materials. These approaches are not mutually exclusive, nor do they define the complete range of approaches. Yet each is very useful, focusing on different techniques and different elements. Further, each is commonly used to generate form in different regions of the whole universe of forms.

Development of Complex Surfaces - Surface development employs lofting, a drawing technique, which can describe curved surfaces or flat planes. The elements it operates on are the points and lines that we usually use to represent a surface drawing: edges, intersections, cross sections, planes of symmetry, axes, etc. The power we get from lofting is the ability to develop surfaces accurately, to describe them in multiple views, and to transfer the descriptions between 2D and 3D space. Surface development is one of the principal techniques used to design boat hulls and automobile bodies.

Construction of Geometric Solids – Construction implies a technique, which is inherently structural and three-dimensional (there are two dimensional versions). It employs orthographic drawing and other techniques to operate on solid elements that have geometric and structural properties: abstract cubes, cylinders, spheres, etc. or very concrete bolts, beams, panels, or mechanical components. The power we get from construction techniques is the ability to describe how parts of a product will go together. Geometric construction, as an example, is important to the design of furniture and exhibits.

Sculpting of Plastic Materials – Sculpting is also an inherently three dimensional technique, but not necessarily structural (sculptural techniques can also be applied to drawing). The element of sculpture is its medium; the material being sculpted. And the qualities of that material, its plasticity for instance, will determine the forms that can be generated. The power we get from sculpting is the ability to capture meaning, free from geometric or structural constraints. Sculpting allows for important tactile qualities in the design of shoes and tableware.

Drawing Standards and Requirements

This semester you will begin to develop your own voice in drawing and drawing communication. You are encouraged to explore a range of media that allow you to effectively communicate to the intended audience. However in order to reduce the opportunity for chaos, you will develop your work within the following 11” X 14” Tracing/translucent format. This format was chosen because it is large enough for explorations and small enough to be photo copied. In addition, a title area is required on all work. This will be at the bottom right corner of your page and contain the following information: Name, Date, Project, Sheet 1 of ?.

Lastly, it is important and a requirement that you establish a system of bounding your work before turning it in. Clips (not those that easily slip off) or similar captures tend to work well.