Category Archives: Personal Work

Green Walls

GreenWall_PatrickBlanccaixa-madridMy high school is planning on building a green wall, and my class is to design different proposals for the construction of it. In addition to the green wall, the school is going to install solar panels to generate electricity for the power grid.

A green wall is basically a wall of plants. The purpose of a green wall (environmentally) is to provide insulation for the inner walls of the school. In addition, growing more plants will increase the biodiversity (to increase the amount of bees, butterflies and more) and also rid of some carbon dioxide. Green walls can provide food for the Food and Nutrition courses in my school through growing eatable plants. The plants grown on the green wall can also absorb the rainwater to prevent the flooding of sewers. Green walls are also used to boost up aesthetic appeal.

Our job (as students) is to create a design brief for the wall, provide a bill of materials and their specifications, decide different locations for where to place the green wall, create a design to be used for the green wall (including water system, structure of wall and more), find stakeholders for the project, propose plants to be used for the wall and to provide a construction plan. My group used this neat video on YouTube to place the plants to the wall:

As I was working on this assignment, I’ve learned about the challenges and stress it takes to build an actual structure that will be staying on the school. Unlike our other school projects; this project has a specific budget, a specific area/space that the green wall will be placed on, and other limitations. While planning designs for this assignment, I felt a little restrained to what we were capable of doing. Through this “Green Wall” assignment, I have experienced a little of what it is like to be an architect and to design real structures for buildings. I can’t say I like it very much.

The Finished Cabin Model 2

For the site plan of the cabin, I used a large board of wood with a big piece of foam that I got from my dad from his workplace. The foam was covered with some green cloth that I found around my house. The intention of the foam was to let me pluck in small trees into the foam, as it was very difficult to glue/tape on the tiny trees. A river was made from an Aeropostal bag (as I couldn’t find anything blue to put on), and the wind-turbine generator was made from paper/Bristol board.

The following explains about how I made the insides of my model:

For the windows, I cut out small sheets of plastic and then taped them within the inner walls of the cabin with duct tape. I then covered the inner walls with white paper, which helped hide the duct tape and the cardboard. For other parts of the cabin (including the rocket stove and the bathroom) I pieced together some cardboard using a glue gun and then covered them with white paper to hide the zig-zag patterns of the cardboard. For the doors and the ladder, I used some leftover balsa wood from my classmates and then glued them on wherever I needed them. For the foundation, I used four small pieces of wood to elevate the cabin.

Here are some more pictures of the cabin:



The Finished Cabin Model

I’ve finally finished my final cabin model! The cabin turned out better than I expected. Here’s a brief summary of how the construction went:

Since I used cardboard to make the walls of my cabin, I had some problems painting it with watercolours, as the paint wasn’t very visible (I could still see the Cheerios logo in the background from where I got the box from). As a result, I decided to cover the cardboard with white paper and then paint over it. This, however, caused to the paper to get really soggy and sometimes rip, so I had to tear off the white paper. Now that I think about it; this idea could have worked a lot better if I were to just use a thicker type of paper – one used especially for water colouring, or if I used a different kind of paint, like the paint used to paint walls. Instead, I thought of a much worse idea by covering the cardboard with drywall compound to help make the paint stick on it more easily (The actual use of drywall compound is to stick sheets of drywall together like a type of plaster or mud). In the end, the drywall compound caused the cardboard walls to curve slightly once it dried. Also, it caused some of the drywall to peel off and/or crack; thus revealing the cardboard within the cabin (in which I had to fix after); although this was probably due to my limited skills in using drywall compound, as the drywall compound appeared really bumpy in texture and had an uneven coating. When I glued every piece together, the four outer walls looked better than I expected (what I expected was having large ovular gaps between each corner in which the walls were glued together; however the walls stayed together appropriately due to the strength of the glue from the glue gun). All in all, I would advise planning your steps beforehand using project management to reduce the workload to yourself and to increase efficiency while working. Here’s a document I found on Google about the basis of Project Management:

For the roof of the cabin, I also used cardboard. I cut out the pieces of the cardboard according to the measurements made on AutoCad, and then pieced them together. I then covered the roof with cut out strips of black Bristol board to make the shingles look more realistic. I then added shish-kabob skewers within the roof to act as roof trusses (I don’t have any pictures of that now, but I’ll include them in my next post).

As for what I learned about the process of model-building; I find it quite relaxing and fun to do. Looking at my final product, I feel as if though I’ve accomplished a great goal in my life. Modelling the building allowed me to gain a betterĀ  idea about what it was that I was trying to build. While constructing the cabin, I’ve discovered several problems about my design (such as having a roof that was too small to fit a rain barrel within it); hence through modelling I was able to improve my design aesthetically and structurally. In addition, I found it frustrating to work with such small pieces in the cabin; so I guess model-building also requires a lot of patience and diligence.

Here’s a picture of the cabin:

I'll be sure to take more pictures after. The angle on this one's not the best, and the flash makes it look not-as-good

I’ll be sure to take more pictures after. The angle on this one’s not the best, and the flash makes it look not-as-good

AutoCad and Cabin Designing

After sketching the drawings on paper, I had to show my ideas on AutoCad in order to get the proper measurements for my design. This is done so that the construction of the model will be more precise/easier to make. Of course, the measurements are to scale to show inches and feet- architectural measurements.

For the drawings on AutoCad, I need to show everything from a birds-eye view; showing the first and second floors of my cabin. Also, elevations are required to show the side/front of the cabin. In addition, I will include a site plan to show what’s happening around my cabin (to include a river, some rocks, my pico-hydro and wind turbine generators and more).

I didn’t include many hatches to the AutoCad drawing (in AutoCad, hatching is used to add a texture/design to a closed shape). This was so that I wouldn’t get confused/distracted by my design. This also makes my design look really simple; which is good in that it gives me a better understanding of what I’m building, but bad in that the AutoCad design itself looks unappealing.

AutoCad 2007

Pictures of my Cabin

They’re definitely not the best drawings, but I’d say that it’s a good start. These are a few of the sketches I made of my cabin:


Going back to my “Functions of a Cabin (and any other house)” post, now I need to design a rustic-looking cabin that includes all the functions that I’ve talked about (volumetric space design, energy systems, water systems, waste management systems and climate control system). To “design” means that I just have to draw out the cabin from different views (inner, outer, site plan…) and write out a bill of materials for all the things that I’m using for the cabin, including a rocket stove, which was explained in my “Rocket Stove to the Sky” post. I’ve already done all of that, though, and I will be posting pictures later of some of my drawings/bill of materials. NOW, I have to make a model of my cabin that I’ve been designing.

For the cabin, I chose to use cardboard to make all my outer/inner walls (although balsa wood would have worked much better) I got the cardboard from No Frills for free, and I’ve already covered most of it with white printing paper to be painted over, later on. My foundation is just a large wooden plank and my site plan (including trees and a river) consists of items that I got from dollar shop (Christmas decorations). I haven’t completed the cabin yet, but I’ll be sure to post pictures of it when I’m done.

Anyways, here are some pictures of other people’s professional-looking models: