Digital modelling in lockdown

Marissa is in her third year studying the Bachelor of Design, majoring in Architecture, minoring in Urban Planning, and completing the Towards Practise Specialisation. We caught up with her to see how she has transitioned to online learning throughout lockdown.

Construction models
Which subjects did you study in Semester 1, 2020?

During Semester One I studied Construction Design, Design Studio Delta and Planning Scenario and Policy Workshop.

Usually students are required to build physical models for the Construction Design subject. How did this translate to online learning?

The digital learning experience in Construction Design has been very successful for the main three assignments. All students had the option to transition from physically modelling the Case Study Building to digitally modelling it instead. Although producing a physical model for this subject is a great memento, I personally found digitally modelling was far more time efficient.

Physical modelling is definitely a great skill to have, but I also believe that for the scale and breadth of these assignments, digital modelling has allowed me to experiment and trial different ideas which would have been too time consuming if I were creating a physical model. Given the circumstances, I applaud the subject coordinators and tutors in making this decision and giving the students an equal opportunity to complete the assignments fairly.

What programmes did you use to create your Construction Design projects?

For Construction Design I used Rhino, a modelling software, to complete assignments 1-3. This software enables great accuracy in measurements and angles, as you translate information directly from the drawing schedules.

Assignment 3 model
Did you need to upskill with any new programmes or get specific help from your tutors to help you get your projects finished?

In the past I have heavily relied on the services of the MSD to help me through the design process, whether it be test printing, scanning at high resolution or using the light boxes for hand drawing. During this semester, like many people, I have had to work solely off my laptop which has had its advantages and disadvantages. I do feel even more skilled in programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator, as I have been working in these programs to closely replicate my usual drawing style.

Additionally, I have highly benefited from investing in new technology to assist myself such as a stylus for my laptop. I also know that there are various stylus and pad packages you can buy for computers to make freehand drawing much easier. As someone who likes to hand draw vignettes and diagrams, using a stylus with my laptop proved to be very useful.

How have you found the online learning experience for your other subjects?

The online learning has naturally worked best with subjects that are theory based. I felt as though my Urban Planning subject was least affected by the transition to online learning because the Zoom tutorials worked just as effectively, if not more, than the in-person ones.

In Design Studio Delta we were lucky enough to be introduced to an amazing new website that allows Studios to upload 3D and 2D work in a virtual pin up space, this website is called @Studio. We use this virtual space during our weekly Studio classes to view our peers’ work progress and receive feedback. Essentially, it is an empty room you can fill with your 3D model, any drawings you have been working on, prototype forms, etc, that any member of your studio can view and interact with. We also use this website for our final presentations where each student can curate the space in any way they wish, for example, you can attach your pin up panels to walls in your building, encouraging the participants to have a tour of the space while they view your work, all from the comfort of your desk at home!

Assignment 3 detail

Do you have any tips for other students which have helped you during lockdown?

No doubt, I have personally found it challenging to work to the best of my ability in these new conditions. However, during university life, working in a workplace and even life in general, it is so important to have the ability to adapt and change as the environment around you inevitably changes.

Personally, the past semester has been a fantastic opportunity for me to pursue my hobbies outside of university that I would not usually have time for, such as fitness, painting, and cooking. It is a great time also to upskill and learn something new. These sorts of activities are great for mental health and exercising your mind outside of stressful studies.

In terms of involvement in university tutorials and lectures, I would recommend to not only attend these consistently but also participate and interact where you can. I have found it easier and more inviting to respond with an answer to a question during a lecture via Zoom sitting at my desk, than I do sitting in a crowded lecture theatre, and same goes for studios and tutorials.

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