Carolinemariegriffin's Blog

my life as an Interior Architecture and Design student

london trip 5.3.2010

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I decided to take a trip to London to find some inspiration from the hundreds of museums there. I started with a list of about 20 places I wanted to visit including the southbank centre the theatre museum and the Imax. However as it is London I only managed to get around 3 places however they gave me a lot of inspiration and really got the creative juices flowing again after hitting a bit of a brick wall with my enthusiasm and ideas for the project.

First was the design museum:

The use of lighting to highlight the emergency exit on the right. Also the use of creating an intimate viewing space for a specific piece of work.

The use of a box style enclosure for the installation to create a darker area than that of the main space to enhance the light of the installation.

the use of a rigging and spotlight effect creates an atmospheric lighting within the space which is at the appropriate levels. This is something i want to use within my scheme.

The projection from the projector pictured in the photograph above. This gives me an idea of how my projections would look and what the basic lighting needs to be in order to make the projections visable. It also gives me an idea of how far away the projector needs to be to make the image a certain size.

Another use of the boxing in of an installation to close in the lighting effect, and in this case fully display the lighting effects the installation provides.

small areas of the wall removed in specific shapes to create a link with the activities on the other side of the wall

Another partition this time with a translucent element to it.

Next I went to city hall, although all the pictures are from the outside as you are not allowed to take pictures inside. I was thinking about putting a ramp into my building in order to be able to watch projections while moving between floors, it may or may not be a possibility depending on the gradient of the ramp in comparison to the space i have. Unfortunately my camera is broken and these photos have not come out very well.

a photograph of the interior ramps from the exterior

the ramps at city hall that circle the building.

the ramps are the main feature of the exterior.

Last but not least I took a trip to the Tate Modern gallery, whilst not a museum it is a interesting building in itself and it is exhibiting a large installation piece at the moment concerning light and dark by Miroslaw Balka. This meant that the turbine hall had to be very dark which meant some inspiration  could be taken from the space, as well as from the other areas of the gallery.

Using escallators might be a possibility for my vertical access in my scheme, i also like the lighting effect used here.

the entrance to the installation piece in the main turbine hall.


the view from the end of installation.

The relationship between the stairs and the lowe floor is something I want to replicate within my space

the difference in the lighting between the two rooms is shown through these translucent walls, without making the space too light.

I think this trip has given me a lot of inspiration. I also bought the lastest copies of mark and frame at the design museum and reading through these on the train home has given me inspiration as well. I think the trip was more than worth while.

Written by carolinemariegriffin

March 8, 2010 at 11:10 pm

The architecture of happiness and the perfect home, dissertation expansion

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I happened to come across a program entitled “The perfect home” on channel 4. Being a sucker for television that is home related i watched it, but was surprised by its intellectuality and also its relevance to my dissertation, bringing a whole new aspect to it.

alain de botton

It’s by Alain De Botton, as it basicalyy challenges the “pastiche” of current homes being build in a mock historical style, and why more contemporary style houses are not being built in this coutry. It surveys public opinion on why Modern buildings don’t fit in and challenges the idea that a contemporary style timber framed extension is not more true to a tudor timber framed house than a mock tudor style created from bricks and mortar

I have ordered the book that the program is based on entitled “The Architecture of Happiness” and will look into the progame further once i have to book to correspond to it. I will also go through some of the notes i made.

the architecture of happiness cover

Written by carolinemariegriffin

August 17, 2009 at 8:48 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Work trip to Oxford- dissertation photos

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I went back to my home town of Oxford for a trip with Marsh grochowski architects.  Here are some photos of buildings relevant to my dissertation.

oxfordoldnew This picture of the new Oxford Castle ‘unlocked’ gift shop. The ceiling is the wooden slats and the original wall is the stone work. The way the two contrasting materials seem not to touch shows a consideration for the preservation for the original stone, as well as creating a floating ceiling effect

oxfordoldnew (14)The view from the glass ceiling of the gidt shop to the main part of the castle. This is one of the most successful glass ceiling i’ve seen in the flesh, the look of delicacy to it from the uninterrupted glass is perfect to look up at the castle wall.

oxfordoldnew (13)

The exterior of the  gift shop as it attaches itself to the original wall. the glue in-between suggests no damage was made to the stonework.

oxfordoldnew (12)Another section of the glass roof in the gift shop as it meets the original wall. You can see that bits of the wall had to be taken out to insert the supporting glass, but the new stone has been matched as closely as possible to the existing, lime render was most probably.

oxfordoldnew (11)The front of the gift. It works well in the existing space between the two walls linking them together.

oxfordoldnew (10)The new building that houses the restaurants in the castle development attaches itself to the old through a point which looks like it was built for the specific purpose. It is comon for new additions to attach to the old via a small walkway, to create a link without being too obtrusive.

oxfordoldnew (9)

The glass ceiling doesnt interup the view of the old wall, although you can see some original stone is sacrificed to insert the supports into the wall

oxfordoldnew (7)A building next to the castle, here an older extensions inserts into a historic building, although in need of a clean, it is still aesthetically pleasing, although is is obviously trying to mimick certain aspects of the existing building to blend in.

oxfordoldnew (6)

oxfordoldnew (5)

Another glass ceiling, but this one less successful than the first. The big steels interupt the flow, and this one collects dirt and debris.

oxfordoldnew (1)

This is the inside of the new extension to the natural history and pitt rivers museum. I couldn’t get to see most of it as the new gallery isn’t open yet. Bit the idea of the new staircase fitting inside the existing rather than inserted through it gives it an uninterupted feel.  Shame about the big steel column though.

oxfordoldnew (3)

This is a picture of the outside of the pitt rivers/ natural history museum addition which is more of an insertion creating a join between the two buildings. This paticular example is very understated, simple but effective, in a practical but not nessessarily exciting way.

oxfordoldnew (4) Another view of the glas roof  from the 10th picture.

Written by carolinemariegriffin

August 12, 2009 at 9:09 pm

Leicester Art Gallery Model

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So This model was for a meeting with the clients to show them what the spaces would look like. there were a few changes to the plans i was working on during the model making process so a few things had to be changed ad hok but i think the result was really good. I think the pressure of it being for professional clients and for a professional business made me strive to do my best. It is by  far the best model and the most complicated so i am overall very pleased with the outcome.  Obviously I only take credit for making the model, the design, plans and elevations are by marshgrochowski architects

Ground Floor Front ElevationRear ElevationFirst floorRoof

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August 1, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Posted in Placement Work

Leicester Digital Media Centre Site Visit

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I was lucky enough to be invited to visit the site of the leicester digital media centre deisgned byt marsh grochowski, which is in its final stages. I waswent round with an architect from the practice and two building inspectors from the local authority to put together a snagging list.

Here are a few photos from the site, mainly from the outside as i dont want to show pictures of the inside until its been finished and open to the public.

It was really nice after years of just seeing designs on paper to see some thing bweing build physically. It was a really good expereince.

Photomontage- David Ajose 047



leicester dmc So its near completion, but here’s  the visual anyway, hopeful it will be done before I leave so I get to see it finished

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July 26, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Full render (render 2)

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Ok so here is my second render of the shopping centre. In the first render I only rendered key parts of the design but here ive rendered everything, aswell as changed a few things from the first render to improve the whole outcome. I think this has been pretty successful, however I think the overall image is slightly hindered by the fact that its a big white space, so many of the walls had to be rendered in a light grey and highlighted. Overall however I think both renders have been successful, and have helped me learn a lot more about photoshop and its finer details.

I may or may not do some more of these as Im away from Thursday till Monday and then ill be busy busy with my placement 🙂

shopping centre render full

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June 8, 2009 at 9:49 am

Photoshop rendering and pen drawing

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So I thought that I should put my drawing pens back to use and practice some perspective drawing and rendering as I haven’t done anything like that since my competition entry in October.  So I came up with a brief off the top of my head which was to create a more natural shopping centre experience.. so here is the original pen drawing.. I was going for a stylised roughness to some of the more organic shapes in it like the chairs and tables, which I think works quite well

shopping centre uncoloured

Now im experimenting with different ways of rendering it, and here is my first one

shopping centre render 1

There will be more to follow as I want to use different rendering techniques on the same drawing to compare them, I have found several rendering techniques I like, both hand drawn and done in photoshop, here are some of my favourites. Most of these examples are taken from final years on my course who are exhibiting their work at Nottingham Trent University and at free range.

rendering types

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June 4, 2009 at 1:48 pm

Progress update number 2

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I start my placement on the 16th of June so not long to go now, and i am going to be away celebrating my last few moments of freedom for some of the time i have left so realistically i only have  a couple of weeks left so I thought this would be the perfect time to do one last update on progress before my placement.

Original goals in black, progress update 1 in red and blue is progress update 2

1. Learn 3D maxx (when my laptop is finally fixed) My laptops still being fixed so no progress on this one. Well my laptop died a final death and I have got a new computer. I changed my mind on this one quite alot. After talking to one of my friends studying architecture at Trent, i decided Archicad would be a better option than 3d max as its more taylored to architectural work and therefore isnt as complicated a programme. With time passing pretty quickly and after getting a little frustrated with the archicad tutorials i was using that assumed a level of knowledge i didnt have, i decided for now i would concentrate on my improving my strength  of hand drawing and rendering for now.

2. Practice model making to smarten up my final outcome. Bought 2 modelling books, one useful one not so useful. Have already done one model as you can see in my earlier blog entry. Also got a few tips on some of the tools and glues ive been using, and what to use to give my models to give them a better finished look.  I have done some more modelling and am doing some more next week. I have managed to find a glue better than UHU which i found in a modelling shop, which is like a strong PVA especially for modelling, its less stringy and dries clear which has already improved my model making. Also i have reverted back to foam board. It may be more expensive and very fragile but produces a better looking model, and as long as your careful its alot easier to work with.

3. Visit Bimingham ( to do some shopping) and finally see the Selfridges building and the Birmingham Council house. Did this one as you can see by my earlier blog entry, didnt see the council house building though, but it was alot further away than i anticipated.

4. Attend an architect/interior design show… I am ‘not allowed’ to attend Eco/FutureBuild as im an independant student so i’m thinking of maybe the EDF ideal home show.  I am going to the ideal home show around April time as there was a greadeal with grand designs magazine, whereby if you subscribed to 12 issues for £20 and get a free ticket worth £18. Kind of a no brainer really. As you know from the earlier blog pasts i did do this one and got quite alot out of it, not only for the expereince but for some very good primary research for my dissertation.

5. Brush up my Photoshop skills and also learn Adobe Illustrator and Indesign.  Ive been watching some online tutorials for adobe Indesign, which are all uploaded on the software area of Now (which is Nottingham Trent Universities online workspace) They have actually taught me alot, but untill i get my laptop back I wont be able to do as much as i would have wanted as I only have my partners PC which he uses and a web book, which isnt powerful enough to have those kind of programmes installed. I am doing some photoshop rendering at the moment which i will put up when its finished. Thanks to a few quick pointers from my partner who is very good at these things. I am descovering really  cool features which will allow me to render my plans quickly and also add som personality to to them in a hand drawn effect.

6. To fully research my dissertation ready for 4th year.  I feel as though I have made some good progress on this one, I have found alot more examples to analyse and added the aspect of interior design and interiors to the debate. So the next part is the analysis and getting together some primary and secondary research. I already have some book references that i will put up here, so that will be next on the list. Have done well on this one, got loads of useful books, got my primary research, and have even started writing it! Definatly on track with this one, want to get as much of this done as possible before 4th year, and will probably keep working on this one through my placement on evenings and weekends.

7. Enter another competition? Not sure I have time for this one but I shall have to wait and see. I also have to find a competition that is right for me to enter. I have subscribed to a few blogs and regularly check the RIBA website, so this one is subject to those things. Definatly don’t have time with this one, however have enetered in my last competition entry into the Northern design awards.

8. Keep track of this blog obviously. Well im definatly doing that! This blog is very useful for keeping track of everything. It also means im never going to loose a book reference or a photograph, as all my stuff is on two computers at the moment untill I get my laptop back.

9. Keep updating my online portfolio ( Have added some model pictures already and I have a few more things to add to it at a later date.

Written by carolinemariegriffin

May 14, 2009 at 11:47 am

Posted in General Goings on

Autocad 09 brush up

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I haven’t used Autocad  since my last placement which ended in October 08, I have also never used Autocad 09 which if had a completly different looking interface.  It also took my  pretty much a whole day to change the setting to get it how i am used to working with it. Considering that during my placement it was already set up when i started there, it took me ages to chnage the snap variants and the crosshair size and things like that.  So after a day wasted trying to sort all that out, I again made something totally from out of my head, (I’m going on holiday next week so maybe that is where it came from,) but i also used this excercise to download some good symbols and to get their scale right for future work. Having said that considering that it was a pretty much off the top of the head job, because i didnt want to waste time coming up with a whole scheme with precise measurements, once it was printed i did realise some of it was a little out of scale, so bearing that in mind here is my  drawing.

house and garden 1_Layout1

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May 5, 2009 at 11:20 am

Google sketch up practice

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Ok,  so it’s been a while since I used google sketchup so I decided to have a quick practice. This is what I’ve made, completely fictional but i think its OK, defiantly not a finished article but its a start.

view 1

view 2

view 3

view 4

Its meant to be a contemporary addition to a sculpture gallery, hence the sculptures, but i thought it would be good to add it to a real bulding using google earth or street view, to give it a context, but I fell at the hurdle on that one, and couldnt find anything on the net to help. I know you can add it onto real google earth, but its not a real building so it wouldnt be allowed. I also think it would be really useful for me to use in my fianl year, as my project is linked with my dissertation so it will involve adding an extensionto something. So if any one can impart some wisdom id be very grateful.

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April 30, 2009 at 12:54 pm

Posted in Personal work