When we began to move into the ideation process, we decided that the six of us should pitch initial concepts as individuals to one another. This would allow us to not only create more options but allow us to collaborate, combine, and improve the depth of the concepts for solutions. After presenting our rough ideas, we found several trends in the group’s train of thought:
- An installation to alter the structure of the building
- A visual feedback as a short-term solution that informed the teachers and students of the class’s noise level
- Repurpose the classroom space to accommodate the real needs of the students
- Focusing the scheduling of the classes conducive for noise together to avoid interrupting lecture classes
After identifying these four thresholds for design, we split into two groups that each explored two of the four concepts. Fujie, Neale, and I took on the task of designing installation solutions for the classroom, and Brennen, Monique, and Regina focused on the repurpose and scheduling concepts for the classroom space. With this amount of exploration, we would allow ourselves enough time and manpower to adequately explore a few ideas as solutions to the impeded focus level in the 140’s classroom space.
From this point on this post focuses on the installation solution perspective created by Fujie, Neale, and myself.
We began by taking measurements of the room. Often you hear students complain that they will never use math, but aside from measurements and proportions, we found ourselves using Pythagorean Theorem and Inverse Cosine to surmise the missing lengths, and angles we could not ascertain with simple measuring tape. We prototyped three or four different approaches to the installation.
Neale designed essentially a vertical sliding wall that was a white board to not only address the disruptive noise in the space, but also expand on the lack of whiteboard space for the students to work.
Fujie designed a prototype (not pictured), constructed of interlocking waves that, within the arc of a skeleton, worked to contain the noise within the classroom.
I designed two prototypes. The first was a double arched “cap” that locked onto the separating walls between classes and, with insulation of felt padding behind a curved skeleton of hexagonal shapes, could be raised and lowered per the discretion of anyone in the classroom. The second prototype offered the same idea in a more linear and literal presentation. Taking a part a folding blind, and reattached to an actual blind mechanism, Fujie and me were able, with a guiding track, to create a successful prototype that could be raised and lowered in response to unwanted noise. Although the prototype was manually operated, the intent kept in mind was that the actions of pushing and pulling could be automated with an Arduino.
This process of creating larger, life-size scale models, would prove to be quite useful in realizing that a great deal of low-fidelity development needed to happen before creating full scale models. Also, per the recommendation of our professor, we decided we should focus more on an installation that reacted to noise, versus just putting a “hat” on the top of every classroom.