Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Final Fountain of the liquid stone (Ornamental cards and plan)

I had summitted the project for Water Index,
and I have included these 2 new drawings : the ornament cards and plan, in which I planned to do during the last semester.

Ornament artifact cards

Plan of the project

Friday, May 10, 2013

Final Fountain of the liquid stone (Beta)

Manifesto :

Water, the driving force in nature,
 a source of life,
a source of myth,
a foundation of human life
inseparable from faith

Water in Hinduism is a significant ritual medium.. It has a power to purify one’s soul. By bathing at the sacred river, lake or ocean, one lifetime‘s sin could be omitted. It also has a power to unite people together. In Kumbh Mela, the largest human gathering on earth, more than 30 million people gather here every 12 years to take a dip at Ganges River, Indian River of life.

Water, in an urban environment, flows through city’s infrastructure in various shapes and logics to the city inhabitants. Pipe system is equivalent to our blood vessel that keeps the city alive; fire hydrant is an object to ensure the city’s fire safety, water bottle has been manufactured to ensure a cities’ water supply. With this type of containers, people can access to more natural or pure water sources around the world. Water becomes a valuable resource and it is expensive.

Architecture has performed its role as both spiritual and practical purposes. In religious, architecture is an embodiment of God through massive structure, ornamented wall, scared column, divine artifacts, and holy water fountain. In Hinduism, believers are speaking to architecture, and non-believers are overwhelmed by this unique experience. In pragmatic world, architecture serves through network of pipe infrastructure providing supports and feeding the city.

Fountain of the Liquid stone has brought architecture to life; it is breathing, groaning, sweating, shivering, singing, chanting, praying, greeting and talking to you. It is a drinking fountain, a street cleaning machine, a heat and cold generator and most importantly a space for Hindu spiritual practice.

VDO presentation :


URBOTIZEN from oyoiko on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Final : Animistic Urbanism - The Synthesis Between Human Empathy and Human Creations

 Interaction humans have with inanimate objects.

Main Isometric view of the overall project showing different forms of donation along Ladder Street

Section View showing sacred boundary inside each phase of Shinto shrine representation

Note : I really want to complete the project to a satisfactory level but I really have to be out of town for the weekend. I will come back to update this post as soon as possible.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Final : Avatars of the Diasporic Plateau or Hong kong's Interactive Dome for Public Intelligence.

Avatars of the DIasporic Plateau or Hong Kong's Interactive Dome for Public Intelligence. from Varis Niwatsakul on Vimeo.

Above : Final Video Presentation

Isonometric Illustration of the project, Avatars of the Diasporic Plateau or Hong Kong's Interactive Dne for Public Intelligence, illustrates scenarios of human activation and occupation of the space within, around, and beyond the project.

Sunday, April 28, 2013


Section drawing, illustrate the atmosphere of the space during the Holi festival

The Redline is the future additional pipes and water tanks.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Ornamental Plate

Texture Mapping on Street Nozzle
using lotus flower patterns

Working on Main ISO

Master Iso + Detailed Scenarios

Hong Kong's Interactive Dome for Public Intelligence.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Manifesto Update

The Eye Line of Mind

Living in a big city allows us to have a better quality of life and to have more opportunities to do things. However, as the city grows, the more things happen and many of them wants our attention, therefore they start to compete each other for example, commercial signs, street signs and people. When there is a lot of things happen at the some time, our mind is pulled in to many direction and makes us feel distracted and overwhelmed.

A lot of people who lives in the city become materialists, with all the things that make their lives more convenient or brand name stuffs that allow them to have better appearance, which they become adhere to those.

Zen Buddhism beliefs that in order to be free from suffer is to reach the state of awakening by meditation, which we just simply holding attention on something can make our mind starts to settle down and become still. When our mind become peaceful, we start to aware of our presence, observe the surroundings and understand the rule of nature that everything is constantly changing, therefore, nothing is permanent.

Hong Kong is considered to be a chaotic city, where there are so many things happen at the same time, it needs to be extremely outstanding in order to get attention. And together with Hogarth’s theory of Beauty, that our eyes pursue the curvy lines, can attracts our attention on an object in such a cluttered atmosphere.

The Eye Line of Mind brought a new method of experiencing the idea of still mind and the notion of impermanence as people can still continue on their daily life. The idea of still mind is brought by our attention that is attracted by the operation of a robot arm. And the idea of impermanence will be recognized through the architecture that is always changing and the irregular shape of the material used.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Manifesto - Animistic Urbanism


Animistic Urbanism

The Synthesis of Human Empathy and Our Creations

From Vitruvius to the medieval church, Mousgoum compounds in Cameron to Sepik houses in Papua New Guinea, architectural designs around the globe has proven that humans, no matter which racial or cultural background, have an inborn desire to anthropomorphize everything. We want to put a human characteristics on everything and be able to relate to everything as if they are a member among the living. 

Anthropomorphism in architecture is a rather enigmatic phenomenon that runs like a thread through human history from the very beginning to the modern world. Appearing in a great variety, it can be expressed quite obviously or rather restrained, it can appear clearly enunciated or an unconscious instinct. Overall, it is safe to say that every designs in this world has been designed based on human attributes and human needs alone and nothing else.

This fact is not surprising since all of us were taught to believe in Animism, one of the world's oldest beliefs, with its origin dating back to the Paleolithic Age . Animism in the broadest sense, is thinking of objects as animate, and treating them as if they were alive and has a mind of its own. This idea was near-universal, with scholars defining animism as "a general belief in spiritual beings and considered it a minimum definition of religion." All religions from the simplest to the most complex shared some sort of animistic beliefs.

The justification for attributing life to objects was stated by David Hume in his Natural History of Religion (Section III): "There is a universal tendency among mankind to conceive all beings like themselves, and to transfer to every object those qualities with which they are familiarly acquainted, and of which they are intimately conscious."

Even the concept as intangible as gods and deities get anthropomorphizes in animist beliefs and that we are able to communicate with the holy spirits residing in nature. This idea evokes the ability in humans to have empathetic feeling towards inanimate objects and encourages us, as the creator of the materialistic world, to provide a place for spirits to inhabit, especially in the form of an architecture. In 1886, Heinrich Wolfflin applied a theory of empathy to architecture in his doctoral dissertation "Prolegomena to a Psychology of Architecture", which sought to account for the expression of 'mood' in architectonic forms to heighten the human's empathetic ability. However Wolfflin's reasoning goes beyond the notion of projecting emotions into forms. He suggests that an object can possess a life of its own and speaks of how matter must be overcome in order that the potential inherent in matter, its self determination, may be realized.

Animistic Urbanism explores the concept of human's natural instinct to relate to our world through design of human-based attributes by inserting "life" or human characteristics to an inanimate objects in order to increase human empathy and the levels of interaction people have with inanimate objects surrounding them and purpose a form of worship of an animist belief into these objects. By doing so, not only do we increase the human understanding towards those objects which will eventually promotes them to function to their full potential but also increase the compassion we have towards those objects as well. Ultimately, if everyone care for everything they came across, the world would be a better place.

Final Presentation Video : The Script

(The script will includes details from the above manifesto then continue on to talk about the Japanese animist belief in detail)

Shinto, the traditional religion of Japan, is highly animistic and one of the rare religion with this kind of beliefs that survived. In Shinto, spirits of nature or Kami are believed to exist everywhere, from the major ( such as the goddess of the sun, the lightning god or the god of the sea) which can be considered polytheistic, to the minor, which are more likely to be seen with naked eyes.

Japan is exposed to this belief and was promoted highly as national religion since ancient times until it is embed in the core of the Japanese people mindset. Even in modern times, you can still see the idea of this religion peeking out through numerous mediums in Japan, for example, traffic signs with emotions, movies with Shinto subtext, or a rock that talks. The Japanese people are being constantly reminded of the root of Shinto through their daily life.

Introduction to Shinto

As stated before, the spirits that are possessing an object (or a natural phenomena) are called Kami. They are not god per se but they are divine being that can either be good or bad. Kami that are considered the most important and significant that Japanese people pray to are representation of nature such as the sun goddess, amaterasu, the wind god, sunasoo, the sea god, and so on.

The life of Japanese people are bounded highly to the Kami. As a baby, you will be brought to a shrine by your parent to ask the Kami for protection. The baby will be force to cry so that the sound will attract the spirit to take notice. Japanese people also have an obligations to go to shrine once bounded by the Kami every given year. At  age 3, 5, 7(Shichigosan), 20 years old (seijinsai), 19, 25, 33, 42 (Yakudoshi) they must pay homage to their tutelary god, expressing their gratitude for their life so far and pray to grow up healthy and strong.

Different shrines in different parts of Japan are also dedicated to a specific Kami depending on the geography and hence making its architectural structure slightly different. It is divided into 6 main types of architecture, The famous Ise shrine is dedicated to the Sun goddess, Inari shrine is dedicated to the God of Agriculture, Izumo shrine is dedicated to the God of Marriage, Kasuga shrine to the God of Mountain, Usa shrine to the God of Warrior, and Kamo shrine to the God of River.

The Shinto Shrine

Even though their geography and the style may be different, the architectural arrangement of a shrine is fairly the same throughout Japan. I chose to look closer at the structure Kasuga Taisha Shrine and its mountain surrounding to see the layout of a typical Shinto shrine.

First, you must pass through a gate called Torii which marks the entrance to a sacred area from the profane. A shrine may have any number of torii made of wood, stone, metal, concrete or any other material as long as they form a similar appearance. Secondly, you must ascend to a higher ground with stone staircase, no matter the geography, a shrine will always be situated above normal ground. You will encounter a water bath, before entering the shrine, visitors are supposed to wash their hands and mouths at this fountain to purify yourself. Then, you must walk a long path before actually reaching the shrine, the parking lot that's placed far away from the shrine makes sure you walk a considerable amount before entering. Finally, you will reach the gate entering the shrine with a Koma Inu, a guardian guarding the gate.

Activities inside the Shrine

There are several activities that go on inside the shrine. Upon entering the shrine you will see a donation box that you donate your money for good luck. There is a central courtyard dedicated as a performing space with ceremonial music playing on important days and festivals. On the innermost or the main shrine, people will be coming to pay respect to a specific Kami. You simply have to make a donation, ring a bell then clap 3 times to make a sound to call upon the Kami and pray.

Main Concept

As you can see, the concept of having an interaction with inanimate objects as if it was alive (calling the spirits, donating to the gods, or having a guardian guarding the gate) and the concept of purification and security (Torii gate, and the fountain) are highly apparent. For my thesis project, I would like to work on increasing the interaction humans have with the objects they see daily throughout the cityscape and bring in an abstract interpretation of the overall shrine layout to let people experience the process they go through whilst entering a Shinto shrine.

Hence, I'm creating a path where people acknowledge the existence of objects around them by inputting communicative possibilities that people can have with these objects while also experiencing the essence of a Shinto shrine as they are walking through.

Project Location and Proposal
The site that the project is going to be placed is a staircase situated among Hollywood road and Queen's road which is considered a main road where high traffic passes through each day. The site is ideal for my project as it contains:

1. Many actors / street furniture that I can use
2. The site ascends to a famous pilgrimage for Hong Kong people and tourists, Man Mo temple which makes it a spiritual path that people must go through before reaching the temple.
3. The site is not a continuous staircase but rather divided into many different horizontal planes which will mark a clear distinction between each phases people go through in a Shinto shrine.

Notable street furniture in the site are as follow :
 - Street Light
- Electric Pole
- A/C unit
- Trash Can
- Street Bench
- Pot Plant

The street furniture is being assigned as a representation to a specific Kami respective to its function and application. For example, the electrical pole and street light will be a representation of a lightning Kami, Raijin.

So how can we achieve empathy for these furnitures? By anthromorphizing, giving these furnitures human characteristics, body language movement, and communicative behavior of course. However, moving this many objects at once require a considerable amount of electrical power, so not only will these objects move and react but it will garner energy back in return through energy harvesting device.

This can be seen as having a direct relationship with the process of donation in a Shinto shrine.

Praying to a specific Kami Honden = Choosing a specific form of donation
Making a donation = Donating your energy
Making a sound to call upon the Kami = The sound caused as a reaction to your donation
Pray = Pray

Therefore, not only each furniture will be assigned a specific Kami element but also a different form of energy harvesting as well. *sound introduction here*

As stated earlier, the electrical pole and street light are represented by Raijin, the lightning god. Inside the pole, an electrostatic energy harvesting device will be installed and you simply have to rub this device back and forth to make a donation.

The public bench, a thermoelectric conversion material will be installed so that your body heat can be harvested when you sit. Hence, this furniture represent the god of the Sun, Amaterasu.

You can also water the plant by bringing a water bottle with you and pour the water down at a designated place so it can flow through the tube and activate a water turbine which will water the plant and generate electricity. This form of donation is paying respect to Inari, the god of agriculture.

Near the A/C unit, a small wind turbine will be installed so that not only the users walking through the site is part of the project but the residents around can make a donation as well. This action is a form of paying respect to the wind god, Fujin.

However, the site will be using a fair amount of energy in order to operate so just the way of harvesting energy listed above will not be enough. That is why the project needs a constant energy or an involuntary energy donation as well.

That is the job of piezoelectric panels installed on the ground : Plenty of people walk through the site all day, with the help of Man Mo temple being a tourist spot. A piezoelectric panels can be installed along the path to collect all the energy needed to keep the site alive.

Energy conversion : To give a little bit of idea, let's compare the amount of footsteps to what we're familiar to.

1 footstep can provide enough electrical current to light two 60-watt LED bulbs for 1 second
20,000 footsteps (approximately) can power the skytrain for 1 second

Fortunately, the site is a spot where people chose to walk up and down every day, have plenty of activity going on and also with the help of Man Mo temple, the staircases are usually packed with people walking by and merchants selling religious items.

The amount of human flow rate (assuming 1 person can complete walking through the site in 1 minute and that there's at least 1 new person every minute) The information is derived from deep observation at the site:

People in the morning (9:00 - 12:00) : 30 people / minute
People in the afternoon (12:00 - 15:00) : 40 people / minute
People in the evening (16:00 - 19:00) : 10 people / minute
People at night (20:00 - 23:00) : 2 people / minute
People at dawn (4:00 - 7:00) : 4 people / minute

The amount of footsteps to complete the site (assuming 1 footstep covers 1 meter in x axis direction and 1 stair rise) = 113

That means that on the range of 3 hours in the afternoon we can gather as much as 813,600 footsteps, enough to light an LED bulb for226 hours.

The site will be divided into four main phases,

1. The Threshold marking the entrance of a sacred space and creating a clear boundary from the profane.
2. The Purification phase where you have interaction with water as a form of drinking or cleaning.
3. The Main Shrine, or the energy core where energy will be stored
4. The Sando, or the path to the shrine which will be surrounded by nature.

Monday, April 15, 2013

ROBO-MIND: manifesto+description



Nowadays, many people are living is a rush and hectic life which leads people to be forgetful of the present; their mind is caught in worries, fears, anger and regrets and that makes them suffer. Zen Buddhism beliefs that in order to be free from suffer is to reach the state of awakening by using meditation as the method to induce the mode of still mind.

Robo-mind is a project that attempts to emphasize people’s experience on the idea of still mind and impermanence through the operation of a robotic arm in a very chaotic condition of Hong Kong. In order to encounter the experience of still mind, Zen meditation will be used as the method, which is a meditation practice by focusing our attention on an object to induce a mode of consciousness. The movement of the robotic arm is very delicate and precise by the accord of Hogarth’s Theory of Beauty that our eyes pursue curvy lines and variety, which can also be found in the sequences of tea ceremony and Canadarm2. The arm will perform the creation of modular structures from leftover bamboo in order to accommodate Hong Kong condition. Each module will have a heat collector that collects heat and transform into electricity that generate LED light at night. During the day, the structure will be assembled together according to sunlight to collect heat and also to perform as a shading device which can be dismantled and reassembled as an extended gathering space. In the evening, each modular will also give out light for the walkway. Every time the robot arm grabs the module, the grabber drills holes into the bamboo to leave marks. The more it moves, the more holes it has, therefore, more light will be given out to the walkway, but at one point when there are too many holes that the structure become fragile and can not serve as the structure, it will be burn. The structure can be dismantled, it changes every time there are adjustments, the shade and shadow changes all the time according to the sunlight. the LED light can last until morning, and when the structure become fragile and burn down these scenarios imply the notion of impermanence.