Wooden Constraints
Three 4 week projects working under varying constraints
To explore working under constraints in my first year of university I was assigned three projects with varying constraints to test my creative problem solving and design skills. Although these projects are not without their faults they were the first objects of which I designed and created. Each project encapsulates a special memory of my first year at university and symbolizes my growth as a designer
Constraint one. User needs.
After being assigned a Hairy Woodpecker I was tasked with designing and building a birdhouse tailored to the specific needs of this species. An additional constraint was to decide how I will divide the importance of the consumer purchasing the birdhouse between the needs of the bird living in the house.
A Hairy Woodpecker spotted outside of Iowa State's studio two years after designing this birdhouse.
An extremely frightening first time using a lathe.
So ugly they're cute models.
Foot ledge.
A traditional foot peg was not able to be used due to the ability of predators to use these to gain access to the Woodpeckers home. Instead, a groove was cut around the home to allow a place for the bird to both rest and communicate through its iconic knocking.
Photos by Graham Gardner / www.grahamgardner.co
Constraint two. Limited material and no adhesion.
The task was to design a toy using one material and rubber bands without the use of adhesives. This project was particularly difficult for me and took a great deal of time to find a direction I was happy with. The use of rapid model making helped me achieve a functional final product.
Pull to play.
Using a pull tab located under the tail of the snake the user can transform the snake into an attack position for interactive play.
Photos by Graham Gardner / www.grahamgardner.co
Constraint three. Weight bearing flat pack using low-quality materials, and no adhesion.
For my final project of the semester, I was assigned to build a flat pack table, stool, or shelf. In addition to not being able to use adhesives, pine 1x2's was the only allowed material. However, If the design could be enhanced with the introduction of an additional material an instructor could approve its use. I was allowed to use paracord for my chair.
Models, models, and more models.
I ran through a lot of models (and money) attempting to build this chair. Partly due to exploration of material and partly due to poor planning. This exploration of model making was a big growing point for me as a designer.
Grooves were cut to allow the chair to lay flat.
Not aesthetically pleasing in retrospect, but very useful.

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