Methods of AssemblyMethods of Assembly

Investigating Informal    Societal Participation

E Nest


So nest came out the new version of their product today and it was interesting to see the direction they took with it. I’d say it softens the modernism that most people think is cold sterile and and unfriendly to them. If the display is as capable of showing all the information details the current one does I too am convinced of preferring it over the previous one. But for me it seems to automatically cause me to recognize the previous design has become outdated and now feels as techie shiny and trying hard to let everyone be aware of it as something different when recognized on the wall.

Modern design has such a difficult time breaking through to most because of just how much had design has relied on the notion of modern to explain their decisions made while designing for someone that doesn’t exist and ultimately is a failure because of they were ignorant or just oblivious to those how will be using it and how it will be used.

Today something a bit softer, fuzzier and more approachable and feels better. to help further integrate technology into our lives.

Nest’s refined design introduced today answers the need for the physical component of their product to be warmer and feel more subtle feels like a good fit for its place within our homes. These aesthetics will continue to become the norm rather than the exception.

Nest’s design direction is an example the direction design of consumer goods will be headed en masse and gaining momentum as next forefront in this huge product field. I’d be curious to know how people like my brother and your parents might feel about the new design without prompting all about my observation above.

Youve probably stopped reading this by now. But they did lower the price quite a bit and now it’s only $169 compared to the previous price of $250 it was yesterday and the $400 I paid for my parents to have one immediately when it first came out and could only be found on eBay.

If you did sell it to them I think the video in the link is all that they would need to watch it’s very clever and very convincing.

It also says that it out over this period of time that all these nest thermostats been out there that they can prove that using the thermostat Save‘s customers something like 15% in heating and cooling costs which at this as a house that your parents have seems like it would be a significant savings and pay for itself so quickly it would almost be hard to honestly find a reason not to switch to an intelligent thermostat.

Excuse me Mr. Architect, I have a feature request

What if a architecture took on more of a software development style; watching as developers claymore over getting access to the latest beta version posted online, I imagine it would bring a dose of pleasure to each major push to get an update out the door. Contractors and the trade become plugins with a full set of APIs built into to the design. Major Design cycles become unattached to a specific context, individual client or visual appearance. Design becomes much deeper than a pretty skin able facade and takes place in the experience. (not a Vegas thin facade type of experience but an apple type of infused cultural experience )

Update frequency: 5 to 10 years between each major version release.

Designing Concierge Desks

I just finished working on a set of concierge desks for a Mall I have been responsible at work for a project in the middle east. We just hit 100% DD so I thought I would share my little contribution to the project. The challenge for me was to incorporate the design requirements with the multitude of design aesthetics already surrounding and within the central thoroughfare of the open mall pedestrian space. I primarily used Rhino, with a little bit of grasshopper to do the design with the final images being made in sketch up with vray.

Here are the three pages. Overall Im fairly pleased with the end result, especially the "center grotto" one. Remind you of another building? I think it will be interesting to see how morph into realization as each adapts to the hand of value engineering.

Regular Mail; A proposal for managing the Regular in life so you can stay focused on that thin layer of cream on top

About this Post;A quick design idea, that turned into a long description that resulted from some extra time and a full email inbox after a long day at work.

Product Title; Regular Email

Product Function; Email add-on (plug-in or cloud service) to help declutter the inbox automatically through organic behaviors.

The Problem; I receive emails from companies I receive services from, news i subscribe to, memberships, bank account updates and many other emails that quickly fill my inbox each day if I don't stay on top of them.

A Potential Solution; An additional system of behaviors that learn, react to emails that you receive on a regular basis. This system could be a plug-in feature in your email program of choice or a cloud based service that acts as a personal assistant to managing your inbox.

How it Functions; At the most basic level, the system would recognize the difference between the different types of emails you receive and begin to recognize the ones that you receive on a regular basis that are generally always the same format and get sent as a constant stream all over the world vs ones that are direct communication between two people that are each unique. The unique, personal emails, would remain in the inbox, untouched, waiting to be read and manually moved, archived, deleted or left in the inbox the same as it does now. The scheduled, predictable, anonymous, regularized emails would, after being detected as a Regular Email would be tagged by the system as such and begin to be influenced and managed by behaviors setup within the Regular Email service. When reading the Regular Email an additional toolbar would appear along the top edge of the message with options on how to handle this type of email in the future so that it does not becoming clutter in the inbox after it has served it's intended purpose of potentially providing communication.

For Example; To describe how this might work, I choose an email in my inbox that I receive daily, an updated account balance for my bank account. An email like this can quickly clutter an inbox as the email is not ever responded to, rarely acted upon, often outdated within hours and is unneeded after being read the first time. Alternatively I could manually check my account balance myself using a separate app or online but I could go days without ever actually logging in to my account which requires minutes to complete the process rather than seconds when checking the account update through email.

Potential Behaviors within the Regular Mail service; I see at least three options on how to handle this email from Bank of America about my daily balance:

Option 1. King if the Mountain Behavior: Daily, Weekly email is replaced by most recent "edition" resides in the inbox. Each time an updated email arrives, the older email is moved to archive to allow for only the most recent version of the particular email subscription to reside in the inbox. Action: Move the email to archive once the next email from Bank of America is received the next morning.

Option 2. Fruit Fly Behavior: Fixed lifespan measured in days, if not hours. Action: Move the email to archive after it has been in my inbox for a predetermined amount of time (I know the email is generally sent at about 5-6am so I would choose for it to have it continue to live for 6 hours each day before being killed off into the trash or archive)

Option 3. Toothpick Behavior: use as needed, discard immediately after Action: Start timer once the message has been opened, after being read for at least 5 seconds the message becomes marked as old news, after the reader has moved onto the next email and has not returned to the previous email in the past 90 seconds the email is then moved to an archive or trash folder.

4. _______ there could be a whole host of other behaviors; feel free to offer your suggestions because I'm sure my inbox needs and habits are different than yours but similar to a whole host of other people with an inbox full of emails that are never intended to be read. -One of which could be an option to redeliver Sunday; temporarily hiding the email until Sunday rolls around and there is finally to browse the new photos on Flickr that had been posted by friends that week.

Deciding among the Behaviors; The third option for this particular email (that has been tagged as a regular feature of my inbox) would work well for the email about my bank account because it is the method I currently do this manually each morning. I don't need the email filling up the inbox for any longer than the information is needed for. In this case, the email serves the purpose of showing me that I have not mysteriously been wiped out within the past 24 hours and that I have enough to scrape by another day (although tomorrow I hope to have it provide notice that an anticipated payday has arrived.)

Other Examples for different types of emails tagged by the Regular Mail service;

Irregular Regular Mail: Another regular email I receive throughout each day is an email from The New York Times about breaking news stories when they happen around the world. --It might seem odd that I receive email this way but within the past year I have somehow missed major world events, only learning about them days or weeks later when referenced in a conversation or briefly mentioned in later news articles that are providing updates to the initial event. Only weeks after oil platform fire did learn there was a gusher of oil flowing into the gulf waters and, more recently, days until I knew there was a shooting in Arizona.-- So for the NY Times email, I would choose Regular Mail option 2 with an inbox life of 12 hours. This way I could at least have a fighting chance to be aware of something happening beyond my immediate context but not long enough that I would have to necessary ever learn about the breaking news story if the events in my life where providing enough excitement to fill that day with stories of my own.

2 Marketing Emails: 1, An email from Apple Marketing their latest Verizon iPhone. 2, An email from crate and barrel about a whites sale. These email, like other marketing emails that advertise new products and sales are given an inbox life of 3 days. That way I can be sure to read them before the sale is over but not long enough that I will fall prey to reading an email about a great sale on the C Table I want only to learn that the sale no longer exists. Ignorance in this case (or always?) is bliss.

Weekly Email: TED talk's weekly new video email, Architizer's new projects and firms update, Facebook's email about upcoming birthdays. These emails come on a very regular basis and I usually put off deleting them because I don't have time at the moment I first come across the email that is informing me about new Ted videos. I'm interested to check them out later, I tend to keep these in the inbox, hoping to rediscover them later that night to enjoy before bed.

Conclusion; Feel free to contact me if you managed to make it though this winding service design proposal and have ideas for additional behaviors, general questions, interest in developing such a product or believe this could be something that you could potentially see cleaning up the extra clutter that exists in your email's inbox.

Colophon; everything that fades ways on it's own; through natural thresholds of change or time. - medicine's half life, the cooling effect of an expresso, consumable good's threshold transition with a double flat-line constant once when brand new and again after becoming used held together by a shifted free fall when performing it's intended function, the diminishing focus on something goes from happening to happened and the ever increasing speed of our lives accompanied by a new job and a workplace email inbox that has managed to stay immaculate while my personal email inbox and ever expands (currently 1526 messages) all becoming expressed in the design of a service written in notes app that is built into my phone.

Thanks for reading, Tyler

Shovel Playground: Tabula Rasa Fata Morgana from NL Architect's Blog

NL Architects respond to an earlier post discussing what to do now that there isn't any work.  They propose a huge sandbox for some large-scale play.  An incredibly straight forward answer to questions I have about how to create spaces of perceptible opportunity for others to engage with and actively participate and contribute to the process of making. Here's a link to their post for the full entry.

Click image!

Outsider Entries

To help ease back into posting to this blog and continuing my investigation I decided to begin including posts that I come across as I browse the web and continue my search for employment.

4. Communication

TAO TE CHING - Chapter 17. Rulers The best rulers are scarcely known by their subjects; The next best are loved and praised; The next are feared; The next despised: They have no faith in their people, And their people become unfaithful to them.

When the best rulers achieve their purpose Their subjects claim the achievement as their own.

- This will contrast nicely with the next post that is focused on the common practice of DesignBuild within the design profession.

3b. Nebuchadnezzar's BrickWork

What if elements within a traditional method of assembly began to re comprise defined roles within each piece? Most notably, what if the individual piece also held within it enough information to describe the process of assembly?  The process for construction could be held within individual “pieces” and contributes to direct assembly with adjoining pieces. Two adjacent steps trigger the piece to become part of the assemblage, how it’s acted upon and then at what point it triggers the next piece for assembly to take over,  informs the steps of assembly.

This idea already has ancient precedent found in the ruins of Babylon; the brick are literally inscribed with information on how the wall and whole temple is to be built.  Not only could it have informed assembly, but it could inform reassembly if the temple fell into ruin in the future.

From Oxford Art Online:

Nebuchadnezzar had inscribed bricks identifying his temples and palaces inserted into their walls and also left inscribed clay tablets urging his successors to rebuild them. During the late 20th-century war with Iran, the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, following the instructions of the ancient king, ordered a major reconstruction of the ‘Southern Palace’ according to designs by Koldewey and Andrae (although some archaeologists argued that these were dated). Work on the reconstruction began in 1987 and was scheduled for completion in September 1990.

3. BrickWork

Introduction to Atomized Assembly A major theme within investigating methods of assembly has to do with the relationship between the individual and the “whole” created when individual pieces come together in assembly.  This concept is very flexible and can weave through theory and practice very easily.  Typically, the singular entity is contrasted to an idea of many, one verses many “ones”  This type of difference is based on a numeral difference between the two measurable quantities.

Brickwork, “Architecture starts when you carefully put two bricks together. There it begins.” Mies van der Rohe

The first method of assembly replaces the mason for a deplorable, cnc robot to perform brick wall assembly on site.  Similar to the drawing machine of Tim and Nick, the introduction of algorimic programming opens up a whole world of possibilities within a tradition that regulated itself to a very controlled and limited set of different types a brick wall is constructed.

To a degree, the brick has always dictated its assembled form, it's about listening to what the material wants to be.  With technology and better listening through high-tech studies material is being taken to its physical limits to expose what is really possible from such a simple brick.

“This is no less true of steel and concrete [than of wood, brick and stone]. We must remember that everything depends on how we use a material, not on the material itself....New materials are not necessarily superior. Each material is only what we make it.”

---->  ----> ?

Whats Next?

At a certain point the closed idea of many “pieces” (traditional methods of assembly - quantity based) open up to a plane of infinity in which we recognize the vast, ever expanding “many” to be a singular infinity.  Commonly, this is when something is recognized as a whole rather than the individual pieces, although this often requires complete assembly.  Inversely, this logic creates a situation where the singular piece is, even before assembly having taken place, an assembled whole as it holds within it the instructions for assembly.  In the case of the robotic mason this singular piece is held within the algorithm and the brick.  In this situation the instruction set for assembly is still separate from the thing that is actually being constructed.  While impressive, from a diagrammatic perspective, there are still two elements (brick and the cnc instructions) that are only slightly shifted beyond a traditional, quantity based process of assembly.  The quantities still exist within the computer and they are finite and defined before construction starts.

What if elements within a traditional method of assembly began to re comprise defined roles within each piece?

2. Assembly

assembly |əˈsemblē|

noun ( pl. -blies)

1 a group of people gathered together in one place for a common purpose : an assembly of scholars and poets.

  • a group of people elected to make laws or decisions for a particular country or region, esp. the lower legislative house in some U.S. states : the Connecticut General Assembly.

2 the action of gathering together as a group for a common purpose : a decree guaranteeing freedom of assembly.

• a regular gathering of the teachers and students of a school : catcalling occurred during the assembly.

  • (usu. the assembly) chiefly historical a signal for troops to assemble, given by drum or bugle.

3 [often as adj. ] the action of fitting together the component parts of a machine or other object : a car assembly plant.

• a unit consisting of components that have been fitted together : the tail assembly of the aircraft.

  • [usu. as adj. ] Computing the conversion of instructions in low-level code to machine code by an assembler.

ORIGIN Middle English : from Old French asemblé, feminine past participle of asembler (see assemble ).


Directly or indirectly, much of an architecture student’s time in school is spent on the process of assembly.  While researching a site, organizing a program or creating a final design proposal, assembly allows us to take overwhelming amounts of information and opportunity and condense it into organized packages that represent and communicate for easy or at least easier consumption.  During this process, the desire for communicability often requires us to streamline information with edited content that only includes the most important nuggets of information.  Anomalies are often regarded as important, so a unique curve along one side of a project’s site often results in a strong design element that includes a similar unique curve as if the curve that became stuck in the designer’s mind needed further recognition to be noticed by others.

Digression focuses on anomalies, causes blindness to everything else that might just be normal, banal or boring.  This is clearly connected to programming as anything that is given a defined use limits what could be used in many different ways to singular functions.  As such, a post titled Assembly has, through a process of digressions and focused editing, become an argument against assigning explicit definitions to limited, in themselves banal, one dimensional critiques of traditional views on architecture.  How linear, how boring.

Im interested in studying quite the opposite of this type of assembly.  Assembly as an intensity of flows rather than reaching narrow end points.  Lets Restart.

Assembly is what allows invisible methods an ability to become representable entities for the masses to recognize and adopt for their own needs.  As a catalyst, assembly allows for the flow between inputs and outputs that guide in “material” creation by playing an active role in generating solutions from the opportunity within the machine.  With respect to the traditional view of factory based production, Assembly is less about the process of parts being constructed and more about the final engine produced that turns energy into opportunities to control and accelerate movement.  Digitally, engines take on the form of social websites such as Facebook, Flickr and Wikipedia as they catalyze human energy into recognizable movement.

My investigation approaches assembly by looking at how individual pieces join in the process of making something larger than itself.  This can occur in a material way through the process of building or in a non material way as individuals form groups to accomplish a single task.

Assembly based on objects uses the traditional idea of assembly, taking place in a dedicated factor; this factory produces engines and that factory produces displays...  Refocused, the people within assembly is something that is currently shifting beyond those involved in production as an anonymous part of industry to recognize individual input.  The shifted focus from objects to people drastically changing the idea of assembly from taking place in a dedicated factory with dedicated employees on dedicated lines to a wider scope of the population that carry a minimum set of tools and ability.  Production studios now compete with webcam equipped laptops for viewers attention as the people within assembly became both the creator and consumer of the content.

Personal creation empowers people by connecting themselves more directly to others.  Fundamentally, intrinsic motivation is derived from the human will to create and share with others so they can contribute towards a good that is greater than themselves.  Entire industries are becoming dematerialized and distributed and as a result are becoming industries that invite active participation from every member.  The final product is taken over by the consumers, leaving professionals to question what makes them a professional; and in the process is opening new perspectives on how their position as a professional may depart from a clearly defined position to become incorporated within a larger system.  The situation allows for new "workplace" positions that are less defined but further available to opportunity that can provide more meaningful service for society and culture.

Professional level assembly shifts from finite products to open ended assemblies that become foundations for society, being used as playgrounds of opportunity.  When do-it-yourself culture becomes more than weekend projects; facilitating amateur creation becomes important and even highly sought after.  An infrastructure of opportunity creates more possibilities than could ever be planned using the traditional system of limited, single path communication between broadcaster and receiver. Online, opening communication to everyone has sprouted systems for interface and connection such as Facebook, Flickr, Wikipedia, Ushahidi and Hunch.  Users invest incredible amounts of time and energy in an environment that they may feel better reflects their own identity as they progressively form a digital representation of themselves, sharing what they make and know with the world.

A systems based on intensifying flows and establishing new paths for assembly to flow creates assemblies that further initiates action by allowing for professional expertise to remained focused on creating design solutions that are highly valued by end users because it provides them with solutions that become packaged within their own personal contribution in creating a “product” that is tailored to their unique needs.  This begins to realize truly universal design in a sense that underlying, basic (although highly complex) truths can be recognized throughout populations in society while also recognizing each individual and their unique needs and desires that cannot be condensed down to a common normal.

Designed solutions dominate modern society’s consciousness when tasked with problem solving situations.  The explosion of new development channels online prove there is room for growth for creating solutions beyond shelves full of packaged solutions.  Informal invention takes place in the instant its happening as intuition and human nature create and adapt solutions in the moment needed.  By investigating assembly, it is my goal to better understand the nature of assembly within people and society to leverage natural, intuitive ways of making to integrate the process of assembly that is executed at both a system and personal level.

1. Method

method |ˈmeθəd| noun (often method for/of)

a particular form of procedure for accomplishing or approaching something, esp. a systematic or established one : a method for software maintenance | labor-intensive production methods.

• orderliness of thought or behavior; systematic planning or action : historical study is the rigorous combination of knowledge and method.

  • (often Method) short for method acting .


there is method in one's madness there is a sensible foundation for what appears to be foolish or strange behavior. [ORIGIN: from Shakespeare's Hamlet ( ii. ii. 211).]

ORIGIN late Middle English (in the sense [prescribed medical treatment for a disease] ): via Latin from Greek methodos ‘pursuit of knowledge,’ from meta- (expressing development) + hodos ‘way.’

Historically, methods have been, largely, a fixed element in the process of production. The way one holds their pencil does not generally change compared to the vast range of different drawings that a single method of pencil gripping can produce. Although, when changes occur within the method it can shake the system. Change the method for holding the pencil and it could potentially change an entire approach to drawing. If the way the pencil is held is re conceived or experimented with during the process of making an additional level opens up that potentially changes what it means to draw and if the hand even has anything to do with it anymore.

Take for instance, Tim and Nick’s drawing machine; their device re-conceives the method for which drawing is approached by creating a machine to hold the writing utility instead and relegating the hand to make the infrastructural machine and write an instruction set of code. The potential for making is further widened to perform tasks that are outside the zone of possibility that our own hands can achieve. Sure, some “hand made” qualities are lost but become the hand is re- visible as the process of making now becomes the focus instead of the finished, finite product. Additionally, the method for making the machine itself, based on cnc design techniques, is expanded in opportunity from what is possible with traditional cnc machines. The machine departs the sterile, controlled “print room” for deployment and application to any surface. In Detroit this weekend for the Makers Faire; I'm sure many of the products there (as in life) can be considered reiterations or tweaking of a well-known process for assembly, I wonder how many of the devices find invention or reinvention through a change in method?

I understand method as the way something is approached, the point of view that is taken and the qualities of perception that are recognized to be taking place through awareness. These are all, often, invisible things, which encourages the use of examples to help explain, because what is produced is often representative of the underlying methods. We recognize finite products instead of the methods that exist below the surface. Instead of further attempting to explain method, it is more important to recognize method as separate from assembly, process or action that takes place from a certain method.


0. Preface

Methods of Assembly is a research initiative that is focused on how modern society, digital culture and the physical environment are put to use to provide a single, total experience that is more connected to individuals in personally adaptable ways that provide not just a blank slate, but perceptible opportunity in which engagement and contribution can occur directly through the process of making and sharing. This initiative studies multiple levels, through different mediums, ranging across disciplines in an attempt to study, document and synthesis the methods that give way to assembly which become solution, and often packaged products.  Like the skin of an onion, there are many layers to peel away before reaching the middle but it is important to include each layer in the study because the layers are what represent the core, as the core is nothing and practically invisible without the layers that make up what we know to be an onion.

Entries will consist at the beginning by explaining the foundation of my exploration that has led me to an investigation through Methods of Assembly.  Entries will precedingly frame what exactly is going to be studied and discussed and will be accompanied by examples from methods of assembly that are already taking place within our society.

In many ways, what is sought after already takes place online, disconnected from the physical environment because modern societies' digital reality is largely incompatible with a physically static reality of the “real world.”  I am driven to investigate assembly as a way to connect my education as an architect and my understanding of design with the needs of our modern society and spaces that are a true reflection of today’s digital, metaphysical, physical reality giving place-making a connected culture for the future.

It is my goal, through the Research of Methods of assembly to better understand how an individual’s desire to make and contribute can become integrated into the process of designing solutions so end products are ultimately being controlled and adapted to the individual. Design becomes a project of representing and communicating opportunity that initiates action and again, during the process of making, becomes the underlying support system for guidance and direction.