Active public space – Drawing machine and mapping

Introduction: As a part of our studio assignment, we were asked to develop a drawing machine. A machine which would generate an automated drawing using forces of nature, mechanical movements or an induced force. This was in conjunction with the use of Arduino for the generating this drawing. We decided to go ahead with detecting temperature initially in the vicinity and later within the radius of our site: Plaza Espanya in Barcelona.The drawings kept developing and got interesting over a period of 6 weeks, every-time giving a different result depending on the variation of temperature and location.

Instrument used to generate the drawing

ActivePublicSpace - Dhairya Thakkar - James Nurtanio Njo - automatic drawing - photo - lowres

Automated drawing generated

ActivePublicSpace - Dhairya Thakkar & James Nurtanio Njo - automatic drawing - low res

Axonometric view of the drawing machine


Part 2

In the second part of the assignment, the context of a site: Plaza Espanya was given and we were asked to observe a certain activity within the site and map the same. In this case we decided to map the black spots lying on the streets of Plaza Espanya – the chewing gums. These helped us to map the density of people in a specific sector of the Plaza. Each dust-bin, bus-stop and metro exits existing within the boundaries of the site was taken into account and a specific area around these was scrutinized with a grid of 300 x 300mm. The result gave us interesting map and statistics which helped for developing a design solution for vehicle-free Plaza which is the new concept already taking roots in a few countries.


chewing gums_1

Logic drawing


The logic drawing thus generated: from the automated drawings and the maps had a relationship between them which was incidental not only in our drawings but was also observed in the drawings generated by others.


The drawing machines of everyone from the group were superimposed on the map of Plaza Espanya to find a relationship, to generate a character and to trigger design solutions for the soon to-be vehicle-free plaza.

Active public space – Drawing machine and mapping is a project of IaaC, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia developed at Master of Advanced Architecture in 2015/16 by:
Students: Dhairya Thakkar, James Nurtanio Njo
Faculty: Edouard Cabay, Rodrigo Aguirre