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Bridge Accross Rathdowne Street

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Ainin Leong 376072

Personal Project

This project is a bridge designed for pedestrian and cyclist accross Rathdowne Street. The basic idea is to convey a feeling of being in the woods through the shadows casted within, and hence reminding the users about the beauty of the natural environment, and eventually pull the users closer to the natural environment. Though not relating the design to the landscape, it is related to the context as the bridge is connected to the Carlton gardens. Walking through Carlton Gardens from afar, the bridge can be seen as blending in with the trees in the gardens, yet stands out among the trees due to its white colour. The shape of the bridge cover is generated through simplication of tree branches. This design could have been developed further or explored further with the usage of Rhino and Grasshopper. The design process and model making process could have been done in a shorter duration as multiplication of the basic form could be easily done using Grasshopper and be produced using digital fabrication. Through this subject, the potential of computational design can be explored to understand its functions and the possibilities that could be didcovered.


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This London Aquatic Centre by Zaha Hadid designed for the upcoming 2012 Olympics got its form inspired by the fluid geometry of water in motion. Its main aims are to create spaces and a surrounding environment closely related with the river landscape beside it. Looking at the building’s undulating roof, it looks as though it is growing out from the groud. Through Hadid’s design, it occured to me that architecture should stay close with the surrounding natural environment and be closed to it, or part of it for the design to be meaningful to the environment. It could also be observed that architecture is like a growth process: starting from a basic structure found in nature, it grew to form a more complex and newer forms through processes such as extending, spreading, turning and twisting. In comparison with my former project, I can relate with Hadid’s design in the sense that I was looking at designing something that moves closer towards the natural environment. Hadid’s design was very lanscape related while mine was related only to the form of natural element but not with the landscape. I feel that generating ideas and forms closely related to the nature produces a more comfortable spatial experience. As the eyes travel accross the building, it is also easier to view the building together with its surroundings.


Aquatic Centre London, UK

Zaha Hadid & Patrik Schumacher


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Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall designed in 1987 is one of his most ambitious large-scale project in LA. It is intended to establish a sense of place by having an intriguing design and also extensive gardens and out-door performance spaces. Gehry’s method of designing usually begins with a very rough sketch of his idea of how his design should look like and how it sits on the site. He experiments his design by making various models and choose the best out of them beofre digitising them. Due to the complexity of the concert hall’s structure, it requires an extraordinary number of parameters to define its geometry and requires unusual precision in the placement, positioning and assembly of constructive elements in order to build it. The constructive viability of the concert hall was developed and studied by Gehry using new technologies. Thus, this building could be said to have epitomized the new possibilities of architectural language introduced through the use of C.A.D./C.A.M. techniques(Marcos 2011). Besides, Gehry is considered one of the pioneers in parametric design. His approach using softwares such CATIA certainly brought changes to the way people imagine how buildings look like. Parametric design also enhanced architectural design complexity with the aid of computer programs that generates and manages complex surfaces (Marcos 2011). This subsequently has contributed to the freedom of form. Gehry’s usage of unconventional forms proved that there are many possibilities to building forms which introduce the people to new spatial experience.


Walt Disney Concert Hall Los Angeles Frank Gehry

“I started making shapes that were hard to draw. That led us to the computer and to Catia software which made me realize the possibilities and the level and degree of accuracy you could create in your documents and your relationships because of the software.” Frank Gehry

“We don’t have to worry about whether or not we are fitting in with a paradigm of planned sections and elevations, all the other typical drawings that architects are obliged to use. We can go straight from our computer to the stonemason’s yard, to their computer and we only sort of, negotiate though the prototypes that we make, and what we look at on our screens.” Mark Burry


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Generative Design Topological Geometry Topological geometry are geometric forms that are not usually affected by changes in shape or size. Through computationally-based processes of continuous one-to-one transformations or elastic deofrmations, such as stretching or twisting, it will still remain unvarying. Transforming and deforming it results in infinite number of forms. Their intrinsic property of one-sidedness have a potential in architecture as the boundaries between the interior and the exterior are blurred, and when translated into architecture, avoids the distinctions og “inside” and “outside”. An interesting sample of the study of topological geometry is the Möbius Strip and studies of how to utilise the möbius into architecture were made. A pure Möbius Strip is analised and modified to allow a person to walk along it and to make habitable space out of it.

Moebius Band modified to create internal space

Moebius seating


Moebius school

Moebius museum


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A built example of the usage of Mรถbius Strip is the Moebius House designed by Ben van Berkel. The conceptual possibilities of geometries are challenging but the conceptual qualities are often difficult to truly show tectonically. Moebius House on the other hand did show some extent of the usage of topological geometry. In the house, the understanding of movement is reinforced by the changing positions of the two main materials used for the house, glass and concrete, which overlap each other and switch places. As the loop turns inside ourt, the exterior concrete shell becomes the interior furniture and the glass facades turn into inside partition walls. As the house is used for both work and living, van Berkel has managed to find an additional meaning to the Moebius strip diagram which is the blurred limits between working and living. I find this method of generating form is intriguing as it provides many possibility that can be further developed into something new and fun. Computation can ease the exploration of more complex form spatial qualities.

The extraction of the Moebius concept and application of it in the design of the house

The Moebius House


Parametric Design & Visual Scripting and Culture: Digital Tea House The Digital Tea House is a workshop held at the University of Tokyo aiming to build 3 pavilions for hosting the Japanese tea ceremony through parametric design. It seems unrelatable at first thought but this project was not plainly the reconstruction of the traditional tea houses but an attempt to produce new images of a tea house. Using the concept of the traditional tea houses, this workshop proved that digital design process can be a tool to retain architecture convergent with cultural values (Ko & Liotta 2011). It can be argued that this workshop seems pointless as traditions are meant to be preserved instead of altered in any way. It may also seem weird to complicate the design of the Japanese tea house which is known for its beauty in simplicity that bring calmness to people taking pleasure in their tea. However, parametric design enabled the participants to extract, edit and abstract the traditional aspects and created possibilities to what a contemporary tea house might look like. Another interesting point that adds to the advantage of implementing present technologies is that the tea house is seen to be intepreted in a contemporary digital manner that can be thought of reviving the tradition of avant-garde (Ko & Liotta 2011). Besides proving its usefulness in interpreting tradition in an abstract way, Rhinoceros and Grasshopper were used in this workshop because their relative simplicity created a chance for the architects to manipulate tools that facilitate their imagination while facing the challenges of design and construction (Ko & Liotta 2011).

Traditional elements interpreted in a more contemporary and abstract way


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Pavilion “Poetry and Parametrics” interior view

Pavilion 130008252010 interior view

Pavilion “Nami-no-Ma” exterior and interior views


ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion Stuttgart

ICD & ITKE Stuttgart University

In 2010, the Institute for Cmputational Design (ICD) and the Institute od Building Structures an Strutural Design (ITKE) of Stuttgart University designed and constructed a temporary research pavilion in the campus. What is unique about this project is that it is a material-oriented computational design, simulation and production process in architecture. This project demonstrates an alternative approach to the scripting culture as the computational generation of form is directly driven and informed by physical behavior and material characteristics. The structure constructed is based entirely on the elasticity and bending behavious of birch plywood strips.

Above: 3D model showing the computer-generated position of all connecions Right: FEA simulation of the pavilion


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Day arial view of the pavilion

Scripting in architecture has enabled designers to explore different aspects of architecture such as forms, materials, construction methology and engineering. As quoted from MESNE (cited in Burry 2011), “where we see interesting work occuring is in the decelopment of interfaces between different software applications that enable designers to further test architectural ideas that bridge across related disciplines such as engineering and construction�. Though scripting is critiqued being a tool that enables designers to clone, thus producing many same underlying models, research done as shown from this project proved that scripting is still able to produce endless possibilities. Night arial view of the pavilion


Close up view of the wooden strips during the day

“Today’s scripters are inventive, however, scripting is a relatively new technique for the exploration of architectural designs and designers are still figuring out new potentials for using scripting as a design tool.” Brady Peters, cited in Burry 2011

Taking the research pavilion as an example, designers may be promted to start developing their own scripts to create truly inventive designs and fully explore the potential of scripting. Perhaps it still need more time until designers fully embraces scripting to develope a scripting culture based on genuine invention and creativity.

Close up view of the wooden strips during the night


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