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studio air JOURNAL Anna Jiang BENV UniMelb



PART B CRITERIA DESIGN B1 Reserach Field B2 Case Study 1.0 B3 Case Study 2.0 B4 Technique: Development B5 Technique: Propotypes B6 Proposal B7 Learning Objectives and Outcomes B8 Appendix - Grasshopper B9 References


B1 Reserach Field

DESIGN STUDIO AIR PART B Through our success and BIOMIMICRY failures, humans have discovis the study based on taking the most efficient and suficient ideas from nature; and then copying and imitating these designs and processes to solve human problems. The human race has been undertaking this study since the dawn of time, and it is only recently that it is labled as such. After 3.8 billion years of trial and error evolution, humans have learnt to imitate the best adapted organisms around our habitats to achieve better proficiency.

ered what works best, what is most appropriate to copy and learn from; and what will help us as a race to lasts here on Earth. Biomimicry is a survival strategy used by the human race to create a path to a sustainable future. We already use many of the skills taught to us by nature, we ‘harness energy like a leaf, [and]compute like a cell’. For example, we study a leaf structure’ and use that knowledge to create better solar cells.

The Morning Line pavilion is one example of biomimicry design. Aranda and Lasch used a simple geomtry, replicated and duplicated the design for the final overall design; much like in nature. Another design idea that is important and can be learnt from this precedent is : a strong representational power - attracting passersby. The pavillion provids a sheltered space for visitors whilst also creating an area where social events can take place.

“Architecture is the very physical breakdown of materials into smaller components that are standardized in order to recompose into new stable structures. Computation is also destructive, it breaks things down and rebuild from the smallest components.” Aranda Lasch “The Morning Line [contains] modular units increase or decrease [that] can expand or contract in any size or direction, the content grows and adapts as the structure changes both physically and in information depth over time.” Matthew Ritchie

Aranda Lasch The Morning Line


B1 Reserach Field

DESIGN STUDIO AIR PART B The design had many restrictions much like those implemented by the LAGI competition. Restriction such as time restrictions of being a week-long parametric design workshop (CLJ02) and usage of limited materials and tools offered by sponsors. These limitations were over came and made possible by advanced usage of parametric design techniques of Rhinoceros and Grasshopper. This allowed the whole process to be controlled, forming exact geomtry, generating piece labeling, fabrication (CNC milling) and cost control.

‘The ZA11 Pavilion emerged as a powerful urban attractor which managed to engage the local society on all levels. Interest was aroused in both young and senior citizens, both professionals and non-architects by the completed pavilion as well as during the act of its construction, thus proving to be more than an indifferent temporary shelter. Furthermore, it successfully provided a flexible and comfortable space for the different events pertaining to the event (temporary bookshop, open-air cinema, tea party, jam sessions and a small concert + sleeping in the sun) to unfold.’ CLJ02

Lessons to be learnt from this precedent include: easy design process and assembly should be considered at all times of design and construction, meeting all expectations (thus the criteria of the LAGI competition) and to provide an ‘experience’ to all visitors. For example, panelling, tessellation and patterning allowed easy manufacture of sheets of pieces. The design comes from biomimicry and the repetivity of vonroi shapes. The Pavilion performs multiple functions, attracts visitors of all ages, disciplines and interests.



B2 Case Study 1.0 ‘both ruin and monument, the blackened frame of a cathedral-like structure ... an ‘antipavilion’ ... it takes the form of an open cellular structure rather than an enclosure.’ ‘build a model of the universe that scales up and down. There is no single way in or out, no final form ... a story without beginning or end, only movement around multiple centers.’ ‘a modular structure, which is capable of being radically reconfigured for alternative performance venues and can adapt to a changing program of contemporary music.’ ‘It offers a site primarily concerned with generating infinite potential meanings and uses. In other words, it is not only designed for the future, it creates it.’

Aranda and Lasch’s design explored the multiple disciplines of art, architecture, cosmology, maths and music through parametric designs. They used simple geometry and ‘fractal cycles’ to create intricate forms with deep meaning. It not only represents the universe, without begininng or end, but also represents biomimicry in parametric designs. Parametric designs by defintion have no limit in design of the size, shape or structure. Thus the mulitude of possible outcomes can be achieved by the simple sliding of a number slider in Grasshopper. The Morning Line not only reflects biomimicry designs in the geometric shapes of its facade but also in it’s adability to change [to music and movement]. Depending on angle of view, the pavilion will look different, due to visitors, movement of the pavillion, hearing sounds (from the interior multimedia player) or wind; all of this which add up to a different experience for every user of the facility.

Experimenting using the previous geometries

Pyramid approach: changing the number of sides

Variation in the number of sides and tetrahedrons

Number of Tetrohedrons at angles


Voltadom vaiation

Matrix Interations



B3 Case Study 2.0

DESIGN STUDIO AIR PART B The Eureka Pavilion was set for the 2011 Kew Gardens Chelsea Flower Show, it had plant species specifically chosen to reflect ‘their benefits to society including medicinal, commercial and industrial uses underlining the fact we could not survive without them.’ The pavilion is a perfect example of biomimicry using parametric designs, using NEX Principal Alan Dempsey’s own words: ‘the design concepts of the garden by looking closely at the cellular structure of plants and their processes of growth to inform the design’s development. The final structure was designed using computer algorithms that mimic natural growth and is intended to allow visitors to experience the patterns of biological structure at an unfamiliar scale.’

The design of the Eureka Pavilion was based on the biomimicry of leaf capillaries, such as those embedded in the walls of the pavilion. There are two layers of capillaries in the design. The primary timber capillaries forms the basic shape and support the structure of the pavilion. The secondary timber cassettes that hold the cladding is the second layer of smaller capillaries, much like those in a leaf. Other design features were important, such as sustainable material and design. The primary structure is timber sourced from sustainable spruce forests and the walls and roof are clad with recycled plastic ‘cells’. All of the above, tessellation, biomimicry and design ideas are all areas to explore in the LAGI competition.



The cellular structure of plants, escpecially those specifically selected at the site, is magnified into the bigger pavilion. Like a modular structural grid the timber and plastic pavilion mimics the growing patterns of leafs; and using computational algorithms such as Grasshopper to plan the capillary an branching cellular division. ‘The primary task of demonstrating humanities symbiotic relationship with natural ecosystems and offering an intimate space for visitors, allowing visitors to experience a more meaningful connection to their natural surroundings.’ Much like the flow of the design process, image left, there is a clear and easy to follow underlining theorem behind it. In comparisson our group matrix, see next page, follows a similar passage of design and thought.


1. A basic voronoi pattern was taken to create a basis for manipulation and reverse engineering; however it was a failure as there was over lapping intersections. 2. Grasshopper algorythem was changed to perfectly offset and intersecting form. 3. Each small geometry was listed as an single item, thus an individual surface assigned to each section. A grid of points was set up within each geometry however this was not sufficient for voronoi patterning. 4. Populate 2D component did not work as it was creating a grid of points for a rectangular geomtry

5. Populate 3D component did not work either as it was creating a grid of points for a rectangular geometry. 6. Finally, Populate Geometry was discovered to overcome the previous two errors, it successfuly created geometry within the boundaries of each surface. 7. Points were evenly disctribued in geometry to even out the overall appearance. 8. Voronoi component was then added to the populated geometries. 9. Offset was adjusted to create a more suitable design that now can be used to fabricate and test.

B4 Technique: Development











DESIGN STUDIO AIR PART B After a thourough exploration of the many iterations and variables of our grasshopper and rhino files, the group was finally able to have a better understanding of the direction in which we were headed in. Some of the results were unsatisfactory, complex or were unable to be fabricated, but it proved the possibilities and boundaries of parametric design. We experienmented with various plugins such as lunchbox and kangaroo tools to further widen our choices and the types of surfaces that we could play around with in Grasshopper. This was a time consuming process as some of the new techniques were foreign and did not fit in well with our algorithms.

There were positive results as well, and our final product shows the group’s overall collective work. The first resulted in using the lunchbox tool to create a desired surface which was then offseted; this surface was further divded to plot future extrusions. The final offset and scale component then together created the ‘holes’ in the top right image. The second development contains closed ‘holes’ and smaller open areas. This takes into consideration of efficient energy collection, the placement and size of these surfaces to better collect solar energy. Also more covered ‘holes’ means more sheltered area in the pavilion model to provide visitors shelter.

The final development is a version that looks to a more solid form by using the jitter component in Grasshopper that randomises the composition of the ‘holes’. This component links the whole design idea to the principle of biomimicry in that with compuation we manipulate cell growth simplistically. Our intention is to incorporate more kangaroo components to achieve more sophisticated and interesting designs. Our aim with our various prototypes is to test out and understand different effects and affects of light patterns, which will help us better capture optimal sunlight. We want to figure out what sort of design allows for solar collection whilst being aesthetically pleasing.


B5 Technique: Propotypes

DESIGN STUDIO AIR PART B This is the example of the reverse engineering of the Eureka Pavilion, the shadows cast by this prototype show reflect the voronoi geometries cut into the 2mm cards. Shadows will be an interesting point for further investigation. The fabrication files were sent to be Laser cut after it was constructed in Grasshopper and Rhino. The material are ideal for other future models. Laser cutting provided us with sharp and accurate method of model making. We tried to createing the illusion of a moving surface with straight lines. The 3mm ivory card however sagged and created large space between members. Supports were required to support and fill out these gaps to prevent further deformation. Shadows here are unfortunately uninteresting. This is perhaps by far the most efficient method of model making, we utiliesed scored lines, bending and gluing of tabs. Despite is relative simplistic overall shape, compared to our other iterations, this has the most potential to incorporate of solar panels or other energy collection method. If possible, we may even try to include other kangaroo components to calculate wind and sun paths.

An off beat trial that offered interesting and unexpected results. We used wire to symbolise core structure and string symbolising the capillaries; the end product was flexible but also structurally stable. Also the shadows cast by two light source created a butterfly effect. Strings also moved when blown and perhaps wind power can be considered. This prototype explores cheaper and more flexible alternate material - paper. Thin paper has the properties to bend and replicate the shapes that resemble cells such as in a leaf. This created interesting facades but the shadows were 2D and the materials were of a weak construct. This type of material will only be good for short term models and quick idea explanations. This final prototype was an experimenation of the jitter component in grasshopper. The mesh was quick to make and the shadows cast by such a 3D model are interesting. The randomisation of open squares can be used in other components of our model.


B6 Proposal Design Concept

Energy Precedent


The design concept contains two main ideas of ‘biomimicry’ and adapting the installation and making it relevant to the city of Copenhagen.

As a group we agreed on piezoelectricity and solar energy collection. Piezoelectricity is the collection of energy though the compression of a material, that may be cheap and durable. This type of energy collection was prefered due to conditions of the site, so that even in winter with strong winds and heavy rains, it is will collect optimum amounts of energy.

Our installation aims to be in compliance with biomimcry and as per Copenhagen’s carbon neutral plan with ideas of ‘adaptive capacity’. The installation will be able to adapt to its surroundings, people, environment and conditions

The installation will be like a growing cell in Copenhagen’s growing interest and awareness towards carbon neutral by educating and inviting visitors to the site. The installation itself will also incorporate designs and motifs from relevant local flora or designs. This will be achieved through further extensive research on Copenhagen’s people, climate, environment, and social data.

Copenhagen has seen fluctuating seasonal conditions in recent years, with each year becoming more unpredicable and this affects the type of However personally, the energy collection method. prefered method of energy Whilst having two types of retention is through using collection method will be a photovoletics panels. This is a challenge, i belive only one highly flexible material, that is neccessary to work in all can conform to almost any weather conditions and hopeshape, design or surface; it is fully even be able to generate cheap and easily replaced, and enough energy to send back like in nature it has ‘seasons’ into the main grid. and should be changed every 4~5 years to adapts to its sur- By using the jitter component, rounds and new technology. the proposal is to randomise The possible colors, shapes the size and location of trianand designs of the material gualr openings on our instalmake it optimal for the final lation. These openings will design, it is not season depen- appear arbitrary, much like dent. the nature of leaves and cells.



B7 Learning Objectives and Outcomes The subject has provided to be a constant challenge, a good one, both mentally and physically. As previously mentioned in Part A, i am not very good at digital design. Even though parametric designs and digital computation seems to be the way of the future, it is an area of which this subject has allowed be and taught me many useful skills and ideas. I was however very comfortable with the making of the 3D model and reasearching.

With regard to our installation and with the help of the feedback from our tutors; i can see that we need to narrow our overall design ideas down. We need to consider one energy source, photovoltaics, and what design, shape and which location on site best to capture the sun rays and the attention of visitors. More research will be needed to consider more efficient collection of energy generation.

I have greatly enjoyed reasearching about Biomimicry and other compuational methods in design. As a design student i had always connected ‘futureistic’ designs with sustainability and carbon neutral; but i have never considered the actual incoroporation of such design skills and methods into my own design. The field of biomimicry designs has shown me the many possibilities of copying nature’s methods of success and i hope to capture that in our installations. Overall it has given me greater insight and more ideas as to where to go from here onwards with the project.

Also site consideration is another main point that needs further work on. The scale of our installation, one large one or multiple smaller ones; the location to greet and bring the visitors in or hidden from view; are all aspects that need further research and discussion with the group. Also as a group, we still each have our own ideas, which is a good thing as it brings new ideas to the table; and we should work towards a main larger goal. Despite all of this, the past four weeks has seen to an improvement of my skills and knowldge.


B8 Appendix - Grasshopper

Reference Front Page Image, B1 bedarf.jpg B2 B3 and_marcus_barnett/image/4152

B4 B5

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