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Advancement of Architectural Journal Entry 1


As requested, my first design journal entry will deal with buildings that, in my opinion, advance architectural discourse. At first, I found architectural discourse a difficult concept to understand. But after doing some backround reading, I’ve come to see it as being a philosophical but similar concept to architectural innovation. Accordingly, the projects I’ve chosen are somewhat atypical to the current architectural zeitgeist because I believe that they show a way of thinking that covers a step further than the current way, or they follow a completely new way of doing so. DEVELOPER: Nakheel Properties.


DATE CONSTRUCTED: 2001 - present.

1. Palm Islands satellite image.1

The first project I have chosen is the Palm Islands, Dubai. This project is of great interest to me because I find the concept of creating a space, in this case, using reclaimed land, to be an idea which is very different to other building and planning practices. The Palm Islands are not the only area to use this idea, of course, with other examples being seen in Monaco, the Netherlands and Hong Kong. What sets the Palm Islands apart however, is the form that they’ve been created in. While I can’t subjectively say that the Palm Island are more aesthetically pleasing than other examples of land reclamation, it seems as if they have been designed with many fewer restrictions bearing on their outcome. By this, I mean that it seems like their was probably a much higher budget and a much larger space to work with, as well as more freedom to focus on the overall disgn of the space, rather than the efficiency with which that space was filled.

ARCHITECTS: BNKR Arquitectura.

LOCATION: Mexico City, Mexico (planned).

DATE CONSTRUCTED: Not yet constructed.

My second choice was something rather unconventional, a project designed by BNKR Arquitectura.2 Unlike other large scale projects, it is quite large, at 65 floors. Unlike other projects, however, it is built into the ground, thus earning the title, the “Earthscraper�. As with my other choices, building into the ground is certainly not a new idea, as many buildings already have below ground floors, but to construct a 65 floor building

3. Earthscraper concept model.4

2. Earthscraper concept drawing.3

straight into the earth for public use, is something completely different. Of course, with such an unbelievable idea comes new issues, such as light and ventilation, as well as any difficulties that would arise in construction, such as ensuring stability of the surrounding ground and finding some way to actually dig and remove the earth from that deep, especially when it is such a massive amount. However, different issues arise at the start of any new paradigm, but as the concept develops, new ways of thinking develop with it which, historically speaking, allow the potentially new paradigm to become reality.

Lastly, a personal project that also deals with advancing architectural discourse. The project I have chosen is something I produced in my first architectural design studio, which required that we design a discovery centre for Herring Island. The result of my work was something which did not focus on the spaces within those strustures, as my thoughts were that the outdoor spaces were the key area, and the the indoor space supported it. Accordingly, the idea of using the created space to support the natural space (it should also be noted the while this is not a new idea, it is not a particularly commonly used one) can be viewed as a potential direction for architectural discourse.

5. Rough site plan of Herring Island.

6. Rough concept image of Herring Island. 1. png 2. 3. 4.

Computational techinques & Journal Entry 2


Containing both creative and practical components, architecture remains on the cutting edge in both worlds. Architecture can vary and draw inspiration from art movements at the time, but it is also affected by modern building practices and advancements. In the modern age, the result of this is that any design that can be thought up and manipulated digitally canbe fabricated in real life. One such example is Hangzhou Olymic Sports Center in China, designed by NBBJ Architects.1 It was inspired by the geometry of a nearby rever delta, and Grasshopper was used in order to rationalise the geometries into a workable form. It features a LOCATION: Hangzhou, The People’s large number of petal-shaped truss modules which enclose the Republic of China stadium. Many different variations were created in order to be (planned). able to evaluate and find the best possible architectural solution. ARCHITECTS: NBBJ Architects.

DATE CONSTRUCTED: To be completed in 2013

In terms of parametric modelling, howeverm it went beyond the facade of the structure. Parametric modelling was also used in order to determine the seating layout in order to ensure the best possible view from each seat could be realistically achieved. The result of modelling both of these elements parametrically was the changing one would immediately cause the other to adjust to the new conditions.

1. Plan and elevation views of the parametrically designed shell of the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre.2

2. Render of the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre.3

ARCHITECT: Accordingly, it can quite clearly be seen the parametric modelling can NOX Architects. push the boundaries of what is possible in design. It allows an entire new level of detail, as well as allowing the design process to become much more of a holistic one. This is a very important step forwards because it LOCATION: now allows designers of all types to see exactly how specific changes will Son-en-Breugel, Netherlands. affect their design without needing to redesign it themself. This ability for a model to be generated digitally as opposed to be needing to be drawn is quite powerful and is what allows designers to take on much more chalDATE CONSTRUCTED: lenging forms, such as the Son-O-House, designed by NOX Architects. 2000-2004.

3. Son-O-House.4

Of course, it must be noted that these technologies haven’t come about solely to complement architecture. These techniques and ways of designing can be used for virtually any kind of three dimensional object which is to be fabricated or constructed, such as that described in the Wyndham City Western Gateway Design Project. Accordingly, assuming parametric modelling is used as well as supporting fabrication techniques, this project has the potential to be a very influential structure. The level of detail provided by parametric modelling and fabrication techniques such as CNC milling will allow, essentially, any solution that could possibly be digitally designed to be built as a real project, assuming it meets other basic building requirements such as structural stability. Limits on building design are now no longer imposed by viability of fabrication, which could mean a completely new architectural paradigm. 1. 2. 3. Night%28C%29.jpg 4.

Contemporary programming and Journal Entry 3


Contemporary scripting and programming is becoming much more prevalent in architecture today. It offers the capability to design beyond that which can be drawn by hand to much greater precision. It also facilitates the creation of much more radical and unconventional designs, as the forms that it can create are not limited by the constraints of a human mind. ARCHITECT: Christoph Hermann.


DATE CONSTRUCTED: Theoretical design.

Christoph Hermann is a London based designer who has done a lot of work in gnerative and parametric 1. Form experimentation.1 deisgn, including graduate research. One project in particular, that he has developed, was called the ‘Mutant Museum’, a design for a building which at first appears to be a very standard, almost classically influenced building, which gradually is warped into a flowing, dynamic and organic form at the other end. According to Hermann, the design philosophy was to create a form which “evolved” from a single cell into system where each element, or “cell” relies on what is in its immediate vicinity to create and entirely cohesive structre.2

2. Developed form.3

This design philosophy has been translated very well into the design, to the point where it is almost a literal description of the resulting form. Accordingly, it can be said that this resultant form is a very succesful interpretation of the design philosophy. Another way of evaluating the outcome in relation to the design philosophy is that it was perhaps short sighted, or too literal in translating the concept into a design. The design could have explored many other interpreta- 3. Other variants which were explored.4 -tions of this philosophy within the same design, yet has been constrained to the one specific way of thinking. The final form of the design, however, appears to have thoroughly explored the possibilites of this interpretation in terms of generative and paramteric design. The level of detail which has been produced demonstrates a very close understanding of the abilities and limitations of parametric modelling. The use of parametric and generative modelling, such as this, has the potential to produce as very well informed designed for the Wyndham City Western Gateway Design Project, especially if their is a strong and well thought out philosophy behind the design. By taking into account the proper variables and working with suitable operations to help shape and generate the design, the architectural response to the brief can be satisfied in a very creative and innovative way.

4. Seeds of Change Gateway.5 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Modification of surfaces Journal Entry 4


In modern architecture, form and shape are important. However, surface and texture treatments also form an important part of the design process, as the outer surface of the building has the potential to be such a visually distinguishing element. Parametric modelling is a very useful tool in this situation, as it has the ability to generate surfaces that have have details on a range of sizes, and done so in accordance

1. This form was created by making an array of spline object between two double curved NURBS surfaces.1

with a logical sequence of functions. The resulting form is free from any inconsistensies caused by human judgement, as well as producing a surface with a much higher number of operations that have been applied to it than would be possible with the generative capabilities of a computer. The image above depicts a form which has been generated parametrically, and is ultimately the result of a surface treatment.

ARCHITECT: As can be seen from this image, complex forms can be created as Zaha Hadid. the result of experimenting with surface interractions. In practice, LOCATION: forms such as these are most commonly used when creating buildGuangzhou, People’s ing facades. One such built example is Zaha Hadid’s Guangzhou Op- Republic of China. era House.2 As can be seen in the below images, the internal parDATE CONSTRUCTED: 2003-2010. titions of this building have been cut to create permeable surfaces.

3. Internal view of the Guangzhou Opera House.4

2. Internal view of the Guanzhou Opera House.3

4. Internal view of the Guangzhou Opera House.5

These forms can have multiple functions applied to them, as shown in the image below. This image on the adjacent page depicts a surface which has had a radial grid formed from the lower left hand corner of the surface. The location of the points defined on this grid have then been used to create circular objects, the radius of which is defined by an external input. In this case, a light intensity of a black and white image has been used to provide values for the radius. Finally, the resultant form was then extruded, with the extrusion height varying directly with the radius of the circle, which also mean that it was varying directly with the external image.

5. Parametrically defined object formed by experimentation with surface operations.

While the interractions such as these can created from such processes can certainly produce interesting results, they do not fall within the parameters of the “Cut” assignment, as the forms they produce can not be produced in reality from standard cut operations on a single sheet. An example of a form that created from simple cut operations in shown to the right.

6. Parametrically defined grid using a curve attractor.

Through the use of parametric modelling tools, such as the Grasshopper plugin for Rhino, it is possible to very quickly generate a number of potential solutions to a design problem, as it is possible to alter each parameter and have that influence be carried across to further parameters sequentially to produce the final form. This

enables a “breadth first” approach to approaching a solution via “problem solving”. Because it is possible to generate a number of initial, unrefined responses to a design problem very quickly, it is easy to perform an initial evalution of these solutions in reponse to the design goals for a project and narrow down potential design routes.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

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