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JUN LI 526496 Architecture Design Studio


CONTENT Part A. EOI: Case for Innovation 01

Introduction: Architecture as a Discourse


Computational Architecture


Parametric Modeling


Algorithmic Explorations


Conclusion and Learning Outcome


I am a third year architecture student of Melbourne University. I am from China and this is my third year in Melbourne. Obtaining of my first-hand experience about computational design from learning Virtual Environments in my first year. By using the software, Rhinoceros, I became to acquire knowlege about NURBS, which had further impacts on my design concepts and perceptions about forms and repetitive patterns. I basically focused on the golden ratio and iteration of geometry in the project and used Rhino and Paneling tool to generate some interesting forms. The program helped me to establish the basic knowledge about computational design and ligh effects. In Air studio, I expected to accumulate more knowledge about tessellation and patterns by using Grasshopper, hence, have further understanding about heterogeneity and homogeneity.



Architecture is not just about building. It is ubiquitous as it has become our ‘third skin’ and we spend most part of our life within it. Besides, Schumacher argues that the inclusive books, magazines, photographs of buildings, drawings, discussion about design and all that communication associated with architecture should be regarded as part of architectural discipline.1 Architecture is complicated, and hence it stands in need of different theories and cooperation and criticism from multidiscipline to engage with constantly changing world. Among the discourse of what architecture is, the topic


that is most accepted by the public and the discipline is architecture as a form of art.2 However, simply classifying architecture as art can limit the latent possibilities and ignore opportunities for architecture to work effectively under urban context. Regarding architecture as a form of art or as a solely personal work of architects can exaggerate the power of architects, ignore the complicated socioeconomic factors and limit the later understandings and interpretations about projects and its impacts on society as art historian interpreters only focus on architects’ visions rather

than studying the actual space. The distance between architects’ illusion and the reality can diminish the role of architecture in today’ s constantly shifting urban environment. Ito argues that “modernist architecture was intended to change society, it consistently took a negative stance towards social realities. Moreover, being rejected by society was always seen as a virtue.”3One example is Modernist’s antagonistic view against urbanism. They kept concentrating on criticizing city’s lack of forms and seeking the order in the city while ignored the fast-changing environment

1. Patrik Schumacher, 'Introduction : Architecture as Autopoietic System', in The Autopoiesis of Architecture (Chichester: J. Wiley, 2011),1 - 28. 2. Richard Williams, 'Architecture and Visual Culture', in Exploring Visual Culture : Definitions, Concepts, Contexts, ed. by Matthew Rampley (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005), pp. 102 116.

"The Modernist topography is one of straight lines and limites perspectives. Unlike in a landsacpe, people move through it as if their necks were screwed in place and their eyes unable to roll." 5

of the city.4 They were influenced by Georg Simmel’s phenomenological depiction of city life that was filled with strangeness, oppression and avoidance of contact while the nowadays reality is that we spend most of time with‘masses of strangers in public space has not necessarily resulted in a proportional increase in urban angst’.5 The mentality and society may have some differences from the past and thus it appeals that architecture should learn more about the way of thinking the ‘real’ rather than holding authoritarian view to the city. Therefore, regarding architecture as a discourse that the public and people from other disciplines can

participate is pivotal to create openness to the constantly changing environment and think about the impacts of projects from the lens of users. In this way, it strengthens architecture’s engagement to the urban environment, engagement to technology, and importantly, the engagement to the users. This engagement will also assist in rationalizing decision-making during design process and shorten architects’ vision to the built environment. It will also help to create dynamic urban space for people so that their everyday life experience and visual perception can be stimulated. In Western Gateway Design Project, the Wyndham City

Council asked for the innovative design that has eye-catching form and can create significant impacts. The high speed movement of traffic is another crucial factor to think about. To achieve these requirements, the visual perception, the movement of users and engagement between projects and users in visual and spacial relationship should be studied at the early stage of design process to enhance the visual impacts and create latent possibilities. Computational design and stimulation are important to test and realize the desired impacts effectively, which is innovative in architectural discourse and can further encourage discourse about the project.

3. Toyo Ito, shedding the modern body image: is a house without criticism possible? Jutaku Tokushu 149 (September 1998): 21. 4. Alexander Eisenschmidt, Stranger than Fiction: A Mission Statement,Architecture Design, 219 (2012), 1415. 5.

Caroline Bos, 'Phenomenology and Topography of the Megacity', Architecture Design, 2(2012), 139.

There seems to be three different modes of Japanese architects’ responses to urban context, to retreat and isolate from the urban life, to reflect the chaotic urban environments, to blend architecture with surroundings, which can also be used to classify their different views towards the relationship between architecture and nature.5


For Toyo Ito, setting out from the natural forms and letting architecture returning to the nature is extremely important to articulate his concept about architecture and architectural effects on the social and cultural contexts, evidence can be found in his work, Island City Central Park, This entirely artificial park seems to reflect the site, an artificial island, and Japanese traditional culture, ‘harmony with nature’. Ito chose the image of circles radiating from the park to the whole city, reinforcing the relationship between architecture and urban space. The continuous spiralling shapes merge with the undulation of the topography, manifested the complexity and variations of the projects. The interior sometimes scrolled and became the exterior, which

Top: Structure of the park Middle: Undulating forms integrate into surrounding Bottom: Roof Plan

6. Thomas Daniell, After the crash: Architecture in Post-Bubble Japan,Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 2008

blurs the boundary and creates dynamic and instable feelings about the forms. This also generates various paths for people to experience and they can even walk on the exterior to get interesting views of the park. It can create spaces for people walking through, sitting and chatting with others, which reinforce the connection of people in the community. Relied on the computerized structural optimization method developed by engineer, the asymmetric concrete shells with uniform stress distributions can be generated and optimized.

as it gets rid of the simply using repetitive grid system to arrange different spaces, Cartesian axis and basic static geometry. Ito advanced the architectural discourse, especially the discourse on tectonics, in terms of his ambition to explore the new architectural order. He declares that architects should have a desire not to create joint, beams, wall... and all that universalized tectonics. The generalized typologies of structure and construction always separate different elements and set the rules for architecture.6 In contrast,Ito

"It is a park like a building as well as a building like a park."

Top: Green house and cafe Left: Roof has automatic window to control the temperature of interior

Remodelling and testing about the individual parts of the concrete shell is crucial during the modification of the final form. Engineering plays important parts in the designing and construction process. It provides new prototype for architecture,

argues that the grid system which is an order that was set up by Modernist for architecture has degenerated people’s sensation to the heterogeneity and complexity in natural forms, dulled their everyday life and isolated human beings from nature.

6.Lynn, Greg "Why Tectonics is Square and Topology is Groovy", in Fold, Bodies and Blobs: Collected Essays ed. by Greg Lynn (Bruxelles: La Lettre volĂŠe, 1998), 169-182.

Designers can attain their new order by using algorithm to define the rule and externalize it by using parameters of external factors, such as natural environment, history and community thus using ‘bottom-up’ method to find the unknown results within its

contexts. The project not only has eye-catching in terms of its scale and form but also strengthens the community and becomes a landmark of the city, as it generates various vaulted spaces below and above the area and demonstrates that architecture is not

just about building instead the topography, vegetation, light, roads, community and multidimensional experiences. The project definitely reshapes the whole area and improves the image of the city.

"STRANGE ATTRACTOR" NAMBA PARKS JERDE PARTNERSHIP OSAKA, JAPAN 2005 Namba Parks designed by Jerde Partnership in Osaka, Japan is a mixed use of commercial area and garden. The sinuous walls and greenery on the sloping roof of the mall quickly hit the news and became a hot topic among the public as from the aerial photo, it looks like a hanging garden, which evokes citizens’ interests. It is successful in terms of its important natural intervention function

in the dense and harsh urban condition. 8 Osaka is lack of open space and parks in that the land is extremely expensive. Namba Parks is a good solution for the city as it has eye-catching forms and high visibility of water and trees on the sloping roof that appeal to residents and consumers, which becomes a centre of the city for community gathering and further strengthens

communication, community culture and interactions. Its greenery is also pivotal to relieve extremely high temperature during summer. However, the project seems to be monotone inside in that visitors realized that it was just a mall with gardens on roof top rather than what they expected from the photos. 9 Jerde’s analogy is ‘canyon’ and the interior and curved wall that encapsulates paths

8.Rocket News, 'Namba Parks Gets Rave Reviews from Overseas',< namba-parks-gets-rave-reviews-from-overseas/> [accessed 3 April]. 9.Rocket News, 'Namba Parks Gets Rave Reviews from Overseas',< namba-parks-gets-rave-reviews-from-overseas/> [accessed 3 April].

Interior of shopping mall, http:// uploads/Namba-Parks-LifestyleCommercial-Center-Japan-11.jpg

area totally decorated with different ‘canyonlike’ colour to symbolize. Why would he choose canyon as analogy and what is the relationship between canyon and Osaka’s gateway and city image? Some visitors think that they felt that the ‘American-canyon’ like design gave them this kind of image that Japan used to copy western culture and its westernization. 10 The public always perceives some different ideas from the one that designers intended to impart. The park seems to be a strange attractor in Osaka, which isolates itself from surrounding community with curved walls. It is unusual that as shopping mall, the shops are lack of visibility and even windows. The circulation does not work quite well from residents’ point view that they spend a lot time to

find a store. The area mixed with different functions should always be designed carefully with circulation and the arrangement of space. Simply focusing on the garden feature and raise up a topic among the public but to ignore the function and users’ views cannot be an innovative project. Hanging garden may be an attractive title for the mall, but the design is lack of diversity of special experience for people so that visitors feel the space is simply a shopping mall. For Wyndham city gateway project, it is important to consider the project not only in architectural scale but also to establish the relationship between the project and the whole community. Ito’s park project is an innovative one that can be learned in

the gateway project. The simple geometry and its variations link the park, the topography, the surrounding environment and the whole island. For gate project, it is crucial to consider the symbol meaning that architecture can carry on so that it can create and articulate the new image of the Wyndham city. It is also important to think about the effects of the project on the public. Rather than a park that can be experienced and observed slowly, the strong visual effects of project should be highlighted and even exaggerated so that it can be eye-catching in forms.

10.Rocket News, 'Namba Parks Gets Rave Reviews from Overseas',< namba-parks-gets-rave-reviews-from-overseas/> [accessed 3 April].

References: Alexander Eisenschmidt, Stranger than Fiction: A Mission Statement,Architecture Design, 219 (2012), 14-15. Caroline Bos, 'Phenomenology and Topography of the Megacity', Architecture Design, 2(2012), 139.

Lynn, Greg, "Why Tectonics is Square and Topology is Groovy", in Fold, Bodies and Blobs: Collected Essays ed. by Greg Lynn (Bruxelles: La Lettre volĂŠe, 1998), 169182. Patrik Schumacher, 'Introduction : Architecture as Autopoietic System', in The Autopoiesis of Architecture (Chichester: J. Wiley, 2011),1 - 28.

Richard Williams, 'Architecture and Visual Culture', in Exploring Visual Culture : Definitions, Concepts, Contexts,, ed. by Matthew Rampley (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005), pp. 102 - 116. Rocket News, 'Namba Parks Gets Rave Reviews from Overseas',<http://en.rocketnews24. com/2012/09/08/namba-parks-gets-rave-reviews-from-overseas/> [accessed 3 April]. Thomas Daniell, After the crash: Architecture in Post-Bubble Japan,Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 2008

Toyo Ito, 'Shedding the modern body image: is a house without criticism possible?' Jutaku Tokushu, 149(1998), 21.

COMPUTATIONAL ARCHITECTURE Computation is different to computerization that has been applied in architectural representation to increase efficiency of drawing and share of drawing components in the last decades, which has been integrated into the architectural design processes. Even if some people are suspicious about its impacts on architects’ designing methods and the creations of some ‘uncanny forms’ that were driven by ‘fake creativity’, I still believe when computation encountered architecture, creativity can be aroused,1 the rationalization of design process can be articulated


and the distance between architects’ own views and reality can be shortened. Computational architecture can be a method to combine architects’ sensitivity and subjectivity with the objectivity. As design is filled with uncertainties and can be determined by personal heuristic decisions, it is a ‘puzzlesolving’ process rather than ‘problem-solving’ process.2 Personal influences play an important role in the process and hence it is prone to generate errors and limitations particularly when requirements from clients, society and the public are complex.Complex projects, including large

scale, mutable environments and designers’ desire to create dynamic built environment for users, necessitate the integration of computation into design processes. One example is UNStudio’s project, Arnhem Central Station, the integrated public transportation area. It combines different functions and different stops for different vehicles into one area. It is a place where a lot of people pass through and keeps changing as the increase of travelers. Therefore, it is pivotal to organize different information as input to be considered into the project.

1. Kolarevic, Branko, Architecture in the Digital Age: Design and Manufacturing (New York; London: Spon Press, 2003), pp. 3 - 28. 2.Yehuda E. Kalay, Architecture's New Media : Principles, Theories, and Methods of Computer-Aided Design (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2004), pp. 5 - 25

Figure 1. The Knowledge Centre, Foster + Partnersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Specialist Modelling Group ( S M G ) , M a s d a r Institute Campus, Abu

Rather than concerning about the details in modernism and the time during art and craft movement, computation focuses on the relations between different parts. Figure 2. The Knowledge Centre, Foster + Partnersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Specialist Modelling Group (SMG),Masdar Institute Campus, Abu Dhabi(2010)

However, computers and tools can definitely not dominate the whole process as they lack the ability to decode sensibility and inspirations of humanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; mind. Architects are still important designers as their discerning about nongeometric parameters: social, economic, political and material, which is hard to transform into quantitative data to be used as the input of the algorithmic design but these factors impact the design idea and designers set out their processes based on them.3Architects use software to set up the criteria to optimize their projects. Computation play important role to stimulate the real situations and set constraints such as wind, solar path, circulation and other environmental factors in the designing process to assist in decisionmaking of architects.

The Knowlege Centre of Masdar institute of Science and Technology has semi-circluar shape roof to regulate and shade the sunlight. The designers are familiar with computer-programming and can create programs by themselves so that the design process was efficient and generated more variety. Computation also generates innovation in construction process and breaks away from traditional building methods.As designing in computation can directly caculate the precise positions and materials for the building.

Figure. 3 Andrew O Payne/LIFT architects, Air Flow(er) facade prototype, 2009

Computation also allows architects to test and stimulate their design under different circumstances. From Greg Lynn's concept about 'motion-form' that it is important to participate in the flow and forces that shape the built envionment to liquefy the Cartesian space.4 Computation provides opportunities to conncet ideas with real and let real factors to shape the design. In the facade

prototype designed by Andrew O Payne/LIFT

architects , computation is critical to realise the idea to create direct interconnection between building and surrounding environments. By using Rhino and Grasshopper, the facade can react to the heat that generated by pedestrian from them, which is directly transformed into the variet of the forms.5The architects focus on the design of prototyping tools for designers to stimulate their design and shorten the distance between real world and architects'

views about design. It is a more integrative approach of using prototype to help communicate architects' ideas.

3.Xavier De Kestelier,Recent Development in Fosters+Partners' Specialist Modeling Group, Architectural Design, vol.83, p. 23. 4.Michael Meredith,After after geometry,Architectural Design, vol.83, p. 92-94. 5.Andrew O Payne and Jason Kelly Johnson,Firefly Interacting Prototype for Architects, Architectural Design, vol.83, p. 140.

Figure. 4 Andrew O Payne/ LIFT architects, Air Flow(er) facade prototype, 2009

References: Andrew O Payne and Jason Kelly Johnson,'Firefly Interacting Prototype for Architects', Architectural Design, 83 (2013), 140. Kolarevic, Branko, Architecture in the Digital Age: Design and Manufacturing (New York; London: Spon Press, 2003), 3 - 28. Michael Meredith,After after geometry,Architectural Design, 83 (2013), 92-94. Xavier De Kestelier,Recent Development in Fosters+Partners' Specialist Modeling Group, Architectural Design, 83(2013), p. 23. Yehuda E. Kalay, Architecture's New Media : Principles, Theories, and Methods of Computer-Aided Design (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2004), 5 - 25



Sketching is regarded as a basic skill that architects should acquire so that they can express their ideas quickly and effectively, provide problem-solving methods and even obtain inspirations from sketching. Through sketching, the projects can be personal and carry architects’ visions of the final project from which may have distance to the reality.1 Even in nowadays, architects still have dreams to design ‘a pure space that is created within oneself and extremely personal’, which is like painting and other forms of art, abstractly and conceptually.2 However,architectural design should be propagated not only from ‘top-down’ process that is conceptually driven but also from ‘bottom-up’ method to consider different factors. It is a way to minimise the errors when the projects have become more and more complex and the requirements for the diversity and dynamic environment are more and more important. During the fast changing world, architects can learn from nature and use 'algorithm' to optimize their design and increase adapability of architecture.

1. Woodbury, Robert. Elements of Parametric Design (London: Routledge,2010), 7-48. 2. Riken Yamamoto, The Discovery of Process, Toyo Ito, (New York: Phaidon, 2005), 28.

Figure 1.

The 2011 Pavilion at the University of Stuttgart, designed by the Institute for Computational Design (ICD) and the Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE), was inspired by the bionic principle of sea urchins’ skeleton morphology and emerged through the parametric modeling. The pavilion is formed by repetitive plywood hexagon panels that were connected by using finger joints, representing the method in which urchin’s shell links with each other. The two interlocking domes create openings and blur the boundary between interior and exterior. The small dome allows people to have a look at its logic joints and structure. Even if it is a small project through using extreme light ‘paper-like’ material,it represents the idea of the wholeness of designing,

manufacturing, fabrication and installation.The folding and joining of plywood cells blur the distinction between structure and skin. The hexagonal geometries provide rigidity and every three cell edges always join together to transform forces, which further strengthens the form and avoid deformable shape.

Figure 3.Sea urchin's hexangular pattern.

Figure 2.Finger joints

" Parametricism

aims to organize and articulate the increasing diversity and complexity of social institutions and life processes within the most advanced centre of postFordist network society." The Meaning of MAXXI â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Concepts, Ambitions, Achievements Patrik Schumacher3

Moreover, the dynamic size of hexagon and perforations on cells create variations of light effects and diversity. Parametric modeling plays an important role here, as it optimizes the pattern sizes and their positions by considering transferring of loads and curvature in different parts that determines the heterogeneity of individual cells. The bionic principle sets out the initial ideas and the requirements of

structural rigidity and high load bearing capacity set the tone of constraints of the design, which translates into input of the parametric modeling process. Therefore, the form finding and structural design were combined together during the early process by using computational design. The final project is different from the normative tectonic articulations, which embodies the wholeness and complexity of the form. The relationship among

different individual cells and the integration between individuals and the whole are interesting in this project, which highlights the important role of parametric design that defines and analyzes the heterogeneity and complexity logically by optimizing the individual characteristic and their relations with others.

Through parametric design, dependencies and connections between different parts in the project are captured, articulated and communicated with other designers and builders, which is critical for precision and efficiency of fabrication and construction. Figure 4. Silk screen

UNStudioâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work, Galleria in Cheonan, South Korea is a mixture of different functional areas, which combines commercial stores and public space for social and cultural aspects. Based on their research about Asian users in commercial departments, architects consider the project as a highly social area, hence, the project should address its role to provide platform for the communication between users and also the interaction between building and the public. The change of skin of the building becomes the most straightforward way to communicate with the public. Parametric design provides more opportunities to approach the diversity in terms of function and interwoven spaces, which is different from the way in which Post-modernism or deconstruction uses fragile and chaotic elements to communicate with the public. The project sets the start

the research of pluralism which can be addressed by the parametric modeling. As parametric design concentrates on the relationship and constraints between different parts rather than separation, it is more than a style from aesthetic view. Parametric design provides different ways for architects to think about the process and relationship between different parts. The skin of project has double layers to create dynamic effects.

Figure Atrium

Another interesting approach in this project is the study of nowaday's human motion and their ambulatory vision to connect the spacial design directly to the users. The linear forms that emphasizes the horizontality and verticality can restrict vision and focus. In contrast, the dynamic forms can stimulate visual perception of being moving around the object and differnt experiences. Based on the study of how people experience the visual and spacial relations when they are walking, a central space that including way-finding and orientation is created,which is a main attractor and connector of the building.



Patrik Schumacher,'The Meaning of MAXXI â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Concepts, Ambitions, Achievements',< html>, accessed on 3 April, 2013. Riken Yamamoto, The Discovery of Process, Toyo Ito, (New York: Phaidon, 2005), 28. Woodbury, Robert. Elements of Parametric Design (London: Routledge,2010), 7-48.



Comparing with the Paneling tool plug in I used before, Grasshopper give me more control on the patterning. Contour and Box morph function are important to create modularity of the patter. Decomposing of vectors function is also critical to manipulate the direction of patterns and create more diversity in terms of changing their size and localising their conditions. The example here is using point attractor to change the pattern positions. As I am interested in tessellation area. It is important for the each pattern to reflect the different conditions comparing to the whole so that the relations and diversity between each pattern can be enhanced.

CONCLUSION Learning Outcomes


As architecture’s position in public realm is unique and the society keeps changing, the discourse needs to be advanced and expanded. How architects can positively engage with the fast changing world is crucial to generate more dynamic space for people within urban context. To regard architecture as a discourse will definitely generate new ideas about designing, tectonics and the communication and relationship between architecture and the public. To regard architecture as a discourse also means that it can be participated by the public whose voice should be heard and understood by architects. Even if the later interpretation about projects are variable and architecture experienced is never constant, using new design method such as parametric design may lead to more dynamic space for the citizens or at least it tries to enrich the discourse with the public. Importantly, from the previous analysis of successful and wellknown projects, computational design shortens the distance from designers’ vision about the project to the reality by using stimulating, prototype testing and rationalizing parameters to control the project. Toyo Ito’s park provides dynamic visual and spacial relations between people, people and the built environment and people and city. It enrichs people’s sensory experience of being in movement along the curvy paths to gain all-around views of the park. Therefore, it is important for architects not to create projects only within their world and from their vision. Instead, they should have responsibility for the public and society by considering external factors, in Wyndham case to consider impacts on the users and the city at the start of the design process. To achieve Wyndham City Council’s expectation about ‘creating a new identifier’ and ‘generating a new discourse’, the computational design, especially parametric modeling is necessary to rationalize the decision making during the design process and optimize the project. Using computational design is within an architectural discourse and hence will create a new discourse for the community.

By learning architectural computing and the projects designed through parametric modeling, it provides a different way to think about design process and the role of designer. The important understanding about architectural computing is the algorithm thinking that can rationalize design process by considering the relations between different parts, which makes design more reasonable and persuasive. However, it still depends on designersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; perceptions to make decisions on the final projects as parametric modeling always provide large amount of different outcomes. I started to play around different components in Grasshopper and find the different relations between input and output. It is still hard for me to understand some types of input due to the lack of scripting and mathematic knowledge. I will try to acquire some knowledge about these areas as they are important to generate more diverse outcomes with logic relationship between input and output.

PART B DESIGN FOCUS Our group focused on tessellation and geometry areas, especially the interconnectedness of individual parts and the integrity of the whole without sacrificing the heterogeneity of individuals. The relation between heterogeneity and homogeneity is an interesting topic in architectural discourse, which can be extended to ubiquitous questions in everyday life, the relation between individuals and community. Under rapid urbanism, both individuals and community are undergoing different changes in terms of social relations, life-style and propagation to the public. We chose tessellation area as a start of our explorations of architectural computation because tessellation stems from interconnectedness and generates diversity. The individual heterogeneity is articulated by these repetitive patterns’ properties, their relations with surrounding patterns and their orientation relative to the whole, which reflects the relation between residents and community in the reality. Therefore, we think that, through using tessellation in our project, it can possess the feeling of variety and change that can create positive image for Wyndham city. he properties of geometric shapes assist us in understanding the relationship between different parts and obtaining more control of the result. We wanted to achieve three specific effects: • effects of subtle change and drastic contrasts in patterns • creating irregular shapes based on regular grids • localising each individual parts to amplify the effects of change and motion, and articulate complicated surfaces

The relatively identical patterns can impart sense of subtle change, which also provides great efficiency to produce individual parts and assemble them. This is the main reason that we choose this area to study at the beginning. We are also interested in drastic change that is formal because it can create strong visual impacts and can be easily understood by people within a short time, which is essential to achieve ‘eye-catching’ effect in the Wnydham city gateway project.

VoltaDom Skylar Tibbits


1.0 Designed by Skylar Tibbits for MITâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 150 year anniversary, the installation decorates the corridors of buildings in campus. By using parametric design, it is an successful example to achieve diversity of shapes, various depth of forms, interesting views to outside and inside and quick installation methods by using simple strips. The project has strong visual impacts in terms of organic distribution of different individual parts and shadows that it creates. From the outside, the organic complicated vault like individual parts seem to be relased from the bonds of controls and regulations. However, from the inside, the individual vaults are located relatively in order and can be connected easily. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Meshsplitâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; component in grasshopper program played an important role to reshape the individual cone by trimming the intersection parts, which we found inspiring and is relavent to our design concept.

Random opening size



input curve

box morph

Regular input grid


Rectangular grid

Hex grid

Zig zag grid

CONCLUSION The first one show the sense of motion as cones are located according to the curve and intersecting with each other. The repetitive patterns seem to have more strong visual impacts. The relations between each cones form the grid patterns. They can be used in the wall paper or as surface.



Lalvaniâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s design concept is based on understanding about natural force and material and analysis of its formal codes of geometry and generative principles from mathematics.


forces conveying to different parts of surfaces, interconnected parts can react to the external factors differently so that the gaps between different parts will be created. Interestingly, the patterns of gaps look regular and the subtle In his sculpture work, he used laser change between different parts in cutting to produce triangular local scale can also be observed. shallow etches on steel plates. We found this effect inspiring and Then push the surface manually to relavent to our idea about the create convex and concave form. relation between heterogeniety Due to the difference of external and homogeneity.

His work is successful in terms of form-finding approach and the diversity and unexpectations that generates. Then we began to transfer his idea into parametric design by using Kangaroo plug in to simulate the impacts of natural forces on the planar grid.

Flat Surface


Set grids and orders


External forces


Surfaces react to external forces

Output: Gaps (negative spaces) New patterns



At the beginning, we concentrated on his form-finding method as it provides great variety and direct interactions between external factors and our own systems, which can help us to further analyse the relationship between heterogeneity and the whole. At start, we thought there were changes of connectivity between different individual parts as forces adding on the flat surface. However, the grids and numbers of vertices are fixed and therefore the identical patterns can only be achieved by adding limited range of directions and quantity of

forces. Some unexpected patterns were generated when the original grids are stretched and reoriented by the forces. Thus, we realised that the pursuing of identical patterns at the early age of design process can definitely limit other possibilities. What we learned from this process is the importance of grid and geometry that creates strong visual impacts and possibilities for diversity of patterns. The various positions of individual cells through ‘folding’ is also critical for us to think about how to create heterogenous properties of single part.

I did prototype of the simple folding pattern. As in kangaroo plug in, we added forces on the surface quite randomly, during the model making process, the paper cannot follow the folding line in grasshopper. The result is like ‘origami’. The pattern and subtle change of dark and light patterns look interesting, which extended our design space. From this point, we thought we could focus on the patterning generation to explore other opportunities.

Techinique Development|Patterns

Local scale: grids test

Local scale: relative item

Regional scale: point attractor

Regional scale: line attractor

Regional scale: cull pattern

Techinique Development|Voronoi

Through technique development process, we practiced different methods to acquire complete control of the patterns. We can localise them by using tree and list components in grasshopper to access group of points, which enriches the patterns and provides more possibilities. We finally chose Voronoi patterns to further develop for our project due to several reasons:

Characteristic of Voronoi Patterns Voronoi diagram has certain stability and regulation with small small change in the shape of Voronoi cells when it is distorted. The end points of one cell shares three edges for a given set of points, which implies the connection method between different single cell. Edges: angles at different vertices are equal

Patterns and gaps

The Voronoi cells can be optimised through the desired distribution of seeds to achieve more control of cell sizes and layout. Due to using of rectangular distribution of seeds, the Voronoi cells that we generated are modular but not repetitive, which creates sense of subtle change and can be produced quickly.


The gateway project is like a link connect Melbourne city and Wyndham city area. Therefore, we use intersecting circles as symbols to combine them together. In the program, one circle is located on the xy plane the other is on xz plane. When loft them, the unexpected shape was generated. It represents the connectivity between two areas.

Voronoi projecting on surface

Bounding box & Box morph

Hexgonal grid

Trigular grid

Bounding box & Box morph

Prototypes The prototype process made us realise the distance between real world construction and what we expected by modelling in programs. One issue is about the bending capacity of materials as our form is like mobius loop that has double curved surface. The two different materials we used for prototypes are polypropylene sheet and ivory card. The two material cannot bend and twist as what we expected. Therefore, we should rethink about our form. To maintain the two intersecting curve line from the section view, we can trim the bottom part to anchor it on the ground. Another issue we should further develop is the ‘unroll’ method of our surface. Since form is complex, we should try to seperate them into different parts then to unroll and assemble. The polypropylene sheet is not complete opaque so that the shadows it creates are blurred. The ivory card model creates more contrasting shadows. Therefore, we may use opaque material in the future to create strong visual contrasts between light and dark. As we immitated Lalvani’s concepts, Voronoi cells were cut through shallow etches. As a result, we can fold cells by hand and adjust their angles. This created unexpected effects of rotation and dematerialisation, which extended our ideas to combine subtle change and formal elements together to create lightness and freedom of form.


Opening Sizes experiment

Then we reworked our model in the program to determin the opening sizes of each flipping panel. The method I used is to use â&#x20AC;&#x153;rotationâ&#x20AC;? component and use each short edge of the cell as axis. The angles are determined by the curvature of the surface. We will further analyse the interaction between sun path and the opening sizes to optimise the project. The seeds of Voronoi will be determined more explicitly to maximise the visual impacts that Voronoi cells can create.

Connections & Joints

We tested several connection methods that can use the advantages of voronoi cells’ characteristics. The tap connection takes the advantage of the equal angles of which three edges form, which is easy for mass production. However, the effects are not what we expected. The continuity of the edges is highlighted in our design concept while taps create visible circle nodes. The other connection method learned from ‘strip morphology’ by using three intersecting edges as modular to join the different parts. It achieve some extent of the continuity of the voronoi edges.

Connections & Joints

Another precedent we were looking at is Beijing National Stadium. The steel strips that have structural function and surface decoration interweave the stadium, which creates the smooth appearance and illusion of continuity due to the successful use of welded connection between steel lattice. In our project, we can also use welded connection to connect intersecting Voronoi edges. The flipping panels can also be welded on the Voronoi edges. We may further develop the Voronoi edges as both pattern and structure.

Algorithmic Sketches

Using “explode tree” to access each tree data and using “jitter” and “weave” componenets to obtain effects of continuity and weaving.

Using ‘section’ componenet to generate different layers.

Learning Objectives and Outcomes

The learning objectivies is to expand the knowledge of computational technique and practice them into the project, especially to use them to understand repetivie patterns and obtain more possibilities to generate diverse outcomes. I think through the technique development and design process, I really learned a lot about data flow and extract specific points, curves through using ‘list items’ ‘relative items’ and other methods, which realizes some extent of control in the program. The precedent we found enriched our ideas about designing methods. The inspiration from nature and mathematics can quantify the parameters we used in design and provide some regulations that we can use to control our projects. The computational design also provides many unexpected design outcomes. Through our design process, we changed our ideas and found more opportunities by using the program to generate extensive range of models. At first, we sticked to our precedent and wanted to realise it. Even if we did not success in reconstruct his work, we can imitate his concept and applied it in a different way, which also results in some unexpected patterns and effects.

Feedback From the crit’s feedback, the realisation of our project in the real world will be critical challenge for us in the following approach. This reminds us to think about the real world construction methods and to be site-specific when we are exploring the 3D models. For the opening of our project, we will quantify the sun path as an important parameter to determine the angles of flipping panels so that interesting shadows can be created. We should do more research about Voronoi diagram as it is sophisticated system that has been used to find the closet region based on the desired seeds. I think we can specify the seeds’ locations in the following design process.


Friedrich, E. (2008) ‘The Voronoi Diagrams in Structural Optimisation’, UCL. Herber J. Gans (1961), ‘The Balanced Community: Homogeneity or Heterogeneity in Residential Areas?’, Journal of the American Institute of Planners, vol 27, p. 176.


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