design studio: AIR
ARCHITECTURE AS A DISCOURSE
ABOUT ME Hi i’m Bonnie Williams, a 3rd year Architecture student from the University of Melbourne. I have been interested in architecture and design for as long as i can remember and I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of manipulating space to create or change experiential qualities. I favor traditional design methods such as pencil and paper and therefore I have limited experience in 3D modeling. Nevertheless i am exciting to experiment with this technique and to engage in a new architectural dialogue. My first exposure to 3D modelling was in first year Virtual Environments in which i was required to use the panelling tools functions within Rhino to design and construct a lantern. Since then i have had a small amount of experience using SketchUp and other basic modeling programs.
“Social order requires spatial order…society doesn’t exist without a structured environment, and society can only evolve if it is able to enhance and intricately structure its built environment as well. Architecture provides the necessary substrate of cultural evolution.” Patrick Schmacher
ARCHITECTURE AS DISCOURSE As the architectural profession evolves the possibilities of design become ever increasingly more infinite. Things which once seemed impossible are seemingly simple now due to the evolution of software and technology. However as technological capabilities increase, the architectural community must also develop in order to keep up with this snowball of new information and ideas. As designers one of the biggest challenges faced is to become educated in the latest software programs before the next technological development is initiated. It is through an architectural discourse
that concepts can be circulated back and forth through architectural communities worldwide; educating, inspiring and challenging one another to push the boundaries and extended the limits of what is possible. It is most crucial in design professions to be aware of what is going on around us in both a local and global scale and to always question what our role is as shapers of our physical environment. Good design is no longer characterized by buildings of appealing aesthetics, functionality and sustainability but how a structure contributes socially, culturally, politically or innovatively is becoming more relevant.
â€œDesigners speak to future clients more about ergonomic, cultural, or symbolic aspects than about design itselfâ€? *
Advances in technology originating in the time of deconstructivism have lead the architectural discourse into a new era of design. Parametric modelling through computational design is at the forefront of modern architectural design. It is titled ‘parametric’ due to its nature in which parameters are controlled using algorithms and it has already altered the physiognomy of our built environment, just as modernism did in the 20th century. This kind of computational design raises questions due to the fact that it creates limitless design solutions but may constrict the traditional approach of design. It is essentially a new tool for an old purpose, aiding in the cost and time taken to effectively communicate design ideas.
“For the previous 2,000 years, architecture was working with platonic solids, with rigid, hermetic, geometric figures, and just composing them. Compared with classical architecture Modernism was allowed to stretch proportions, was able to give up symmetries, and instead had a kind of dynamic equilibrium and more degrees of freedom.. Now, if you look at the kinds of primitives we are working with today, it is a totally different world – splines, blobs, nurbs, particles, all organized by scripts. I think it started with deconstructivism, to a certain extent, and then Greg Lynn talking about blobs in 1994-95”
ContemPLAY Pavilion, 2011, McGill School of Architecture
Seattle Central Library, 2004 Rem Koolhaas At the time of construction the Seattle Central Library was a somewhat unprecedented design. The striking form of the building and appearance of the skin arose from the Architects desire to ‘Let the buildings required functions dictate what it should look like, rather than imposing a structure and making the functions conform to that.” This ties in with the contemporary design approaches particularly stemming from computer aided design where the idea of a ‘skin’ or ‘interface’ is relevant. The steel net around the glass skin were designed in a attempt to make the library feel bright and airy as opposed to claustrophobic and stuffy like a traditional library.
This pavilion is a student led initiated from the McGill School of Architecture. It demonstrates developments in digital processes, advanced construction techniques and theoretical approaches to civil architecture. In particular, the project utilizes algorithms for digital modelling and the fabrication of complex geometries using Rhino and Grasshopper. The piece is based on the idea of contemplation and a public play space and encourages debate as to what public spaces can be. It is a sustainable public infrastructure which questions current design trends for public spaces through the manipulation of the visual field through manipulation of form and cladding.
Bonnie Williams Journal 1 391546 Design Studio: AIR