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MODULE 4 - REFLECTION ENVS10008 Virtual Environments

Cindy Edelene Arief Student No: 600604 Semester 1/2013

Group 6

IDEATION Natural Patter Pattern

It was quite confusing in the first place to choose one out of the many natural patterns that exist in this world. After several considerations, I came up with this uniquely orb web construction made by spiders. The production of this radical pattern of spider web begins from the first thread at the centre where spiders produce silk continuously.1 The threads increase in strength as the web gets larger. It is interesting to see the pattern made by this silk production that is interconnected from the inner to the outer layer of the spider web. Based on this naturally occuring pattern, I have tried to explore three analytical drawings from a spiderweb, each emphasising the ideas of balance, movement and symmetry.

Spider Web


HowStuffWorks, Inc 2013, HowStuffWork, Atlanta viewed March 2013, < ogy/insects-arachnids/spider5.htm>

IDEATION Analytical Drawing BALANCE






MOVEMENT Recipe: 1. Begin drawing from the inside, draw two lines that make acute angles. 2. Continue drawing until it reaches the first end. Start all over again, but this time, increase the scale to produce similar pattern on the outer layer. It can be seen from the three analytical drawings above that some of them are still too literal, thus leaving behind the crucial complex of simplicity that needs to be applied in analytical approach.2 Of all tree components of the analytical drawing, I chose to focus on the movement as it essentially relates back to how a spider constructs its web, in which movement plays an important role. This rule would thence become the starting point to further explore the initial form of my lantern.


Poling, Clark (1987): Analytical Drawing In Kandiskyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Teaching at the Bauhaus Rizzoli, New York, pp. 107-122

IDEATION From Analytical Drawings to Models Pattern Extrusion To visualise the analytical drawing in 3 dimensional, several sheets of white paper is simply folded and glued together to form a structure as seen in these images. The purpose of this extrusion of pattern is to ease the exploration of any other form that can possibly emerge.

Paper model extrusion of analytical drawing

How controlled lightings affect the paper extrusion model

Digital model extrusion of analytical drawing

Emerging Form Now that the paper model based on the analytical drawing has been produced, it is much easier to further develop the form of the models. In this case, I have used the concept of stacking different layers of the circular form of the base elements. The emphasise is where the base element in each layer is incorporated from the centre of the previous layer. This gives rise to a rather cylindrical shape that tends to bend as a result of narrowing circular space to put another layer on. The emerging form can be represented both in paper and digital form, as follows:

Paper models of the emerging form. From left to right: birdâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s eye view, front view, top view, birdâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s eye view. Digital models of the emerging form. From left to right: birdâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s eye view, front view, bottom view.

IDEATION Precedent Study King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, Saudi Arabia Architect: Zaha Hadid I have chosen this building built by the famous architect Zaha Hadid and her team members as they have incorporated the concept of nature into the buildingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s structure.3 This building was primarily built on the concern of technical and environmental issue to create an organic form. Its structure, as shown by several pictures below, is also capable of continual expansion and transformation. My emergent model, in a similar manner to how this building structure works, has the capability to expand in terms of adding another layer on top of the other. Model Photo of King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center

The pattern of leaf is used as the basic concept of the building.

Another important reason as to why this building has been selected as my precedent study is the natural pattern concept that is more or less embedded in the cellular structure of the crystaline forms. Zaha Hadid has taken up the leaf pattern as a guide to begin her sketches of this building. It is thus evident how a simple natural pattern can result in a very complex yet impressive structure in architectural building.

Photo taken during the construction of the building.


How the building looks like from the inside.

Zaha Hadid Architects (2013), King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, <>

Finalised exterior building.

IDEATION Imaginary Lantern The Lighting Effect In the lecture “Camouflage and Effects”4, there are 6 ways in which lights can be manipulated through materials and geometry. Each of these manipulations can create certain effects including brightness, shadow/darkness, contrast, blurring, or distortion. Subsequently, the different effect produced will bring in different perception of the materials or objects in which the lights pass through. Same thing applies to the lantern that I will produce in this subject. The light that comes out of the lantern is going to reflect how this overall form of lantern is seen. Taking an example of the twisted-structure building Turm der Lüfte in Bremen, different kind and intensity of lights that are exposed through its glass wall can change the perception of people seeing it from the outside.5 Three ways in which lighting can create different effects of the Turm Der Lüfte building.

Of all the effects in which light can change the perception of the lantern, I would argue that layered is perhaps my most favorite one. A very beautiful project done by Olafur Eliassson called the cold wind sphere6 has shown how a single light bulb inside a crystal sphere can produce such an amazing effect through the layered crystals. I have chosen this layered effect in conjunction with my emerging form and sketch models that have also been focusing on layer, thus light effects created by layer will hopefully suit my lantern best.

The effect of lights that I want to achieve through layering is more or less the repetition of my layer of emerging form.

Cold Wind Sphere by Olafur Eliasson

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Loh, Paul (2013), Lecture 3: Camouflage and Effects, University of Melbourne. Zumtobel (2011), Light for Facades and Architecture, viewed March 2013, <> Eliasson, Olafur (2012), Cold Wind Sphere, photograph, viewed March 2013, <>

DESIGN Model Redevelopment Of all the three sketch models I produced in the previous section, I realised that there was one crucial aspect missing from the way the lantern is going to be held. As we are limited to hold the lantern only by using the arm, I thus stepped back into the previous process before going further into the process of digitisation. The second sketch model is the one I have picked up to work on as it is primarily based on the emerging form of my chosen natural pattern extrusion, which are shown below.

Sketch Model 1

Sketch Model 2

Sketch Model 3

These figures above sum up the development process of my proposed lantern form, starting from the very basic analytical drawing of my chosen pattern, which then continues on to the emerging form of analytical drawing up to the shape of the lantern itself. It is worth noting that this form of lantern is only at the very initial stage as there will certainly be a series of further development and refinement process once this model is digitised and paneled using Rhino.

DESIGN Transferring Model to Rhino Ortographic Images To produce the contours of my proposed lantern form, I have used the method of tracing the profile curves which best suits the closed shape with volume inside.

Top View

Clay model

Digitised model

Front View

Clay model

Digitised model

DESIGN Digitisation There are 2 layers built to digitise my model, the one being the inner and another is the outer layer of the lantern skin. This will then create a hollow inside which is intended for the users to easily hold the lantern using their arm. The idea of having 2 layers will also have significant effect of the lighting I want to achieve through this form. The layered effect, as shown earlier in the project called â&#x20AC;&#x153;Cold Wind Sphereâ&#x20AC;? by Olafur Eliassion becomes my reference study in doing this project.

The digitised model is then developed in the paneling tools in Rhino software. There are several varieties of paneling to choose from, depending on the complexity of the object itself, In this instance, I chose only three types of paneling techniques that best translate my proposed lantern form, with each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Angle Box



DESIGN Development of Digitised Model Realising that my first attempt on digitising the model wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t quite successful, I thence looked for another way to rebuild the model. The processes undertaken are shown in these images below, which gives a closed lofted surface as compared to the open air form on my first attempt.





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1. Firstly, I drew 3 curves vertically for the overall form of my lantern, followed by circles in the middle to give it a hollow structure inside. 2. I then lofted the curves, with the order of selection as indicated by the numbers shown in the picture. A closed loft surface is thence created. 3. It then began to be paneled, and here I show different number of control points for paneling which gives the structure a considerable change and details. It might look rather too simple when using too few control points, in this instance 5 and 10 respectively, as well as losing the aesthetic look of my proposed form. Whilst adding control points gives rise to the aesthetic look, it tends to get much more complicated when dealing with the inner structure of the lantern form. Most of the triangular surfaces are overlapping, thus making it rather impossible to unroll and make strips out of the 3D form. One alternative approach could be to build a separate paneling for each of the inner and outer layer, and manually build up planar surfaces to fill up the spaces between these layers. 2D panel using the paneling tools gives quite a firm structure on the outside but messed up on the inside.

Overlapping triangular surfaces on the inner part.

The use of more control points to give a more curvy structure. One way is to make a separation between the outer and inner layer, which gives it a flat surface.

DESIGN Paneling Experiments This is the image of 3D custom paneling that I want to achieve as it is basically the pattern I had chosen earlier, that is the spider web. Nevertheless, it does not seem to work out very well due to the curvy shape of my lantern form. The images below show some possible forms that are closest to the paneling I want to achieve. Problems arise with unrolling the surface, thus I decide to use the simple 2D surface to make the prototype.

FABRICATION Building Initial Prototype

Because of the messy and overlapping parts of the inner layer, the prototype I constructed consists of only a small portion of the outer surface. Further redevelopment needs to be taken in order to get a much more buildable structure, as well as adding a 3D custom panel to achieve the layered lighting effect I want to achieve.

FABRICATION Digital Model Refinement

3D paneling.

Editing the inner part.

Sharpening the edge.

FABRICATION Building Further Prototypes




FABRICATION Problems Encountered 1



The size of the prototype built was too big and couldn’t fit properly around the arm, thus for the final model I have reduced the dimension of my lantern form.

Too narrow space between unrolled faces, resulting in problem with card cutter printing.


Tabs were too small, ended up using masking tape to glue them together but didn’t work quite well.

The use of masking tape and UHU glue to glue the tabs together didn’t give a very clean result, as well as not binding them together perfectly.


Therefore, PVA glue is thence used for the final model.

Too compact nesting ended up with unsuccessful card cutter. One solution to this might be the use of laser cutter instead. Nevertheless, laser cutter still cannot resolve a very small folded line which ended up being broken.

FABRICATION Solutions Based on Problem Found Inner part

Also, I figured out that unrolling this horizontally worked better and stronger than vertically.

Using the command â&#x20AC;&#x153;TRIANGULATE FACESâ&#x20AC;? from paneling tools to create a stronger inner structure.

Inner pyramid In offseting the triangular faces, I have also considered the way I want to achieve my lighting effects through appropriate location of attractor points. The point was chosen to be located furthest from the biggest part of the pyramid so that the offset created would result in bigger holes on the steeper pyramids.

Similar to the inner form, the inner pyramid that forms as the base for the pyramids have been transformed to triangulate faces. point attractor

FABRICATION Preparing File for FabLab

Generating Tabs with Grasshoper Grasshopper has helped a lot in creating tabs for the unrolled surfaces. I initially chose only 0.6 cm wide for the tabs which was too narrow, however, in the final model making, I increased the tab to 0.8 cm which tended to be easier to stick together.

FABRICATION Exploded Axonometric View INNER PART



I am quite surprised to see the shadow that is produced through my several layers of lantern. This is exactly what I have been expecting since the beginning, where the triangles are stacked together through the layering effect.


How the lantern is kept inside the box. The use of bubble wrap inside the box to protect the corner of the pyramid from breaking.

REFLECTION Approaching the end of the semester, in particular in taking the Virtual Environments subject, I have personally been very satisfied with what I have learnt and reached so far. I must admit that this subject is indeed very tough, with a lot of time and effort put into the process of making the lantern. As I refer back to our very first lesson from nature, where I have adopted one pattern from it to be my initial starting point of exploration, which was then continued to analytical drawing approach, these have all taught a very important process of designing. From choosing a natural pattern, producing analytical drawing, developing emerging form, digitising the model, up to the fabricating process, these whole processes made me realise that the making process can be done by everyone, regardless of the skill each individual has. Apart from developing the design process skill, one aspect that has thus far been the strongest point I have learnt is to visually communicate the idea that was previously only wandering around in my mind into something that everyone can see, feel and touch. During the fabrication process, I realised that making prototype was very crucial in order to achieve the best possible result of my lantern. It is from building the prototype that I learned how to come up with solution based on the problems I encountered in the fabricating process. Lastly, I look forward to apply the skills that I have gained from this subject into my further study in Architecture.

Module 4 - Reflection  

Module 4 - Reflection