Page 1

Studio: AIR

Dianna Yong 551485 Studio 3, Adam & Finn Semester 2, 2013

Material Choice: Wood Type of Wood I am intereted in : Plywood Advantages of Plywood: -It reduces moisture expansion and contraction. - It is conventionally stable - Control of grain during production processes that reduces waste Wood is organic, it has a life span. Depending on how you treat wood, it can produce different asthetic qualities over time. I am interested in the way wood is able to produce a design based on its properties. There are also many jointing systems that can work as a structiural element, an asthetic quality and as function. These are the qualities I look for to introduce to the Wyndham City Gateway Project.

What can Plywood do? It can be bent, it can be cut into pieces of geometrical shapes. It can joined using othter materals or by creating a mechanism with the material itself to act as an interlocking system

Introduction| 0.1

Dianna Yong I have lived in three countries for 21 years of my life. I was born and raised in an industrial city in Indonesia, called Balikpapan. This was where I spent my childhood days playing around in mud and remains of old, thrown-down buildings. At the age of 6 I moved to Singapore, and this was where I spent most of my life. This included Primary and Secondary education and a complete change in enivornment or living condition. In 2010, I made a big decision to pursue my tertiary education in the University of Melbourne. Currently, I am a thrid year student in the Bachelor of Enivronments, majoring in Architecture. Having to lived in different countries, I would say that I have been exposed (not fully) to the different living conditions, culture, environment and most importantly styles of archiecture. At the time when I was living in Balikpapan, architecture was solely used as a means of shelter. It is, as I would define it, a developing city as seen by the vast amount of on-going commercial and residential projects today. Comparatively, Singapore and Melbounre are the opposite. Architecture is viewed as the identity of the country there and the use of it serves for various purposes. These experiences and exposures triggered my facination with archiecture and how they are represented or inspired in different context. Apart from that, I also love design and art. I find myself incorporating these fields of interest alot in my studios and how I view architecture. Recently, I have been experimenting with digital tools, and I find that though they are tricky, they present to be a useful platform to aid in illustrating my ideas. Thus, I see Studio Air as a great opportunity to develop my skill set, as well as improving my understanding on theorectical knowlegde to design.

Fig. 3

Close Encounters

Virtual Enivronments, Semester 1 2012. The brief for this project was to create a lantern, either wearable or just as a lantern model on its own, by using parametric design.

Fig. 5

Fig. 1: Final lantern model worn on the neck Fig. 2: Details of the panels Fig. 3 & 4: Sketches of flowers for documentation process Fig. 5: Rhinoceros screen grab of lantern model in develoment stage Fig. 1

Fig. 2

Virtual Environments introduced me to digital design. The aim was to contruct a NURBS model in Rhinoceros. The design of my wearable lantern was inspired by phyllotactic patterns formed by the arrangement of petals and leaves from an annular region. My inspiration developed further to tranform phyllotactic patterns into geometry, or phyllotaxis, which is the geometrical arrangement of leaves, flowers and seed. I physically studied flowers and documented them by the sketches. Sketching helped me realise a repetitive circular motion that I constantly did and from there I illustrate flowers and petals geometrically. The end result was represent the stages of petal/leaf growth on my lantern. The first stage of design I adopted the use of al method such as skething and plasticine models. er, it was evident that digital tools allowed me explore sign ideas beyond what tradional methods could

traditonHowevthe deachieve.

Though I do agree that digital tools present different outcomes, I still enjoy the first few stages of employing traditional method to develop my design. For Studio Air, I hope to combine these tools together to obtain the aim of the brief. However, it is definitely evident that digital tools will help me achieve the end result for the gateway project.

Fig. 4

Introduction| 0.2

Part A

Expression of Interest:

A Case For Innovation


A.1. Architecture as a Discourse

05-06 07-08 09-12

A.2. Computational Architecture A.2 Precedent Work: ICD/ITKE Pavilion 2010 A.2 Precedent Work: Kerf-Based Com plex Wood Sytem

13 14

A.3. Parametric Modelling A.3 Precendent Work: ICD/ITKE Pavil ion 2011

17-18 19-20

A.4. Conclusion A.5. Learning Outcomes A.6. Appendix - Algorithmic Explorations

21 22 23

A.1 Precedent Work: Dragon Skin Pavilion A.1 Precedent Work: Polymorphic


A.1. Architecture as Discourse


Previously, architecture was seen as art that incorporated other forms of visual art to define the context of a space. [1] Commonly seen by Renaissance architects that treat buildings as an artform through decorative elements. In the quest to move forward, modernist architects focus more on the function of the building and technical side (material and construction) of it. However, it is not to say that architecture is narrowed down to its form or function. Architecture posses both functional aspects and asthetic qualities that are determined by its discourse. [2] Architecture discourse can be looked at as set of ideas that is constantly changing to enable the development of architecture (or for it to move forward). Since the Italian Renaissance, this has led to the studying, researching, testing and critically analysis of architecture. It used to be led by the people involved in this industry, such as architects, builders and engineers. However, the approach towards modern era causes the change of discourse. As a result, it has progressed to include other fields of expertise such as mathematics and science. [3] In addition, it has also resulted to a change in architectural styles. Williams stated that architecture defines our how we live, our movements, and even aims to moralise and discipline us. [4] It shows that architecture goes beyond it’s functional purpose as built forms to incalcate social and political aspects. As such, architecture discourse should not be open to just professionals in this fields, but also to people who can contribute or who are affected by it.

The continuous advancement in technology has affected not just our lives, but also the discourse of architecture. Aiming to create innovative designs makes sense for the architecture to evolve with technology. This brings in technology, or computers, as a tool to assist architects. This is refered to as computable function, where an algorithm, which are methods or techniques, tells the computer what to do [5]. Consequently, it pushes the boundaries of discourse and introduce new design ideas or outcomes, and a set of new design parameters. Computer programs have significantly changed the discourse, the possibilities of archiecture and the way people view architecture today. Innvovative designs also includes the way it responds to it’s context. The Wyndham City project looks to create a gateway that makes a “statement and arrival experience” and as an “identifier”. [6] I propose to utilise computational design to fulfill the aims of creating a prominent gateway that reflects the social and cultural characteristics of Wyndham City.

A.1 Architecture As A Discourse | 06


Precedent Work: Dragon Skin Pavilion Hong Kong, 2012 Fig. 7

Fig. 8

Fig. 9

The way wood is used in this pavilion by architects Emmi Keskisarja, ekka Tynkkynen, Kristof Crolla and Sebastien Delagrange, sparked my interest in the material wood, and it’s properties. This architecture installation is made up of tessellated pieces of post-formable plywood. The connection of each wood piece has a unique slot bent on one single mould. In order to achieve this, parametric modelling is used and a CNC milling machine creates the joins that connect the pieces together. This process of manufacturing creates a very accurate method of construction that would be quite impossible to achieve with tradional methods. Due to the nature of the pieces, an alogrithmis procedure would be used to calculate the placement of the slots. [7]


Fig. 10

In addition to its individually designed pieces, the way the material is treated in this project exhibits the qualities of plywood. Heating and pressing the material allows it to form different shapes. For this pavillion, it appears to be that a curve struture is the result of scale like shape pieces and the gradual placement of them.[8] It also appears that no other forms of connection, rather than the slots made, are used. This method of connections creates a self-supporting stable structure. The methodology of the Dragon Skin Pavillion shows new way of designing and constructing For the Gateway project, I think these characteristics can be applicable into the proposed design. From the method of utilizing plywood and the treatment of it adds to the discourse of archiecture.

Fig. 11

Fig. 6

A.1 Architecture As A Discourse | 07

Precedent Work: Polymorphic Columbia University

Fig. 14

Fig. 12

Fig. 15

Polymorphic is kinetic and interative installation that uses Grasshopper script to generate its components. [9] The movement of see-saw was the inspiration behind this project. Polymorpic illustrates how interaction coupled with design and construction solution fosters innovative designs. When weight is applied, the motion changes the shape of the bench.

Fig. 13

The design idea also puts the limits and capabilities of digital fabrication to test. Due to the kinetic nature of the installation, the use of digital tools would ensure that each piece of plywood fits perfectly in its postion.

The contruction system adopted should have considered the amount of weight it can withstand and also a solution if any part of the mechanism were to fail. In addition, the size of the bench can be made longer or shorter, depending on availability of resources. [10] Personally, I really like the design idea behind this installation. It has shown how to work others outside the field of architecture into asthetics of the design. It take into account the properties of the material, the users, the technology and used it to respond to the context of its environment. This I feel impacts A.1 Architecture As A Discourse | 09

Fig. 16

Before going into the topic of computational architecture, it is important for one to understand the role of computers. Computers are analytical engines that do no make mistakes. They are able to store data, evaluate information at a very fast pace and present it to in a readible form. However, computers are incapable of creating new instructions, lack creativity and are dependant on the user (humans) to function. [11] In a sense, computers are designed to be compatible for human use as they both make up for the qualities each of them lack. Thus it is essential that the user understands the language needed to communicate with the engine for it to be used effectively. The development of computer aided design (CAD) and computer aided manufacturing (CAM) has created new opportunities that were impossible before.[12] Computerisation and Computation are two design tools or engines that has changed the discourse of architecture in terms of methodoloy and thinking. Computerisation is defined when the user treats computers as medium to illustrate and edit their ideas and designs.


A.2 Computational Architecture However, it does not automatically establish the design as innovative. Computation uses computers to produce ideas. It can be viewed as puzzle making instead of problem solving. [13] The role of the architect is to then be selective over the resources available to work with in order to fulfill the task, or not only to invent but to remake. Computation is a useful tool for architects to allow them to assess componenets of the design. They are able to judge and make amendments for a better design solution. As a result, it enables the architect to study the properties of the material so as to use it effectively and efficently in the design. Addiontionally, it allows reconsiderations on the type of material used or construction technologies.

Precedent work: ICD/ITKE Pavilion 2010 University of Stuttgart

Fig. 17

Fig. 19

Fig. 18

This temporary pavilion was constructed by The Institute of Computational Design (ICD) and The Institute of Building Structures and Structural design (ITKE) at the University of Stuttgart in 2010. The use of computational design to evaluate material elements allows the design to be defined by the bahaviour of the material instead of the form. [14] This explifies how, with design parameters, material behaviour becomes the determining factor of the design and fabrication and result in architectural possibilites. This project was constructed with thin birch veneer plywood strips and it looks at the elastic bending behaviour of the plywood. Using computation to assess the elastic properties enabled “a series of behavioural compo-

Fig. 20

nents that spatially mediate an intricate network of forces” and to produce a unique space. [15] The design process of this pavilion portrays how computational tools assist in creating innovative designs. It is very much applicable to how I would approach the Gateway Project. Firstly, the use of plywood in the pavilion shows the potential of its’ propertices. There is also a vast amount of information on the test this project conducted on wood, which i would be able to use as a design parameter. Moreover, it has introduced ways of using computational tool to explore materials, and produce a design that satisfies my material selection and the brief for the project. A.2 Computational Architecture | 14

Fig. 2

Elaborating on the relationship between material and form, one does not exist without the other. Computational tools also play an important tole in this relationship as a verdict on performance issue such as force of form. [16] However, these forces are apparent in materials that make up the form. As mentioned in before, it is therefore crucial to understand how material works.

have chosen is wood. There are many different types of wood and each type has a different set of properties, which are affected by environmental conditions. For instance, trees adapt to lateral forces, such as wind, by growing branches or roots in areas needs to resist the the uplifting caused by the force. [17] Applying this theory to architecture can be done with the use of computers elvaluate the performance criteria and to determine the forces, loads, The material focus of this project that I bending and elasticity of the material.



Precedent work: Kerf-Based Complex Wood System Harvard Gsd

Kerf-Based Complex Wood Systems is a research project done by Brad Crane, Andrew McGee, Marshall Prado and Yand Zhao from Hardvard GSD in 2010. It explores complex wood systems made from “free-form wooded slats and formed through strategic accumulative local weakening and disruption of fiber continuity by kerfing�. [18] Kerfing is a fabrication technique of bending wooden parts. This project demonstrates how computer controls are used to test degree of kerf (length, deoth, orientation) to achieve variations of bending and warping structures. [19] To control the parameters of this project, a robot tool is used to carry out the constructing and assembly process. Computational tools produce individual kerf patterns with is communicated to the robot tool. It enables the unique kerf of each piece to be precise and efficient on resources. Similar to the context of the ICD/ITKE Pavilion, the materials taken into consideration during the early stages of design. Both examples have shown the properties of wood has generated complex innovative design. Additionally, I find that having each element of the structure to be unique and act interdependently works to bring out the aim of the project. For the Gateway project, I hope to use this technology as a means of representing the social and cultural aspect of Wyndham City in the design.

Fig. 23

Fig. 22

Fig. 21: Detailed view of kerfing on the wood Fig. 22: The form of the design based on the behaviour of kerfing on each individual component Fig. 23 & 24: Precise cuts on wood made by robot tool Fig 25: Jointing system

Fig. 24

Fig. 25

A.2 Computational Architecture | 16

A.3. Parameteric Modelling


Schumacher’s introduces parametricism as a new approach for architectural design, where it changes the thinking about architecture.[20] The most important thing about parametricism is that it concerns relations. It uses nurbs, splines to produce shapes that are controlled by ‘attractors’ with the use of scripting. [21] The communication level of the user and parametric design is based on design components, such as adding (drawing), subtracting (erasing), etc. The user can choose to use any of these tools and the changes will be integrated into the system that represents them visually. An example of this is Grasshopper. The visual representation in through Rhinoceros. The reason why most architects adopt parametric modelling is because of the generative approach that permits the practioner to controll the definition of the relationship between elements. Or as stated by Burry, “Designing the design”. [22]

In addition, parametric design makes it possble for architects to design with high precision, changing the discourse of architecture by the styles and quality parametric design generates. Parametric modelling also aims to improve the way amendments are made with design tools without having to affect undesired parts.[23] However, there are also disadvantages to parametric modelling that needs to be addressed. The user must be fluent with these tools in order to know what they want to achieve. Woodbury also stated that designs using parametric modelling might produce unoriginal designs because of the nature of scripting.[24] For example, a practioner is able to use someone else’s design and manipulte it to call it their own In spite of the points mentioned above, Parametic modelling helps to create new possibilites in architecture and bring to life what architects envision. I also believe that it is a powerful tool to communicate between the built environment and out society. Employing this technology to the Gateway project would achieve the aims of the brief to have a design that is innovative and contributes to the discourse of architecture.

A.3 Parametric Modelling | 18

Precedent work: 2011 ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion University of Stuttgart

Institute for Computational Design, Institute of Building Structures & Structural Design.

The 2011 ICD/ITKE research pavilion showcases a level of innovation by the means of “extending the recognized bionic principles and related performance to a range of different geometries� achieved by computational tools. [25] This is illustrated by the thin sheets of plywood that make up the pavilion. It represents the morphology of a sea urchins skeleton plate. Computational tool and computer-controlled manufacturing by robotic production are implemented into the design process. Again, the choice of material and joint systems caught my attention. How sheets of plywood can be used to create geometrical shapes to form the cells in this precedent is different from how plywood was used in the previous precedent. It also exhibits how using different joint systems can result to form different outcomes. To form the geometrical cell shape, the plywood is connected using a dovetail joint. As a result it provides high load bearing capacity. How this form can about also interest it. Interpreting the skeletal form of a sea urchin using different techniques in parametric modelling triggered my curiosity to wonder what other types of structures it can produce. However, I realise that projects like these are normally done in small scale because of the cost or funding. Practicing economical production, similar to this project, and choosing the right materal could make a significant difference. As of now, smaller scale projects could be useful to test the possibilies and potential of parametric modelling, which coud hopefully be used in bigger projects in the future.

Fig. 27

Fig. 28

Fig. 26

Fig. 28

A.3 Parametric Modelling | 19

A.4 Algorithmic Explorations

Lofting and Baking

This simple lofting exercise done by Grassgshopper allows the shape to be edited in Rhinoceros.

Grid Shell Different renditions of Grid shell can be obtained by having different base shapes drawn in Rhino and the sequence of setting the curve 20

Curve Menu Creating the arches in Grasshopper. There are a number of ways to form the shape of these arches that will help in fabrication. The number of points can also be edited

Edited in Grasshopper, the script allowed me to pick which end I would like to be rendered and to change the way the line run on the rendered surface.

This is chair and hammock looking thing that I did using Pipes in Grasshopper. I experienced a few problems with this. I was unable to resize the diameter of the pipes.

A.4 Alogorithmic Explorations | 21

After tackling all the readings required and looking through precedents, I realise that as an architect, one needs to understand the purpose of their building/work. Architecture influences our lives, social structure and culture. In the bid to constantly be on the fore front of architecture, it is important to know that computational the capabilities of computational tools that can help us realise our visions. As technology advances at a fast pace, it will affect the pace of architecture discourse. I foresee that parametric modelling, though utilized only on small scale projects now, will be heavily vested in the future. These small projects are just a glimpse of what parametric modelling can do. I believe that with a better literacy and software, one will be able to create the next innovative design that will affect architecture as a discourse. Thus, it it important for us to keep up with these technologies and practices for something out of thing world might just present itself at any moment. For the Wyndham Cury Gateway project, I believe is a great opportunity to put these tools and practices to a test to create a design that will stand against time. What the brief calls for can be satisfied by utilizing parametic modelling tools to generate a design. Furthermore, the use of wood, a material that has been around for more than centuries will show using computational tool can change the way it was conventionally used. It will introduce ways of working and designing with wood that will reflect the community of Wyndham as well

A.5 Conclusion 22

A.6 Learning Outcomes Before this commencement of this subject, I would say that i have not been fully exposed to architecture theories yet. My skills in progams are also limted and I have always thought that computational tools were a way of making our lives easier. I never saw the actual reason, apart from how it is treated a form of help in designing. Through all the research, readings and discussion in studio, I realise that architecture is not just subjective to the individual, but it is a means to show progression, whether you like it or not. The idea and technology used would reflect the time it was designed, and its function. I hope to be able to incoperate what I have learnt and will be learning into my design ideas. Having learnt that there are two types of using computers, computerisation and computation, puts my ideas and learning into better perspective. I would say that different countries have their take on these tools in architecture, and it is fascinating to see how these tools are made to work in different context. It is therefore important to keep your eyes open, for seeing is learning, and learning is believing, and believing is making things possible. I have now a better understanding of architecture around me and i am looking forward to seeing what comes next in this industry. I am not as fluent as I would like to be in Rhinoceros or Grasshopper. However, I think with more practice, I would be able to familiarize myself to the basics needed to work the program. From there, I hope to explore and find out what I can do from learning about architecture, and what these computational tools have to offer me.

A.6 Learning Objectives | 23

A.6 Notes References 1. Williams, R. ‘Architecture and Visual Culture’, in Exploring Visual Culture : Definitions, Concepts, Contexts, ed. by Matthew Rampley (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005), pp. 102 - 116. 2. Schumacher, P. ‘Introduction : Architecture as Autopoietic System’, in The Autopoiesis of Architecture (Chichester: J. Wiley, 2011), pp. 1 - 28. 3. Definition of “algorithm” in Wilson, Robert A. and Frank C. Keil eds(1999) in The Mit Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science (London: The MIT Press) pp.11-12 4. Hill, J.(2006). ‘Drawing Forth Immaterial Architecture’, Architectural Research Quarterly, 10, 1, pp. 51-55 5. Definition of “algorithm” in Wilson, Robert A. and Frank C. Keil eds(1999) in The Mit Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science (London: The MIT Press) pp.11-12 6. Wyndham City Gateway Design Project, retrieved from ABPL30048_2012_SM1/Project/Project%20Document%20-%20COMMENTED.pdf. Comments by Stanislav Roudavski v.02 7. Dragon Skin Pavillion, Laboratory Of Explorative Architecture & Design, retrieved on 14 August 2013, from <> 8. Dragon Skin Pavillion, Laboratory Of Explorative Architecture & Design, retrieved on 14 August 2013, from <> 9. Charlieable, 2011. ‘Polymorpihc’. Retrieved on 15 Ausgust, 2013, from <> 10. Charlieable, 2011. ‘Polymorpihc’. Retrieved on 15 Ausgust, 2013, from <> 11. Yehuda E. Kalay, Architecture’s New Media : Principles, Theories, and Methods of Computer-Aided Design (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2004), pp. 5 - 25 12. Kolarevic, B. Architecture in the Digital Age: Design and Manufacturing (New York; London: Spon Press, 2003), pp. 3 - 28 13. Yehuda E. Kalay, Architecture’s New Media : Principles, Theories, and Methods of Computer-Aided Design (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2004), pp. 5 - 25 14. Achim Menges, ‘Material Computation: Material Behaviour’ in Architectural Design (Chichester: John Wiley & Sons ), 82. 2. pp. 44-51 15. Achim Menges, ‘Material Computation: Material Behaviour’ in Architectural Design (Chichester: John Wiley & Sons ), 82. 2. pp. 44-51 16. Kotnik, T. & Weinstock, M. ‘Material Computation: Material Form’ in Architectural Design (Chichester: John Wiley & Sons ), 82. 2. pp. 104-111 17. Kotnik, T. & Weinstock, M. ‘Material Computation: Material Form’ in Architectural Design (Chichester: John Wiley & Sons ), 82. 2. pp. 104-111

18Menges, A. 2010. ‘Kerf-Based Complex Wood Systems’ Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Retrieved on 15 August, 2013 from < http://www> 19. Menges, A. 2010. ‘Kerf-Based Complex Wood Systems’ Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Retrieved on 15 August, 2013 from < http://>

20. Schumacher, P. 2010. ‘Patrick Schumacher on Parametricism: Let the style wars begin”. Architects Journaln. Retrieved on 16 August, 2013 from < http://>

21. Schumacher, P. 2010. ‘Patrick Schumacher on Parametricism: Let the style wars begin”. Architects Journaln. Retrieved on 16 August, 2013 from < http://> 22. Burry, Mark (2011). Scripting Cultures: Architectural Design and Programming (Chichester: Wiley), pp. 8 - 71 23. Woodbury, Robert (2010). Elements of Parametric Design (London: Routledge) pp. 7-22 24. Woodbury, Robert (2010). Elements of Parametric Design (London: Routledge) pp. 7-22 25. Menges, A. 2011. ‘ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2011’ University of Stuttgart. Retrived on 15 August fron <>



Fig. 6: Dragon Skin Pavillion Photograph, 2012, retrieved on 14 August 2013, from <>

Fig. 12: Polymorphic Photograph, 2011, retrieved on 15 August from <>

Fig. 7: Dragon Skin Pavillion Photograph, 2012, retrieved on 14 August 2013, from <>

Fig. 13: Polymorphic Photograph, 2011, retrieved on 15 August from <>

Fig. 8: Dragon Skin Pavillion Photograph, 2012, retrieved on 14 August 2013, from <>

Fig. 14: Polymorphic Photograph, 2011, retrieved on 15 August from <>

Fig. 9 Dragon Skin Pavillion Photograph, 2012, retrieved on 14 August 2013, from <>

Fig 15. Polymorphic Photograph, 2011, retrieved on 15 August from <>

Fig. 10.Dragon Skin Pavillion Photograph, 2012, retrieved on 14 August 2013, from <>

Fig. 16: Polymorphic Photograph, 2011, retrieved on 15 August from <>

Fig 11. Dragon Skin Pavillion Photograph, 2012, retrieved on 14 August 2013, from <>

Fig. 17: 2010 ICD Research Project Photograph. Institute of Computational Design, University of Stuttgart. Retrieved on 14 August 2013, from <>

Fig. 19: 2010 Kerf-Based Complex Wood Systems Photograph. Fig. 20: 2010 Kerf-Based Complex Wood Systems Photograph.

Fig. 18: 2010 ICD Research Project Photograph. Institute of Computational Design, University of Stuttgart. Retrieved on 14 August 2013, from <>




A.7 Notes

| 24

Submission A Journal_Dianna Yong_551485  

Studio: Air University of Melbourne

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