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architecture design studio: 541039 Edward Grutzner

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bio M

y name is Edward Grutzner but Ed works just fine. Having lived my whole life in Melbourne, a post-school transition to the University of Melbourne seemed both appropriate and convenient. My specific interests in architecture are by no means uniform or consistent. I have always had a passion for works of civil engineering and for some unexplained reason I am interested in the architecture and design of infrastructure ranging from airports and bridges to trains and tunnels. I have been fortunate enough to have experience travelling with my family, most recenty to Chicago, Pennsylvania and San Francisco where I experienced Fallingwater and a number of other Frank Lloyd Wright works as well as the architectural marvels found across these cities. The notion of parametric design is somewhat intimidating to me as I have always been used to working with right angles, straight edges and basic 3D programs such as Sketchup. Having only been using Rhino for a number of weeks, I am however very interested in learning how to use the powerful tools it offers.

bio

A neo-gothic inspired skyscraper I designed based on the works of Hugh Ferriss

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aving used Sketchup for many years, blind to the power of other CAD programs I have designed many things. My first proper project I created from start to finish was for my year 12 Vis Comm project; a new air traffic control tower for Melbourne Airport. Since, I have been playing around with Sketchup but now I look forward to using Rhino.

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his is an example of my work from the subject Architecture Design Studio: Earth in second year. My knowledge and experience in more professional CAD programs was still at that stage, somewhat undeveloped or null, however the subject did prove interesting and did help me gain a better understanding of architectural presentation.


architecture: as a discourse S

ince architecture became a profession around the 14th century as a result of advancements in the field of building design since there was such a need, it has been studied, discussed and thought about. Architecture naturally evolves over time due to shifting social paradigms, emerging technologies and resources amid a whole host of other factors; this process can be accelerated by architects of great significance who may bring something of their own to the proverbial drawing board. The Van Der Rohes, the Sullivans, the Lloyd-Wrights of history.

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rom its beginnings in vernacular architecture, the discipline’s evolution to modern standards has progressed somewhat exponentially in the last century, in part due to the world becoming a smaller place; intercontinental travel became accessible, wars spread professionals abroad, economies collapsed, the birth of the steel frame occurred and the advent appropriate technologies prompted more innovative thinking in regards to architecture.

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architecture: as a discourse

he discourse of architecture can be described as its evolution, it’s progress shaped by natural, human and societal forces, all tied in with the views and attitudes of society in general. It is also the means by which architecture is communicated to society.

ince the dawn of the twentieth century, these changing architectural elements and shifting social attitudes regarding architecture as a whole have been major factors in shaping the discourse of architecture. Professionals are more likely to interpret and even notice works significant to the development of this architectural discourse, not to exclude an individual with a keen eye from that equation however.

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n the last decade, parametric design has emerged as a prominent contender for the next major step in the discourse. It’s visually intriguing nature, sometimes overwhelming as it can be, is made possible by the emergence and progress of CAD capabilities. Works of parametric design are more often seen in large scale developments and

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here appears to be a correlation between the aforementioned examples of social change and shifting ways of thinking in architecture. Most political reigns, fascist or otherwise, in the twentieth century have demonstrated changes in architectural thinking. The Italian Futurists of pre-WWI drew radical similarities between sociopolitical views and attitudes to architecture. The desire to tear down libraries and bring to fruition a society centred around dynamism, speed and violence is an example of a radical desire to universally send the architectural discourse on a distant tangent.

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small scale public sculptures or pavilions. Many examples of parametric design as a discourse, like many other facets of architecture, emerge from nature-based inspiration. The Beijing National Aquatics Centre - the Water Cube, for example came at a time when computing power was capable of modelling and realising the design. Examples of biomimicry become more and more evident with the rise of parametric design as a discourse; The similarities between some parametric design and the natural structures they are modelled on are somewhat more prominent than buildings and designs created before the rise of powerful CAD resources and algorithms.


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he Yas Hotel is a 500-room complex, envisioned as a landmark architectural feature of the Yas Marina Development in Abu Dhabi as part of the Formula 1 circuit and was completed in 2009. Asymptote Architects had the task of designing the structure which would amalgamate a unique design with the geographical and social contexts of the location, resulting in a modern, asymmetrical and non-linear building capped with a spectacular curved glass and steel veil.

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ts distinctive parametric shell made up of 5,800 diamond shaped pivoting glass panels is associated with speed, given the accompanying Formula 1 raceway circuit and also touches on artistry and geometry tracing back to Islamic art from centuries past. The distinctive form of the glass-panel shell is characteristic of a parametric design; there are clearly a series of parameters that have been employed using CAD.

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he notion of architecture as a discourse is evident in the case of the Yas Hotel from the perspective of industry professionals and interested individuals through the ultra-modern design, sleek engineering techniques, curved forms associated with momentum and the links back to Islamic culture and forms. While the overall form of Yas Hotel is ultramodern in nature, and appears to contrast greatly to elements of traditional Middle-Eastern architectural discourse, it is the smaller elements of the building’s design, the social context and sleek design that contribute to the discourse; pushing boundaries the boundaries of architecture.

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he social context of this building is quite significant given its proximity to the Formula One track and thus great consideration has been given to its design. Part of the design process involved the conception of a futurist-inspired building hinting towards the historical significance of Islamic design motifs.

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precedent II

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he World Centre for Human Concerns was a design contemplated in 2002 for the site of the former World Trade Centre. The site naturally being culturally significant and socially delicate, the 430 metre building was proposed as a space for people of all cultures and the resulting design was one that sparked senses of unity, formation and continuity. The Geometry of the tower can be interpreted as a series of objects folding into one another, either in union or conflict, resulting in a uniform structure that is both one and many. The innate nature of “blobs” being ‘simultaneously detached and alien’, as described by Greg Lynn in his work Why Tectonics are Square and Topology is Groovy highlights that blobs are by nature, unable to fuse effectively with the traditional topology of traditional, tectonic architecture; just look at the RMIT building opposite the State Library. The World Centre for Human Concerns proposal however successfully manages to incorporate asymmetrical and non-linear elements into an overall form that is quite intriguing and unique.

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n interesting aspect of this design is the combination of the strong usage of parametrics and the time at which it was conceived. Eleven years can be considered a long period of time in regards to the evolving nature of modern ar-

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ombined with the surge of social media and online interest, these factors have been quite significant in drawing attention to parametric design as a discipline, in the process prompting architects and enthusiasts around the word to explore new design techniques, make use of ground breaking 3D visualisation methods and resources and share their ideas.

chitectural discourse; this design in particular employs parametric qualities while still evoking an innovative and somewhat futuristic form. Parametric architecture as a discourse has seen a huge increase of interest in the last decade, particularly as CAD capabilities, 3D printing and more innovate engineering techniques become available. Not to mention the competitive streak of many Middle-Eastern royal individuals with

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arametric Sketching is a new notion to me; the traditional thought regarding sketching always involved a pen and paper. Over the last few weeks, the slow process of training to become a Grasshopper master has been restricted by the process of becoming accustomed to Rhino. While the vast power that Grasshopper contains is for now, out of my grasp, I have gained a slight understanding of the tools and processes, which affect the “logic�.

sketching: in parametric

sketching: in parametric

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erhaps the most intriguing aspect of using Grasshopper is the ability to modify the geometry in Rhino and Grasshopper would instantly update and display the changes. The use of the Points On command was quite interesting to play around with in that regard. This has been a very pleasant, if not confusing, change from the nowmundane capabilities of Sketchup.

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y first attempts at using Grasshopper have been documented through screen captures. The use of the Divide Length and the Scale NU tools were the significant in achieving the final outcome and the Box tool served as the creator of the physical objects, which were altered and placed with the former tools. I was very impressed with the powerful nature of Grasshopper. The interface, and how it links with Rhino is very logical; The use of layers in Rhino came in handy when I wanted to display the appropriate lines and guides.

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computation: in architecture

s the use of computers has increased exponentially over the last several decades, so has their creative power and significance for architects - their capacity to facilitate the visions of designers through complex mathematical processes and algorithms are becoming more and more important.

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lgorithmic architecture, parametric design, artificial architecture. These terms have really only emerged as a result of the computer. However mathematics in architecture is by no means a new concept; the Pantheon was conceived from the mathematical use of ratios to create architecture. Despite the reliance on computers to visually express algorithms and parameters as designed form, an architect must still be responsible for designing something; be it abstract

computation: in architecture

linear arrangements or complex facades. Computing power merely serves as the calculator if you will, allowing imagination to be expressed as something more logical and navigable than say, a sketch.

her computer, like a soldier and his rifle.

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hile the notion of computation having potential to rob the discipline of architecture from its creativity is one to be considered, the huge benefits must too be considered. Some might argue that pre-19th century architecture is the same, in that much of it was drawn on from classical architecture. The notion of a precedent for modern parametric architecture is more obscure. There is no neo-parametricism or algorithmic revival movements. Not yet at least.

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here has been speculation that “CAD might conspire against creative thought by encouraging “fake” creativity”, a phrase quoted from Bryan Lawson in 1999. After fourteen years of shared ideas between architects, advancements in both computing power and creative expression, changing thoughts on architecture and global events, I’m sure Lawson would in some way appreciate how computers have allowed algorithmic architecture to prosper. If he took one look at the Disney Concert Hall, the Gherkin in London or even Fed Square, I’m sure he’d be able to appreciate the fine union between an architect and his /

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omputation in architecture is a notion that will only see the link between the two forge even more while it’s a certainty that the traditional means of design such as the pen and paper will still be at the forefront of the design process computers are powerful tools for the 3D visualisation and production of designs.

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he rising significance of the computing capabilities of CAD programs has inevitably produced a greater output of buildings which can only be effectively designed through such a medium. While the creative element from an architect is a must, the example of the Museo Soumaya in Mexico City is a design formed through parametric modelling. Essentially the design in characteristed by two rhombus planes stacked on top of one another, one rotated at an angle of 45 degrees, depending on which facade is in question. Its internal ramps centered around a central void are reminiscent of the Guggenheim in New York. While quite simple in design intent and three dimensional form, the structure as a whole is quite compelling, attributed to it’s uniform cladding technique.

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hile the overall curved form of Museo Soumaya is relatively predictable and consistent, the fine detailing on the facade would have required fine attention to detail to ensure consistency and uniformity in the design stage. This structure most definitely could have been built plausibly however the implementation of computing techniques was no doubt a significant factor in its construction. In particular the engineering process would have been made a great deal more bearable by using computing power to assess required loads and general truss design.

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his working drawing, or initial sketch is a reminder of the limitations of computation in architecture. Before an idea is bound to construction drawings and renderings it of course must be imagined or communicated first. The lines on the surface of the sketch indicate the design intent; an essential cube, twisted along its axis with a series of different floor plates between. As mentioned earlier, this design could be conjured without the use of computing power however the current design is based on mathematical processes and algorithms, intended to be visually appeasing and harmonious.

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he design was intended as a uniform facade made up of hexagonal panels due to the building’s context; a private gallery does not require views hence the unique skin was practical and aesthetically pleasing.

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ith increasing computing power, more sophisticated display methods and the easy ability for architects to share ideas, CAD programs and plugins are destined to become more accessible. Grasshopper in particular appears to be making headlines with its powerful ability to comprehend inputs and display outputs, all while allowing the ability to alter the base geometry or input in Rhino without necessarily affecting the intention of Grasshopper’s logic; an evenly divided curve will hold true to its intent after changes are made to it, for instance.

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hese images all incorporate geometries that demonstrate the forces of physics: tension, compression and shearing. By expressing these universal phenomena as built form and employing the use of physics engines, one can gain more scope regarding the importance of computational power in the design process.

oftware plugins such as Kangaroo are particularly useful for structural design of elements that undergo large deformations at rest state, for example structures that naturally sag. Structures such as the tensile membrane pictured below and to the right. With computing power such as this, the final design can better match the original design intent, and any changes can be made to the design to better predict the outcome.

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ot only are such plugins available for pure design reasons. Another plugin called Kangaroo is intended as a physics engine that uses algorithms to simulate the behaviour of actual materials. Some of the work displayed in article 19B of the March / April issue of AD: The Innovation Imperative.

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sketching: in parametric

sketching: in parametric T

ven after a week of experimenting with the nature of Grasshopper and its relationship with Rhino, I have gained a better understanding of using individual curves to drastically change the overall shape and intent of the geometry and logic in Grasshopper. I initially spent most of my time editing the control points to alter the sectional profile of the pavilion along its length. I then tried moving the actual sectional curves themselves at right angles to the pavilion which created a very different vibe.

his specific parametric exercise, when compared to the previous one, gave me a lot more flexibility and more options to work with; the polar array basis for the sketch last week proved somewhat restrictive but the “sectional” nature of this week’s task proved more open-ended. The four images to the left demonstrate the processes of the shuffling the control points on the sectional curves and moving of the curves themselves 1: The starting point where the base control points form a vertical beginning; essentially everything is visible from above. 2: I brought the base control points away from the centre, resulting in a skewed section with a large concave slope leading into the ground. 3. I began to bring the base control points in at the beginning, middle and end thus the base is brought inwards at certain points. 4. I extended the aforementioned thinking, whereby the base is narrower than the middle sections.

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y altering a specific element of each cross section curve to an extent, it became possible to create rib patterns that had some kind of structure to it; not just a collection of random sections lofted together. The use of the PFrames tool gave the pavilion overall structural integrity, and gave it an aesthetic which conjured mental images of the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing.

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sketching: in parametric (additional)

sketching: in parametric (additional)

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ollowing my more successful attempts in week two’s parametric sketching I was keen to continue based on the previous exercise. This pavilion is based on the same idea except for the overall shape of the design. Following the Fibonacci curve sequence found in shells, I conducted a 2 rail sweep in Grasshopper and followed the same basic steps to create the profiles and sections needed to enclose the space.

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like this model due to the highly irregular nature of the cross section curves which rotate and meander across the lofted face of the pavilion. The use of the PFrames tool was the main component that allowed the design to take shape but it is essentially a lofted surface to begin with.

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parametric design T

hus far throughout this journal, parametric design has been referred to and considered quite a bit but not yet has it been considered explicitly as a style. A style of architectural design can be described as design and construction methods specific to a type of building that make it unique from other styles.

The Hagia Sophia in Instanbul is a in the Byzantine style of architecture; its design motifs are distinctive, characterising it in this style.

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ike any other style of architecture, parametric design has come to fruition over the last half century or so, but has really flourished in the last decade and emerged as a style - distinctive waveforms, clear algorithmic parameters and a modern aesthetic are distinctive of this type.

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The BP Pedestrian Bridge in Millenium Park, Chicago is a piece by Frank Gehry, has all the features common in parametric architecture.

arametricism has a number of quasi-precedents that emerged throughout the late 20th century including works under the styles of high-tech, radical functionalism, deconstructivism, post-modernism and ultra-modernism but parametric design is often distinguished by more free form, wave-esque patterns bounded by mathematical parameters. The image below is of a design of a prototypical pavilion surface from the AA School of Architecture, which shows the archetypal parameter-based surfacing structure found in parametric design.

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esselation, biomimicry, patterning and sectioning are common processes used in parametric design. This is the case because these sequences are often arranged in a manner whereby there can be a uniform change in the nature of the pattern across the surface of an object, really bringing out the parametric nature of it.

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ith the emergence of more accessible, powerful computing tools in architecture, which have previously been elaborated on, parametric design can become more algorithmic, adhering better to mathematical shapes and form while allowing the engineering techniques to be foreseen and carried out methodically.

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arametric systems have been defined by Hoffmann and Joan-Arinyo in their 2005 paper A Brief on Constraint Solving by their approach to constraint solving and design implications, with links in graph-based approaches. One of parametricism’s most intriguing notions as a style is that it “offers a credible, sustainable answer to the crisis of modernism that resulted in 25 years of stylistic searching� in the words of Patrik Schumacher in his article Let the Style Wars Begin.

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precedent I

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shapes, and with the rise and ease-of-access of 3D printing, we can now more easily bring these designs to life, obscuring the boundary between the virtual and the physical.

erhaps one of the best ways to highlight the power of parametricism in architecture is to draw from examples whereby algorithms and automated processes are the only means of fulfilment, of course with an architect or designer sitting behind a screen to create it. One of the greatest examples of this to have emerged in the last few years has been the work of Michael Hansmeyer, who engages in a process of processes of folding simple geometric forms and platonic solids to create impossibly intricate shapes and patterns. After even a dozen or so sequences of this folding, millions of facets can be generated, forming intriguing and beautiful form.

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o create these designs 50 years ago (assuming an extremely patient, creative architect was capable of foreseeing a finished design) it would take decades to complete. Through the amazing relationship between CAD and 3D printing, Hansmeyer has not only conceived, designed and bought to life this intricate design, but he has also bought to the attention of the design world the power of computers in design.

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hat Hansmeyer’s work demonstrates is that through parametric scripting under the direction of an architect or CAD enthusiast, we can more realistically both create and perceive complex

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precedent II

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he great thing about parametric design is it is not limited to building design. This type of design can be seen in all manner of designed and built form, often as sculpture. In the case of The Swarm, a piece conceived by Magnus MĂśschel from the architecture faculty at the Technical University of Munich, the sculpture is made up of an array of arrow-shaped templates intended to resemble a swarm of birds. Its parametric nature is manifested as a series of individual pieces of geometry, conforming to a curve. This parametric nature would be better expressed had the templates altered their shape from one end of the piece to the other, further visually expressing the parameters of the design.

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hat I like about this design, in relation to the Wyndham City Gateway Project, is that it’s a sculpture centred around a curved framework, one that could be comparable to a freeway art project that spans some distance. For the Gateway project, the design will be parametric in nature, and will most likely evolve in some way; the profile will change as it continues along the site. The templates in this sculpture are essentially the main components of the design, both structural and aesthetic in nature, they band together to create the overall sculpture. This notion of small things creating bigger things is an interesting concept in parametric design as it leaves a lot of room to play around with param-

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eters in Grasshopper. Templates can be stretched, twisted, rotateed or morphed and distorted. Unlike a static or uniform structure, parametric design should form wavelike curves and surfaces through changing of parameters.


sketching: in parametric

sketching: in parametric

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his week’s parametric sketch was comprised of a series of three-dimensional shapes, sharp in appearance, intersecting with the intention of creating an origami-like structure. The use of Grasshopper was ideal for easily repositioning points to alter the overall geometry of the design. While my skill set in Grasshopper is still developing, I have faith that my proficiency in the field of fold-like commands will increase at an acceptable rate.

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conclusion: case for innovation

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his design project is so much more than simply placing art alongside a freeway for people’s fleeting enjoyment. Architecture is not simply the design of a building or a sculpture, it is also a manifestation of society’s views and expectations of what design should be. With the rise of parametric design over the last decade, a shifting way of thinking about architecture is imminent and through architectural projects such as the one in question, we can have the opportunity to display these new thoughts of design, provoke intrigue and simply spruce up what can easily be considered a mundane viewscape. But why do we need architects for this task? That’s simple. Architecture, unlike engineering, landscape design or urban planning, is a profession that covers all scope of a design proposal. From initial client contact to evaluation, architects have the means, resources and innovative nature to bring projects like this to fruition.

ver the last month or so being exposed to the computing capabilities of Rhino and Grasshopper, I have come to appreciate the notions of parametric design and algorithmic processes. Architecture for me was a field where mathematics was reserved for ratios and rules of thumb, but the use of parameters makes so much sense in modern architectural thought. The ability to change numbers around in Grasshopper’s logic, affecting the outcome of the geometry in Rhino is still quite an astounding notion coming from a Sketchup Background.

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he semester’s beginning for me was a time of right angles, straight lines and clean ratios. Now is the time of the curve, the blob and the wave. To learn this software with the demand for a project submission is to me both concerning and exciting.

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Design Studio Air - Expression of Interest.