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architecture design studio: 541039

air

Edward Grutzner

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PROP OSAL FOR SUBMI SSION 2


... should provide an entry statement and arrival experience... ... should create a focal point of iconic scale and presence... encouraging a sense of pride with in the local community...

... should propose new, inspiring and brave ideas, to generate a new discourse...

part c: gateway project 3


moving forward From where we last picked up...

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ince the submission for the previous section of this journal, we have done less dabbling around trying to come up with and stick to an idea, instead we have been attempting to focus our collective attention on a more specific idea; our group progression regarding this is explored throughout the upcoming pages.

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hroughout the first half of the semester, we were fairly certain our design would continue down the path of a solid formed through a pouring process. While this method had its advantages in terms of both design potential and fabrication possibilities, we acknowledged the drawbacks of this method. The angle of repose of our chosen materials was not always consistent with what we wanted our design to achieve, which in turn meant the angles of all cones would have to be identical. This fabrication technique meant we were only able to apply the material to a flat surface without exceeding our technical abilities which removed the avenue of a curved base surface on which to apply the cones and this method also required more material than necessary; there was no negative space within the cones which, in a real life application, would be costly and inefficient.

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W

hile we were certainly pleased with our research, fabrication methods and associated experience and documentation regarding the plaster cone methodology, we made the decision to at least temporarily suspend further progress on this method so we could expand our possibilities and potentially hone in on a completely different design option. We had been looking into a design process of cutting out flat pieces which would then bend into a cone with one join, a process we referred to as net assembly and we were quite surprised with the pliable nature of this form. By experimenting with net assembly we came up with a variety of potential design strategies which had enough grounding to justify a final design proposal for it.

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site considerations U

p until about week eight, we had not spent a great deal of time considering how our final design would fit into the site with sense of suitability and justification. Being situated on a freeway site, the notion of speed is the first contextual consideration that comes to mind and we maintained this consideration from day one, however through lots of research and modelling, we came to consider in some detail the notion of perspective. Travelling at eighty to a hundred kilometres per hour, any sculpture of design would undoubtedly change based on the perspective of a driver or a passenger or someone viewing the site from the service station. In our search for appropriate precedents we looked to none other than the seeds of change sculpture by Glenn Berrill. This example demonstrates the sort of perspective-based experience that we were considering. At this point in time we needed to demonstrate that we were not on a mission to replicate this sculpture so we came up with a series of design options that followed this principle, but produced a unique design and driver experience.

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T

he site has a southwest-northeast orientation regarding the positioning of the freeway itself with an exit road stemming off the city-bound road as well as a detached road running parallel to it. This is worth considering as these roads all have differing speed limits.

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initial proposal C

onfident with our decision to pursue the tessellating cone design option, as we had been for some time, we chose to stick to a design based on uniformly distributed cones with the same radius, only the oculus size would vary. This design option had a sense of uniformity and consistency thus we decided to stick with it for the final presentation. Feedback received in the critique indicated that this methodology was not outstanding and didn’t exploit the potential that was available to us, and again it was back to the proverbial drawing board, but instead of starting

fresh and abandoning our ideas, we took a few steps back and decided to come up with a different design for the same methodology.

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Initial Proposal Fluctuating Uniform Cone size Cone Alignment Point Distribution - random - linear - wave-like - shape - radial

✓ ✓

Fluctuating ✓

Final Proposal Uniform ✓

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notion of perspective I

n our post-mid-of-semester-crit stage we were searching for a variety of avenues which we could take that would give our design a more justified nature; we were focusing on uniformity and regularity too much and by questioning our own work and consulting with tutors we were able to expand our design options. To do this, we looked back to the site and determined that perspective is a significant, easily overlooked notion that is very significant to the site in question. Not only are vehicles traversing the freeway between eighty and a hundred kilometres per hour, but the snaking and curving shape of the road here means that the site is viewed from a variety of angles.

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e chose to strive for a design that employed a very simple and ubiquitous principle; objects further away appear smaller and objects closer appear bigger. As basic as this is, we had already experimented with this fundamental principle of perspective and as previously outlined, we were familiar with scaling and distancing objects about known points and lines to form an image.

The Perspectives sculpture by Roger Berry is based on thinking in terms of perspective

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notion of alignment N

ot unlike perspective as a tool for design scope, alignment of objects can form a wide range of design options, particularly at our chosen site, given the city-bound approach to the site is linear which makes for an interesting buildup.

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t is important to consider alignment in respects to a freeway site due to the fleeting nature of the observation time the viewer. We as a group are confident that we can merge the elements of perspective and alignment and weave it into our final proposal. The precedents below are terrific examples of how a viewer’s position influences the image they see; however unlike a static viewpoint as seen below, our site must respond to the fact that viewers will be limited in terms of the amount of time they will be able to perceive the aligned image.

Marco Cianfaneli’s Nelson Mandela Sculpture creates a very specific image through alignment while also maintaining contextual design intentions; the steel columns represent Mandela’s imprisonment

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bringing it all together

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A

fter considering the ideas of perspective, alignment and site specificity, I began using Sketchup to come up with some basic models that demonstrated these principles for the site. The underlying principle of alignment we employed is that there is a relationship between the size of a panel and the distance from a given point. We used this principle to determine which panels go where, at what spacing, at what distance from the selected point and at what scale. Sketchup was a useful tool for this as opposed to Rhino given my experience using it.

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y using control points on each panel which correspond to counterpart points on the adjacent panels, I was able to scale and move them along control lines to maintain the alignment of panels which produced the apparent shape. The further away the panels are from the “alignment point� (a point at eye level for a driver in the middle lane of the freeway, directly underneath the overhead sign before the exit), the longer the apparent alignment will occur. We kept this in mind while at the same time tried to keep the height of the largest panel to a respectable number.

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digital prototypology In the images below of the initial proposal, the distances between panels were determined and simply required scaling to achieve the intended alignment. Each Panel has two reference points; one at the top and one at the bottom which are joined to create a reference line. Because each panel has an column of cones which correspond to the next panel, these reference line is used to determine the scale factor from one panel to the next. By determining the distance between these reference points on each panel, a simple calculation is used to find how much bigger an adjacent panel is based on the reference line.

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Panel 1 to Panel 2 Scaling Point A: 10772.8mm Point B: 12880.375mm Scale factor = 1.1956 Panel 2 to Panel 3 Scaling Point A: 11401.7mm Point B: 13632.3mm Scale factor = 1.4458

Below: The reference line between control points is key in the process of scaling an alignment; the points must conform to the reference line in order to maintain the appropriate scale regardless of spacing.

Panel 3 to Panel 4 Scaling Point A: 11320.8mm Point B: 19902.8 Scale factor = 1.7581

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a new proposal B

y the end-of-semester presentation we had finalised our design methodology - produce an apparent image from a given point by aligning a series of panels on made up of a number of intersecting cones. Feedback from the end-ofsemester critique panel was taken into consideration and we decided our current design lacked a degree of innovation.

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e came up with a list of potential Grasshopper options that could be used individually or part of a more holistic approach in order to come up with something unique that also demonstrated a strong understanding and application of parametric design.

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Cone size Cone alignment Oculus size Number of points Spacing of points Distribution of points - linear - random - wavelike - radial - shape

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he use of matrices, as previously explored, was one of the more surprisingly helpful exploration techniques which we employed to display and monitor our options. The iterations below were produced by using a script which places points in a given area not by listing an amount, but by determining the smallest distance betwen points. Thus an input of zero would result in infinite points.

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A

t this stage we have combined a series of design elements which we had previously encountered or researched to some degree over the semester, and as we combine these elements we come closer and closer to approaching our final design proposal. 1. Point distribution based on density, determined by one or more attractor points. 2. Oculus size determined by distance of a cone from an attractor point. 3. The “image” created from the Grasshopper logic is split into four panels. 4. The panels are separated and scaled to maintain the “image” from a given perspective. 5. The static nature of the panels are revealed as viewers make their way past them. The Grasshopper definition displayed below shows how we achieve a final three-dimensional image, but much work needs to be done following the baking of the logic.


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B

y composing another matrix with a newfound knowledge and more experience than possessed prior to the initial matrices, I found I had more options to explore by making better use of attractor points than previously. I pushed the elements of point density and oculus size to the extreme in these iterations and by going to both ends of the spectrum, I believe I gained a better understanding of where points should go, and what forms at those points.

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T

his image was taken to help visualise what is going on beneath the surface. Our focus has always been on the outside surface, but it is important to consider the broader, unseen elements and how they form the facade.

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final pattern design

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Each panel is fixed to a pair of universal beams in an upright position as explained later.

These images are not to scale, they simply aim to demonstrate the potential structural basis for the design

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As a driver approaches the alignment point, the panels align to create the intended image (image 1). As they continue along the freeway, the panels appear to separate and their distanced, static nature is better visualised (images 2 - 6)

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Note that the colours are not intended for the design, they are simply there to illustrate which panels are which, and which columns of cones are replicated from adjacent panels to form an overlap

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tectonic elements M

ateriality and contractibility are two considerations which must be applied for any realworld application and have been considered in some detail for this proposal. The primary purpose of this proposal is to achieve an alignment between four panels to produce a well-thought out image. Thus we had to consider how the panels would be supported and to what extent any structural elements would be obscured; to achieve optimal panel alignment, the panels themselves would have to obscure any support structure. Given the non-grid-like distribution of cones, it is a difficult task to produce a regular support lattice to uphold each panel. The next logical method for structural support is to use a simple series of columns or beams, fixed into the ground with deep footings, and possibly a series of struts for additional strength. This method would minimise conspicuous structural members and would create a more harmonious, wellbalanced form.

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iven the irregular nature of the panels’ surfaces, connecting the vertical support beams to the panel would require thorough consideration and testing. To join the cone array to the columns, an array of 300mm zee purlins are spaced at no more than 3000mm using standard cleat plates.

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PRODUCED BY AN AUTODESK EDUCATIONAL PRODUCT

PRODUCED BY AN AUTODESK EDUCATIONAL PRODUCT

PRODUCED BY AN AUTODESK EDUCATIONAL PRODUCT

PRODUCED BY AN AUTODESK EDUCATIONAL PRODUCT

These joining details show a potential bolt system that could be employed - an earlier thought that was ruled out based on the practicality of welding for this context

PRODUCED BY AN AUTODESK EDUCATIONAL PRODUCT

PRODUCED BY AN AUTODESK EDUCATIONAL PRODUCT

PRODUCED BY AN AUTODESK EDUCATIONAL PRODUCT

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joinery G

alvanised steel is the material of choice for the design proposal, given its weather-resistant qualities and relative ease of use. The use of a laser cutter to create nets for each cone would be followed by a rolling process to curve them into their final cone shape; a metal sheet roller would be ideal to perform this task. A fillet weld then occurs at the joint. Cones can subsequently be welded to one another using the most appropriate equipment.

The image above demonstrates how a 300mm horizontal zee purlin is suspended from the verticla beam

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s a finish, the whole panel including its support structure would be coated with a weatherprotecting white paint, making for interesting nighttime aesthetics.

S

tructural integrity is an important consideration for any proposal of this nature; anything we design must of course be able to support itself and any loads imposed on it. The array of cones is by nature good at resisting bending and shear loads as the intersections of multiple cones form arch structures which are universally known as one of the strongest shapes. The edges of the panels however have the potential to succumb to stresses so we must keep in mind how far away the joinery is from these edges. A well-grounded pair of universal beams placed vertically form the spine structure of each panel, and 300mm zee purlins are used to attach each panel to the beams - zee purlins are used due to their strength and lightness.

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W

e considered the possibility of using a reinforcing pipe network which follows the curve created at the intersections of cones. This would add rigidity and could add an aesthetic quality, however a real-life application would most definitely be expensive and simply to complex to fabricate and assemble.

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final proposal

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fabrication preparation 43

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hese vector images are taken from the Rhino file and form the lines which are cut using the laser cutter. By following the numerical system, we were able to easily track our individual pieces and assemble the model.

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fabrication A

fter having all 193 cone nets cut out on polypropylene sheets we began the arduous process of building our model with the assistance of a structured numbering system helped us to keep track of which cones go where. The process is fairly self-explanatory.

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There was an initial concern that the laser cutting process could result in messy edge cuts, however this result was negligible and did not interfere with the assembly process.

By bending the cones roughly into the final shape, this would overcome the elastic nature of polypropylene in order to reduce the extent of stressing that each cone would apply to one another, which could affect the overall shape of each panel.

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To maintain structural integrity, super glue was applied to the external joints where it bonded well and given the white colour of the panels, the tendency for super glue to bleed was not an aesthetic issue.

Fabricating the smaller cones was naturally going to be a more difficult and intricate process however the final result of this panel was satisfactory for conveying our design proposal.

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All four panels in the correct scale and in order from left to right.

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Cutting the scaled beams to size

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T

he mounting process was relatively simple given the predetermined locations of each beam on an A1 or A2 foamcore sheet; a simple measurement in Rhino 3D was replicated on the sheet at if all went according to plan, the complete four panels would align in a spectacular display.

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C

reating intriguing effects for lighting turned out to be one of the most interesting and entertaining aspects of the project. We had always known somewhat how the cones would perform under different lighting conditions, but to properly set up a makeshift photography studio and achieve the right lighting, some interesting results are bound to emerge.

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project presentation


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Unfortunately a DSLR is not optimum for photographing the alignment... but you get the idea. It totally aligns.

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learning objectives “Interrogating a brief ” by considering the process of brief formation in the age of optioneering enabled by digital technologies Our analytical drawings and design process consistently kept in mind the notion of contextual importance for the site; we have gone into much detail about our goal for site specificity.

couraging construction of rigorous and persuasive arguments informed by the contemporary architectural discourse.

Developing “an ability to generate a variety of design possibilities for a given situation” by introducing visual programming, algorithmic design and parametric modelling with their intrinsic capacities for extensive design-space exploration” Given our extensive collection of design iterations, fabrication techniques and digital models we are very confident that we have come up with a decent amount of possibilities. Our logical yet creative process of ruling out certain design options was reinforced by our ambition to pull off highly complex physical models.

Develop foundational understandings of computational geometry, data structures and types of programming;

Develop capabilities for conceptual, technical and design analyses of contemporary architectural projects

Begin developing a personalised repertoire of computational techniques substantiated by the understanding of their advantages, disadvantages and areas of application.

Developing “skills in various three-dimensional media” and specifically in computational geometry, parametric modelling, analytic diagramming and digital fabrication This objective is most definitely the strongest point which we focused on. Arrays of digital and traditional modelling proccesses have been created, documented and elaborated on (or discarded) all throughout semester, including a great deal of photography. Developing “an understanding of relationships between architecture and air” through interrogation of design proposal as physical models in atmosphere; Developing “the ability to make a case for proposals” by developing critical thinking and en-

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reflection and feedback F

or a subject like Air studio, or indeed any architecture studio subject, there seems to be a relatively consistent series of events, often characterised by sleep deprivation, copious quantities of caffeine, a constant sense of pressure and However at the end of the day we always seem to persevere, to overcome the limitations of our own work ethic. That being said, this particular studio has been unique in many ways. An introduction to parametric design was foreshadowed by my introduction to Rhino and Grasshopper, marking a rapid shift from Sketchup to greater things.

I

can decisively conclude that Design Studio Air has been the most enjoyable, interesting and practical studio I have undertaken; an emphasis on practical due to the vast amounts of experience I have gained using Rhino and Grasshopper and well as other computational methods and processes I would never have though to use.

This subject has exposed me to a great degree

of professionalism which I had not been previously exposed to in earlier studios. The standard of work expected, communication between group members and quality of work pushed me to learn to my best ability and attempt to occasionaly go above and beyond what’s expected of me. I enjoyed making greater use of photography throughout the semester, having mostly used my iPhone camera for presentations. Quite a depressing thought looking back.

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references Berrill, Glenn, Thompson Berrill Landscape Design, 2008, Seeds of Change, http://www.flickr.com/photos/87791108@ N00/2249885238/sizes/l/in/photostream/ Berry, Roger, 2004, Perspectives, http://sigblips.blogspot.com.au/2008/06/cupertino-perspectives.html http://www.huhmagazine.co.uk/4284/nelsonmandela-sculpture

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Part C Journal