Studio Air â€˘ 1
AIR S TUD E NT J OU R N A L
E m m a L i p p m a n n 542535 S e m est er 1, 2014 S tudio T en B radley E lias and H aslett G rounds
2 • Contents
Conceptualisation Design Futuring
• A1 Previous Submissions • A1 Design Technologies
Design Computation • A2 Design Process • A2 Design Precedents
Composition/Generation • A3 • A3 • A3 • A3 • A3 • A3 • A3 • A3 • A4 • A5
Shifts in Architecture Impacts of the Digital New Design Methods Digital Morphogenisis and Dynamic Design Parametric and Algorithmic Design Performative Architecture Design Precedent Issues and Criticisms Conclusion Learning Outcomes
30 30-31 31 31-32 32 33 34-35 36-37 37 37
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Research field • B1 Using parametric systems Case study 1.0
• B2 Introduction to Case Study 1.0 • B2 Exploring the definition
Case study 2.0 • b3 Introduction to Case Study 1.0 b3 Tower Representation • b3 Reverse engineering process
58-59 60-61 62-63
Technique: Development • b4 matrix of iterations • b4 Considering Criteria • b4 review of chosen iterations
66-67 68-69 70-71
• b5 • b5 • b5 • b5 • b5 • b5 • b5
prototypes inspired by matrix Parabaloid module Testing the hyperbolic parabaloid using multiple modules achieving the hyperbolic parabaloid Testing panels on surfaces creating kinetic energy from Panels
74-75 76-77 78-79 80 81 82-83 84-85
Technique: Proposal • b6 • b6 • b6 • b6 • b7
the history of Refshaleøen Refshaleøen’s significance using the levy flight path contemplation of generation Learning Outcomes
88 89 90 90 92
4 • Contents
Detailed Design Design Concept
• c1 rethinking the design • c1 Design diagram • c1 mapping Refshaleøen • c1 wind map • c1 site removal diagram • c1 blowing the canopy • c1 levels of program • c1 grasshopper flow chart • c1 using a gradient • c1 the new metal sculpture park • c1 canopy creation • c1 the colour red
100-101 102-103 104 105 106-107 108 110-111 112-113 114 115 116-117 188
Tectonic elements • c2 • c2 • c2 • c2 • c2 • c2
The ArcelorMittal Orbit standard connection junction connection How Piezoelectrics work Piezoelectrics in the canopy Choosing piezoelectric numbers
124-125 126-127 128-129 130 131 132
Final Model model and prototype photographs • c4 additional lagi requirements • c5 Learning Outcomes
136-145 146 147
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• About me
• My arrival to architecture was in somewhat reverse
I wasn’t that bad at maths, architecture is quite
order to the regular childhood fantasy. From my
similar to engineering and I was sure I could
humble beginnings as a quiet toddler who preferred
overcome my poor history of motion sickness.
to sit in the corner by herself with building blocks rather than play with other children in kinder
It seems I had taken the opposite journey from
garden, it was clear to me and most that knew me
most childhoods, from an architect to an astronaut,
that I would become an architect.
who knew. I toyed with this idea for a surprisingly long time, well at least longer than my parents
The stories of how I would walk straight up to my
expected, until I could no longer deny what my
mother, demand an incredibly specific amount of
insides were pulling me towards. I still frequent
rubber bands and shoe boxes, hide away in my room
APOD and am pining for the day I will be able to
for hours and emerge with a masterpiece (I’m sure
truly see the stars but I take comfort in knowing
this term was used brazenly relative to my age) were
that I’m heading down the right path for me.
relayed to me many times over. I am interested in all facets of architecture For most of my early education I knew what I would
and design, especially their political and social
be, an almighty architect. However, when I was
backgrounds and implications. I think that I’m in
about 17 years old I experience a slight shift in my
a very exciting age of architecture to be studying,
ambitions. After being exposed to APOD (Astronomy
the possibilities of computational design largely
Picture of the Day) and henceforth spending many
undiscovered. I suppose when I think about it I
hours scouring the mind blowing archive,
still want to be an explorer, just not of the stars.
I knew what my true calling; to be an astronaut. It made sense when I thought about it, I liked building stuff (I’m quite sure you have to build in outer space),
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8 • Design Futuring
‘The presented focus of change is upon the processes of redirection rather than of form’
Tony Fry, ‘Design Futuring’ 2009
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10 • Design Futuring
Seif Light Project • A1 Previous Submissions • This project, in my eyes, clearly stood out as one of the best. I was drawn to the project after the very first image, which was a simple mini model. Although quite simplistic, this picture immediately gave me an idea of how the project would look and its tranquil feel. The project doesn’t focus first on how it will appear but rather investigates degrees and scale of perception. I found this not only to be an interesting investigation but also adding a level of accreditation to project already. I also think that idea of what occurs when one is multiplied to become one again is extremely thought provoking. What this project has, which I find some others lack, is a direct response to its context. The individual solar units making up the project resemble the dunes of the Rub’ al Khali. While basing the form on dunes has the potential to
be quite obvious and limiting, I feel the project succeeded in using the form to create something relevant and fluid and avoided prescriptive design. Another great focus of the project is how it pays attention to the users connection to the site. It’s designed in such a way that as the user walks through the ‘dunes’ they can actively sense how much energy is being generated around them. I think that this involvement of the user is crucial to a successful LAGI project. As well as concentration on form and user involvement, the project also pays great attention to the way it will generate energy. The group has clearly researched the type of energy generation, to the point of who will provide it, and investigated its potential for energy generation. The project even pays attention to the detail of how it should be installed. An overall well thought out and well executed project.
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Butterfly Project • A1 Previous Submissions • I saw this project as one of the less successful
the transition from a caterpillar to a butterfly, or the
projects. The main problem I have with it is that it’s
entire life cycle of a butterfly. It appears to me that
much too literal. The group states that the project is based on ‘butterfly symbolism’, yet there
the group stifled their idea by restricting themselves
doesn’t appear to be any symbolism whatsoever, just
to the simple, objective, physical, static form of a
butterflies. The other major fault I found in this project was The concept of using the idea of the butterfly to tie
its lack of reference to the way in which it would
in together many cultures is an interesting one. The
generate energy. All that is really mentioned is that
group demonstrates well that the butterfly holds
‘the wings of the butterflies serve as solar cells’. It
significance in many countries and cultures; Greek,
doesn’t mention what kind of solar cells, how many
Chinese and Japanese are the main examples.
or how large, the amount of energy they’re capable of producing or any serious detail about energy
However I find that the beauty of this idea is very
much lost in the way the project is presented, one butterfly full of many smaller butterflies.
It also feels to me as if they’ve designed butterflies and merely placed in solar panels, this method of
I think that the group could have delved deeper into
energy generation seeming to have little connection
the idea of the butterfly and that there is much to
to the site. It seems the project is lacking any sort
work with. One idea could have been to observe the
of thorough investigation into form or energy
pattern of a butterfly in motion, another to look at
12 •Design Futuring
Artificial Photosynthesis • A1 Design Technologies • I was immediately drawn to the idea of artificial photosynthesis because it seems to be the ultimate organic option. Humans have spent hundreds of years finding ways to produce energy, only recently has the focus moved to more renewable energy, while plants have had thousands of years to perfect it. I find photosynthesis to be quite an incredible process; in the most basic sense plants are able to simply combine carbon dioxide with water and light in order to produce oxygen and chemical energy. Artificial photosynthesis mimics this process but produces hydrogen rather than oxygen, which can be used as a clean fuel. It seems to me a logical step that once humans understood this process we thought to ourselves ‘hey, why can’t we do that?’ Nowadays we are approaching the reality of being able to. While there are a few obstacles that still stand in the way, the greatest obstacle being the stable replication of organic catalysts, in the last 5-10 years, there have been many advances in this
area and the technology could be used on a small scale. Artificial photosynthesis, in my opinion, relates very well to the project brief and context. Firstly photosynthesis, whether artificial or natural, requires carbon dioxide, which can be produced by humans. This means that if the project were to use this energy generation, the users of the project would be actively contributing to producing energy. I also saw great similarities between the development of photosynthesis and the development of the project. Photosynthesis is something that developed organically, over thousands of years within plants. It was a slow process of change, mutation and iteration, which resulted only certain mutations persisting due to their ability to help a plant survive and satisfy its demands. This bottom up, organic process of iterations is just the kind of process this project seeks to follow, which is what makes artificial photosynthesis a suitable generation method. Artificial synthesis would most likely take place in tubes, which mimic the veins of the leaf. This opens up a lot of possibility for structure of the project, as it wouldn’t be necessarily limited to a particular shape.
• Sketch idea for possibility of artificial synthesis tubes
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Solar Pond • A1 Design Technologies • Solar ponds use salt-water ponds to produce energy, which has a significant relevance to the site. Refshaleøen, Copenhagen, the designated site of the 2014 LAGI Design Competition, is a man made island surrounded by salt water. This means the use of salt-water ponds has great potential, whether the island is altered to create a salt-water pond from the surrounding waters, the surrounding waters are used to fill the pond or even just creating a pond with similar properties to the surrounding waters. The way solar pond work is fairly simple.
Salinized water naturally divides itself into three horizontal sections; fresh water at the top, salty water in the middle and extremely salty water at the bottom. Lakes absorb heat from the sun, but usually this heat is lost as the warm water rises to the top of the lake and is cooled by evaporation. In salinized water, however, this heated water won’t rise because the high salt content makes it too salty. Energy is collected in the form of hot water by circulating fresh water pipes at the bottom of the pond, this hot water then used to create energy. This sort of energy regeneration has a lot of potential in this particular site due to its already existing relationship with salt water. I believe there are myriad possibilities that could be explored with this technology in this context.
14 • Design Futuring
Wave Power • A1 Design Technologies • Wave power is the technology I’m most interested in because it has the most potential to interact with both the site and users. The name of wave power more or less gives the basis of its technology away, power generated by waves. The Pelamis is a good example of wave power technology; this is how it works: The Pelamis machine is made up of five tube sections linked by universal joints which allow flexing in two directions. The machine floats semisubmerged on the surface of the water and inherently faces into the direction of the waves. As waves pass down the length of the machine and the sections bend in the water, the movement is converted into electricity via hydraulic power take-off systems housed inside each joint of the machine tubes, and power is transmitted to shore using standard subsea cables and equipment..
I can easily see the benefits to this technology in this particular site. To begin with, the fact that it’s a hydro-driven technology means that
the surrounding water of the site can be used for the technology, a great way to engage the site. Much like the solar pond, the island could be manipulated in order to use the surrounding water. An advantage of this technology within this context is also that the temperature and salinity of the water does not affect energy generation. My initial excitement about this technology came from the potential it has to engage users. My vision for this technology is to using the visitors and the general surrounds of the site to create waves/movement in the water, which will generate energy. One example is the create floating platforms, which move up and down when people walk on them, creating waves in the water. The water taxis could also be used to create waves. The potential for engagement with the users and surrounding context is the reason I have selected this technology for my project.
• Sketch idea for possibility of platforms to generate wave power
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16 • Design Computation
‘A medium that supports a continuous logic of design thinking and making’ Oxman & Oxman, ‘Theories of the Digital in Architecture’ 2014
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18 • Design Computation
Design Computation • A2 Design Process • Design computation can be seen to affect the design process in many ways. In order to recognise what these ways are let us first start with defining the design process, and even before this we must what design itself is. According to Kalay, design may be defined as “a process we engage in when the current situation is different from some desired situation, and when the actions needed to transform the former into the latter are not immediately obvious”. Going by this definition, the design process can be said to be the recognition of this desired difference and the process by which we find and then execute how to change the undesired into the desired. This desired effect can be said to be a set of goals, the aim of the design (and thus architecture) to be to reach these goals. Therefore the design process addresses the how; how do we reach these goals? On a basic level this can be said to be problem solving, however, as Kalay points out, within design this problem solving also results in what he refers to as “puzzle making: the search for the most appropriate effects that can
be attained in unique spatiotemporal contexts through the manipulation of a set of components, following a set of combinatorial rules”. The design process is thus not about prescription, which can never be successfully applied to all design situations due to the number of unknown factors that can only be uncovered by the design process itself, but rather generation. How then does design computation affect the design process? Design computation has a large, and largely positive perhaps, affect on design as it is inherently at odds with prescriptive design. While computerisation, the action by which “entities of processes that are already conceptualised in the designers mind are entered, manipulated, or stored on a computer system”, facilitates prescription, design computation negates it. While computerisation doesn’t necessarily restrict design to prescriptive, or in other words uncreative, design, the concern that is beginning to emerge is that “a designers creativity is limited by the very programs that are supposed to free their imagination”. Computation, on the other hand, can be viewed as a method that uses computers to re-free the limited imagination that computers have limited
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in the first place; it “augments the designer’s intellect and allows us to capture not only the complexity of how to build a project, but also the multitude of parameters that are instrumental in a buildings formation”. It also allows the designer (or architect) to generate a series of forms that could never have been imagined, let alone represented, thus expanding the realms of creativity. How then is this shift being seen in the practicing of architecture? According to Oxman & Oxman, architecture has been making a move away from the representational, the beginning this move marked by Gehry’s Guggenheim in Bilbao. The focus had moved to complex or free-form geometry and curvilinear surfaces and volume, but then shifted again. This shift, and really what separates computation from computerisation and generation from representation, was to the idea that this free-form geometry was no longer a desired result but rather a possible result. This form of architecture has taken on the mantra “formation precedes form”, this concept made realised through the use of algorithms, or parametric design.
This shift in architecture included a “shift to material design as a significant part of the architectural design process”. The old architectural thought of creating a design and then finding a material to suit the design has been inversed, or the material becoming a part of the design process itself, rather than the solution to a problem. This move “characterises the transition to an architecture of a new transparency and materiality” and provides architecture with the opportunity to “create naturally ecological systems[…]a second nature”. Where then can we find built examples of this shift in architecture? Oxman & Oxman give reference to a few. Foster Associates Swiss Re and The London City Hall are given as examples of built parametric design, Toyo Ito and Balmond’s 2002 Serpentine Pavilion given as a demonstration of the possibilities of the algorithmic. This journal will take a look at a few other design precedents based on computational design.
20 • Design Computation
‘Precedents serve to stimulate the creation of new ideas rather than to dictate them’ Kalay, ‘Architectures New Media’ 2004
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22 • Design Computation
The Sage Gateshead • A2 Design Precedents • When searching for built examples of architecture that has been reached through computational design, Foster + Partners (F+R) is a name that’s unavoidable. F+R are leaders in the architectural sphere of computational design; having a series six buildings that were based on researched geometrical principles. This is probably owing to their Specialist Modelling Group (SMG), which “combines two principal areas of expertise: environmental analysis and simulation; and parametric modelling and the development of strategies for fabricating complex geometric forms”. The SMG along with their Applied Research + Development (ARD) group have allowed F+R to realise their computational designs. So why is it that Foster + Partners have spent the time and money in advancing these groups and theories? It is because they believe that design is an Evolutionary process in which the result, the intended route and even the starting point
cannot be pre-determined. The way in which potential solutions are generated, evaluated and selected is extremely Darwinian, yet it is one in which both logic and intuition play roles that are inextricably combined. 
The Swiss Re Headquarters is was the first of their six-building series and served as a learning device. While the form of the building appears to be iconic the design was derived from a response to context, F+R claiming that although the building has become iconic “true iconic status cannot be designed but is only conferred by the people who use or appreciate the building”. The next in the series, and the building that will be explored in this journal, was the Sage Music Centre, which was built on the lessons learned from Swiss Re. This building was designed for a competition that required a panelised surface of a free-form double skin and an overall affordable building. “The challenge [thus] was to find a geometric rationale that would not compromise the original design concept.” Their main challenge was how to divide the surface (façade) into a quadrilateral mesh; while diving surfaces into triangles is easily done, quadrilaterals pose
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more of a challenge. This is how F+R responded to this challenge: The cladding surface for the Sage is based on a wave-form profile swept around a spiral cross section. However, an arc swept around an arc produces a ‘torus patch’ which can always be sub-divided into planar facets. By rationalising the spiral curve into three tangential arcs and the wave-form into seven, the resulting surface is composed of twenty-one torus patches, which all fit together with perfect tangency across the boundaries. This surface can then be unfolded into a flat pattern development, which can be easily scheduled and also economically fabricated because there is repetition in the sweep direction. Furthermore, because the profile remains constant, the supporting ribs could all be formed to the same curvature. By setting up a parametric control system for the two defining curves the whole envelope could be continually varied in response to design changes in the shape of the auditoria.
This precedent serves as an inspiration for my LAGI project as it shows how parametric design can continually respond to the challenges, or puzzle making as Kalay called it, of the design process. It is evidence of the unique ways in which parametric design can reform itself while already far along the design process.
This building is an excellent example of how computation can contribute to evidence and performance-oriented design. The use of parametric design enabled F+R to constantly
develop the geometry until it could perform to the best of its ability in this specific case. It allowed the architects to be creative and economical without compromising on the original concept. Computational design allowed the architects to actively respond to challenges, even on such a large scale. As Peters and Whitehead put it, “computational skills are now empowering designers to become both tool-builders and digital craftsmen through the ability to communicate directly with performance analysis and fabrication techniques.”
24 • Design Computation
Research Pavilion • A2 Design Precedents • Another example of computational design in built form is the ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2011. The pavilion is constructed out of thin plywood sheets based on a computational process that was inspired by the morphological principals of skeleton echinoids. This pavilion, and type of computational design, focuses on material computation and the kinds of materiality computational design enables. This is an example of how generative computational design can be used to get the most of a material, that is, push it to its furthest constructible limits so that the material may give as much as it can. The pavilion does this through biomimicry, which becomes more achievable through computational design as once an algorithm can be formed (in this case the algorithm for the skeleton of echinoids) not matter how complex, it may be used to create a form that will be inherently efficient as it appears in nature and has thus already been through the vigorous trial and error process that is Darwinism.
The pavilion is computationally design and robotically manufactured. According to Menges, one of those involved in the design and fabrication of the pavilion, the pavilion demonstrates how “feedback between computational design, advanced simulation and robotic fabrication expands the design space towards hitherto unsought architectural possibilities, enabling material behaviour to unfold a complex performative structure from a surprisingly simple material system.” This can be used as inspiration for my LAGI project as it shows me how materiality is not something that I have to apply to my design once it’s formulated but rather something that can fuel the design process itself. This pavilion is also an excellent example of economic use of materials, which, as the LAGI project should ideally have as lower embodied energy as possible, is both an interesting and realistic way of improving the design with regards to energy.
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26 • Design Computation
Facit House • A2 Design Precedents • Facit’s houses are an interesting computational design as it’s one of few that are applied to a residential context. This Facit house is different from other houses because is takes the many manufacturing processes and industries required to build a house and turns it into one process, that is, the process is assumed by a single entity. The danger of prefabricated houses is that they fall into the impersonal realm and do not respond to the user or context as they are simply one structure that’s being replicated over and over, no matter who for. Parametric design, however, enables a solution to this problem. Just as an architect would respond to a brief, client, constraints, context and many of the factors to be considered when designing a house, parametric design can adopt these as parameters - Facit calling this the “D-Process”. 
The Hertfordshire House is Facit’s largest parametrically designed house. The design began quite similarly to the design of any other
house; a brief given from the client, visits to site, production of sketches and then eventual development to a design. This may sound a lot like computerisation rather than computation but this is the point at which Facet diverges from the path of computerised design, this divergence based largely on components or one might say materiality. “Facit generated machine code for the production of the components; in this way, there is no interpretation by the contractor, but a direct relationship between the design information and construction components.” This method, much like the Research Pavilion, allowed Facit to use the materials to their best degree, resulting in a highly efficient home, as well as an efficient build, the entire building time being under three months. This process was also extremely holistic, every aspect of the home, including furniture, plasterboard and stairs, were computationally designed and fabricated. This design precedent serves as proof of how computational design can create an efficient, prefabricated yet personal and contextresponsive home.
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28 • Composition/Generation
‘Articulating the inner logic of a project rather than external form’ Kolarevic, ‘Architecture in the Digital Age’, 2003
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30 • Composition/Generation
Composition to Generation •A3 Shifts in architecture •Since the introduction of generative digital design, architecture has experienced a shift from ‘composition’ to ‘generation’. In Lynn’s TED talk ‘Organic algorithms in architecture’, he speaks of how classical geometry, and therefore architecture, was based on ideal numbers and that because the decimal point was yet to be invented, this ideal centred around the idea of proportions and fractional divisions. With the invention of the decimal point in the 15th Century came a shift in architecture, it was now structure, rather than fraction, that was the determining force. This kind of architecture was based on ideal forms of structure and looked to find the perfect moment. Lynn believes that this sort of thinking and design is limiting because he has ‘no interest in optimising to some perfect moment’.  Lynn decided to bring in another component when thinking of nature, that is, ‘the invention of generic form from genetic evolution’. This was the next shift that Lynn, along with others including Kolarevic, Oxman and Oxman, believe architecture is experiencing.
•A3 Impacts of the digital • The first major impact the digital had on design came with the introduction of CAD. This, then new, technology meant that complex forms that were previously ‘difficult to conceive, let along manufacture’ became easily designable and manufacturable. Kolarevic speaks of how, although late to arrive to this technology in comparison to other industries, architects were suddenly able to ‘[explore] the spatial realms of non-Euclidean geometries’. These spatial explorations were based on topology, which is ‘a study of intrinsic, qualitative properties that are not normally affected by changes in shape or size’. The Torus House by Preston Scott Cohen (Figures 23 & 24) is an example of the how topological investigation had entered architectural discourse. For Cohen ‘the use of the torus stems from an interest in its non-existence within any architectural lexicon… there is a formal struggle between the flat roof and the curvilinear plane of the torus’. The Mobius House by UN Studio (Figure 25), much like the Torus House, has a form based on the Mobius loop (a double-locked torus), which allows the house to be ‘stretched to the maximum, rather than displaying a tall or
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compact shape’. By using the Mobius loop to dictate form, the design ‘liberates architecture from language, interpretation and signification’.  That is, the form does not have to be designed in order to find these qualities but can be generated from the process of finding them. These precedents serve as examples of the new theories of exploration in architecture and ‘the shift of emphasis from form to structures of relations’.
•A3 New design methods • This new digital design can be seen to affect not only the resulting form but also design methods. The process of and between designing and constructing can be more direct, as the digital models are encoded with all the qualitative and quantitative information needed for construction; this known as ‘file to factory’ workflow. This method can be seen for the first time in Gehry’s four-dimensional model of the Walt Disney Concert Hall (Figure 26 of the hall). This ‘file to factory’ workflow has many advantages, but the one most significant to design and design process is that it creates a single, cohesive object that can be broken down into smaller parts with the same cohesion. This idea is in no way new to architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright calling for the elimination of ‘the room as a box and the house as another’ and
in involvement of design in every object of the house so that it may be one, cohesive design. What the new digital design brings is not the simply consideration to this cohesion but the inherent ability to achieve it.
•A3 Digital morphogenesis and dynamic design •Another aspect that was brought to architecture with this new digital was digital morphogenesis, using the digital as ‘a generative tool for the derivation of form and its transformation’, rather than as a tool for representation, as discussed in A.2. This digital morphogenesis computational method is what ‘designs’ the design, and designers have to ability to ‘articulate [the] internal generative’ logic rather than external form. The models produced by these kinds of designs produce dynamic design. Again this idea of the dynamic is not new to architecture. It seems as though generative design is bringing once again the revolution of the dynamic, seen first in early modernist movements like De Stijl and the Futurists (Figure 27). In fact, the kind of revolution these movements were bringing to architecture share many traits with that of the computational revolution, a strong but perhaps suitable world. De Stijl, the Futurist,
32 • Composition/Generation the Deutscher Werkbund all called for the embrace of modern technologies in order to liberate architecture from the static and into the dynamic; some called for a more aggressive rejection of the past but all moved towards the dynamic through technology. This move towards the dynamic is seen too in computational design, writers and architects such as Lynn, Kolarevic and the Oxmans’ writing, in sort, their own manifestos, a call to leave behind the static ways of computerisation a stride towards the dynamic, generative design. They call for the shift from ‘making form’ to ‘finding form’.
•A3 Parametric and algorithmic design •This dynamic design can be reached through parametric design, in which parameters, not shape, are defined, thus replacing the stable with the variable. An example of this is the International Terminal in Waterloo Station by Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners (Figure 29), which uses a parametric model to design a series of different arcs, which vary in response to changes in the track. These arcs are topologically identical but dimensionally different, the parametric model creating a dynamic form that’s able to respond to its context. This precedent shows how parametric modelling brings a shift in architecture to designing principles rather then form. Much like the modernist manifestos, it calls for the
rejection of fixed solutions and demands an exploration of variable potentialities. Architectural discourse had now shifted, and was opened up to new methods of exploring potentialities such as dynamics, datascapes, metamorphosis and the use of genetics for generative design. Kinematics is ‘used to study the motion of an object or a hierarchical system of objects without consideration given to its mass or the forces on it’, therefore freeing architecture of constraints, and can be seen in Lynn’s work from his series Animate Form(Figure 28). Dynamics takes into account the forces on an object and how the forces of environment make form. Datascapes quantify the influences on a building and model them for simulation, Dutch firm MVRDV using this method in a few of their designs (Figure 33 - Pig City, a datascape designed project). Another generative approach to design is genetics, that is, applying the ‘rules’ of genetics to architecture in order to create what are called ‘genetic algorithms’. Some may see this as the ultimate organic architecture, as it uses the rules of nature in order to design. Karl Chu uses this generative logic and applies it to design using the Lindermayer System (L-System). Chu uses digital modelling software to express this rule-based branching system, which is based on the concept of rewriting, the result of which can be seen in his X Phylum project (Figure 30).
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 This method, yet again, is about ‘articulating the inner logic of a project rather than external form.’
•A3 Performative architecture •Another generative design approach is performative architecture. This uses building performance as a design principle and in doing so places performance above form making, which is very relevant to the LAGI Project a it is expected to generate energy. This method of generative design is strongly driven by analysis. The Finite Element Method (FEM) produces qualitative evaluations that can be quantitatively assessed
 through graphics, the BMW Pavilion taking use of this method (Figure 31). Another type of performative architecture, and the one that I feel I could potentially focus on for my LAGI project, is Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). In this method software is used to analyse airflows within and around buildings and to compute the behaviour of fluids and the transfer of heat mass, phase change and the stress on a building structure. Future Systems architecture firm from London use CFD in the design of their building Project Zed (Figure 32). With generative design, it is possible to use performance-based techniques in order to find form rather than alter form after the fact.
34 • Composition/Generation
Dermoid Pavilion • A3 Design Precedent • After much investigation, I felt that the Dermoid pavilion most encapsulates the direction I wish to go in with my LAGI project. The pavilion was a project embarked upon by researchers from the Centre of Information Technology and Architecture (CITA) at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts along with researches from the Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory (SIAL) at the Royal Institute of Technology. I find this a very strong precedent for a few reasons, the first one being the method of design.
Using these observations and parameters the collaborators produced visual scripts in order to model the pavilion. While they were developing these scripts the materials, the shape, the pattern and even the location of the pavilion remained unknown. The form was generated entirely of itself and for itself, with no prescription and it was impossible to have anticipated the final structure from the outset. This is something I aim to achieve with my design, a truly generative design that no one, including myself, could anticipate.
Of all of the projects I’ve seen, this project most takes to heart the shift from ‘making form’ to ‘finding form’ that Kolarevic speaks about. The design of the pavilion was an answer to one simple question; ‘ how can a doubly curved pavilion be fashioned from a wooden reciprocal frame’? The form was not decided or designed but rather found, this done through observing ‘how patterns could be distributed evenly across a doubly curved surface’. This process was guided by certain parameters, for example that the pieces could not be too long or short, the surface would be doubly curved and the members could not twist over the surface.
The other part of this precedent that I like is how it was used as a basis for research into parametric modelling itself, especially into how it can be done as a group. From my investigations it has become clear that parametric modelling can be quite difficult in a group and I hope that my group can conduct the same sort of selfanalysis that they have. I wouldn’t expect us to publish a paper at the end of it, as they did, but I think that my group can learn valuable lessons from the process, which we could pass onto others.
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36 • Composition/Generation 32
• A3 Issues and criticisms •There are, however, arguments against this sort of design approach. One argument against this approach is the apprehension of giving over generation of design to computers. Some may have issues with the idea of using computers to generate design and then choosing which design best suits their needs. This argument goes along the line of thought that entering parameters and algorithms into a computer isn’t at all creative, but rather purely mathematical, and takes away from the architect being the master designer. Even Schumacher, a strong believer in the use of parametric modelling (although whether or not what he supports is actually parametric modelling is another conversation entirely), isn’t actually able to use any of the necessary programs to achieve this work.
believe they are strong enough arguments to warrant the rejection of this approach. Yes, the move towards generative design stirs to the surface many questions about the role of any architect but this, as can be seen in past examples of the Futurists, De Stijl and like, is what occurs when any major shift is brought into architecture, and must not be seen as a cause for rejection but rather further investigation.
Another issue that some may have with this generative approach is the ability of most architects to use the programs needed to achieve it. As it stands, the software being used for generative design can be quite complex and very few practicing architects know how to use them. On top of this, would the shift to this sort of architecture make extinct the traditional pen-to-paper architect? And would this mean that anyone who has the ability to use these programs could work as an architect?
1. Parametric modelling tools are inefficient for large projects, i.e any project larger than a residential house because, at least currently, hardware is not advanced enough.
Although I have identified these as possible qualms with computational design, I don’t
Beyond these problems of this kind of modelling, which involve who and how, come the more fundamental issues that centre around the direct effects and results of generative modelling. The following problems were found in an investigation by Rick Smith into parametric modelling in 2007.
2. Because parameters are required at the beginning of the project, the architect is require to ‘anticipate all project directions before hand in order to program the geometries and their relationships to each other as you build them.’ This harms creativity because it makes creative discovery difficult to without significant reworking of the model and thus significant losses of time.
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• A4 Conclusion 3. Following on from point two, changing specific elements within a parametric model can be quite difficult for two main reasons; (1) The change you want may be impossible within the model; and (2) It can be very difficult to find which inputs to change in order to acquire the effect you want, as there can be thousands of inputs and processes in the algorithm. This can result in the discouragement of changes, as it may seem too difficult. 4. Passing and sharing of parametric models can be very difficult. Often even the person who programmed the model cannot figure out how to change something or where something went wrong due to its complexity, which makes it even more difficult for someone else to be able to analyse it. This can make working in a team quite difficult as legibility becomes an issue. 4. Time consumption may also be an issue. Although this kind of modelling may save time because certain changes become easier, it often occurs that a very long time is spent on a model (much longer than the regular computerisation of a design) and this model can’t actually satisfy the needs of the client, so it must be started over again. These are all significant points that must be considered when thinking about how and whether or not to use parametric design.
•What can I conclude from the explorations of this module? What I now understand is that there is a new sort of pioneering architecture that is rethinking not only what we design but the way we design. If design is to be a redirective practice of futuring this shift must be embraced. Designs must no longer be prescribed or composed but rather generated.
• A5 Learning Outcomes •This investigation into computational design has lead me to new ideas in practices and process of design, which includes design theories, projects and architects/designers. The conclusion I have been lead to through all this material is that for my LAGI project I should focus on form finding rather than form making, which I hope to do through observing performative architecture. While most of my university career so far has been geared towards quite the opposite, I must try to reconfigure not only the way I think about design but my design process in general, which I hope I will be able to do.
38 • References 34
part a Reference List
1. Land Art Generator Initiative 2010, “The Seif Light Project”, viewed March 2014. http://landartgenerator. org/LAGI2010 2. Land Art Generator Initiative 2010, “The Butterfly Project”, viewed March 2014, http://landartgenerator.org/ LAGI2010 3. Resilience. “The promise of artificial photosynthesis”. viewed March 2014, http://www.resilience.org/ stories/2004-05-14/promise-artificial-photosynthesis. 4. How Stuff Works. “How Artificial Photosynthesis Works”. viewed March 2014, http://science.howstuffworks. com/environmental/green-tech/energy-production/artificial-photosynthesis1.htm. 5. Soil Water. “Solar Ponds”. viewed March 2014. http://soilwater.com.au/solarponds. 6. Pelamis. “Pelamis Technology”, viewed March 2014. http://www.pelamiswave.com/pelamis-technology. 7. Kalay, Yehuda. Architecture’s New Media: Principles, Theories, and Methods of Computer-Aided Design. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004. p.5-25 Print. 8. Terzidis, Kostas. Algorithmic Architecture. Boston, MA: Elsevier, 2006. p.xi, Print. 9. Terzidis, Kostas. Algorithms for Visual Design Using the Processing Language. Indianapolis, IN: Wiley, 1009. p.x, Print. 10. Peters, Brady. “Computation Works: The Building of Algorithmic Thought from Architectural Design.” Architectural Design (AD), Special Issue – Computation Works V83 (2) (2013): p10 Print. 11. Oxman, Rivka and Robert Oxman. Theories of the Digital in Architecture. London; New York: Routledge (2014): p1-10 Print. 12. Peters, Brady and Hugh Whitehead. Space Craft: Developments in Architectural Computing. London: Riba Publishing (2008): Print. 13. Menges, Achim, “Higher Integration in Morphogenetic Design.” Architectural Design (AD). Special Issue Computation Works V83 (2) (2013): p10 Print 14. Bell, Bruce and Sarah Simpkin, “Domestication Parametric Design”, Architectural Design (AD). Special Issue - Computation Works V83 (2) (2013): p10 Print. 15. Organic algorithms in architecture. Gregg Lynn. TED.com, 2009 16. Branko, Kolarevic. Architecture in the Digital Age: Design and Manufacturing. New York; London: Spon Press (2003): p2-63 Print. 17. Derek Magee. (January 20, 2009). Re “Preston Scott Cohen” Message posted to http://dmageeish.blogspot. com.au/2009/01/preston-scott-cohen.html. 18. Architizer. “Mobius House”. viewed March 2014, http://architizer.com/projects/mobius-house. 19. Curtis, William J. R. Modern architecture since 1900. London: Phaidon (2012): p120-121 Print. 20. Daniel Davis. “Dermoid”. viewed March 2014. http://www.danieldavis.com/dermoid. 21. Davis, Daniel, Jane Burry, and Mark Burry. 2011. “Understanding Visual Scripts: Improving Collaboration Through Modular Programming.” International Journal of Architectural Computing 09 (04) (2009): p361–376. 22. Daniel Davis. (25 September 2010). Re “Patrik Schumacher – Parametricism” Message posted to http://www. danieldavis.com/patrik-schumacher-parametricism. 23. Smith, Rick. 2007. Technical Notes from experiences and studies in using Parametric and BIM architectural software. Notes. 24. Davis, Daniel, Jane Burry, and Mark Burry. 2011. “Untangling Parametric Schemata: Enhancing
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Collaboration Through Modular Programming.” In Designing Together: Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Computer Aided Architectural Design Futures, ed. Pierre Leclercq, Ann Heylighen, and Geneviève Martin, 55–68. Liège: Les Éditions de l’Université de Liège.
part a Figure Reference List 1. Design as Politics Cover. 2011. 2-3. Chow, Melissa Kit, Jose Talevera and Roger Cortes Ribas. The Seif Light Project. 2010. 4-5. Struzik, Miroslaw, Tadeusz Zdanowicz, Ph.D. and Tomasz Pultowicz. Project Butterfly. 2012. 6. Soil Water. Solar Pond. 7. Pelamis. Pelamis Wave Power. 8. Grimshaw. International Terminal Waterloo. 1993. 9. Reichert, Steffen. Responsive Surface Structure I. 2007. 10. Santiago, Etien. Intersective Laminates. 2009. 11. Foster and Partners. The Great Canopy – Elevation. 2004. 12-16. Foster and Partners. The Sage Gateshead. 2004. 17-18. ICD/ITKE, Research Pavilion. 2009. 19-21. Facit Homes, Facit Home, 2011. 22. MVRDV. Wozoco. 1999. 23-24. Preston Scott Cohen Inc. Torus House. 2001. 25. UN Studio, Mobius House. 1998. 26. Age fotostock/SuperStock Encyclopaedia Britannica. Walt Disney Concert Hall. 27. Balla, Giacomo. Speeding Automobile. 1913. 28. Lynn, Greg. Diagram from Animate Form. 1999. 29. Grimshaw. International Terminal Waterloo. 1993. 30. Chu, Karl. X Phylum. 31. Franken, Bernhard. BMW Bubble Pavilion. 1999 32. Future Systems. CFD Analysis. 1995. 33. MVRDV. Pig City. 2001. 34-38. Collaborative group. Dermoid Pavilion. 2011.
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42 • Criteria Design
‘Take one step back from the direct actvity of the design and focus on the logic that binds the design together’ Robert Woodbury, ‘Theories of the Digital in Architecture, 2014
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44 • Research Field
Criteria Design • B1 Using parametric systems • Part A of this journal consisted of an investigation into the advantages, challenges and possibilities of computational design. In particular there was a great focus on parametric design, which is a design method that will be further explored throughout this course. Now that the question of ‘why use parametric design’ has been addressed, there must now be an investigation into the how; how can we use parametric design? What skills are needed in order to do this? Which kinds of designers are already using these skills and what kind of work are they producing? In his book Theories of the Digital in Architecture, Robert Woodbury dedicates a chapter to answering some of these questions, which address how to be successful with parametric modelling. The chapter delves into the skills required for parametric modelling, some processes involved, the challenges this kind of design brings to designers (architects in particular), the advantages of this design as well as a few speculations about the future of parametric modelling.
Woodbury outlines the idea behind how a designer uses parametric modelling; ‘the designer establishes the relationships by which parts connect, builds up a design using these relationships and edits the relationships by observing and selecting from the results proven’. This description is very similar to those touched upon in Part A, but what Woodbury points out is that this requires a significant change in attitude and approach from the designer. The designer must now focus on the logic rather than the activity of design. This is the first challenge to designers; change the area of emphasis in design. Woodbury points out, however, that although this change may be difficult for some designers, within this challenge lays also a benefit, the possibility of ‘[extending] the scope of design by explicitly representing ideas that are usually treated intuitively’. The intuitiveness Woodbury is speaking of is something that all people develop, not just designers, which allows us to ‘predict how they [objects] will react to forces we apply to them’. It is particularly relevant to architects as it is the foundation of being able to design real life objects. By being forced to understand the ideas behind what we usually treat intuitively, designers are able to expand the potentialities of their designs.
Studio Air • 45 Woodbury outlines ‘six skills held by those who know and using parametric tools’. These skills are Conceiving Data Flow, Dividing to Conquer, Naming, Thinking with Abstraction, Thinking Mathematically and Thinking Algorithmically. There are a few basic principles that can be gathered from each of these sub-chapters that should aid parametric design. Conceiving Data Flow states that to be able to model parametrically designers must be able to conceive, arrange and edit dependencies. Dividing to conquer proposes that for the best and most-readable parametric design one needs to divide the design into parts, organise these parts, combine them and limit links between parts in order to reach the end design. Naming suggest that naming parts is a key part of making readable parametric models that can be shared as ‘name facilitates communication’. Thinking with Abstraction discusses how abstraction within parametric modelling involves using one base to create many different outcomes; ‘to abstract a parametric model is to make it applicable in new situations’. Thinking Mathematically looks at how mathematics has long been important to architects, some choosing to delve more deeply into the subject than others. How this relates to parametric modelling is that a parametric system ‘makes
such mathematics active…active and visual mathematics can [then] become means and strategy to the ends of design.’ Thinking Algorithmically addresses the fact that inevitably all designer will need or want to write algorithms in order to design, thus creating the need for designers to ‘grasp and use algorithmic thought’, including complicated procedures such as scripting, ‘if they are to get the most out of such [parametric] systems.’ This is one of that major challenges that faces designers using parametric systems, while designers traditionally use visual language in order to do things such a programming/scripting they must ‘work in the domain of textual instructions’ not visual queues. All of these skills must be kept in mind while using parametric systems, and are skills I hope to develop throughout this course. If those are six of the skills needed to successfully use parametric systems, what then are the processes? Based on his observation of parametric modelling, which was conducted over several years, Woodbury discusses a few processes, or strategies as he calls them, for parametric modelling. Rather than outline each process, this journal will discuss the challenges and advantages that are raised throughout these subchapters.
46 • Research Field
One current difficulty of new digital design is that modelling is often not very rapid, which makes sketching a slow, difficult process when it should be something quick and easy that’s simply used to represent an idea. Another challenge is that designers creating parametric models don’t wish to invest the time needed in order to produce clear, clean and readable models, which others can then use. This inhibits the common practice of sharing and reusing existing models. Woodbury does, however, predict that there will be ‘an intellectual trade in models and techniques’ facilitated by the Internet, which exists for many other systems. An advantage, on the other hand, is that the bad tendency that architects have to ‘rebuild rather than reuse’ is not as present within parametric modelling as it ‘[reduces] redundancy and [fosters] reuse.’ Woodbury outlines one extremely significant challenge that faces designers who wish to parametrically model, the requirement for a deep understanding of mathematics in order to successfully and creatively parametrically model. He points out that although it is possible
to use the parametric systems without fully understanding the mathematics behind them, in order to receive the real advantages of parametric modelling this understanding of mathematics is necessary. So what does this mean for architects? Will anyone who wishes to begin parametrically modelling also be required to study mathematics? Will there be a return to the days of when architecture courses had a strong focus on mathematics? Helmutt Pottmann perhaps suggests a solution to this challenge. Pottmann agrees that efficiently use parametric systems ‘requires a solid understanding of geometry which goes beyond the content of the traditional geometry curriculum in architecture.’ He also states, however, that there is great ‘benefit from the interaction of architects with mathematicians and engineers.’ Perhaps then rather than learning and fully understanding what can be very complicated mathematical concepts, architects need to collaborate more with people who do. Could this be something we see more of in the future?
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48 • Case Study 1.0
Case study 1.o
‘Over the past decade we have seen in architecture the (re)emergence of complexly shaped forms and intricately articulated surfaces, enclosures, and structures’
Kolarevic, Branko and Kevin R. Klinger, eds, ‘Manufacturing Material Effects: Rethinking Design and Making in Architecture’, 2008
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50 • Case Study 1.0
The Gridshell • B2 Introduction to Case Study 1.0 So far this journal has investigated some general effects of computative design in architecture and design and will now move into a closer investigation into one material system – geometry. How has computative design, parametric design in particular, affected geometry as a material system? According to Helmut Pottmann, there is an entire field of research called ‘architectural geometry’. This research into architectural geometry through parametric systems create tools which allow shape creation and design while simultaneously incorporating facets of construction such as materials and manufacturing technologies. This enables a ‘completely digital workflow.’ Daniel Piker, the developer of the Kangaroo plug-in for Rhino, is also aware of the effects these programs have had on architectural geometry. Piker states that the plug-in he has developed enables ‘geometric forms to be shaped by material properties and applied forces and interacted with in real time.’ It also applies to ‘the interactive optimisation of geometric… qualities’.
In 2012, Smart Geometry, a partnership that encourages the use and embrace of architectural design with computational tools, ran a workshop in Troy, New York. This is what the workshop focused on: This 4-day workshop at SmartGeometry 2012 focused on the design and construction of a wooden gridshell using only straight wood members bent along geodesic lines on a relaxed surface. Using parametric tools, the design was developed and analyzed to minimize material waste while maximizing its architectural presence in the space. In addition, a feedback loop was designed between the parametric geometric model and a structural model allowing for a smooth workflow that integrated geometry, structures, and material performance. 
This is the project I chose to investigate for my Case Study 1.0. I began testing the definition by altering its numerical inputs; the number of divisions in the curve and the distance the connected points were shifted away from each other. As I played with the definition I realised why the original gridshell had shifted its point lists 10 points apart and not less; the further shifted away from each other the points were, the more intersections the geodesic curves had. This is obviously a desirable trait for a constructible model as it allows for more joints. The matrix shows that the more division points along the curves and the farther shifted away the points are, the denser the gridshell appears.
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 Although these tests produced a few somewhat interesting patterns, changing these input parameters didn’t do much to test the definition. The subsequent investigations involved altering components within the definition and, finally, altering the base geometry of the definition. These alterations pushed the definition to the breaking point. What, then, can be learning from this initial investigation? According to Woodbury, ‘to abstract a parametric model is to make it applicable in new situations’. Was this model applicable in new situations? This investigation
perhaps implies that isn’t, but, it must be considered that it was designed to apply most efficiently to only one particular situation, which makes it less generally applicable. The lesson I can learn from this exploration is that it’s quite possible that not all parametric models can be applied to all situations. It makes me wonder that perhaps if a parametric model is to make one material or system behave to its most efficient level, this model might be less applicable to other situations then one that was designed with less focus on a particular material of system’s efficiency.
52 â€˘ Matrix
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54 • Case Study 1.0
The Gridshell • B2 Case study experimentation • Replacing the arc input with a circle input
• Replacing the arc input with an ellipse input
• Playing with reverse lists
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• Manipulating the input geometry
Pipe Length 10
Pipe Length 20
Pipe Length 40
Pipe Length 50
• Variable piping
Pipe Length 1
• Variable piping
Pipe Length 30
56 • Case Study 2.0
Case study 2.o
‘innovative practices with cross-disciplinary expertise are forming to enable the design and construction of new formal complexities and tectonic intricacies’ Kolarevic, Branko and Kevin R. Klinger, eds, ‘Manufacturing Material Effects: Rethinking Design and Making in Architecture’, 2008
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58 • Case Study 2.0
Canton Tower • B3 Introduction to Case Study 2.0 • The Canton Tower in Guangdong, China is the tallest TV and sightseeing tower in the world, reaching 600m in height. The main design intent of this project was to create a tower that was incredibly tall yet also graceful, this being achieved through its slim ‘waist’; ‘the architects aimed to design a free-form tower with a rich and human-like identity that represents Guangzhou as a vibrant and exciting city’. It is a hyperbolic parabaloid structure consisting of two ellipses that rotate relative to on another, which is what creates the slender appearance at the middle of the tower. It should be noted that there is no actual change in the size of the tower at any point; it is the rotation of the ellipses that create the illusion of a change in size. The building also faced the challenge of climate, that area of China often experiencing highspeed winds. To combat this challenge the firms employed ‘advanced technologies in wind engineering and wind tunnel studies based on
sectional models with computer stimulation.’ The architecture firm IBM in conjunction with the engineering firm Arup used parametric associative software to create the complex geometry of the tower. It seems that the firm very much achieved its aim, the tower standing tall yet not oppressively in its setting. Visually the tower does appear to taper at the waist, creating the light, feminine feel it aimed to achieve. Structurally the tower, up to this point, has also satisfied all it set out to, the tower having been successfully in use since 2010. This case study could have great potential for the LAGI Project, the most obvious being wind generation. Because of the great height the tower reaches it experiences a lot of wind. It is unlikely that my groups project will aim to reach such great heights but a tall, tower-like structure does present opportunity for wind generation.
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60 • Case Study 2.0
Canton Tower • B3 Tower Representation • The design structure of the tower can be said to be as follows: The form is generated by two ellipses, one at the foundation level and the other at an imaginary horizontal plane just above 450m high. The tightening caused by the rotation between the two ellipses is the reason for the tight ‘waist’, and is in the form of a twisted rope.
Therefore these steps can be used as a guide in reverse engineering the project.
Ellipse at foundation level
Ellipse copied up to an imaginary horizontal plane
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Top Elipse rotated
Levels created between the two ellipses following their rotation
Impression of tapered waist achieved
62 â€˘ Case Study 2.0
Canton Tower â€˘ B3 Reverse engineering process
1. One ellipse is placed at foundation level. The ellipse is controlled by two points attached to sliders
3. Both ellipses are divided into points
2. The first ellipse is copied up to an imaginary horizontal plane, which is done by using a slider to control a move in the x-direction
4. The top ellipse and its points are rotated 180 degrees
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5. Straight lines are drawn between the points of the ellipses in a way that point 1 at the top joins point 1 at the bottom and so on.
6. The endpoints of the vertical lines are found. These lines are then divided evenly to create points along them that are the same length apart as the endpoints are from each other.
8. Lines are drawn diagonally between intersection points to create a triangulated pattern, which is aided by the shift list component.
7. Curves are drawn between this division points to make multiple ellipses along the lines, the list being shifted in order to do this. Because the division is equal horizontally and vertically it allows squares to be drawn as close to the surface as possible.
9. The cull component is used to discard of unwanted lines, which was set to cull any lines longer than the average line. The Canton Tower is thus successfully reverse engineered
64 • Technique: Development
‘the synthesis of design solutions benefits from familiarity with precedents, metaphors, reflective sketching, as well as formal knowledge of rules of composition and style’ Kalay, ‘Architectures New Media’ 2004
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66 â€˘ Technique: Development
Breaking the definition â€˘ B4 matrix of iterations 1 a
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68 â€˘ Technique: Development
Chosen iterations â€˘ B4 Considering criteria 1 a
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70 • Technique: Development
Selection criteria • B4 review of chosen iterations
iteration 7e • This iteration was formed by flipping the tower horizontally, moving it up the z-plane, projecting it onto the ground plane and then creating walls between the tower and projection. It was selected to develop as, in terms of architectural qualities, it has a lot of potential for user engagement. The tunnel-like shape means that users could walk through structure, a more engaging experience than mere observation. This human interaction could be used to produce kinetic energy, while the pattern of the facade could allow for panels, whether they be solar or kinetic, to be inserted into the structure. The prototype could potentially be fabricating the lines as pipes and creating joints to connect the pipes. The inputs for the width and length of the structure could be influenced proportionally by the width of the site so that it seems to sit naturally on it.
iteration 9d • This iteration was formed by sticking to the fundamental principles of the case study, using straight lines to create curves. The areas of intersection were then manipulated to create this form. This iteration is a suitable response to the brief because it’s a complex and intriguing structure that encourages the viewer to look further. It stuck to the founding ideas of the precedent project, manipulation straight lines to produce curves. The nature of the form of the iteration again encourages user interaction, people being able to walk through and under the structure guided by curiosity to experience the structure in new ways. The linear tubes could be used for artificial photosynthesis, an idea touched upon in Part A. This iteration could be easily fabricated as a prototype because it consists of only straight lines meaning that only the joints would need to be fabricated.
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iteration 10c • Similar to Iteration 9D, this iteration uses straight lines to create curves and uses the offset component to achieve varying shapes. The aspect that makes this iteration suitable to the brief is that the elements do not intersect physically but rather through sharing the same inputs. These inputs could thus be influenced by data collected on the site, making the structure extremely site specific. The fact that the components don’t intersect also helps to facilitate simple fabrication as it allows for simple assembly of parts. This iteration also has more sculptural qualities than many other of the matrix iterations. The fact that the curves could be offset further and spread apart opens the iteration the possibility of energy generation, laying solar panels between the curves a possible idea.
iteration 12e • This iteration was formed by fitting rectangles between the top and bottom of the tower. It has a lot of potential because it could be oriented on the site in many ways; it could stand up as a statue and cast brilliant shadow, be lain down flat as almost a maze to walk through or even put down horizontally as a sort of sculptural wall. Being made up of rectangles makes this iteration easy to fabricate and could even be laser cut out of material on a large scale. The iteration is made up mainly of surfaces, which opens up the possibility of solar power generation.
72 • Technique: Prototypes
‘Prototypes are the most common formalism used to capture and apply architectural cases’ Kalay, ‘Architectures New Media’ 2004
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74 • Technique: Prototypes
Preliminary testing • B5 prototypes inspired by matrix • My group and I began creating prototypes inspired by our matrix of iterations. These hand-made prototypes were used as an initial investigation into the physical qualities of the digital models we had generated thus far. The tests focused mainly on light qualities and looked at the kinds of shadows these structures could produce. We thought that light and shadow is an important aspect of the structure as it has the capacity to add another dimension to the sculpture if used properly. What we found was that using curves, or pipes, would most likely work to our advantage in terms of creating a structure that could use light an shadow as another sculptural element.
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76 â€˘ Technique: Prototypes
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• B5 Parabaloid module • Our investigations through the matrix and subsequent selection of criteria led us to the conclusion that the idea we were most interested in after investigating the Canton Tower was the concept of creating curves with straight lines. Having come to this conclusion we sought to develop a module that could be based solely on this idea; the hyperbolic parabaloid. We managed to successfully digitally create a single parabaloid module, now we need to discern how to prototype it.
78 • Technique: Prototypes
Physcial testing • B5 Testing the hyperbolic parabaloid • The next series of prototypes was slightly more directed than the last. At this point the structure we were most interested in reproducing for the purpose of our generator was the hyperbolic parabaloid, a structure that uses straight lines to create curves, which we had begun investigating through the Canton Tower Study. We managed to create some interesting prototypes with some good sculptural qualities but none of these were actually paraboloids. This is because they used curves lines not straight. We had been successful in digitally modelling the parabaloid using grasshopper but were now interested in finding a way to do this physically. We sent numerous files off the to fablab to be laser cut but soon ran into trouble while attempting to construct them. The nature of the parabaloid requires that edges be twisted 90º from the bottom to the top, and we found that when we tried to do this we often ended up breaking the boxboard material.
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80 • Technique: Prototypes
stacking modules • B5 using multiple modules • At this point we had digitally modelled one paraboloid and came to realise that although the idea in itself is complex, one alone would not give us very complex or developed sculptural qualities. It was for this reason that we decided our structure would be not one module but many modules put together to make one. We intended
to do this in a way that the one, larger module would be just as structurally sound as the smaller ones by themselves are. As we were still working on the fabrication of the hyperboloid we began using the modules we’d already fabricated to investigate putting modules together.
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• B5 achieving the hyperbolic parabaloid • As we were yet to successfully fabricate the paraboloid we realised we needed to reassess how we were constructing the members for fabrication. In a basic sense all we needed was a stronger member that wouldn’t break when twisted 90º. In the end we used our knowledge of how members behave under tension and compression
in order to use the boxboard to successful achieve the paraboloid. We based the shape of the member graph of the torsion in the twisted shape Finally, this allowed us to successfully fabricate a paraboloid, a massive step in our investigation. Much to our joy we also found that many hyperboloids could be joined together to create one large module with structural integrity, the prototype strong enough to carry three books.
82 • Technique: Prototypes
First panel prototype
First panel prototype
using panels • B5 Testing panels on surfaces • We now found ourselves at the point where we’d managed to successfully fabricate the paraboloid and stack the modules but we found the structure was still lacking complex sculptural qualities as well as the potential for energy generation. It was at this point that we began investigating the possibilities of panelling the paraboloid.
Panelling is something we had looked into at the beginning of the prototyping stage, having somewhat successfully applied panels to one of the matrix models. The panelling was modified and adapted to the hyperboloid module. We managed to successfully prototype this with laser cutting black card. One advantage we’d found with laser cutting panels from paper was that the perforated edges created interesting shadows. This advantage, however, may not be applicable to full scale materials but the trial of panelling was successful nonetheless and opened up the structure to the possibility of wind/kinetic energy.
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Panellised parabaloid prototype
Digital parabaloid prototype
Digital parabaloid prototype
84 â€˘ Technique: Prototypes
â€˘ B5 creating kinetic energy from panels â€˘ Now that the surface had been panellised the possibilities of energy generation were opened up. We digitally investigated the possibility of turning the panels of the paraboloid into panels that had the freedom to move in the wind, using the panellised surface as a frame, and thus the possibility of generating energy. Top view
The concept we began developing was one in which the a surface of panels would be connected to the parabaloid structure. This required further prototyping to investigate how the joints of this structure would work. We successfully prototyped these joints and how they would work at varying angles as different angles would be required.
There seems to be promise in this direction however there is still more work to be done in finding a way to fully integrate these two systems.
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Digital joint prototype
Varying joint prototype
86 • Technique: Proposal
‘We intend the generator to be...a new factory, but of generation not industry’
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88 • Technique: Proposal
creating context • B6 the history of Refshaleøen • Refshaleøen, the site of the 2014 LAGI Competition, is an interesting site filled with reflections of the history of the culture and progression of Copenhagen and Denmark. In 1642 a blockhouse was built on the island in order the guard the Copenhagen Harbour, an indication of the value Danish society placed on this harbour at the time. In 1864 a factory was built on the island, which was eventually to become B & W Shipyard, one of the largest and most famous factories in Denmark, representing the work ethic and values of Danish society. According to the men that worked at B & W there was a real sense of community at the factory. It was a dangerous place, a fiercely industrial, testosterone-driven, alcohol-influenced and sometimes violent environment. In the end, however, it was a place where the workers united to produce one product, together.
It was a place where people worked hard and took pride in their job because people depended on you to do so. The factory was a social and dependable place, workers priding themselves on friendship and often joking that once you work there you’re there for the rest of your life, a sentiment that rang true. Visually the shipyard was a massive, imposing, industrial structure; one worker having described a ‘forest of cranes’ once lying over the site. The machines used in the factories were enormous devices that made the person feel tiny in comparison. In 1996, after over one hundred years of operation, the B & W Shipyard closed down following bankruptcy. The site sat as an abandoned shipyard for some time until people in Copenhagen began to find ways to use the old site for modern purposes. Nowadays the site functions as a sort of cultural hub, housing restaurants and art galleries and hosting many music events, the most famous being the heavy metal festival Copenhell. In fact, in 2014 when Copenhagen hosts Eurovision, Refshaleøen will be the site of the competition.
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• B6 Refshaleøen’s significance • Refshaleøen has a long, rich history that can be seen to reflect the cultural values and progression of Copenhagen over time. While Copenhagen once esteemed its industrial capabilities and the masculinity that came with them, its society has evolved and come to pride itself on its advanced development in aspects such as carbon neutrality, art and music, just as Refshaleøen evolved from a shipyard into a cultural hub. Throughout this change, however, the fundamental ideals of friendship, responsibility and sense of community have persisted. My group and I intend to create a land art generator that reflects both this progression and the underlying consistent values behind it. We intend the generator to be a journey through the site that recreates the sensations of a factory through sound, site and linear production lines. This creates a link as well as a reminder of the industry that once dominated the site, while
paradoxically generating energy, a reflection of current Danish society. One of the old workers of B & W once mused on how ‘you could say that B & W has always been a heavy workplace with every kind of metal. Now we have a new kind of metal’. This is the sentiment our generator aims to portray. We intend the generator to be this ‘new metal’, a new factory, but of generation not industry, where the user follows a naturally laid out path through the site and has a phenomenological experience of the factory. The fact that there is already an organised tour through the old shipyard indicates that people have an interest in seeing large-scale machines and structures purely for the joy of veneration. The site already attracts people for cultural activities and the generator will be another attraction to the site. It will be a visual reflection of its industrial neighbours while also being a reflection of Copenhagen’s values and their progression.
90 • Technique: Proposal
the factory path • B6 using the levy flight path • Judging by photos of the site, there are users that walk through the site and tend to stick to the same path, this conveniently shown in places where grass no longer grows. These paths look like many paths linked together by circular nodes, a phenomenon known as Lévy Flight. Levy Flights are a theory of a biological phenomenon in which creatures take a path of inconstant steps dictated by probability rather than choice. This results in creatures taking many small steps in the same area, then fewer large steps to another area and then repeating this process again. Although this theory is more often applied to other animals, it can be seen as a phenomenon in humans’ movement too. The game of hide and seek is a fine example of this phenomenon. Look at it this way: The seeker runs across the yard (long trip) to a spot with several plausible hiding places. That area is investigated (several short trips) until the possibilities are exhausted. Then the seeker runs across the yard (another long trip) to the next spot with several hiding places. To be sure, there are more small trips than large trips, but not that many more. 
This type of path is quite clearly mapped out already on the site, done naturally but people walking through. Our land art generator factory intends to use these paths as the path for our ‘factory line’, the points of collections of small paths being the locations of each generator. This again creates that paradox, not only is the factory generating energy rather than emitting carbon, the factory, an industrial concept, is following a biologically natural path.
• B6 contemplation of generation • The journey through the site aims to make the user think consciously about energy, how it is produced and the resources it uses. It does this by taking a backwards journey through energy production, beginning with produced energy and working backwards toward natural elements, that is, wind, water, sun etc. My group and I believe that although contributing to Copenhagen’s energy circuit is valuable, what would make the most significant contribution to the city reaching it’s 2025 target of carbon neutrality is influencing its citizens, and all citizens that visit the generator, to lead an energy-conscious lifestyle; this is the main aim of our generator. The experience of the generator on site will essentially be a paradoxical journey through a series of phenomenological experiences, which aims to use these experiences to make the user actively consider energy production. This reversed journey through the production line, beginning with generated energy and ending with energy sources, aims to stimulate particular senses at particular times in order to make visitors aware of this production. The journey begins with energy consumption, moves on to transfer, then to collection and ends with energy sources. The essential idea is that the structure we have produced will be replicated at each node but with minor changes controlled parametrically so that at one point it creates noise, at another, light and so on.
Levy flight diagram
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Levy flight on site
92 • Objectives 90
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reflection • B7 learning outcomes of part b Part B, for me, involved a lot of positive trial and error, even though it sometimes ended in error. Over the course of the module I put into practice all that I’d learnt from the Grasshopper tutorials while also starting to move in new, unique directions that were previously unknown to me. At the end of this module I feel a lot more confident not only with my Grasshopper skills but also with my understanding of parametric modelling. I discovered that it is one thing to intellectually explore parametric modelling, its uses and its difficulties, and another thing entirely to go about doing it yourself.
My group and I made a significant effort to do as much physical and digital trialling as possible, which aided us in finding a direction for the proposal. The expansive investigation into the site and its meaning also aided us in developing a design intent. The feedback from the interim review made it quite clear that there are a few main areas we need to develop in order to finalise our proposal for the site; (1) The method of energy generation; (2) The way the structure will be laid out over the site; and (3) How the structure will manage to make users to travel along the entire journey.
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94 • References 92
part b Reference List 1. Woodbury, Robert F. (2014). ‘How Designers Use Parameters’, in Theories of the Digital in Architecture, ed. by Rivka Oxman and Robert Oxman (London; New York: Routledge), pp. 153–170 2. Piker, Daniel. “Kangaroo Form Finding with Computational Physics.” Architectural Design. 83.2 (2013): 136-137. Online. 3. Pottmann, Helmut. “Architectural Geometry as Design Knowledge.” Architectural Design. 80.4 (2010): 7277. Online. 4. Smart Geometry. “SG2012 Gridshell”. Viewed April 2014. http://matsysdesign.com/2012/04/13/sg2012gridshell. 5. Design-Build Network. “Canton Tower, China”. Viewed April 2014. http://www.designbuild-network.com/ projects/guangzhou-tv-tower. 6. Arup. “Canton Tower”. Viewed April 2014. http://www.arup.com/projects/guangzhou_tv_tower/details.aspx. 7. Refshaleøen. “The Shipyard Route”. Viewed April 2014. http://translate.googleusercontent.com/ translate_c?depth=1&hl=en&prev=/search%3Fq%3Drefshale%25C3%25B8en%26biw%3D1236%26bih%3D603 &rurl=translate.google.com.au&sl=da&u=http://refshaleoen.dk/category/vaerftsruten/&usg=ALkJrhioIDQWps nBMVxCRKp1zFvmmwC4fg. 8. Men & Metal. Documentary. Viwed April 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zXaxcJVZfg. 9. Yale University. “Levy Flights’. Viewed April 2014. http://classes.yale.edu/fractals/randfrac/Levy/Levy5. html.
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part b Figure Reference List 1. Grimshaw Architects. The Eden Project. 2000. 2. AHO Auxiliary Architectures Studio. Nested Canaries. 2010. 3. SOFTlab, Xtra Moenia. San Gennaro Gateway North. 2011. 4. Soma Architecture. White Noise. 2010. 5. Skylar Tibbits. VoltaDom. 2011. 6. Marc Fornes. Frac Centre. 2011. 7. Buckminster Fuller. Montreal Biosphere. 1967. 8-12. SmartGeometry. The Gridshell. 2012 13-16. Information Based Architecture (IBA) and Arup. The Gridshell. 2010. 17&18. DieselHouse. Boiler smithy on Refshaleøen in 1920. 19. Jan Jørgensen. Abandoned Wharehouse in Refshaleøen. 2004. 20. Men & Metal. Shot from the movie. 2013. 21. Inhabitat. 6 Ways Copnehagen Plans to Reach Carbon Neutrality by 2025. 2013. 22. Levy Flight Diagram. 1996.
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98 • Design Concept
‘We intend the generator to be...a new factory, but of generation not industry’
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100 • Design Concept
creating new metal •c1 rethinking the design Previous Investigation • Part A and B involved 3 main investigations: 1. An intellectual investigation into the possibilities of computational design. 2. A practical investigation into these possibilities using geometry as a research field. 3. The significance of the Refshaleøen to LAGI. What resulted from these investigations was clear philosophical aim that was intended to be integrated with computational design. The project aims to pay homage to the old use of the site as an industrial shipyard while recnognising and celebrating Denmark’s progression towards clean energy; never forgetting that the fundamental ideals of friendship, responsibility and sense of community not only persisted throughout these changes but fuelled them. Computational endeavours had at this point led to the parabaloid. The original design concept proposed to somehow use the parabaloid unit to create a phenomenological journey through
the site that gave the sensation of being in an industrial factory while paradoxically creating energy. There was an attempt made to push this concept into a form however, try as we may, a detailed design proposal was never reached. The parabaloid seemed to be restricting the design process rather than contributing to it. The decision was made to free the design of the restrictions we’d created, which resulted in an assessment of the other restrictions linked to the site. It was intended to rid the design of all restrictions, which led to the elimination the site itself. Rebellion • The aim was to create something through an intentional rebellion against the restrictions. Eliminating the land was seen as a clear break away from thinking of the project as an addition to the site and allowed it to be a sculpture in itself. By eliminating the site the sculpture
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was able to reach beyond the boundaries of the initial idea. This is how New Metal came to be. New Metal • New Metal was formed through a direct response to previous design restrictions and consists of an industrial underbelly covered with an energy generating canopy, which uses kinetic/wind energy. The site, which was once a restriction, was lifted up, deformed and this shape was then used as a main shell or canopy. There had been a thought, at one point, to create a series of gateways using the parabaloid. The idea formed to explode these gateways into an industrial mess, creating an industrial underbelly . New Metal aims to take the user on a journey from past to present by confronting the user with it’s chaotic underbelly and then releasing
them into an open future. The user begins the journey at the bottom of the structure and, via a series of connecting paths and islands, makes their way through the site and up to the top of the structure. The end of this journey is placed on top of an energy generating canopy and is a stark contrast to the journey so far. While underneath the structure the user is involved in an industrial mess, once above the serene, clean canopy is revealed and the user is finally able to make sense of it all. This journey elicits the user into contemplating Denmark’s progression from old metal to new metal.
102 â€˘ Design Concept
new metal â€˘c1 Design diagram
+ + + +
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104 • Design Concept
Site context • c1 Mapping Refshaleøen
The Little Mermaid
site water taxi terminal
 The Site • The designated LAGI 2014 site is situated in the man-made island of Refshaleøen in Copenhagen. Formerly a shipyard, the site sat vacant for years after the factory’s bankruptcy but has been converted into somewhat of a cultural hub where that has restaurants, art galleries, cultural events and music festivals, the most famous being heavy metal festival Copenhell. This year more publicity was drawn to the site as it hosted the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest.
The Little Mermaid • The Little Mermaid may be small in size but is, however, great in significance. The statue is based on Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale, is viewed as an icon of Copenhagen and has been a tourist attraction since the early 1900s. The significance of this is to be addressed in the design response. Water Taxi Terminal • This is the terminal for a water taxi that runs between Refshaleøen and Nyhavn harbour. It is one point of access, others include a walking and cycling track, a metro station as well as car access and parking.
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• c1 wind map
 n 4.7
2.9 1.9 1.0
se s Wind Speed [mph]
106 • Design Concept
Remove and return • c1 Site removal diagram Site Removal • As discussed earlier, the decision was made to remove the site and deform it to create the shape for New Metal’s canopy. The diagram to the right depicts how this was done, as well as showing a ‘blow’ step. This represents the step that was taken to wind optimise the structure so it can produce as much energy as possible. The canopy uses piezoelectric energy harvesters, which generate energy through bending movement. The structure was optimised in response to the wind so that piezoelectrics would experience as much movement as possible. Site Return • For the purposes of creating the canopy structure the site was fully removed, however removing this much land would be counter intuitive to energy generation as it creates huge amounts of waste. In order to combat this problem the much of original land has been returned but in a new location and with a new function, which will be discussed in this journal.
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108 • Design Concept
wind optimisation • c1 blowing the canopy • The previous diagram summarised the process of creating the canopy in 4 steps; lift, scrunch, blow, return. The blow step was most integral with regards to energy. This is because New Metal’s energy generation relies on wind. The form that had been scrunched was optimised to suit Copenhagen’s wind conditions. This was done with a wind simulation that used Grasshopper and Kangaroo, a plug-in for Grasshopper and Rhino developed by Daniel Piker, that enables ‘geometric forms to be shaped by material properties and applied forces and interacted with in real time’. In this case the applied force was wind.
Four iterations of wind-blown form were developed as possibilities. When choosing which form to use the method of energy generation was taken into account. Although wind is needed to generate energy, too much wind, or too much movement in the canopy, would actually break the technology being used to harvest energy. A form was therefore chosen that experiences a significant amount of movement in the wind but not so much as to break the technology.
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110 • Design Concept Main Structure
• c1 levels of program Underbelly • New Metal’s underbelly consists of a generated complex web structure, which becomes the facilitator for program. The ‘industrial mess’ was created by moving back and forth from grasshopper and rhino and resulted in a chaotic steel mesh spanning between three main levels, which are then connection to the frame of the canopy.
+ LOWER frame
Path and Program A maze-like network of paths have been created that provide access to different areas of the structure. These paths connect the different levels as well as the observatory spaces scattered throughout the underbelly. These platforms are an integral part of the program that give users a place to rest, observe the water below, the view beyond and structure within. While most of the network is placed within the confronting underbelly, there are points in which the path penetrates up through the canopy. These are the points in which the user experiences the juxtaposition between old metal and new energy. The physical pinnacle of the journey serves also as the metaphorical pinnacle where the user, for the first time, is able to see over the entire structure, experience the serenity of the canopy and the uninterrupted view towards Copenhagen.
+ Middle Path
+ Top Path
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+ roof frame
+ roof panels
+ HEAVY METAL
112••Design 92 DesignConcept Concept
underbelly chaos • c1 Grasshopper flow chart
The wind-blown surface is referenced into grasshopper
copy and rotate
creates another horizontal layer to be triangulated
project to plane The
surface is projected to the floor plane in order to create the structure for the lower program
populate geometry A
grid of points is scattered randomly across the surface
SS tudio tudioAir Airâ€˘â€˘113 113
delauney edges Computational
component that creates a triangulated mesh that tends to avoid skinny triangles, which is done on the horziontal plane
resulting curves are piped to create the steel pipe framework for the lower structure
weave points The
three separate point lists are weaved together to create on list of points
Delauney edges these points are now traingulated but on the vertical plane
114 â€˘ Design Concept
The canopy â€˘ c1 Using a gradient
Canopy Gradient The canopy was created by applying a gradient grid to the wind-blown surface and then panelling this grid. It is made up of a piped structure filled with sailcloth panels that are attached in a way that allows them to move in the wind. The gradient was used to create a varying experience across the site. The smallest panels are located at the entry and gradually increase in size as they move towards the end of the canopy. The intention of this is to dramatise the entry,
imbuing the feeling of disarray. These smaller panels are located closer to the ground, and thus closer to the user, and would flap more chaotically in the wind as less wind is needed to cause the flapping. As the user progresses through the site the sails become larger, further and less conspicuous. This contributes to the juxtaposition thatâ€™s felt at the pinnacle of the canopy.
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• c1 The new metal sculpture park
The New Metal Sculpture Park At one stage of the design process there was a proposal to use copper, not sailcloth, as the in fill for the panels. It was then realise, after a worringly extended period of time, that to do this would be quite ridiculous for a LAGI project. To use so much copper would mean the structure would have a huge amount of embodied energy, which contradicts LAGI’s principles. It was decided, then, that the canopy would be made of sailcloth, not copper, as it is almost a complete alternative; sailcloth is light, cheap and low embodied energy.
Copper had seemed like a good idea because it could represent the old metal of the site. The sculpture park serves to give a narrative to this old metal. The narrative goes that the canopy was once, in fact, filled with copper panels. These great industrial panels became too heavy and taxing on the canopy structure and eventually dropped off, being able to cling no longer, and fell from a great height, penetrating the ground. Their permanence serves as a reminder of the consequences of a lack of energy consciousness.
116 â€˘ Design Concept
â€˘ c1 canopy creation surface
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frame from grid
118 • Design Concept
The colour red • c1 communist roots • An old worker from the B & W Shipyard once commented on how it used to be referred to as a ‘red’ factory. This was because it was viewed as having certain communist leanings, not necessarily politically but socially. At the shipyard they valued community, fairness and solidarity, which are values connected with communism. New Metal’s underbelly is coloured red, this being one way of paying homage to the ideals of the old shipyard.
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122 â€˘ Tectonic Elements
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124 • Tectonic Elements
Jointing • c2 The ArcelorMittal orbit Tectonic Precedent • The New Metal project requires the joining of many steel elements at a large scale. Two main questions arise from this requirement; (1) is it possible to join such a multitude of steel members at such a large scale; and (2) is using such an immense amount of steel not a direct contradiction to LAGI’s advocation for energy consciousness?
the steel connections proposed in the New Metal project, although seemingly ambitious, are in fact achievable.
The ArcelorMittal Orbit, known more casually as ‘The Eye-Full Tower’ of London, answered both these questions with its successful completion two years ago. The 114m tall tower, commissioned for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games, was the result of the winning design competition entry of Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond. Engineering company Arup and steel company AcercelorMittal, however, played a vital role in the tower’s completion.
Energy Consciousness • One major concern of the New Metal design was the amount of embodied energy going into the structure itself. The design must able to produce more energy than its own embodied energy if it is to have any significant impact on energy generation. One way to ensure this is by building a structure with as little embodied energy as possible.
Steel Connections • The tower used prefabricated ‘star nodes’, large connections of steel coils of mammoth proportions that were fabricated in a factory, that were then brought to site, stacked, bolted and welded. This precedent serves as proof that
Computational design was an integral part of the structural realisation of this project. Arup’s Advanced Geometry Unit (AGU) used Rhino and Grasshopper to achieve the Orbit’s complex steel structure.
Large amounts of steel is an obvious concern with regards to embodied energy. However, the steel used in the ArcelorMittal Orbit is impressively made of 60% recycled steel, which, when applied over such a large scale, would have a significant impact on lowering the structure’s embodied energy.
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126 • Tectonic Elements
Detailing joints • c2 standard connection • New Metal’s steel structure is built with circular hollow steel sections. Some of the elements of the structure reach up to 20m long. Connections for these straight sections are therefore required as it would be impossible to use steel members of this length. Displayed on the right is a detail and exploded detail of the standard connection between two circular hollow sections that are joined to become one, long steel element. Each section has a circular connection plate welded to its end. These connection plates are then bolted together to form a rigid connection between the two sections so that they may behave structurally as one.
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92 ••Tectonic Elements 128
Detailing joints • c2 junction connection • An integral component of New Metal’s steel structure is the large junctions featured throughout. These junctions involve the connection of up to six different steel sections in one location. Using the ArcelorMittal Orbit as a structural precedent, a detail was developed for these junctions. This detailed, featured below and exploded to the right, involves cutting the steel sections on specific angles so that they may slot over a large, flat steel angle and then be welded together. The advantage of digital generation is seen in this process. The very specific angles needed for cutting the sections may be found by using the digital model created with Rhino and Grasshopper. This is, in fact, the way that the Watson Steel company manufactured every specific joint of the ArcelorMittal Orbit. Watson was not given drawings for the joints but rather a 3D digital model and a design intent for each joint.
Studio StudioAir Air••129 129
92 ••Tectonic Elements 130
Energy generation • c2 how piezoelectrics work • Kinetic energy is the proposed energy generating technique for New Metal. The product uses the piezoelectric effect, which may be considered as the conversion of mechanical energy into electrical energy. In the case of New Metal, wind is relied upon for the creation of the mechanical energy. It is proposed to use piezoelectric bending sensors (generators) from Piezo Systems, Inc. in order to generate energy. According to Piezo Systems, Inc. the generators work as follows: When a mechanical force causes a suitably wired and polarized 2-layer piezoelectric element to bend, one layer is compressed and the other is stretched. Charge develops across each piezo layer in an effort to counteract the imposed strain. This charge may be collected for strain sensing, power generation or “energy scavenging”.
The diagrams displayed below demonstrate how the piezoelectric generators bend. It is the change between these two states (straight and bent) that generates energy.
Studio StudioAir Air••131 131
applying energy • c2 piezoelectrics in the canopy • The piezoelectric generators are to be integrated into the canopy, which has been design to move with the wind. The canopy is made of a rigid steel frame that is in filled with triangular pieces of sailcloth, which are fastened to the frame so that they may undulate in the wind. The generators are used to harness the energy created by this undulation. The generators are fastened on one side to the steel frame and on the other to the sailcloth shade. When the sail undulates the generators bend, harvesting the energy created by this movement. Overcoming Generator Limitations • One major limitation of these piezoelectric generators is their size. The largest generator on the market that can perform as required is
Bending generators on canopy
a mere 80mm long. In order to overcome this limitation the canopy has been designed so that the generator may be fastened directly to the steel structure while wire is used to tie the other end of the generator to the sail. Maximising Efficiency • One foreseeable issue that could have arisen from this design is that if the piezoelectric generators were simply fastened at both ends they would move up and down but wouldn’t experience any bending. A proposed design to overcome this is to create small metal cages that are integrated into each generator. The cages sit snuggly around one half of the generator so that when the end of the generator is pulled upwards this movement occurs from halfway through the generator, therefore causing it to bend.
92 ••Tectonic Elements 132
Calculating energy • c2 choosing piezoelectric numbers • The dispersion of the piezoelectric generators affects the amount of energy produced but also the canopy’s aesthetic. This must be taken into account when deciding how many generators are to be placed into the canopy.
The calculation was done as follows:
A digital investigation was used to test different possibilities. This investigation looked into three iterations for the density or dispersion of the generators. In the end it was decided that the most densely populated model would be used as it produced the most energy while also contributing to the canopy’s serene feel.
The sails will experience different periods of movement depending on the level of wind.
Due to its size New Metal is actually capable of producing a significant amount of energy. This is because the piezoelectric generators can be attached to 14,171.7m of structure, which means a huge number of them may be used.
Each generator produces 0.009kW per cycle, with a cycle considered to be a bend up and then back into position.
Low-wind day (average 7km/h) = 5 hours/day High-wind day (average 21km/h) = 19 hours/day Average (14km/h) = 12 hours/day Therefore each single piezoelectric produces: 12 hours x 365.25 days x 0.009kW =
39.45 kW/year Possible coverage of generators = 14,171.7m
10 generators/m x 14,171.7m x 39.45 kW/year = 55,907 MW/year
40 generators/m x 14,171.7m x 39.45 kW/year = 223,629 MW/year
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70 generators/m x 14,171.7m x 39.45 kW/year = 391,351_MW/year
134 â€˘ Final Model
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136 â€˘ Final Model
Prototyping â€˘ c3 Standard connection
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138 • Final Model
Prototyping • c3 canopy connection
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140 • Final Model
Prototyping • c3 Testing light
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142 â€˘ Final Model
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144 â€˘ Final Model
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92 ••Learning Objectives 146
The competition • c4 Additional Lagi brief requirements
Description • The New Metal project is a site specific proposal for Refshaleøen, Copenhagen. New Metal takes users on a journey from the sites industrial past through to its energy-driven future. The project consists of two main connected structures with program running throughout. The first structure to meet the user is the chaotic underbelly, which is a mess of steel poles crashing through one another on a grand scale. This underbelly, appearing almost to be the result of an industrial explosion, confronts the user with the site’s industrial past, triggering a contemplation of the impacts of the shipyard that once functioned in its place. The user journeys through this industrial jungle through a network of paths, finding respite in various observatory platforms, which may be used for many purposes; resting, viewing, picnicking etc. Finally the user emerges out of the industrial mess through the canopy that covers it all. The user is able to feel the direct contrast between the industrial mess below and the energy generating canopy above. This journey aims to elicit users into actively contemplating this change and the change in attitude towards energy in Copenhagen and the rest of the world.
Technology • Piezoelectric generators are used to convert mechanical energy (fuelled by the wind) into electrical energy. They are places throughout the canopy and bend with the wind, harvesting energy from this bending. Energy Estimate • It is estimated that New Metal will produce 391,351 MW annually. Environmental Impact • New Metal aims to positively affect Copenhagen’s environment in a number of ways. It aims to contribute to the city’s energy grid in a clean manner which uses wind and does not create greenhouse gases. If the project can contribute to the grid it may decrease, even if only slightly, the need for a ‘dirtier’ production of energy. The structure itself is constructed from 60% recycled steel, lowering its embodied energy. The greatest impact it aims to have, however, is on the people of Copenhagen. While New Metal does produce energy itself, its final aim is to trigger its visitors into actively considering how they use energy. If it is successful then this would have the largest impact of all.
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conclusion • c5 Learning objectives and outcomes Personal Development • Studio Air has been a challenging and rewarding experience. Being finally at the end of the process I see the full merit of the intellectual investigations undertaken in Part A. I found it interesting to see that I experienced a lot of the advantages and disadvantages of computational I’d investigated through other people’s writing.
Computational Design • The idea of a purely generative design really excited me at the beginning of the course. However, the more familiar I became with Grasshopper and the more I worked on the project, the more I realised that purely generative designs are difficult, especially when they must be applied to a very specific brief, which includes energy generation.
In terms of skills I feel I successful achieved the objectives of the studio. While I no doubt have a long way to go if I am ever to truly master Grasshopper, over the last twelve weeks I managed to develop a strong enough understanding of how to use the program, what it’s good for and what it isn’t. It seems quite obvious but I was truly surprised how much my skills in Grasshopper improved just by sitting down and attempting over and over again to use it.
What I found was that computational design doesn’t always mean purely generative. I often found myself jumping back and forwards from Grasshopper and Rhino and I don’t see this as a negative thing. There are certain things that Grasshopper is very good for but if I learnt one thing it’s that it is a mistake to limit yourself to one sort of technology.
The studio also encouraged me to improve my skills in Rhino, which although I considered to be at a decent level when I began, have improved significantly.
Grasshopper has its difficulties. I found the main difficulty was attempting to use Grasshopper in group work. Sharing files becomes very complicated because you’re forced to try understand someone else’s logic. Perhaps this is a good thing and perhaps it simply will encourage us to make cleaner files but I found that in practice it was very difficult. In his guest lecture Alexander Pena gave a piece of advice that I really agree with. He advised never to obsess over one program. Learn it, master it to a degree and then move on because the rest of the market will.
148 • References
Part c reference list 1. Piker, Daniel. “Kangaroo Form Finding with Computational Physics.” Architectural Design. 83.2 (2013): 136-137. Online. 2. Glancery, Jonathan. “The ArcelorMittal Orbit has faced plenty of criticism - but it’s a grower.” The Guardian. October 29 2011. Online. 3. Mara, Felix. “Architectural Steelwork.” Architect’s Journal. 232.1 (2011): 36-41. Online. 4. ArcelorMittal. “The ArcelorMittal Orbit.” viewed May 2014. http://industry.arcelormittal.com/orbit.
Part c figure reference list 1-2. Images provided by LAGI for 2014 competition. 3. IEM. “Copenhagen Wind Rose”. viewed may 2014. http://mesonet.agron.iastate.edu/sites/windrose. phtml?station=EKRK&network=DK_ASOS. 4-8. ArcelorMittal. From ArcelorMittal Orbit photo gallery. Online. viewed May 2014. http://corporate. arcelormittal.com/news-and-media/multimedia-gallery/images. Note: All other images produced of photographed by Emma Lippmann.
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