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Module Four Gayan Munasinghe 586139 Semester 1/2012 Group 9

Module 1Ideation

Natural Process- Tsunami I wanted to look at a natural process that was vicious and dangerous and also had an impact on me. I remember when I was on holiday in Sri Lanka, the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami hit and scared many peoples lives forever. I knew this natural process would be great for this design project. A tsunami occurs in three stages. First the underwater earthquake pushes up a huge volume of water to the surface. Secondly, the volume of water ripples out towards the shore. Lastly, the water forms into a tidal wave and destroys everything in its path. I want to show the process of the tsunamis path from the earthquake to the tidal wave. It would be great to focus more on the tidal wave as it does most of the destruction and harm to the people on the shores. The main focus would be the wave at the front and will consist with the most lighting of the lantern.

Designing of Model

I wanted all the stages of the tsunami to be incorporated into one time-lapse model showing all three stages at once.

Main Precedent

The Coop Himmelb(l)au - Pavilion 21 Opera Space, Munich is a great building which has used shape and form in an abstract way to produce nice sharp pyramids in a manner to follow one direction. This array of pyramids is great to use in my design as it would be nice to use at the front to show aggressive and viciousness of the tidal wave. The spiky pyramids will also be a great focus point on the lantern.

Other Precedents

Denmark, The Wave in Vejle Sound Barrier, Eastern Freeway, Melbourne

Shape for he middle section of model.

Shape for front section of model.

Federation Square, Melbourne

Use of triangles to create panelling.

Federation Square, Melbourne

Having triangles within triangles cut out to let light out.

Designing Model

Designing Model


Basic shape

First chosen concept

Plasticine Model of First Concept

Further Development

The previous concept did not look very good because it just had a flat bottom and looked very stable and did not represent the tsunami well. The new concept will be more realistic to the form of the tidal wave as it forms when the water path hits the sandbank below, so the front section of the lantern will be raised. The new design will emphasise the front section to be more stretching out which makes it more ferocious.

Final Concept

Model of Final Concept

Module 2Design


Contours in Rhino


Panelling I had some trouble with the panelling at first, but after attending some technical sessions, I had the problem solved and was able to continue with designing my lantern model.

2D Panelling for base










Panelling 3D Panelling for Front and Back







The AAMI Park Stadium in Melbourne has incorporated triangles in the roof structure and is able to make smooth curves. The chosen base panel has similar triangle structure and give the nice smooth curves representing the waves well.


I kept the same precedent from module 1 as it was relevant to the 3D panel of the front of the model. It is really nice to see how the panelling resembles the precedent well.

Putting together Final Model


Middle Base


Paper Prototype

Module 3Fabrication

Rough Paper Prototype

The prototype showed the light shining nicely with the white paper, so this made me confirm to use white card for the final model

Preparation for Unrolling

10 9 8 1

7 2



4 5

I separated the model into 10 bands to make unrolling and construction easier and simple.

Unrolling I made the band panels smaller because I needed them to fit on A3 pages to print them for the full scale prototype.


Grasshopper worked well to put tabs on the panels and there were a few tabs that were not needed but it was easy to delete them.


Full Scale Prototype

Full Scale Prototype

Full Scale Prototype with Lighting


The Sri Lankan Buddhist Lantern has cut outs that let out light and give a great effect with the white paper. This is very similar to my lantern model having the cut outs to let light shin out and having the white card glowing.

FabLab There were a few changes to the tabs and also had put the triangle cut outs into the file. With the A1 sheets, I was able to nest the panels nicely without a huge paper waste.

Final Model

Lighting I used 3 LED's and a 9V battery with a battery clip and speaker wire to make the lighting circuit for the lantern. I wired the lights in parallel so the lights shine better.

Final Model with Lighting

Reflection Overall, this project has had its ups and downs throughout the modules, but at the end it is a very rewarding feeling to see an idea you had 12 weeks ago to become a actual model through many many steps of designing and constructing. The final model is very successful because it does represent the key idea of the tsunami in module 1 and has a very unique and ferociousness to it. When you stand back and look at the lantern, you do see the representation of the model to the natural process of the tsunami and the lights give the dangerous glow to the lantern. Throughout the semester, I have learnt many many things about the process of designing. The design never ever stays the same from initial as there are many changes to the concept along the way. Having the opportunity to use Rhino has been a great experience. I personally did have some trouble using it along the way, however the useful technical sessions held were much help to solve my problems. The new software has introduced me to computer modelling and at the end, I ended up loving using the program. It is amazing what one can design in a 3D modelling software and how simple it can be to produce it in real life. Another great experience was using the FabLab source. It was amazing to see a Rhino file to be cut out and scored by the machines at FabLab which made manual labour minimal to the students.

The subject has been very interesting and useful for me as it explained a lot about design and the designs around us. The lectures were fantastic and I learnt a lot about the shapes and patterns around us in nature. It is quite fascinating how complex something could be and without virtual environments, I might have never have thought at looking at nature in such a complex way. The readings throughout the semester were also great and was relevant to the lectures and what we were doing. The Phillip Ball readings were really great in helping us getting ideas in natural processes and he focused more on the patterns in nature through evolution. Also mentioned in the lectures and readings was the common theme of mathematics. It is incredible to believe that mathematics is nearly everywhere even in nature and design. It was amazing to see how logarithmic curves were used in nature and how something random such as Jackson Pollock's painting can have a pattern to it. Overall, this subject has been great fun and has been very helpful to me for the future. I am very glad I chose this subject and it has been a great experience.

Reference Tsunami Pics: (A96D9A49EA98CFE780B96F6EE5A027F4)~Tsunami_ripples_large/$FILE/Tsunami_ripples_large.jpg Architecture Precedents: Lantern Precedent:

Module 4  

Module 4 Virtual