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A. CONCEPTUALISATION a.1 design futuring precedent study 1 precedent study 2 design task


a.2 design computation precedent study 1 precedent study 2 design task


a.3 composition/generation precedent study 1 precedent study 2 design task


a.4 conclusion


a.5 learning outcomes


a.6 appendix


B. CRITERIA DESIGN b.1 research field precedent study 1 precedent study 2 animal research field merri creek site visit


b.2 case study 1.0 iteration matrix design task


b.3 case study 2.0


precedent study 1 reverse engineering

b.4 technique: development iteration matrix precedent study 1 design task b.5 technique: prototypes



material study

b.6 technique: proposal


interim feedback

b.7 learning objectives & outcomes


b.8 appendix


C. DETAILED DESIGN c1 design concept addressing feedback eucalyptus research tree study precedents reproposal


c.2 tectonic elements & prototypes prototypes surface treatment


c.3 final detail model construction process further development c.4 learning objectives & outcomes








STUDIO EARTH CONCEPTACLE combines three tectonics: ‘point,l line and plane’, ‘frame and infill’, and ‘mass’

STUDIO EARTH POINT/LINE/ PLANE exploring the progressive relationship between point, line and plane


DESIGN WORKSHOP FILM ESSAY John Wardle’s Fitzroy House

To View






a.1 design futuring

“How can a future actually be secured by design?”1 This has become an important question for society as we have come to face the challenges posed by the ‘Anthropocene effect’, whereby humans’ ideological thinking has led to severe environmental degradation. Whilst advocates like Haywood has argued that anthropocentrism is inevitable, particularly “at the expense of non-humans’2, our unsustainable habits throughout history has led us to the most important global phenomenon that is currently threatening society. Fry proposes that in order to achieve sustainability, design and technology can be used as a solution for this wicked problem, as it would enable individuals to make better judgments regarding their actions, and its impact to our future. 3 Thus, reinforcing Dunne and Raby’s positive view of design in “challenging and changing values, ideas and beliefs”4 to restore social optimism; that there are other possibilities for design in solving global challenges.


The combination of design and technology will enable new means of exploration, construction and fabrication techniques, based on logical data which can be used in an efficient manner. Therefore, design has come to serve as a significant role in this generation; beyond a professional practice in solving aesthetic problems, but as a powerful system of communication that has the potential to rectify our former decisions and actions. 5

“Problems cannot be solved unless they are confronted and if they are to be solved it will not be by chance…but by design”.6

1. Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby, Speculative Everything: Design Fiction, and Social Dream (MIT Press, 2013), p.3. 2. Tim Hayward, ‘Anthropocentrism: A Misunderstood Problem’, Environmental Values, 6.1 (1997), 49-63. 3. Tony Fry, Design Futuring: Sustainability, Ethics and New Practice (Oxford:Berg) p.1-16. 4. Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby, Speculative Everything: Design Fiction, and Social Dream (MIT Press, 2013), p.35. 5. Patrik Schumacher, The Autopoiesis of Architecture: A New Framework for Architecture (Chichester: Wiley, 2011), p,1-28. 6. Tony Fry, Design Futuring: Sustainability, Ethics and New Practice (Oxford:Berg) p.6. 7. Rene Magritte, The Son of Man (n.d.) <> [accessed 15 March 2018].

“Between the visible that is hidden and the visible that is present.”7 René Magritte




The Eucalyptus rudis found in the Eucalypt Lawn area of the Botanical Gardens is native to Western Australia, found prominently in the southwestern region1. The slender tree typically grows up to 1025 metres tall, with a distinctive girth that is determined by its age. It is characteristed by a wide bole and short trunk, branching to an untidy spreading crown that is defoliated due to insect predation2. The observed tree had a rough surface, formed by the flaking bark along the trunk, to create a crackled effect. Along the bole, vertical cavities were formed due to the natural shedding process of the tree, where some have accumulated into a stringy mass. These hollow spaces form ideal habitats for small to medium sized insects such as spiders and crickets due to the coverage they offer. Furthermore, the formation of these cavities provides potential inspiration to the design brief, through the unique lines and curve surfaces of the bark pieces. Towards the crown of the tree, the trunk is

punctuated by yellow and white patches of colour, revealing a smooth texture to contrast the bottom half of the tree where small cavities can be located between the extension of each root. These areas are suitable for very small insects, including the ants illustrated in the imagined section drawing. Considering the small dimensions of the holes, and biological structure of nature, a cell inspired configuration was illustrated as a possible habitat for ants. Furthermore, the observed tree were occupied by mature leaves, providing the long narrow shape of the leaves in comparison to the typical oval shape of younger leaves.3 Small fruits found on the stalks, approximately 4-6mm, with a hemispherical shape, were also interpreted as a habitat for small species due to the empty spaces they offer. 1. Florabank, Eucalyptus rudis (n.d.) < au/lucid/key/species%20navigator/media/html/Eucalyptus_ rudis.htm> [accessed 11 March 2018]. 2. World Agroforestry Centre, Eucalyptus rudis (n.d.) < http://www. pdf> [accessed 11 March 2018]. 3. World Agroforestry Centre, Eucalyptus rudis (n.d.) < http://www. pdf> [accessed 11 March 2018].



PRECEDENT STUDY 02 RESEARCH PAVILION STUTTGART 2014 ICD/ITKE The Research Pavilion is a collaborative effort between The Institute for Computational Design (ICD) and the Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE) at the University of Stuttgart, in Germany. The team of architects, engineers and natural scientists combined their knowledge to design a structure inspired by the underwater nest construction of the water spider by creating a space that “lies somewhere between reality and the impossible”1. Fabrication and material were significant features of the design, reflecting one of the purposes of the project in exploring advanced computational design and technologies. The pavilion was largely composed of fibers, to mirror the fibers found typically in the construction of biological structures, including the reinforced air bubbles that water spiders uses to survive2. This was achieved though utilising a robotic system to reinforce the initial ETFE formwork with fibers from the inside, where fibers were only selectively applied for areas which required structural reinforcement3. Consequently, a lightweight yet strong pavilion shell was produced, demonstrating the success of transferring the natural methods of water spiders into a building construction application. Thus, the pavilion has shown the benefits of carbon fiber as a construction material, and responds to the issue of unsustainability highlight by Fry in ‘Designing Future’ through 14

its recyclable properties. Moreover, the design process used provides a unique idea, which can applicable to the studio’s brief. Contrary to Fry’s argument in technology accentuating the anthropocentric effect4, the use of robotics in this instance can be regarded as ‘design intelligence’ in precisely mimicking the observed web patterns of water spiders. In return, this reduces the need for skilled labour, to minimise production cost and time, making it a cost-effective material. Furthermore, the Research Pavilion acts as a precedent for the use of robotics in future processes, and reaffirms the potential of technology through developing and attempting new approaches that are relevant to current society.

1. Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby, Speculative Everything: Design Fiction, and Social Dream (MIT Press, 2013), p.3. 2. Blaine Brownell, Arachnid Architecture as Human Shelter (2015), <> [accessed 2 March 2018]. 3. University of Stuttgart, ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2014-15 (2015) <> [accessed 2 March 2018]. 4. Tony Fry, Design Futuring: Sustainability, Ethics and New Practice (Oxford:Berg) p.1-16







Reflecting on the features and properties observed in â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;precedent 01â&#x20AC;&#x2122; of the Eucalyptus rudis tree at Botanical Gardens, lofted surfaces were created using a program named Rhinoceros 3D, with the integration of Grasshopper - a visual programming editor. The process invovled creating a set of curves in Rhinoceros 3D, before using the Loft Component in Grasshopper to generate these surfaces.


01 Using the Bi-arc command to produce the shape of a tree root, with a small basal cavity. 02 Curved features and hollow spaces are recreated. 03 The bell shape of the fruit is explored through the manipulation of points. 04 The Eucalyptus fruit is further developed, imitating that rim and indentation found in the centre. 05 Adjusting a series of lines and spacing to mimic the uneven surface of the trunk.



With and relat arch the evol dyna duri colla


â&#x20AC;&#x153;Parametricism is ready to go mainstream. The style war has begun...â&#x20AC;?1 Patrik Schumacher 18

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h the rapid progression of technology d its heavy influence on society, the tionship between computer and hitecture has expanded. Evidently, discipline of architecture is constantly lving, as highlighted by the dictatorial amic shift of architects and builders ng the Renaissance, to the wide aborative efforts of today.

a profession, we have to embrace er disciplines. The future and dressing the issues of greater mplexity means that…we can’t have arrogance of believing that we can sign a building and let the others d of make it a reality”2

s, architects must always be willing to apt, as the ever-changing environment mpts a need for architects to ink their role in sustainable future elopment. 3 Such that engineers e adopted a more creative role in abling a new design typology known computation, to support the numerous nefits of “computational orchestration” ntified by Kolarevic. 4

mputational design has always been nfused with computerisation, where y respectively involve the processing of

a.2 design computation

information for generation of ideas, and the act of digital formalisation5. Both systems provide varying levels of assistance to humans, whether through the endless iterations made possible to accommodate different environment, or the ability to logically interpret information to the extent of providing relevant design solutions6. Nevertheless, it should be reminded that form should still be driven by intent, rather than solely relying on an array of digital tools. Similarly, Frampton express that the ‘unimaginable’ and what is considered ‘spectacular’ products of digitally aid design is not sufficient justification for its abuse.7 In contrast, architects including Neri Oxman has effectively grasped the abilities of computational design in combining it with science, art, and the natural environment8. Her 2013 Silk Pavillion perfectly exemplifies her “Nature inspired Design to Design inspired nature” 9 approach, through the pavilion’s form being inspired by the ability of silk worms to generate a three-dimensional cocoon , to using an algorithm and CNC machines to dispense thread across the structure10. Thus, Oxman suggest that designers should be taking inspiration from our surrounding natural system, in order to create structures that are compatible to it, whilst technology

can also augment nature.

“Natural design is more than imitating the appearance of the organic. It is learning from natural principles of design how to produce form in response to the conditions of the environmental context. This is an age in which digitally informed design can actually produce a second nature.”11

1. Patrik Schumacher, The Parametricist Epoch: Let the Style Wars Begin (2010) < culture/patrik-schumacher-on-parametricism-let-the-style-warsbegin/5217211.article> [accessed 15 March 2018]. 2. Osman Bari, ‘Norman Foster Stresses the Importance of Interdisciplinary Architecture in Creating Future Cities’ (2017), <> [accessed 12 March 2018]. 3. Bari, ‘Norman Foster Stresses the Importance of interdisciplinary Architecture in Creating Future Cities’. 4. Branko Kolarevic, Architecture in the Digital Age: Design and Manufacturing (New York; London: Spon Press, 2003), p.3. 5. Rivka Oxman and Robert Oxman, Theories Of The Digital in Architecture (New York: Routledge, 2014), p.1-10. 6. Yehuda E Kalay, Architecture’s New Media, (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2004), p.5-25. 7. Kenneth Frampton, “Technoscience and Environmental Culture: A Provisional Critique”, Journal of Architectural Education, 54.3 (2001), p.123-129. 8. Carolyn Gregoire, ‘How Nature Can Inspire New Technologies’ (2016), <> [accessed 14 March 2018]. 9. Carolyn Gregoire, ‘How Nature Can Inspire New Technologies’ (2016), <> [accessed 14 March 2018]. 10. MIT Media Lab, Silk Pavillion (2013), < edu/environments/details/silk-pavillion> [accessed 14 March 2018]. 11. Oxman and Oxman, Theories Of The Digital, p.8.



Although the displays offered at the Royal Botanical Gardens, and the National Gallery of Victoria are situated less than a kilometer apart, the sensory experience are different. The Botanical Gardens generates a sense of serenity and relaxation due to the sweeping lawns, and variety of flora and fauna grounded at the site. More distinctly, the sound of animal and insect species against the bustling traffic of Domain Road, St Kilda Road and Alexandra Avenue is the antithesis of the garden. On the other hand, the NGV – currently showing the Triennial Exhibition, inspires many visitors through its diverse collection. 20

These ‘artworks’ celebrate the creative minds of the past and present, whilst paving way for the future. Thus, each location fabricates its own creativity and recognises its own ‘nature’. Furthermore, the NGV differs to the Botanical Gardens, in terms of its physical experience. In contrast to the established pathways at the garden, which guides visitors in a particular route, the exhibition museum does not have a determined path. This may suggest the flexibility and unknown possibilities of design.

Contin and bound curati collab Media her va behav the th transit – the

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nuing her fascination with biology technology, Oxman breaches the daries of traditional art forms by ing a series of Death masks. Her boration with members of the ated Matter Group at MIT reinforces alue in using art to convey human vior, as each of the five masks within hree series of Vespers, explores the tion between life, death and rebirth notion of metamorphosis.1

ugh, each of the individual masks ays a unique appearance, the er’s death mask “moves beyond exterior surface surface and into the or volume of the mask” 2 to illustrate

the designers’ interpretation about the journey of life, both culturally and biologically. 3

“The inner structures are entirely data driven and are designed to match the resolution of structures found in nature.”4 Aside from their abstract meaning, Oxman’s project is significant in demonstrating the possibilities of computation. Unlike traditional masks, which are typically made from wax or plaster, the Death masks were formed using a custom software to computationally ‘grow’ the complex and

intricate design, just as organs would, before they were 3D-printed. 5 Furthermore, the observed mask, belonging in the third series, referenced a martyr’s last breath, providing the idea of employing an abstract narrative, which can be applied to the studio’s design brief. 1. Alice Morby, ‘Neri Oxman creates 3D-printed versions of ancient death masks’, Dezeen (2016) < https://www.dezeen. com/2016/11/29/neri-oxman-design-3d-printed-ancient-deathmasks-vespers-collection-stratasys/> [accessed 14 March 2018]. 2. Mediated Matter, ‘Vespers: Series II’, Environments (2016) <> [accessed 14 March 2018]. 3. Mediated Matter 4. Morby, ‘Neri Oxman created 3D-printed versions’, 5. Mediated Matter






The Al Bahar Towers situated in Dubai exemplifies the effectiveness of computational design in addressing the impacts of natural environment on society1. Aside from its intriguing aesthetic, computational process was used in the design process to help generate a triangulated kinetic façade, in response to the extreme weather conditions of Dubai.2 Such that computational processes helped provided an innovative solution, while optimising design, to reflect the ‘speculative’ conditions mentioned by Dunne and Raby3. The façade of the towers is wrapped by a geometric skin of triangular units known as the Mashrabiya shading system, which was developed through a computational process4. Using a parametric description for the geometry, each unit can contract or expand in response to the varying conditions experienced in Dubai, where the “whole vertical strip of Mashrabiya will move with the sun”5. Thus, digital computation has not only offered a distinctive solution to Dubai’s environmental concerns, but has demonstrated the benefits of technology in aiding design. Despite having knowledge of the ‘easy solution’ in simply installing blinds across the windows of the building, the architects were

able to ‘dream’, which enabled them to imagine things that are radically different6. Consequently, through adopting new methods of design, they were able to create a functional façade system that showcases the potential of computer technologies. Moreover, the Al Bahar Towers reflects Oxman’s idea of “research by design”7, where architects employ a multidisciplinary approach to exploit computational geometries, in order to generate forms that are “driven by performance”8.

1. Tony Fry, Design Futuring: Sustainability, Ethics and New Practice (Oxford:Berg) p.1-16. 2. Karen Cilento, ‘Al Bahar Towers Responsive Façade/ Aedas’, Archdaily (2012), <> [accessed 13 March 2018]. 3. Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby, Speculative Everything: Design Fiction, and Social Dreaming (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2013), p. 1-9, 33-45. 4. AHR, ‘Al Bahr Towers’, (2012)> [accessed 13 March 2018]. 5. Cilento, ‘Al Bahar Towers Responsive Façade’. 6. Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby, Speculative Everything: Design Fiction, and Social Dreaming (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2013), p.1. 7. Rivka Oxman and Robert Oxman, Theories of the Digital in Architecture (London; New York: Routledge, 2014),p.4. 8. Rivka Oxman and Robert Oxman, Theories of the Digital in Architecture (London; New York: Routledge, 2014),p.4.









Inspired by Neri Oxman’s Vespers, three lofted surfaces were created. Each individual surfaces were then manipulated using Grasshopper, following a process of: - creating a wire frame structure using the polyline and interpolate commands - strips with the Geodesic component - distributing a ‘geometry’ along the contoured curves - using the box morph command to distribute the ‘geometry’ along the surface

01 The curves drawn for the lofted surface was derived from the profile angle of the observed mask. 06

02 A wire frame structure showing a three dimensional representation of the lofted surface. 03 Interpolate command offers the same function as Polyline, to recreate the wire frame structure. 04 The Geodesic strips differ to the wireframe’s arcs, depicting leaning figures. 05 Following the curved outline of the mask, a round geometry was created. 06 The geometry was morphed on to the surface, with minimal spacing in between to generate a ‘filled’ effect. 25









07 The curved and vein like pattern of the mask was explored. 08 Number sliders are used to control the division of curves into segments. 09 Interpolate and Polyline commands are easily interchangeable at the end of the Grasshopper sequence. 10 The Geodesic command revealed a large gap towards the front of the structure. 11 A similar round geometry was distributed tightly along the contours, through exploring the placement of the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;set pointâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. 12 The geometry seemed more elongated when morphed on to the surface.









13 A bridge like figure was drawn to highlight the curved features of the mask. 14 The wire frame structure helps to generate a perspective view easily. 15 The wire frame clearly depicts the curved surface through the numerous arcs. 16 Unlike the previous structures, the Geodesic command generated a series of evenly spaced arcs. 17 A spike geometry was created as influenced by the other observed masks. 18 A slider was used to adjust the height of the Surface Box, which impacted the appearance in terms of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;sharpnessâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. 27

a.3 composition/ generation

Designers are constantly searching for new ways to generate form and composition to reflect current society. Thus, we see a shift from the rules of symmetry displayed in Mies van der Rohe’s Crown Hall, to the intriguing parametric designs by Zaha Hadid. With the introduction of scripting and visual programming software, inclduing Grasshopper, architectural work flows are extended beyond pen and paper, as designing through algorithms allows comprehensive explorations1. Consequently, effective design decisions are enabled through the various iterations made available by adjusting data information2. This process is desirable considering the fluctuating environment that we live in, which allows us to create more responsive designs. With technology infiltrating more and more aspects of modern society, digital processes and computation can be taken in advantage as they offer multiple advantages to design. The use of generation in design have shown to “augment the human intellect”3 by creating unprecedented forms that were once restrained by a non-digital world. The introduction of these software has evidently shown to optimise design through its structure and performance. Hence, creativity is now being unleashed with digital technology. 28

1. Brady Peters, “Computation Works: The Building of Algorithmic Thought”, Architectural Design, 83 (2013), p. 8-15. 2. Robert A. and Frank C. Keil, eds, Definition of Algorithm in Wilson, (London: MIT Press, 1999), p.11-12. 3. Robert A. and Frank C. Keil, eds, Definition of Algorithm in Wilson, (London: MIT Press, 1999), p.11.




The Hygroskin pavilion by Menges and others, exemplifies the conceptual change from ‘composition to generation’. Intended to contrast the superimposition of high-tech equipment and materials that is used in climate-responsive architecture, the design is distinct by utilising “the responsive capacity of the material [wood] itself”.1 The pavilion therefore stands out from past designs of its kind, by considering “the life of the material in its organic form”2, to reflect Dunne and Raby’s proposal of using speculative design to challenge the assumptions and preconceptions of everyday life.3 Although wood is regarded as a highly effective biological system, it was also recognised that its natural anisotropic makeup was incomparable to the construction materials that were industrially produced. Therefore, in an era of digital accessibility, the architects took advantage of new computational design, and fabrication tools, to optimise the material’s natural capacity.4 The use of computational design was seen as an integrative approach, “to allow unprecedented access into the material’s capacity”5. Though understanding their abilities, Menges and others were able to develop a climate responsive structure that comprised of lightweight geometric components that were based on the active bending and hygroscopic behaviour of wood.6 As a result, the individual components 30

were able to autonomously open and close according to the relative humidity of the environment. Thus, the timber structure was able to “be itself”7, which was achieved through the use of computational process. This can be reinforced by Menges’ description of the design process in “ the computational detailing of all joints and the generation of the required”8. A robotic fabrication was used to elevate the construction of the design through precision. In order to do so, it was important to configure the machine by an algorithm, which would minimise the its difference in position and orientation. Furthermore, by learning from this precedent, I am inspired to maximise the full potential of digital tools, as the Hygroskin pavilion has shown to extend beyond the known.

1. Nathan Johnson and Geraldine Chua, ‘Pavilion’s meterorosensitive architecture opens and closes in response to weather change’, Architecture and Design (2014) < http:// w w w. a rc h i te c t u re a n d d e s i g n . co m . a u/n ew s/p a v i l i o n - s meteorosensitive-architecture-opens-and> [accessed 15 March 2018]. 2. Johnson and Chua, ‘Pavilion’s meterorosensitive architecture’. 3. Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby, Speculative Everything: Design Fiction, and Social Dream (MIT Press, 2013), p.34. 4. Oliver David Krieg and others ‘Hygroskin – Meteorosensitive Pavilion’ (2014), 60-67, < publication/273060832_HygroSkin_-_Meteorosensitive_Pavilion>, [accessed 15 March 2018]. 5. Krieg and others, p.62. 6. Krieg and others, p.60-67 7. Johnson and Chua, ‘Pavilion’s meterorosensitive architecture’. 8. Krieg and others, p.63





The logical sequence of algorithms is not only restricted to architectural building designs1. We see this approach similarly applied to Tighe’s construction of Out of Memory, as he uses computers to generate form and simulate structure2. Digital fabrication is also employed to precisely execute the creation.

Reflecting on the benefits of digital tool within the fabrication process as mentioned by Brady, the architect had created the entire structure from a renewable polyurethane foam that was precisely cut using a CNC milling.5 I would too opt for this fabrication process if my design emphasizes on distinct details and clean lines.

“We are no longer using computers to digitise existing procedures”3 to convey a designer’s idea, instead we use computation to “generate complex order, form and structure”4. This is strongly evident in the project as Tighe utilises the process to achieve large yet detailed forms. The level of execution would not have been achieved without the ability of computation. The final outcome of the design was a product of algorithmic generation, which forms could be easily modified without the need to ‘re-draw’ the design each time. Thus, Out of Memory adds to the many precedents demonstrating the success of an algorithmic process to suggest the increasing role of computation in future designs.

1. Rivka Oxman and Robert Oxman, Theories of the Digital in Architecture (London; New York: Routledge, 2014), 1-10 2. Jennifer Krichels, ‘Out of Memory: Patrick Tighe Architecture with Machineous’, The Architects Newspaper (2011) < https://> [accessed 15 March 2018]. 3. Peters, Brady, “Computation Works: The Building of Algorithmic Thought”, Architectural Design, 83 (2013) p.11. 4. Peters, Brady, “Computation Works: The Building of Algorithmic Thought”, Architectural Design, 83 (2013) p.10. 5. Jennifer Krichels, ‘Out of Memory: Patrick Tighe Architecture with Machineous’, The Architects Newspaper (2011) < https://> [accessed 15 March 2018].







01 A gridshell was formed from a lofted surface, where a high integer was set on the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Nâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; component of the Divide command, to maximise the intersection between curves to triangulate the structure effectively. 02 The round geometry from the previous Design Task was arranged on the gridshell, following the undulating surface. 03 A Voronoi surface was generated, creating a tessellation of irregular shapes. 04 The Voronoi surface was mapped on to another lofted surface, resulting to a distorted Voronoi pattern.



a.4 conclusion Architecture is a discipline which develop and changes over time, with consideration to cultural shift, technological advancements, and problems faced by its users. With digital tools being more progressively accepted and explored, unprecedented forms are being born. The role of architecture has also transformed significantly, where they play a critical role in designing a sustainable future. This is enabled through new generation processes, such as computational design, which is considered to have infinite amount of possibilities. Technological advancements has also been important, allowing the discoveries of digital fabrication with robots and other machineries, to not only save time and cost, but to precisely translate our ideas.

Furthermore, many of the analysed underpin the importance of working with other disciplines, as creativity is not limited to architecture. I also intend to improve my understanding of digital software, to effectively use computational function to generate a design that is functional to the design brief, whilst maintaining an unique aesthetic quality.

a.5 learnin outcome My understanding of digital design and computational methods has immensely expanded over the initial three weeks of the subject. Through conducting multiple precedents, through both physical experience and research, I’ve started to understand the purpose of these tools, in terms of what they are, and their influence on architectural practice. Prior to this subject, my perspective and understanding on digital computation was limited. Like many, I was under the impression that digital design only produced ‘fancy’ visual effects, without actually serving any purpose. However, my attitude has shifted, since conducting my research for Part A, where I’ve come to realise the potential and performative benefits of computational design. 36

If I was exposed to this knowledge I could have possibly improved my designs by using digital software to pr iterations of my work. This would no beneficially save time, but allow comp between designs. Moreover, throug introduction to Grasshopper, I am now to view my designs as a process, sim a mathematical equation, in trying to out what is needed to produce a d outcome.

a.6 appendix

ng es

earlier, y past roduce ot only parison gh the w able milar to o work desired


References A., Robert and C. Keil, Frank, eds, Definiton of Algorithm in Wilson, (London: MIT Press, 1999). AHR, ‘Al Bahr Towers’, (2012)> [accessed 13 March 2018]. Bari, Osman, Norman Foster Stresses the Importance of Interdisciplinary Architecture in Creating Future Cities (2017), <> [accessed 12 March 2018]. Brownell, Blaine, Arachnid Architecture as Human Shelter (2015), < http://www.architectmagazine. com/technology/arachnid-architecture-as-human-shelter_o> [accessed 2 March 2018]. Cilento, Karen, ‘Al Bahar Towers Responsive Façade/ Aedas’, Archdaily (2012), <https://www.archdaily. com/270592/al-bahar-towers-responsive-facade-aedas> [accessed 13 March 2018]. Dunne, Anthony and Raby, Fiona. Speculative Everything: Design Fiction, and Social Dreaming (MIT Press, 2013), 1-9, 33-45. Florabank, Eucalyptus rudis (n.d.) < navigator/media/html/Eucalyptus_rudis.htm> [accessed 11 March 2018]. Frampton, Kenneth, “Technoscience and Environmental Culture: A Provisional Critique”, Journal of Architectural Education, 54.3 (2001), 123-129 Fry, Tony. 2008. Design Futuring: Sustainability, Ethics and New Practice (Oxford: Berg), 1-16. Gregoire, Carolyn, How Nature Can Inspire New Technologies (2016), < entry/mit-media-lab-design-nature_us_56f9467de4b0143a9b48a344> [accessed 14 March 2018]. Hayward, Tim, ‘Anthropocentrism: A Misunderstood Problem’, Environmental Values, 6.1 (1997), 49-63. Johnson, Nathan and Chua, Geraldine, ‘Pavilion’s meterorosensitive architecture opens and closes in response to weather change’, Architecture and Design (2014) < au/news/pavilion-s-meteorosensitive-architecture-opens-and> [accessed 15 March 2018]. Kalay, Yehuda E, Architecture’s New Media: Principles, Theories, and Methods of Computer-Aided Design, (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2004), 5-25. Krichels, Jennifer. ‘Out of Memory: Patrick Tighe Architecture with Machineous’, The Architects Newspaper (2011) <> [accessed 15 March 2018] Kolarevic, Branko. 2003 Architecture in the Digital Age: Design and Manufacturing (New York; London: Spon Press), 3-62. Magritte, Rene. The Son of Man (n.d.) <> [accessed 15 March 2018]. Mediated Matter, ‘Vespers: Series II’, Environments (2016) < environments/details/vespers-second-series> [accessed 14 March 2018]. Morby, Alice, ‘Neri Oxman creates 3D-printed versions of ancient death masks’, Dezeen (2016) < https://www.dezeen. com/2016/11/29/neri-oxman-design-3d-printed-ancient-death-masks-vespers-collection-stratasys/> [accessed 14 March 2018]. Oliver David Krieg and others ‘Hygroskin – Meteorosensitive Pavilion’ (2014), 60-67, < https://www.researchgate. net/publication/273060832_HygroSkin_-_Meteorosensitive_Pavilion>, [accessed 15 March 2018]. Oxman, Rivka and Oxman, Robert, Theories of the Digital in Architecture (London; New York: Routledge, 2014), 1-10 Peters, Brady, “Computation Works: The Building of Algorithmic Thought”, Architectural Design, 83 (2013), 8-15 < https://app. SM2_ImportedContent_20170705121450/ABPL30048_2014_SM2_ImportedContent_20140709012321/Peters%20-%20 Computation%20Works_The%20Building%20of%20Algorithmic%20Thought%2C%20pp%208-13.pdf> [accessed 15 March 2018]. Schumacher, Patrik. 2011. The Autopoiesis of Architecture: A New Framework for Architecture (Chichester: Wiley), 1-28. Schumacher, Patrik, The Parametricist Epoch: Let the Style Wars Begin (2010) < culture/patrik-schumacher-on-parametricism-let-the-style-wars-begin/5217211.article> [accessed 15 March 2018]. University of Stuttgart, ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2014-15 (2015) <> [accessed 2 March 2018]. World Agroforestry Centre, Eucalyptus rudis (n.d.) < usefultrees/pdflib/Eucalyptus_rudis_ERI.pdf> [accessed 11 March 2018].


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In a geome ‘shape appea “the fi geome buildin to be a form, s Corbu window the co geome of har nature 42

itects do not produce geometry, consume it”1

metry is perceived to be a constitutive e of architecture, influencing the sses of composition and design. relationship, between geometry architectural design, can be dated to the earliest times where Hero of ndria (c.20-62 AD) highlighted the ce of geometrien in Ancient Egypt earliest form of geometry dealt with uring and dividing up estates” 2, to ding strength and order to structural including the catenary arch3.

design context, the concept of etry is often associated with es’, in particularly to a structure’s arance as reflected in Evan’s analysis rst place anyone looks to find the etry in architecture is the shape of ngs”4. However, geometry has shown a valuable tool beyond a structure’s such as through the example of Le usier’s Unité d’Habitation, where the w formation of the building shows oncept of designing according to etric rules, whilst projecting a sense rmony – a principle derived from e5. Such that the building

b.1 research field

characterises the relation between geometry and architecture, where geometry possesses a considerable depth in their forms.

determining the form of the structure by narrowing the premises of the idea which the project arises from. Therefore, increasing the potential of the chosen idea.

With new technology emerging in recent decades, and the active integration of computers into the design process, computational design has held a supportive role in the emergence of ‘computational geometry’. The term denotes the manipulation of simple geometries to allow for more intricate and elaborate forms through the digital concepts of “simulation, optimisation and performance”.6 This kind of manipulation can be found in projects such as Steyn Studio’s Bosjes Chapel, where geometry is simply used to emulate the silhouette of the surrounding environment (mountain ranges), to the complex forms of Herzog & de Meuron’s Beijing National Stadium. Thus, computational design has brought a new understanding to geometry in architecture; “one that is no longer tied to a transcendental value system, but is an adequate expression of the contemporary reality”7.

“When architects attempt to escape from the tyranny of geometry…where can they escape to?”8

Furthermore, reflecting on the design brief, geometry will serve as a useful guide in

It will also expand the possibilities of the design with the aid of computational design, through editing the established relationships of the structure.

1. Robin Evans, The Projective Cast: Architecture and Its Three Geometries, (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2000), p.26 < https:// Cast_Architecture_and_Its_Three_Geometries >, [accessed 25 March 2018]. 2. Toni Kotnik, ‘…there is geometry in architecture’, in Form-Rule, Rule-Form (Symposium Workshops, 2013), p. 36 < http://www. pdf> [accessed 25 March 2018]. 3. Kim Williams, and Michael J Ostwald, ‘Manifestations of Geometry in Architecture: Nexus Network Journal’, 19.1 (2017), 1-3 <DOI: 10.1007/s00004-017-0332-1>. 4. Evans, The Projective Cast, p.31. 5. Cornelie Leopold, ‘Geometry Concepts in Architectural Design’, 12th International Conference on Geometry and Graphics, (2006), p.1-9, < GEOMETRY_CONCEPTS_IN_ARCHITECTURAL_DESIGN >, [accessed 25 March 2018]. 6. Toni Kotnik, ‘ On the Role of Geometry in Formal Design’, Architectural Research in Finalnd, 1.1 (2017), 38-47, < https://journal. fi/architecturalresearchfinland/issue/view/Architectural%20 Research%20in%20Finland%20vol%201/The%20first%20Issue%20 of%20ARF%202017>, [accessed 25 March 2018]. 7. Kotnik, ‘…there is geometry in architecture’, p. 42 8. Evans, The Projective Cast, p.331.




The Gridshell was a collaborative project by Matsys Design at the 2012 SmartGeometry (SG) workshop, where SG aimed to bring together a network of designers sharing the interest of harnessing the power of computation for architectural design.1 Embracing the statement from computational pioneer, Mark Weiser, “Computation is everywhere; should it really be the medium and not the message?”2, the four day workshop focused on the design and construction of a wooden gridshell using only straight wood members that “bent along geodesic lines on a relaxed surface”3. Although challenging the natural limitations of the material, the use of computational design allowed for new possibilities through combining “abstract mathematical constructs with the creation of digital geometry”4. The gridshell structure, constructed by discrete grid members, faces the design issue of form finding and structural verification, as its strength is derived from its double curvatures. Thus, parametric modelling has effectively optimized the shell structure through ‘finding’ the optimal shape. Such that the SG2012 Gridshell explores the idea of using geometry to create ‘beneficial architectural design’ through parametric design.5 Using material and geometric parameters including Grasshopper, Kangaroo, and Karamba, the 44

design was able to achieve this ‘beneficial’ idea in “”minimis[ing] material waste while maximising its architectural presence in the space”6, as the digital model detailed the exact amount of material required to avoid excessive waste that is typically found when using digital fabrication methods. On the other hand, it also provided useful data on the minimum radius allowabale for the bending of lath segments and ability for the complex curvatures to be created from straight segments, using the Curvature analysis and Geodesic functions (in Grasshopper) respectively.7 Furthermore, the project highlights the advantage of computational strategies, in extending the intellectual scope of design8. Where geometry can be expressed in a more diverse manner to enable abstract and flexible forms. 1. Matsys, ‘SG2012 GRIDSHELL’, Projects (2012) < http://> [accessed 26 March 2018]. 2. Terri Peters and Brady Peters, Inside Smartgeometry: Expanding the Architectural Possibilities of Computational Design, (West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2013), p. 16-19, < https://ebookcentral.>, [accessed 26 March 2018]. 3, Matsys. 4. Andrew Kudless, ‘Formation of Digital Craft Culture’, in ACSA Annual Meeting, (2013), p.368-375 < resources/proceedings/indexsearch. 5. Peters and Peters, Inside Smartgeometry, p.16-19. 6. Matsys. 7. Peters and Peters, Inside Smartgeometry, p.16-19. 7. Robert F. Woodbury, (2014). ‘How Designers Use Parameters’, in Theories of the Digital in Architecture, ed. By Rivka Oxman and Robert Oxman (London; New York: Routledge), p. 153-170.



A pseudo-code of the SG2012 Gridshell has been attempted, depicting the computational method that was possibly followed to create the structure.

4. An integer is set to the Divide component according to the number of arcs desired. A lofted surface is then created to produce a single surface.

The images are ordered from left to right.

5. To generate a triangulated pattern across the surface, the inital process is repeated, where curves are divided and exploded.

1. Using Rhino, curves are created then referenced in a particular order in Grasshopper. 2. Each curve are adjusted and scaled according to the desired form. 3. Curves are divided to allow arcs to form from each curve through the Explode command. 46

6. A Shift component is inserted and connected to a Geodesic component to enable a diagonal pattern, to form an interesection between curves to triangulate the structure effectively.





Situated within the sporting precinct of Melbourne, AAMI Park’s bioframe design mirrors the structural efficiencies of Buckminster Fuller’s renowned geodesic dome. It’s unique design was driven by the client’s brief to “provide the perfect seating bowl”1 with excellent sightlines for spectators at each boundary. Therefore, in response to the client’s functional brief, the form of the bioframe, including its twenty interdependent shells2, was able to provide a sense of engagement that is imperative to spectators, particularly in sport. Although seemingly conforming to the ‘less is more’ approach, Cox Architecture partnered with Arup to optimise the simple geometry through the application of parametric modelling, where it “significantly streamlined the design process”3. This included using Bentley’s Generative Components software to prepare various parametric models, which allowed for the testing of alterative geometric configuration to optimise the structural form4. By undergoing this computational process, it enabled the design geometry to be altered conveniently, which also profited the design process by quickly allowing the parametric m model to be imported into the structural analysis model (Strand7) for analysis. Where a total of twenty four models were studied, with variations in terms of the shell’s

curvature and height, before determining the most efficient structure5. Thus, reaffirming the role of computational design in generating structurally meaningful geometries through the process of form finding. Moreover, the modification of geometries through computational methods shown in AAMI Park exemplifies what Fry describes as ‘design intelligence’6. That is, the structural concept and geometry allowed the design to be fabricated with fifty percent less steel compared to similar stadium roofs, ensuring that not any more or less material would be used, but that every component of the bioframe served multiple purposes.7 Hence, without the need of any “superficial or decorative elements”8, the design showcases the possibilities of technology in combination with classic forms derived from geometry. 1. COX Architecture, ‘AAMI Park’, Projects (2010) < http://www.> [accessed 26 March 2018]. 2. Arup, ‘AAMI Park Stadium’, Projects (2010) < https://www.arup. com/en/projects/a/AAMI-Park-Stadium-Melbourne> [accessed 26 March 2018]. 3. Arup. 4. Australian Steel Institute, ‘AAMI PARK’, (2010) < media/File/1_AAMI_Park_case_study.pdf> [accessed 26 March 2018]. 5. Australian Steel Institute. 6. Tony Fry, Design Futuring: Sustainability, Ethics and New Practice (Oxford:Berg) p.1-16. 7. Driven x Design, ‘AAMI Park’, 2010 Melbourne Design Awards (2010) < asp?ID=3371> [accessed 26 March 2018]. 8. Driven x Design.


A pseudo-code of AAMI Park has been attempted, depicting the computational method that was possibly followed to create the structure. The images are ordered from left to right. 1. A rectangle was drawn in Rhino following the overall shape of the stadium. It was then rounded uisng the Fillet command. 2. Spheres were created and arranged . 3. The rectangle wa referenced in Grasshopper then divided and exploded. 50

4. The rectangle and geometries were offset to create a boundary for the intersecting form. 5. The spheres were trimmed with the interesecting form using the solid Union command. 6. A triangular pattern was applied to the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;sphereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; surface using the Triangular and Map to Surface components.



The Red Wattlebird is a large, noisy bird that is spread across the southern areas of Australia.1 It can grow up to 34 to 36 centimeters and is most distinct by the prominent white streaks against the greybrown colours of its body, as well as the sudden yellow on the lower belly, and red found on the side of their necks and eyes. They are known to be among the largest honeyeater in Australia, feeding on nectar that is obtained by probing flowers, such as eucalypts and banksias, where the nectar can be easily accessed compared to those of tubular shape. 2 Some insects, taken from foliage or caught mid-air are also eaten. Characterised by an aggressive and territorial personality, Red Wattlebirds are protective of their food source, particularly against other honeyeater species. 3 Thus, they can display a domineering behaviour towards other birds intruding ‘their territory’. Another distinct feature of the Red Wattlebird, is its’ “deep undulating 52

where they are often noticed with its large size around cities and towns, with their habitats being in forests, open woodlands, heathlands and gardens. Nests are also built in the shape of a cup, typically made up of sticks, twigs and plants, to accomodate for the one to two broods each season, during July to December. 5 In relations to the design brief, the Red Wattlebird was chosen due to its permanent role at Merri Creek, (allocated site) as indicated by the Friends of Merri Creek’s annual birdwatch, where it was revealed to be the most common bird specie at the site.6 Hence, it was considered appropriate to design for one of the largest groups of inhabitants at Merri Creek. Moreover, the selection of my chosen animal was based on a collaborative effort with my group members, Phoebe and Liam, who chose to focus on the Silver Banksia and the the Native Common

Shinning Cockroach respectively. ensured that each of our chosen flor fauna were part of a symbiotic relations That being, the Silver Banksia acted an important source of food for the Wattlebird, due to their copious ne which attracted many nectar feed birds. Meanwhile, the cockroach p the role of a prey within the ident relationship between the Red Wattleb as their realtively small size increases t vulnerability for large birds.

1. Ondine Evans, ‘Red Wattlebird, Anthochaera carunc Australian Museum (2015) < https://australianmuseum.n red-wattlebird-anthochaera-carunculata> [accessed 26 2018]. 2. Birdlife Australia, ‘Red Wattlebird’, All About Birds (n.d.) <> [accessed 26 2018]. 3. Iain Campbell and Sam Woods, Wildlife of Austral (Oxfordshire: Princeton University Press, 2013), 196. 4. Iain Campbell and Sam Woods, p.196. 5 Evans, ‘Red Wattlebird’. 6. .Friends of Merri Creek, ‘Birds along the Merri in true s Birdwatch (2014) < uploads/2017/10/Birdwatch_Nov14.pdf> [accessed 26 2018].

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merri creek

The Merri Creek is one of the five major north south flowing tributaries of the Yarra River, stretching 60 kilometres from the Great Dividing Range through Melbourne’s norther suburbs.1 The Creek holds environmental significance, particularly in such a rapidly urbanising city, by supporting some of the most threatened ecosystems in Australia. Therefore, contributes to the preservation of numerous threatened flora and fauna, and artefact scatters belonging to the Wurundjeri community. 2 Due to the Creeks continuous degradation, great efforts have been invested to restore the waterway, and surrounding natural environment, with active groups including the Merri Creek Coordinating Committee, and Friends of Merri Creek.3 Consequently, the Creek can thrivingly reflect the vision outlined by the Merri Creek & Environs Strategy:

“To achieve a healhty living stream flowing through an attractive environment which provides habitat for native animals and is valued by the community as a peaceful, passive open space haven.”4 Such that in completing the following design task, the design should aim to enhance the site and educate its users by “preserving, restoring and promoting the Merri Creek…as a vital living system”. 5

1. Merri Creek Management Committee. ‘About Merri Creek’, (2014) <> [accessed 2 April 2018]. 2. Andrew May, ‘Merri Creek’, eMelbourne (2008) < http://www.> [accessed 2 April 2018]. 3. May, ‘Merri Creek’. 4. Merri Creek Management Committee. 5. Merri Creek Management Committee.



Upon visiting Merri Creek with my group members, the site provided a space in which visitors could interact with a variety of native vegetation. This was enabled through multiple paths which were part of the Creek’s management strategy in effort to direct and control visitor access to protect and minimise degradation of the landscape. Although areas of the riparian systems are growing, it was visible that multiple human interventions interfered with the natural system. For example, surrounding urban encroachment, increase of concrete paths to accommodate human activities and pollution. Despite these obstructions, the designated track was covered in topsoil and leaf litter, remaining intact with the natural environment. Few animal species were spotted, including numerous birds, ducks and small insects, which disappointed the

‘extensive variety’ that was established. Nevertheless, my group members, Phoebe and Liam, were able to select three animal and plant species for our research field study. Considering the interest of a symbiotic system, we helped each other with the selection process by discussing the possible interaction each plant or animal could have. Furthermore, in comparison to our first site visit to the Botanical Gardens, Merri Creek differs by offering a unique experience – one that seems less coordinated. That is, the careful design and planning of Botanical Gardens makes it feel ‘programmed’, which subsequently hinders the natural qualities of nature.



U Division V Division Random Seed

27 30 100

54 27 78

U Count V Count Height

25 14 -2

40 15 -4

25 5 0.15

40 4 0.18

100 9 2 0

16 15 3 0

60 3

14 5



U Count V Count Pipe Radius


U Divisions V Divisions Domain Start Domain End


U Divisions V Divisions


132 74 156

125 78 47

77 55 148

12 30 -2

34 16 4

60 16 1

100 16 0.30

50 10 0.05

15 10 0.1

100 8 1 2

142 3 2 0

240 4 6 0

98 2

124 41

162 4



Reflecting on Kalay’s ‘Architecture’s New Principles, Theories, and Methods of Computer-Aided Design’, a matrix illustrating various iterations of Matsys SG2012 Gridshell has been produced. The choice of this presentation method overrides the effect of separating the outcomes of each ‘specie’, by reinforcing the intention of this process to illustrate “a line of reasoning to its logical conclusion”1. Thus, the results of these manipulations (change of parameter values) are communicated in a form considered most suitable for this task, through enabling easy comparison to allow the identification of ‘the most successful outcomes’. Additionally, it bridges the difficulty in communication between computers and humans, where the symbiotic relationship relies on the interpretation of information 2. In comparing these outcomes, a selection criteria has been developed with the studio’s brief taken into consideration. The criteria serves as an important tool in narrowing the wide selection through early identification of possible ‘successful outcomes’ that could be further developed. The chosen criteria are: AESTHETICS Driven by the chosen research field, geometry, the form of the design should be considered as an artistic addition to the site without seeming displaced. It should also demonstrate a sense of creativity and appeal that is not only limited to human users, but also to the chosen specie (based on observed and research knowledge).

CONSTRUCTABILITY Constructability is a significant factor as it determines the ability in which the illustrated design can be transformed into reality. Therefore, to avoid the fabrication issues often experienced in parametric design, the constructability of the design should be taken into consideration at an early stage and triumph over other more ‘aesthetically pleasing’ designs. FUNCTIONALITY Ability for the design to serve the main function and purpose of the task - in providing an archway for Merri Creek visitors, and a space that provides habitat and or facilitates the needs of the chosen specie. This includes considering the scale of the size of the design in relations to the size of the specie. It is important for the design to actually provide the function required rather than establishing a design that adds no ‘real’ benefit to the Merri Creek community. INTERACTIVE POTENTIAL Interactivity is another significant feature as it aims to bring together and influence two people or things. Such that in reflecting Merri Creek’s objectives, in providing various amenities and to promote public community awareness and understanding of the landscape, it should be evaluated whether the structure helps to facilitate further community involvement, and the promotion of a conservation ethic.

ADAPTABILITY Considering the spontaneous and everchanging conditions of our climate, it should be considered whether the design can adapt to these changes. Its intervention with other existing natural inhabitants must also be recognised. 60

1. Yehuda E Kalay, Architecture’s New Media: Principles, Theories, and Methods of Computer-Aided Design, (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2004), p.5-25. 2. Kalay, Architecture’s New Media, p.5-25.

successful species The following variation from Specie Two was thought to be a successful outcome due to its creative potential. Demonstrating a high aesthetic appeal, the structure was formed using a morphing technique, allowing the tubular shape to be repeated multiple times at different sizes, whilst maintaining a smooth edge. However, assessing against the developed criteria, the design lacks in functionality, in terms of providing a habitat for the chosen animal (Red Wattlebird) due to the opened surfaces of the tubular shapes. Therefore, it would not perform effectively as a shelter for the Red Wattlebird, particularly against climatic conditions such as precipitation. Another downfall of the structure is its inability to provide an archway for visitors to pass underneath (if it was just a singular design), where the depth would need to be increased, with a group of shapes removed to form a hollow space. But if the design was multiplied (e.g. in a curved form), the issue would be eliminated.


The selected design is also from Specie Two, however it differs from the previous design due to its change of parameters, where the height was reduced and the tubular shapes were stretched to form a net like structure. Thus, the design was considered as a successful specie due to its potential to operate as a feeding ground for the Red Wattlebird, which meets the functionality criteria in terms of facilitating the animalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s need. The design also generates a unique aesthetic appeal, where a vertical stripe is created through the meetings of the circular edges. Despite, its great aesthetic qualities, the design poses as a challenge in its constructability, as it is speculated to involve a rigorous fabrication process.



The following outcome was the most successful from Specie Three, where it was intended to achieve a fibrous system that would emulate the natural qualities found at Merri Creek. Thus, it was evaluated to have a high aesthetic appeal to the birds, particularly as its appearance and form is similar to their usual nest. The design also suggest a high constructability level, where a versatile of material can be used to create the weaving effect. However, the design experiences the same challenges as the first ‘successful outcome’, in the context of functionality. That is, the enclosed characteristic of a habitat has not been met, and the requirement of an archway. Reflecting on the curved form, this issue can potentially be resolved be inversing the structure, where the indented area in the centre would form the highest point of the arch, with the lower sides acting as piers.




The selected design is a variation from Specie Four, where a hexagonal cell pattern was used to anchor the design. In comparison to the other outcomes in this specie, the chosen design stands out as it distinguishes it self as more than just a twodimensional hexagonal pattern. Instead, the simple pattern is transformed, where an arch like structure is formed at the bottom, with multiple layers fanned out towards the top. The distinctive separation of these two functions would provide an opportunity for the visitors passing through to observe the Red Wattlebirds that is hypothesized to be resting above on the outer ‘layers’. For this reason, it has contributed to a high ‘interactive potential’ and ‘functionality’ result. Despite these advantages, the structure shows a low ‘adaptability’ due to its wide form, which may disturb other local species as it would require a larger amount of space. It may also fail to withstand under certain climate changes as indicated by its fine lines.


In creating these iteration outcomes, it has explored the sculptural possibility of a design which provides an arch for walkers to pass through as well as a space of habitation and support for the Red Wattlebird. The chosen successful outcomes were decided based on the developed criteria, with the Red Wattlebird’s characteristics and studied patterns taken into consideration. Although the purpose of this exercise was to generate ‘something new’ from the provided script, it was intended for the new design to retain aspects of the SG2012 Gridshell as it provided the foundations of the design. Overall, it was observed that four chosen outcomes shared the commonality of some form of ‘open space’, where visual transparency was integrated to increase awareness of the human users. This was largely driven by the ‘interactive potential’ criteria, where Merri Creek’s social and environmental objectives were valued.

However, their functionality requires to be improved as it was found difficult to create a singular habitat for the Red Wattlebird. Consequently, the idea of an attractive feeding ground was developed. The input of various geometries and change of parameter values were effective in generating varying designs. However, compared to the remaining designs, the use of panelling technique was least effective. The iterations of Specie One and Specie Five (both using panelling tools) showed a lack of creativity and innovation where the gridshell form was simply panelled with the particular pattern. Thus, it did not meet the criteria or the objective of the process. Hence, they were not chosen as one of the four successful outcomes.




Cloud Cities has been a long-term research project by Saraceno, where he is inspired to create ‘ a city in the clouds’ in which humans can live in.1 Beginning in 2008, Saraceno has explored his fascination by presenting alternative ways of “being, habituating and moving in the world”2, where the clustered form has become a reoccurring theme of his work. Saraceno’s interest in chemistry, biology, physics, engineering, the cosmo, universes, and forms of bacteria, foam and clouds explains for his design intentions, as he seek to create an ‘experiential environment’ that explains how human beings live in synergy with their environment.3 In his 2012 installation at the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the geodesic form was built from sixteen interconnected modules that consisted of irregular geometric shapes held in place by steel joints, cables, reinforcements and glass panels.4 The resulting form was much like a cluster of bubbles, but with hard angular edges. This effect was further accentuated by the choice material which contrasts the impermanent and ‘fluffy’ qualities of foams/ clouds. 66

Although the design process is unknown, the complex form and variation of the geometries suggest the use of a computational methodology. In the context of grasshopper, there are numerous methods to achieve the appearance of Cloud Cities, such as utilising Voronoi patterns and subtraction tool, or using the trim and polygon commands. But, the structure would have been created through a recursive algorithm, with the help of aggregation plug-ins, such as Hoopsnake or Python. The use of computational design would have aid in the process of form finding, in terms of generating the irregularly shaped ‘pods’. The convenience of the Boolean tool would also benefit the process in trimming and joining different elements. Thus, highlighting the importance of geometry as a research field.

1. Tomas Saraceno, ‘Flying Garden: Cloud Cities’, Projects (2017) <> [accessed 13 April 2018]. 2. Saraceno, ‘Flying Garden: Cloud Cities’. 3. Domus, ‘Tomás Saraceno: Cloud City’, News (2012) < https://> [accessed 12 April 2018]. 4. Domus.

.3 case study 2


ATTEMPT 01 Reverse enginering was attempted for Tom ás Saraceno’s Cloud City. The following pseudo-code illustrates the possible computational process that was used to create the design. The images are ordered from left to right. 1. Using Grasshoper, create a polygon and insert a slider of three to determine the number of segments of the shape. 2. A triangular pyramid is created by formulating an expression and using the extruding command. 3. The cap command is used to transform the surfaces into a single solid. 68

4. A slider and scaling component is used to determine the factor of scaling. 5. The ‘scaled’ components are trimmed from the overall shape, where the form can be manipulated through the input of sliders. 6. The shape is then manipulated in Rhino, utilsiing the functions of mirror, gumball and orient to construct a cluster like form. (* Grasshopper plug-ins involving aggregation features could have been used in the original design.) 7. The individual elements are then ‘grouped’ together.

I had chosen to reverse engineer Cloud Cities as I was enticed by the narrative driven form of the structure, and its clever participatory experience which can be seen as a potential ‘habitable space’ for our species, or as an additional feature for Merri Creek visitors. In re-creating a section of the design, I used the knowledge gained from the demonstration video of creating a fractal tectrahedra, and manipulated the scaling factor to mimic the hexagonal geometry of the design. However, after comparing to the original design I realised that my representation is inaccurate as the hexagon surface of each Dodecahedron form was not repeated. Instead, some surfaces were triangles due to shape of the ‘scaled component’, which were trimmed to form four of the surfaces. Furthermore, I had opted to record the individual processes as vector line works, rather than a solid render, as all the lines and paths used to connect the object would be distinct.



ATTEMPT 02 The following pseudo-code illustrates another possible computational process that was used to create Cloud City.

5. Deconstruct Brep and apply Brep Edges to allow the edges of each component to join.

The images are ordered from left to right.

6. Using the Fillet and Area commands to create the hollow spaces within each component.

1. Create a closed polysurface in Rhino. 2. Use the Voronoi 3D command to produce a sub-divided structure 3. Add a bounding box to the iniital geometry to set a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;boundaryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; for the Voronoi effect.

7. Adjusting the scaling factor to determine the size of the hollow spaces. 8. Adding a Boundary Surface to transform to a planar surface. 9. Rotate the design.

4. Use the Cull command and select inverse elements to obtain the interior cells. 71


I had decided to reverse engineer the design again as I was disappointed with the initial outcome. In contrast to the first attempt, I attempted to create one whole structure. That is, all the individual â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;podsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; would be joint together as one structure, unlike my first attempt where I had produced one single element then multiplied and adjusted the elements into a desired form. I also wanted to include the hollow elements of the built form installed at the roof of the Metropolitan Museums of Art, in order to capture the experience intended. Given the appearance of the final outcome, attempt two was more successful 72

than attempt one. Although there are a number of elements (pods) in the design, the second attempt was able to achieve a sense of connectivity that was clearly absent from the first outcome. The integration of the hollow spaces also made the generated design seem more realistic by illustrating the interior spaces and mirroring the qualities of the original design. Further improvement can be made through making the edges of the interior geometry less rounded. Rather, the shape should be similar to the outer geometry as highlighted by the original structure.





(top view)

Segments Plane

20 -25

-9 54

4 8 449

4 8 0


Step Size Values Reduction


U Count Domain End V Count Radius 1 Domain Start Radius 2

33 33 -5

4 5 4

12 10 -6

5 9 8


Radius Segments Scaling Factor


6 4 0.3

6 4 0.5


-19 110

1 28

-33 42

6 8 440

3 10 892

1 10 985

6 5 0.333

48 25 -7

5 6 20

15 20 -2

2 3 8

8 4 0.429

60 40 6

15 8 0

11 5 0.472


successful species






Despite not having a specific design brief such as in the previous design task (in creating an arch and area of habitat for our chosen animal), I have assessed the following outcomes based on the previous criteria to maintain consistency. An additional consideration in creating the iterations was to â&#x20AC;&#x153;extend and alter the functionalityâ&#x20AC;? of the original design. In Specie One, I had used the Kaleidoscope command to generated the series of outcomes which were presented from a top view to highlight the intricate patterns and linework formed. The outcomes, in particularly variation three was successful in creating a torus like form through the multiplication and overlapping of the original geometry. There is a sense of transparency generated by the thin lines of the structure which suggest for a high interactive potential between humans and inhabited animal from either the outside to inside or vice versa. The volume achieved in this outcome also juxtapose the fine quality of the design, to provide structural integrity.

creating an array of the individual component with random elimination. Although, allowing a variety of iterations, the designs had shown large constructability issues with some elements floating. On the other hand, Specie Three resulted in many interesting outcomes through morphing the original component over an arc. By constructing a domain, this allowed the components to change forms to create different textures. In variation three, the design seems to mimic the qualities of a crystal through the various spiky formations. Yet, a softness is achieved by the straight edges of the of the individual components (rather than pointed). Lastly, by scaling the component has led to the outcomes of Specie Four. Although appearing simple, the structure seems functionable suggested through the multilayer and coverage offered by the design. The triangulated surfaces also holds close resemblance to the interior of Toyo Ito, Cecil Balmond, and Arupâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 2002 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London, where the intersecting lines formed different triangles and trapezoid geometries.

Specie Two had explored the possibilities of 77




Japanese architect, Tadao Ando, has effectively manipulated the ground planes of Makomanai Takino Cemetery, where a serene vision of a concealed giant stone buddha within a hilly landscape can be witnessed by visitors.1 The natural sloping topography of the site, spanning over a hundred and eighty hectares, helped to formalize Ando’s ideas, in which he intended to build a prayer hall that would bring greater appreciation to the buddha statue that had “stood alone”2 for fifteen years. To achieve this sensational effect, Ando designed the temple around the statue, where the hilly landscape would highlight the statue as only the top of its head was visible from the outside. Thus, creating an anticipatory feeling, in which visitors could approach the buddha through a passageway that circulated around the statue where the effect is further enriched by “the halo of sky” created by the rotunda that surrounds the statue.3 Thus, establishing a fixed spatial sequence to reaffirm Pallasmaa’s expression; “authentic


architectural experiences derive from real or ideated bodily confrontations”.4 Furthermore, the landscape which is planted with over 150,000 lavenders, provides the ideal backdrop for the state, changing from green in spring, to purple in summer, and white with the accumulation of snow in winter.5 This demonstrates how the design achieves harmony within the natural landscape, within all seasons, which should also be considered for our own design project, where the sited landscape holds a significant role to its users.

1. Jessica Mairs, ‘Tadao Ando surrounds huge buddha statue with lavender-covered mound at Sapporo cemetery’, (2017) < https:// -takino - cemeter y-sapporo japan/> [accessed 17 April 2018]. 2. Lynch, Patrick, ‘Tadao Ando Envelops Giant Buddha Statue in Lavender-Planted Hill Temple’, (2017) < https://www.archdaily. com/877329/tadao-ando-envelops-giant-buddha-statue-inlavender-planted-hill-temple> [accessed 17 April 2018]. 3. Maris, ‘Tadao Ando surrounds huge buddha statue’. 4. Branko Kolarevic and Kevin R. Klinger, Manufacturing Material Effects (New York; London: Routledge, 2008), p 11. 5. Maris, ‘Tadao Ando surrounds huge buddha statue’.






b.5 material study

For this week, Carla, Fern and I were grouped together for the Material Study task, where we were required to use different materials and fabrication techniques to create prototypes based on our chosen precedent study. After thorough discussion, we decided that my previous case study of AMMI Park would be the most suitable for this task, as it incorporated aspects of all our individual research fields. That is, geometry, tessellation and patterning. Thus, it would allow multiple explorations that would benefit both our upcoming and future designs. It was agreed that our prototypes would investigate the possibilities of creating a geodesic structure through the observed triangulated pattern, which dictated the design of AAMI Park. With the absence of a steel structure frame (as used in the construction of the stadium), this led us to considering the following key questions when deciding on our materials and methods: - What type of materials (considering those accessible to us) would enable flexibility to create a curved surface? - How will these elements join together? - Does it require a secondary structure? - What type of fabrication technique will be suitable to achieve the desired outcome? 84

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Materials and surfaces have a language of their ownâ&#x20AC;?1 Juhani Pallasmaa







Recognising the “unprecedented freedom”2 that digital design and fabrication can offer, particularly its ability to precisely replicate designs of varying complexity, I opted to recreate one of the dome structures of AAMI Park by using one surface material, and one joint material. I had chosen to utilise a clear polypropylene material (0.6mm in thickness) along with stainless steel grommets (5mm in diameter) as it was presumed that the pressure of the grommets would reinforce the light weight property of the polypropylene. In terms for the choice of using a clear colour, rather than a solid, I had intended for the material to generate an ethereal sensation, particularly when exposed to different lighting conditions, to contrast the sharp edges created by the triangulated pattern. This idea was influenced by Kolarevic and Klinger’s Manufacturing Material Effects, where the authors express “materials and their particular properties makes architecture multi-sensory, we not only see the material surfaces, but also touch and hear them, all of which contribute to our comprehension and experience of spaces.”3 Therefore, it felt important to consider these ‘experiential effects’ as well as its visual effects. It was acknowledged that there would be difficulty in constructing the design without a secondary structure,given the light weight weight qualities of the chosen material, and confirmation by John Wardle’s Ephemeral

Pavilion. The pavilion, which was built for NGV’s 2015 Summer Architecture Commission, had used the same material and similar connection detail, but was spanned across a lightweight steel structure and multiple timber structures.4 Therefore, reinforcing the absence of strength in polypropylene. However, I challenged the norm by creating multiple isosceles triangles that were to be connected by grommets, which would provide structural integrity compared to a weak connection such as a brass fastener. Although offering easy application compared to the grommets, where a plier is required to install the grommets together, the brass fasteners trialed failed to secure the orientation of the design. Thus, grommets were preferred as its security prevented unwanted movement, whilst allowing horizontal rotation of the material if adjustment was required. The triangles were measured according to the smallest grommets accessible as three holes were included on each of the corners of the shape to prepare them for connection. The triangles were then laser cut to ensure precision and improve efficiency before they were assembled to form a single curved surface.

1. Branko Kolarevic and Kevin R. Klinger, Manufacturing Material Effects (New York; London: Routledge, 2008), p 6. 2. Kolarevic and Klinger, Manufacturing Material Effects, p6-24. 3. Kolarevic and Klinger, Manufacturing Material Effects, p11. 4. John Wardle Architects, ‘Ephemeral Pavilion’, Projects (2015) <> [accessed 9 April 2018].



Polypropylene was selected for which has shown to retain its prop forces. Because of these natur was instinctively formed, which form. However, buckling occurre triangles were not specifically ca a dome. Consequently, the indu other components led to the



r its high elasticity and flexibility, perties under various compressive ral properties, a curved surface h helped to create the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;domeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; ed to parts of the surface as the alculated in the context of forming uced compression caused by the surface deflecting even more.



The flexibility of the material was further investigated after the polypropylene was manipulated to form the dome like structure. As illustrated by the sequence of images, the material remains its flexibility even when areas of the material is extruded and compressive stress caused by the grommets is applied. 93



Furthering the described ‘experiential effects’, the prototype was photographed under a dark lighting condition, where a light source was shone above and gradually descending. From this experiment, it was found that the shadows generated would change according to the angle and light levels, with a larger and more distinct shadow occuring as the light source was closer to the model. This process brought a playful element to the structure, which can potentially be integrated to the upcoming design, where light can bring a transformative effect. Moreover, this reflects the ideas of Louis Kahn, where his designs were largely driven by lthe relationship of light and shadow. He had regarded light to be a “giver of all presences”.1

1. Thomas Schielke, ‘Light Matters: Louis Kahn and the Power of Shadow’, Arch Daily (2013) < light-matters-louis-kahn-and-the-power-of-shadow> [accessed 11 April 2018].



Carla intended to recreate the tessellated triangular patterns found on the ‘domes’ of AAMI Park, with a focus on creating a “smooth curved surface”. Her initial design process involved using a Rhino plugin known as Polyhedron, to create the partial dome in which was to model. Each face was then exploded, nested and labelled for the ease of fabrication that was to follow after her design was sent to FabLab for laser cutting. She had chosen to laser cut her design as it involved numerous triangular elements that would’ve been too time consuming and difficult in terms of precision, to hand cut. Boxboard was her chosen material since it had a rigid and lightweight quality. She had planned to also use “straw, balsa wood sticks, wire or thick paper” and plasticine to mimic the steel structural and welding joints used in the stadium. However, this method was found to be unsuccessful as the finished laser cut highlighted the weakness of the material, and did not produce the visual effect intended. Furthermore, the angles of some triangles were calculated wrong, preventing the pieces to join coherently. 98

Learning from these mistakes, Carla created a net surface from the original geometry, where she found that keeping the triangular shapes as one joint surface would be more effective. This meant that no primary structure would be required as the form would be held in place by the folding of the material. The design was investigated using two materials, boxboard and mountboard respectively. It was found that the boxboard material performed better in comparison to mountboard, in terms of holding its form and shape. Nevertheless, both materials were able to create a “continuous looking surface”, which was Carla’s design aim. It was also found that glue was sufficient as a joint component for materials like boxboard and mountboard, where materials such as polypropylene and wood laminates would require stronger joining methods.






Driven by her interest in exploring and manipulating wooden materials, Fern had chosen to recreate AAMI Park using bamboo (2.8mm thick). Her design process begun by researching on different methods to laser cut patterns that would enhance the bending properties of the material, where she then decided on a triangular pattern that was reflective of triangular panels seen in AAMI Park. Similar to Carla, Fern aimed to create a prototype consisting of one surface, without the need of a supporting structure. In her first outcome, she learnt that by making the patterns too small would result in a lower bending plasticity, as her material broke when tested for flexibility. Fern then changed her strategy by lasering cutting single pieces of triangles that were to be glued together to form a sphere. However, by gluing the pieces together, it effected the bending properties of the material which caused some pieces to break.

Reflecting on these errors, Fern redeveloped her strategies, where she found that by having one singular surface would increase the bending properties, whilst retaining a smooth curved surface. This led to her final prototype design, where the triangular pattern was laser cut on to a single surface with small holed added to the intersection of every triangle. Consequently, by using this technique, it allowed for the material to bend at greater extent as tensional force was being spread at every â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;jointâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, with the scaling of the triangular pattern playing an important role in determining the breaking point of the material. Thus, it reinforces Carlaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s observations; that by having a single surface, it is more effective in creating a curved structure, particularly in the absence of a supporting or secondary structure.


lessons from prototypes




Material selection holds a significant role in translating a design, particularly in architecture, where it is largely defined by physical components. Through using specific materials, its characteristics and appearance can convey and enrich a design. Thus, part of being an architect or designer means being an intermediary; to connect between ideas and materials. As the prototypes have shown, materials encourages us to think about a design from a constructability point of view, which is an important aspect of the brief, particularly in relations to the animal client.

The triangular patterns explored by Fern and Carlaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s prototypes highlights the opportunity to manipulate a materialâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s properties. By simply creating a series of kerfs (cuts), which in this instance were in a triangular pattern, allowed for a material such as Bamboo to be bent. Visually, the patterns also added to the aesthetic qualities of the design. This may be incorporated into our future design, considering the site location where it interfaces with humans (although the design challenge is aimed at an animal client, aesthetic judgment is deeply ingrained in human nature).



As we shift from a culture where connection details must always be hidden, to one where it embraces the natural beauty of exposed connections, the prototypes have shown that they can both be effective in their own ways. However, connections that are to be exposed must be designed differently than those that are concealed. For example, the Kerfing technique trialed involved greater consideration than simply installing the grommets. Thus, connections are an important feature of fabrication, and can encourage environmental innovation by developing methods that does not rely on additional materials.

In regards to the digital emphasis of this subject, the prototypes do not fully make use of this opportunity. Therefore, improvements can be made in the future by detailing our designs in Grasshopper for fabrication. For example, by dividing components and exploring how they can be joint together. Carlaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s prototype has shown the potential of employing such digital processes, where the surfaces of her design was influenced by a Rhino plugin named Polyhedron before each face was labelled for laser cutting with the help of Grasshopper.


b.6 proposal

For the upcoming interim presentation, I was grouped with Sabrina and Adam. Our initial process began by comparing our previous research and ideas, to then narrowing and formalising a concept. Aside from our limited time frame, it was important to establish a concept as it represents more than a solution; it poses a way of thinking about the design problem while setting a parameter of exclusions. We had also considered the differentiation between a ‘concept’ and an ‘idea’, in that a concept originates from a set of ideas which must inevitably lead to a constructive proposition.1 However, whilst the concept will act as the nucleus of the design, it was necessary for it to remain flexible, to permit adjustments as the design evolves. “A concept is rooted in simple abstractions, yet it initiates a process that usually ends with a complex design.”2 The client of our project is the Merri Creek Management Committee, where they have requested a ‘habitat tree’ used for facilitating the daily behaviour of a or multiple local wildlife species. This is in response to the global issue of deforestation, with trees being depleted rapidly. Such that many important 106

habitats are being removed as a consequence of the Anthropocene epoch. These trees provide many resources for the wildlife, including breeding sites, shelter, nesting sites, food source and more. Thus, it is important to develop habitat trees for these species as they hold significance to the Australian ecosystem and the wider environment. “In a world without trees what might a digitally produced habitat look like?” This opportunity highlights the role of architecture and technology in current society, and the increasing responsibility and importance for designers to address societal challenges such as those involving the environment. Design has become described as “the intersection point among the social, environmental and economic goals”3 that challenges for innovation.

1. Simitch, Andrea and Val Warke, The Language of Architecture: 26 Principles Every Architect Should Know. (United States of America: Rockport Publishers, 2014), p.18-26. 2. Simitch and Warke, p.19. 3. Deniz Deniz, ‘Sustainable Thinking and Environmental Awareness through Design Education’, Procedia Environmental Sciences, 34 (2016) 70-79, (p.71).




Research Field

[12] [13]

Red Wat tlebird

Silver Banksia


[14] [17]


Habitat Tree


Insect Hotel


Duck Architecture


My group decided to focus on the Red Wattlebird as we aimed to provide a form that would facilitate a significant specie of Merri Creek (as found in my previous animal research), such that our design would develop a relationship with the established context. We recognised the difficulty in creating a literal habitat for the animal, as there was a lack of knowledge and access to information about the requirements and construction of a natural habitat that would make our ‘habitat tree’ desirable for the Red Wattlebird compared to one that is man-made. Therefore, considering the main characteristics of the Red Wattlebird, we settled with the idea of creating a design that would encapsulate the basic characteristics of an effective shelter, including protection from different conditions, spacious enough for each inhabitant to stay comfortably, whilst acting as a feeding ground. That is, acknowledging the Red Wattlebird’s feeding habits, we wanted our structure to also function as a feeding ground, where the birds could feed off others insects to encourage biodiversity within the Creek, which would help to promote a balanced ecosystem. Thus, this would effectively meet one of Merri Creek’s aims in achieving a “healthy and enduring ecosystem”1. Another factor in motivating the concept of our design was the functions of an insect hotel. Insect hotels are essentially artificially designed structures that are placed in gardens to attract insects to provide multiple environmental benefits.2 This is achieved through incorporating different physical characteristics (e.g. height, widths, openings) to the design that would attract these beneficial insects to help control pests and stimulate biodiversity and ecological balance in the garden.3 One of the key characteristics of an insect hotel are cavities, which are created through the existing hollows of stems and bored/drilled holes. This provided us with the idea to include

perforations of various sizes in our design to attract different insects as part of the feeding system. Reflecting on our observations from the tree study at the Botanical Gardens and our knowledge of a habitat tree, one of the group’s objective was to mimic the vertical cavities and extruding structure of the branches. Likewise, the cylindrical spikes of the Silver Banksia have a similar spread, which led us to adopting the novelty style or what Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown referred as ‘duck architecture’ in which the structure explicitly represented its function through their shape and construction.4 Thus, the literal typology seem fitting to our concept of a feeding ground where the Red Wattlebird usually consumes nectar from the Silver Banksia. “Where the architectural systems of space, structure, and program are submerged and distorted by an overall symbolic form.”5 Although it may seem problematic and unusual to use such a concept from the Postmodern movement to inspire our form, as it can be “fickle, rhetorical, prone to variable intrepreations”6, symbolism plays its part in the identification of place. It is for us to challenge expectations as a project has the opportunity to “inflect previously unknown”7. 1. Merri Creek Management Committee. ‘About Merri Creek’, (2014) <> [accessed 2 April 2018]. 2. Robin Horton, ‘Insect Hotels’, Resilience (2016) < http://www.> [accessed 5 May 2018]. 3. Horton, ‘Insect Hotels’. 4. Serra Juan, and Angela G. Codoner, ‘Color Composition in Postmodern Western Architecture’, Color Research and Application, 39.4 (2013), 399-412. 5. Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, Steven Izenour, Learning From Las Vegas. (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1977), p.87. 6. Unwin, Simon, Analysing Architecture (Oxon: Routledge, 2014), p.61-71. 7. Simitch, Andrea and Val Warke, The Language of Architecture: 26 Principles Every Architect Should Know. (United States of America: Rockport Publishers, 2014), p.50.


In developing our design concept, specifically regarding its function as a feeding ground, we researched the relationship between insects and their attraction to light. This is important in harnessing our idea as it would require the insect’s presence. From our research, it was gathered that have innate instincts that lead them towards ‘dark spots’. Researchers identified that the Prothoracicotropic hormone which are responsible for controlling these instincts drives their preference for darkness.1 Their hormones also play a role in thinking that it is the ideal survival strategy by ‘hiding in the dark’. 2 Given these attributes, we intended to create dark conditions by 110

ncorporating the effects of a conical structure, where the wider opening and narrow ending would create darkness whilst allowing a large enough access for the Red Wattlebird. Furthermore, the perforations may be seen as an advantage in drawing in different insects as they reflect the qualities (e.g cracks and holes) that are typically desirable in their natural habitats.

1. Kristian Sjøgren, ‘Why insects always hide in the dark’, Science Nordic (2013) <>, [accessed 5 May 2018]. 2. Sjøgren, ‘Why insects always hide in the dark’.

The following illustrations are used as a representational tool in the development of the design concept. Defined as a technique of expression by Renaissance architects, each line attempts to establish the contextual, spatial, proportional, and dimensional relationship that are embedded within the concept. In essence, the drawings intend to summarise the different motivating factors and research. The first drawing depicts how the design takes on the literal representation of a Silver Banksia, where the cylindrical spikes has been enlarged to form a tubular shape. Similar to the larger heads of each

spike, the designed geometry flares out at the end to ensure a large enough opening for the Red Wattlebird. The proceeding image shows the potential arrangement of the perforations. Finally, the function of the structure (as a habitable space and feeding ground) is shown. The dimensions of the geometry has also taken into consideration, where it has been scaled according to the sizes of the birds and insects.


Considering our design objectives, my group decided that ‘geometry’, as a research field, would be best in steering our design. Some of the key precedents that we explored include AAMI Park, Double Agent White, Labrys Frisae, and ZA11 Pavilion. The first two precedents showed the underlying characteristics of geometry through their geodesic forms. They also share a commonality in forming one continuous surface through the amalgamated intersections of multiple spheres.1 Although a minimum degree of components was used, both precedents demonstrated how a “maximum degree of morphological freedom”2 can still be obtained. Thus, it demonstrates the possibility to achieve complexity using a simple geometry, and without the need of numerous elements. I believe this is an important consideration for our own design as complexity is often confused with simplicity. This can be highlighted by Donald Norman’s controversial expression “complexity is good, simplicity overrated”3. Although simplicity deems that an approach is simple by limiting the number of elements, the success of a design is dependent on achieving the right balance among these attributes; simplicity and complexity. 112

We then shifted to investigating structures that incorporated repetitive components that were shaped like a cone. One of the more obvious precedents we found was Stefanescu, Bedarf and Hambasan’s ZA11 Pavilion located in Romania. The installation conveyed a similar idea to what was previously illustrated – extruding elements that are shaped conically, with multiple hexagonal pyramids configurated in a free form ring.4 Coincidentally, the structure served as a habitational space in providing shelter for visitors.5 Lastly, Fornes demonstrates a unique way to integrate different elements with a sense of structural continuity, through his work of Labrys Frisae. The design explains the logic behind the geometric idea of ‘minimal surfaces’, where its appearance seems to reflect Schoen’s Manta surface (example of Embedded Triply Periodic Minimal Surfaces) through its repetitive structure. Consequently, it creates a smooth and freeform surface.

1. Marc Fornes/Theverymany, ‘Double Agent White’, All Projects (2012) <> [accessed 5 May 2018]. 2. Marc Fornes/Theverymany 3. Donald Norman, ‘Simplicity is highly overrated’, Magazine Interactions, 14.2 (2007), 40-41. 4. Megan Jett, ‘ZA11 Pavilion’, Arch Daily (2011) < https://www.> [accessed 5 May2018]. 5. Jett, ‘ZA11 Pavilion’.



stefanescu + bedarf + hambasan [19]

marc fornes + theverymany [18]



cox architecture + arup


marc forne + t heverym s any [20]



“Architecture exists as just one part of a total environment, engaged in an intricate balance between exploitation and enhancement” 1. Simitch and Warke’s expresses the interaction between a building and the environment, and the importance of the environment in framing its relationship and engagement with a design. By considering the environment in which a structure exists, it demonstrates awareness in that a structure does not only impact its immediate environment, but within an expanded environmental cycle. Such that it has the ability to be an active participant in improving the environment.

After visiting Merri Creek again, it was observed that littering was a prominent issue of the site. Litter was spotted on the ground and entrapped among branches, especially those along the Creek, with a vast majority of the litter being plastic bags. Whilst environmental and local groups have attempted to reduce such pollution, a large number of litter, including plastics, are still entering the environment – with an estimate of 12.7 million tonnes of plastic waste washed into the ocean each year 2. Despite creating visual pollution, litter can have harmful effects on aquatic and terrestrial animals, such as entanglement and ingestion. Although no specific data have shown the effects of litter to the Red

Wattlebird specifically, many sources have indicated a significant impact on the bird community. Additionally, with plastics being nonbiodegradable and the chemicals introduced into the water system, this will magnify the scale of the issue from impacting Merri Creek itself, to further disturb the connecting Yarra River and Port Phillip catchment. Hence, in order to prevent such events, I viewed this as an opportunity to initiate improvement and education through the siting of the structure. The structure could take environmental advantage by being positioned near the Creek, where visitors are encouraged to observe and learn about local matters besides the Red Wattlebird. This would effectively meet Merri Creek’s aim in promoting community awareness and understanding of the landscape. Consequently, by facilitating such interaction might lead to further involvement and improvement of the site, with a greater potential for Merri Creek to return as “an amazingly colourful landscape”3. Hence, the design ultimately offers benefits beyond the selected animal community, which can be seen as an attempt in rectifying our damaging actions.

1. Simitch, Andrea and Val Warke, The Language of Architecture: 26 Principles Every Architect Should Know. (United States of America: Rockport Publishers, 2014), p.59. 2. Anna Salleh, ‘Plastic ocean: study names worst polluters’, ABC Science (2015) < articles/2015/02/13/4178113.htm> [accessed 5 May 2018]. 3. Freya Mathews, Reinhabiting Reality: Towards a Recovery of Culture (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2005).


The location of the design holds an important role in communicating my groupâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s design intentions. After thorough investigation, we decided to implement our design besides the Merri Creek Trail (section below Arthurton Road). Our decision was based on a number of factors, one of which was its interactive potential. This area is highly accessible, with multiple entrances that have already been established. There is also high level of human flow and activity which makes it an ideal location for attracting visitors to the structure. With the Merri Creek acting as the backdrop of the selected site, the sound of flowing water further enhances the experiential interaction, to emphasise the nature of the physical context. In addition to satisfying the interactive element, the proposed location accommodates the Red Wattlebird through its natural characteristics. This includes, medium sized trees, vegetation, and bird pollinated flowers. The surrounding trees also have a low canopy cover, with the understorey relatively open, which makes it ideal for the Red Wattlebird, considering their territorial and defensive behaviour (particularly towards protecting their food source) against other bird species. 116


form finding

In creating the form of our design, an iterative process was adopted as the previous weeks of tasks had highlighted its efficiency. The ability to make immediate changes, captivates the advantages of scripting as a design process, that is heavily embedded in to current culture. Thus, “facilitating a far greater range of potential outcomes for the same investment in time”1. Although the computational tool (Grasshopper) offers the benefit of generating multiple design options, there lies a challenge for us, as the designers, to have the ability to understand, modify and use such tools in a realistic manner. After all, our aim is to create a convincing design that is habitable for our chosen animal. For our design, the script developed was driven by our previous research and ideas, with two main considerations in mind; creating conical geometries at a scale that is suitable for the Red Wattlebirds and different insects, allows interactivity between human users and animal species. These objectives were achieved by populating the extruded geometry over a sphere to mimic the randomised distribution of the cylindrical spikes of the Silver Banksia, before the form is manipulated by the integration of a hemisphere. Taking inspiration from the previous archway design task, a hemisphere was used to influence the form by creating an interior area that would allow for visitors to experience the structure. This would further support our idea of interacitivty by providing a firsthand opportunity for visitors to learn about local species and their ecological

systems. In addition, the algorithm takes into consideration the idea of surface relaxation – a feature of geometry, as we reflected on Neri Oxman’s idea of ‘natural design’, where computationally derived forms should be driven by intent; through mapping natural systems and designing based on what we find in order to create habitations that are more compatible with natural environment. Thus, by using a variety of Weaverbird components, the serene quality of Merri Creek was echoed through the semi-solid like properties of the design. The criteria used to assess the success of the design are based on the following concerns: AESTHETICS Does the design appeal to the Red Wattlebird and insects, and will it draw the attentions of Merri Creek’s visitors?


Can the structure withstand different weather conditions? Is it adaptable with the natural envrionment?

CONSTRUCTABILITY Is the structure constructable considering the available tools and materials? Is it achieveable given the time frame?


Is the structure constructable considering the available tools and materials? Is it achieveable given the time frame?


Does it allow for interaction between humans and animals? Are there different interactive opportunities (e.g educational)? 1. Mark Bury, Scripting Culture: Architectural Design and Programming (Chichester: Wiley, 2011), p.8.



As highlighted by the established criteria, one of the objectives is to ensure that the design is not only aesthetically pleasing to the human eye, but more importantly, it should be appealing to the Red Wattlebird. This is imperative in meeting the brief, as our aim is to create a design that mimics the functions and characteristics of a habitat tree. Although it is not clear exactly how well birds can discriminate an object’s colour, research have shown that they have an “impressive physiological adaptations for colour vision”1. For instance, they use colour vision for tasks such as finding food and choosing between mating partners2. Bird colour vision is mediated by four single cone photoreceptors (found in the retina of their eyes), red light, green light, blue light, and violet or ultraviolet, with most pollinating birds, including the Red Wattlebird, being classified as ‘violet-sensitive’ due to their inability to see colours beyond the ultraviolet spectrum3. Under this circumstance, my group had opted for a reddish pink colour that is with in the Red Wattlebird’s visible spectrum, as

birds have shown preferences towards bright colours. This can be reinforced by Professor Dyer’s findings, “if you want to attract birds... you would do well to plant with a red hue”4. The effectiveness in using colours to attract birds, particularly for indicating a food source, can be supported by the way in which the colours of flowers have evolved over time. Fossils suggest that they have transformed from a dull, pale yellow or green appearance over a hundred million years ago, to the vibrant colours that we are familiar with today5. Flowers have evolved that way to effectively attract pollinators (e.g birds,) which feeds on the nectar. Such that, the use of colour in our design plays a supporting role in executing the functions of the design.

1. Peter Olsson, Olle Lind, Almut Kelber, ‘Bird colour vision: behavioural thresholds reveal receptor noise’, The Company of Biologists, 218. (2015), 184-193, (p.184). 2. Melissa Mayntz, ‘Colors That Attract Birds’, the Spruce (2017) <> [accessed 5 May 2018]. 3. Olsson, Lind, Kelber, (p.184). 4. James Bullen, ‘What flower colours do birds and bees prefer?’, ABC News (2016) < science/2016-11-16/birds-and-bees-prefer-have-flower-colourspreferences/7959382> [accessed 5 May 2018]. 5. Bullen, ‘What flower colours do birds and bees prefer?’.



involes iterating the parameters of the ‘cylindrical spikes’ themselves. The challlenge posed here is to find a means of balance in terms of the size of each ‘spike’. The larger end of the geometry should be large enough for the Red Wattlebird, while embodying a sense of enclosure considering its function as a habitable space. N Count Scaling Factor

56 0.4

60 0.9

120 0.5

45 5

90 7

7 5


explores the bottom level of the design, in creating an appropriate entrance that would accomodate the height of an average man and women (161-175cm).

Radius Z Factor


combines the ideas of cateogries one and two; where the overall form is manipulated to compose a structure that reflects the intentions of the design. This includes responding to the needs of the Red Wattlebird.

Scaling Factor Z Factor


0.804 15

0.584 32

1.2 1

0 5

150 0.8

200 0.7

220 0.5

0 5

80 10

80 5

94 15

262 0

0.980 30

1 20

0.9 20


The final form effectively captures my group’s initial vision, particularly in terms of its aesthetics and functionality. We intended for the design to demonstrate a balance between the two elements as we reflected on recent trends, where architects including Moshe Safdie have described architecture becoming an ‘excess’ due to a “we can do anything”1 attitude. Thus, we ensured that the function of our design would not be compromised at the expense of its appearance, where they both are significant determinants of the design. That is, in terms of how our chosen specie, the Red Wattlebird, would respond to the structure. Consequently, the design attempts to avoid the two polar positions of aesthetics and function in contemporary architecture, by unifying the two concepts through justification and relevance. Another highlight of our final form is its ability to transform the interpretation of function, into something richer than its natural means; by considering the term from a perspective other than physical. Aside from satisfying the brief in terms of creating a habitational space for the Red Wattlebird, and creating an additional feeding ground, my group also recognised the social function of architecture. We saw the ability for our design to combine a technological and social mission (on topics concerning the environment, and Merri Creek specifically), therefore, we maximised the internal space of our form to provide an interactive experience. This would provide a platform for conversations between visitors, each offering and sharing their knowledge about the animal community and environmental concerns. Despite these successes, the chosen design has shown constraint in its constructability. Given the relaxed nature of the form, there 124

will be difficulties in building the structure considering our current fabrication knowledge. For example, some of these challenges includes: - What material to use? - How to divide the surfaces to allow the elements to fit together? - How do we connect the elements? - Time constraints? In terms of the design concept, we anticipate concerns regarding our interactive idea; where individuals might be afraid of coming in such close contact with the birds and insects. However, as evident by the educational role of the butterfly house, many individuals are interested and fascinated to explore such facilities. Moreover, OFL Architecture’s open air pavilion, Wunderbugs, shares a similar interactive idea in “uniting the insect and human experience”2. Where upon entering the pavilion, visitors become spectators of different insects that are stored in a series of bowls. It was observed that people were “extremely at ease around these insects”3, which addresses our concerns. Thus, by utilising technology, including computational tools, our resulting geometry creates a harmony between the built and natural environments, which emphasises the inseparable relationship of nature. Furthermore, this reinforces week two’s concept on how computation can influence ‘nature inspired design to design inspired nature”. 1. Philip Hopkins, ‘Design vision for sustainable future’, The Sydney Morning Herald (2012) < business/companies/design-vision-for-sustainable-future20121023-283d5.html> [accessed 5 May 2018]. 2. Finn MacLeod, ‘Insects and Humans Harmonize in a Symphony of Architectural Sound in this Roman Installation’, Arch Daily (2014) <> [accessed 5 May 2018]. 3. MacLeod, ‘Insects and Humans’.







The following renderings serve the purpose to provide a realistic depiction of the design, that is shaped by its position on the site (Merri Creek). Consequently, the structural context helps us to accurately envision the design, where it was also a strong factor in motivating the concept of the project. Thus, establishing the structure’s relationship to the site, to contrast the ‘unrealistic’ and ‘disconnected’ stereotypes of many digital renderings. We had chosen to implement our design in an area considered with a high potential of interactivity, where the implemented human experience will increase visitors’ interaction with the natural surroundings. This is seen to be beneficial from an educational and environmental perspective, in expanding knowledge and increasing awareness of local matters that is fundamental in improving the quality of Merri Creek.


THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE Although many people have insect phobias, our design hopes to change such negative perception through its interactive experience. Such that the structure takes in to consideration the different functions and occupants of the design, from the large circular opening on the bottom level to the small perforations at the top surface. The operation of the feeding ground is also illustrated, showing the relationship between humans, insects and Red Wattlebird, which demonstrates the harmonious integration between architecture and environment.



This prototype explores a potential way to create the cylindrical spike component of the design. We had aimed to employ a simple connection method that would reduce the need of an additional material as we intended to demonstrate environmental consideration â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a topic that has been heavily stressed in Design Futuring. Thus, we took inspiration from the simple interlocking system of a jigsaw puzzle to use as a connection joint for our prototype models. By doing so, the connection method of interlocking pieces can make a useful contribution in designing smooth construction joints, which might be considered an aesthetical improvement. Furthermore, it can lead to a more efficient use of material and reduce fabrication time. The design involved creating a tapering hexagonal prism to reflect the dimensional qualities of the cylindrical spikes and emphasise the function of the interior space. Each of the panelsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; edges consisted of either tabs or slots which corresponded with each other. These were laser cut on to a sheet of 2.7mm Luan Plywood. The reason for this choice of material was due to its strength, which is made possible by its altering layers. However, reflecting on the outcome, the material failed to mirror the relaxed and semisolid like qualities of the digital design. Thus, a more flexible material would have been more ideal in conveying these properties. For instance, in this case of using a wooden material, a Medium density fiberboard would perform better, where a Kerfing technique can be applied to increase the flexibility of the material. Another issue we encountered was how each component (prism) would join together. Due to the limited time we had, 12mm bullets were hammered to hold the components together as they are typically good for general timber connections and internal use. Nevertheless, this would not be suitable in reality as the exposed and sharp ends of the bullets would pose as a harm to the animal client.




In this prototype, we continued testing with a different material as fabrication is one of the largest challenges of our design; in terms of finding a material that would replicate the properties of the form. As opposed to creating multiple components such as in Prototype One, we made a hexagonal prism net with perforated lines along the sides of each surface that were to be folded to form the prism. This idea stemmed from Sabrinaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s previous research on origami techniques, as part of her â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Strips and Foldingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; study. Therefore, we were interested to take advantage of this seemingly easy technique, to transform a flat starting material to a three-dimensional geometry. As the previous prototype had shown constraint in terms of flexibility, we decided to try using polypropylene instead as my previous material research on AMMI Park had found the material to be extremely effective. But, we also had to consider how these elements would connect as Prototype One highlighted its importance. We opted to use cable ties, which is known for their low cost and ease of use in bonding a range of items, including electric cables most commonly. Consequently, we added 138

a column of small rectangles along the sides of the surfaces to allow the tie to thread through. The net designs were then laser cut to ensure precision that is essential in a technique like origami. To my surprise, the cable ties performed effectively as a tensioning device in holding the components together. This result highlights the customisability advantage of the fastener, where the degree of tension is dependent on the tightness of the pulled through loop. However, this can also be perceived as a disadvantage in terms of control, providing that the resulting loop is not always exact which increases the amount of spontaneity. Such that it would be an important consideration given that the prototype with a rigid form unlike the curved surfaces of the digital design. Furthermore, I photographed the prototype under a similar lighting condition to my material study of AMMI Park. The perforations of the design are projected through an additional l light source, which increases the aesthetic qualities of the design that would benefit in appealing to visitors.









The third prototype is a development of the previous prototype, where we used the same template and origami technique to form the cylindrical spike. We wanted to investigate the interior spatiality of the geometry as it holds an important role in performing as a habitational and feeding space for the Red Wattlebird. Consequently, this led us to creating six different templates, with three sizes (small, medium and large) of either a hexagonal or pentagonal prism net. As we had learnt about the potential degree of spontaneity and inconsistency with using cable ties as a connection method, we opted to use a more reliable solution considering that our larger prototype would require greater reinforcement. After some research, we thought rivets would be ideal as they support shear loads perpendicular to the axis of the shaft. This meant that we had to create additional holes on the polypropylene surfaces, to allow the rivets to thread through, where it will then provide a secured connection through the flattening of the rivetâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tail with a rivet gun.

manual application of the rivets was a downfall of the method. The time-consuming process would not be desirable in a realistic environment, where the structure will need to be built at a larger scale. The permanent results also leaves little room for error as the connection cannot be reversed. It was also found that the application had restricted accessibility due to the large size of the rivet gun, and could only be installed from one side of the structure. Nevertheless, this prototype showed the strength of rivets as a connection, where it was able to hold the prisms in an irregular form (with an uneven base surface). On the other hand, the application satisfied the developed criteria in terms of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;adaptabilityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; due to its materiality. As rivets are produced from tough metals, it prevents the connection to break during installation. These metals, such as stainless and galavanised steel, titanium and aluminium alloys, also makes the fastener have a high resistance to corrosion even when subjected to moisture. These features contribute to the durability and resilience of the structure.

Despite its effective binding ability, the 143



Heading into the interim presentation, I felt slightly nervous about my group’s proposal as we had frantically combined and decided on the idea. But through the presentation process, I found the feedback received valuable in guiding us into an improved and more effective design. In terms of the concept, the main concerns related to the feasibility of the design, in terms of how the insects would be attracted to the structure to facilitate the Red Wattlebird’s feeding habits. As we had tried to include multiple ideas derived from our previous works, including design tasks and precedent studies, the feedback highlighted the ambiguity in doing so. Thus, whilst it seems ideal to utilise all our gained knowledge into one design, such an approach is unviable considering its relevance to the brief. It is important to specify and execute one idea well rather than an abundance of ideas. Another large error with our design was illustrated by the prototype models, where they did not reflect the digital design presented, in terms of the structure’s qualities. I strongly agreed to this statement as I felt our prototypes were rushed and did not actually explore the qualities of the design due to the short amount of time we had. Hence, our models were greatly compromised as we did not effectively think through the process and had just simply sent a design to FabLab for fabrication as we knew they did not operate over the weekend before our presentation. In addressing the fabrication issues, it would be ideal to further explore other materials and fabrication methods to expand my

knowledge in this area. It was also suggested that to improve our modelling work, grasshopper could be used to design the components, including dividing up surfaces and detail joints for fabrication. Some other questions that should be considered before Part C includes: “What is the relationship between different parts?” “Does the interior need to be for humans?” “Is the human interactivity important to the project…Do they need to go inside for it to be interactive?” To effectively respond to these issues, our group must review our ideas and narrow our focus. The integration of human interactivity also need to be reconsidered as this has seem to affect the scale of our design, which was another issue raised by the critics. Although, interactive potential was denoted in the criteria as increasing local knowledge and participation of the surrounding natural landscape, we need to interpret interactivity from a different perspective. That is, interaction is not only seen as viable by the humans occupying the structure. Experiential and participatory interaction can also be achieved without the interior of design being specifcially catered for visitors. Furthermore, moving forward to Part C, I intend to reconsider my design approach in terms of striking a balance between creativity , imagination and reality, as the current design shows a lack of consideration between these factors. 145






In addition to satisfying the studio’s brief, in creating a habitat tree for an animal species, my group’s design effectively uses the opportunity to go beyond the standard. This includes addressing environmental issues and incorporating educational value through our interactive design. Not only does this reflect Merri Creek’s values in supporting ecological restoration, but attempts to influence society imposes on the natural environment.

A vast range of medias were in Part B, ranging from parame to digital fabrication. Althoug of these attempts were not the process were valuable in the logic behind each de showed the difficulty in transla from paper into a digital form my computational skills, p Grasshopper, I should continue with the program and attem engineer other projects.





This objective was achieved in the creation of the iteration matrixes, where the algorithm was extended and manipulated to develop something new. Through this process, I discovered a range of different methods to control the generated effect, which demonstrates an understanding of the functions rather than a trial and error approach. However, there is still a large room for improvement as I consider some of these outcomes to be ‘too safe’.

This objective is exemplified proposed project, where prim and first hand observations shape the design concept. of the site, and the structure on the physical and social en also been shown. Thus, it dem social responsibility of architec its client), and why it is cons expression of values.


experimented etric modelling gh the success all successful, understanding esign. It also ating our ideas m. To improve particularly in e to experiment mpt to reverse-

b.7 learning objectives OBJECTIVE 5



“DEVELOP FOUNDATIONAL UNDERSTANDINGS OF COMPUTATIONAL GEOMETRY, DATA STRUCTURES AND TYPES OF PROGRAMMING” My knowledge and skills of computation and parametric design has largely derived from this subject, through the weekly videos and readings. Although they have assisted me in learning the basics functions of Grasshopper, there is still a lack of understanding in relations to the structuring of algorithms. Despite these difficulties, I’ve been encouraged to incorporate a programmatic mode of thinking into my design process, which is essential in terms of recognising the reasoning behind each element.

I initially found this objective particularly difficult to achieve, as with my previous studios, my tutors had encouraged a more abstract interpretation of the brief rather than realistic. Such that I was unsure about the expectations heading into the interim presentation. However, through the process, I got to understand the requirements of a realistic design, and the importance in achieving a balance between creativity and reality. The weekly tasks and discussions of my tutorial also helped my understanding of the objective by encouraging us to use different sources to support our ideas, which would reinforce the feasibility of our proposed design.






d through the mary research were used to Consideration e’s implication nvironment has monstrates the cture (beyond sidered as an

Although my initial attempt of the reverse engineering task was not successful, through the process, I was able to understand the logic behind the algorithm used for the specific precedent (and others), which was beneficial from a conceptual perspective. This process should be continued, in order to improving my Grasshopper skills leading to Part C, as scripting a design with multiple inputs is much more different and difficult than focusing on one type of feature (e.g in the weekly videos). It was also interesting to see some complex precedents only creating through simple definitions, which reinforces the advantages of computational tools.

Although my skills in Grasshopper are limited, it is evident through my journal that I am beginning to develop my own style through manipulating these computational techniques. This is important from a creative perspective, as it helps to distinguish individual differences. Through its application, I was confronted by both its advantages and disadvantages which highlighted the expanded opportunities and limitations of the tool. This also encouraged me to understand the conflicting opinions (from both sides) towards computational processes, including Parametricism.


b.7 learning outcomes

In completing Part B, I found that my Grasshopper skills was rapidly developing. Particularly through the iteration matrix exercises, it encouraged me to explore other plug-ins such as Weaverbird and Lunchbox, which I had previously assumed was only understood by those who were more ‘advanced’ in Grasshopper. However, through exploring these additional commands, I’ve found them to be very useful, and can provide a form of ‘shortcut’ when creating my digital designs. Yet, there is still a large room for improvement, particularly when approaching Part C. Despite not being confident in my Grasshopper skills, I was satisfied by the design I created for my group. It was a rigorous process, filled with both successful trial and errors, but the process was valuable in developing my understanding, in terms the function behind each command. Thus, my understanding has significantly improved since Part A, where I previously struggled to comprehend the requirements for each command to function. Part B had a large emphasis on group work as we were assigned new team members each week. This provided me with a mix of experiences. For instance, I appreciated the effective communication and exchange of ideas by my group members for the material testing tasks. It allowed us to resolve problems as a group, whilst providing the benefit of evaluating each others’ design. . However, a 148

lack of reliability shown by members of my group for the interim presentation posed as a challenge for me, especially as there was such a large task involved. It was especially difficult for me to recognise the varying productivity levels of others, as I was afraid this would hinder the potential of our project considering the limited time frame we had. Nevertheless, this provided me with a ‘realistic’ experience as we ought to work with different types of people in both our university and work experiences. On the other hand, I thoroughly enjoyed the material study task, as it allowed us to manually create our ideas, which was a relief from all the digital tasks. However, as highlighted by the feedback of our interim presentation, I recognise my lack of knowledge about the different available fabrication methods. Thus, my prototypes were limited, as I had largely explored materials and methods that I had felt comfortable with. For my design approach leading to Part C, I intend to familiarise and learn about other materials and fabrication processes to avoid the same errors. Lastly, although this section has heavily placed emphasis on the benefits of computation design, there remains a challenge for all to fully understand the purpose of this process, in terms of our heavy reliance. This can be reinforced by the guest lecturer in week six, where she expressed that computational design “is not a magic button”.




b.8 appendix



References Arup, ‘AAMI Park Stadium’, Projects (2010) < AAMI-Park-Stadium-Melbourne> [accessed 26 March 2018]. Australian Steel Institute, ‘AAMI PARK’, (2010) <> [accessed 26 March 2018]. Birdlife Australia, ‘Red Wattlebird’, All About Birds (n.d.) <> [accessed 26 March 2018]. Bullen, James, ‘What flower colours do birds and bees prefer?’, ABC News (2016) < science/2016-11-16/birds-and-bees-prefer-have-flower-colours-preferences/7959382> [accessed 5 May 2018]. Bury, Mark, Scripting Culture: Architectural Design and Programming (Chichester: Wiley, 2011), 8-71. Campbell, Iain and Woods, Sam, Wildlife of Australia 196 (Oxfordshire: Princeton University Press, 2013), 196. COX Architecture, ‘AAMI Park’, Projects (2010) <> [accessed 26 March 2018]. Deniz, Deniz ‘Sustainable Thinking and Environmental Awareness through Design Education’, Procedia Environmental Sciences, 34 (2016) 70-79. Domus, ‘Tomás Saraceno: Cloud City’, News (2012) < news/2012/05/17/tomas-saraceno-cloud-city.html> [accessed 12 April 2018]. Driven x Design, ‘AAMI Park’, 2010 Melbourne Design Awards (2010) < https://drivenxdesign. com/mda2010/project.asp?ID=3371> [accessed 26 March 2018]. Evans, Ondine, ‘Red Wattlebird, Anthochaera carunculata’, Australian Museum (2015) < https://> [accessed 26 March 2018]. Evans, Robin, The Projective Cast: Architecture and Its Three Geometries, (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2000), p.26 < https://www. >, [accessed 25 March 2018]. Friends of Merri Creek, ‘Birds along the Merri in true spring’, Birdwatch (2014) < http://friendsofmerricreek.> [accessed 26 March 2018]. Fry, Tony. 2008. Design Futuring: Sustainability, Ethics and New Practice (Oxford: Berg), 1-16. Hopkins, Philip, ‘Design vision for sustainable future’, The Sydney Morning Herald (2012) < au/business/companies/design-vision-for-sustainable-future-20121023-283d5.html> [accessed 5 May 2018]. Horton, Robin, ‘Insect Hotels’, Resilience (2016) <> [accessed 5 May 2018]. Jett, Megan, ‘ZA11 Pavilion’, Arch Daily (2011) <> [accessed 5 May2018]. John Wardle Architects, ‘Ephemeral Pavilion’, Projects (2015) < https://www.johnwardlearchitects. com/projects/ephemeral-pavilion/> [accessed 9 April 2018]. Juan, Serra, and Angela G. Codoner, ‘Color Composition in Postmodern Western Architecture’, Color Research and Application, 39.4 (2013), 399-412. Kalay, Yehuda E, Architecture’s New Media: Principles, Theories, and Methods of Computer-Aided Design, (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2004), 5-25. Kolarevic, Branko and Kevin R. Klinger, Manufacturing Material Effects (New York; London: Routledge, 2008), p 6-24. Kudless, Andrew, ‘Formation of Digital Craft Culture’, in ACSA Annual Meeting, (2013), p.368-375 < aspx?txtKeyword1=%22Kudless%2C+Andrew%22&ddField1=1&sort=3> [accessed 26 March 2018]. Leopold, Cornelie, ‘Geometry Concepts in Architectural Design’, 12th International Conference on Geometry and Graphics, (2006), 1-9, < GEOMETRY_CONCEPTS_IN_ARCHITECTURAL_DESIGN >, [accessed 25 March 2018]. Lynch, Patrick, ‘Tadao Ando Envelops Giant Buddha Statue in Lavender-Planted Hill Temple’, (2017) < https://www.archdaily. com/877329/tadao-ando-envelops-giant-buddha-statue-in-lavender-planted-hill-temple> [accessed 17 April 2018]. Kotnik, Toni, ‘ On the Role of Geometry in Formal Design’, Architectural Research in Finalnd, 1.1 (2017), 38-47, < Finland%20vol%201/The%20first%20Issue%20of%20ARF%202017>, [accessed 25 March 2018]. Kotnik, Toni, ‘…there is geometry in architecture’, in Form-Rule, Rule-Form (Symposium Workshops, 2013), P. 3542 <> [accessed 25 March 2018]. 152

MacLeod, Finn, ‘Insects and Humans Harmonize in a Symphony of Architectural Sound in this Roman Installation’, Arch Daily (2014) <> [accessed 5 May 2018]. Mathews, Freya, Reinhabiting Reality: Towards a Recovery of Culture (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2005). Matsys, ‘SG2012 GRIDSHELL’, Projects (2012) <> [accessed 26 March 2018]. May, Andrew, ‘Merri Creek’, eMelbourne (2008) <> [accessed 2 April 2018]. Mairs, Jessica, ‘Tadao Ando surrounds huge buddha statue with lavender-covered mound at Sapporo cemetery’, (2017) <> [accessed 17 April 2018]. Marc Fornes/Theverymany, ‘Double Agent White’, All Projects (2012) <> [accessed 5 May 2018]. Mayntz, Melissa, ‘Colors That Attract Birds’, the Spruce (2017) < https://www.thespruce. com/colors-that-attract-birds-386400> [accessed 5 May 2018]. Merri Creek Management Committee. ‘About Merri Creek’, (2014) <> [accessed 2 April 2018]. Norman, Donald, ‘Simplicity is highly overrated’, Magazine Interactions, 14.2 (2007), 40-41. Olsson, Peter, Olle Lind, Almut Kelber, ‘Bird colour vision: behavioural thresholds reveal receptor noise’, The Company of Biologists, 218. (2015), 184-193. Salleh, Anna, ‘Plastic ocean: study names worst polluters’, ABC Science (2015) < http://www.> [accessed 5 May 2018]. Schielke, Thomas, ‘Light Matters: Louis Kahn and the Power of Shadow’, Arch Daily (2013) < https://www.> [accessed 11 April 2018]. Simitch, Andrea and Val Warke, The Language of Architecture: 26 Principles Every Architect Should Know. (United States of America: Rockport Publishers, 2014). Sjøgren, Kristian, ‘Why insects always hide in the dark’, Science Nordic (2013) < http://>, [accessed 5 May 2018]. Terri Peters and Brady Peters, Inside Smartgeometry: Expanding the Architectural Possibilities of Computational Design, (West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2013), p. 16-19, < https://ebookcentral.>, [accessed 26 March 2018]. Tomas Saraceno, ‘Flying Garden: Cloud Cities’, Projects (2017) < http://tomassaraceno. com/projects/cloud-cities-flying-garden/> [accessed 13 April 2018]. Unwin, Simon, Analysing Architecture (Oxon: Routledge, 2014). Venturi, Robert, Denise Scott Brown, Steven Izenour, Learning From Las Vegas. (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1977). Williams, Kim and Ostwald, Michael J, ‘Manifestations of Geometry in Architecture: Nexus Network Journal’, 19.1 (2017), 1-3 <DOI: 10.1007/s00004-017-0332-1>. 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), p. 153-170.


Images 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21.





detailed design




Reflecting on the feedback received from the interim presentation (on page 145), one of the major issues highlighted was the fabrication of our prototypes, as the had “very little relations to our digital design”. Upon recognising the significance of this issue, I researched on other potential fabrication techniques that would have been more effective in communicating our proposed design. This knowledge will also be valuable for Part C, where fabrication and prototypes will play an important role in expressing and reinforcing our ideas respectively.

Techniques of fabrication can enhance the characteristics of an existing design, therefore, a knowledge and understanding for these methods is helpful in informing the characteristics of the architecture. For example, while polypropylene is a versatile and flexible material, the thin weight of the material and folding technique used in Prototypes Two and Three, does not convey the physical properties of the digital design (e.g texture and form). Instead, straight and hard surfaces were produced, which does not resemble the smooth and curvilinear surfaces shown on the digital screen.

The difficult transitioning from digital design to fabrication has always been a drawback of digital creations, including computational/parametric design. In a radical departure from the hand drawn designs of architecture, digital generation has become the norm of today, where the emphasis has shift from “the making of form, to the finding of form”1. Thus, various digital processes, including Grasshopper, has extended the opportunity for such morphological explorations. However, the ‘infinite’ boundaries of digital tools has created a general disconnect with regards to the physical world, which seems contradictory to a field where design is used to re-engage people.2 Hence, we should overcome the role of digital media as a representational tool for visualisation, but instead, as generative tools for the derivation of form that can be physically achievable.

Upon reflection, my group had not considered other opportunities beyond digital fabrication. While digital fabrication enables increasingly complex forms to be constructed with extreme precise detail and dimensional tolerances (e.g 3D printing), manual production also brings an equal efficiency to the design, for material and economic optimisation.3 Techniques of manual fabrication often expand the characteristics of an existing technology that might pose as a limitation to a particular application, which in our situation, the use of laser cutter restricted our choice of materials which negatively influenced the dimensional qualities of our design. One possible alternative can be suggested by the success of ceramic artist, Heather Knight, where she has handmade tiles with patterns and textures inspired by nature.

Although considered as a type of modelling, the malleable propert the clay material would have been effective in illustrating the structural of the design, including its smooth su rounded geometry, texture, and thi The use of different tools can also the method by detailing and f intricate patterns and shapes to mim digital design as closely as possible. A unconventional method that would been suitable for our proposed de to create a silicone or metal mould filling it with resin. Consequently, the plastic form of the resin would empha digitally created form that is typically replicate.

”To generate perfect circles w computer is easy. But if you start to naturally… organic forms, algorithm rather hindering.”4

1. Branko Kolarevic (2014). ‘Computing the Performativ Rivka Oxman and Robert Oxman, p. 103. 2. Chamel, Olivier ‘Design/build: A Relevant Peda Architecture Education’, Vitruvio: International J Architecture Technology and Sustainability, 1.2 (2016), 5 3. Andrea Simitch and Val Warke, The Language of Arc 26 Principles Every Architect Should Know. (United America: Rockport Publishers, 2014), p.200. 4. Anna Winston, ‘Cauliflowers create moulds for stool by Studio Pasternak, Dezeen (2015) < htt cauliflower-mould/> [accessed 31 May 2018].

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01 Adrian, Arianna and Arwa explored the concept of skin and skeleton to provide a protective shelter for the Bell Minner birds.

02 Sabrina and my design focuses on creating an interactive envrionment between local species and humans.

03 Carla and Sherryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s proposes a solution to prevent the endangermant of the Fattailed Dunnart, by creating a community which houses predators and prey.


c.1 design concept

Following the interim presentation, I was placed in a new group with Adrian, Arianna, Arwa, Carla, Sabrina and Sherry for the final proposal. Although seemingly difficult to change groups and redesign at such a late stage of the semester, the new group will benefit the design in terms of receiving a wider range of ideas and perspective. Thus, adopts a similar ‘interdisciplinary’ approach as mentioned in Part A, where there has been an increasing interest to use skills and knowledge of different disciplines to create solutions for complex environmental problems. As a starting point for the group, we first compared our previous designs from the interim presentation. Aside from its habitational function, Adrian, Arianna, Arwa (Group A)’s design shared a commonality with Carla and Sherry (Group C)’s, in striving to protect their chosen specie away from predators, which explains for the tapering and enclosed forms of their design. Geometry was a key driver of both group’s from, where they had explored the structural qualities of the Green Void. This presents an opportunity for our new design to also do the same, as the minimal surface tension of the Green Void creates a soft and flexible appearance while being solid, that would adequately satisfied the nature of the design in terms of the ‘adaptability’ criteria.

Another distinctive commonality shared between Group A and Sabrina and mine (Group C) design, was the integrated concepts of interactivity and education. Both groups had valued the benefits of experiential interaction through considering humans in their design by incorporating an interior space to enrich the experience of the structure. The importance to understand and connect the world we inhabit and constantly shaping was highlighted by these features. Hence, it is a concept that we intend to carry forward, with consideration to how this interaction will be integrated as we acknowledge the criticism we received previously. Using these commonalities (as they indicate a general consensus), we aim to achieve an equilibrium with the new concepts provided by our tutor. Our group has been directed to take inspiration from the works of Marc Fornes and The Very Many’s and to study our animal’s habitat numerically. This will effectively form part of our bottom-up approach to the design process, as we must first understand the ‘problem’ (e.g client’s need) before formalising a solution. Thus, the way we view our role in effecting change can result in different pathways being created.



Considering our new design approach; in studying the properties of trees numerically, and the challenge to create a ‘habitat tree’, my group decided to research on a variety of eucalyptus species. We intended to familiarise and gain a deeper understanding of the established conditions, and utilise this research as a strategy for our project’s design. The design process is initiated by the intersection of two circumstances, one being the givens of a project, which includes the function that the projects needs to accommodate, the site and context.1 Thus, it was important for us to have knowledge about the ecological system that we were designing for, especially as they are grounded in a real-world context. Such that the choices we make are part of shaping the future. We decided to study the eucalyptus group as it holds significance to the site, Merri 162

Creek and is considered an icon of the Australian landscape. This selection also seemed appropriate as we had previously studied the habitational qualities of different eucalyptus at the Botanical Gardens. Hence, we recognised the potential of the specie from an early stage, where further research would help to abridge the understanding of morphogenesis in nature and architecture. Ultimately, the result of this investigation will steer us towards designing ecologically compatible outcomes as both structures incorporates concepts of growth and adaptation.2

1. Simitch, Andrea and Val Warke, The Language of Architecture: 26 Principles Every Architect Should Know. (United States of America: Rockport Publishers, 2014), p.8-10. 2. Stanislav Roudavski, ‘Towards Morphogenesis in Architecture’, International journal of architectural computing, 7.3 (2009), p.345371.

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION: Eucalyptus globulus subsp.bicostata HEIGHT: average adult height ranges from 30-65m tall, can also occur as a low branched tree from 15-25m. LONGEVITY: moderate to long (> 40 years) ORIGIN: Southern New South Wales and Victoria. There is also a small population near Clare Valley of South Australia. ENVIRONMENT: mountain ranges, escarpments, valleys, ridges, and high slopes CLIMATE: warm, mild, considerable frost and drought tolerance. LEAVES: glossy green, changing from an ovate shape (4-10cm long, 2.2-5cm wide) to a lanceolate shape with a tapering petiole (14-10cm long, 2-5cm wide). Leave arrangement changes with age, from parallel (juvenile) to alternate (adult).


FLOWERS: grows from September to January, produces nectar.

NOTES: the Victorian Blue Gum is a fast-growing tree characteristed by a substantial girth. It is adaptable to a range of sites where rainfall is over 600mm per annum, allowing it to be grown in the mild and cool climates of Victoria - in the southern part of the Great Dividing Range, to the warmer climates of South Australia.1 Their growth is found to benefit from heavy basaltic loams and exposure to the sun, where flowers are set to germinate in five days when temperature is at a consistent temperate of 25°c.2 The tree can also be distinguished by their rough bark, which can cover up to 4m of the trunk, before thinning and shredding off into long thin strips and slabs to reveal a smooth cream, grey and yellow bark along the upper branches. Foliage are highly susceptible to insect predation or pathogenic diseases.3 Aside from its nectar attracting multiple honey-eating birds, the Blue Gum provides a highly suitable habitat for koalas.


SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION: Eucalyptus viminalis HEIGHT: average adult height ranges from 25-50m tall LONGEVITY: moderate to long (> 80 years) ORIGIN: Southeastern New South Wales and Victoria, Tasmania, and South Australia on Mt Lofty Range. ENVIRONMENT: mountains, foothills, sandy soils, along creeks, grassy woodlands Climate: sunny and moist conditions, high frost and wind tolerance. LEAVES: adults leaves are 10-20cm long, with a narrow and sickled shape. Colour develops from a bright green (juvenile) to a mid-green (adult). FLOWERS: grows from June to November, in clusters of three in a cross pattern.


NOTES: the Manna Gum is a medium to very tall evergreen tree, with an upright, narrow domed canopy. It is suitable for growing in highlands and coastal lowlands, where they thrive on clay loam, heavy clay (greater than 50% clay), sandy loam and sandy clay loam.4 Thus, they are adaptable to a range of soil and climatic conditions, with high tolerance of heavy clays, winds and frosts. It also has a moderate drought tolerance once established, growing satisfactorily with no obvious signs of stress in a dry summer. Commonly, the lower 2 to 6m of the tree is covered with a smooth bark or rough bark before shedding in ribbons to show a smooth grey or whitish underneath.5 A distinctive feature of the Manna Gum is that the buds and fruits grow in groups of three, where they start to germinate in seven days if grown at 25°c.6 The species is also valuable as a food or habitat resource for Christmas beetles, birds, koalas and possums. On the other hand, a range of defoliating insects including Eucalypt leaf beetle, Scarab beetle and Sawflies are problematic to the specie, particularly when its young.7


SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION: Eucalyptus macrorhyncha HEIGHT: average adult height up to 35m tall LONGEVITY: moderate to long (> 40 years) ORIGIN: Great Dividing Range in Victoria and New South Wales, Murray River area. There is also a small population near Clare in South Australia and east from Brisbane Range to Mt Coopracambra in East Gippsland. ENVIRONMENT: shallow soils, low to moderate rainfall zones, clayey and well-drained soil. CLIMATE: sunny conditions, frost and snow tolerant, but highly sensitive to adverse weather conditions during flowering.


LEAVES: rough at first (juvenile) with an elliptic to ovate shape with wavy edges (8cm long, 5cm wide), with a green or blue-green colour. It then matures into a lanceolate and oblique shape (9-14cm long, 1.2-2.5cm wide), with a glossy green colour. FLOWERS: grows from January to June, produces nectar.

NOTES: the Red Stringybark is a woodland tree that is medium size with a round canopy. It is characterised by an upright growth with thick red-brown stringy bark up to the small branches.8 They are typically found on slopes and ridges with well drained clay and poor shallow soils, largely within the Great Dividing Range.9 The Red Stringybark can be distinct among other stringybarks by its tapering and beaked buds (1cm long, 1.2 cm diameter) that are clustered in groups of seven to eleven.10 However, considering its high sensitivity to different weather conditions, this makes the Red Stringybark an unreliable honey producer. Yet they provide food sources for caterpillars and butterflies.


Scientific classification: Eucalyptus melliodora Height: Average adult height ranging from 15-30m tall. Longevity: moderate to long (> 40 years) Origin: Northern Victoria through New South Wales. There is also an outlier population situated in Southeastern Queensland. Environment: gentle slopes, foothills, flats near watercourses, well drained clay-loams, sandy loams, alluvial soils in woodlands and open forests. Climate: sunny conditions, frost and drought tolerant. Leaves: initially grey-green colour (juvenile), in a lanceolate to elliptical shape (2.5-6.5cm long, 0.93.5cm wide), then developing into a falcate to lanceolate shape (6-14cm long, 0.8-3cm wide). The colour remains at a dull colour, displaying its densely veins. Flowers: grows from August to December, produces nectar.


NOTES: the Yellow Box tree is a relatively slow growing specie recognised for its fibrous and flakes of yellowish to brown bark on the trunk, as well as being one of Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s prime honey producing trees. There is, however, a variation in the appearance of the tree, where some specimens are only covered by one to two meters of bark with the rest being smooth, while other trees have the entire stem and branches covered with rough bark.11 Although, Yellow Box is widely distributed in Victoria, it is rarely found where the average annual rainfall is over 760mm or under 380mm and ascends to high elevations.12 They can be distinguished from other box species by their buds, which are borne in axillary clusters of seven. The tree also supports a diverse specie of insects and animals that feed upon them and utilise the hollows or cracks (found in matured trees) as shelter or nesting sites. This includes, Squirrel Gliders, Barking Owls, Superb Parrots, Regent Honeyeater and Swift Parrots.13


SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION: Eucalyptus obliqua HEIGHT: average adult height ranging from 50- 90m tall. LONGEVITY: moderate to long (> 80 years) Origin: South Australia, South Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales. There is also a sparse population in south-eastern Queensland. ENVIRONMENT: higher altitudes, well-drained soils, well-watered mountain forest, grassy forest, sandy heaths (e.g. Otway Coast). CLIMATE: high rainfall, cool to cold areas, moisture. LEAVES: juvenile leaves are broadly ovate and oblique (19cm long, 8 cm wide), green and shinning on both sides. Adult leaves are lanceolate and oblique (10-13 cm long, 1.5-3.5cm wide), remaining the same colour appearance, with moderate veins.


FLOWERS: grows from December to march, produces nectar. [8]

NOTES: the Messmate Stringybark is a tall and straight tree with a spreading crown. It is distinctive by its thick, stringy and rough bark, which covers the trunk and extends to the smaller branches. The bark is very fibrous, with the inside light brown and outside greyish brown or black.14 The thickness of the bark protects the tree from bushfires to decrease the severity of damage, particularly to mature trees. In contrast to the other species, the Messmate is found at higher altitude areas, as it prefers sites of high rainfall and moisture that are built with loamy soils or sandy soils when grown at undulating lowlands. The multi layered structure of the tree provides habitat for a number of bird species including Crimson Rosellas, Thornbills and Laughing Kookaburra while honeyeaters feed on the nectar and pollen of flowering plants. Insects living under the bark also act as a food source for Treecreepers.15


SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION: Eucalyptus camaldulensis HEIGHT: average adult height up to 40m tall Longevity: long (> 500 years) ORIGIN: largely found in the Murray-Darling basin area, covering New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. Population also extends to Kangaroo Island in South Australia. ENVIRONMENT: widespread along rivers and floodplains, heavy clay soils, riverine soil types, sandy clay loams, and edges of salt lakes and swamps. CLIMATE: semi-arid, moderate salinity tolerance, flood and drought tolerance. LEAVES: develop from an lanceolate to ovate shape with a blue-green or blue-grey colour to a broad lanceolate or elliptical shape (7.5-14.5cm long, 2.5-7.5cm wide). Adult leaves are often glossy with a dull green.


FLOWERS: grows from July to February

NOTES: the River red gum is the most widely distributed of all eucalypts that is found throughout mainland Australia with the exception of southern parts of Western Australia, and most of the costal fringe of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. They occur along or near watercourses within the arid and semi-arid areas and can adapt to a wide range of climatic conditions, with variation of rainfall between 150mm to 1250mm per annum.16 Thus, they are commonly situated along the Murray River and its tributaries. The tree itself is characteristed by a straight trunk which continues to a large spreading crown. Bark is smooth, mottled white, yellow and grey and sheds at intervals throughout the year. The River red gum are important breeding, nesting and feeding grounds for a range of bird and animal species, including the threatened Sugar Gliders and Carpet Pythons, whilst the produced nectar attracts bees, butterflies and other insects.17


1. Australian National Botanic Gardens, ‘Eucalyptus globulus subsp.bicostata’, About Eucalyptus (n.d.) < https://www.anbg. _ BIC.htm> [accessed 2 May 2018]. 2. Florabank, ‘Eucalyptus bicostata’ (n.d.) < http://www. Eucalyptus_bicostata.htm> [accessed 2 May 2018]. 3. Florabank, ‘Eucalyptus bicostata’. 4. Florabank, ‘Eucalyptus viminalis’ (n.d.) < http://www.florabank. viminalis.htm> [accessed 2 May 2018]. 5. Yarra Ranges Shire Council, ‘Eucalyptus viminalis’ (2010) <> [accessed 2 May 2018]. 6. Florabank, ‘Eucalyptus viminalis’ 7. Yarra Ranges Shire Council. 8. Yarra Ranges Shire Council, ‘Eucalyptus macrorhyncha’ (2010) < Yarra_Ranges_Plant_Director y/Yarra_Ranges_Local_Plant_ Directory/Upper_Storey/Trees_5m/Eucalyptus_macrorhyncha> [accessed 2 May 2018]. 9. Florabank, ‘Eucalyptus macrorhyncha’ (n.d.) < http://www. Eucalyptus_macrorhyncha.htm> [accessed 2 May 2018].

10. Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, ‘Eucalyptus macrorhyncha’, Vicflora (2016) < taxon/7eaa9d84-9108-4fcf-9ed3-9962365d2193> [accessed 2 May 2018]. 11. Florabank, ‘Eucalyptus melliodora’ (n.d.) < http://www. Eucalyptus_melliodora.htm> [accessed 2 May 2018]. 12. Florabank, ‘Eucalyptus melliodora’. 13. NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, ‘Box-Gum Woodland’, Identification Guidelines for Endangered Ecological Communities (n.d.) < box-gumIdGuidelines.pdf> [accessed 2 May 2018]. 14. Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, ‘Eucalyptus obliqua’, Vicfloa (2016) <> [accessed 3 May 2018]. 15. Victorian Native Seed, ‘Eucalyptus obliqua’ (2012) < http:// w w w.victo r roduct = mes smate stringybark> [accessed 3 May 2018]. 16. Forest Products Commission Western Australia, ‘River redgum’, Publications (2018) <> [accessed 3 May 2018]. 17. Agriculture Victoria, ‘River Red-Gum’, Victorian Resource Online (2017) < nsf/pages/water_sss_river_red_gum> [accessed 3 May 2018].


river red gum

After comparing the information gathered from our eucalyptus research, the group made a top-down decision to focus on the River red gum. Our decision was based on a number of factors, one of which was the tree’s role in supporting the Victorian ecosystem. We also recognised that seventy-five percent of the River red gum is “stressed, dead or dying”1, highlight the urgency for us to conserve the specie for the future of the ecosystem. This would fittingly satisfy the brief as the challenge proposed requires us to explore how technology and architecture can collaborate to solve environmental problems like such. In addition, CSIRO’s Dr Colloff suggest that the River red gum holds greater significance beyond its ecological values, where it has unconsciously formed part of the Australian identity. It has been articulated through art, literature and the media, notably appearing in the works of Hans Heysen, Harold Cazneaux and Lin Onus.2 They also signify political bodies and their advocate for greater distribution of water, such as in the Murray-Darling Basin. Thus, highlighting the anthropocentric interaction between people and nature, where trees are scarce - standing for water, while conflicts between the allocation of water for the environment are still undetermined.

“River red gum – more than just a tree”3 Despite having a conceptual understanding about the specie, my group wanted to conduct a site visit to make sense of the tree

visually. However, as we intended to develop a numerical taxonomy by measuring the tree and taking bark samples, we realised this would not be possible at Merri Creek due to local and environmental restrictions. Consequently, we adopted an alternative and looked into its distribution at more accessible sites. We discovered the species’ prominent establishment at Brimbank Park, Keilor, where both old and new River red gums are lined along the intersecting Maribyrnong River.4 Similarly to Merri Creek, these trees are homes to a diverse variety of local wildlife as well as nesting hollows, including the common brushtail possum. Although the specie could be found throughout the park, we chose to visit an area close to the river where there was higher population density. Each tree had individual characteristics determined by weather, nutrients and pests. Thus, highlighting the geological history of the landscape and reinforces the purpose of our brief, where each tree has taken approximately five hundred years to develop their distinctive morphologies.5

1. Environment Victoria, ‘River Red Gum forests and wetlands’ (2015) <> [accessed 29 May 2018]. 2. CSIRO, ‘River red gum- more than just a tree’, News releases and statements (2014) <> [accessed 29 May 2018]. 3. CSIRO. 4. Parks Victoria, ‘Brimbank Park’, Visitor Guide (2017) < https:// park _data/assets/pdf_file/0 0 05/315860/ Brimbank-Park-visitor-guide.pdf> [accessed 29 May 2018]. 5. Parks Victoria.


We decided to study two River red gums to increase our sample size and allow comparison to identify any nonstandard features. This was important because even though a group of tree species have fundamental traits in common, they also develop their own unique characteristics due to both genetics and environmental factors. Using a rope and tape technique, we measured the trees’ length, perimeter, diameter, and angle of intersections of the ‘trunk’ and ‘branch’. We also determined a numerical value for its branching system, which may be helpful for developing a branching script. Due to the immeasurable nature of the trees, we established three categories; small, medium and large, in which we organsied the data in. Furthermore, we recognise that it would be unreasonable to input all the exact data we collected when creating our grasshopper script, considering as our final form will be built at a 1:1 scale. However, we can extrapolate these values to influence the dimensions of certain elements or make use of only some data e.g. the number of branching to create a script based on aggregation or branching systems. 172


STUDIED TREE 01 The first tree we studied embodied the standard characteristics of a River red gum. It had a wide spreading crown with a greyish green canopy. The trunk was smooth with multi-coloured bark, with patches of grey and brown to create a camouflage like pattern. Curled ribbons of dried bark also contrasted the smooth texture of the trunk, adding external layers and a fragile texture to the tree. 174


The second tree largely stood out from the other River red gums. The trunk was unusually stumpy as opposed to the slender figure we observed in the first tree. We speculated that this was a result of the treeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s environment, where it had been planted on a slope which required for it to find its center of gravity. Its irregular dimensions were further accentuated by the large hollow formed in the centre of the trunk, which wouldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been used as a resource or habitational space for local species. Another interesting feature of the tree was the unique pattern that covered the medium sized branches. The pattern shares a similar appearance to the kerfing pattern explored earlier in the material study, suggesting these patterns might have an influence on the twisted form of the branches.



We had also collected some bark samples from the st more closely. It was interesting to find that the exterio with the exterior being more thick and dry due to it exposure to environmental conditions, pest and oth considered as a display of an accumulation of dead holds a delicate quality, made up of mu

Another observation was the intricate layers which m between each layer created small cavities/crevasse the scale of our design to accommodate for insect provide habitational spaces for our animal client. So cavities on its surface, which generated a rusticate optimise our design, as the indented areas could fun a unique aesthetic appeal. Thus, the multi-function i



tudied trees, which allowed us to analyse the textures or and interior of the bark had such a large contrast, ts role as a protective layer. Therefore, increasing its her damages. Thus, the exterior of the bark can be d tissues. On the other hand, the interior of the bark ultiple fibres to create a smooth surface.

made up each piece of bark, where the hollow space es. Considering our feedback from Part B to change ts, the idea of spatiality can be further explored to ome of the bark had also naturally formed circular ed appearance. To recreate these surfaces would nction as a habitational space whilst contributing to initiated reflects the features of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;speculative designâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;.


PRECEDENT STUDY As suggested by our tutor, my group began to look at the works of Marc Fornes and The Very Many due to their distinctive style. Reflecting on the numerical taxonomy and observations established from our site visit at Brimbank Park, we decided to research on how Fornes and his studio created their installation, named Under Magnitude. Suspended in the atrium of Orlando’s Orange County Convention Centre, Fornes simply uses a branching system to create a network of tubular branches that extends to form a shape similar to a suction cup.1 The resulting structure resembles the appearance of a smooth coral due to the intricate curvilinear surfaces, “forming a unified system of both ‘columns’ and ‘beams’”.2 Aside from its notable use of intensive curvature, the design effectively incorporates perforations in their aluminum material. Consequently, the perforations introduce new textures and openings, which were intended to transform the human experience through the gradual change of sunlight throughout the day. This provides us with the idea of surface treatment, and how we can manipulate our material to create additional habitational features. Similar to Neri Oxman’s belief in ‘nature inspired design’, Fornes has shown the effectiveness of “borrowing elements from the world”3. They can bring a positive experience and connection to humans through provoking comparisons to the recognisable world. This should also be taken into consideration in our design even though our users are non-human. Because as our design is situated in a humandominated world, it is inevitable to avoid such considerations. 180

Another precedent we had explored was Henrique Oliveira’s Baitogogo. Growing from the beams of Paris’ Palais de Tokyo museum, Oliveira creates a twisted entanglement of tree branches which meets in the centre to create a giant tangled knot.4 The way in which the wooden material invades the architecture of the building can be a reference to growth and rebirth, in which current society have the ability to reshape the environment. Particularly, as humans have shown to develop physical structures in respond to enriching their living experience, as part of the environment, the act of reshaping can also be as an opportunity for rehabilitation and improvement. This idea can be supported by Oliveira’s choice of material for the structure as he uses recycled Tapume wood from the urban landscapes of Brazil (his hometown), to symbolise the “physical and societal decay of the city”5. Lastly, we had briefly studied the Green Void by LAVA as our group was experimenting with using Kangaroo to create mesh relaxation. The Green Void structure demonstrates how the additional input of Kangaroo can create lose edges and a relaxed surface to result in new forms that are structurally viable. 1. Jessica Mairs, ‘Marc Fornes creates coral-like installation for Orlando convention centre’, Dezeen (2017) < https://www. d m/2 017/01/2 5/m a rc- fo r n es -ve r y - m a ny - u n d e rmagnitude-coral-installation-orlando-convention-centreinstallation/> [accessed 30 May 2018]. 2. Urdesign, ‘Marc Fornes’ Under Magnitude Installation’ (2017) <> [accessed 30 May 2018]. 3. Maris, ‘Marc Fornes creates coral like installation’. 4. Kate Andrews, ‘Baitogogo by Henrique Oliveira at Palais de Tokyo’, Dezeen (2013) < baitogogo-by-henrique-oliveira-at-palais-de-tokyo/> [accessed 30 May 2018]. 5. Designboom, ‘henrique oliveria: baitogogo at palais de tokyo, paris’, Designboom (2013) < henrique-oliveira-baitogogo/> [accessed 30 May 2018].





01 Carla explored the Shortest Walk Grasshopper add-on, to create a coral like structure with a branching system.

02 Arianna explores the potential of Voronoi in creating a habitat tree. The form reflects closely to a tree trunk.

03 Arianna explores the possibilities of bending wood through creating a panelling system.


INITIAL OUTCOMES From the information gathered, our group began exploring different scripts. One of the reoccurring themes from the outcomes we had was the concept of branching. As shown by the Carla’s coral structure, the algorithm attempts to mimic the branching system observed from our tree study, with a base structure branching into smaller components. Thus, reflecting the branching system of the River red gums, where large branches had stemmed from the trunk which then spread into smaller ones. An additional Grasshopper component named Shortest Walk was also used to shape the form by calculating the shortest route through the network of points; from the line’s start point to its end points. However, a downfall of this form was its lack of habitational space, offering only limited hollow spaces at the end of each branch. Consequently, Arianna’s script attempts to address this issue by utilising the Voronoi function. Through the hexagonal patterns created by the component, it resulted in a series of spaces much like the cavities observed from the bark samples. But the overall form resembled too closely to the appearance of a tree trunk which made us question the design, in terms of capturing the brief too literally.

had generated so far, the group thought of using a panelling system to mirror the layering effects of the bark. Taking inspiration from the bark samples, we believed that the spaces in between the layers would create an interesting habitat for insects as we had learnt from our visit to Brimbank park. Thus, Arianna created a new script which illustrates a spiral of wood panels with different thicknesses. This can been seen as an imitation of the tree’s natural shedding process. Following this process, we had an opportunity to present our initial concept and outcomes to Simon, who is an architect and sculptor. This experience was important as Simon was able to provide us with feedback from an outsider’s perspective. The most significant feedback we received was that we were “overcomplicating ourselves”, in that although we had generated a series of unique forms, “how were we controlling the algorithm?” In order words, a certain knowledge or intention is required. Thus, it was suggested for us to revisit the site and “try to replicate what we observed in the natural environment”, considering as our client are non-humans, which makes it even more difficult to understand their specific requirments for of an ideal habitat.

As we discovered the difficulties in fabricating and building the outcomes we 183


Taking into consideration the feedback Simon provided our group, we visited Brimbank Park again. During our visit we came across a tree log which had been sectioned to reveal the intricate layers within the tree. We were particularly interested by the effects caused by its natural decay, creating an appealing rustication which contrasted the smoothness of the remaining surfaces. Similar to the layering effects observed from the bark samples, the process of decay had caused radial cracks which followed the rings of the tree. Consequently, the hollowed spacing between each ring provided an ideal habitational space for insects, as we observed multiple existing nest webs that were built between these areas. This provided us with the idea to ‘unroll’ the log through creating an arrangement of panels which would highlight the individual history of the log by instrumenting a dialogue between the tree’s natural growth and the input of various factors, including environmental changes. Thus, our design would serve as a solution to the “defuturing conditions”1 described by Fry through supporting biodiversity and attempting to engage visitors to think about their contribution to the environment. The act of reshaping the future would be achieved as we intend to reverse the ‘supply and demand’ nature of current society where humans are extracting resources from the environment faster than its rate of production, through utilising technology effectively. Through a variety of digital processes, our design would be able to artificially mimic the identified habitational 186

qualities of the log, and transform these characteristics into a habitat tree for wildlife species. Therefore, reducing additional stress on the environment by having the ability to create something that usually takes over several decades in a much shorter amount of time (few weeks). Although our design might be considered as an artistic exploration - breaching the boundaries between art and architecture, my group aims to stray away from current expectations and move towards speculation on the future, as emphasised by Part A. It extends past the expression of individuals like Patrik Schumacher, who has notably argued that “architecture is not art”2, by seeking a new approach to form finding. In contrast, Rem Koolhaas’s research-driven exhibition, Fundamentals, at the Venice Biennale in 2014 has shown that architecture can be a way of presenting research, rather than just a presentation of objects or architecture projects. Furthermore, the observed log has highlighted the importance of trees, as even when dead, or has become a log on the ground, they continue to provide shelter for many animals. 1. Tony Fry, 2008. Design Futuring: Sustainability, Ethics and New Practice (Oxford: Berg), p. 1. 2. Anna Winston, ‘Architecture is not art says Patrik Schumacher in Venice Architecture Biennale rant’, Dezeen (2014) < https:// w w ar t-patrikschumacher-venice-architecturebiennale-rant/> [accessed 31 May 2018]. 3. Amy Frearson, ‘Venice Biennale 2014 will sever “sever connections with contemporary architecture” says Rem Koolhaas’, Dezeen (2014) < rem-koolhaas-venice-biennale-2014-more-details/> [accessed 31 May 2018].


As my group intended to digitally create a series of panels to represent the tree rings of the studied log, we began to research about tree rings, and its development process. Especially through completing Part B, we had learnt the importance of firstly understanding a project’s ‘givens’ rather than simply relying on computational software, like Grasshopper, to generate form without intent. From our research we understood that tree rings can be considered a representation of history as the growth of its rings informs us about the tree’s age, and approximately what the weather was like during each year of the tree’s life.1 As the plant is stationed into earth, its crown, trunk and root are capable of reacting to environmental factors where the growth of change can be measured by the width of the tree ring.2 For instance, a wider ring indicates the tree experienced a wet year – sufficient amount of rain, where the thinner rings indicates insufficient rainfall due to environmental events such as droughts. Thus, by comparing the width of tree rings with local weather data from nearby weather stations, we can reinforce our observations and establish the climatic conditions for each year of the tree rings. 188

This process has provided us with the idea to use rain data to influence and control our form, as one of our feedback from Simon was asking how we were gaining control over the outcome of our algorithm. The input of data will also benefit our design, as we have limited access of information to comprehend the complete requirements of an ideal habit for an insect. Therefore, the use of data will help recreate an environment that is similar to what the client is typically used to. Furthermore, the increasing thinness of the studied log’s tree rings can act as an indication for the unstable and harsher climate that we are experiencing (older rings are closest to the centre), as tree ring patterns can reconstruct regional weather patterns. This may suggest that the increase frequency of environmental challenges, including droughts, experienced by Australia, is an impact of the anthropocene.

1. Stoller-Conrad, Jessica, ‘Tree rings provide snapshots of Earth’s past climate’, NASA (2017) < tree-rings-provide-snapshots-of-earths-past-climate/> [accessed 31 May 2018]. 2. Fritz Hans Schweingruber, Tree Rings: Basic and Applications of Dendrochronology, (Dordrecht, Boston, London: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1989), p. 5-227, < https://link-springer-com. 009-1273-1> [accessed 31 May 2018].


ntal Local Eonnvdirtoionnms e C


The following diagram attempts to illustrate the growth of tree rings. It can be seen that the condition of the tree in the previous year affects the developing tree ring in regards to the weather during the formation period. Given the location of the studied log, it can be estimated the one ring is formed each year due to the clearly marked seasons in the region. Thus, resulting in less variation in growth, compared to those in areas with uneven distribution of precipitation patterns.



Following our learning about the of tree rings, we gathered rainfa Meteorology for the years 1983 to Melbourne Botanical Garden bu consistent data compared to t missing data. These data will b each panel of our design, in orde of each year as



effects of rainfall on the development all data from the Australian Bureau of o 2017. We opted to use data from the ureau station as it contained the most the others, where there were many be used influence the top curves of er to illustrate the weather conditions the log is ’‘unrolled’.






Taking into consideration the feedback we had received from the interim presentation, in regards to the scale of our design, my group had chosen to focus on a smaller size animal client, the Wrap around spider. We do recognise that it is idealistic to design for one particular type of spider as it is impossible to control the movement of insects, particularly those living in nature. However, for the purpose of this task, we have chosen to focus on the Wrap around spider due to our observation at Brimbank Park. Wrap around spiders, also scientifically known as Dolophones Conifera are distinctive for their appearance; characterised by a flat body (4-8mm) and a brown colour that allows them to camouflage with nature that so often they become part of the tree.1 Such that they require a habitat which protects them against its predators. Due to their skin colour and concaved structure which allows them to ‘wrap around’ trees, it may cause difficulty to identify their presence. But, providing that their venoms is non

non dangerous to humans, this reduces the ‘risk’ of our design when placed in a human human environment. Furthermore, it should be noted that due to the limited information surrounding the conditions which makes an ideal habitat for insects such as the Wrap around spider, our design can be considered as an investigation between the success of ‘nature inspired design’ to ‘design inspired nature’. Where our design adopts a similar approach to Neri Oxman and Francois Roche in that we are no longer thinking to integrate nature as a substance, but as a protocol and an algorithm.2 Roche considers the process of mimicking nature an “evolution”3 , whereby through understanding the growing system behind the geometries of plants we can develop unprecedented forms. 1. Clockspider, ‘Wrap around spider Dolophones Conifera’, Clock Spider Today (2017) <> [accessed 1 June 2018]. 2. Nate Archer, ‘francois roche interview’, Designboom (2008) <https://w w views/francois-rocheinterview/> [accessed 1 June 2018]. 3. Archer, ‘francois roche interview’.



During our site visit to Brimbank Park, building a web - that is typically used to was interesting to observe that although on the outer bark of the log, their webs we cavities and crevasses that formed radia decay and deterioration). This can infor spiders like the Wrap-around, which will c such as the spacing between each pa towards the sectioned and rusticated end for a texture



we recorded a Wrap-around spider catch their preys, on the studied log. It the spider began releasing silk threads ere actually established in between the ally along the tree rings (due to natural rm us about the spatial preference of can influence the spatiality of our form, anel. The spider was also seen moving d of the log, which suggest a preference ed surface.


final algorithm


The following pseudo-code aims to communicate how our group has effectively used Grasshopper as a ‘process’ rather than a generative tool, to digitally mimic the observed characteristics of nature. The data that motivates these procedures consequently generates layers of complexity, in terms of its performative behaviours and relationship to the environment. It also establishes a set of specific constraints to overcome the problems that derives from immense freedom. Thus, we have utilised digital programs such as Grasshopper, to choreograph a process which results in architectural form, rather than conforming to a form finding process that is often iterated, repeated or deformed. The annual rainfall data remapped within our script will also help our fabrication process by determining the thickness of each panel, as we intend to create a ‘sectioning’ of panels with various thicknesses that is according to the average amount of rainfall that the log had experienced each year. For example, the year experiencing the highest rainfall will be allocated the thickest panel as opposed to the year with the least amount of rainfall, where it would have the thinnest panel.





Moreover, the design definition has been described in simplified terms to describe the development process as opposed to creating a list of component names. 200


We had used the yearly rainfall data to generate the top curves of each of the thirty-six panels as according to period of data studied. However, we found that curves produced did not respond to the spatial needs of our animal client, as the curves were too large. This meant that although the curves had accurately reflected the rainfall data, but was not an accurate representation of the intricate details found on the log. Hence, it would not perform effectively as a habitational space. To improve these curves; by making them smoother and increasing the variation of the pattern, we adjust a number of parameters and decreased the domain of our script. Consequently, this allowed us to achieve a continuous and fluid line, with closer spacing between each curve to mimic the small cavities of the log. Thus, increasing the habitational spaces of our design. Furthermore, aside from time constraints, we found that by building eighteen panels instead of the initial thirty-six will be more effective in recreating the spatial qualities required by our client. Thus, in our final form, the group has made the decision to halve the number of panels. This will also allow sufficient spacing for our wedge connections that will be used to hold the structure.






















final form








c.2 tectonic elements & prototypes

My group had utilised the process of prototyping to explore the different ways of fabricating what we had digitally design. Learning from Part B, each prototype was conducted for a specific purpose, such as investigating surface spatiality and texture, instead of using the process to recreate the entire digital form. Although this subject encourages digital fabrication due to its efficiency and preciseness, my group also wanted to explore using manual fabrication as it brings a sense of ‘rawness’ to the design which allows it to be more adaptable to the natural conditions of our site (Merri Creek). Whilst creating these prototypes, we also tried to maximise the use of our tested materials as we recognise our social responsibilities within the environment. Thus, our consideration of the environment through our choices of materials and fabrication methods reflects Kolarevic’s expression; where current interest in design is largely due to the emergence of sustainability as a defining socio-economic issue.1

Branko Kolarevic, (2014). ‘Computing the Performative’, ed. by Rivka Oxman and Robert Oxman, pp, 103-111.







In this prototype we wanted to investigate how we could artificially replicate the observed rustication of the log as the resulting cavities and holes provided spaces for the spiders to inhabit and build webs. To extend the use of Grasshopper in our project, we used the image sampling function to map the photographs we had taken of the log to generate a matrix of iterations that will illustrate the intricate patterns of the decay. We then combined and overlapped some of these outcomes to create a second matrix as it was thought to add a layer of complexity just as the observed log. In another matrix, we had focused on using the metaball function to explore depth, and to mimic the funnel webs created by the spiders. Spin force was also used to reflect the concentric patterns of tree rings. We then repeated the same process as the first matrix, where we overlapped the iterations to produce new outcomes. After comparing these we then chose a selection of outcomes to be lasered cut on to MDF, where we separated the patterns onto different layers that were then to be piled on top of each other to gain a better perspective of what the rustication would

ook like three dimensionally. It was important to fabricate these designs rather than analysing them from the screen, as it allowed us to have greater insight to the patterns produced which we intended to compare the surface spatiality created. We had also used the region union component in Grasshopper to decrease the amount of lines in order to reduce the amount of embodied energy within the process, whilst ensuring that the pattern was not distorted from its original outcome. Although the iterations all seemed very interesting on the digital screen, once fabricated, we realised that it had produced a series of perforations that were at various sizes, with some intersecting with each other. Thus, the spatiality produced wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t provide a real benefit to our animal client considering the knowledge we have of their preferences. On the other hand, the metaball results were much more successful, as the variation of lines and spread of pattern in each layer created a funnel effect which reflects the habitational features of the log. The prototype also failed to mimic the uneven texture of the log as the sheets were layered flat. However, it has allowed us to identify a method of creating depth. 211













As we learnt that CNC milling is an effective way to create digital rustication through the effects produced by the different drill heads, we decided to test this fabrication method with our previous iterations. The testing will give us insight to how CNC milling works and how it can be used create surface spatiality. Considering that our final form has multiple surfaces, we arranged our design into an octagon with an assigned pattern on each side of its surface to maximise the use of the material (birch plywood). The octagon was made large enough to ensure that all the patterns would be visible. The outcome was successful in creating surface texture as the milling process exposed different grains of the wood, but failed to create the spatial effects that we desired. Although by using a different drill 220

head it would allow us to achieve greater depth. However, as noted by Darcy, considering the close proximity of the lines in our design this would not be achievable as the drill will run between and overlap the lines. Another important issue raised by Darcy was that CNC mill was a subtractive process. Such that, given our brief concerns restoring the natural environment, the use of CNC would not benefit our design and would reflect poorly on our intents. Moreover, as we are constructing a 1:1 model, the large amount of time required to fabricate our design will generate excessive waste, and consume a great amount of energy. Thus, reflecting on the nature of our brief and the environmental concerns raised by Part A in regards to â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;design futuringâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, CNC milling would not be suitable for our project.




Our group decided to look for an alternative method to replicate the rustication observed from the log as they are important habitational features to the spiders. As we reflected on the bark samples collected at Brimbank Park and the observations made in regards to the openings formed by the layering of the fibres, we began to experiment with the sand blast cabinet at Fablab. The process of sand blasting was successful in creating both surface texture and spatiality by opening the grains of the timber. We initially experimented with a number of different timber that were leftover at Fablab, but had found that Pine would be the most suitable due to its soft formation, which would reduce the fabrication time.

We performed the sand blasting process with different timing on to one block of timber as we wanted to determine and compare the types of effects we could achieve. For this specific prototype, it took approximately five minutes for the grain to begin to expose, with the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;deeper cutsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; created between fifteen to twenty minutes. Although the process was quite effective in terms of achieving texture and spatiality at the same time, we recognised that it would be an exhausting and time consuming process when having to sand blast each of the eighteen panels for our 1:1 model. Thus, we looked into industrial sandblasting as the strength of the machine would improve the efficiency of our project.



Addressing the feedback which some group members had received from their interim presentations; in overseeing the use of grasshopper to design how components can go together, we scripted an algorithm which would help to divide the panels of our design. We had needed to seek this alternative as after completing a material research and visiting Bunnings, we realised that it was far too expensive (considering our groupâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s budget), to purchase readied timber sheets. Thus, using grasshopper, it provided us with the idea to stack smaller timber blocks on top of each other, to form a single panel. We were unsure how these timber blocks would hold together, but after consultation with staff members from Fablabâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s workshop, it was suggested for us to use a type of PVA woodworking glue that is suitable for both interior and exterior use. After applying the 226

glue to the edge of each block, the panel would need to be clamped to prevent buckling. The glue was also non toxic meaning it wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t pose as a harm to our animal client. During this time, we also tested if the sandblasting process would be as effective, when applied to a material with a strong agent like wood glue. We concluded, that the glue did not disturb the sand blasting process and that the panel held together, which meant our idea would be feasible for the final model. Furthermore, in preparation for the final model, we tested various ways to cut the curves of each panel as there many variations of saws. After multiple testing, it was concluded that we would use a jigsaw roughly cut the traced curves, before using a sander to smooth the edges. Thus, we had created a prototype combining all of these ideas to test our fabrication procedures.



c.3 final detail model

SURFACE TREATMENT SAND BLASTING Having tested the impact of sandblasting on the timber material (MGP10 Untreated Pine), we recognised that the areas we spent most time on created deeper cuts that reflected the metaball effect explored earlier. The depth and openings of these areas would facilitate spider habitation. Thus, we decided to extend the scale of effect by creating stencils that would control the amount of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;rusticationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; received by each panel. The stencils which were laser cut on to 0.6mm steel sheets due to their ability to stand against the heavy impact of the sand blasting abrasives, were achieved through image mapping an image of the studied log. Five stencils were created as they correspond the five different panel thicknesses established in our design where the thickest panel would be sandblasted with the stencil holding the most patterning to reflect the fastest rate of erosion due to experiencing the highest amount of rainfall. In contrast, the thinnest panel, which corresponds to the least amount of rainfall would erode at a slower rate. Hence, the stencil with the least of patterning would be used. Furthermore, the use of industrial sandblasting would result in greater permanence of the effect, which would benefit the design in terms of durability. 231


The following images illustrates the all the five styles of stencils corresponds t have. As the stencil each has a diffe correspond to the level of rainfall exp for each of the five thicknesses of pan effect has estimated

9mm= 30s, 18mm=1min, 27mm= 1m



location of the stencil effect, in which to the five thickness of panels that we erent amount of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;patternâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, this would perienced for the year. The duration nels to achieve a minimum sand blast d to be as following:

m30s, 36mm= 2mins, 45mm= 2m30s


cost analysis - panels



cost analysis - wedges





We had decided to construct our design at a 1:1 scale as we wanted to assess the effectiveness of our design, in terms of facilitating habition to spiders. Considering the small sizes of spiders, we believed that a 1:1 model would be achievable. However, as our site, Merri Creek, is a public space, it was not possible for us to build our designs their due to local regulations. Instead we have constructed our model at one of our group memberâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s farm in Gruyere. Although, the structure is not situated at Merri Creek, we can make use of this opporunity to support biodiversity through increasing habitational spaces. In terms of our construction process, all of the elements (panels and wedges) were pre fabricated in an indoor environment, before transporting to site, ready for assembly. TO VIEW FABRICATION PROCESS



fabrication sequence


After purchasing timber in sizes of 90x35 and 90x45mm, we begun by cutting down the untreated pine into lengths of 1200mm.

Using a handsaw, the timber was cut down to lengths of 600mm. Each pieces were then cut down in lengthwise according to the thickness of the panels - either 9, 27, 26 or 45mm.

Each timber piece was then sanded with a smaller sander which was able to reach the deeper areas of the curve, The edges were then briefly sanded manually to ensure all the surfaces were smooth.

Five pieces of timber were then glued together with a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;top pieceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; using PVC wood glue to form a single panel.

The curves of each panel based on our scipt were traced on to the material. A jigsaw was then used to cut along the curve.

The panel of curves were sanded down use a sander , which smoothed and rounded the edges.

The panels were clamped whilst the glue was drying to restrict movement and prevent buckling. It took approximately three hours to dry.

Once each panel had dried, hook nails were hammered in between the centre of each meeting point of the timber pieces, to provide additional support incase the glue fails.



All eighteen panels were constructed and ready for sandblasting.

The five stencils used for controlling the sandblasting were laser cut on to 0.6mm metal sheets.

Upon arriving at the farm, we laid out each of the panel according to their order.

Wedges were prelabelled for easy construction.

The panels and stencils were transported to U-Blast in Hallem, where each panel was sandblasted with industrial strengh.

Wedges were created using the leftover timber, and packed in boxes ready for transportation to site.

Using a drill, the wedges were screwed onto the panels according to the connection system developed on Grasshopper.

The panels gradually stacking up to create the final form.




The following render depicts how our design as a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;componentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; can be placed at Merri Creek. The design will benefit the environment through creating habitational spaces that typically takes over decades to develop. Thus, highlighting the advantageous of digital tools. Habitat loss and degradation is the principal cause leading to species endangerment globally. Such that increasing rates of habitat degradation e.g decrease in quality or population of trees, may limit insects, such as the Wrap around spider to use these spaces for nesting. Therefore, by digitally replicating the preferred characteristics of trees by cavity nesters, including the Wrapped around spider, is critical to design conservation strategies like such. Furthermore, the design aims to improve the understanding of tree growth which is important as the ecosystem provides many resources to humans, whilst there is uncertainty in how these natural systems will respond to anthropogenic climate change.


further development

As our built design demonstrates a single component as a habitat tree, the following images shows how these components can be multiplied to create larger habitat and introduce new functions. For example, the components can be considered as a bench or fencing system. 260






This was one of the largest challenge for my group in Part C as different circumstances affected our design direction week by week. However, sometimes these challenges can pose as learning experiences and offer new opportunities. Such that my group’s final form was a product of multiple changes. Although we understood the purpose of our studio’s brief, it was difficult for us to design specifically for an animal compared to a human client as we have limited access and knowledge about their preferences.

Having knowledge in thre media has been a large e this subject, particularly as w recognise if our digital desig translated in reality. Although o did not rely on digital fabrica previously attempted to explore when creating our prototypes precise detail and high tolera machinery allowed us to cr forms, such as our laser cut rust is often a surprising result tha technology’s potential.





Our final design does not allow for the generation of a variety of outcomes due to the inputted data which holds control over the form. However, the resulting design demonstrates flexibility and adaptability in transforming to a range of design possibilities as highlighted in the ‘further development’ section. Nevertheless, the design did go through a process of change as we attempted to make the curve outlines of each panel more smooth rather than jagged.

This objective has been improved since Part B. Learn past mistakes, we took in to our design proposal as physic the environment, particularly a aim to construct the design a Thus, we opted to create a d less complex form as our guest reminded us that Grasshopp viewed as a process rather th generating complex forms tha difficult to build. The design c also acknowledges the relation architecture and air, as it intend the ‘individual history’ of the stu

c.4 learning objectives OBJECTIVE 5




ee-dimensional emphasise of we needed to gns could be our final model ation, we had e its possibilities s. The extreme ance of these reate intricate tications. There at spans from

My ability to ‘make a case for proposal’ has improved significantly throughout the subject. From looking at different precedents – not only at their appearances but for their functions, materiality and other distinctive features, I’ve learnt to use these examples to form persuasive arguments to support my designs. It was also interesting to read contrasting articles for the heavy use of digital design in current society. In Part C especially, I’ve come to understand the importance of prototypes and their ability to communicate aspects of our design rather than trying to recreate the entire form as I had unsuccessfully in Part B.

“DEVELOP FOUNDATIONAL UNDERSTANDINGS OF COMPUTATIONAL GEOMETRY, DATA STRUCTURES AND TYPES OF PROGRAMMING” The fabrication process of our design highlighted the limitations and potentials of parametric design. For example, while my group had developed a broad range of designs using various computational techniques, such as surface manipulation through the use of Kangaroo and Weaverbird, it was difficult to translate these qualities in our fabrication process. Over time, my group learnt to use Grasshopper in a much more efficient manner and considered it as a feature of the design rather than allowing it too have full control of our geometry. I also learnt to explore alternative methods to simulate a similar outcome, which shows the extended possibilities of such digital programs.






significantly ning from our consideration cal models in as we had the at a 1:1 scale. design with a t critic, Simon, per should be han a tool for at typically too concept it self nship between ds to highlight udied log.

Precedent studies have been explored since Part A and have been beneficial in developing our analytical skills and conceptual understanding of the subject. This helped my group to form our final design concept in Part C, as we reflected on the different interpretations (reason and logic for the design) offered by these precedents. Thus, by using data to control our form, it clearly demonstrates our design intent.

Although my group’s proposal received a mixture of feedback, our group had to establish our own preferences and learn to make top-down decisions. We had to gain confidence over these decisions and use different types of research, including prototypes and precedent studies, to support our choices. In terms of computational techniques, it was initially difficult as we worked in different groups previously and had our own style/preferences for utilising Grasshopper. Thus, it was effective to allocate everyone a different role in the design process ; according to their strengths, to avoid additional complications. 263

c.4 learning outcomes

The past thirteen weeks in Studio Air has been a combination of challenges and valuable memories. It has indeed been a very steep learning curve where I have been exposed to a number of new concepts. Entering the subject with no prior knowledge of Grasshopper, I have learnt to create simple lofts to scripting my own designs. This can be evident through the progress of my design tasks. Through engaging with Grasshopper, I have developed an understanding for the increasingly popular method of design, and other benefits offered by such digital design programs. However, limitations can still exist as I learnt through the design process that although computational tools can generate seemingly complex forms, they are not realistically achievable. As we progressed through the semester, the subject also helped me to develop a sense of confidence in terms of my ideas and style of design. Being in an environment of constant comparison, this is an important skill to have. Another critical skill which I gained from the subject was the ability to analyse, compare and integrate information. Through the provided weekly readings, I got to understand design as more than simply a generative tool. The concepts within the readings, not only 264

encouraged me to undertake further research, but taught me to think in a systematic way - much like an algorithm. That is, we must interpret design as a process; to first understand the conditions that we are designing for before proceeding to finding form. Furthermore, in regards to my groupâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s final design, I was quite satisfied with the outcome. Despite all the obstacles that were presented to us, we were able to triumph over adversity. All members of the group were determined and worked collaboratively to produce a design of meaning and purpose. This was an important consideration for the group as many digitally design structures today values its appearance over function. It will be interesting to measure the success of our first built 1:1 design as we plan to re-visit the site in the future. I would like to additionally thank my tutor, Dan, and my tutorial members who has supported my learning in Studio Air. My tutor has especially encouraged us to think outside of the norm, which has been a valuable lesson, and a skill that I will transfer to in my future classes. My tutorial members have also enabled me to experience the benefits of group work and have helped to expand my knowledge and abilities.


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Simitch, Andrea and Val Warke, The Language of Architecture: 26 Principles Every Architect Should Know. (United States of America: Rockport Publishers, 2014). Stoller-Conrad, Jessica, ‘Tree rings provide snapshots of Earth’s past climate’, NASA (2017) < https://climate.> [accessed 31 May 2018]. Tomas A. Altamirano and others ‘The conservation values of treey decay processes as a key driver structuring tree cavity nest webs in South American temperate rainforest’, Biodiversity and Conservation, 26.10 (2017), 2454-2469. Urdesign, ‘Marc Fornes’ Under Magnitude Installation’ (2017) < design/2017/01/26/marc-fornes-theverymany-under-magnitude/> [accessed 30 May 2018]. Victorian Native Seed, ‘Eucalyptus obliqua’ (2012) < http://www.victoriannativeseed.> [accessed 3 May 2018]. Winston, Anna ‘Architecture is not art says Patrik Schumacher in Venice Architecture Biennale rant’, Dezeen (2014) < https://www.> [accessed 31 May 2018]. Winston, Anna ‘Cauliflowers create moulds for “monster” stool by Studio Pasternak, Dezeen (2015) < https://www.> [accessed 31 May 2018]. Yarra Ranges Shire Council, ‘Eucalyptus macrorhyncha’ (2010) < Residents/Trees_Vegetation/Yarra_Ranges_Plant_Directory/Yarra_Ranges_Local_Plant_Directory/ Upper_Storey/Trees_5m/Eucalyptus_macrorhyncha> [accessed 2 May 2018]. Yarra Ranges Shire Council, ‘Eucalyptus viminalis’ (2010) <> [accessed 2 May 2018].


Images 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. south%20western%20NSW/Media/Html/Eucalyptus_camaldulensis.htm 10. 11. 12. * All other images belong to the author. * Video footage is recorded by Ariane Garay and author.



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