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Digital Design - Module 01 Semester 1, 2019 Daniel Ji

1003911 Shiqi Tang Studio 31

Week One

Reading: Zeara Polo, A. 2010. Between Ideas and Matters.

According to Zeara-Polo, the diagram does not play a representational role in the design process but provides an organisational and can have a performative quality depending on how it is deployed. Explain how Diagram is different from Signs and Symbols?

According to Charles Pierce, signs such as icons are material expressions of the object that they are attempting to represent. They mimic the form and functionality of the object, but not the content it is trying to represent. Additional information is necessary to be able to completely understand these arbitrary signs and symbols upon first glance. Diagrams on the other hand, according to Zeara-Polo, mediate the distance between idea and form on a more organisational level. Concepts are ideas that we are not able to see, and we “can only conceptualise what we can see”. Diagrams are a means to represent this information, ranging from space and matter to sensations and affects. Zeara-Polo defines a diagrams as “a tool that describes relationships and prescribes performances in space”. Although both diagrams and signs are both tools to graphically represent information, diagrams tend to represent more of a network of information, unlike signs which usually only represent one idea.


Week One

Precedent Analysis




1. The shape of the pavilion is based on a rectangular box with three ellipsoids taken out of it. 2. By boolean difference, the ellipsoids can be removed from the box to create the massing. 3. With Google Earth, surroudings are located and modelled to relative accuracy.

Using the diagrams from architectural drawings to figure out where the ellipsoids were located, the corresponding shapes were placed in their location. This modelling process was quite simple, but this appears to be the essence surrounding the pavilion.


Week Two

Reading: Hertzberger H. 2005. The in-between and The Habitable Space Between Things, from Lessons for Students in Architecture. Herzberger discusses how design should not be extreme in its functionality. Use your precedent study to explain how the pavilion allows for an appropriation of use.

Hertzberger describes buildings as instruments, rather than apparatus, meaning that buildings can have many different interpretation instead of just attempting to represent one idea. He argues that when designers are specifically trying to achieve a certain functionality, it will only function the way it has been designed to. In essence, this is not designing for humans, as human nature is not always predictable and robust. The pavilion I am studying, the Radix, expresses this idea in its simplicity of form. The whole concept surrounding the pavilion is the idea of suggestion. The shapes and gaps of the massing do not directly tell the user where the entrance is, nor do the steps by the waterfront with the overhanging shelter notify an area to sit. Because of the open-endedness of the design, visitors aren’t told how the pavilion functions, but rather it is up to their interpretation of the space, and how they decide to use it.


Week Two


Radix - Aires Mateus The Radix is located in Biennale, Venice. It was a temporary pavilion to combine historical awareness and sensitivity with modern technology. Radix in Latin means root, as the pavilion is anchored on three points, with one overhanging the canal. The voids within the solids was the main focus of the designer. They are not representing nothingness, but they rather represent a chance for development. In the case for circulation, they represent the spaces in which people can occupy. By removing pieces of a building, it allows for the opportunity of engagement. Although the materiality of the ground does not change, the absence of the solid gives the user the experience of a pseudo entrance, enclosing the sense of privacy within the rectangular block. The ribs, although mainly structural, help to reinforce the difference in atmosphere. The smaller ellipsoid has its ribs directing inwards, while the other two are directed outwards.


Week Two Diagrams

Solids and Ribs


Zoning Private


Voids and Atmosphere Direction of Flow 2m

Density Low


Artificial Boundary

Hotspots // Gathering Points

Circulation Diagram

Threshold Diagram

The empty spaces within the structure help to define the flow of people, while the difference in height (in both ground and ceiling) determine where people are more likely to gather around.

The solids helps to define an artificial threshold that defines the entrance into the pavilion. The sizes and direction of the voids determine the feeling within each of them, each acting as a separate entity.




Dimensions of the Radix, detailed measurements allows for accurate location of where everything goes rather than just relying on purely sight.

The location of the Radix was located on Google Earth, setting the date back to 2012 as it was only temporary. The surrounding was modelled based on other pictures of the pavilion. This step was important as the water and the steps play a crucial role in the circulation and threshold.


The ribbing was made by dividing the ellipsoid into 36 equal parts. This step was important, as it is a visible component that defines the inside of the pavilion.

Appendix Process

The two main ways I wanted to split the pavilion was: 1. In half. This was done by creating a plane and intersecting it with the pavilion. This separation was made at the height of 2 metres, so I can see how human height might interfere with circulation. 2. Interior and exterior. The designer wanted to look at how voids and solids could work together. So the separation between these two would mean I can analyse both at separately.

The lines shown in the diagrams were done by first drawing out the lines in a plan view, then projecting these lines three dimensionally onto the base of the model. This was then exported in isometric view into Illustrator to adjust line weights and colours.





These were the original plan for the two diagrams. Although fundamentally they represent the same information, these diagrams do not graphically represent the information well enough.

Depth was given to the ground to show that the steps play an important role. Arrows were added to the circulation diagram to make it more clear that they were movement lines. Information on the threshold diagram was moved around to better represent the information on their respective layers.


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