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A.0 Introduction 4 A.1 Design Futuring6 A1. 1 Case Study 1 A1. 2 Case Study 2

A.2 Design Computation12 A2. 1 Case Study 1 A2. 2 Case Study 2

A.3 Composition/Generation18 A3. 1 Case Study 1 A3. 2 Case Study 2

A.4 Conclusion 24 A.5 Learning outcomes 25 A.6 Appendix - Sketchbook26 Bibliography 30 

A.0 Introduction


Hello! I am Jieru. I am currently a third year architecture student. I was born in Xi’an, China. This is the third year I came to Melbourne. Before studying in the University of Melbourne, I have studied architecture in Wuhan University of Technology for one and a half year. Somehow it influences the ways how I think and study architecture. For me, architecture is a witness of time, engaging with people who use it and the surroundings, broadly, human and nature. In last semester, I have taken Digital Design and Fabrication as an elective, this is the first time I touched digitalization tools systematically, I was impressed by the power of computational software at the same time the limitation due to our material selection. Thus, I am excited to explore more in Studio Air.



“What we are interested in, though, is the idea of possible futures and using them as tools to better understand the present and to discuss the kind of future people want, and, of course, ones people do not want. [...] For us futures are not a destination or something to be strived for but a medium to aid imaginative thought-to speculate with.� - Anthony Dunne & Fiona Raby

A.1 Design Futuring


Design Futuring is to explore new possibilities of the relationships between human and nature and to create a multi-dimensional system to redirect the ideology of design. As the development of technology since industrialization, grabbing resources from planet with an insatiable appetite, we human push ourselves to a stage of dufuturing, specifically we are accelerating our future not only resources but our existence. Thus, according to Fry’s statements, a new signposting system should be developed, which designers take responsibility to the fundamental quality of design and design ethics, shifting the thinking towards democratic design1, rather than only focusing on the economical and cultural aspects. As designers, it is important to develop a clear sense that how to think design itself systematically and what design needs to be utilized in a particular way2. Design is to solve problems, however, it does not mean only design for current fixed problems, instead, should face to the ongoing challenges and the unforeseen future. Comparing to Fry’s statement of rethinking and redirecting design, Dunne and Raby develop a more specific methods, which is to precast the future conditions and speculative design as a critique to lead decision making3. To use design as the “world-shaping” power, designers need to think in an innovative way to generate the conception and production process with the advanced technology.

1 Tony Fry, Design Futuring: Stainability, Ethics and New Practice (Oxford: Berg, 2008), pp. 1-16. 2 Fry, p. 4. 3 Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby, Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction and Social Dreaming (MIT Press, 2013), pp. 1-9.



A1. 1 Case Study 1 Roofing for main sports facilities in the Munich Olympic Park, Frei Otto 1968–1972, Munich, Germany The roofing for the Munich Olympic park is one of the large-scale projects from Frei Otto, which allowed him to prove the actual advantages of tensile structures4. To achieve the transparent roof with possible light weight, normal wooden or concrete construction was out of question5. Frei Otto came up with a proposal of a tent-like roof with the landscape surrounded the stadium, which was at first refused by the jury because it seemed unfeasible. It was revolutionary at that time because the understanding of the nature of most construction material that only involves compression force and concomitant bending and buckling moment. As Fry’s statements, Frei Otto as architect takes response to the fundamental quality of structures and design, also thinking the possible future involving

the ideas into present by examining and exploring in his design. By experience study of tension, developing the workflow starting with a specific shape membrane (mostly based on curvatures) and generating the smallest possible surfaces within this given curvilinear boundary, Frei Otto formulated the theory of minimal surfaces (this roofing project also use this as basic rules), which solved the problem of dead loads of shell structures. With computing tools we can generate it easily, but at that time it faced extreme challenges. Moreover, it inspired many other projects such as Richard Rogers’ Millennium Dome. By thinking and exploring within a precast mind, Frei Otto developed a synthetic system which expand the material selection and structures in construction practice at that time, which inspires us to rethink the design process.

Fig. 1. Roof configuration entrance area, drawn by computer

Fig. 2. Main types of tensile structure

Fig. 3. Study and stress test model

4 Ludwig Glaeser, The work of Frei Otto (New York: The Musum of Mordern Art, 1972), pp.1-230 5 PLEXIGLAS, FLOATING AND TRANSPARENT: THE ROOF OF THE OLYMPIC STADIUM. < > [accessed 8 August, 2018].



Fig. 4. Test of assembly of tensile structure

Fig. 5. Roofing for main sports facilities in the Munich Olympic Park

Fig. 6. Roof details inside the main stadium



A1. 2 Case Study 2 Bloom, Do|SU Studio Architecture, California, 2011 Bloom is “a sun-tracking instrument indexing time and temperature, with a shape alluding to a woman’s Victorian-era under garment6. Stitching together material experimentation, structural innovation, and computational form and pattern making, “Bloom” achieved an environmentally responsible structure. It can be seen as an example of redefining facade aesthetics of speculative design. This project explores the new “smart” materials, speculating a new building technology of dynamic thermobimetal to the facade7. The form of “Bloom” can respond to temperature rise with surface shading and ventilating specific area under the shell. To achieve this, the designer creates a double-ruled surface of bimetal tiles with an interlocking aluminum frame system. The panels in different areas of the structure vary in order to increase the structural capability or riveted connections.

Fig. 7. Specific panel locations diagram

6 Doris Song, Bloom (2011).< >. [accessed 9 August 2018]. 7 Song, Bloom.



The shape of the twisted panel become the challenge of the process of digital design and fabrication in parametric design. On the way of exploring more possibilities to redirect design, the challenge of technology (like the generative design software to some designers) will come afterwards as we are examining under uncertainty, more or less. From the view of speculative design, this project tests the new material systems and performance for the possibility of the new era of facade aesthetics in a urban meaning. Although it seems trivial in the building technology, it will be tremendously influenced people on rethinking the materiality in design process. It also provides possibility for reducing the rate of defuturing. It can reduce the dependency of air conditioning and retard the hot island effect, which is the development of sustainability. This kind of material intelligence can be a possible mode in building technology in future.

Fig. 8. “Bloom” at night

Fig. 9. Digital modelling process of “Bloom”

Fig. 10. Thermal diagrams of metal panels

Fig. 11. Metal sheets curling diagram during temperature change

Fig. 12. “Bloom” surface changing during daytime CONCEPTUALIZATION


A.2 Design Computation


Design is a process where our response are needed when desired situation is changing to achieve defined outcomes9. As the transformation of information along the changing conditions which is not easy to demonstrate somehow, in other words, the complexity of design and the challenges people facing, the necessity of synthesis in design approaches has been identified10, which leads to an attempt to simplify this or speed up in response to the uncertainty during the process of design. In terms of the representing tendency, the development of computing become significantly involved in the process of design. Computation in design process in the field of architecture helps create the linkage between design decision making and fabricating, as well as the communication among designers, computers and engineers. In general, a “digital chain”11. Not rather than a tool to achieve the purely complex “free-from” geometry(can be a possible result), computational design is more like a predictive vision to redefine practice fitting in between the different contexts, which means it creates a symbiotic relationship linking the formulation of the design process and the developing technologies12. Specifically, computational design achieves the examination of building performance within its external conditions in advance, also through digital modelling and increasing the speed of prototype fabrication and optimization to test material properties, it reduces the unforeseen issues in construction and builds a more controllable system in production.

8 Kalay Yehuda E., Architecture’s New Media: Principle, Theories and Methods of Computer-Aided Design(Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004), p. 5. 9 Rivka Oxman and Robert Oxman, Theories of the Digital in Architecture (London; New York: Routledge, 2004), pp. 1-10. 10 Oxman and Oxman, p. 2. 11 Yehuda E., pp. 6-13.



A2. 1 Case Study 1 Island City Central Park (Grin Grin Park), Toyo Ito, Fukuoka, Japan 2002-2005 Located on the Hakata Bay, the Island City Park is a 190-meter-long structure sitting on the eastern part on the island. Based on the concept of merging into the surrounding landscape, the building is placed on a rise-up gentle slope from a lake to the centre of park with most of roof and internal space planting greenery13. Parametric design with the aid of computing can be viewed as the research and experimentation tool in this project. The threedimensional curvature of the roof was studied by using free-form models and set up parameters for structural requirements to analyze. After dozens of stimulations, the shape gradually arrived an optimum balance.

Moreover, comparing to Frei Ottoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s roofing project, the technology has far more developed from computerisation to computation, the contemporary design technique can help achieve the free-form shell with the material like concrete. In this project, the complex concrete form was molded on-site14. In the digital chain as Oxman states, prefabrication of the curvilinear framework with digitalized data help achieve to construct the complex form. Thus, computation is changing the material fabrication in construction methods in the future.

Computation shifts architectural design from seeking for a reasonable solution to seeking for a optimal solution, from limited outcomes to hundreds of possible outcomes with the superpower of computing. Using computation(parametric algorithm design) as a not only a complex free-form finding tool, but also taking advantages of computerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s data analysis to optimize the design, this project can be seen as a good example.

13 Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects, Change the Geometry to Change the Architecture(2006). < >. [accessed on 9 August 2018]. 14 Ito & Associates, Architects, Change the Geometry.



Fig. 13. Island Central Park

Fig. 14. Floor plan with ventilation among site.

Fig. 15. Form generation by changing parameters



A2. 2 Case Study 2 Guggenheim Helsinki Proposal, Gilles Restin, 2014

Fig. 16. Indivitual timber piece of roof forming structure

Fig. 17. Diagram of exploded structure



Fig. 18. Interior perspective of Guggenheim Heisinki

This Proposal is designed by Gilles Retsin for the new Guggenheim museum in Heisinki. The proposal is based on digital methodologies to design a carbonnegative building made with mostly recycled and low-grade timber15 In comparison of the Toyo Ito’s Island central park, the use of computation focuses on organizing construction process more efficiently rather than setting goals to generate the solutions of design. In specific, “a custom-made algorithm used to organize thousands of low-grade timber strands and posts16’, which is not common to use in construction. In this proposal, Ratsin explores the digital fabrication which is similar to the principle of current fabrication techniques, there is often a concern between the notion and the solution, or between conceivability and achievability in the production of computation17.

Not only in this proposal, Grills Retsin explores a more programmatic methods of using computational techniques in construction field. His exploration of discrete systems with repetitive units18, make it easier to construct the complex geometries, also much cheaper. The proposal for Guggenheim museum by Retsin was also based on the discrete elements to generate heterogeneous form. Although this proposal did not won the competition and cannot be locally built, it provides a possibility for production process in computational design in future with a more sustain methods.

15 Grills Retsin, Guggenheim Helsinki(2014). <>. [accessed 9 August 2018]. 16 Retsin, Guggenheim Helsinki. 17 Grills Retsin, ‘Discrete Assembly and Digital Materials in Architecture’, FABRICATION | Robotics: Design & Assembling, Vol.1(2016), pp. 143-155. <>.[accessed 9 August 2018]. 18 Retsin, ‘Discrete Assembly and Digital Materials in Architecture’, p.145.



â&#x20AC;&#x153;Generative design is a departure from the way that we have traditionally done design, but these technologies are not a threat, they are more like superpowers.â&#x20AC;? - Jeff Kowalski

A.3 Composition/Generation


There is a clear tendency to seek and exploring formal properties as the sources to order systems in architecture since last two decades19. At the junction to the new chapter on computation,the role of computers in design shifted from a tool of representing to a tool of generating. Architecture has been shifting from composition to generation. Generative design mimics the nature’s revolutionary approach to design20. It is based on generative design software, which generates all possible design solutions by inputting design goals along with a set of parameters, such as materials and manufacturing methods. In difference of typology optimizations, it can quickly test the workability of each iteration, which is of most importance in the thoughts of design futuring. For example, it helps designers to achieve the desired structure or more successful ones faster and more accurately by controlling of the parameters, which could reduce the material waste. Thus it helps the development of stainability. As Sean Ahlquist and Achim Menges defined, algorithmic allows the exploration of new ideas21 through its ability to infer new knowledge and to extend certain limits of human intellect22. There is a concern that releasing control to software rather than human creativity may put us at risk23. Thus when designers “have a sufficient understanding of algorithmic”, computation can become a true methods of design. Just as Jeff Kowalski (the chief technology officer of Autodesk) says, generative design software like the ‘superpower’, which allows built environments accommodate more changes. 19 Kostas Terzidis, ‘Algorithmic Design: A Paradigm Shift in Architecture?’, Digital Design Tool, 2004.201(2004), pp.201-107. < >, [accessed 9 August 2018]. 20 Generative Design (2018). < >, [accessed 9 August 2018]. 21 Peters Brady. ‘Computation Works: The Building of Algorithmic Thought’, Architectural Design, 83. 2(2013), pp.8-15. 22 Terzidis, p. 202. 23 Terzidis, p. 202.



A3. 1 Case Study 1 Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Herzog & de Meuron, Germany, 2006-2016 Elbphiharmonie is the concert hall in Hamburg designed by the Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre se Meuron with the auditoriumâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wall collaborating with Benjamin Koren and Yashuhia Toyota.As a landmark in city of Hamburg, it shows a harmonious coexistence containing the robust foundation and a futuristic structure sitting on top. Based on its roots, it transforms into a complex based on the algorithmic parametric design, especially the walls within the philharimonic hall with one million acoustically diffusive cells and each is different for either absorbing, reflecting or diffusing sound to achieve a balanced reverberation24. Benhajmin Koren developed an algorithm that produced 10000 panels each with a unique shape and pattern, mapping clearly aesthetic and acoustic specifications. In the generative design software, it could create each different cells based on the parameters25.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;It would be insane to do this by handâ&#x20AC;? as Koren demonstrates, which highlights the significance of parametric modelling and generative design software in the contemporary architecture. By generating parameters to fully control the possible solutions, it provides the design to achieve more unique design proposals. In order to stimulate the material performance, Toyota built a 1/10 model to conduct the actual asoustical experiments of the interior, which is significant to maintain the function optimally not rather than only at the level of solution optimally, which is a disadvantage of the generative design, which we may need to concern the use of generative tools in production process in future.

24 Elizabeth Stinson, What happens when algorithms design a concert hall? Stunning Elbphilharmonie (2017). <>. [accessed 10 August, 2018]. 25 Stinson, What happens.



Fig. 19. Construction is progress in the Philharmonic hall

Fig. 20. NURBS Cell Generation Parameters

Fig. 21. NURB Surface in Rhino

Fig. 22. Process of generating forms by changing parameters

Fig. 23. Optimal solution after generation

Fig. 24. Surface prefabrication



A3. 2 Case Study 2 Research Pavilion, ICD/ITKE, Stuttgart, Germany, 2012 ICD/ ITKE Pavilion is a research project that using the algorithmic methods to explore the new compose construction paradigm in architecture based on the analysis of biological creatures, in particular the material and morphological principles of arthropodsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; exoskeletons26. Through observation of the biological principles analyzed and abstracted, the viable design principle is transferred. By algorithmic thinking and setting up the parameters to generate geometry, computing tool with performance stimulation software can optimize the

fibre orientation and calculate the minimum use of material based on the previous data and material test. Then the winding motion path could be associated with the digital geometry model made by algorithmic parametric design27. In this project, through computation, particularly the generative design software collaborating with digital fabrication tools, the integration of form generation and performance stimulation and robotic manufacturing have been realized. It can be used in the building technology in future to improve the manufacturing accuracy and efficiency.

Figure. 25. Fibre orientation arrangement based on biomimetic study

26 ICD, ICD/ ITKE Research Pavilion (2012). <>. [accessed 10 August, 2018]


27 ICD, ICD/ ITKE Research Pavilion.


Fig. 26. Study of Biomimicry, script writing, form generation and robot fabrication process.

Fig. 27. ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion



A.4 Conclusion

At a new era facing challenges, we cannot only consider what happening now instead what will happen in future. In order to redirect design to a far more sustainable mode, we need to change our thinking of design. In order to reduce the rate of defuturing, designers need to think in an innovative way to generate the conception and production process with the advanced technology. Since last two decades, the power of computational technology with various changes cannot be ignored. The role of computing technology in design process shifted from the tool of representing to the tool of supporting even generating the logic of design(from computerisation to computation). Also the development of algorithmic parametric design recently let designers have more control of the design system, specifically, we can analyze, stimulate and generate our design based on the data information in computers. Thus, designers should use the computation as a â&#x20AC;&#x153;superpowerâ&#x20AC;? to design critically in order to speculate the future with more development of sustainability. 24


In a journey of learning different theories and researching the case studies, I started to consider the defuturing tendency that I thought â&#x20AC;&#x153;far more awayâ&#x20AC;? before. Before I think a good architecture or a good design is the one that can witness the change of time, in other word, exist or last for a long period of time. Now I gradually understand the importance of thinking speculatively. Although there are many designs aiming for a sustainable outcome, there is actually lose of controlling and generating to accommodate the unforeseen changes.

A.5 Learning outcomes

With little experience and practice of computation and algorithmic design, I started to learn with the basic rules and realize the advantages of computational tools toward architecture conceptualization especially there is a clear goal, no matter a more complex desired form or more challenging site context. I would like to learn computational tools to help myself think and design in a more logical way also exploring speculatively for more possibilities in architecture and design.



A.6 Appendix - Sketchbook

Offset curves I prefer the second iteration as it achieves density also show the geometry clearly.



Triangulation Algorithms I prefer the third iteration as it achieves density by generating the division numbers, also irregularity. And it is more organic rather than typical architectural composition. CONCEPTUALIZATION


OC Tree I prefer this iteration as its floating effect with a various dimensions of the abstract steps.



Contour and sectioning I havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t achieved really interesting iterations, the elevation of these two I prefer as their linear feeling of slicing.



Bibliography Brady, Peters ‘Computation Works: The Building of Algorithmic Thought’, Architectural Design, 83. 2(2013). Dunne, Anthony and Fiona Raby, Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction and Social Dreaming (MIT Press, 2013), 1-9. Fry, Tony, Design Futuring: Stainability, Ethics and New Practice (Oxford: Berg, 2008), 1-16. Generative Design (2018). < > [accessed 9 August 2018]. Glaeser, Ludwig, The work of Frei Otto (New York: The Musum of Mordern Art, 1972). ICD, ICD/ ITKE Research Pavilion (2012). <> [accessed 10 August 2018]. Ito, Toyo & Associates, Architects, Change the Geometry to Change the Architecture (2006). < > [accessed on 9 August 2018]. Oxman, Rivka and Robert Oxman, Theories of the Digital in Architecture (London; New York: Routledge, 2004), 1-10. PLEXIGLAS, FLOATING AND TRANSPARENT: THE ROOF OF THE OLYMPIC STADIUM. < > [accessed 8 August 2018]. Retsin,Grills ‘Discrete Assembly and Digital Materials in Architecture’, FABRICATION | Robotics: Design & Assembling, Vol.1(2016),143-155.<> [accessed 9 August 2018]. Retsin, Grills, Guggenheim Helsinki (2014). <> [accessed 9 August 2018]. Song, Doris, Bloom (2011). < > [accessed 9 August 2018]. Stinson, Elizabeth, What happens when algorithms design a concert hall? Stunning Elbphilharmonie (2017). <> [accessed 10 August 2018]. Terzidis, Kostas ‘Algorithmic Design: A Paradigm Shift in Architecture?’, Digital Design Tool, 2004.201(2004), 201107.< > [accessed 9 August 2018]. Yehuda E, Kalay., Architecture’s New Media: Principle, Theories and Methods of Computer-Aided Design (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004).



Image List Fig. 1-4. Glaeser Ludwig , The work of Frei Otto (New York: The Musum of Mordern Art, 1972). Fig. 5& Fig.6. Anna Winston, <>. [accessed 8 August 2018]. Fig. 7& Fig. 11-12. <> [accessed 8 August 2018]. Fig. 8-10. Doris Song, < > [accessed 9 August 2018]. Fig. 13, <> [accessed 9 August 2018]. Fig. 14 & 15, < Ito/3-1.htm> [accessed 9 August 2018]. Fig. 16-18, FlyingArchitecture, <> [accessed 9 August 2018]. Fig. 19-24, <> [accessed 10 August 2018]. Fig. 25-27, ICD/ ITKE Research Pavilion (2012). <> [accessed 10 August 2018].