JournalStructure Part I. Expression of Interest I.1. Case for innovation I.1.1. Architecture as a discourse I.1.2. Computing in architecture I.1.3. Parametric modelling I.1.4. Case for innovation conclusion I.2. Research project I.2.1. Scope of possibilities I.2.1.1 Input/Association/Output Matrix I.2.1.2 Reverse-engineered case-study I.2.1.3 Material effects I.2.1.4 Assembly methods I.2.2. Research project conclusion I.3. Expression of Interest I.4. Learning objectives and outcomes : interim Part II. Project proposal II.1. Project interpretation II.2. Project delivery II.3. Project presentation II.4. Project proposal conclusion Part III. Learning objectives and outcomes : final III.1. Personal background and learning III.2. Learning progress III.3. Learning outcomes III.4. Future work
I.1.1 Architecture as a discourse "The project is one of the most visionary since modernism and beyond. It pushes the limits of architecture, not just formally but, more importantly, socially, culturally, and technologically through the reinvention of the tall building.” – Tina di Carlo, assistant curator of architecture and design at the Museum for Modern Art (MoMA)
Power of Architecture. Designers should question the way the world proceeds and react in their proposal. Every intervention should have a purpose, a meaning or an intention. Not necessarily clear. In that sense, it is important for some practices to go forward and innovate. Innovate in their way of thinking the world, questioning his behaviour and designing his components. Try to make their own mark with their approach to every project. That makes architecture the ideal media communicate a message, a vision and intention. This gives the architecture the power of being iconic, to be a statement. Many architects have provided to cities a strong identity through their work. What is call now the Bilbao effect from the famous museum of Frank Gehry is not a new phenomenon. Sydney’s Opera House from Jørn Utzon has made a similar effect on Australia. More recently, project like the 226 National Stadium of Beijing from Herzog et DeMeuron, 2008 was the prime figure of the 2008 Olympics Games in China.
CCTV, OMA, construction in procress... (right picture) This tower isn’t yet finish to build and it’s already famous and iconic. OMA pushed a bit further yet his high quality architectural standard. They totally rethink the way to conceive skyscraper. In a race to reach the higher level, the project offers at the same time vertical and horizontal tower creating a loop of function. It clashes with the usual skyline and fully redefines the constantly changing Beijing’s silhouette. They innovate in their design but also in their construction technique to joint together these to vertical towers with the horizontal part. This innovative way of thinking the project make it famous and iconic. Is itpossible to achieve a similar result with the Wyndham gateway project ^
quote : oma.eu image : robertacucchiaro.wordpress.com
Maison du Spectacle Vivant This is a personal project realized in a studio context in 2011 at Laval University. This is a traditional creative process that could have been done with parametric modeling. The key concept of the design was to generate the shape using all the constraints and limitation of the site (i.e. maximum height, minimum recess, distance from the overpass, distance from the columns etc.) After the creation of this big bloc, the perforations in the skin follow the needs of lighting of the interior functions depending of the uses. The museum (that could possibly be the MSV) will stay at a conceptual phase, but the projected image of the big bloc of cheese would have create a massive precedent in Québec city. The architectural context of the province of Quebec is very conservative and don’t allow creative and funky construction especially in the old town of Québec. The style of the building would have been criticize by many people but would have had a huge impact on the culture and the general perception on architecture by the public.
I.1.2 Computing in architecture For the 1999 ArchiLab exhibition brief, Greg Lynn said :
â€œAnimation is a term that differs from, but is often confused with, motion. While motion implies movement and action, animation implies the evolution of a form and its shaping forces; it suggests animalism, animism, growth, actuation, vitality and virtuality. In its manifold implications, animation touches on many of architectureâ€™s most deeply embedded assumptions about its structure. What makes animation so problematic for architects is that they have maintained an ethics of statics in their discipline.â€? Digital architecture has the capacity (with the help of the computer) to generate an multitude of possible solutions (thinked or not by the designers) in a given frame of rules (decided by the designers). The designers have now the power of choosing the rules of the games and let the game play. After all, if not satisfied by the multiples results, he can change the rules and play again until you satisfied all your criteria or at less most of them. This new process of using the computer makes the architects closer to innovations, because they are able to get results that they are not able to conceive without the help of the computer. This technique can be useful for the gateway project to give the idea of dynamism and growth of the Wyndham city. It could be possible to build a whole discourse around the fast growth. The project of Greg Lynn was for a Port terminal project in New York which makes this competition entry more relevant because of its context : High flow of circulation / traffic of its surrounding and the gateway symbolic or significance related to the competition. How can it be possible to represent in the Wyndham gateway project ? To take some of Greg Lynn terms, what kind of forces drive the site and possibly drive the future gateway ?
Competition entry that was the first architectural project in history to use animation software for form generation. A series of ‘forces’ representing traffic and pedestrian flow were modeled using “Wavefront” software. Points, or particles, rendered here as spheres were then modeled with velocity and their changing paths were an index of site ‘forces’. Greg Lynn Form
quotes : glform.com, archilab.org images : glform.com
I.1.3 Parametric modelling Create a dynamic perception of movement with simple elements (in this case wire) could be a very nice approach to the gateway project due to the limited budget and its big effect. The project engages with the scripting cultures by using many field of expertise to complete the project. Mathematicians, Architects and scripters worked together from all around the world (Los Angeles, Québec, and Tel Aviv). Their “multi-cities” technique of work can be inspiring for the team work, because timetables are not always easy to coordinate.
N-Nature project is based on Riemann Zeta mathematical function which allows an absolute level of precision. The realization of the project wouldn’t be possible without the assistance of digital fabrications technique such as drilling with CNC machines. Engaging with the reality of the XXI century of communication Open Source Architecture based his practice on the huge amount of information generates by the surrounding environment.
Open Source Architecture (O-S-A) is an international architectural firm dedicated to the development of pioneering design research. Located in Montreal, Los Angeles, and Tel Aviv, O-S-A’s international nature is reflected in its business profile, integrating technologies and industries from partners around the world for the sake of architectural innovation. - Open Source Architecture R&D
“Once I received approximate measurements of the gallery space, I experimented with dozens of parameters that af ected the shape of the curves and the boundary locations where they were tethered. […] For me, it was a unique moment: physically entering a world that beforehand had only been virtually constructed through mathematical modeling and computer simulation.“ - Mosteig E., (2010), in The Newsmagazine of the Mathematical Association of America,
images and quote : o-s-a.com
I.2.1. Scope of possibilities Input/Association/Output Matrix
This is the step of my grasshopper exploration. I had no real goal in mind, it was just exploration. The first theme that I’ve chosen was folding in architecture. I’ve also tried to fold and image with the face a Stanislav with a definition that I’ve found on a forum. Then, I’ve tried in a straight forward way to fold a surface to reproduce the effect of a cube. In the between of this phase I found some strange layout of flipped surfaces. It looks nice, but still not really relevant to folding. After some experimentation, I changed to try to loft surfaces together exploring the fold in a little bit less linear way of application (green try). The white circles at the bottom right of the next page are a bit more concluding. It is the arbitrary points definition where I’ve added a move component. And to spice up the definition I tried to make the circles rotate. It looks nice for me and it is also capturing a moment in time. It is a frozen movement. You can feel in the last one the intention of every coin to flip in the air.
Input/Association/Output Matrix (part II)
This week I’ve tried to create my own definition from scratch. The main goal was to generate some kind of Gaudian columns (or at least look alike) following different mathematical functions. Different shapes located on different height and linked to a sin function lofted together (for example). The outcomes were surface so I divided them into nurbs curves for an easier graphic representation. Some of the outputs are a little too amplified for me. Some of them are nice (8,9 and 17,18) because you can really feel the torsion in the final result of the column. Number 12 looks like dropping liquid or blowing gas. The general impression of the image is interesting but I’ve struggled a bit to turn them into a realistic application of it. I’m generally satisfied of this week exploration, even if it is not really a guided shape research.
As a team, we decided to change from folding to the general theme of visual perception. It is so much more relevant in the context of the gateway project. The localization next to and highway gives us a audience moving at approximately 100km per hour. The installation will possibly be experimental for the drivers and therefor will give a good and strong impression of the Wyndham city. Visual perception is large, we can explore it in many ways like: dynamism, motion, illusion, false perspective, real perspective, solid-void rhythm and much more.
REVERSE-ENGINEERED CASESTUDY BANQ restaurant - NADAAA The BANQ restaurant seams to match perfectly with our want to generate a shape that feels gives an impression of movement. The realization of this project is also very nice, because it is made of multiples planar surface placed in sequence to give the illusion of a solid mass suspended to the ceiling. The ‘’dripping like’’ wood panels create a warm atmosphere in the restaurant. Perhaps it is not the exact same expression of materiality that we would will to have for the gateway. Will still try the exploration model in plywood because it a material that Romy and I love a lot and it will turn into good looking pictures.
Pushing the reverse-engineered project
This is where tensions begin to grow between Romy and I. The shapes generate at the right are the result of a random function, so it is impossible to have any king on control on the outcome. Our only way of gaging which outputs to choose is by deciding if we like or not the result based on the curves layout. We will continue with this definition because we are in an advanced stage of the project and I really donâ€™t want to deal with the team overstressed attitude about the mi-semester submission. The fablab file must be done for Sunday to give them time to cut it with the laser cutter. The assembly of the model will
First exploration model The model in plywood was cut without any problem, but we’ve also wanted to create a second model in polypropylene translucid (1.9mm). The fablab made a mistake and give us too thin (barely .9mm) sheet of polypropylene so we cannot put it in the base so we just have 1 model. We also haven’t planned so much burned trace on the back side of the plywood model. We were expected the edge to be burn but not the back… The model in itself has not been long to assembly. All the fins were numbered and it was a question of a couple of minutes to glue the base layer by layer. Funny fact, the base is the perfect case to care around all the fins in a compact format. The base has 3 different patterns at the ground to create different effects but at the end the variation of density and curvature between those patterns make no perceivable difference. With this model we wanted to explore the possibly offered by the technique. The frame by frame technique is just a sequence of planar elements to give the impression at the approach of a massive solid. We explore the model various angle. We found nice effects through the pictures that we’ve taken such as: perceived as a monolith, as a sequence, shade and light, as a movement and through a movement. The media of the video was useful to catch the movement of the light or the movement of the model. We will have to change the definition to get more control on the form and to achieve the criteria (that we have to define soon…). The proportions of the model are not good. It gives us good looking videos and pictures, but these are none-realistic effects for an observer point of view driving at 100km/h. The materiality of the model also has been criticized by Stanislav (which I agree). The plywood with the burn edge doesn’t reflect our real intention of materiality. We haven’t think of the materiality… maybe for next week.
For the full video and a lot more pictures type : https://vimeo.com/40643796
I.3. Expression of Interest
For the full video and a lot more pictures type : https://vimeo.com/41035800
Feedbacks Jury’s feedbacks after the presentation -Where to from here? -How is it going to be on site? -What drives the curves? -What dictates where point attractors are? -Site rules. What is it on the site that will affect point attractors? -Fantastic technique. But what are you trying to do with? -Just look amazing? -How does it engage with people + brief? - What drives the design and how does it reflect the city? - Make a Wyndham Criteria. - Find an application for the design. I agree that (as a team) we have to adapt the EOI – first phase – model to the actual reality of the site of Wyndham city, but at a certain point I don’t know if the shape justification has to be so deep. We define our criteria, we achieve must of them with the last model. What’s drive the shape ? euh… our criteria !?! This is design, irhgt? Have we a part of latitude where the public can accept that, the designer find the client’s project aesthetically beautiful? There are some explanations and discussions to have with the tutors to guide the next phase…
WHAT’S NEXT ?
II. Project Proposal II.1. Project interpretation
at work. It was difficult to restart a new creative process with existing principles and concepts. A lot of questions were asked to understand what was possible to do with our technique and how the work can evolve. How can the project go further? It was hard to process the questions and the interrogations of the jury about our technique. After a couple of days of thinking, we get it and we understand that the previous argumentation compare to the project presented â€œoverclaimâ€? the idea of motion. At the same time the project has to respond to the proposed site of the competition. The first path followed was to analyze in and abstract way what was a new generic suburb.( We assume that Wyndham city is a new generic suburb. ) The archetype of the house quickly arrives in the discussion. The suburb has a whole composes of a single element multiply a thousand time with simple and subtle modification was restraint as a good technique to illustrate the suburb. It is also good to represent the idea of the community in which Wyndham council gives a lot of importance. How can the project be critical about the sprawling suburb in a way that people can get their own interpretation of the result? The journey of a suburban resident was explored. People wake up in the morning in their little individual house, take their car, go to work in town, take their car to return home and sleep. Exploration of this theme (see right illustration) How can we be critical about this without be to linear ?
Diagram representing a typical journey Suburd, Car, City (Work), Car, Suburb
Exploration of merging typical form
Still trying to find a good and solid idea, the visual perception team meditate about the general concept of gateway. What is a gateway, what are these typical characteristics? Some precedents were find such as the St-Louis Gateway Arch design by Mr. Eero Saarinen (top-right). The arch is structurally stable, it offer a span that can easily go across an highway. To push the movement further, mix with the idea of arch make to project goes from one side of the Princes freeway to the other side passing over the road to celebrate the threshold. With the deadline approaching and still without any tangible or positive ideas, we get into a strange mental skid with the idea of Architecture as a symbol (Mr Robert Venturi, see Venturiâ€™s Duck at your middle-right). Playing with the name of Wyndham City (misspelled) (see bottom-right), we hopelessly try to get a sparkle that can lead us to a project.
Arch image : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:St_Louis_Gateway_Arch.jpgDuck image : http://rchitectur.com/archives/514
II.2. Project delivery
Searching for information on Wyndham City, we unexpectedly found that the word Werribee (Werribee River is one of the main feature of the city) is an aboriginal word that means “Spine” or “Backbone”. That came from the shape of the river and the shape of the valley. That was the sparkle that I need to get motivated and to feel a little bit optimistic for the rest of the project and his future development. Many definitions were made plying with all that we can previously think; a spine with an arch, without an arch, with different base component etc. The matrix on the right page shows a few samples of those tries. Rotate, scale, flip and orient were the basic transformation options used to generate the final form. The idea is to simulate the flux of the cars on the highway and used these forces to influences the size and orientation of the structure and the base component of the installation.
II.3. Project presentation
For the full video and a lot more pictures type : https://vimeo.com/42732397
II.4. Project proposal conclusion
Feedbacks - The team takes good and sensible decisions - Some important stuff were left behind (compared to previous EOI proposal) I- Experience doesnâ€™t change as much as the first previous model - Proportion of the structural core versus the fines is too small to be dramatic - The volume create in the first model would be important to keep in the next stage - Try to include all three models in further development. - Perfect structure for Jurassic Park - It looks like a dinosaur - Look at what you lose and go back - Be careful to not repeat the same stuff over and over during your presentation (it could have been shorter) - Look at some tensigrity principles Thanks to the jury who was really constructive and relevant in their comments. We may have been too much conservative in the proportion of the structure (scare to be too crazy and out of dimensions) but at the end we should have been much bigger. The feeling of gateway and monumentality of the last models should be kept in a next stage of development. He simple gesture should be think as a volume creates by a sequence of element much more like the EOI model. I have read a little bit more about the tensigrity principles and it should definitely be included in the structural schema of the project.
Project presented for EOI phase
‘‘This would be perfect if it was a gateway for the Jurassic Park.” - Tim Schork. 2012
III. Learning objectives and outcomes : final
III.1. Personal background and learning The digital discourse at Laval University is not really developed but I was curious to try it. I was interested by the subject but I have read about it in a very superficial way. I went to a seminar last year (Rhino + Grasshopper) and I’ve tried to use Rhino for some project but quickly abort the idea to return to sketchup whom I know better. So I was really enthusiasm at the beginning of the semester to know that I would be forced to engage with this branch of architecture. For an unknown reason, I have decided to choose 2 studio subject during the semester (Architecture 3 and Landscape studio 3) which I regret after all because I couldn’t get engage as much as a wanted in both subjects. Still, the basic that I learn in rhino during the first weeks were useful for the landscape studio. I am now sure to use rhino for my upcoming projects. III.2. Learning progress First, I was “afraid” of the digital architecture. This fear came of the misunderstanding of the place of the computer in the computational design process. Like many people I thought that the designer would have lost the control of the design. Through many readings, I understand the dialogue between the designer, his tools and the power of calculation of the computer. I also understand how architects can still draw sketches and use computational design. The discovery of new ways of thinking and designing through computer (the puzzle making, the problem solving, rules or criteria giving) helped me to open my mind. The awareness of finding way to fabricate in an innovative way through computer excites me. It opens my eye, allows me to think in function of those new tool and I like it a lot.
III.3. Learning outcomes With a step back, I am generally satisfied of the outcomes of this semester regarding the time invested in this subject. (The 2 studios semester was a mistake). The teamwork has restricted the expected exploration/creation. Scared to not present something, the team did not take enough much time to explore formally and explore the possibilities offer by grasshopper. Also, the fact that not all the member of the team were on the same level of fluency with computer has put a lot of pressure on me and I have dislike that. I am a bit disappointed of the final outcome if I analyze it as an â€œinnovativeâ€? way of designing or thinking. The way that the project was designed was, to my point of view, conservative, traditional and shy. It could have been pushed so much further.
III.4. Future work The digital/computational design enchants and seduces me in his aesthetic and conceptual way of conceiving a project but I am still skeptical of the direct application on a building scale construction. The conservatism of the construction fields in North America harms the innovation in architecture. The constraints of having straight floors and standards material or furniture to occupy those organic spaces let me ambivalent. The power of the modeling software is very interesting to generate some organic or unusual form. It is stimulating to take conscience of the control that a designer can reach through those new tools. The use of digital fabrication is something that I will really wanted to pushed further once back home. The Architecture School has a CNC cutter that allows us to cut plywood of 18mm of thickness. That possibility can give me the opportunity to try and explore some digital technique at furniture scale. If I am still skeptical of the use of digital design at a large scale, I really think that it can help to turn a normal small residential project into a very unique creation. FaĂ§ades, railing, ceiling, stairs, all these elements can be enriched with computational features (ornementation).