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architecture design studio justine 2

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“Architecture, then, as discourse, discipline, and form, operates at the

intersection of power,

relations of production, culture, and representation and is instrumental to the construction of our identities and our differences, to shaping how we know the world.”

Dutton, T A and Lian Hurst M (1996) ‘Reconstructing Architecture: Critical Discourse and Social Practices’, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, p.1

table of contents INTRODUCTION 6

A.1. DESIGN FUTURING 10 design precedents 14 energy technology research: peizoelectricity 22


A.2. DESIGN COMPUTATION 24 design computation 26 design precedents 28 A.3. COMPOSITION/GENERATION 32 design precedents 36 A.4. CONCLUSION 42 A.5. LEARNING OUTCOMES 44 A.6. APPENDIX - ALGORITHMIC SKETCHES 46 REFERENCES 48



design precedent 60 B.2. CASE STUDY 1.0 62 design precedent 64 species 66 matrix of iterations 68 successful outcomes 72 B.3. CASE STUDY 2.0 74 the truth about ornament 76 design precedent 78 reverse engineering explorations 80 conclusion 88

B.4. TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENT 90 trial 01 92 trial 02 93 trial 03 94 trial 04 95 matrix of iterations 96 B.5. TECHNIQUE: PROTOTYPES 102 B.6. TECHNIQUE: PROPOSAL 106 design proposal 108







C.1. DESIGN CONCEPT 118 C.2. TECTONIC ELEMENTS 136 1:10 prototype model 138 1:25 site model 142 C.3. FINAL MODEL 144 1:20 connection detail model 146







an introduction

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Profile: The offspring of two Polish migrants, who exposed me to the idea of a bigger world outside of my own, through travel from a very young age. I remember wandering the streets of Krakow and being transported back to a time and place completely different to my own, and then wondering why Melbourne was not the same. Why didn’t we have the same beauty and history back home? The older I grew, the more captivated I became by how a city’s narrative is conveyed through its urban fabric. Apart from architecture and travel, I also have a thing for fonts, colours, patterns, and Photoshop.Throughout my teen years I was regularly sent MySpace profile pic edit requests. Education Six years at McKinnon Secondary College, where I first began to develop Photoshop skills through subjects such as Studio Arts and Visual Communication & Design. Two years of a Melbourne Arts degree, during which I completed Virtual Environments as my first year breadth subject, and this was my first exposure to 3D modelling through SketchUp. Perhaps unsurprisingly, my breadth was the only subject I really looked forward to. Currently in my third year of Bachelor of Environments at Melbourne. With the prospect of an actual career coming out of architecture, my perspective on university and life in general completely changed. Throughout my two years so far, I have covered everything from architectural history, to engineering and construction, and finally urban design and sustainability. History subjects taught me the theory and principles I needed to know, to help inform and shape my own design methods in my studios. Construction subjects brought me back to reality by teaching me the logics of construction in the industry, and emphasised for me the need for a multidisciplinary approach to design. Work Experience In 2013, I travelled to Shanghai, China and completed a month-long internship with Michael Bradley Architecture. It was probably one of the scariest things I have ever embarked on - I knew no one, nor the language or the social etiquette, which resulted in a bit of a culture clash at the beginning. During my internship, I worked on several projects; the main one being a ClubMed Resort Project on Hainan Island where I was involved in the prepartion of presentation drawings and a SketchUp site model for the inital client meeting. I left China with not only industry experience, but connections and a life experience that would inspire me to be part of something bigger. Upon returning to Australia, I realised I was obsessed with travelling, meeting new people, and immersing myself in new cultures. I love the idea of integrating my love for travel and cultures with my appreciation for creative design and its narrative potential. So that’s me so far.

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A.1. Design Futuring

Through our anthropocentric mode of habitation, the human race has unwittingly created a “defuturing condition of unsustainability”, where we cannot be expected, “ en masse ”, to have a future. And even now, as the damaging consequences of our humancentredness on the planet’s ecology ever increases, we fail to recognise or appropriately redirect our destructive tendencies, and instead sacrifice the future to sustain our excessive presence. Design futuring, as a practice, aims to address the socio-political and ecological concerns of unsustainability, by recognising the role of design in shaping the world we live in. Through architecture’s medium, we can construct a knowledge, a political act that “operates at the intersection of power” and has the capacity to negate forms of actions and institutions that defuture from our existence. There is a gap between requiring immediate action, and the current availablity of a means to create changes globally that would enable humans and all that they rely upon to be sustained. But through the medium of design, we have a fighting chance to instigate the change that is needed. Lately, design has become too triviliased, too regularised; it has been “materially gutted” and reduced to the simple elements of appearance and style. In order to make good decisions, we require the people making them to be well-informed. A clear sense of design and its ability to mobilise change is required to slow down the rate of defuturing, and a method of achieving these goals is by redirecting design towards more sustainable modes of planetary habitation.

Source: Fry, Tony (2008). Design Futuring: Sustainability, Ethics and New Practice (Oxford: Berg), pp. 1–16

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design precedent/01

pivot The Land Art Generator Initiative is a competition that brings together the disciplines of art, architecture, landscape architecture, science, and engineering, to produce a sculptural art piece in an effort to educate the public about sustainability with clean energy production that can be fed into the electrical grid at a utility scale. ‘Pivot’ is the third place winning entry in the 2012 LAGI competition that I was particularly drawn to, initally because of it’s captivating layout and presentation. However, after reading the brief, I was taken by it’s simple, innovative design solution, and unique energy harvesting techniques. The strength of the design proposal lies in creating a solution that, despite rising sea levels and sinking landfill, will persist into the future as it floats upon the water. In doing so, visitors become engaged and can physically experience the degradation occuring at the site. As the visitors transfer from land to the pivot structure, the experience becomes a choreographed performance in which the wind, visitors, and tides become the dancers; leading to a greater appreciation of the celestrial forces that guide these natural processes. Finally, the light-weight, flexible, non-toxic, transulcent, heat resistant, reflective, aluminium coated fabric exploits the use of a piezoelectric technology in which energy is captured from nature via wind vibration. Despite the technical innovation, I feel like the proposal compromises on aesthetic qualities, with the final design taking on the form of a very ordinary shape, which clearly lacks an extensive form-making exploration process. I believe this aspect could have been strengthened to create a more powerful final proposal. Source: Smith B and Hu V (2012) ‘Pivot’, Land Art Generator Initivative, New York, accessed 08 March 2014 <>

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design precedent/02

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fluent-fields A second entry which caught my eye was Fluent-Fields. I was drawn to the beautiful presentation and composition of the proposal, which, from inital observation of the drawings, I assumed to suggest something along the lines of light and movement exploration. In a similar vein to pivot, Fluent-fields creates an innovative solution to energy production by maximising the potential of integrating two mainstream modes of energy harvesting solar and wind. The proposal takes the form of a sinuous web of tensile structure, composed of bent steel ribbing, steel cables, and modular concrete footings. It is designed to generate sun and wind energy via the millions of thin photovoltaic film strips embedded within panels installed along the web of cables within the structure, that spin as wind passes through the site. To maximise the efficiency of solar energy production, the proposal exploits the use of two types of PV film - Thin Film Non-Silicon Photovoltaics and Thin Film Dye Sensitive Photovoltaics. The higher efficiency of the non-silicon photovoltaics rationalises their south-facing positioning at the uppermost areas of the structure to obtain maximum solar radiation while simultaneously providing shade for the interior or the structure. The transparency of the Dye Sensitive Photovoltaics for the remainder of the structure will help maintain visual connections between indoors and outdoors while continuing to generate energy. In addition to the solar energy, the structure will maximise the opportunities the site presents for wind energy harvesting, but at a smaller scale. As each mini panel within the tensile cable structure is mounted to an energy hinge, it will enable the panels to move backwards and forwards in response to passing winds, which will not only create another source of clean energy, but also a visual stimulant for visitors as a colourful wall of motion. I feel this entry had a stronger focus towards the form making process, which translates well into their aims for the proposal.

Source: Jenkin P, Szawiola M, Thorson E (2012) â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Fluent-Fieldsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; ,Land Art Generator Initivative, New York, accessed 15 March 2014, < E5M8P031/# >

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design precedent/03


Pavilion For their entry for the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, China, Copehagen-based Bjarke Ingles Group took what was core to Copenhagen city - the bike, and the harbour - and combined these elements to produce an interactive experience for all visitors. While this project does not integrate the use of renewable energy technologies, I chose it as my third precedent because I found it to be somewhat relevant to my own brief, with attributes that can inspire and contribute to my own design. Pollution as been problematic for Shanghai with the rise of heavy motor traffic and the car as the ultimate symbol of wealth. At the Danish Pavilion, the bike is relaunched as a symbol of modern lifestyle and sustainability by creating an exhibition that can be viewed only by walking, or via the city bikes provided solely for this reason. Guests can cycle, or walk, throughout the spiral-shaped pavilion, viewing the exhibits, that are a showcase of the Danish lifestyle, at their own speed and leisure before making their way into the heart of the pavilion where a Harbour Pool lies. As children dapple their feet in the water and play, they are watched over by The Little Mermaid statue, Copenhagen’s most iconic sculpture. The people of Shanghai can experience the benefits of a clean harbour in a sustainabily oriented city and hopefully become inspired to make a change in their own city. Source: Dave (2010) ‘The Danish Pavilion for Expo 2010 by Bjarke Ingels Group’, Contemporist, accessed 24 March 2014, < the-danish-pavilion-for-expo-2010-by-bjarke-ingels-group/>

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energy technology research

energy technology research

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Harvesting Human Movementâ&#x20AC;?

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peizoelectricity what is it? I am interested in the idea of using human movement to generate energy, as a way of encouraging more people to visit my site. As visitors learn more about the unique harvesting methods, not only will they be inspired to become more engaged the site, but they will also develop a better appreciation of renewable energy sources and their benefits in working towards a goal of sustainability. I am inspired by the way the pivot entry for LAGI 2012 integrated peizoelectric harvesting methods into their design in a subtle and modest way, such that the visitors may not even realise their contribution to energy generation, mirroring much of the populationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s oblivion to their contribution to the carbon footprint of this world. This ingenious approach has inspired me to exploit all opportunities, at the my site and within my design, to integrate renewable technology systems with an artful execution.

Piezoelectricity is an electrical energy produced from mechanical pressures (such as walking). As pressure is applied to an object, it produces both a negative and positive charge (on the expanded and compressed side, respectively), which, once relieved, carries and accumulates the electrical charge in certain solid materials (crystals and ceramics).

existing use

Currently, it is most used in applications for the production and detection of sound, generation of high voltages and electronic frequency generation; as well as in scientific instruments and more common applications such as the cigarette lighters and push-start propane barbecues.

examples In 2008, a Railway Company in Japan installed a piezoelectric technology in the form of floor pads at ticketing gates at a station, as part of an ongoing experiment to make trains more energy-efficient. The experiment was a follow-up of a similar one conducted in 2006, and was used to test improvements in power generation and capacity, along with material durability. The electricity generate from the floor is used to power the light facilities as well as the automatic ticket gates. Source: Trimarchi, M (2008) â&#x20AC;&#x153;Can house music solve the energy crisis?â&#x20AC;? ,, accessed 12 March 2014, <> Background Image Source: < arcs2_%28cropped%29.jpg>

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Having abandoned the discourse of style, the architecture of modern times is characterised by its capacity to take advantage of the specific achievements of that same modernity: the innovations offered it by present-day science and technology - Ignasi de Sola Morales


What is computation?

While computerisation has always played a large role in storing, manipulating and realising an architect’s already conceptualised idea, computation, a method which favours the use of computers as a design tool, is a practise that is currently quite limited. The architects of today’s Information Age are on the precipice of a new era in architectural design. Just as Gustave’s Eiffel Tower did for the Industrial Age, the ubiquity of digital technologies are changing the face of architectural practice in ways that could have never been anticipated. The freedom granted by a system driven by “topological, non-Euclidean geometric space, kinetic and dynamic systems, and genetic algorithms” is quickly gaining momentum, as it gives birth to a new dimension of architectural design aided by the creative potential of digital medias that promise new and exciting possiblities. Today’s digitally driven ‘avant-garde’ architecture includes a multiplicity of approaches, and is no longer constrained by the overriding principles of a single monolithic movement as architecture used to be in the past. However, while contemporary architecture may appear to reject the notions of a structural typology, or historical style or framework, it remains as ideologically and conceptually motivated as many of the ground-breaking precedents responsible for establishing a style or fashion of architecture before it. When Baroque first broke the conventions of traditional Christian architecture, it set a new standard for beauty and proportions in architecture. But what sets today’s contemporary approach to building design apart is the representational technology that inspires new discourses and waves of thought.

At the centre of form origination and transformation in digital architectures is the notion of topology; which, by definition, suggests a study of geometric forms that remain invariant and dynamic under certain conditions. This introduces a fourth dimension into architecture, where the constructs become encoded with qualitative and quantitative data necessary for all stages, starting with design and analysis right through to fabrication and construction. As form is generated from contemplation of pre-determined parameters it permits a degree of novelty in the design of complex and organically generated outcomes. The process of ‘form-finding’, as opposed to ‘form-making’ becomes a product of the inherent qualities which exist entirely within the context of a given architectural project. The most appealing aspect of topology is perhaps its capacity to redefine conventional notions about spatial boundaries within architecture, for example, blurring the lines between what could be considered ‘interior’ and ‘exterior’. In order to achieve these previously inconceivable geometries, digital modelling softwares (such as Rhinoceros) use an algorithmic model known as NonUniform Rational B-Splines (NURBS), which result in smooth curves and surfaces. NURBS curves can almost single-handedly take the blame for changing the face of architecture, by offering a shift from the limits of traditional Euclidean geometry by exploring beyond their initial form. NURBs were first used in the 1950s by engineers, to precisely model and represent the freeform surfaces of ship hulls, aerospace exterior surfaces, and car bodies. The taking of inspiration from other industries is nothing new; architects have always pushed the boundaries of their discipline through appropriating materials, methods, and processes, for the sake of innovation.

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The control points that govern a given NURBs curve or surface permit a degree of flexibility, as they behave as a rubber band that can be pushed and pulled to apply translations and transformations. NURBs surfaces are constructed using a series of parameters that are given values to generate a multiplicity of configurations. The use of mathematical equations can also help to describe relationships between objects, as well as the objects’ behaviour under certain transformations. Figure 01 represents my own explorations in Rhino 5 where I created a single NURBs curves, and then superimposed a second, slightly offset curve above the original curve. I then used the Loft function in Rhino to produce a surface from the two curves. With the aid of a range of other functions, I was then able to create a cladding by offsetting the loft, and then project a pattern onto the cladding which I could then convert into a stencil for the external cladding by splitting the surface and cutting away the holes.

the ability to define, determine and reconfigure geometrical relationships is of particular value Burry, M (1999) ‘Paramorph’, Stephen Perella (ed.), AD Profile 141: Hypersurface Architecture 11. London: Academic Editions

Source: Kolarevic, B (2003) ‘Architecture in the Digital Age: Design and Manufacturing’, New York; London: Spon Press, p 3 Source: Foley, van Dam, Feiner & Hughes (1996) ‘Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice’, section 11.2, Addison-Wesley (2nd ed.).

By embracing non-linearity, indeterminacy and emergence, the techniques of the new digital architecture challenge conventions for stable design conceptualisation and first order logic that founds mainstream comprehension of the computational design tools used for architectural production. Instead, architects are now required to explicity acknowledge the unpredictable and the unexpected. A parametric approach can change the nature and established hierarchies of the building industry as the focus of design is shifted from the specific shape to the sequence of guiding parametric equations and principles as specified. By rejecting the fixed solutions of an archaic architecture, the doors to the exploration of infinitely variable potentials are opened up.

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design precedent/01



Preston Scott Cohen believes architectural predicaments help generate the strange forms that feed the intellectual growth of architecture. But in todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Information Age, computeraided design has led to a compromise in the art of creative form-making. A design needs to be guided by a problem. For Cohen, it was the absence of a torus. I chose the Torus House (2001) as a precedent because for me, it is one of the earliest examples that truly epitomise the essence of computergenerated outcomes. It appears as a formal struggle between parameter driven geometric design and traditional Euclidean geometry of a forgotten architecture. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s as if he has taken a box, decided it was uninteresting, and then used mathematically resolved algorithms to push a torus shaped block through the centre, causing a rippling effect in the walls and floor planes as they undulate and fold in on themselves. There is no resolution - neither flat nor curvilinear plane win the battle. They stand their ground and mutually agree to disagree in order to coexist.

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house Yet the presence of the torus creates a series of pervasive spacial types and conditions within architecture, where the precedents remain discernible. As Corbusian pilotis raise the house above ground level, it creates a space for an underground carpark and also opens up the front to a ground-level courtyard. The torus void’s obtrusive presence creates a conflict between the ground and roof planes. As they collide with each other, the kitchen floor plate extends out beyond to create a new continuous horizontal surface that can be used as a table (figure 02). What I found most intriguing about this project was how Cohen has exploited parametrically driven design to create new spaces and challenge perceptions of living arrangements within a “container perpetually oscillating between being outside-in and inside-out”. For the client, who is an artist and likes to entertain, it was necessary to have large open and inviting spaces and as well a picturesque view of the open landscape; and through the aid of computerisation, Cohen has been able to produce a form that achieves this. Source: Cohen, P S (2001) ‘Contested Symmetries and Other Predicaments in Architecture’, Princeton Architectural Press; ed (1). Image Source: The Museum of Modern Art (1999) ‘Torus House’, accessed 18 March 2014 < html>


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design precedent/02

people’s I am also particularly intrigued by Kristoffer Tejlgaard and Benny Jepsen’s response to the debate on future housing in Bornholm, Denmark. The brief required a multifunctional space that could provide a stage for the debate. Tejlgaard and Jepsen took it one step further by simultaneously creating a spectacle of a structure that would make its own contribution to the debate. I chose it as my second precedent because of its success as a public space that brings people together, a quality that I would like to echo throughout my project. The traditional geodesic dome is a common shape that can be argued as being mathematically rational, but this would result in a “non-architecture” that does not relate to its surroundings. Tejlgaard and Jepsen were clever in the execution of this dome, exploiting the potentials of digitally-generated design by producing a deconstructed version that was algorithmically resolved by external parameters. Sun paths and existing site features governed the splitting up of the dome to create niches and crevices. Computational design allowed the wooden frame to become unlocked, permitting the extrusion, scaling and cutting away of sections in response to the physical context. The interior space, in turn, would become a product of this process. What I like most about this design is its flexibility. The lattice structure acts like a tent, parametrically programmed so that it is possible to vary its configuration by simply updating the existing parameters. Because of the dome’s structural efficiency, the interior space is left column-free and without the need of internal load-bearing walls which provides multiple interior arrangements and window placement possibilities. Parametric design has not only aided in the generation of a site-responsive form for the building, but also in creating a space that can be adaptable for future use – the final result being a poetic composition that literally speaks for itself within the debate on computational design.

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Source: “Peoples Meeting Dome / Kristoffer Tejlgaard & Benny Jepsen” 27 Sep 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 18 Mar 2014. <> Source: “People’s Meeting Dome”. 27 Sep 2012. Ignant. Accessed 18 Mar 2014. < http://www.ignant. de/2012/09/27/peoples-meeting-dome/>

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“f(x)=a + ∑ (a cos n π x +b sinnπ x” ∞







what is generative design?


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New and emerging computation techniques provide an architect with the digital tools they need to stimulate their intellect and open up new opportunities in the design, fabrication and construction processes. So monumental the impact on avante-garde architecture these new techniques have had that it finally puts to rest the short-lived episodes of Postmodernism, deconstructivism, and minimalism; warranting its own style, dubbed Parametricism. This name emerges from its creative exploitation of parametrically driven design to help arrive at more complex social processes and design solutions. In order to achieve these complex solutions, the techniques must rely on the use of algorithms, defined as a set of operations for calculating a function. They are expressed as a finite list of instructions that start off with an initial (often empty) input, and result in an output of a finite number of defined successive states. An algorithm describes the process that a token has participated in. The increase in the use of these algorithms is changing the role of the architect, as it requires a shift in the conventional methods of thinking and conceptualising design. Parametric architecture uses algorithms to explore the spatial relationships between elements. Custom algorithmic tools now take up a vital role in the design process and very much become embedded within a design itself. Algorithmic thinking thus takes on an interpretive role to understand the results of generating code that underline the logic of architecture, and it requires knowing how to modify the code to explore new options and speculate further design potentials. By definition, an algorithm must be flexible and adaptable to changing parameters in the design environment. It is necessary now for the architect to also become flexible, and adapt to a world that is also changing and becoming increasingly virtual.

Figure 03 depicts the levels of intricacy and precision with which computational techniques are capable of working at. Michael Hansmeyer dubs his columns A New Order as it explores the biological process of subdivision which results in an elaborate system of ornament. Hansmeyer takes an abstracted version of the archaic Doric column and uses it an input form to the subdivision processes. The unique topographical and topological information then results in a heterogenous application of the process. Unlike a traditional design process, the architect designs the process of producing a column, rather than the column directly. This means the process can run repeatedly with different parameters to create endless iterations. The computer’s high level of accuracy ensures that the single subdivision process can generate the form at all scales from the overall proportions and cruvatures, to the minute micro-structures of the interior. Current computation methods allow architects to simulate building performance by incorporating knowledge about materials and other parameters of production in their design drawings. The performance feedback allows analysis of architectural decisions at various stages of a project, which, in turn, can lead to more responsive designs through more comprehensive design exploration. But the complexity of form and time constraints of today’s projects are now placing a higher necessity on the use of computers. Modernists’ of the past were concerned with perfecting single details; the computational design architects’ of today are concerned instead with developing relationships between parts, and maintaining total control of the design in response to changing performance requirements. This is made possible only with the invention of new techniques and technologies, that are not only causing changes within the hierarchical structure of the building industry, but also a shift in our discipline’s definition and boundaries. Architects no longer use software, they now create it. Whether it’s as part of a specialised team of computational designers, or hybrid engineer/architects with knowledge of software development, it remains that computation permits a new wave of thinking.

Source: ‘Subdivided Columns - A New Order (2010)’, Michael Hansmeyer, accessed 23 March 2014, < =1#undefined> Source: Peters, B (2013) ‘Computation Works: The Building of Algorithmic Thought’ , Architectural Design, vol 83, issue 2, pp.10-15 Source: Schumacher, P (2009) ‘Parametricism: A New Global Style for Architecture and Urban Design’, AD Architectural Design - Digital Cities, vol 79, no 4, pg 15-16

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design precedent/01


pavillion //paris The project proposal for the Seroussi Pavilion (2007) was to insert the pavilion into the site as a “ground implant”. Alisa Andrasek explored the potentials of structural adaptation to site conditions using a distribution algorithm based on a set of self-modifying patterns of vectors derived from electromagnetic fields. With this algorithm behaving as the seed, the structure would be borne of the ground and, like a plant, it would sprout towards other elements of the site and form connective tissues between them, that would eventually envelope to create a diverse and coherent whole. An extended radius of influence allowed the new fabric to weave itself seamlessly within existing landscape pathways. The sinuous form is born out of a series of structural microarching sections that have been computed through different frequences of a sine function, in conjunction with the physical laws of attraction and repulsion.

Sin-wave functions also drive the parametric distrubtion of lighting/shading, and programming of views, by differentiating angles, orientation and size of apertures, as well as investigating relationships between metal and glass components of each cell. Double charged trajectories are used to produce the cocoon like internal space, that continuously unfolds itself through the building space and creates an elegant interlacing of fibres and opportunities for varied degrees of cohabitation between humans and art exhibits. Through the aid of computerised simulation of the structure’s perfomance, a variety of potential exhibition sequences can be examined with the flexibility to reconfigure art exhibits and discover optimal spatial distribution within such a complex, labyrinthine fabric. Source: Andrasek, A (2010) ‘Seroussi Pavillion /paris//2007’, Biothing: Repository of Computation Design, accessed 26 March 2014, <> Source: ‘Alisa Andrasek / BIOTHING Mesonic Emission/Seroussi Pavilion Paris, 2007’, TBA21 Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, accessed 26 March 2014, <>

design precedent/02

a Maze

A similar project undertaken by Andrasek is the a_maze furniture system which was entered as an exhibition design at FRAC in Orleans, France. The strips are formed via a folding algorithm programmed to recursively subdivide along the logics of a fractal Koch curve. Similarly to the previous example, the curve is also programmed to “grow” organically between different points in space, and continues to subdividing for a number of iterations. The result is a previously unconceivable form, embedded with the complexity and intricacy of nature-inspired process of subdivision. By borrowing from nature, algorithmic and parametric design show that architecture can lend itself to an infinitude of possiblities and continue to defy previously set boundaries of knowledge by revolutionising itself. Source: Andrasek, A (2010) ‘aMaze’, Biothing, accessed 26 March 2014, <http://www.biothing. org/?cat=9>

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design precedent/03


Throughout my research on generative design in architecture, I came across the work of Vincent Callebaut Architects, a firm in Paris, whose “eco-utopian visions” have earned them a sterling reputation for sustainable architecture design. I was enamoured with all their designs; combining biolclimatic architectural elements with parametric design principles, in an aim to create urban ecosystems that celebrate the union of art and innovative technologies alongside nature. It can be argued that it is difficult to attribute a parametrically driven geometry with the same depth of symbolism and representation as a compositionally derived geometry. But, once again, the parametrically driven digital morphogenesis of Swallow’s Nest acheives an organic geometry, inspired by nature’s own growth replication process, imburing the form with motifs that reflect the architect’s desire to create a symbiotic relationship between nature and humans. In this way, it becomes the perfect ecology gateway into Taichung City.

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Here, Callebaut has taken a simple Mobius strip as a starting point, and then repeated the section of an iscolese triangle around its elliptical path. This has resulted in a series of dynamic and fluid spatial typologies with voids and variable elevations that help inform the internal space. As three large pillars lift the structure, it liberates the ground allowing the central space to transform into a floral and aquatic Garden of Eden that bathes in a downpour of natural sunlight via the atrium opening created by the original elliptical shape. The highlight of the building for me is the use of an intelligent glass facade as the building’s skin. In one swift move, Callebaut is able to achieve both creative aesthetics through external appearance and patterned lighting effects, as well as thermal efficiency for the structure. Building integrated photovoltaic solar cells and panels generate energy while low-E glass windows permit natural light and provide thermal massing, all the while protecting the interior art exhibits from deterioration. The variably oriented rooms ensure constant interaction between indoors and outdoors, while state-of-the art renewable technologies combined with parametricallydriven, organically derived form come together in a poetic structure that reinforces the architect’s aspirations towards building a harmony between nature and humans.

Source: Laylin, T (2013) ‘Swallows Nest: Vincent Callebaut Unveils Glittering Zero-Carbon Mobius Strip Cultural Center for Taiwan’ , Inhabitat, accessed 24 March 2013, <http://> Source: Vincent Callebaut Architects, ‘Swallow’s Nest, Taichung City Cultural Center Taichung 2013 Taiwan’, accessed 24 March 2013, <>

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design precedent/04

Climath// dubrovni

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For my final precedent, I have chosen Andrasek’s “Honoury Mention” entry for the 2011 Europan Competition, an architecture cultivated from a hybrid programming schema, which integrates physics and micro-articulated algorithmic functions, such as synthetic weather and dispersed energy production, to reproduce the qualities and effects of Croatia’s Old City. I was inspired by the creation of a synthetic ecology; using computational techniques to interpret the old city’s architectural fabric in a new language intentionally made to appear worn out. It is essentially a mixed-used space to be shared by residents as well as visitors from the general public. The luxurious residential sequence forms out of the physical context of Mediterranean living; the architectural fabric is programmed towards achieving verticality through the design of structured apartment duplexes with double height windows, ensuring a fine quality of light through a network of skylights and roof terraces. The project then achieves maximum spatial efficiency by freeing the site for generous public and residential use through the installation of a double plaza with free-flowing topology of pedestrian-accessible zones.

The two plazas are bound to one another via a highly porous skin, pierced with a field of densely packed ceiling apertures and canyons that produce a decorative ensembles of light formations and complex shading devices. These apertures and shading techniques were derived using a 5 coloured cellular automata algorithm, which generates a probabilistic distribution of infrastructure cells to designated areas for furniture fittings such as benches, planters, and light fixtures and openings. The programmed structure also enables moderation of light intensities during the night, as well as scaling in size to accommodate different usage. The top layer of the plaza provides an escape for hot sunny afternoons by synthesising an arena of water-mist amongst a field of aromatic planters. Meanwhile, the pavement takes advantage of the abundant sunlight by harvesting solar energy through the distributed arrays embedded within. Mathematical analysis has aided in orienting the inclined shredded tectonic plateau which provides a clearance in the view of the Old City Walls and also frames of a range of other spectacular city sights. Source: Sanchez J, Lianou A, Pantic I, Chalvatzis E, Markos K (2011) ‘Climath//Dubrovnik’, Biothing: Repository of Computation Design, accessed 26 March 2014, <http://www.biothing. org/?cat=27> Source: Escobedo, J (2012) ‘Climath Locates Hybrid Program in Canyon Grooves/Biothing’ , eVolo, accessed 26 March 2014, <>

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To reiterate, we are currently living an extremely humancentric lifestyle to the point where we can acknowledge that it is endangering us and our future, but not so far as where we are willing to make drastic sacrifices and compromises to the way we live in an effort to do something about it. But there is a way of salvaging our situation. The capacity of the profoundly secular, human-initiated, act of design displaces the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;invisible hand of Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; and takes on a life of its own.

thinking in the moment The onus is thus placed on the architect of today, who, through the advent of recent technological innovations and advancements, has been given a new toolbox and playground for which to explore endless boundaries, to derail the impending defuturing condition of our current world in the hopes of a more sustainable tomorrow. Parametric architecture is innovative because it is changing the the methods of thinking a designer undertakes when producing architecture. Through the creation of new geometries, it rids architecture of its rigid and traditional shackles, and encourages the taking up of a holistic view towards the design. It becomes about the process of producing a design, rather than purely designing the end result. Being empowered with the capacity to use this to my advantage, my project will thus take on a parametric approach by creating a design born of natural processes from its surrounding context and will depict Copenhagen as a forward thinking city well on its path to becoming carbon neutral by 2025. The result will be a symbiotic addition that contributes and enhances the site, rather than a destructive contagion that only takes and disrupts; encouraging discourse about sustainability, and interaction about visitors, as well as economic growth and change to the broader context of Denmark.

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Before starting this course, I could not tell you the difference between computerisation and computation, I certainly knew nothing of the processes underlying parametric design, and I barely knew how to use Rhino and Grasshopper as a modelling tool, let alone a generative design tool. After four weeks, I feel I have a better grasp on the way parametrics can direct and manipulate everything from the inital analysis and design process to the final form, materiality, and fabrication and construction. I understand that it is, in fact, inhibiting to have an idea of what you want your final result to look like, and the beauty of computational design lies in its unpredictablility. By having an understanding of contextual data and using it as an input to shape and modify your design, you not only create something truly organic and specific to your project, but also the processes and algorithms that generate the final outcome, and they become a unique and integral element embedded within the final design. But while the theory paints a clear distinction between computation and computerisation, I have discovered that within practice, there tends to be an overlap. With still so much research to be condcted and knowledge to be gained in the field, many architects opt to take advantage of both methods of design, employing them at various stages of their design. The video tutorials have given me a basic grasp on the algorithmic processes behind Grasshopper and Rhino modelling; and it is fascinating to the discover how new geometries and patterning systems can be created by knowing only some of the most basic functions. As someone who usually becomes inspired at the very last (and often most inconvenient) minute, I feel like having this knowledge for my past designs could have helped me generate quicker, and more complex and contextually-rich outcomes. Finally, as a mere pupil of this new Parametric movement, I look forward to the unpredictability of my future designs and the possibilities it can open up for me with great anticipation.

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The following are taken from my Algorithmic Sketchbook and depict some of the highlights of my parametric explorations so far.

example /01 This geometry was generated using the prepackaged Voronoi 3D triangulation algorithm, which results in the creation of cell patterns across a surface. It is a commonly used method in the architecture of today, as a way of generating natural looking and organic patterns. In some cases, voronoi patterning sequences have been applied to cladding systems as a way of creating innovation shading techniques.


/02 example /02 Demonstrates sphere intersections that were created using circles generated from three known points in a number of iterations. It can be useful in creating complex interior spaces and challenging conventional notions about spatial relationships.

example /03 My third example is one that I am extremely proud I was able to achieve successfully. Parametically designed gridshells are becoming more and more prominent in architecture, for their durability and strength derived from a double curvature form in conjuction with a structural lattice. They also exhibit the potentials of timber through large spans often in curved and complex forms. I enjoyed learning exploring this modelling method most because I found it most relevant to todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s architecture.


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Fry, Tony (2008). Design Futuring: Sustainability, Ethics and New Practice (Oxford: Berg), pp. 1–16

Dave (2010) ‘The Danish Pavilion for Expo 2010 by Bjarke Ingels Group’, Contemporist, accessed 24 March 2014,


Jenkin P, Szawiola M, Thorson E (2012) ‘Fluent-Fields’ ,Land Art Generator Initivative, New York, accessed 15 March

2014, < >

Smith B and Hu V (2012) ‘Pivot’, Land Art Generator Initivative, New York, accessed 08 March 2014 < http://landart->

Trimarchi, M (2008). “Can house music solve the energy crisis?”,, accessed 12 March 2014

<> Image Source: <>

Burry, M (1999) ‘Paramorph’, Stephen Perella (ed.), AD Profile 141: Hypersurface Architecture 11. London: Academ-

ic Editions

Cohen, P S (2001) ‘Contested Symmetries and Other Predicaments in Architecture’, Princeton Architectural Press; ed


Foley, van Dam, Feiner & Hughes (1996) ‘Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice’, section 11.2, Addison-Wes-

ley (2nd ed.)

Kolarevic, B (2003) ‘Architecture in the Digital Age: Design and Manufacturing’, New York; London: Spon Press, p 3

‘Peoples Meeting Dome / Kristoffer Tejlgaard & Benny Jepsen’, 27 Sep 2012, ArchDaily, accessed 18 Mar 2014.


‘People’s Meeting Dome’. 27 Sep 2012. Ignant, accessed 18 Mar 2014, <


The Museum of Modern Art (1999) ‘Torus House’, accessed 18 March 2014


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‘Alisa Andrasek / BIOTHING Mesonic Emission/Seroussi Pavilion Paris, 2007’, TBA21 Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Con-

temporary, accessed 26 March 2014, <>

Andrasek, A (2010) ‘aMaze’, Biothing, accessed 26 March 2014, <>

Andrasek, A (2010) ‘Seroussi Pavillion /paris//2007’, Biothing: Repository of Computation Design, accessed 26

March 2014, <>

Dutton, T A and Lian Hurst M (1996) ‘Reconstructing Architecture: Critical Discourse and Social Practices’, Minne-

apolis: University of Minnesota Press, p.1

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2014, <>

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Taiwan’ , Inhabitat, accessed 24 March 2013, <>

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Sanchez J, Lianou A, Pantic I, Chalvatzis E, Markos K (2011) ‘Climath//Dubrovnik’, Biothing: Repository of Computa-

tion Design, accessed 26 March 2014, <>

Schumacher, P (2009) ‘Parametricism: A New Global Style for Architecture and Urban Design’, AD Architectural

Design - Digital Cities, vol 79, no 4, pg 15-16

Subdivided Columns - A New Order (2010)’, Michael Hansmeyer, accessed 23 March 2014, <http://www.michael->

Vincent Callebaut Architects, ‘Swallow’s Nest, Taichung City Cultural Center Taichung 2013 Taiwan’, accessed 24

March 2013, <>

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criteria design

b.1. research FIeld

best way to predict the future â&#x20AC;&#x153;The is to design it â&#x20AC;? - Buckminster Fuller

bio mimicry From

the Greek bios, life, and mimesis, imitation

1. Nature as Model. Biomimicry is a new science that studies nature’s models and then imitates or takes inspiration from these designs and processes to solve human problems, e.g., a solar cell inspired by a leaf

2. Nature as Measure. Biomimicry uses an ecological standard to judge the “rightness” of our innovations. After 3.8 million years of evolution, nature has learned: what works. What is appropriate? What lasts?

3. Nature as Mentor. Biomimicry is a new way of viewing and valuing nature. It introduces an era based not on what we can extract from the natural world, but on what we can learn from it.

-Janine Benyus – Biomimicry Innovation Inspired by Nature


One of the best known examples of biomimicry,

invented by Swiss engineer George de Mestral in 1941 after inspecting the mechanisms of a burr’s ability to attach itself to his dog’s fur. Upon closer inspection, he discovered small hooks at the ends of the needles and was inspired to create velcro. page | 54

Our culture’s strive towards civilisation manifests itself within the spaces, buildings, and cities it creates. These resulting structures thus carry with them a symbolic value, allowing them to “emerge from the life of those who inhabit the built environment”. In this way, architecture becomes a living, evolving thing, a result of a temporal and physical context at a given time. It is not uncommon for architecture to take inspiration from nature, in its forms and structures, but the scientific theory of morphogenesis is causing a change to the way we practice architectural design by unleashing a new breeding ground for research and literature development investigating the fundamental design principle of form-generating. The omnipresence of nature’s abundant creative and evolutionary powers provide a rich source of inspiration for virtual architectural models that need to respond to changing environments. Biomimicry embraces architecture as a form of this artificial life, subject to the forces of genetic coding, replication, and selection, much like the rest of us. Generative rules become the genetic codes that instruct form generation through design evolution, and computer models simulate the development, allowing prototypical forms to be evaluated for performance. No longer considered purely a “machine for living in”, architecture should now aim to mimic nature’s endless and relentless experimentation with evolution - which has resulted in the perfection of a rich variety of organic forms - in its quest to solve human challenges. A push towards developing more sustainable architecture has seen a rise in the integration of biomimetic technologies. Biomimicry design can thus achieve, not only a symbiotic behaviour and metabolic balance paralleling that of the natural environment, but also unanticipated and unconceivable reiterative emergent forms. Source: Frazer, J (1995) ‘An Evolutionary Architecture’ Architectural Association Publications, Themes VII, p. 6-12 Source: Berkebile, B and McLennan J (2004) ‘The Living Building: Biomimicry in Architecture, Integrating Technology with Nature’ , Bioinspire Source: Biomimicry, Innovation Inspired by Nature

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Biomimic architecture design is a twofold approach. The first is addressing a design problem by looking to the ways other organisms or ecosystems solve similar problems, defined as design looking to biology. The second identifies particular characteristics, behaviours, and functions of organisms and translates them into design, defined as biology influencing design. An example of the first approach is shown in Figure 01, the Bionic Car prototype, which was an endevaour to create a large volume, small wheel base car based on the boxfish (ostracion meleagris), which, despite its unsuggestive shape, is surprisingly aerodynamic. The car also took biomimetic inspiration from the way trees grow in order to minimise stress concentrations, and used computer modelling methods to construct a form that was mainly skeletal, allocating material only to where it was most needed. Yet, while this first approach is effective in producing a more fuel and material efficient car by mimicking the biological properties of the movement of a fish, and the growth patterns of a tree, the approach does not address the way the existing technology of the car relates to its degenerative built environment nor does it provide an alternative to personal transport.

The second approach requires a more colla process that initally relies on designers hav knowledge about biological and ecolog and conducting appropriate resarch to sol than starting off with the human design pro Figure 02 depicts the phenomenon of superh illustrated by the lotus flower, which relies lipids that give the leaves its waxy appearan adhesiveness by repelling water and allowi possess self-cleaning properties. The me lotus flower has inspired self-cleaning surf an effort to reduce the need for chemical costly labour. While this approach is useful in encou to step out of the box, resulting in previo of technologies or system; the disadvant biological research which must be co identified as being relevant to the specific d which seems to suggest a more holistic de by mimicking the ecosystem, rather than pa of an organism.

/01 The Mercedes-Benz Bionic Car

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/02 White Lotus Flower

aborative design ving the relevant gical problems, lve them, rather oblem. hydrophobicity; on the soluble nce, to minimise ing the flower to echanism of the face finishes in detergents and

uraging design ously unthought tage lies in the onducted and design context esign approach articular aspects

/03 Water balling up as a result of hydrophobicity

Source: Zari, M P (2007) ‘Biomimetic Approaches to Architectural Design for Increased Sustainability’ School of Architecture, Victoria University, p33-34 Source: ‘Hydrophobic Surface Allows Self-cleaning: sacred lotus’, Ask Nature, accessed 4 April 2014, <http://> Figure 01: NeilBlanchard (2010) ‘Mercedes-Benz Bionic (boxfish)’ eCommoder forum, accessed 6 April 2014, <> Figure 02: Irinnicos (2014) ‘White Flower Lotus Wallpaper’ Nature, 1280x960 pixels, accessed 6 April 2014, <> Figure 03: ‘Hydrophobic Surface Allows Self-cleaning: sacred lotus’, Ask Nature, accessed 4 April 2014, <>

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design precedents

design precedent /01

airspac e

Front view

Faulders Studio Airspace Tokyo is a typical example of architecture imitating nature to solve the problem of a facade. It is a solution that blends artificiality with nature - taking inspiration from the old skin of the building which had become subject to the overwhelming forces of densely growing vegetation. Rather than beating nature, Faulders joins it by resolving the new facade as a type of artificial vegetation which brings across many of the attributes of the former skin - including shading, solar reflection, and water drainage via the nature-inspired process of capillary action. The facade is composed of several superimposed layers of porous, open-celled meshwork - the densities of which respond to the building’s internal program and produce modulated light intensites through a variegated and foliage-cover external cover.


The pattern was generated using parametric software, and the overall structure was constructed using a composite metal panel material typically used for billboard backing, and infrastructural protective coverings. A matrix of stainless steel rods create the appearance of the floating cellular mesh. The result is an architectural system that performs similar qualities to the the previous system, but invigorates the building with a new atmospheric space of protection. Source: (2010) ‘Airspace Tokyo By Faulders Studio’ ,Travel with Frank Gehry, accessed 2 April 2014, <> Source: Shkroban, K (2012) ‘Airpsace Tokyo/ Studio M/ Faulders Studio’, Formarkers, <> Source: (2013) ‘Airspace Tokyo | Faulders Studio’, Arch20, accessed 2 April 2014, <http://www.arch2o. com/airspace-tokyo-faulders-studio/> Image Sources: (C) Thomas Faulders Architecture/Studio M

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Interior Shots

page | 61

b.2. CASE STUDY 1.0

the mo rning The Morning Line, by Matthew Ritchie and Aranda/Lasch is an impressive 10 metre high, 20 metre long black coated aluminium, sonic pavilion, which explores and integrates the disciplines of art, architecture, music, mathematics, cosmology, and science. Ritchie describes the piece as being an abstract drawing of the universe, folded up into pieces that can then be pulled apart and remade specifically in context for each new site. With the aid of parametric design, the fractal cycles create a modular structure, with pieces that can be scaled up and down, and radically reconfigured to produce a variety of forms. Taking inspiration from traditionally, a very dead, public sculpture form, Ritchie invigorates the pavilion with life by integrating the music and sounds culture within it - transforming the piece into an open platform, the music leading to a breakthrough moment. Within the design’s mandate is an encouragement for the production of innovative musical composition wherever it tours, an adaptability to different venues and changing programs of contemporary music.


This creates a self sufficient work, capabale of reinventing itself where the form becomes part of a novel, interactive performance space as visitor’s move through it and get a sense of the spatial qualities and how it works. The biomimetic aspects of this design were difficult to recognise at first, but upon further investigation, it appears that sculptures flexibility in terms of structural composition, and musical program, possesses adaptive qualities reminiscent of those found in nature. In this way, the sculpture embeds itself within, and truly becomes a part of each unique context it visits. Source: (2011) ‘The Morning Line’, Matthew Ritchie, accessed 1 April 2014, <> Source: (2010) ‘Matthew Ritchie with Aranda\Lasch and Arup AGU - the Morning Line’, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary 21, accessed 1 April 2014, <> Figure 01: (c) Aranda/Lasch Figure 02: paisajetransversal (2008) ‘Matthew Ritchtie: The Morning Line’, paisaje tranversal, accessed 6 April 2014, <>

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For my groupâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Case Study 1.0 exploration, we have chosen to look at this example and test the boundaries of the grasshopper defintion in an effort to generate some interesting outcomes which we can hopefully learn from and use as inspiration for our own design.


page | 65

species 1

species 2

species 3

species 4

species 5

page | 66

page | 67


> /04


> increasing number of sides



> /05

jittering bezier spans


> /01

> increasing number of sides






> > > > >

scaling tetrahedrons

> > > > page | 69


> /04


> increasing number of sides



> /05

jittering bezier spans


> /01

> increasing number of sides






> > > > >

scaling tetrahedrons

> > > > page | 71

successful outcomes As a group, we felt that these four iterations were the most interesting in terms of deviating from the original geometry and grasshopper definition. We endeavoured to push the limits of the defintion and see what kinds of geometries we could achieve with our limited knowledge of the grasshopper before we finally â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;brokeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; the defintion and geometry. We chose these four iterations as the most successful for the diversity we were able to achieve by simply adjusting three parameters

/01 For our design, we are interested in creating spaces that emulate ideas of free-flowing movement, and fluidity. Iteration 01 seems to resonate with the curvilinear forms of Art Nouveau; and suggest ideas of organic beauty; liberated and unrestricted. Its architectural application would be most appropriate as the steel frame for a tensile web structure, which could create an interesting differentiation in heights and light admittance.

/02 Iteration 02 takes more of a geological appearance and takes on a more crystalline form. From a perspective view, the jagged form appears to grow out of the ground, and the protruding ends suggest a natural process of deterioration. This form could be applied in a more iconic and sculptural sense, where itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s aesthetic qualities inspire intrigue and curiosity to to its composition and representation in space.

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Iteration 03 is more of an abstract concept rather than a final geometry, because it is essentially a series of floating, fragmented pieces organised in a triangular prism form. Its fabrication would not be practical, much less feasible. But it inspires ideas in terms of light filtering and spatial distribution. I see this piece taking shape in a glass facade or roof structure, and functioning as a modulator of light within a building or structure.

Iteration /04 suggests a more traditional, Gothic-inspired pattern, dictacted by the prinicples of beauty, spirituality and symmetry. In perspective, it reminded us of a a step pyramid form. We thus agreed it was most effective when viewed in plan, as its form reminded us of a tile, where its application would be most appropriate in a polychromatic floor or wall tile in a Butterfield-type church.

page | 73

b.3. CASE STUDY 2.0

If you think of Brick, you say to Brick,


‘What do you want, And Brick says to you, ‘I like an Arch .’

- Louis Kahn

the truth about In 1908, Adolf Loos published his article ‘Ornament and Crime’ where he strongly inveighed against the use of ornament in any type of architecture, as it was “evidence of a decadent culture”1. He likens ornamentation to the act of tattooing, which he associated with convicts who were degenerate and committed crimes. Such a profound statement became the leading voice for 20th century modernism. An upsurge in the use of pure, unadorned forms, with strong proportions and clarity, lent itself to a universal language for architecture during the 1900s. The problem however, may be as simple as a misinterpretation of the term ‘ornament’. What Loos really detested was fakery, the masking of the truth behind materials behind beautifully adorned facades which would quickly become out-dated and out of style. He wanted an architecture that would last for the ages. Within this logic, he may even share some views with Viollet-le-Duc and AWN Pugin, who, despite their varying tastes and approaches, were also strong advocates for the celebration of materials by expressing their honest and true nature, and revealing the rationality of design by not masking the load-bearing elements of a structure2.


For Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, the modernist paradigm was cynical and dull. The post-modernist movement, which they instigated, aimed to shift from the idea of buildings as functions to buildings as representation; and they employed this rationale through the frequent use of symoblic ornament drenched in irony and historical references in an effort to reintegrate buildings into the urban realm3. However, the lack of a common language or understanding within post-modernism led to its prompt demise. For if architecture is to remain culturally significant, it needs to construct mechanisms that culture can attribute new images and meaning to, rather than recycle the existing styles. In her article titled the ‘Function of Ornament’, Farshid Moussavi argues that as designers, we should focus on the affects our designs will produce. Affects grow from and are intrinsic to the building matter itself, and they are exploited to communicate an internal order, or common language, which enables the reading of a building’s expression and as well as its resilience in time4.

Unlike in post-modernism, where ornament was representational, and was applied in a very deliberate and culturally-isolated manner in an effort to make a statement about the mundane principles of modernism; Moussavi argues for the construction of objective, nonrepresentational ornament, derived from the material susbstrate and organisation itself, which in turn imbues a building with an expression about its construction, assembly, and growth. This is essentially a way of developing a new ‘style’, a consistent langauge for producing affects that do not aim to decorate or mask hidden meanings, but aim to be perceived and experienced uniquely by individuals. As the digital technologies enable the emergence of more complex and intricately articulated surfaces and sophisticated fabrication methods, the only crime, it would seem, would be to ignore the opportunities they present. Such examples include experimental building skins with “dynamic and adaptive behaviour” that challenge preconceived notions about material permanence in buildings5. As a growing number of practices are beginning to implement cross-disciplinary expertise which enabling even more technically intricate and refined forms during the design and construction process, there is one firm that stands out in particular6. Internationally renowned Herzog & de Meuron have established a reptutation for producing strongly conceptual work that capitalises on these new tools and their potentials. Their secret lies in their understanding that in the conceptual world of design, there also needs to be a balance with the pragmatic world of construction. This is acknowledged by employing a small team of 12 to making up the ‘Digital Technology Group’, who are responsible for developing the computational tools, and regularly communicate with the designers to ensure the design intent and concept remain the primary focus. As each projects presents a new conceptual challenge for the designers, building and material performance, and anticipated fabrication are the parameters which essentially generate the geometry and material configurations.

page | 76

ornament The motive behind the elegantly perforated copper exterior for the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco was not aesthetically driven at all; rather Herzog & de Meuron sought to adapt the building to its context by bringing light in through an algorithmically resolved perforated surface that filters light in a way that mimics the shadows, shapes, and form of the actual trees. Meanwhile, the copper material would in time transition in colour from bright, golden red, to an eventual earthy green that would blend into the surrounding forestry7. In this sense, Herzog & de Meuron successfully bridge the gap between the construction of the building and the production of its affects, which Moussavi describes as being the essence of a building’s ornament.

[1] Curtis, W J R (1996) ‘Chapter 3: The Search For New Forms and The Problem of Ornament’, Modern Architecture: Since 1900, Phaidon Press Limited, London, pg 71 [2] Pugin, AWN (1841) ‘The Principles of Pointed or Christian Architecture’ ; Viollet-leDuc, E (1863) ‘Entretiens sur L’architecture’ [3] Venturi, R (1981) ‘Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture’, New York, pp. 13-40; Moussavi, F and Kubo, M (2006) ‘The Function of Ornament’, Barcelona: Actar, pg. 7 [4] Moussavi, F and Kubo, M (2006) ‘The Function of Ornament’, Barcelona: Actar, pg. 7 [5] Kolareiv, B and Klinger K R (2008) ‘Manufacturing Material Effects: Rethinking Design and Making in Architecture’, ed (1) Routledge, pg.6 [6] Ibid. pg.7 [7] ‘de Young Museum’ Zahner, accessed 4 April 2014, < portfolio/de-young> [8] Peters, B (2012) ‘Realising the Architectural Idea’ Architectural Design, vol 83, issue 2, pp 56-61 Figure 01 and 02: ‘de Young Museum’ Zahner, accessed 4 April 2014, < http://www.>

Thy dynamic nature of our culture requires architecture to develop an internal consistency if it is to remain relevant. If successfully achieved, an architect is granted with the freedom to continually reinvent themselves by creating performative architecture with its own system of evaluation, without becoming enslaved by a particular style8 /01Perforated exterior copper skin

/02 Interior shot of the filtered light

page | 77

catasetum proj Philip Wilck’s design proposal revaluates the concept of the classic concert hall through the integration of modern design technologies to achieve a new ensemble of geometries and materials that result in a whole new musical experience. Biomimcry lies at the core of the form’s genesis - centrally positioned sound shells whose complex and multilayered configurations echo the biology of an ear. The project works within its ecosystem, giving back to its environment by making use of host interaction and active materials, allowing the structure to behave as a self-sufficient energy supply. Finally, in embracing nature as the ultimate model and inspiration, the structure becomes utterly romantic; uninhibited, unfinished, wild, and natural. Wilck’s solution abandons the artificial rules of a rational system, by unrestricting the purity of his emotions, and in doing so his proposal has the capacity to challenge the users perceptions through a reorganisation of system and spatial hierarchies that govern the circulation within the building and its response to its natural context. It rewrites the logic of perfection from mastering the result of a flawed process, to a production of monstrous and grotesque forms through mathematical precision. However, despite its theoretical merit and innovative biomimetic solutions to the problem of enhancing the experience of a musical performance, we felt as a group that this prosposal would be incredibly difficult to fabricate. While CAD software permits the production of such fluid and curvilinear forms at cost-effective price, this would be offset in the costs for 3D printing and unique shop component production. Source: ‘The Catasetum Project’, suckerPUNCH, accessed 4 April 2014, <> Source: Admin (2011), ’Architectural Biomimicry Used to Redefine What We Understand as a Concert Hall’, eVolvo, accessed 4 April 2014, <> Source: Hoover, K (2012) ‘New Romanticism Concert Hall’ Arch 20, accessed 4 April 2014, <>

page | 78

ject To us, the project speaks fluidity and movement - a sinuous pattern that evolves from the rhythm of a melody. As the harmonious forms evolves further, it begins to resemble the biological structure of the ear - the fifth sense responsible for auditory perception of vibrations. As we set out to reverse-engineer this project, we aimed to recreate these soft, gentle, unrestrained curves by exploring rhythmic and mechanical wave patterns that could resmble the sound waves of a musical composition. The complexity of this geometry suggests a number of different components running simultaneously to obtain the final structure. Therefore, in attempting to reverse engineer this project, we figured it would be best to break it down into two processes: shape formation and pattern formation. To begin with, it seemed most appropriate to use vector fields and point charges to generate a rhythmic linear form.


force and vector driven geometry

page | 79

reverse engineering - shape formation

attempt 01 We used a graph mapper with several different graph types to generate various movements of the curves along the z vector: _______________________________ /01 parabolic graph

create a curve

divide curve into five segments


/02 xy graph


/03 sine summation




page | 80

eate a spin force at division points

ate a point charge at division points

aw planar circles at division points

merge fields divide up circles

create field lines through division points

move along z vector using a graph mapper


page | 81

reverse engineEring - shape formation

attempt 02 Attempt 01 generated too many curves, so for attempt 02 we selected a number of isolated curves and tried to create meshes out of them that would replicate the patterning on the structure. However, these were terribly unsuccessful attempts, as the faces and edges were too sharp, and any attempt at altering the parameters led to the program crashing.

page | 82

reference in curves

convert into mesh

page | 83

reverse engineEring - shape formation

attempt 03 This was our first isolated attempt engineering the building pattern. We used the populate 2D component to generate a random set of values, which were then culled and jittered, to generate a list of completely random values for the voronoi cell component to run through. This list was also used to determine the cells that would be offset inwards, by an amount that was generated by a sinc graph. The inner offset cells were then filleted to create curvier cells. Finally, the cells were trimmed to create holes in the surface, and the remaining surface was extruded and capped.

create a rectangle

boundary surfaces

create a voronoi diag

populate 2D geometry w

page | 84


with points

true false true true



offset surface using a graph mapper



page | 85


Unfortunately, in choosing a heavily compositionally driven precedent such as the Catasetum Project, we failed to forsee the mammoth-like task we had set for ourselves in this reverse engineering experiment. Despite this, we feel like we did still benefit from the underlying principles of the tasks, which was to superficially analyse a project and try to decipher the generative processes behind it. We still managed to come up with our own grasshopper definitions, with results that ended up representing a conceptual diagram, a parti of the project. The original attempt was unaminously the most successful and appealing to us. It presents a number of opportunities, particular in terms of topology and movement patterns along the sites and perhaps we could start using the field points as central â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;hubsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; or hot spots on site.

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page | 87

b.4. technical development

form development

Due to the 2D linear nature of our Case Study 2.0 result, we spent a great deal of time trying to achieve a general 3D form out at the beginning of our technical development. Trial 01 shows our attempts at using image samplers generated from the field vector points in our original result, but these did not translate well in 3D and we were not able to achieve a form we liked. During this task, we also explored other vector field line work possibilties, coming up with an array of different 2D shapes, which once again, did not translate well into 3D.

trial 01

Base curve, using the vector field points are origin points for image sampler



page | 90

trial 02 Reducing spin force strength

Changing radius parameter of circles

Creating a mesh from the curves and then adjusting mesh smoothness

page | 91

trial 03 // form development

After a few unsuccessful trials, we considered taking a different approach. In order to retain the quality of force-generated geometry, we employed the use of Kangaroo Physics. We started off by choosing three random curve iterations from our previous trials as our base curves. A planar mesh was constructed from the perimeter of the overall curve shape, while anchor points were derived from the original field vector point locations, and also by randomly selecting indices along the field line curves. We computed a simulation in order to generate a series of meshes, and then created a frame using WeaverBird components to extract mesh faces and vertices. We were able to create several iterations by shifting the position of the anchor points to generate new overall forms; and also by adjusting the distance parameters within the WeaverBird framing components.





/03.1 identifying end points /03.2 approximating perimeter /03.3 creating a mesh and determining anchor points /03.4 using kangaroo physics to form topology

page | 92

trial 04 // form development

While in trial 03, we were able to produce a variety of topological meshes which could help us generate an overall 3D form, we found it quite limiting thereafter in producing customised surface patterns. Trial 04 thus evolved out of a need to create our own patterning systems, taking inspiration from precedents such as the Peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Dome and the TImeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Eureka Pavilion for their structural framework system. In this trial, we took the edge curves of our trial 03 meshes, and then created a single surface to which we could apply our custom patterns onto. We created three different patterns to test out their adaptibility to our surface, and each iterations potential.






/04.1 mesh edge curve /04.2 hexagonal pattern /04.3 weaverbird frame /04.4 triangular truss /04.5 overlapping panels

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trial 03 // matrix








base curve /01

/03.1 direct result of unary force /03.2 d = 26.87 /03.3 d = 12.87

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trial 04 // matrix





/04.5 /04.1 mesh edge curve /04.2 hexagonal pattern /04.3 weaverbird frame /04.4 triangular truss /04.5 overlapping panels

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trial 03 // matrix




base curve /02

/03.1 direct result of unary force /03.2 d = 26.87 /03.3 d = 12.87

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trial 04 // matrix





/04.5 /04.1 mesh edge curve /04.2 hexagonal pattern /04.3 weaverbird frame /04.4 triangular truss /04.5 overlapping panels

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trial 03 // matrix

trial 04 // matrix








/04.5 /03.1 direct result of unary force /03.2 d = 26.87 /03.3 d = 12.87

base curve /03

/04.1 mesh edge curve /04.2 hexagonal pattern /04.3 weaverbird frame /04.4 triangular truss /04.5 overlapping panels page | 98

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b.5. technique: prototypes

materialisation and fabrication

For us, it was important to first explore the structual stability and tectonic elements of our proposed frame design by using three different materials and applying them to our various iterations.

/01 Steel Framing Prototype 01 was constructed from pieces of florist wire, bent and formed into the triangular frame system. We found this material to be quite flexible in its application to to the irregular structural form, resulting in a robust frame that exhibits both tensile and compressive strength. However, it was difficult to form connections between the wire pieces and more consideration would need to be put into this as we develop our design. /01 /02 Timber Framing Prototype 02 used balsa wood to achieve the hexagonal frame system explored in our second iteration of trial 04. While it was slightly less malleable than the wire, it was easier to form connections, and its carbon neutral qualities ensure an environmentally friendly solution that can help promote Copenhagen as a â&#x20AC;&#x153;green cityâ&#x20AC;?. We would need to consider how to make the frame more robust so that it can stand on its own. /02 /03 Plastic Fibre Glass Prototype 03 explored the triangular frame system again, using cotton swabs to represent plastic. It was also favoured for its lightweight and malleable qualities, and its tensile and compressive strength. The connections were formed through an added element and ensure robustness and the structures ability to stand on its own.

/03 page | 102

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materialisation and fabrication

The final overlapping iteration conjured up images of sails, or wings. To further our material exploration, we explored the potentials of various materials in visually representing wind energy, sun energy, and general movement on site.

/04 Thermo Bimetal Prototype 04 explored the use of reflective cardboard in representing a thermo bimetal material; an alloyed metal which is developed out of biomimic principles where the metal curls up in response to heat. This would allow the cladding to function simultaneously as a sun-shading device and a ventilation system, and in this sense the structure could become a living, breathing organism in itself. We found the material to be quite sturdy, and the relfective qualities could add an aesthetic quality to the structure. /04

/05 Polypropelene Plastic Sheet Prototype 05 explored the use of polypropelene plastic sheets with a delicate joint that would allow it flap or sway in response to wind movement on site. The panels that make up the cladding would individually be attached to a piezoelectirc material that would allow the panels to move easily in response to wind passing through the structure, and thus allow the structure to exploit the energy caused by motion and vibration.


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b.6. technique: proPOSAL

design proposal


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We propose a sculptural structure that is born out of biomimic principles, becoming a living, breathing organism in itself. Its skeleton is derived from the natural laws of physics acting upon a surface, and its external skin provides a protective layer that flaps like boat sails in response to wind movement on site, while at the same time regulating temperature within, allowing it to behave as a sunshade and a ventilation system all in one. The prominent siting of Refshaleøen, right opposite the infamous Danish Little Mermaid landmark, will naturally attract site visitors, but the irregularity of form and innovative technology use will inspire intrigue and curiosity into more sustainable architecture design, promoting Copenhagen as the ultimate forward thinking â&#x20AC;&#x153;Green Cityâ&#x20AC;?.

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Our ability to make a case for a design proposal was largely aided by our research into precedent projects that used a combination of biomimetic technology and computational techniques to achieve their design intents. In addition to this research, the task set out for us in Case Study 1.0 introduced us to an algorithmic Grasshopper definition that we could experiment with and push as far to the limits as possible. By creating a matrix of iterations, we developed an understanding of the flexibility of parametric design and the ease with which necessary changes can be made to a model. Case Study 2.0 then encouraged us to apply our newly acquired knowledge to an existing project. While we struggled with this reverse engineering task, we nevertheless developed a defintion which we could play with and use as a foundation for the development of our own design in response to the LAGI brief. For our Part B interim presentation, we proposed an efficient, clean energy generating structure that would combine our research into biomimicry, as well as our design intents of movement representation. In order to achieve this, we chose to use Kangaroo to essentially reflect the natural laws of physics in our form making process. Generally, we are quite pleased with the formal outcomes we have been able to achieve. The random meshmaking process ensures a unique quality to each iteration, and it’s anchor point parameters allow us to freely alter the inital generation stage of the mesh until we end up achieving a form we like. However, there were limitations with trial 03, so we were inspired to look back at our earlier precedents and use trial 04 to enable greater flexibility and control over our outcomes.

Species 04.2-4 helped us to develop the idea of a structural frame for our design, while species 04.5 conjured up images of boat sails and inspired us with the idea of using flapping panels to harvest piezoelectric energy via ambient vibrations through wind movement on site. In an effort to respond to the LAGI brief requirements regarding public education about sustainbility, we considered using Doris Kim Sung’s ‘thermo bimetal technology’ which comprises of an alloyed metal that responds to heat by independently opening and closing through a curling action. This would result in an aesthetic as well as a sustainable quality for the structure, and allow it to become a living, breathing organism itself. Based on the feedback we received from our interim presentation, the idea of wind energy technology needs to become a driving factor in our design development. While our tectonic exploration has allowed us to develop an idea for a stable framing system, we now have to refine the skin and thr overal formal aspect of our design to ensure it responds appropriately to our chosen technology’s potential, and ultimately achieves an optimised result with an interesting architectural outcome. Source: ‘Metal That Breathes’ (2012), video recording, TEDxUSC, California

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The following are taken from weeks 04 - 07 of my Algorithmic Sketchbook and depict some of the highlights of my parametric explorations so far.

example 01/ Fractal Tetrahedron /01 In this tutorial we used grasshopper to create a trianglular prism brep from scratch, and then deconstructed it into its constituent parts to be evaluated, scaled, trimmed, and arrayed uniqued. This process was repeated several times to achieve the desired effects; a variety of beautiful, crystalline patterns.

example 02/ Seroussi Pavilion by Biothing In this tutorial we reverse engineered a precedent project and it really helped drive the initial stages of our design process. I loved the emotive and evocative lines that were generated through using simple point and field charges. These components have played a huge role in the development of our project proposal.

example 03/ Graph Controllers Finally, we explored the use of graph controllers combined with the voronoi component to produce cells that resemble a crystal-like pattern. This tutorial has also been inspirational to the development of a patterning system in our design.



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‘Hydrophobic Surface Allows Self-cleaning: sacred lotus’, Ask Nature, accessed 4 April 2014, <> Frazer, J (1995) ‘An Evolutionary Architecture’ Architectural Association Publications, Themes VII, p. 6-12 Berkebile, B and McLennan J (2004) ‘The Living Building: Biomimicry in Architecture, Integrating Technology with Nature’ , Bioinspire Biomimicry, Innovation Inspired by Nature Zari, M P (2007) ‘Biomimetic Approaches to Architectural Design for Increased Sustainability’ School of Architecture, Victoria University, p33-34 Image Sources Background velco image: `accessed 3 April 2014,<> Figure 01: NeilBlanchard (2010) ‘Mercedes-Benz Bionic (boxfish)’ eCommoder forum, accessed 6 April 2014, <> Figure 02: Irinnicos (2014) ‘White Flower Lotus Wallpaper’ Nature, 1280x960 pixels, accessed 6 April 2014, <> Figure 03: ‘Hydrophobic Surface Allows Self-cleaning: sacred lotus’, Ask Nature, accessed 4 April 2014, <> (2010) ‘Airspace Tokyo By Faulders Studio’ ,Travel with Frank Gehry, accessed 2 April 2014, <> (2013) ‘Airspace Tokyo | Faulders Studio’, Arch20, accessed 2 April 2014, <> Shkroban, K (2012) ‘Airpsace Tokyo/ Studio M/ Faulders Studio’, Formarkers, <> Image Source: (c) Thomas Faulders Architecture/Studio M (2010) ‘Matthew Ritchie with Aranda\Lasch and Arup AGU - the Morning Line’, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary 21, accessed 1 April 2014, <> (2011) ‘The Morning Line’, Matthew Ritchie, accessed 1 April 2014, < projects/36TheMorningLine/project.php> Image Sources Figure 01: (c) Aranda/Lasch Figure 02: paisajetransversal (2008) ‘Matthew Ritchtie: The Morning Line’, paisaje tranversal, accessed 6 April 2014, <http://>

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‘de Young Museum’ Zahner, accessed 4 April 2014, <> ‘The Catasetum Project’, suckerPUNCH, accessed 4 April 2014, < the-catasetum-project-musicpavilion/> Admin (2011), ’Architectural Biomimicry Used to Redefine What We Understand as a Concert Hall’, eVolvo, accessed 4 April 2014, <> Curtis, W J R (1996) ‘Chapter 3: The Search For New Forms and The Problem of Ornament’, Modern Architecture: Since 1900, Phaidon Press Limited, London, pg 71 Hoover, K (2012) ‘New Romanticism Concert Hall’ Arch 20, accessed 4 April 2014, <> Kolareiv, B and Klinger K R (2008) ‘Manufacturing Material Effects: Rethinking Design and Making in Architecture’, ed (1) Routledge, pg.6 Moussavi, F and Kubo, M (2006) ‘The Function of Ornament’, Barcelona: Actar, pg. 7 Peters, B (2012) ‘Realising the Architectural Idea’ Architectural Design, vol 83, issue 2, pp 56-61 Pugin, AWN (1841) ‘The Principles of Pointed or Christian Architecture’ ; Viollet-le-Duc, E (1863) ‘Entretiens sur L’architecture’ Venturi, R (1981) ‘Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture’, New York, pp. 13-40; Moussavi, F and Kubo, M (2006) ‘The Function of Ornament’, Barcelona: Actar, pg. 7 Image Source: ‘de Young Museum’ Zahner, accessed 4 April 2014, <>

‘Metal That Breathes’ (2012), video recording, TEDxUSC, California

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The feedback from our interim presentation addressed our lack of a strong design proposal. We had a few ideas we were interested in and we were unsure which direction to take, so it was first necessary to make a final decision on the technology we wanted to exploit. The technology would then help drive the formal generation of our project.


We feel the thermo bimetal and its biomimetic qualities presents a range of innovate design opportunities, so for our first step we propose a solar energy generating system that utilises this bimimetic technology to invigorate the structure with life-like qualities and allow to function like a living organism. In choosing this direction, we must redevelop our surface patterning system to accomodate the formal changes that the materials undertake in response to the sun. This must include a curling or peeling response, as illustrated in the diagrams 01 and 02, taken from Dosu Architects research projects on the thermo bimetal material.


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annual sun path variation june 21 december 21 views of Copenhagen and harbour

A brief site analysis has determined the optimal orientation for maximum sun exposure is towards the south-western end of the site, where the site also offers the best views of Copenhagen city and harbour. page | 121

clean solar energy


public artwork

a reflection of the energy generated by the s


create a circle



make a copy and move along x axis debrep to create single petal

find end point of petal and use this to determine central ovary of flower

find region intersection

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sun on site


The phenomenon in which a plant moves in response to the direction of the sun at a given time during the day

This line of thought led us to develop a parametric flower with the idea that it would remain enclosed in a bud position during the night, and the petals would curl back in during the day and expose a photovoltaic surface that would harvest solar energy. We created a parametric flower by first creating a single petal and then using vector lines to orient and array the petals along a divided circle. Once we achieved a general flower shape, we deconstructed the petals in order to create a mesh, and then extracted the lines using the WeaverBird edges component in order to use them for the connection and rest length input in the Kangaroo Springs component.

divide circle to determine centre points for petals, and then vector lines between divisions and centre of the circle

deconstruct brep in order to create a mesh

orient subsequent petals along vector lines

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trial /01 -->

trial /02 -->

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The grasshopper definition we created allowed us to control the number of petals, their size, and finally the size of the overall flower. For our first trial, we used a unary force and the Kangaroo Physics component to simulate the curling process of the flower petals, however, a problem we encountered was that the defintion would only operate in the reverse direction. Unfortunately, we could only simulate the closing up of the flower, as opposed to the uncurling of the flower. For trial 02 then, we set the end points of the petals as anchor points, to see if we could achieve the bending/curling up appearance akin to that of the thermo bimetal example, but the effect of the springs component became quite limited. After these attempts, we decided to return to and refine our concept again, by changing our focus to a single stationary flower form. In doing this, we also had to reconsider our technology and materiality. Due to the nature of the mesh we had created, it seemed most appropriate to apply a solar panel technology that would fit within triangulated surface of the mesh we generated, and then to create a structural framing system by extracting the edges.

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<-- Increasing size of petals

Increasing number of petals -->

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matrix of solar analysis

05 petals

06 petals

07 petals

Closed up --> flattened out

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The LadyBug plug-in component helped us determine which iterations were most efficient in terms of generating solar energy through exposure to sun. As could be assumed, the more closed up the form, the less exposed the overall surface and hence less energy generation potential. Whilst flatter forms exposed more of the surface to the sun, the solar analysis determined that the most efficient iterations were those that had several surfaces variously angled, that would ensure panels would continously capture energy despite the varying degree of the sun throughout the day.



kWh/m2 1105




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site arrangement

Species /01

We generated a series of successful iterations through our solar analysis, which then inspired us with the idea of combining a few of them to create a garden of a diverse flower iterations. From the most energy efficient of our iterations, we ended up choosing three species that we believed to be quite distinct from each other, mostly based on aesthetic purposes.

Species /02

In order to determine the site arrangment, we first considered conducting another solar analysis. Given the siteâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s prominent position, which allows it to bask fully within the Southern sun on days with minimal cloud cover, it did not become too much of an issue how we arranged the structures on site in relation to sun exposure. However, in a final attempt to resurrect our curves from Part Bâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s reverse engineering task, we took a few random vector lines and then placed them onto the site. This would form the main path and guide to movement around the site, as we used attractor points to arrange the structures accordingly to reflect our intention.

Species /03

Within our grasshopper defintion, we also included a rule that would scale the structures relative to their proximity to the curve, therefore the largest structures would be closest to the path, and they would reduce in size the further away they were. This would help guide the movement around the site as the tallest and most impressive structures would emphasis the central path of the site. This resulted in an array of variously scaled structures amongst the site, with a few of the larger structures overlapping and overtowering smaller ones beneath - which unfortunately would reduce their exposure to the sun and hinder their capacity to generate energy.

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Curve /01

Curve /02

Curve /03

Curve /04

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shadow analysis


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Final site arrangEment

Upon conclusion of the shadow-casting analysis, we concluded that the overlapped structures would still receive sunlight at different angles of the day, but their maximum capacity to harvest energy would be compromised in a substantial way compared to the larger unobstructed structures. In the interest of maintaining experiential qualities of movement , the final site arrangement decision was based on aesthetics, and the types of shadows the structures would create at different times throughout the day.

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C.2. tectonic elements

The core construction element of our design is the framing system; how the petals are connected to and supported by the main axis, as well as how the individual solar panels are supported within the petals. Because of the nature of our design as essentially a series of repeated forms across the site, we figured it would be sufficient to make one prototype of the largest flower on our site to explore the unrolling and fabrication methods, as well as to test different materials. Little did we know we had signed ourselves up for an incredibly tedious process.

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physical prototypes Flower protoype

Unrolled pieces

We encountered some difficulties unrolling the structure using grasshopper, so we ended up having to resort to Rhinoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s unroll command.This function also enabled us to create tabs with relative ease. The laser cutting process was arduous as our first file was cut at much too small a scale. The second file was printed at a 1:10 scale, and even then the individual components of the frame were still quite small and fiddly.

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It occurred to us that we would need at least two sheets each of the unrolled components, to allow us to create a proper â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;frameâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; that we could insert our panels into. In order to do this, we would also need to add extra tabs to each component. Although this first attempt would suffice for the prototyping exercise, in the real-world scenario, we figured the shop pieces of the frame would have to be individually fabricated from a much stiffer, more resilient metalsheet material, through perhaps the use of a 3D printer, instead of a laser-cutting printer.

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physical 1:10 model prototype

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During the fabrication process, it became apparent that we had not considered how we would attach the petals to the axis. We resolved the connections by running florist wire along the perimeters and central veins of the petals, and then fixing the ends to the axis with masking tape, The bolts were added mainly for aesthetics, but also for consideration in developing our design further.

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physical 1:25 site model prototype

view /02


--> -->

view /01

view /03

view /01

view /02 page | 142

Once again, due to the scale and repetitive nature of our design, we chose to model only a portion of the site, that would still enable us to represent the different species and scales of the flower structures, and the relationship between the site Refshaleøen to its surroundings. Our initial attempt at 3D printing was deemed a failure, and the complexity of our structures would make lasercutting the individual pieces at such a small scale an extremely onerous task, and thus we were left with no other option but to hand make each individual flower, along with the site.

view /03 page | 143


For our final model, we decided to show how we imagine the connections to occur between the petals and the axis. There were minor overlaps that occurred within the digital model that we had to rectify when unrolling the structure again. We had to be critical in the way we could represent how each separate petal would connect without overlapping adjacent petals; which resulted in a few updates to the model for fabrication purposes. Firstly, we had to stagger the connection positioning of each individual petal in a spiral formation down the axis. In considering the joints, we figured we would use a flexible connection that would accommodate movement and rotational moments occurring at the joint. Secondly, due to the planar nature of laser cutting, we had remodel our axis with a pentagonal cross-section to ensure we would be able to piece everything together.

physical 1:20 FINAL CONNECTION model




/01 Petal structure connection /02 Petal structure closeup, showing a flexible connection which accommodates movement /03 Front elevation depicting staggered connections along the axis /04 Flashing detail within the internal structure /05 Axis connection to underground electrical grid, external cladding



page | 147



GREEN GROWTH // [LIVEABILITY] // CARBON NEUTRALITY LAND ART GENERATOR INITIATIVE COPENHAGEN 2014 The Danish Government has set out a series of initiatives that aim directly at actively reducing the amount of Denmarkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s greenhouse gas emissions, ensuring Copenhagen becomes the first carbon neutral capital by 2025. The LAGI Competition was founded in 2008 with the goal of providing a platform for the design and construction of public art installations with the added benefits of clean energy generation. The brief requires the production of a site-specific public artwork that functions as a power plant; and in doing so, increases liveability by stimulating local economic development while simulatneously addressing ecological issues through cross-disciplinary integration.

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k酶路ben路ha路ven [koh-puhn-hey-vuhn] the garden of copenhagen

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Currently, Refshaleøen exists as an empty and vacant island with little purpose besides providing a site for temporary creative entrepreneurships and cultural and recreational venues. The Køben-haven project reintroduces life and function into the barren landscape by transforming it into a garden of solar energy generating flowers. As the flowers shine and glisten in colourful response to daylight, they become a direct expression of the amount of solar energy produced on site. Visitors are encouraged to roam around the enormous structures, interacting with the diversity of sizes; in turn inspiring the active contemplation of clean, biomimetic energy production through a process of articial photosynthesis.

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technology //artificial photosynthesis The structure will generate energy through the use of Dye Sensitised Solar Cells (DSSC) built into the zinc structural frame. The main component of a DSSC is the light-absorbing dye embedded within the cell. As sunlight enters through the transparent surface, photons cause the dye to enter an excited state (01), causing an electric current to be carried across to a metal-oxide surface (02). Positively charged electrons located in the TiO2 band are then diffused amongst TiO2 molecules along an electron concentration gradient, where they form the anode layer on top (03). The oxidised photosensitiser (S+) accepts electrons from the electrolyte liquid substance (I-), regenerating the ground state (S) to an oxidised state (I3-) (04): /01 S + hv -> S* /02 S* -> S+ + e- (TiO2) /03 S*+ e- -> S /04 I3- + 2e- -> 3IV

wavelength (nm) photon energy (eV)











570 590






2.2 2.1


nm = nanometres eV = electron volts

glass substrate anode compact TiO2 layer electrolyte cathode dye covered TiO2 molecules

page | 152

materiality//tectonics Zinc Aluminium Frame > cells are slotted within the zinc-coated aluminium frame with high electrical conductivity properties and protection against corrosion

Flexible Pin Connections > accommodate movement by transfering shear forces and permitting deformation to occur at joint

Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) Structural Aluminium Axis (Stem) > main structural element which upholds the flower petals > clad in a 100 nanometres thin ITO film allowing it to function as a transparent electrical conductor > bolted down to a pad footing system which allows the electrical current to be fed through to underground channel

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københaven is...


Experience the fly-through video at:

//renewable energy can be beautiful

Assuming the sun consistently shines at its maximum during peak daylight hours, providing a high photon influx; coupled with our optimisation of the thickness of the conductive glass substrate and the dye colour coefficient to ensure a maximum absoprtion rate, we estimate the site to generate an approximate 40000kWh of clean solar energy per annum. According to census data from 2010, the average individual consumed 1340kWh in one year. While the current DSSC technology operates at a rate of 9-10% efficiency, ongoing research has seen the potential of the technology to develop to a rate of 15%. The cost effectiveness, the simplified, environmentally susitainable manufacturing process requiring low embodied carbon, and finally its aesthetical appeal, is quickly making these third generation solar cells the more popular altnerative to their silicon-based counterparts. As a leading city in green transition, Denmark presents a strong opportunity to promote the benefits of clean, renewable energy harvesting. We hope our proposal illustrates these benefits in a visual and tacticle experience, that shows the public renewable can be beautiful.

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Overall, the presentation was quite successful and we received good feedback from our design proposal as a whole. We had developed up a concept and communicated our ideas clearly through documentation, pictures, and a fly-through video. It was suggested by the critics that we show we have tested out other iterations and forms of our design for solar energy generating potential; as well as how the structures can be used and experienced by different visitors to help justify our final proposal. We thus developed up a final series of renderings and drawings to help illustrate our methods and processes, and also made a final 1:20 connection detail model to depict our investigations.

Throughout the semester, this studio has tested and pushed both my creative and technical capacities by demanding a consistently high standard of work in all aspects. While I feel like i have struggled in quite a few areas of this subject, overall I feel like te learning experience has been an overall success:

Design Futuring Our project aimed to integrate the principles of sustainability, solar energy generation, and parametric design into a beautiful, digital garden that could be experienced by visitors of all backgrounds, while sending a broader message about the benefits of green energy production as a viable option in the future.

Design computation The crux of this subject has been to very quickly develop a parametric/computational repertoire by experimenting with and exclusively using softwares such as Rhino and Grasshopper. After weeks of trialling, we finally developed an initial defintion for a parametric flower which we were able to constantly iterate and update through the use of computing.

Composition/generation The freedom and design possiblities computing permits are endless, which we, ironcially, found to be both liberating and restrictive at times. Having a brief to respond to, however, gave us a boundary to work within through which we could explore multiple ideas.

Materiality/patterning By creating meshes, we were able to create a series of polysurfaces that approximated a curved surface. The arrangement of these polysurfaces helped us determine what technology would best suit our design, and in turn, our choice of technology had a direct impact on the kinds of materials we would have to use.

Fabrication This was a problem for us, due to the intricacy of our flower models. We were interested in using 3D printing to achieve accurate representations of our models, but the powder layering process would not correspond with the complexity of our design. We had to simplify and alter our design so that we could unroll it properly and utilise the laser cutting process instead. Where complications arose with Grasshopper, we resorted to using Rhino.

Analysis/Synthesis Solar radiation analysis plug-ins for Grasshopper helped us determine the optimal solutions from our iteration process. The forms that would become most energy efficient would be the ones we ended up choosing.

data management Using a digital data workflow replaces the conventional design development process by starting with conceptualisation, and then moving onto technical, innovative and performative modelling. Practical implications of parametric modelling could be easily rectified by visiting earlier versions of our work and refining them, before moving forward to fabrication stages. This would also help us push our design in new and different directions before being integrated into the final design proposal.

data visualisation Finally, through computation, we have been able to simulate a reality in which our project exists, allowing us to visualise it and assume structural and material responses before fabrication stage of our design. Depsite our many problems throughout the semester, I feel I have benefited from this subject, in learning a new design approach that is both time and cost efficient, and very likely to define future architectural practice.

Parametrics Our entire design was modelled using Grasshopper, which meant that everything from the number of petals, to the petal size, and the arrangement on site were controlled by certain parameters.

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Image Sources Figure 01: ‘Blink’ (2013) by Dosu Architects, accessed 15 May 2014, <> Figure 02: ‘HexSphere’ (2012) by Dosu Architects, accessed 15 May 2014, < >

Land Art Generator Initiative, (2014) ‘design guidelines’

“Average Solar Radiation”, accessetd 26 May 2014, < average-solar-radiation> Bertoluzzi, L and Ma, S (2013) “On the methods of calculation of the charge collection efficiency of dye sensitized solar cells”, Phys.Chem. Chem. Phys., 15 4283

‘Climatemps’, accessed 14 May 2014, <>

City of Copenhagen (2012) ‘Copenhagener’s energy consumption’, accessed May 2014, <> CSIRO (2011), ‘Dye-sensitised solar cells: third generation solar technology‘, accessed 24 May 2014, <http://www.> Encyclopedia Britannica, ‘Fraunhofer lines‘, accessed 24 May 2014, < topic/217627/Fraunhofer-lines> Hara, Kohjiro and Arakawa, Hironori (2005), ‘Chaper 15, Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells’. in A. Luque and S. Hegedus, Handbook of Photovoltaic Science and Engineering, John Wiley & Sons

Final Rendered Images Credit: Clinton Oh

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Justine Lenkiewicz 389679 StudioAIR 2014  
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