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DESIGN FUTURING Case Study One: Cardboard Cathedral Case Study Two: Skyfarm


DESIGN COMPUTATION Case Study One: Hangzhou Tennis Centre Case Study Two: ICD/ITKE RESEARCH PAVILLION 2010


COMPOSITION AND GENERATION Case Study One: Elbphilharmonie Case Study Two: New Balance Nervous System








INTRODUCTION I’m Kelvin Ng, currently a second year student in the Bachelor of Environments and majoring in architecture at The University of Melbourne. From young I have been very interested in design and the visual arts, drawing and painting in my spare time and in class. Over the years, my interest have shifted from abstract and almost thoughtless doodles into an appreciation and fascination for the well designed. This has led me to my current place, studying not only architecture as a way of designing dwellings, but also the principles behind what truly makes a space habitable and comfortable. Digital design has become something integral to the realisation of the ideas that designers manifest, allowing for more and more complex surfaces to be created. I am looking forward to develop my skills even more design studios in the future.




“We are now at a point when it can we, enmasse, have a future” - Tony Fry

In recent years design has created some concerns within the minds of the world, and is published in Tony Fry’s ‘Design Futuring’. He writes that the innovations and advancements in design over the course of the past century have been at the cost of the environment. Fry argues that the modern age with its vices and unsustainable development is in a state of defuturing, and has resulted in panic, asking us a simple question “how can a future be secured by design” This leads to the shift in thinking, proposed by Dunne, that design needs to be critical and provocative, dreaming of the impossible to future design instead of hoping for something possible that only leads them to the expected future.

no longer be assumed that

These two combined in the realm of architecture is something that is quite crucial at this stage, architecture being something that can elicit change, the advances in architecture in the form of the avant garde, reacting to the norm of society. As the mainstream changes so does what we see as normal. This as per Fry and Dunne, must be in regards to our unsustainable way of living, using architecture to change this. The introduction of parametric design and computation are tools that have allowed us to adapt and change our designs to better suit our needs.


- SHIGERU BAN Shigeru Ban is known for his ingenious use of lightweight and unconventional materials such as bamboo, cardboard and paper, working to build distater relief around the world. He is very citical of his profession, “working for priveledged people , for rich people, for government and developers. They have money and power, and those are invisible, so they hire us to visualize their power and money by making monuments of architecture” and has dedicated himself to the creation of useful buildings1, illustrated by the Cardboard Cathedral.

The tubes, developed by Ban from 1986 as a recyclable and budget friendly option have become a signature of his, seen across his many disatser relief projects, showing what simple and cheap materials can do when properly utilised. This idea of simple materials used in an ingenious way is what the future is about, dreaming of the impossible to create change in the world, Ban stating “the strength of the building has nothing to do with the strength of the material... Even concrete buildings can be destroyed by earthquakes very easily, but paper buildings cannot” 3

The cardboard cathedral, designed after the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, uses a simple A frame made, being the simplest structure to build2, from 98 equally sized cardboard tubes and 8 shipping containers is a testament to the future of design, the ‘temporary’ church predicted to last around fifty years. Each tube is coated with waterproof polyeurethane and fireproofed, protected by a polycarbonate roof3.

It is necessary that projects and ideas like this circulate, pushing the boundaries of materials to future design as a whole. 1. Helen Walters, “Buildings Made From Cardboard Tubes: A Gallery Of Shigeru Ban Architecture”, TED Blog, 2017 <> [accessed 26 July 2017]. 2. “Cardboard Cathedral By Shigeru Ban In Christchurch, New Zealand”, Architectural Review, 2017 <> [accessed 26 July 2017]. 3. “Newly Released Photos Of Shigeru Ban’s Cardboard Cathedral In New Zealand”, Archdaily, 2017 <> [accessed 26 July 2017].

Figure 1. Cardboard Cathedral

Figure 2. SKyfarm


- ROGERS STIRK HARBOUR + PARTNERS AND ARUP ASSOCIATES The skyfarm project was created in 2014 in response to the question of how countires will produce food for the increasing population of the world at the Milan Expo1. The idea behind the structure is to sustain such an issue in a sustainable manner. It is a hyperboloid bamboo tensegrity structur, multileveled to integrate a range of farming techniques, from traditional to aquaponics2. It is predicted that this structure could be integrated into cities, but is designed for more rural areas where the soil quality is low or land is scarce. It allows the cultivation of crops with short lifespans close to markets all year round reducing the need for transport. The lightweight structure is made of bamboo and showcases its tensile quality, allowing for bending whilst still keeping its considerable strength and lightness. It is also sustainable, bamboo growing faster than traditional wood and requiring much less energy to cultivate than metal. The tensegrity structure are made from prestressed members, the bamboo creating the tight circular frame that enables sun exposure on the farming zone3. The structure of the farm can be scaled up or down to suit a variety of conditions, a 10 metre version constructed in a school or a 80 metre version in a park1. The geometry can also be changed in accordance with the lattitude of the earth and amount of sunlight. In accordance with climate double or single skin enclosures could be applied to create the best conditions for growth. 1. “Skyfarm, Milan”, Design Build Network, 2017 <> [accessed 29 August 2017]. 2. Amy Frearson, “Rogers Stirk Harbour Tackles Food Crisis With Vertical Farm”, Dezeen <> [accessed 29 July 2017]. 3. “Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners - Project - Skyfarm”, Archello.Com <> [accessed 29 July 2017].

“This is an age in which digitally informed design c produce a second nature” - Rivka and Robert Oxman


can actually The introduction of computer aided design in a symbiotic fashion within the realm of design has allowed humans to produce form in response to the claimed “defuturing’ of design by Tony Fry, in response to the environmental conditions that could affect the workings of said form1. The introduction of new digital technologies has defined the design process from form finding to production, evolving as a medium that facilitates the intersection between science, technology, design and architecture2. This introduction of computation in the design process has allowed humans to develop beyond the traditional forms of architecture, the complex algorithms and parametrics of computer calculations enhancing the already considerable skills of a designer, allowing for new forms of logical design thinking, creation of variation and increased capacity for research based experimental design2. As Kalay writes, “computers...never tire, never make silly arithmetical mistakes, and will gladly search through and correlate facts buried in the endless heaps of information... quickly and repeatedly”, and thus is a perfect choice for the precarious position that we sit in, the futuring of design so important to our survival, the dream of the impossible being made real by these methods.

Alongside this quick and efficient method that computation brings, it also allows the user to follow a program to view and modify forms in virtual space, the ease of the task being so great that it has created a huge shift in the way architects work. This is due to the commercialisation of new and readily available software that allowed the manipulation of NURBS surfaces, becoming the preferred design environment for a new generation of designers. The new computer aided design has an incredible potential for differentiation3, parametric design allowing for the ability to modulate the number of holes in a surface to control the amount of light in a space among others showing the direction such innovation can push humanity in. It can answer much of our problems in regards to ecological design in response to the environment we are situated in, forming natural design that is not simply imitating the form of the organic, but instead taking ideas and principles behind nature and repurposing them for our own context, offering a solution to the idea of ‘defuturing’. 1. Yehuda E Kalay, Architecture’s New Media (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2004), pp. 5-25. 2. Rivka Oxman and Robert Oxman, Theories Of The Digital In Architecture (London: Routledge, 2014), pp. 1-10. 3. Patrik Schumacher, “Parametricism: A New Global Style For Architecture And Urban Design”, Architectural Design, 79.4 (2009), 14-23 <>.


- NBBJ 10,000 seat tennis stadium in Hangzhou, China that uses a parametrically driven process to find an innovative skin and to reduce consumption of materials. It is made up of 24 truss modules in a double curve around a circular arc, creating a large scale repetitive pattern which encloses the seating bowl. The resulting shell functions as a shade and rain protection for the bowl. A modular system was defined parametrically by establishing NURBS point cloud system, serving as a control point to define edge curves of the surface1. Parameters for manipulating the point cloud enabled different configurations of exterior surface, the resulting petals were generated in accordance with both the sorting and transforming operations and were judged on the factors of shade, drainage, structure and aesthetics2. The structural truss centreline model is parametrically driven from surface geometry, parameters controlling the spacing and depth of the trusses.

Grasshopper allowed automated generation of wireframe compatible with engineering analysis software, allowing for physics testing to simulate gravity loading on the frame. Having this built into the design helped the team engage in more detailed dialogue with the structural engineering team1 NJJB intended to reduce amount of steel needed for the envelope structure to create an efficient shell that provides the spectators with a clear field of vision. Reduced steel consumption by 67% of the intended amount which shows capabilities of successful parametric design. Inventive ways of using parametric design support efficiency in design through the use of computation, contributing to both performance oriented form finding as well as concievable geometries.

1. Nathan Miller, “The Hangzhou Tennis Center: A Case Study In Integrated Parametric Design”, Issuu, 2011 <> [accessed 1 August 2017]. 2. “Case Study : Computational Design Of Hangzhou Tennis Center - Arch2o.Com”, Arch2o. Com <> [accessed 1 August 2017].

Figure 3. Hangzhou Tennis Centre

Figure 5. Transformation of arc into surface

Structural diagrams showing the conversion of the arc to a point cloud before being converted into a surface. Figure 6 shows the grasshopper algorithm that produced this shell as well as the structural loads on the truss members within the design.

Figure 6. Computation process Figure 7. Section

Figure 8. ICD/ITKE Research Pavillion 2010


- ICD + ITKE Design computation allows us to integrate both the physical properties as well as the behaviour of a certain material into the generation of ideas in the design process, needing to consider form, material and structure side by side. It is common to approach a design through form finding, where an idea is expressed through drawings or modelling, but it can also be defined by the behaviour of a certain material1. The research pavilion designed in 2010 by the Institute for Computational Design (ICD) and the Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE) at the University of Stuttgart is an example of such definition, the project based on elastic bending. It explores how the simple act of bending can lead to the possibility of structurally effective and versatile systems. The design of the pavilion began with the integration of material behaviour as parameters through a series of tests, both physical and digital, focusing on the bending of plywood. The resulting computational tool allowed the generation of possible systems, allowing for prototyping. The plywood strips are then created as straight sections, bent by a robot to interlock, the force being held in place by its corresponding neighbour. Many factors needed to be considered to allow for this bent system to function and several hundred different parts

needed to be fabricated and thus was included in the computation of the design. The ability to directly generate data allowed the large number of unique parts to be fabricated, a process that would otherwise have taken months2. In comparison to the process of computation, the construction proved to be substantially easier, the parts needing only to be connected to automatically create the desired shape as per the intended design using the behaviour of the material. Along with the exploration of the bending element of architecture, it allowed the comparison of the digital against the physical, suggesting that the integration of computation and construction was no longer only a dream. It showed how the focus of computation on a material system can increase efficiency while exploring new design areas.

1. Achim Menges, “Pluripotent Components: An Alternative Approach To Parametric Design”, AA Files, 2005, pp. 63-74. 2. Moritz Fleischmann and others, “Material Behaviour: Embedding Physical Properties In Computational Design Processes”, Architectural Design, 82.2 (2012), 44-51 <>.

Figure 9. Stress levels on members

Figure 10. Stress levels on members and resulting f

fabrication model

Figure 11. Pavilion structure

Stress and deformation can be simulated as part of the process of computation, structural analysis models allowing engineers and architects to work hand in hand. Figure shows the structural model translated into a fabrication model.


Computation is redefining architecture as a whole, creating opportunities across the fields of design, fabrication and construction1. Most architects use computers as a virtual tool to digitalise designs and procedures that are already preconceived in their minds, simply a tool that allows them to more easily edit, copy and draw with more precision than they necessarily would otherwise. However, this is not the definition of computation, but instead what we could term ‘computerisation” 2 Computation is something that allows the extension of ability to cope with situations with a high level of complexity. As Sean Ahlquist and Achim Menges define it, computation is “the processing of information and interactions between elements...providing] a framework for negotiating and influencing the interrelation of datasets...with the capacity to generate complex order, form and structure”3 It means the use of a computer to augment the intellect, allowing complex problems to be solved. It also has the potential to provide further development, modifications able to be made to the algorithm and thus almost infinite explorations able to be generated. The power and availabilities of scripting interfaces such as Rhino and Grasshopper has increased the use of computation in practice. This has created designers who not only use software, but apply algorithmic thinking to take on an interpretive role, understanding the generation of the code, and effectively create software4.

Computational designers generate and explore architectural spaces through algorithms that relate placement and configuration. Computation must be flexible, able to adapt to changing parameters of architecture and accommodate to these changes. The development of such software allows architects to create and use simulation tools to create more responsive and adaptive designs, architecture being an encounter between design and the public5. Using computation could lead to a future where a digital model could be further used after construction, parameters continuing to be updated as per residents needs and feedback, reflecting in changes in the performance of the building.

1 Peters Brady. and Xavier de Kestelier, Computation Works (London: Wiley, 2013), pp. 8-15. 2. Kostas Terzidis, Algorithmic Architecture, 2006. 3. Achim Menges and Sean Ahlquist, Computational Design Thinking (Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, 2011). 4. Mark Burry, Scripting Cultures (Chichester, West Sussex, U.K: J. Wiley & Sons, 2011), p. 8. 5. Stan Allen, Practice: Architecture, Technique And Representation (London: Routledge, 2008), p. 14.

Figure 12. Hamburg Elbphilharmonie


- HERZOG AND DE MEURON The auditorium of the Elbphilharmonie in the city of hamburg is lined with 10,000 individually unique acoustic panels made of gypsum fiber. The panels feature one million indents collectively, ranging from four to sixteen centimeters in diameter, designed to shape sound within the space. When sound hits the surface, it is either absorbed or scattered back into the auditorium. Each panel is different but work together to create a balanced sound across the space. This itself is not a new concept, but the Elbphilharmonie uses parametrics to create something that is not only effective, but also visually engaging. Based on the geometry of the auditorium, differently shaped panels would need to be positioned. Towards the back the panels would need to be deeper and have bigger grooves to absorb the echoes that the distance would produce, while other areas near the ceiling would have to have a less extreme indent. This combined with the aesthetic and comfort features that architecture should include created a set of parameters that allowed the development of an algorithm that would individually shape each panel and pattern them to specification, both performance wise and aesthetics wise. The founder of the studio that fabricated these panels, Benjamin Koren,

states “I hit play and it creates a million cells, all different and based on these parameters. I have 100 percent control over setting up the algorithm, and then I have no more control”1 Such a feat of design would be nearly impossible to do by hand, the practicality of such an algorithm allowing for the creation of something that regular designers without the enhanced abilities that come with computation would not have been able to do. The control that we have can only go so far, limited our ability to process and complete complex tasks. This project is an example of what the future might hold, the effectiveness of a design simply needing computation to achieve peak performance, the human element controlling the process through the programming of algorithmic parameters while the machine collects the most efficient solution.

1. Elizabeth Stinson, Robbie Gonzalez and Adam Rogers, “What Happens When Algorithms Design A Concert Hall? The Stunning Elbphilharmonie”, WIRED, 2017 < happens-algorithms-design-concert-hall-stunning-elbphilharmonie/> [accessed 9 August 2017].

Figure 13. Stress levels on members and resulting fabrication model

Figure 14

Figure 16.

4. Accoustic panels

Accoustic panels

Figure 15. Accoustic panels

Figure 17. Accoustic panels


- NEW BALANCE Generative design can also be applied to smaller scale projects, the principle behind it being efficiency. Not only can it generate large areas that an architect would not feasibly be able to draft by hand, but is also be able to be flexible and adaptable. Simply by changing a few parameters, the output design can be modified to fit existing circumstance or environment. In relation to change and variation, footwear is one of the categories that immediately spring to mind, the fit of each foot, walking style and usage all varying between person to person to many different degrees. New Balance, following in the footsteps of Adidas with its Futurecraft range, have created a shoe in conjunction with American based design studio Nervous System to develop 3d printed midsoles that can be customised to the needs of the user. By using sensors that measure the pressure of the foot when it makes contact with the ground, Nervous System was able to pinpoint the parameters needed to provide the optimum structure of the sole. This combined with the structure of naturally occurring foam structures such as those in bone and wood is used to develop a 3d printable structure that

could be quickly and efficiently manufactured1, while still keeping the quality of product and ability to vary the output on a whim. Combining these qualities, the studio was able to design foams that were able to adapt geometrically to different forces put on the foot by different users. It is intended that this technology will be on sale later this year, producing shoes that are customised exactly to your foot, making for a better shoe. New Balance states that this project “are the types of collaborations that will drive footwear design and manufacturing in the future”. Such a feat of technology can only be achieved by parametric design, such a structure that prioritises efficiency and customisation to this degree only able to be achieved by computation.

1. Emma Tucker, “New Balance Partners With Nervous System To 3D Print Soles”, Dezeen <https://> [accessed 9 August 2017].

Figure 18. Nervous

System New Balance Runners

Figure 19. Cell-like structure of sole

Figure 20. Sole flex

Figure 21. Magnified view of structure of sole

Figure 22. Different sole configurations

Designers, with the introduction of computation, have reached a stage where we are able to surpass our own limitations, and have to take a step into the future, away from the unsustainable practices that have been the norm in the past. We must use computation to enhance the process, to be efficient and create forms and ideas that would have otherwise been unfeasible. We are now able to generate form based not only on function but also with relevance to material, letting it create a form that is functional as in the 2010 ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion. Along with the ability to use stress simulations to assess the behaviour of material, it can also be used to increase the efficiency of a structure, the Hangzhou Tennis Centre using the stress simulation to design the internal truss structure to maximum efficiency, all while using the least material possible. This is ultimately the future of design, computation allowing us to create designs that simply surpass the un-enhanced human mind. We are still the brain, providing the vision and set of instructions for the machine to follow, able to change parameters to better suit the end user, illustrated by the New Balance Nervous System shoe. We are looking at a future where a process like this is commonplace, where a digital model is still used after production, able to be tweaked and readjusted to adapt to the environment and changing conditions of the user.


Learning the nuances of architectectural computing has really opened my eyes to the possibility of design. At the start of the semester I viewed this subject as simply a Grasshopper based workshop where we would use our ability as designers and knowledge of a tool to form visually interesting facades. However now after reading and understanding the theory and practice of computation I have now discovered that it is not simply â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;computerisationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; that this subject is teaching, but the very essence of design and using parametrics to enhance this. The idea of computation is something that could have been applied into almost all of my past works, but none more so than the second skin project for Digital Design and Fabrication. With the use of parametrics, it would have been much easier to change the design in accordance with the changing stages and problems that we faced, as well as finding the most effiicient solution both in terms of time and material usage. In the future, I would like to delve into something that replicates natural forms, seemingly random patterns that creatae maximum efficiency. This would be something that would, like the New Balance shoe, be able to be changed after production to suit a wide range of users.




Gradual twisting

WEEK 2 Attractor Points

Voronoi and grid

Delaunay Edges

Multiple Attractor Points

Multiple Attractor Points from Loft

REFERENCES Allen, Stan, Practice: Architecture, Technique And Representation (London: Routledge, 2008), p. 14 Burry, Mark, Scripting Cultures (Chichester, West Sussex, U.K: J. Wiley & Sons, 2011), p. 8 “Cardboard Cathedral By Shigeru Ban In Christchurch, New Zealand”, Architectural Review, 2017 <> [accessed 26 July 2017] “Case Study : Computational Design Of Hangzhou Tennis Center - Arch2o.Com”, Arch2o.Com <> [accessed 1 August 2017] Fleischmann, Moritz, Jan Knippers, Julian Lienhard, Achim Menges, and Simon Schleicher, “Material Behaviour: Embedding Physical Properties In Computational Design Processes”, Architectural Design, 82 (2012), 44-51 <> Frearson, Amy, “Rogers Stirk Harbour Tackles Food Crisis With Vertical Farm”, Dezeen <> [accessed 29 July 2017] Kalay, Yehuda E, Architecture’s New Media (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2004), pp. 5-25 Menges, Achim, “Pluripotent Components: An Alternative Approach To Parametric Design”, AA Files, 2005, pp. 63-74 Menges, Achim, and Sean Ahlquist, Computational Design Thinking (Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, 2011) Miller, Nathan, “The Hangzhou Tennis Center: A Case Study In Integrated Parametric Design”, Issuu, 2011 <> [accessed 1 August 2017] “Newly Released Photos Of Shigeru Ban’s Cardboard Cathedral In New Zealand”, Archdaily, 2017 <> [accessed 26 July 2017] Oxman, Rivka, and Robert Oxman, Theories Of The Digital In Architecture (London: Routledge, 2014), pp. 1-10 Peters Brady., and Xavier de Kestelier, Computation Works (London: Wiley, 2013), pp. 8-15 “Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners - Project - Skyfarm”, Archello.Com <> [accessed 29 July 2017] Schumacher, Patrik, “Parametricism: A New Global Style For Architecture And Urban Design”, Architectural Design, 79 (2009), 14-23 <> “Skyfarm, Milan”, Design Build Network, 2017 <> [accessed 29 August 2017] Stinson, Elizabeth, Robbie Gonzalez, and Adam Rogers, “What Happens When Algorithms Design A Concert Hall? The Stunning Elbphilharmonie”, WIRED, 2017 <> [accessed 9 August 2017] Terzidis, Kostas, Algorithmic Architecture, 2006 Tucker, Emma, “New Balance Partners With Nervous System To 3D Print Soles”, Dezeen <> [accessed 9 August 2017] Walters, Helen, “Buildings Made From Cardboard Tubes: A Gallery Of Shigeru Ban Architecture”, TED Blog, 2017 <> [accessed 26 July 2017]

IMAGES: 2010 ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion <> [accessed 5 August 2017] Acoustic Panels <> [accessed 9 August 2017] Acoustic Panels <> [accessed 9 August 2017] Acoustic Panels <> [accessed 9 August 2017] Acoustic Panels Near Audience <> [accessed 9 August 2017] Cardboard Cathedral <> [accessed 1 August 2017] Cell Structure Of Sole <> [accessed 10 August 2017] Different Sole Variations <> [accessed 10 August 2017] Elbphilharmonie <,c_limit/Elbphilharmonie_Gro%C3%9Fer-Saal_c_Iwan_Baan-14.jpg> [accessed 8 August 2017] Elbphilharmonie Sound Design <,c_limit/Elbphilharmonie_02b.jpg> [accessed 7 August 2017] Fabrication Details Of Members <> [accessed 6 August 2017] Hangzhou Tennis Centre Design <> [accessed 4 August 2017] Hangzhou Tennis Centre Grasshopper Definition <> [accessed 5 August 2017] Magnified Cell Structure In Shoe <> [accessed 10 August 2017] Member Stresses <> [accessed 6 August 2017] New Balance Nervous System Shoe <> [accessed 10 August 2017] Skyfarm <> [accessed 1 August 2017] Stress Levels Of Pavilion Structure <> [accessed 6 August 2017]



Figure 1. FRAC Centre

RESEARCH FIELD: GEOMETRY The field of geometry uses mathematics and parametric tools to create two and three dimensional forms, incorporating features such as ruled surface, parabaloid, minimal surface, geodesics, relaxation and general form finding as well as booleans. The process involves the definition of a general form first, before using such a reference surface to create geometries. The basic geomtry can be manipulated to create new and interesting forms, changing its structure and layout. For Part B I will be conducting my own investigation into the complex world of geometry with the Matsys SG2012 Gridshell as a precedent.


CASE STUDY ONE: MATSYS GRIDSHELL A gridshell structure draws strength from the double curve that forms a grid or lattice, forming free flowing geometry from simple bending of straight members1. This gridshell was produced at a four day workshop at SmartGeometry 2012, presented by MATSYS, focusing on the design of a timber gridshell built exclusively from straight timber members bent along geodesic lines. Throught the use of parametric tools waste was mininised while keeping form, something that is common with geodesic forms2. 1. “Gridshell Exploration”, Designontopic: Thinness <> [accessed 5 September 2017]. 2. “SG2012 Gridshell « MATSYS”, Matsysdesign.Com <> [accessed 4 September 2017].

Figure 2. Mastsys Gridshell


Explode data tree

Form initial surface to conform shell to

Create geodesic from lofted surface and points from the divided curves

Divide curve into equal points

Shift points

SPECIES 1 Extrusion from referenced curve and loft


3 divide

Using the supplied definition from the Matsys Gridshell, I was able to add components such as lofts and extrusions to create new species, forming many new iterations.

6 divide

Vector linework did not suit the iterations that I produced as there were many curved surfaces and intersecting sections, thus needing to be presented in a rendered format. This allows the effective communication of the form. I have chosen to rended the first species in a glass material to show the overlap and intersections between the surfaces.

16 divide

46 divide



Loft from referenced curves

Extrude from gridshell curves

10 divide

10 divide

15 divide

15 divide

25 divide

20 divide

35 divide

50 divide



Extrude from gridshell curves using second reference curve

Extrusion referenced from circular curves

2 divide

20 divide

5 divide

10 divide warped curve z axis

10 divide

20 divide warped curve z axis

15 divide

10 divide warped curve xyz axis

10 divide

15 divide

35 divide

50 divid


SPECIES 6 Pipes along line through exoskeleton plugin

100 divide

20 divide




64 divide


Interesting aesthetic


Aesthetics is the first thing a user considers and can be a very powerful tool. These two iterataions are the ones I believe to be the most visually engaging, undulating and twisting to form interesting shapes. The first is quite sharp and sleek while the second has a very fluid sense of motion, almost like cloth in the wind. This form can be intergrated into a more buildable design to create interest.

As the b inviting not bein


brief is an accoustic pod, where people are interacting with it, it must be somewhat to touch and approach. The easiest way to so this is through the form, jagged edges ng as inviting as a round soft form.

Buildability and potential As good as aesthetics and interest may be, it means nothing if it cannot be built and has not potential for development. This iteration. with its interlocking struts can easily be modified to create a fabrication model.


Figure 3. Montreal Biosphere

CASE STUDY TWO: BIOSPHERE The montreal biosphere is a sixty two metre high geodesic dome structure, built from three-inch steel tubes, welded at the joints and thinner towards the top to allow for even distribution of force. It was built for the 1967 World Exposition as the pavillion of the United States, designed by Richard Buckminister Fuller. He belived that architecture was intended to exist in harmony with man and nature, able to increase our potential and connection to the enviornment. For almost two decades, he had been experimenting with these geodesic structures, interesed in the efficiency, structural strength and modularity of such forms, looking to geodesic domes for its sustainable, easily replicated design. The Biosphere is the epitome of Fuller’s ideals, the zenith of the promise of technology in his eyes. It illustrated the potential of the use of technology to further the good of man, hyper efficient in terms of material usage, strength and reproduction. However, although the dome and shell structures have been widespread in their use, the geodesic dome in particular has not been as widely used as a form in general architectural practice. “AD Classics: Montreal Biosphere / Buckminster Fuller”, Archdaily <> [accessed 1 September 2017].

REVERSE ENGINEERING Through the use of Grasshopper, I have reverse engineered the Biosphere, splitting it into its inner and outer sections. The inner structure is made of interlocking hexagons and the outer structure is created with interlocking triangles. These two shells, the hexagonal within the triangular, create a semblance of the Biosphereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s main structure.


I started the process with a simple sphere as a reference surface to create triangular panels, using the lunchox plugin. However, yielded triangles that became smaller towards the top and bottom poles, unlike the geodesic dome where all trangles were ev The Geometry Gym plugin allowed the creation of a geodesic dome with even triangles and allowed the creation of even hexag that similarly create a sphere. The radius of the triangular sphere was set to 30 and the radius of the hexagonal sphere set to 28

Simple sphere Initial form

Discarded as it did not yield result that I had hoped for

Lunchbox Triangulate Panel C

Lunchbox Triangulate Panel A

Lunch Triang

Triangular panel exploration

Triangular panel exploration

Correct t triangles

, this ven. gons 8.

Triangular icosahedron

Hexagonal icosahedron

hbox gulate Panel B

Geometry Gym Geodesic Dome


triangles, but not correct as were not the same size

Geometry Gym plugin to make geodesic dome

Exoskeleton plugin to thicken wireframe

Geometry Gym Geodesic Dome Geometry Gym plugin to make second geodesic dome

Figure 4. Montreal Biosphere


After the reverse engineering stage, I have found that the geodesic dome is something that, with the current technology, is incredibly simple to create, simply needing a small plugin to create. This would have been much more difficult in Fullerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time, not having such powerful software. For this reason, have decided to keep the geodesic structure on the base surface and instead play with the forms that could be created from such a dome, extruding to and from different surfaces to create new forms. I will also be focusing on form, the bar structure being quite simple to create as well. This spherical surface ties in with the idea of the accoustic pod, creating an alcove that allows privacy and possibly accoustic performance.

SPECIES 1 Simple extrusion from surface

Distance 5

Distance 25

Distance 20

Distance 15

Distance 10

Distance 30

SPECIES 2 Extrusion from trianglular surface to specified curve

Distance 1

Distance 3

Distance 2

Distance 4

Distance 5

SPECIES 3 Extrusion from hexagonal surface to specified curve

Random distance 1-5

Random distance 1-20

Distance 5

Distance 10

Distance 7

Distance 40

Distance 50

Distance 10

Extrude to random sized circles

After extruding stright from the original surface, I decided to extrude it to a reference curve. When looking through supplied definitions I found that extruding to a circle was the simplest and a common factor in previous projects such as Voltadom and Green Void amongst others. I decided to use this as a reference curve as it would allow me to work on the extrusions in a quick and consistent manner

Extrusions to squares

Distance 50

Random extrude to random sized circles

Random distance range 1-8

Random extrude to random sized circles #2

Random distance range 1-20

SPECIES 4 Extrusion inwards

Distance 2

Distance 5

Distance 7

Distance 10

Inwards 20 Outwards 10

Inwards 20 Outwards 20

Inwards 20 Outwards 20 Random circles


SPECIES 5 Extrusion inwards and outwards

Inwards 10 Outwards 10


Inwards 20 Outwards Random c

stance 20

Distance 5 Random circles

0 20 circles

Inwards 20 Outwards 20 Random circles Smaller triangles

Random distance 1-10 Random circle

Inwards 20 Outwards 10 Random circles 1-3 Smaller triangles


Random distance 1-20 Random circle

Inwards10 Outwards 10 Random circles 1-3 Smaller triangles

Rendered showing interior

Rendered showing interior

SPECIES 6 Creation of pipes for frame

Iterations on this page were rendered as producing 2D linework of the numerous surfaces proved to be taxing on the computer, rendering allowing more effective communication.

SPECIES 7 Pipes and lofted surface

Triangles extruded outwards

Hexagons extruded inwards

Hexagons extruded to triangles


Interesting aesthetic

Interesting aesthetic



Buildability and potential

Buildability and potential

The interesting part of this design is the differing sizes of circles that the triangles extrude to. It still holds its round shape, the corners being offset by the circles that define its form. It would not be extremely hard to build physically, but would require fabrication of each joint separately.

This iteration was the most interesting, showing how different extrusion references can differ the form. It almost loses the ball form and looks like a crystalline structure, pushing what geometry can acheive.

Interesting aesthetic

Interesting aesthetic



Buildability and potential

Buildability and potential

This iteration ended up quite cell like, extrusions inwards forming little individual hollow alcoves that both show the structure of the design and could also allow for storage. It keeps the roundess of the geodesic dome and from the inside would be a cluster of circles in a spherical manner.

The application of transparency to the iteration allows for a closer look into the inner workings of the design. As aesthetic as this may be, it is impractical to fabricate it wholly out of transparent material.


PROTOTYPE -noun A first or preliminary version of a device or vehicle from which other forms are developed Prototyping allows the combination of digital modelling with the physical nature of the material. The digital model can only do so much in communicating the design, able to show an item that is free to produce and can be changed as per need, incredibly useful for early stages of design, able to produce multiple iterations quickly and efficiently. However, it does not give the tangibility of real world materials, nothing to touch or observe. Mathematics can only approximate so much of the real world, parameters mimicing the real world around us. By fabricating a physical prototype we are able to further the digital, meshing it with the physical to truly push the design to its limits.

CONCEPT The concept behind the design is aimed at breaking down the idea of the accoustic pod into privacy and accoustics. In this current stage we will be focusing on the privacy aspect, using materials and parametric tools to optimise the accoustic performance of the design after the form has been designed. The design is essentially a skin and bone structure, the form created by a rigid frame similar to the Montreal Biosphere and covered by a transluscent skin. When lit from the inside, the occupants will cast shadows on the stretched skin, much like a chinese shadow puppet show. It highlights the privacy of the space by almost breaching it, allowing others to see within the pod, signalling usage in a subtle way that feels natural both to the user and others around. It uses the light from inside to cast shadows of the users on the semi translucent surface, showing usage to others around the pod. The faceless nature of the silhouette acts as both an indicator of usage and a deterrent from entering, the sight of two unrecognised people in conversation tending to be something that people tend not to interrupt.

The idea of the cloth over the bars came from these iterations, the geodesic icosahedron forming a strong rigid base for the cloth to be stretched over. Created and rendered by Kelvin Ng

We liked the form that was created in this iteration, able to be used as a cave like shelter that could be further developed to become a pod. Created by Julianna Tong, rendered by Kelvin Ng


Render shows a different shape to extrude to and how it may affect the form. It also shows extrusions both inwards and outwards. Created and rendered by Kelvin Ng

This render shows the extrusions inwards, Created and rendered by Kelvin Ng


Prototype render elevation

Prototype interior structure render

Prototype interior structure render

Prototype render elevation

PROTOTYPE 01 -DIGITAL From the digital model, we picked a branch of extrusions to fabricate, able to show material performance, connection and form without having to recreate the whole design. The bars that connect all the corners together must be expolored, exploring joints and how to reduce complexity. Materials must be explored, looking at feel, density, stretchiness and light permeability.

MATERIAL TESTING We tested four different materials, looking at stretch, transparency and appearance. 1. Canvas 2. Hessian Jute

3. Gauze 4. Spandex/lycra

Canvas: Stretch Transparency

Hessian Jute: Stretch Transparency

Gauze: Stretch Transparency

Lycra: Stretch Transparency

PROTOTYPE FABRICATION We cut bamboo sticks to length, gluing two together for strength, before using these to make the bone structure for our design. This attached onto the top ring, laser cut from 3mm MDF to create the form that we desired. After this we stretched different cloths over it to experiment with the effects that each gave in terms of form, light and feel.

The lycra material has the most stretch out of all the materials that we chose and we decided to use a black variant, as opposed to the white of the other materials. This allowed us to test what the difference of color would make on the light and visual effect. The stretchy fabric gave a smooth surface when under tension, but did not perform as well as the other materials, light not shining through as well as having seam issues. In order to pull the material tight, we needed to fix it to the frame, the last surface ending up with the majority of the excess fabric which we found unappealing.

The gauze was much more transparent than the lycra and allowed light to shine through much better. However it was not as stretchy and we had to apply a different method to attach it to the frame. We rolled it twice round in the material to give it the desried transparency.

The canvas material was quite similar to the gauze, but with a bit more stiffness to it. It did not stretch and thus did not conform to the frame as much as the previous materials, but nonetheless gave an intersting aesthetic.

The hessian material had the least stretch out of all of the materials, being quite tough with a rough texture. It was for this reason that we decided to join it through the use of panels, cutting the fabric to shape before joining it at the edges. This allowed a relatively rigid material to still hug the frame and create the desired form. The light was able to penetrate it almost to the level of the gauze due to the numerous holes in the weave.

PROTOTYPE 02 -PHYSICAL We fabricated four prototypes out of four different materials at different sizes to test how we would join the materials and how each would perform. The gauze material was wrapped around the frame and stuck on with glue. The canvas material had glue applied to the corners and struts before rolling the frame onto the material. The black neoprene material was stretched onto the frame from the top and sewed together. The sackcloth was cut into panels before being attached to the frame with glue.

PROTOTYPE 03 -PHYSICAL When fabricating prototype 01, we found that it was incredibly hard to produce, each joint being different and needing to be glued to each other with copious amounts of glue. This would be very impractical for a real scale product and thus has to be resolved. We experimented with rubber bands, using these to hold the bars together, but that proved to be fiddly and ineffeicent. We came up with a new concept that used the flexible nature of cloth as a joint system. By fixing the members to the cloth and utlising gravity, we were able to form a shape that resembled our desired form. Securing frame with elastic bands

PROTOTYPE 03 -PHYSICAL Prototype 02 somewhat solved the problems of joints, but does not have the rigidity of prototype 01. Something that could be experimented with is tensile wires and weights, much like Antoni Gaudiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hanging chain model, which would give the structure a little more form and rigidity. This may also work a little better in the context of an office, able to be hung from the ceiling without taking up as much space as prototype 01.


Our design proposal focuses on the privacy aspect of an accoustic pod, using our design to create a space where discussions can be held in relative privacy. We want to do this in a way that is subtle and refined, the notion of suggestibility being one of the strongest forces involved in the maniplulation of people. As discussed earlier in the concept, we plan to use light and shadow to highlight the privacy of the space, pushing it to the very edge to almost breach this notion. It works in a different way for users and passer-bys, the user inside casting a shadow on the outer skin to signal usage. The faceless nature of a silhouette acts as a deterrant from entering, triggering our discomfort around the unknown. For the user, the skin, much like a tent, will shield them from the outside, giving an illusion of comfort and prvacy, something that will allow the easy facilliation of discussion. In the next stage, we will be experimenting with more materials to find our desired effect in terms of light and form. Through the use of parametric modelling, we will be able to test stress on the frame through physics engines such as Kangaroo, reduce wastage and even alter the design to maximise the accoustic performance. This will be done by parametrically generating the optimum area for panels that could absorb vibrations.

Our proposasl, although the idea behind it is s am happy with, the execution and resolution o something that I wish could have been furthe complexity of our product at this stage is too connections all individual to the point of unfea world scenario.

In terms of learning, I found that I have begun on Grasshopper and its plugins. I also have fo started to enjoy the process, which is quite surp am not one that is very open to mathematics, in the program due to its high reliance on mathema this I have also further refined my rendering sk a few speed bumps along the way which hinder physically fabricate a physical prototype. For th to learn how to render an image that was as p possible.


Problems aside, I have thouroughly enjoyed Par myself to develop my skills and approach design direction than I am used to. Moving on, my par decided to refine this over complicated des something that will be not only innovative, but w even further than before.

something that I of the design is er explored. The high, joints and asibility in a real

n to get a grasp ound that I have pising to me as I nitially not liking atics. Along with kills, running into red our ability to his reason I had photorealistic as

rt B, challenging n from a different rtner and I have sign and create will challenge us

WEEK 3: Differing size of circles in accordance with a referenced image, using collection of geometries to reproduce image.


WEEK 4: Lunchbox panelling tools extruded to create triangular sun shade panels.

WEEK 5: Bent panels wrapped around a loft referenced from curves.

WEEK 6: Aranda Lasch

Recursive elements -Aranda Lasch -L-systems with Anemone

L-system with anemone


B NINE BIBLIOGRAPHY “AD Classics: Montreal Biosphere / Buckminster Fuller”, Archdaily <> [accessed 1 September 2017] “SG2012 Gridshell « MATSYS”, Matsysdesign.Com <> [accessed 4 September 2017] “Gridshell Exploration”, Designontopic: Thinness <> [accessed 5 September 2017] IMAGES: Geodesic Dome < c o m % 2 Fm e d i a % 2 Fd a t a b a s e % 2 Fa rc h i te c t u re % 2 Fs c u l p t u re 1 % 2 Fr i c h a rd - b u c k m i n s te r- f u l l e r % 2 F0 2 3 - r i c h a rd - b u c k m i n s te r- f u l l e r- t h e re d l i s t . j p g & p s i g = A FQ j C N E E BWx _ Chx9Xs5xuEJzaZlRb4V7uQ&ust=1505637279660477> [accessed 8 September 2017] Geodesic Dome <> [accessed 8 September 2017] Matsys Gridshell <> [accessed 6 September 2017] FRAC Centre <> [accessed 10 September 2017] All other pictures and renders taken by Kelvin Ng

Studio Air Part A and B  
Studio Air Part A and B