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Introduction PART A Conceptualisation Design Futuring Design Computation Compositioin to Generation Conclusion Learning Outcomes

My name is Krissy. I’m a thrid year Architecture student I like using Sketch-up, Revit and AutoCAD, as well as at the University of Melbourne. the adobe suite to accomplish my work. I have done Virtual Environments in my first year and had some When I was young I have no idea what I’m going to knowledge about Rhino and Grasshopper. I will try become and I just started my Architecture course in my best to get the most out of this subject by learning Melbourne regarding on my interests in drawing and parametric thinking and enhancing my skills in Grasshandcrafts. Unexpectedly I start to develop interests in this subject. hopper. I truly enjoy learning to use any softwares, as well as conceptulizaing my ideas into real things. I do think architects are responsible for bringing positive changes to the world, although it is an extremely tough job as it would be against the the way how the whole world works today. I guess I am a pragmatic person. Despite my desire to make some little changes to the world, my treasure of family often stops me from being an architect as my future career. I greatly admire those who dedicate most of their life in their pursuit of goal and persist their values. I hope I could have this courage and bravery some days later. I love tennis and swimming. It is a bit hard for me to speak in front of people and I’m trying hard to do my best. Yet in my personally life I really enjoy interacting with my friends. I treasure every opportunity to talk to someone as exchaning information with one another is invaluable to our life progress. Water Studio 2013




WHAT is to be built ? HOW it will be built ?

the power of dialogue


5.1 The Gateway Arch (St. Louis Arch), Missouri, 2008. Built as a monument to the westward expension of the US, Its manifesting height dominating the harbour is used as a device to communicate the country’s eminence.

The definition of architecture is not necessary constrained by a building. It is a broad discipline, one that is both intellectual and physical consisting of an amalgam of intension with iteration. it could be anything ranging from form to abstract ideas. Architecture is a product of the context. Over the centuries, ‘what’ and ‘how’ it is built changes. Factors affecting the shift becomes diverse especially when we are overwhelmed by information and technology, resulting a complex physical and social context. The study of architecture is important because the stories tell us how to further understand ourselves and the place we habitat.

4.1Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art by Steven Holl. How designers combine ‘old’ and ‘new’ depends on their interpretation of the future. 4.2 A render of a building designed in a bicycle hemlet, showing how contemporary digital technology allows designers to virtually (and potentially) construct designs.

What is the meaning of architecture?

experience which makes architecture remarkable. The meaning of architecture is thus the construction of The answer to this question has never been definite; in- ree]lationship between the physical artefacts and public stead, it changes over time - the order and symmetry in – between the architecture and the people [1]. classical orders and Beaux-Arts, the rawness of materials and structural honesty in the Gothic, the elimination It is possible to categorize architecture – as a network of reductsupport in modernist. of communication – into systems of ‘artefacts’, ‘knowledge’ and ‘practices’, such that its ‘ultimate comNevertheless, independent of the medium used and the munications’ would variously service different social various underlying beliefs, the significance of architec- systems within the society [2]. Indeed, the concept of ture has one thing in common – its interactive placeAutopoetic System of communication includes also the making qualities. constitutive moment of self-observation, self-demarcation and self-description[3]. Visual properties are neither nor the only ultimate objective of designs.The power of architecture lies within Therefore, it is essential to maintain an ongoing flow its position of interdisciplinary junction, possessing the of communications, such that unique components and inherent functional and social political properties. It is structures would be generated to suit the ever-changalways the creation of discourse within its surrounding ing and varying context and needs of people. context, adaptable to the addition of qualitative human

4.2 1| Peters, Brady. (2013) Computation Works: The Building of Algorithmic Thought, Architectural Design, 83, 2, pp 8-15. 2| Schumacher, Patrik (2011). The Autopoiesis of Architecture: A New Framework for Architecture (Chichester: Wiley), pp18. 3| Patrik. The Autopoiesis, pp11.





6.1 and 6.2 shows the exterior and interior of the Guangzhou Opera House by Zaha Hadid. The striking skeleton and glazing, as well as energetic curved finishing give a rich sense of aesthetic. 6.3 On the other hand, how people communicate with the building in real life suggests the gap between designer’s intention and the interpretation of the public.

7.1 The Mountain Dwellings, Denmark, BIG. It is one of the greatest examples of communicating the idea of passive design through the structures responses to the surrounding environmental qualities.

Dialogue could not be made meaningful and effective if it does not suit the contemporary era. Also, it is not only a technical issue, but also an ethical one. What can us as designers bring to people? What responsibility should we take – how can we better the current state of the globe? Damage to the planet’s climate and ecological systems is still increasing which exposes humans’ life to growing dangers; yet it is obvious that we are lack of abilities to change, and to solve problems. The gap between what are we doing and what we actually have to do in order to curb our currently destructive nature and conduct is great. We fail to correct our self-centredness. 6.3

Design is at the front of the transformative action. It reveals humans’ ability to prefigure ‘what we create before the act of creation’, determining the characteristics of our fellows. As the ones who adapts and create our future cities, it is particular important for designers to note such self-destructive values. It is ignorant and irresponsible to create something that is not addressing energy and resources consumption, our future generation, in parallel with architecture and the city space. ‘We actually exist in the medium of time as finite beings in a finite world.’ [4]. Since how long we now exist is determined by the conditiona of the planet which are defined by what we are doing, we should not distinct future from our present existence.

4| Fry, Tong (2008). Design Futuring: Sustainability, Ethics and New Practice (Oxford: Berg), pp 11.



8.1 West Kowloon M+, Herzog & de Meuron, Hong Kong, to be completed in 2017.

The M+ Museum, as a core arts and cultural facility in the West Kowloon Cultural District, stands promply on the land of Hong Kong.

tion of different materials within the art discipline. Such internal spatial arrangement facilitate the dialogue between public and art, as well as ‘art’ and ‘art’.

As one of the criterias in the design brief, the building is meant to promote ‘visual culture’ which includes not only visual art but also architecture, design, fashion, graphic and product, mocing image and popular culture.The architects have come up with a solution which meets the needs of the brief as well as creating a ‘landmark’ for the district, subsequently the design would successfully produce a discourse and a dialogue with the community.

Externally, the facade is potentially made of displaying panels which are driven by solar energy. It actively puts the moving visual art into the landscape, in contrasts with the cold, glazed facade of the commercial buildings beside. This further conveys the significance of art, as well as sustainability, to people’s life, which also tries to dimish the dominance economic power in contemporary world. It creates a dialogue with people who are outside of the building, such as tourists, and potentially influence the values of people and the image of the land.

The strikingly slim, semi-transparent T-shaped plane, housing education facilities, a public restaurant and museum offices , will rise atop an impressive horizontal slab offering a diversity of well-considered gallery spaces. With various types of galleries, including an ink art gallery, and industrial saces, the building works for the public and for the integra-


Compared to other art museums, M+ is a specific project for promoting visual culture in Hong Kong. The architects envision the space to be a versatile culture hub, answering the museum’s social demand for versatility.




Designed by New York architecture firm Decker Yeadon for a site adjacent to a wildlife reserve outside of Dubai, Light Sanctuary is reminiscent of an elusive desert mirage materializing as 40 kilometres (25 miles) of vertical photovoltaic panels, standing 33 feet tall. It’s 80,000 square meters (861,000 square feet) in surface area, forming a visual ribbon and “waveform pattern” that undulates in the sand. The installation appears to be almost floating, thanks to the network “of strong but slender masts, structurally recalling the historical inheritance of fabric and nomadic architecture,” which will also allow plant, animal habitats and waterways to remain undisturbed. The piece of installation generates almost 5,000 megawatts of solar energy a year. According to the designers, the serpentine surfaces of Light Sanctuary capitalize on the flexibility and efficiency of third-generation thin-film photovoltaics, which won’t lose performance even under extreme temperatures and can capture sunlight from a wider range of angles, in contrast to conventional solar panels. This responsiveness to the dynamic surrounding context enables a more fluid dialogue between the design and the public.

This dye-sensitized solar cell technology exploits the light-absorbing properties of the organic dyes that provide its rich color. Within the thin laminations of the flexible membrane, an organic dye derived from botanicals like pokeberries and other plants enables solar energy to incite a titanium dioxide electron exchange, thus producing direct current that is harvested by transparent polymer electrodes. This is great precedent which utilizes contemporary technology to increase he design’s intricacy by addressing the surrounding variables and incorporating into the process of manufacture as well as operation. Through the dialogue between architectural design and the public, I am confident in drawing people’s awareness of sustainability in the island of Copenhagen. As suggested by Fry, it can be achieved by first showing the rate of defuturing, then redirecting humans to a more sustainable future [5]. The next section of the journal will investigate how contemporary technology optimizes such the power of dialogue in designs.

10.3 5| Tong (2008). Design. pp14 .




On the other hand, a mode of design called ‘Computation’ enables further extension of designers’ abilities to deal with complicated situations. It is the use of the computer to process information through an understood programe which can be expressed as an algorithm [6].

the catalyst of dialogue

Computation enhances the architectural dialogue through its technological innovations in responsive characteristic, fabrication and materialization. The Signal Box in Basel is an excellent precedent demonstrating the use of computational architecture in a realised project. The implementation of computational design is evidently noticeable through the geometry of the building.


Difficultes in altering designs increase with its development. Computerization is a mode of design in which deisgners use the computer as a virtual drafting board which allows efficient edit, copy and refine easily and efficiently at any stage of the design process. has been adopted in the construction and design industry for years. Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum captures the seitgeist of the digital information revolution. Initiated from a conceptual sketch, the design concept is being translated into a more understandable, three-dimensional model with the aid of digital technologies in drafting and manufacturing. While the resulted interesting form of the building is said to ‘highly creative’, the approach taken by Gehry is still the tradtional problem-solving design method. Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) refers to the use of computer systems to assist creation, but not create creation. It allows efficient modification, analysis and optimization of designs, in which every decision still stemmed from designers’ mind and requires designer’s consideration in relation with other components.


12.1 Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, 1997. Frank Gehry. The twisting facade made of glass, titanium and limestone is a step towards the use of digital tools in archtiectural design. 12.2 A sketch by Frank Gehry showing the concept of the museum in an early stage of design process

Contained between a bridge and the street, the building’s ground floor plan has a trapezoidal configuration defined by the railroad tracks. The overall form is completed in gradation where the trapezoid terminates into a rectangle at the top as to improve visibility for its higher floors. The strips of copper cladding which make up the exterior are spcifically twisted and distorted in certain areas as to admit daylight as well as give the building its aesthetic appeal.

13.1 The Signal Box, Herzog & de Meuron, Basel, 1994.

It is a piece of performance oriented architecture which utilises computational design in coming up with a design solution by processing the constraints and parameters set by the architect in producing a form and sun shading system most appropriate in its given environment. Without the aid of CAD, the accuracy and precise manipulation of distortion in the louvre system as well as the manufacture/fabrication of these components would not have been possible. Unlike many conventional buildings, the Signal Box is unique in that it critically responds to its context by presenting a relationship with the adjacent railway tracks.

13.2 The louvres produced by a specific script developed by the architects which responded to a performance driven criterias including light, view and insulation. 6| Kolarevic, Branko. Architecture in the Digital Age: Design and Manufacturing (New York; London: Spon Press, 2003), pp 10 .



14.1 Construction in progree of 14.2 A closeer look of the cladding of 14.3 The Museio Soumaya, Mexico, by Free illustrates the digital fabricative technolgoy makes any almost al limaginable form possible to be made



Digital technology allows a new manner of materialization and fabrication as tectonic systems which produce paradigm for material design In architecture and for the performative design of material systems[8].

to translate subjective and experiential criteria into a physical mode of expression.

‘Blobitecture’ is adopted as the archtiectural style which refers to an emerging formal and geometric field of paramertric design that describes buildings which have an organic, amoeba shaped forms and hypocontinuous surface topologies. It is first raised by Greg Lynn in 1996.

Like the construction of cars, ships and aeroplanes, architecture is now able to be constructed in a highly complex but accurate geometry. Computation in archtiectural practice encoded all qualitative and quantitative dimensional information necessary for the design process [7]. The resulted single source of data provides opportunity to utilize their ability to create in a freer manner.

This precedent illustartes how computation facilitates dialogue between archtiecture and users by the innovaThe Museo Soumaya is an interesting piece of artion of conceivable and achievable geometries, as well chitecture in terms of its aplplications of parametric as the extension of the possibilities in fabrication and design and digital fabricative technology and the way in construction. which it deals with cultural and social factors. Instead of modeling an external form, designers With the designed intent of being an iconic structure, articulate an internal generative logic which automatithe museum explicitly draws interest into the way archi- cally produces a range of possibilities from which the tecture as a built environment impacts the social and designer can choose an appropriate one for further cultural context of a city/region of a large populace. development.

Composed of a double curvlinear surface/shell, the museum demonstrates how parametricism is able

14.3 7| Kolarevic, Branko. Architecture in the Digital Age: Design and Manufacturing (New York; London: Spon Press, 2003), pp 30.



16.1 Cirriform by Future Cities Lab is a project aimes at investigating the practicality of computational designs 16.2 The different glow pattern when people standing at different positions 6.3 A mechanical explantion on how the installation works 16.3


The project Cirriform is a site specific architectural installation which explores the applications of kinetic architecture in real life.

Light sources disributed in a shape of footprint glow in accordance with the position where users are standing. As they are lightened up by kinetic energy ‘generated’ from the person, there is a intimate dialogue between As performance and interactive architecture is still in its the physical artefacts and the social course. infancy, much of the experimentation, proposals and concepts are generating public discussion about the The installation suggests a new level of interaction beapplications of digital technology and computation in tween the users and architecture where the experience architecture and design. becomes the primary mode of communication. This presents almost inifinite possibilities and applications in which architecture can be used in the future. The flexibilty and adaptability of architecture such as Cirriform seems fitting and appropriate in the volatile and dynamic social and environmental, as well as economical and politcal surrounding circumstances.

The performativity and interactivity qualities are critical to the ery of values and beliefs through architectural design or other physical artefacts. In the creation of land art promoting sustainability in Copenhagen, the adoption and incorporation of computation would definitely extend the possibility and ability of design.




COMPOSITION to GENERATION | dialogue to impression 19.1 Kinetic Rain, by Art+Com. The installation is also possibly be considered as an example of kinetic archtiecture. Despite the synthesis of form comes from the deeper relationships, the resulted surprising aesthetics suggests that functions and beauty can exist simutaneously.

18.1 The three major stages of a design process. Generative design approach allows a frequent communication between analysis and synthesis.

Shifting from composition to generation, designers have to adopt ‘algorithmic thinking’ - a way of thinking that take on an interpretive role. As an analogy suggested by Kalay, designers adapt computation as a ‘puzzle-making’ process; it does not seek to ‘achieve constraints and goals by an optimized solution’, but to create rules, fit pieces to the puzzle, reduce the solace space and form an ultimate coherent whole [8].

“Kinetic Rain” is an installation consists 1216 droplets made from copper coated aluminium spanning across a field of over 75 square meters.

It provides ‘multiple singularities’ in a ‘continuum of perpetual evolution’[9], which potentially leads to inspirations from unexpected results. This design logic has been redefining the practice of architecture in terms of creating new opportunities in design processes, fabrication and construction.

It is a practice of computational design through the emergence of scripting and programming. In this case, the waves, patterns and gestures the colelction of raindrops produces is controlled and determined by a scripted program that most probably consists of some sort of parametric definition in the way they units respond and interact with one another in an orderly manner.

That is to suit the well-known setting with numous solutions, rather to look for the best solution.

The responsive technology in parametric design extends communication into its operation. It frees designers from the rational analysis of the external, complex data and constraints, allows a greater focus on the internally-drawn idea generation process.

Continuous evaluation - dialogue between ‘analysis’ and ‘solution synthesis is consistently made during the design process like a ‘feedback loop’.

In order to internalize the expertise in utilizing softwares, today designers are actively creating their own design software.

This process allows an earlier discovery of generatlzaions and needs of problems, leading to a more efficient process, as well as ensuring the interdependence of goals and solutions – they would never be separately determined.

This scripting culture - the building of individual, specific of algorithm - further anhance the precision and efficicency in sharing of codes, tools and ideas.

8| Kalay, Yehuda E. (2004). Architecture’s New Media: Principles, Theories, and Methods of Computer-Aided Design (Cambridge, MIT Press). pp 21.


Paramatric modeling is based on a logic of associative and dependency relationships between objects and tjeor parts-and-whole relationships.

It is potentially a trend of architects to ‘design how to design’ rather than to design an object.

Although it serves merely as a visual spectacle in the airport terminal, the computational systems employed can be adopted and made applicable to building environmental management systems such as sun shading devices. It is a fine example of the applications of computational architecture in producing a piece of sculpture /architecture that is not only functionally and aesthetically appealing but also one that is performance oriented in its design in the sense that it is able to respond intelligently to its context and environmental conditions.

9| Oxman, Rivka and Robert Oxman, eds (2014). Theories of the Digital in Architecture (London; NewYork: Roytledge), pp 7.


20.1 RV Prototype House, Gehry Lynn. Although the intereactiveness of parametric design is greatly values, its suitability and quality of performance in daily practice is still unknown.

In parametric modeling, designers usually are interested in a specific process or nature of the given context which is usually a micro-scale activity – which ultimately have macro-scale influences. Gehry Lynn’s work is based on a creative investigation of the ways in Computer Aided Design can be adapted as a tool for ‘rethinking’ architecture.

The highly responsiveness of system allows a really intimate dialogue between architecture and the context. Nevertheless, will such sensibility instead result in an excessively changeable object that can be hardly conceived, controlled or adapted? Does every constain in the context can be coded by a function? Or, is every set constrain meaningful to the ultimate design outcome and performance?

Parametric design once described as an ideology, a conceptual re-configuration of how humans think and act which The ‘RV prototype house’ is a 1/5 model of a residence that increases the living space by rotating in two axes on a robotic reject of any notion of urban structural typology, continuity and morphology, as well as historic style and perspective base. It rotates in respond to its surrounding landscape so that it is optimized to the weather, daylight and temperature. framework. The lightweight core made of carbon fibre making the whole shell weighs less than 50 kg which allow it to revolve freely. Indeed, difficulties in adpating such ihighly dynamic, irregular and unpredictable circumstances n fact potentially exist. The dynamic simulation considers forces not originated within the system itself but acting on it externally. The configuraIt might be very useful in conveying abstract, spiritual ideas, yet it practicality in our everyday life might require further tion of the design is a result of the contribution from the virtual forces but not static coordinates. investigation.



22.1 iSAW, Warsaw, Poland, 2007, Kokkugia with Jonathan Podborsek & Roland Snooks

23.1 Showing how the voids are occupied by people

iSaw is an algorithmic strategy that weaves together disparate programs in the redevelopment and hyper densification It could be viewed as a step the evolution of the form and geometry of buildings. Nevertheless, its ornamental quality of Warsaw’s urban center. could also result in strange spaces that could cause headaches for artists and users. Designers’ ongoing research into wetFoam geometries to create a non-linear gradient where the lattice thickens beParametric designs with great fluidity or highly complex yond a threshold enabling the solid to become inhabitable fobrous structure has been commonly seen. – the emergence of a new space. The two spaces share a common membrane and are consequently mutually dependant; however they exhibit vastly different spatial qualities and characteristics. This project is not a singular design or object but rather a possible instance of an algorithmic strategy devised for the generation of a dense space-filling architecture. Computation allows fascinating and dramatic materialization and fabrication; it helps transform anything imaginable by the designers to something that can be built.


While such innovative design raises a discourse, or a dialogue between the designers/architecture and the public, would it be unsuitable for the long-term use due to its incompatible form in the context? Is the highly complex structure resulted in a reponsive device but also a sculpture with visual redunfancy? For the installation in Copenhagen, since sustainability is the theme of the design, excessive visual expression might need to be avoided to avoid undesirable dialogue produced.

23.2 Showing the relationship between the structure and the surround




Computation is a process of ‘making of form’ to ‘finding of form’ – the algorithm describes ‘how’ the function is computed but not ‘what’ the function is [10]. It celebrates structure of relations and interconnectedness that exist internally and externally within an architectural circumstance. This focus on ‘function’ rather than ‘causes’ stimulates functional inquiries, opens the view onto functional equivalences and thus potentially innovates functional substitutions [11]. We may ask – ‘which function does this social structure or institution fulfill in society?’ The adoption of computation is beneficial to the pro-

motion of sustainability in terms of the appreciation of an underlying societal requirement or problem which suggests the further question – ‘in which other way and by which other means might this underlying problem or requirement be addressed?’ The parts-and-whole relationships of parametric design is also an analogy of the ecosystems on the planet. In terms of drawing awareness of sustainability,through the emphasis on functions of architecture, one might realize the excess of the current mode of living; and through the interdependent relationships within, the importnace of thinking in a broader scale could be raised.

Part A of the course has been focusing on the relationship between contemporary architectural design and digital technologies. Although computation is new to me, it has been an interesting learning process in picking up its concept, application, advantages and disadvantages, as well as some basic skills in playing with them. Getting started with grasshopper is sometiems hatic but often it is quite fun to me. Despite the difficultes in getting familar the functions of commands, the infinite possibilities the software can produce is infact quite fascinating. After going through these three weeks’ materials, I

have gained a certain degree of knowledge about the way computation has been incorporated into architecture. I hope I could think of a different way in utilizing it in the following design. I reckon it would not be an easy job for us. I would need to guide myself more strictly in completing the coming week’s assignment so that I would have a greater space for refinement of my thinking as well as design ideas. I may also need to look for the use of paratric design in daily life, as well as any undercovered energy source exists within the fabric wer are habitating. I look forward to the modules ahead.

10| Definition of ‘Algorithm’ in Wilson, Robert A. and Frank C. Keli, eds (1999). The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences (London: MIT Press), pp 11. 11| Schumacher, Patrik (2011). The Autopoiesis of Architecture: A New Framework for Architecture (Chichester: Wiley), pp 27.



FUNG_Krissy_CheukYiu_565714_Air_Part A