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ABOUT ME My name is Marilyn Lemieux Jolin. I’m a 21 years old student currently in her third year of Architecture at Laval University, Canada. I’m in Melbourne for one semester as an exchange student and will return in Canada after to do a Master in architecture. Studying abroad is, for me, a great opportunity to learn about architecture and design graphic representations used all around the world. Thus, I look forward to learn from teachers that may have different thoughts, experiences and future life prospects, and also, to connect with other Australians and International students. This design studio will be my first step with digital design. Until this semester, I used to work with software like Sketch up, for conception, Podium, for rendering, and Autocad for plans and sections representation. Thus, this studio will increase my knowledge of computing in architecture. I think it is important to learn innovative and promising technology, such as 3d modeling and parametric architecture. Since the last 2 years, I read articles about parametric architecture and I saw a lot of projects in the media using this type of software that caught my attention. Since this practice has a growing recognition in contemporary architecture, many questions come to my mind: what are the benefits of parametric architecture? How does digital architecture can improve my design and the quality of my work? Does computing only create fake design?... It is to find answers about these frequently asked questions and to have a more versatile and innovative design process that I decided to do the studio Air this semester which will teach us how to use Grasshopper and Rhino.















2.2 CASE STUDY 1.0


2.3 CASE STUDY 2.0












3.2 Gateway Project: Tectonic Elements


3.3 Gateway Project: FINAL PROJECT MODEL








TEMPORARY THEATRE Anthony Hopkins Centre, Cardiff

During the 5th semester of my architecture studies, I designed a temporal sustainable theatre for the World Stage Design 2013 competition. The theatre is located in the courtyard of The Anthony Hopkins Centre. Since it was a temporary project and a competition as well, we needed to find an innovative and strong concept: Because trade and social issues are key players of Cardiff’s effervescence, the theatre is a reminder of a former communication mode, when birds were used as messengers. In order to restore the image of an old time aviary, the theatre is inspired by the graceful flight of starlings. As a human crowd, no leader conducts their flight because all members influence each other. If one of them decides to change direction, a chain reaction occurs to restore the balance of the group. The theatre represents this idea by an architectural progression of tensegrity structures in perfect harmony, operating without external influences, such as the starlings’ ballet. To integrate the project to his site, materials such as boat sails and steel cables were used. The versatility of tensegrity, both as a structural element, as furniture and lightning, allows the creation of distinct and complementary environments. Whatever the function, the same assembly principle is required: a steel cable, stuck between a pvc pipe and its nozzle, forming a loop with an oval ring at the extremities... I think that the conception of this type of project in architecture would have been a lot easier and efficient with the use of Rhino and Grasshopper. Since the design is based on the repetition of a simple assembly system, the use of algorithms would have been a good way to save time and develop a more complex design. Also, it would have helped us make better decisions and give us multiple geometries options that we were not able to generate by hand or in Sketch up.



ARCHITECTURE AS A DISCOURSE How can we define architecture? What are we expecting from it? The interpretation and perception we have of this public art is really relative. It can be seen as an art, a symbol or an urban experience. The beauty of it is that everyone has a different way to see it and each argument is part of the architectural discourse. No matter which building, several issues can be raised and discuss to understand the project and the role of the architect in the design process. Discussing architecture as a discourse is a great way to enlarge our knowledge of it and to understand the thought beneath the simple material product and then, to take the best of it. (Williams, 2005, p.102116) I believe that digital architecture, other than just being a technique and a tool, generates new ideas and concepts that strengthens the discussion of architecture. It can lead the architect in his design process and challenge him finding innovative and attractive future prospects. I think that architecture is a constant-evolving realm. This being said, buildings should be able to evaluate as we do. Human being is also in constant research for new sensations, emotions and experiences. Therefore, since architecture is in direct relationship with us, whether we are walking in the street, sleeping or looking by a window, we can see and feel it everywhere. It is important, as an architect, to establish which audience will be affected by our design. Also, we need to be conscious of the multiple possible interpretations and always question architecture. Thus, the meaning of our project and the concept behind the geometry and the materials must be well define and understand . Those considerations are important for the Gateway project and digital architecture will help us designing a symbolic and an integrated installation.




THE INTEGRAL HOUSE by Shim Stutcliffe The Integral House is the residence of a mathematics professor who is also a former violinist for the Hamilton Symphony Orchestra. The house, as a request from the client, also includes a private concert hall. The starting point of the project is the client’s passion for curves and the localisation, in a ravine near Toronto, which suggest a fundamental relationship with the outside environment. Thus, they designed an undulating plan sequenced by a number of vertical wood panels. Those panels are in direct relationship with the landscape outside and the curves of the building give response to the river across the valley. In parallel with these more poetical gestures, a lot of technicalities are integrated in the design process. For example, the vertical wooden panels are used for the acoustical performance of the concert hall, as well as, for sun shading. The project also integrates many sustainable features such as, vertical geothermal pipes, lush green roof, sustainable materials, etc. For those reasons, I think it is the use of full design integration in the architecture process that makes the strenght of The Integral House. This being said, the client is an important actor in the architecture process. Architecture must, first of all, respond to public wishes and needs. As it is said by Williams (2005) in his book Architecture and Visual Culture’, in Exploring Visual Culture: Definitions, Concepts, Contexts: « Architecture, because of its unique position in the public realm, is a uniquely compromised art, if it is an art at all. It exists because a client allows it to exist. » However, issues can be raised: does the client really know what he needs? For the Integral house, did the client’s request to integrate a concert hall in his house was relevant to the design? Some would think that architects’ job is to give the people what they want. However, I think that it is important to question ourselves about what is pertinent and what is not pertinent in architecture. Unlike art, the impact of, a good or a bad, architecture can be major for human being. For this reason, it is essential that everybody participates in the architectural process. Therefore, « Architecture needs to be thought of Iess as a set of special material products and rather more as range of social and professional practices » (Williams, 2005, p.108).









LA FONDATION CARTIER by Jean Nouvel With his building for La Fondation Cartier (Paris, 1994), Nouvel creates a unique exhibition space where visitors are exposed to art and nature at the same time. Has a public building, which aims to promote contemporary art, the transparency of the glass and the play between inside and outside is a really appropriate design. It increases the visitors’ experiences, destabilized by what they see in the reflection of the glass. Since the reflections and the transparency are constantly changing depending of the time of the day, the light and the views offered by the surrounding environment, each visitor lives a unique experience. By using a reflective and pure material such as glass, he creates ambiguities between the real and the virtual. In this sens, if someone looks to the façade, since it is larger than the building, he does not no if he is looking to the sky itself or the reflection of it. This reflexion shows us that architecture is not only a question of estheticism; it includes all senses. For this reason, it is open to interpretation and different meanings. Despite the concept behind the building and the exhibition space, the Foundation remains associated with a brand. It is almost like a consummation product: if we want the client to consume it, it needs to get their attention and hold their interest. Innovation is for this reason such an important aspect in architecture. Thus, the architect has the responsibility to decide which design is going to reach more the public: « then the architect, it seems, decides which symbolism is appropriate for which public. » (Williams, 2005, p.112)







The way of thinking architecture and its design process changed a lot in the recent years. Architects are expected to follow accurately these changes while experiencing at the same time new ideas and concepts. The emergent uses of computer-aided design (CAD) and computer aided-manufacturing (CAM) in the architects’ design process also affects their architectural discourse, in other words, the way they conceive and perceive architecture. Because computation is based on mathematics and explicit representations of particular research (Woodbury and Burrow, 2006), it makes the design more efficient. Actually, Woodbury and Burrow propose that the explicit representation is essential for the success architects (or designers) exploration.

In the book Digital Architecture: Passages Throught Hinterlands lot of architects express how digital architecture become a part of there design: « computers have become an integral component in the design process itself, allowing us to generate, model and test iterative ideas with greater dexterity and increased accuracy. » ( Glynn, 2009, p.42). Thus, with the help of computers and new software we can calculate and consider more data and new variables with more ease. Consequently, these technologies make it possible to design complex geometries and to conceive spaces and forms we wouldn’t have thought feasible. This shift in the perception of the computer as a part of a process is the key to contemporary computational architectural practice. Before, architects were only using computers as a tool allowing them to increase their graphic representations, now computation gives them the ability to really understand their design because they need to explicitly explain their ideas: « For the first time in history, architects explicitly control the building process. » (Grobman, 2012, p.161) I think that the most important aspect of digital design is the building’s performance. Simulations that extend the information about a building and permit evaluation of criteria that were not taken into account before the use of digital technologies. For example, Foster + Partners architects use computation as part of the creative process to develop projects that incorporate quantitative and qualitative aspects connected with the building’s performance (Grobman and Neuman, 2012, p.185). The Greater London Authority (GLA) City Hall (1998-2002) is actually one of the most important projects they achieved; combining complex geometries and simple construction (Grobman and Neuman, 2012)


ÂŤTo generate this adaptive geometry, a custom-built optimization software simulates the growth of quad-mesh on a sphere following simple rules: the edges try to align with the positions of the openings and the floor level, while at the same time every frame attempts to optimize its size and cornes angles in regard to constructive constraints.Âť Kolarevic and Klinger, 2008,p.213



Like mentioned previously, working with computers really affects the way we think and it has changed how we practice architecture. As a result, because digital architecture increased the speed of this long design research and allows the exploration beyond human’s cognition, architects are more and more conceiving small prototypes representing their research. A lot of temporary pavilion and structure, as much as, furniture and objects, are built and use to explore new architectural ideas and test alternatives given by these innovative opportunities of design. I think that CAD/CAM and Computer Numerical Control (CNC) fabrication


increase our knowledge of all architecture’s areas. By allowing exchange between architects, manufacturers, fabricators and other operators designer push the boundary of the and fabrication process as well. It is a good thing that students, for example, have the opportunities to really understand their explorations by achieving concretely and practically their project. The Swissbau Pavilion designed and built by the Compter-Aid Architectural Design (CAAD) group, is an interesting prototype exploring possibilities given by contemporary computational architecture design. For this pavilion, a parametric CAD model makes the conception faster and effective by optimizing the structural mesh and preparing automatically the elements for the fabrication (Designtoproduction, Web).


In conclusion, the fact that contemporary computational practice allows designer to include more data in their design process and gives them the possibility to go over their knowledge, contribute to an evidence and performance-oriented designing. The research and the decisions they make to solve important problems and to response to the high demand requirements are, as a result, more effective. In the end, even if I think computers can be really useful and increase architect’s potential, I still believe that there are multiple ways to approach computational design and its space exploration and that we shouldn’t constrain ourselves to one particular approach. I think the way we will be able to embed our design and give architecture response to this perfomative criteria is by combining human design and reasoning with computation.



PARAMETRIC MODELLING In the text «Elements of Parametric Design», Woodbury (2010) mentioned that design is change and parametric modeling represents change. However, it is important before using this innovative technology to have deeper understanding of what is parametric modeling, how the system works, how we can use parametric software in architecture and the advantage and shortcomings of this practice. So many designers are using parametric without really knowing the software and its real impact and support in the design process. Copying and modifying is an easy way of take advantage of this tool and a lot of people who don’t really understand how to use parametric does it. That being said, I think that it is essential to use parametric modeling not only to enlarge the sphere of achievable geometries, but also to develop, as I mentioned earlier, buildings performance. According to Woodbury, the principal change introduces by parametric is «marks». Now, designers have the opportunity to relate and repair their design and explicitly explain their concept. By using parametric in their design, designers have to think mathematically; making proofs of their designs, and think algorithmically, specifying their process step-by-step. (Woodbury, 2010, p.35) The fact that a complex geometry can be algorithmically described in order to guarantee maximum structural effectiveness at a minimum cost is a major opportunity given by this technology. Structural techniques are thus discovered because computers can assists designers in the development of mathematical equations and algorithms that can later be transformed in a structure or even a building. I find it very interesting how something as abstract as an equation can be translated in a structure and how parametric modeling allows designers to take added in their design data that were not take into consideration before. Moreover, I think that parametric architecture gives the possibility to learn more about materials and their performances. Many workshops are being held where students, architects and researchers test together the undiscovered abilities of materials like wood and concrete, but also, innovative ways to put them all together. In my opinion, parametric can lead to design performance because it allows an incredibly precise control over a lot of aspects of a project. Architects can then manipulate those aspects and constraints as they wish during the entire process. It also becomes even more significant as the construction and fabrication stage occurs. Economically and environmentally speaking, a lot of materials can be saved when the process is more efficient.


DRAGON SKIN PAVILION Kristof Crolla and Sebastien Delagrange (LEAD), Emmi Keskisarja and Pekka Tynkkynen (EDGE) (FI,HK,NL) A good example of the relevance of using parametric modelling in the design process is the Dragon Skin pavilion. In a workshop organized at the University of Tampere in Finland, Finnish architecture students explored digital architecture (fabrication and manufacturing technology) by researching complex geometries, material and tactile possibilities. The experimental structure questions the notion of boundary towards the interior and the outside, and their goal was to create an interesting porous skin that filtered light and views. Their concept of boundary was a good starting point but it really is the use of parameters that makes it possible to arrive with this unique and amazing skin. It is composed of 163 plywood panels all fitted together to form the structure itself. By using a new material, such as post-formable Grada Plywood, and digital technologies, they created a dynamic contemporary design that pushes the technical and conceptual possibilities.



In my opinion, the use of parametric modelling in this project makes it possible to combine both conceptual and practical design. Thinking of the way we will construct a project by developing its details at the basic point of the conception process is a good way to approach and amplify the design exploration. In this project, they used both texture and materiality to lead the conception of a detailed and elegant form. The use of algorithmic procedures allows them to calculate precisely the details for each rectangular plywood components. With this method they can therefore optimize every piece and every joint so the structure is as light as possible and can still stand by itself. Moreover, I believe parametric modelling can save a lot of time in the design process as well as the fabrication. Considering they designed and built the entire structure in 10 days, I don’t think it would have been possible to do so without the use of computers. Still, their short amount of time might have limited them in the formal research, which could have made the project even more interesting. Also, the question of scale occurs; for a prototype structure, the assembly is feasible, however, at a bigger scale, it becomes more difficult to achieve the work. Nevertheless, as designers exploring the possibilities given by parametric architecture, their studies can provide a good starting point for another innovative project.


ÂŤ Digital materiality leads to new expressions, it brings architecture closer to the materiality and the sensuality of buildingsÂť Gramazio & Koler (2012)



GUANGZHOU OPERA HOUSE by Zaha Hadid We know Zaha Hadid Architects are using computational architecture to create their smooth and fluid curves that are well associated with their firm. Parametric is thus their architectural signature style. Actually, in contemporary architecture, parametric modelling is promoted because of their capacity to explore compelling concept that the specific and limited cognitive structure of humans cannot achieve. (Woodbury and Burrow, 2006, p.64) This type of architecture, using complex curves geometry as the concept of the project become feasible because of parametric modeling. As a fact, the Guangzhou Opera House is the kind of project that shows the significant use of parametric architecture. The discourse around parametric architecture is quite interesting and I think Zaha Hadid Architects’ projects are good examples showing the controversy around it.





Parametric modelling is often associated with the capacity to achieve projects with a higher degree of complexity by allowing architects to enter more data in its conception becomes relevant in the design of an Opera House. Seating arrangement, acoustics components, light effects are really important for the quality and the experience of space. I think this Opera House clearly expresses the power of the many parameters considered in the design. The design of the Hall, for example, had been possible through the meeting of minds searching for a connection between the function and the form (Odeon, Web). Parametric actually help the communication between the architect and the engineer. We can thus understand that « it is the transfer of technologies and information between the digital and physical that makes thing happen ». However, if a parametric model offers infinite possibilities, why does the Opera House look like every other works done by this firm? This issue brings others questions such as: how should architects use parametric? In my opinion, parametric needs to be present in the whole design process in order to really take advantage of this technology. As a matter of fact, I think that Zaha Hadid Architects use parametric modeling as a tool to refine their smooth curves initially designed. Environmentally and economically speaking, I don’t think the Opera House is the kind of contemporary architecture we should promote. Architecture should takes into accounts people needs and environmental aspect, which are two important characteristics. Thus, the uses of parameters are supposed to help architect making good choices in all architecture fields and should not only be use, in my opinion, as a media to generate «starchiecture». 25


ALGORITHMIC EXPLORATIONS Creating a gridshell Here is one of my Grasshopper explorations. While making this furniture, I realized how parametric can be at the same time really complex and simple. Following tutorials is not as easy as we would think. Before starting this exploration, I was not really sure how my chair was going to look like and I was only trying to understand the definition and all the possibilities that the parameters allowed me to do during the design process. The most difficult part was, for me,W the creation of the curves in Rhino. As a matter of fact, if we are not good with Rhino 3D modelling, the rest of the conception will be harder even if we understand the algorithmic process. The beauty of working with Grasshopper is that it allows us to change parameters really quickly. For example, we can change the radius as well as the number of pipes just by adding a number slider in our algorithmic model. After doing this, I realize that the extremities of my pipes were not closed, so I added a ÂŤcapÂť in Grasshopper to close every pipes really quickly. Those operations are quite easy and take little time to make. Once the object created, I decided to rotate my structure and see how this furniture can be use at a bigger scale. I think it is interesting to see how we can play with smooth surfaces as well as dynamic and repetitive forms. By making a render and taking the sunlight in consideration, we can also create different ambiance and, in that case, I really enjoyed the resulted shadows generated on the floor by the grid. For the Gateway project, it will be important, as I discovered in this exploration, to design dynamic surfaces and forms to make the trip on the highway more attractive so that people remember their ride in Werribee.



This week, I explored how to generate a pattern of circles by using an image as reference. This method is really interesting if we want to create a dynamic pattern with an initial inspiration form. It allows us to control the density of the opened and closed surfaces by choosing the radius of our circle: the dark pixels generate small circles and the light pixels, on the other hand, generate big circles.



Once the grid created, it is easy to manipulate our model in Grasshopper. We can thus extrude our circle to obtain cylinder and then work with these solids to generate 3D patterns. In a more practical way, we can use this technic to draw a pattern on a surface, to engrave a material, make opening in it or any other boolean operations. There are in fact multiple possibilities. De Young Museum is a relevant example of the use of this technic. The cooper faรงade is textured to represent the light filtering through a tree. Inside the museum, the openings create interesting shadows and amplify the visitor experience.

Initial template

Different size of circles

Boolean manipulations



CONCLUSION & LEARNING OUTCOMES In conclusion, we can understand that digital architecture and parametric modelling make it possible to design efficiently by keeping the performative aspect in mind. It allows us to go farther the simple form and geometry and be able to explicitly explain every choice we make, whether it is for the aesthetic, the technical or the materiality aspect. Since my knowledge of parametric modelling is quite limited, my approach will be to understand the city and the parameters that can be taken into consideration and that are relevant for the Gateway project. Using parametric and be attentive to all these parameters is an innovative way to design and it will be an important contemporary symbol for the city as well as a mark of the evolution and development we found in it. The range of solutions for the design of a sculpture is enormous and, according to me, using parametric modelling and digital technologies will help us in the decision we make. Another important aspect is the optimization: how can I design a project that minimizes the fabrication cost, but amplify the visual effect? This aspect will be to keep in mind during all the design process since it will make the project feasible and significant. I think also parametric, rather than only create an independent sculpture, allows us to create an interesting and dynamic experience. The ride on the highway is not the most exciting one and parametric gives us the possibility to create complex design, to frame some views with different patterns and to play with lights and shadows effects. I believe all those explorations are interesting for the Gateway project. At the beginning of the semester, I was not convinced of the relevance of these research about the discourse in architecture, computation and parametric modelling. However, I now understand the importance of being critical about a project and understand the discourse around it. For the Gateway project this aspect is, according to me, essential. A lot of people are going to see our work and they will probably critic it as well. We need, as students and future architects, to start our design process on sounder basis if we want our project to be taken into account and appreciate.






DESIGN FOCUS Before starting to build our argument for the Gateway Project, our team decided to visit the site and to experience by ourselves the highway. While discussing our first impression of the site, we arrived at the unanimous consent that the flatnest of the landscape makes the ride on the highway uninteresting and thus, longer. The lack of significant vegetation, land rhythm and depth in the over-all landscape give a negative impression of the city and therefore, a non-willingness to look forward to it. That being said, these explorations were a good starting point to construct our argument and it allowed us to come up with several personal criteria. We think those criteria are important because of their capacity to change the actual landscape and create an exciting and unforgettable experience, encouraging people to consider the city of Windham as part of their trip.


Create a brand new experience

Create a strong visual impact

Generate rhythm and dynamism on the highway

Include layers and repetition to bring some depth in the landscape

Create a complex design but a simple and iconic overall form

Change the first impression of the landscape, and thus, of the city




The basis of our research was influenced by the book Function of Ornament written by Farshid Moussavi, in which she argues that ornament should be seen as an important part of a design and not just a decorative part added at the end. In the book, Moussavi explains how progress in architecture creates new affects and sensations that play a critical role on the way people experience the city and engage with it: « Progress in architecture occurs new concept by which it becomes connected with this material, and it manifest itself in new aesthetic compositions and affects. These new affects that allow us to constantly engage with the city in new ways. » (Moussavi, 2006, p.616) Different affects are introduce and explain such as relief, diversity, texture, depth and motion and therefore, we tried to think of a way we can induce these affects in our projectin order to transmit an emotion to people passing by the Gateway. Therefore, these affects become our new criteria:







According to our theoretical research, we have decided to use the patterning parametric definition as a starting point for our exploration. We think patterning would be a good way to generate the effects and affects we wish to create. That being said, one project in the book Functions of Ornament particularly caught our attention: the Signal Box by Herzog de Meuron, designed in 1994 in Switzerland. Since a signal box operates as an important communication hub (Wikipedia), we definitely found that the design of this project was relevant for our analysis. Moreover, it takes in consideration one of the affect we want to create in our project: depth. With its design, the architect showed a good example of how the repetition of twisted panels can produce an exciting visual experience by playing with transparency and light effects. Taking this project in mind and the notions found in Function of Ornament, we were then able to start our matrix of explorations using the patterning definition. Using the parametric definition “patterning” is quite easy, but like we can see in previous projects, it is often used in 2D design such as façade patterns. Our goal is, therefore, to change the Wbasic 2D definition in a 3D one. We think that for the Gateway project it is more relevant to create a 3D model since we want to design an installation that has a high degree of spacial quality and we also want it to act as a structure itself.


AFFECTS the experience and the PERCEPTION




gives an EXPRESSION that contributes to the urban setting



relates to nature and CULTURE




CONCLUSION In conclusion, we chose patterning because we think that through this parametric design we can achieve a complex and innovative geometry that generates affects on the people’s experience of the gateway. Also, it can produce a unique expression to the urban setting of Whyndham and relates easilty to the culture of this community: « Architecture needs mechanisms that allow it to become connected to culture » (Moussavi, 2006, p.616)


2D Basic pattern


Pattern + Image






CASE STUDY 1.0 We started our explorations by looking to the definition used for the Portrait Building project by ARM. This project uses patterning to create a dynamic façade by using an image. That being said, we started our design process by making two basic patterns, straight lines and a grid of points. Secondly, because patterning uses an image to create the pattern, we chose one that we thought can create interesting effects. The two patterns created are the final result of our 2D explorations using the Portrait Building definition. As we didi for the 2D explorations, we made simple changes to our model in order to generate depth and spacial quality to the outcome. Therefore, we first decided to add a curvy surface as well as rotation angles which can generate spacial and geometric change. We realize that the best way to create 3D outcome was by adding a curve to our model. Consequently, we decided to keep this factor for the rest of our explorations. We then tried to add additional depth with either an extrusion of the panels and with a rotation angle controlled by an « attract point ». The next pages show our explorations in a more detailed way and by relating them to the notions mentioned previously, taken from the book Function of Ornament.





Original panels

Panel + Image

IMAGE SAMPLER Channel variations






Dots + Image

Apply the pattern on a curved surface

Radius Variations


We controlled the lenght of the radius of each circle.

We extruded the circles to add relief and motion.



IMAGE VARIATIONS We discovered that if we modified our image, we can achieve different patterns. The patterns change according to the quantity of black and white in the image.


Larger offset

Lower light

Over exposed



PATTERN + IMAGE + CLADDING... Attract Point Variations

Left point

Right point

Middle point






CONCLUSION Finally, we found that some outcomes were more successful than others and we tried to settle their special characteristics. That being said, we think that the best way to achieve a 3D outcome at a larger scale is by creating a curved surface. We also found that using an attractor point is the most flexible way to change the panels and pattern’s orientation. Therefore, the attractor point allows us to create dynamism as well as interesting shadows and light effects. Finally, we discovered that the level of texture is controlled by the level of contrast in the image. As a team, we made a final outcome which represent our more relevant explorations according to the criteria we had. We think it is a good starting point for the Gateway project since the pattern generates visual effects that can enhance the landscape and thus, the experience while driving on the highway.




CASE STUDY 2.0 For the case study 2.0, our team decided to analyse The Nebuta Museum in the northern Japanese port city of Aomori. This museum is dedicated to the exposition of nebuta figurines thus, the whole concept of the design was based on these paper representations of demons, animals and Japanese warriors. The architects wanted to capture the detailed process of making these figurines by the creation of a thin curtain wall that looks like thin paper panels moving with the wind. Also, their design process, completely CAD free, meant to capture even more the attention paid to detail by only realizing the building’s design with a 1:50 paper model.





We decided to choose this project because of its complex geometry of panelling and twisting we found interesting for the purpose of our installation. When we selected this project, we first thought that it was created with parametric modelling. However, it was even more a challenge when we realized it was created without the help of a computer! Nevertheless, we decided to keep it and tried to achieve the same result with a completely different design process. We also wanted to be able to control each parameter and therefore, be able to change their position and value and then, experiment and explore different patterns and geometries with it.







Creation of the initial volume with 4 surfaces / Subdivide of the surfaces with many points

Set repulse point / Establish vectorial relationship between the points set and the points on the surface


Creation of a number of perpendicular frames along the interpolated curves 50




Creation of a geometry that pullls away our points / Use of a multiplication to control the intensity of the repulsion







Creation of boundaries to the vector’s lenght to control the amplitude of the motion of each points

Partition the list of points / Create interpolated curves between these points



Rot3D to generate the twist

Flip the result and Loft to have the final result 51



CONCLUSION Since doing the reverse engineering of the Nebuta Museum, we learned how to generate a Grasshopper definition that enabled us to control openings, twisting and orientations of the panels with attractor points. Through these case studies we realized that a good way to catch the attention of the people passing on the highway was to use different orientations of panels. Therefore, it can enhance the visual perception and experience of people passing by at a high-speed. Now that we are more familiar with Grasshopper, we would like to explore more this definition so that we can create crazy outcomes! However, even if we learned a lot from this case study, we have to be careful while doing our future explorations because the Nebuta Museum is more a sectioning project than a patterning one!



Original panels

Applied Curve


Applied Solid

Dots + Image





Panels + Image



Cut + Folding




TECHNIQUE: DEVELOPMENT The two previous case studies helped us find some solutions according to our established interest goals. Like mentioned by Branko Kolarevic in the text Architecture in the Digital Age: Design and Manufacturing, architects need to adopt a design process that would ensure that their creation met the design goals ( Kolarevic, 2003, p.10). Therefore, before making our explorations, we defined again our intentions and the purpose of our design. At this step, our goals were to create a 3D outcome including motion and dynamism as well as visual illusions and ambiguity. Our first matrix was generated by using the technique of the Case Study 2.0. However, even if we had established our goals before making our explorations, we realized that we were going away from our criteria and our first design approach: patterning. Even if we found some results quite interesting, we thought we were losing the quality of the patterning definition. Since the quality of patterning is the repetition of elements that creates visual experiences, we would like to explore more this aspect. Repetition of panels can generate nice pattern as well. However, it is related more to the sectioning technique, which is not the solution we were looking for. Therefore, after doing the matrix 1, we decided to generate another matrix and to concentrate ourselves on the patterning definition using an image as starting point of our pattern. We divided our explorations in seven techniques allowing us to create different kind of effects. We first applied our pattern on a curved surface, secondly on a geometry and finally, we looked how we can rotate the panels to create motion. Then, we tried another definition, the ÂŤgradient tilingÂť, that allowed us to make a type of pattern we never explored before. We found that these results were really interesting because they give us the possibility to create dynamic patterns, different from the ones created with the panels and the dots we had before. Finally, we tried other simple changes such as extrusion, embossing and layering.


MATRIX 1 Using Case Studie 2.0


MATRIX 2 Using Patterning Definition



TECHNIQUE: PROTOTYPES Since scale models allow us to communicate our ideas and to test different effects and form that give us the possibility to develop a more intricate design (Kolarevic, 2003, p.9), we took the outcomes we found the most relevant for us and tried them in models. According to our explorations on Rhino and Grasshopper, we decided to explore more the folding and cut technique as well as the layering technique because we think both of them can create interesting results. We also kept our previous chosen approach which was to apply a pattern on a curved surface. The fabrication process also allowed us to become more involved in the design process and it helped us a lot to understand our goal.




At this stage, the fabrication was quite simple. We only had to bake our parametric outcomes and then set them appropriately on a sheet in Rhino. After our page setup, we could decide which lines we wanted to be cut or score. The laser cutter allowed us to generate a lot of complex models well fabricated, with clean and precise edges. We decided to make our models on an ivory card so it allowed us to bend them and see the different shadow and light effects it can generates. While playing with the models, we realized we appreciated the transparency of the card. As we can see in the layering explorations, the effects of the light passing through the openings make interesting pattern on the card in front. Moreover, we liked the ones that had a progression in their pattern, so it created motion and dynamism. As it is said in Kolarevic’s text, the solution we found for creating our design was not especially the one we had determined before: «The design equivalent is the “satisficing” solution, which is often somewhat different from the original solution and meets goals that are somewhat different from the ones that were determined at the outset of the process» (Kolarevic, 2003, p.17). In Rhino, the layering pattern was not the one we actually thought was the most relevant. However, by doing these models, we really liked the ambiguity it created and the information it gave us for the materiality aspect. Also, we think it can be a good way to represent the concept of change over time.


The installation will enhance the physical environment through the introduction of a visual arts component. It will have longevity in its appeal, encouraging ongoing interest in the Western Interchange by encouraging further reflection about the installation beyond a first glance. Wyndham city


TECHNIQUE PROPOSAL Whyndam city is looking for an eye-catching installation for the Wyndham’s Western Gateway in order to enriches the municipality. Therefore, we think our technique can improve the highway landscape that most drivers perceive as unattractive. It is important for us, as Moussavi mentioned, to give the project an expression that contributes to the urban setting (Moussavi, 2006, p.617). We also think that our technique gives us the possibility to go further the simple design of an object and creates affects that generate new experience. Our further explorations on the materiality would allow us to create an innovative and complex design that would take in consideration not only the visual effects, but also the experimental effects:« material effects are not only visual effects; they are experiential effects» (Kolarevic, 2008, p.11). The ambiguity created by the juxtaposition of complex architectural and natural elements allows the project to change over time and thus, to be still surprising for people driving on the highway every day. This notion of ambiguity, which relates also to our previous research on the perception of the driver at a high speed, is according to us, essential to create a new exciting experience on the highway. As Jonathan Hill mentioned in his text Drawing forth immaterial architecture, it is important that the structure doesn’t only shock people the first time they see it, but continued to intrigue than even if thay experience it many times: Shock may help to promote new architectural ideas and spaces. But it wears off quickly and is comparatively ineffective as most buildings are experienced not once but many times when they are not the focus of attention. As the users’ experience depends on complex juxtapositions of many moments and conditions, whether a building is critical may depend not on instantaneous shock but enduring ambiguity, the ability to appear ever-changing, resist resolution and remain open to interpretation. (Hill, 2006, p.54) Finally, the fact that the sculptural and experimental results of our design express the natural and cultural contexts, engages people with the Gateway project and enriches the perception of the municipality.





MID TERM CRITIC’s FEEDBACK - Continue to make models explorations so we can find our final form from them. - Make a model matrix and play with it. After, apply the same logic we use, for our physical model explorations, in Grasshopper. We need to think the same way in Grasshopper, as if we were doing models exploration. - We talk a lot about the «experience» we want to create. We need to show them the emotion (use the camera control in Grasshopper) - We talked we want to go further with the layering aspect. We need to find the logic behind the layering. Critics suggested us to look at the Moiré effect.


LEARNING OBJECTIVES & OUTCOMES Since it is the first time we used parametric modelling to design, we found difficult to sometimes achieve what we meant. Our lack of knowledge of this software limits us a lot. However, we discover each day new techniques that definitely help us to create a significant complex design. As we were aware of, the range of solutions while working with Grasshopper is huge and it is for this reason we got a little bit lost during the design process. Nevertheless, since our argument and our criteria were well defined at the begin of the process, we were able to understand which solution was good or not for our achievement. I also think my theoretical research helped me a lot to understand how to use parametric modelling. We need to control the computer and not be controlled by it. Each step of our design needs to be critically analysed and each decision has to make sense with our established goals. The fact that we can generate a variety of design possibilities increases the range of solutions we have and thus, the quality of our final outcome. Combining the work with real physical models and the parametric ones is for me really important and I think it is essential to achieve the best result. In school, we are used to develop our conceptual and design thinking, however, developing a technique that allows us to control our design has been for me a good exercise. The next step will be to develop more the layering technique. Therefore, critics told us to look at the MoirĂŠ effect which will allows us to discover how to create ambiguity and how to play with perception and visual effects. Looking at this interference pattern will also help us understand the quality of layering and the logic behind it.






Keeping in mind the history of the Gateway, our next step will be to find a significant form and to integrate our project on the site. The form, as mentioned previously, will be established according to our criteria, our physical models and our Grasshopper explorations. Moreover, the research to find the appropriate form should be not only formal, but also contextual. We will thus need to be able to explain ÂŤwhyÂť it should take this form and not another one. As it is suggested by the critics, after designing a significant outcome, our approach will be to explore how we can increase the emotion generate by our architectural installation by creating video of the experience itself. Another important aspect to take in consideration will be the construction process. When we will present our final project at the end of the semester, critics should be confident that our Gateway project is achievable. We must then think of our installation at a bigger scale and be sure that the effects will be the same as the scaled models.












gateway project: design concept ÂŤThe Western Gateway should provide an entry statement arrival experience, and become a new identifier for the municipality. The installation should create a focal point of iconic scale and presence and encourage a sense of pride within the local community. The Western Gateway should propose new, inspiring and brave ideas, to generate a new discourse.Âť Wyndham city

Wyndham city is looking for an iconic gateway that could improve people’s perception of the city. That being said, our concept of using ornaments to enhance the surrounding landscape is directly related to the brief of Wyndham city. We think that by using patterning, we can easily link the local culture of the community while representing at the same time its innovation and future. Therefore, our concept is based on the unique expression we want to create on the landscape surrounding the highway and on the distinctive experience that would definitely make Wyndham city more widely know in the world. Has we can see through history, patterns have always been part of local culture and traditions. Therefore, as we use parametric architecture and contemporary techniques to generate our patterns, it reflects the innovation of Wyndham as a city.


LAYER 1 : The ‘Window’

LAYER 2 : The ‘Rhythm’

LAYER 3 : The ‘Depth’


LAYERING After doing a lot of tests and explorations on layering, we realized that three layers was the maximum amount of layers needed to create an experience. In order to maximize this experience, we explored different patterns and how we could organize the layering, according to our criteria. As mentioned before, we finally created three layers: the first layer acts as the window as it controls what you see, the second layer gives rhythm to the pattern and the third one adds depth to the structure and adds complexity to the pattern. As we wanted to induce different emotions to people passing through the gateway, we decided to create an evolution in the pattern. The layering and the variation in the size of the dots of the ‘Window’ generate the evolution. This progression of the pattern also represents the movement and the constant change of the city over the time. As Jonathan Hill mentioned in his text Drawing Forth Immaterial Architecture it is important to create ambiguity in architecture in order to get people’s attention and to expend the discourse around the architecture project: Architects do not have a monopoly over architecture. And neither do they have a monopoly over critical architecture. But, rather than a dissolution of authorship I propose its multiplication and juxtaposition. Multiplication because, rather than a sole author, a number of architectural authors – such as the architect, user, site and weather – are identified, each able to draw forth ideas. Juxtaposition because – sometimes competing, sometimes affirming – each author may inform the other, as in a feisty dialogue of individual voices and unexpected conclusions. Consequently, the architect, user, site and weather may each be an author of architecture and an agent of ambiguity. (Hill, 2006)

Since the pattern change according to the time of the day, the viewing angle of the driver and the speed, the perception of the gateway is relative and stay ambiguous for the viewers. A new discourse is thus generates and the use of layering embellishes it.


Layering + Motion = Moiré Effect

Moiré effect is created by the superimposition of two or more grids. The Moiré effect is generate when the layers have slightly different mesh sizes or when there is a rotation of the grids.


PERCEPTION IN MOTION In our pursuit of ambiguity, we also explored the MoirĂŠ Effect, which helped us a lot in our design since we were able to understand how to create a strong visual impact to observers in movement. We realized that to generate the most interesting affects, the pattern of each layer needed to be a little bit shifted, in order to generate the MoirĂŠ effect. This notion adds motion, illusions and ambiguity to the viewer perception of the structure.







Wyndham entrance We decided to create our experience on the road going in direction of Wyndham city. We think it is the most significant location since we want people to get in the city and we want them, before they enter, to have a good apprehension of it.




FORMAL DESIGN Keeping in mind all the explorations we made on patterning and layering, we finally worked more specifically about the formal design of our gateway. Since our goal was to generate an unforgettable experience and not only a beautiful object in the landscape, the form of the gateway was directed by our grasshopper definition of patterning. By reviewing the site plans and the photos of the gateway document, we realized that the scale of our previous outcome was not appropriate to the site. Indeed, the gateway was not long enough to achieve the experience we wished and it was not following the brief of Wyndham city that claims an iconic and outstanding installation that will create a significant impact on people passing through. Another goal was to integrate the project to the site, as if it was part of the physical environment. Therefore, the pattern comes up out of the ground and it makes the gateway emerging more naturally from the landscape. Moreover, we discovered that the experience was even more interesting when the structure enveloped on each side the driver and when it goes a little over the road.






SOLID layering


TRANSPARENT layering “...although certain objects may have more potential for ambiguity than others, ambiguity is ultimately not the property of an object. It is the property of a perception of an object.”



MATERIALITY/ IMMATERIALITY As we previously observed through our layering explorations, transparency of the surface increase the effects of the pattern since the light passing through the openings make others interesting patterns on the card in front. With our new explorations, we were able to confirm that when the layers have different degrees of opacity, the pattern is effectively more obvious and the experience of the Moiré effect also increases. This aspect has played a crucial role in the choice of our material. As a team, we had a big reflection on the materiality aspect, trying to find the appropriate material that could give us the possibly to achieve our goal. We first thought of textile since it can be easily manipulated to create curves and because it satisfies our transparency criteria. However, by using this material the structure needs to work in tension and we were not convinced by the effectiveness of this method considering the scale of our structure and the complex pattern we had. A steel frame on every dot would had been necessary and this aspect was a big disadvantage considering our amount of perforations. That being said, we finally thought about metal since we can easily manipulate it and the structure would be a lot easier to build. What is really interesting about this material is that we can also get a transparent surface by using perforated metal panel! Since the dots of the perforated metal are really small and the viewer is in motion, we considered that these elements should not negatively affect our pattern and it would even add ambiguity to it. The architectural project “Orange Cube” by Jakob + Macfarlane showed us the feasibility of our technique and we found that the result was quite interesting.


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Perforated Metal



Patterned Panel

Therefore, we finally decided to use perforated steel panels since we could get the transparency we were looking for. Using steel instead of textile will definitely facilitate the construction and will also last longer. We chose the size of the perforated panel’s holes in order to generate the best transparency without affecting the experience of the pattern.



Panels fixed to a steel structure


DETAIL 1:10 Holes of the pattern: ~500mm Holes of a standard perforated sheet: 12,70mm






We decided more specifically to use weathering steel panels (Corten) painted in black. We think that this material can be really interesting because of its constant changeof coloration over time. At first, the black structure in the landscape will represent the innovation of Wyndham city while over time; it will change to an orange-toned color often related to the Australian landscape. Therefore, the gateway will gradually take root in the culture and single value of Wyndham city itself. Richard Serra is an American artist well known for using this material. As we can see in his sculptures, the patina of the steel enhance the design and expend the architectural discourse around it: Cor-Ten steel was designed to acquire a dark, even patina of rust over time, and this natural process endows Serra’s sculptures with a handsome brown hue (New York Time, 1989)






SPINNING MODEL We built a spinning model to show the affects the pattern can produce in motion. Since the gateway will be experienced by viewers in constant movement, it was the best way to show the strenght of our pattern. We thus recreate our layering and pattern and put it on a circle base. With the help of a stick, viewers can spin the model at their eye level and feel the experience.






FINAL CRITIC’S FEEDBACK - Mature and refined design process - Unresolved scale and fabrication technique: the fabrication should have been more realistic since it influence a lot the experience of the gateway. - We should have chosen a precise metal ( corten, galvanized...) and explored how it would change overtime. - The shape of our gateway proposal has a nice tactility - Critics said that they could imagine themself going through and feeling the experience. - The site plan is confusing.


LEARNING OBJECTIVES & OUTCOMES This studio allowed me to work we parametric modeling for the first time in my architectural studies. Before, I did not know a lot about this technique, neither theoretically or technically. Learning about this new method of conception made me grow up as an architect since you definitely need to understand your design in order to generate a significant outcome. As expected, it allowed me to go farther from the simple form and geometry, making it possible to explicitly explain the choices we made. At first, using parametric architecture scared me a little bit. Even if it is really helpful for designers, it is also quite easy to get lost and go away from your criteria. It is true that at the beginning of the design process it was harder to develop a really good project using Grasshopper since we knew nothing about it. However, we realized that we actually got into it more easily than we thought and finally, we were able to take advantage of it. I am quite happy with the final result our team got through. I think that, considering our initial skills with digital architecture, we were able to have a good design process without getting lost in the multiple options Grasshopper gave us. I now understand that even when you use computational method, every step of the design is important and even more! I think that our lack of knowledge of the software has slow down our design and that much more explorations could have been done in order to increase the final experience of our gateway. Also, we would have been able to push the fabrication and tectonic aspects further which would have definitely increased our design argument. As the critics mentioned, the fabrication technique was not enough developed. We should have, indeed, taken advantage of the great benefits of Grasshopper to help us with the fabrication aspect of our gateway. For example, our model would have been more beautiful if we had triangulated our curves or if we had separated them in panels, as it would actually be built in real life. In conclusion, even if our final Grasshopper definition seems impler than other groups, I think that we were able to demonstrate our ability to use Grasshopper since we did a lot of interesting explorations before choosing this final pattern for our gateway proposal. Our design process was thus, really clear and well understood.



REFERENCES Balmond, C. 2004. Geometry, Algorithm, Pattern, The Serpentine Pavilion 2002 – Toyo Ito and ARUP. Leach, N. Digital tectonics. (London: Wiley-Academy) Designtoproduction. 2013. Swissbau Pavilion, viewed 22 march 2013, http://www.designtoproduction. ch/content/view/11/43/ Exton, Peter. 2011. The Room Acoustic Design of the Guangzhou Opera House, viewed 11 march 2013, Formularch. 2012. Grasshopper Points Attract/Repel, viewed 17 april 2013, http://formularch. Glynn, Ruairi, and Sara Shafiei. 2009. Digital Architecture: Passages Throught Hinterlands,, 187p. Grobman, Yasha J., and Eran Neuman. 2012. Performalism: Form and Perfomance in Digital Architecture (London: Routledge) 208p. Hill, Jonathan (2006). ‘Drawing Forth Immaterial Architecture’, Architectural Research Quarterly, 10, 1, pp. 51-55 Kolarevic, Branko, and Kevin Klinger. 2008. Manufacturing Material Effects: Rethinking Design and Making in Architecture (London: Routledge), pp. 6-24 Moussavi, Farshid and Michael Kubo, eds (2006). The Function of Ornament (Barcelona: Actar), pp. 5-14 Richard Williams, ‘Architecture and Visual Culture’, in Exploring Visual Culture : Definitions, Concepts, Contexts, ed. by Matthew Rampley (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005), pp. 102 - 116. The New York Times.1989. Our Most Notorious Sculptor, viewed 2 march 2013, http://www.nytimes. com/1989/10/08/magazine/our-most-notorious-sculptor.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm Woodbury, Robert F. and Andrew L. Burrow (2006). ‘Whither design space?’, Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing, 20 , 2, pp. 63-82 Woodbury, Robert. 2010. Elements of Parametric Design (London: Routledge) pp. 7-48


PICTURES [1][2][3][4] Shim Sutcliffe Architects, 2013, [5] [6][7] AD Classics: Fondation Cartier, 2013, [8] La Fondation Cartier, 2013, [9] [10] City Hall, 2013, [11] Swissbau Pavilion, 2008, [12] CAAD Swissbau Pavilion, 2006, [13] Cambridge Journals, 2013, nline&type=6&fid=S1062798709000775&aid=5485600&next=true&jid=ERW&volumeId=17&issue Id=02&next=Y#cjofig_fig4 [14][15] DRAGON SKIN PAVILION, 2013, [16] DRAGON SKIN PAVILION, 2012, [17][18][19] Guangzhou Opera House, China_Zaha_Hadid_Patrik_Shumacher.php [20] De Young Museum, 2013, [21]Signal Box, 2013,


[22] SPANISH PAVILLION, 2013, VIW-UNK-AE-0055-A [23] mdoeff, 2006, [24]Signal Box, 2013, herzog_meuron_central_signal_box_basel_sw_191111_025/ [25] Icacc, 2012, [26] Oldfieldconsulting, 2013, [27] Werribee South farm , 2013, [28] Individual Twist - Museum and Cultural Centre in Aomori, 2012, architecture/news/individual-twist-museum-and-cultural-centre-in-aomori-019368.html [29] Creative Learning Centre at the Brisbane Girls Grammar School, 2007, http://architectureau. com/articles/brisbane-girls-grammar/ [30] Woningbouwvereniging Het Oosten, 2000, / 7215760 6076049240/ [31] Bahnhof-Bern, 2012, [32] The Orange Cube / Jakob + Macfarlane Architects, 2011, the-orange-cube-jakob-macfarlane-architects/ [33] [34] [35] Richard-Serra, 2005,


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