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Digital Design

Module 01

Semester 1, 2018 Louis (Luyao) Zhang 914946 Chelle Yang

Week One

Week Two

According to Zeara-Polo, the diagram does not play a representational role in the design process but provides an organisational and can have a performative quality depending on how it is deployed. Explain how Diagram is different from Signs and Symbols?

Herzberger discusses how design should not be extreme in its functionality. Use your precedent study to explain how the pavilion allows for an appropriation of use.

Reading: Zeara Polo, A. 2010. Between Ideas and Matters.

Reading: Hertzberger H. 2005. The in-between and The Habitable Space Between Things, from Lessons for Students in Architecture.

Zeara-Polo looks to Charles Peirce’s classification of signifiers: that is into categories of semiotic icons, indexes and symbols. The Icon is a signifier with a physical resemblance to the signified, the thing being represented; The index is a signifier demonstrating some evidence of the signified, and the Symbol is a signifier with no resemblance between the signifier and the signified, requiring a culturally mediately link. Diagrams then should stand opposed to all three in that they do not play a representational role for their dynamic object, and instead mediate between physical constructs and concepts or precepts on an organizational level - it is therefore universalizing. By classification, differences between Pierce’s semiotic and diagrams also include the diagram’s distinctive dependance on considered deployment, and that they are almost always contextualized in space, and demonstrate a passage of time.

Herzberger’s encouragement for design to carry an inbetweenness, is a call for mediated, flexible accomodating potentials reflected throughout its architectural space. Toyo Ito’s Serpentine pavilion embodies this idea of transiency and form being subservient to the user in several aspects. Its demarcated space, first of all, is a dissolving/formulating process - first between the Queen Anne style Serpentine gallery, its sourrounding greenery, and the Battersea Power Station in its background - but further within pavilion itself, rendering its space into a field of thresholds. Its inital complexity is a device of curiosity, and once inside, the gradually established square geomatrices offers a more permanent shelter. Its interior, apart from two raised planes offering high affordance of use, is unregulated and corners are offset from circulation to allow for gestation.


Week One

Precedent Analysis The seemingly confounded matrices constituting the pavilion are, in fact, structurally rule-based and simple in construction. The structure consists of a patterned base of crisscrossing patterns and several openings where bare ground is exposed. From here, the roof-frame serves as a compositional datum, by means of compounding rotating squares that grow in size, spiralling centripetal/ centrifugally. This endless sequence is only limited by the overall form of the pavilion and coining solids taking to more than a single plane. Its seeming effect is then of scattered, broken, and floating planar solids, which are embedded within the frame - and are almost suspended between planes of glazing. Four entrances take up positions on each side of the square base and amongst the meeting of frame and base - without interruption.

Fig. 1: Ito, T. El Croquis #123: Toyo Ito 2001-2005 - Beyond Modernism. Madrid: El Croquis. 2004

Fig. 2: Balmond, C. A+U Special Issue: Cecil Balmond. Tokyo: A and U. 2006


Week Two


Toyo Ito, Serpentine Pavilion, London 2002 The modelled isometric is presented here with light line weights and subtle shades of gray. Shown are the base, stairs, framing, solids, and glazing - together taking up the form of Tyo Ito’s Serpentine Pavilion. Notable omission within the isometric are each the interior, temporary furnishings and facilities as of the 2002 exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery, as well as an ambulating path around the pavilion - also seen during the 2002 exhibition. The necessity and coherence of these omitted elements were put in doubt because of the various contexts in which the pavilion has been placed, and their subsequent abandonment in each case. The pavilion, when erected next to the Thames for an alternative exhibition, featured bean bags along its inner edges instead of tables and chairs. Similarly, when erected in Cote d’Azur overlooking the sea as a conference room of sorts, a large ring-table sat at its centre. The surrounding path were evidently also drastically altered each of these occasions. The seeming dispensability of these elements, then, informed their omissions. The modelling process of the isometric was immediately enlightening in providing the central motif of the square, which expands/contracts, and renders the pavilion in a transient state of formulation/dissipation. This, of, course, attunes to the temporarilty and passge-like/threshold quality of the pavilion as a lead up to the Serpentine Gallery. Furthermore, when intercepting solids - at corners, or at folding edges, were booleaned, they took on a certain formal significance, that is a coining and fixing of the pavilion within its form - the cubic statement still stands, and provided is a turning point from which the exploding square motif maybe interpreted as imploding.

Isometric 1:225 0




Week Two




Each diagrams 1 and 2 describe the square motif in its threshold role. Its floating, exploded solids suspended mid-air, only anchored by coining of sorts, and transformations both exapninding and contracting, concetric and decentred, are fundamental to shaping the building’s status as intermezzo - a point of heightened tension pulling on/expanding towards its surroundings. The translucent form aso has its own thresholds to speak of; confounding side geometries as spun by the top squares - calls for approach - this is guaranteed by the pavilion’s very fluidity of form and thoroughfare circulation - it is the knowledge of easy passage that encourages interaction. The entrances, at this juncture, do very little to demarcate the interior and exterior - helping then is only the slight change in level. However, once within the pavilion interior, the spinning of squares become perceptable and a greater sense of permanence is instilled - the space is settled, and in this light, a transition of space is granted complete. Diagram 3 presents the circulation of the pavilion - the lower most panel at its most direct. Further extrapolated from it, then, are the paths placed in time: the longest paths also taking the longest amount of time traversing its course. The flux decribed is perhaps best described as a sudden surge from all entrances - an isolated moment of many in real-time. In this, observed is a formally generated crowding event, a pulling of several threads through a single needle. It maybe conceived that this facilitates a degree of interactivity fitting for the venue - which during its Serpentine Gallery life-span is that of a cafe.

Diagrams 1:600








Top Right: Eisenman’s drawings explicating Toyo Ito’s design process. Differs by centralization. Top/Left: Process of creating roof-frame pattern datum, following Eisenman’s method. Right: Passage detailing joinery of side/ top framework, width of beams.


Appendix Process

Top: Examining context surrounding the pavilion (while located at the Serpentine Gallery) From Left: the pavilion at places of ressurection: Beauvallon, CotÊ d’Azur; the Battersea Power Plant;


DD: Module 1 Precedent Study  
DD: Module 1 Precedent Study