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Architecture Design Studio Air 2012 Progress Journal Lucy Griffith 389404

Habitat Lucy griffith 2009



Select one personal and two state of the art projects and explain how they are (could be) advancing architectural discourse.

2 WEEK 1

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Lucy Griffith 2010 First Year Designing Environments Brief: Create a Sound Playground for children around 3 years of age. The concept for the ‘Playsound’ was to utilise and further a three year olds new found understanding of cause and effect through an interactive musical playground.



Figure 2

Interactivity and Experience interaction between an audience and a design is a very important aspect of architecture. This is demonstrated through the concept of the playsound through interactivity. In the case of the Playsound, children (and adults alike) would be curious and excited by the interactive nature of a musical playground and learn simply by engaging with the space. Whether you are directly experiencing a design or not it can have an affect. Not only are those directly engaged with the Playsound engaged but those in the surrounding a areas could hear the music created by such young children, creating interest and engagement with the space from afar as well. In ‘Architecture and Visual Culture’ (2005) Williams’ discussion on architecture and urban experience suggests that you don’t have to be inside a building or have a direct link to it in anyway to be affected by it. The form and meaning of the design, the social interaction with it and reaction towards it can affect the way people live around it and how it is portrayed to others beyond its own city and even country. Learning or experience through engagement with a design, and the creation of a far reaching curiosity are two key aspects which would be beneficial in the design of the Wyndham City Gate project. These qualities provide a possibility of defining Wyndham as a centre of arts to the wider community through an art work which “inspires and enriches”.

4 WEEK 1

Figure 3

Melbourne Recital Centre

Melbourne Australia Ashton Raggatt McDDougalL 2009 The brief for the Elizabeth Murdoch Hall within the Melbourne Recital Centre was to create a space with superior acoustic performance without bulky sound reflectors or other extraneous details. The Melbourne Recital Centre has won the National Award for Public Buildings at the 2009 Property Council of Australia Rider Levett Bucknall Awards for Innovation and Excellence.(web) The Melbourne Recital Centre and Melbourne Theatre Project also won the Victorian Architecture Medal, the William Wardell Award for Public Architecture and the Joseph Reed Award for Urban Design at the Australian Institute of Architects Victorian Architecture Awards.



Digital Design- Acoustic Optimisation The Architects achieved this difficult brief wth the aid of formal digital analysis acoustic software .The room was “progressively tuned�. The sculptural qualities in the walls diffuse the different musical frequencies differently depending on the depth of the relief. This is important example in the discourse of architecture because it is using digital technology to get the best functional qualities out of the space. Not only does it optimise the function of the space but this is achieved in a sculptural and cohesive way. All traditional acoustic devices such as reflectors and other functional elements such as safety railings are combined so they fit seamlessly into the overall aesthetic of the room.

Figure 4Progressive Tuning using digital software

Figure 5,6,7

6 WEEK 1

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Seed Cathedral Thomas Heatherwick Shanghai Expo 2011

Thomas Heatherwick’s company ‘Heatherwick studio’ was selected to create the UK Pavilion as the Shanghai Expo. The theme of the expo was “Better City. Better Life.” The objectives ofthe design were for the architecture to be a manifestation of the exhibit; provide public space and have one idea that would stand out from the chaos. The Seed Cathedral displays the work of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew and their Millennium Seedbank.



Figure 9- Seed Catherdral interior

This project references back to William’s discussion of architecture as art (Architecture as Visual Culture) as it was able to be an expression of their own creativity without a very restrictive functional brief from the client. The Seed Catherdal addresses all of William’s descriptions of architecture as art, sign and spatial experiences but it takes it beyond this point creating new ideas about design, function and technology. I think the important part of Heatherwick’s work in architectural discourse is that he is reinventing old ideas and sling shotting them into the future. In the Seed Cathedral project Heatherwick looks back to the Victorians as being the first people to integrate nature into cities and the first to have a botanical institute. Nature is a massive and influential element in an attempt to create cities of the future. Heatherwick took the smallest and most basic element of nature (seeds), and redefined its meaning giving it new life, and making them so fascinatingly beautiful and seem precious. This design is the epitome of “enhancing the physical environment through visual arts”, a requirement in the brief for theWyndham City Gate Project.

Thomas Heatherwick’s aim is “to bring architecture, design and sculpture together within a single practice.” He works with many different professionals to achieve this interdisciplinary practice. This is a very important andforward t http:innking approach to design and the current overall discourse of architecture. // In 2006 Thomas Heatherwisk won the “British designer of the Year” award for his design of the rolling bridge. Heatherwick’s approach to design focuses on how something works, rather that what it is.

Figure 10- The Rolling Bridge

8 WEEK 1



Using suggested readings and independant research present the unique innovations presented by contemporary computational design techniques. 10 WEEK 2

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Smithsonian Institute

Foster+Partners Washington DC USA 2007 Foster and Partners won an international competition in 2004 to create the new roof for the Smithsonian Institute. Foster and Partners explore optimisation many other projects in diverse ways including The British Museum Great Court (2000) and The Greater London Authority City Hall (2004). Most commonly explored are structural and acoustic optimisation.



The Smithsonian Institute was “designed to do the most with the least” (web) Structure and Environmental issues were addressed through optimisation. Many of the structural ideas used in the British Museum Great Court were furthered in the design of the Smithsonian Institute Roof. Geometric pre-rationalisation was used in the same kind of way as the British Museum, creating a “diagrid of fins” (new mathematics) The grid holds in place glazed panels and creates a structural shell. The rigid shell needs only eight columns to support the entire roof. This is structurally efficient and does not require an excess of materials to be used.

Figure 2- British Museum Great Court Roof Figure 3- Smithsonian Insitiue Roof

12 WEEK 2

In Architecture in the Digital Age: Design and Manufacturing, Kolarevic discusses Forster and Partner’s Project, the Main Chamber for the Greater London Authority (2002). Kolarevic describes the project as performative architecture a term which seems to be used interchangeably with optimisation, describing the optimisation of building performance. The building was optimised acoustically using acoustic wave propagation simulation software (Kolarevic, pg 26). A more visually obvious application of optimisation is the shape of the building. The “pebble like” shape optimises energy performance by minimising the surface area directly exposed to the sun. (Kolarevic, pg 26) Analysis of sunlight patterns produced a thermal map of the building which was used to accordingly manipulate cladding. ( Foster web) The result was a building which Foster and Partners themselves describe as “virtually non-polluting.”

Figure 4- Greater London Authority

Foster and Partners used an optimisation algorithm to create the triangulated grid used for the ceiling of the Great Court. This algorithm assisted in the construction of efficient geometries and addressed environmental performance criteria. Digital technology was also of great use in fabrication. The algorithm used to define the grid also explored member sizes. Many iterations were quickly tested against a variety of perfomance issues.

Figure 5- British Museum Great Court



Figure 6

Foster and Partners had a computer program specially created for this project by Brady Peters of the Foster and Partners Specialist Modelling Group. (BOOK) The opportunity for designers to create their own programs allows for a new realm of design and construction flexibility and control over what is being created. Very precise functions and constraints can be allocated and applied to a design when a computer program is designed specifically for it. Although this may be restricting it is also liberating as individual solutions may be designed for specific problems.

14 WEEK 2

Program design is a completely separate profession hence it would be quite a big ask for designers to design their own computer programs to create the imaginative structures floating around in their heads as program design is a profession all of its own. Therefore as per this example firms can work closely with their own modelling design team. The opportunity is there however for the few adventurous and motivated architects and designers may pursue this field. Either way, the possibilities have expanded exponentially.

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BMW World Market Building

COOP HIMMELB(I)AU Munchen, Germany 2007 Coop Himmelb(l)au architects won an the international competition to build BMW World in 2001.(phaidon) The BMW World building was digitally fabricated which allowed for considerable optimisation techniques to be utilised in the design of the structural form and as well as implementation of performance design for features such as light, climate and acoustics.



The design of BMW World was greatly benefited by digital techniques of optimisation. Digital technology was used to simulate load forces and other site and context conditions which defined the shape and structure of the roof and the resulting impact on load transfer. Thickness and dimensions of materials could also be defined as part of this process. The original competition design was rationalised down from a “forest of columns,� to become a dynamic and open space.(archit week)

Figure 8,9

16 WEEK 2

The use of digital technology and documentation in this project allowed for a close relationship between architectural and engineering design and the ability to continuously test different environmental and structural conditions.(Architweek) This would have been incredibly useful in the updating and communicating the design possibilities between both fields . The method of optimisation would be useful the Wyndham city Gate Project in many regards, most obviously structural and acoustic optimisation. The freeway location of the Gateway would firstly be a very noisy area and the acoustic manipulation may be taken into account. Secondly, the constant heavy traffic would create strong vibrations through the site. The structural performance needed at this kind site, could be tested quickly through the use of parametric structural optimisation technology.

Optimisation can also be used in terms of aesthetic and formal qualities also, not purely functional and structural. One kind of optimisation is the creation of minimal surfaces meaning a surface has a net curvature of zero. (new mathermatics) Some examples of minimal surfaces are cantenoids, hyperboloid, Hyperbolic paraboloids, helicoids and enneper surfaces. The double cone vortex structure at BMW world looks like a twisted cantenoid or hyperboloid. This kind of minimal surface may have been an optimisation consideration through out the design process. Figure 10

Prix’s dream for the building was a “huge unsupported space for architecture, with spaces the ‘changed like clouds.’” (Architecture week) This is quite a nice precedential link to the theme of this studio~ Air, despite the project being relatively old in the digital and parametric fields. This example however involves a couple of the key aspects of optimisation, which for its time entirely innovative. The structure is one which people can awe at today, no matter how “old hat” the specific optimisation technology that was used may have become. This gives credibility to the use of digital technology for the Wyndham City Gate project, and comfort to any worry of a digital project going out of date quickly. Even if the techniques used to produce the final product are well surpassed and even made redundant in years to come, it will have marked a stage in a digital discourse and will become a fascinating land mark for years to come for the digital literate and lay person alike.

Minimal Surfaces

Figure 11 Hyperboloid

Figure 12 Twisted Cantenoid



Optimisation relates quite closely to Kalay’s reading- Architecture’s new media: Principles, Theories, and Methods of Computer Aided Design. Kalay talks of selecting a list of constraints and by applying them they will produce a design. Optimal designs are not directly “designed” for their formal qualities by the designer. Optimisation techniques require certain parameters to be defined, such as loads and forces; performance requirements or mathematical functions to define certain optimal forms. Structurally sound, efficient and fascinating strucutures are produced based on the quality of the design of the constraints, and the variations that explored within these constraints. The difficulty with optimisation in design however, it that it is not a starting point. As described in the precedents there is always a greater design concept or form from which a design is generated before the optimisation is applied later, whose purpose is to make the best out of the design intent. To Kalay design is a purposeful activity which should address a set of goal and result in a state that is better than before. Architectural discourse takes these kinds of goals into account; however discourse takes it a step further. It looks at the stylistic part of the design that is not addressing any functional need but exploring creative and thematic design approaches which focused on the creation of space and ambiance independent of what is actually needed. In order to create a design for the Wyndham City Gateway we will need to look at optimisation in a conceptual way to develop a design idea. Optimisation can be helpful in the design of the gateyway through structural optimisation,there will be a lot of vibrations atthe site caused by constant passing cars, and wind loads as cars pass by; acoustic, freeways are extrodinarily noisy places; structurally and materially efficient. However these applications would only be helpful with a preconceived design concept.

18 WEEK 2



Select one project that expresses contemporary scripting/programming cultures and defend/ critique the author’s design philosophy.

20 WEEK 3

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Hyun-Seok Kim 2012 Hyun- Seok Kim Won the Millennium Yacht Design Award in 2011: Section B- Dream Boat with his entry ‘Tofi’. Kim is now in the running for the International Yacht and Aviation awards with his design of the Voronoi Yacht. The Awards are hosted by interior design magazine ‘Design et al’ and are judged by the public; industry professionals, customers, clients and readers of design et al.



Figure 3-‘Tofi’ Winnr of the Millennium Yacht Design Award in 2011: Section B- Dream Boat

The Voronoi Yacht design combines Kolevic’s discussion on boat construction, engineering, nature and design into one boat. Although there are some critics who are sceptical about the buildability of the Yacht, the voronoi structure should be strong and sound. Kaplan describes the voronoi structure simply in Voronoi Diagrams and Ornamental Design.

Figure 4

22 WEEK 3

Kaplan explains that a Voronoi is composed of a set of points, each of which are separated by a line which is an equal distance between both points. He concludes that voronoi models growth and spatial divisionand is there for a tool used inn engineering and science. (reference)

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Voronoi is a naturally occurring pattern which appears across innumerable spheres of the natural world, geography, biology, mathematics (vornoi eng text) ; as well as being useful in medicine, computation and design voronoi in ornamental design). It is actively experimented with in forums for rhino and grasshopper

Figure 7

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Figure 9

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Kim wanted to use the voronoi pattern to unneeded solid, creating a “robust structure while using a minimal amount of material.” (super yacht design) He hypothesises that “this voronoi pattern is a way of nature to optimize and stabilize randomized creatures.”( yeacht and aviation awards) I think we would all agree design is a randomised creature, and the our use of computational technologies is a way of us optimising and stabilising our designs.

24 WEEK 3

The conceptual framework section in the Wyndham City Gateway Design Project, describes an “intensive relationship between the natural environments and the activities of human settlement.” Wyndham takes pride in a range of natural, cultural, social and historical aspects in their community. The concept of a voronoi pattern links together nature, culture and art.

Week 1-3  

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