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Module 4

Carlin Lyon Student No: 637315 Semester 1/2013 Group 9


DRAWING PATTERNS These are some natural patterns that I initially experimented with, to see what abstract effects I could derive from these subjects. The images include patterns from wood grain, sea bugs, jellyfish, fish, feathers, and cabbage. I really like the ‘organised mess’ look of the wood and cabbage, however I think that the sea creature patterns are particularly interesting.




analytical drawing is focused on three steps; finding the essential form of a subject, finding its tension lines which indicate movement but are not ‘seen,’ and reducing the drawing to its concise representation of the abstract form. The image demonstrates the process of extracting an essential form of an image. The final black line does not necessarily trace the original shape, but it also include implied or hidden relationships between the bicycle wheels, the wheel axes, and the centre of the bike.

1,2,3 Images from ‘Poling, Clark (1987): Analytical Drawing In


Kandisky’s Teaching at the Bauhaus Rizzoli, New York’


To find the simple overall form of a subject, Kadinsky suggests to extract basic lines representing the direction and placement of

The pattern I’ve chosen to develop is of a deep see bug called the Tomopteris. It consists of repetitive scale-like segments, and is symmetrical along the axis of its body.

forms, including obvious and ‘hidden’ relationships between them. I tried to approach my image (of a segmented sea creature)

in a similar manner, following the openly curved direction of the main body in a single line. I managed to find a focal point too.


I initially created a single scale, or segment, from my pattern of a scaled creature, which I found created a unique form (left). I was then curious to see what would happen if I repeated it in a line, and then layered it. I really likes the movement of the scales in a line (middle), however I couldn’t find an appropriate way to join different segments and together. In the

lecture, I saw the various ways in which I could transform my pattern, including scaling, rotating, and using symmetry. The image second from the right is what resulted when I rotated the row of scales around a central point. I then started to think about extruding the scales, whilst rotating them at the same time.


I really like the effect of the light as it passes through the form below, especially as the form is not linear, and so the shadows are slightly elongated at certain edges. This form however is not very stable on its own, as it tends to flatten out by itself.

This is the model of the extruded form, that I rotated using three key pieces. I think this is a very sturdy and practical form to work with.

Here is the result of the rotation of multiple unit pieces, which sits in the 3D form shown to the left. This model is somewhat less practical than the previous one as the form is easily moved, and so unpredictable.

DEVELOPING THE SHAPE Below are some more detailed sketches representing the overall movement and shape of the lantern that I am aiming to achieve. I would like the lantern to interact with the forearm, and to reach outward and above, toward shoulder height. I am trying to mimic the scale of armour plating of animals and reptiles, for example like the Pangolin. Looking back at these drawings however, I think that the idea of scales or armour plating would be more effective if I had larger ‘scales.’

Above are some sketches following Ball’s view in ‘Pat-

tern Formation in Nature’ exploring how natural

patterns can be organised and mathematical. I want to develop the characterstic of repeating segments in my own pattern.



To develop the base shape of my model for paneling, I revisited my analytical drawings. My first analytical drawing of the original pattern tried to capture the movement of the image, and I found it was represented by loosely curved lines. I tried to translate this drawn shape into a 3D model where the base was narrow, grew wider as it went higher, then

I really Frank Gehry’s Fish Lamps as they have an organic curved shape, yet they have irrgular scales of torn paper. I now want to make sure my lantern’s ‘scales’ are not too uniform or boring. I want a little ireggularity and variation in shape but to still have an element of overlapping

eventually narrowed down to an end point. The curve itself was a simple single curve, that was more tightly curled at the top, very much like my original pattern shape. I intend to add spikes/scales later on in the process, as it relates back to the repetative nature of scales in my original pattern.


I continued to develop my base curve in Rhino, as I transformed it into its digital version. I found that the pipe tool did not work very well for this shape as my curve changes direction too sharply at the top. I found however, that lofting worked really well, using ‘rings’ that I had extracted from my clay model. The image on the left was my first idea on how to draw

and creating the curve, however, on reflection, I realised that there were too many rings, which complicated the surface. I then decided to take out some of the redundant rings and tried to loft this. I found that the end result was a lot smoother than my first try, and also I was able to easily loft the whole structure in one go.

The reading ‘Lost in

Parameter Space?’ talks

about the various ways to translate and communicate an object from a physical and digital model. It also contemplates how a ‘perfect’ model doesn’t need to contain so much information and detail. Carrying this idea, I tried to incorporate the spikes more simplisticly into the base image, without creating

too many surfaces. This was a quick and rough attempt at using a pipe, then pulling points from the spine, which stretched into spikes. The paneling was a lot more successful than I had anticipated, however it was still an unappealing result (super ugly). I finally decided to use the original shape, and create spikes with panels.



The first few images were my first attempts to panel the basic shape, using 2D panels. Some panel attempts were more successful than others.

This is the least succesful attempt for paneling, as there are many gaps and overlaps.

I prefer this type of ‘triangle’ paneling over the left one, as this achieves a sharper and less blob like shape.

This is the base shape of the curve with spike incorporated into it.


Like one of the previous attempts, this was unsuccessful as there was minimal contact between panels.

Another method I tried, in digitising my model, in which I incorporate the spikes, was to use circles spliced with triangles (tearshape) as the bands along the curve, which I then lofted separately at each interval. Althogh I really like the end result (left)

I found that paneling was too complicated, as it produced too many surfaces. Above shown some were not very successful as there were many gaps in the pattern.



With further exploration of Rhino panelling, I began to find different potential 3D paneling designs. I constructed some of my own custom 3D panels, which aimed to have a triangulated ‘peak.’ This was to try


and represent 3D scales in an abstractand striking way, but also I wanted to experiment with ‘throw ing’ directed light; shards of stretched light thrown across a room. I thought that by having a peaked scale,


I may be able to achieve this. I find trial 3 the most interesting as compared to most panel types, it has ‘inverse’ pannels; each panel has a base and walls, and has an open top.

PROTOYPING The outcome of my prototype was a lot different to what I had expected, as the peaks of the panels had really wide and flat surfaces. I also added some slits in the panels to achieve the ‘light shard’ effect I wanted. There was a severity in the the spikes that I thought made the model look quite interesting, and also when I had light from different directions streaming through the prototype, I could achieve overlapping shards of light. I also really liked the skeletal feel of the prototype, which represented the exo-skeletal characteristic of my original pattern. During the process of making the prototype I found that my current design had too small ‘joining’ areas between the panels lengthways, which made me think about my future designs. The orange lines represent the main spines of the protoype, and the ratio of model to tabs. The tabs were small and not practical.


1 The drawings here represent my general thought process when I derived my panel shape from my original pattern. The top left is a traced segment of the original pattern, that I have developed with a triangular and repetitive nature. I initially wanted to have very striking and defined spikes, to give the full effect of the ‘sharpness’ of scales. However, after watching the TED talk by Thomas Heatherwick, I started to understand that ostentatious design is not always more effective or interesting. I revisited my original pattern and my analytical drawings and discovered this more subtle spiky pattern within the image. Like Heatherwick, I tried to take a more humble representation of my image, and repeat it in a way so that the overall effect and object was a lot more interesting than if I had simply stuck on a few larger spikes.

1. The Seed Cathedral


Using the general shape of my previous drawings, I found that this shape was appropriate. It also had a noticable resemblance with my original pattern and analytical drawings. I find this panel attempt interesting as

it has a softer spikiness which are not as visually striking as my other spiky options, and I believe that this has more potenital with creating different lighting effects. I intend to create a kaleidoscopic effect.



Initially I trialed light through the prototype without any gaps or differnt materials used, and found this a bit too uniform. I then tried to take out one side-panel and replace it with tracing paper. I really liked this effect, however it wasn’t strong

enough . I then trialed more designs where I took out more panels, in different patterns, and found that I liked the ones on the right, as it illuminated the triangular nature of the model a lot more than the one before it.

I came accross this image and thought that this represented exactly what I wanted for my light effects. Looking from above, you could only see snow, however at certain angles, there are ‘hidden’ details where light is refracted through. I think this is a beautiful image and effect.


It was difficult to unroll the panels as I had to find a way for as many to stay in contact with eachother as possible. With my design however it was inevitable that I’d have a lot of smaller pieces. The reading ‘Digital Production’ suggested that with technology, there is a reciprocal relationship between what we can draw and what we can build, where design is limited by both. I also had to make sure my design was practical to make.

Strangely, I found that some of my unrolled ‘strips’ significantly resembled my pattern and original analytical drawings. Although this is likely a coincidence, I thought that it somewhat reflected the overall curve/movement, and ‘spiky’ qualities I was aiming for.


For the tracing paper areas, I traced certain triangles off the main strips, which I would later cut out separately in the tracing paper.

I found that when I joined two strips together, it was like working a zip. Each row had triangles crossing over to the other, which made it very

secure when I glued them togher. Some times it was a bit fiddly as the pieces didn’t match up cleanly, but overall it seemed to behave quite well.


As the base was quite weak, I tried to put rings of card to strengthen it. Initially I wanted to create a rib that ran throughout the whole curve, however I found that this blocked off a lot of my light. I also decided to cap the two openings to make it look a little neater.

Taking Form By the third row out of four, the lantern started to take its shape and became more rigid. The thickness of the model also became more apparent as the model evolved.


There were multiple ways to hold the lantern I found, particularly concerning the hand. I could either cup the bottom of the model with my palm, or twist my hand around so

that i was holding it backwards (middle image). I like the second way of holding it as the model interacts closely and parallel to the forearm.

Final Product

REFLECTION Throught the design process and fabrication of my lantern, I found that the weekly readings and lectures were useful tools to help guide me or help me to understand the function of design principles. I often found myself brainstorming during the lectures, after seeing architectural images and objects of industrial design, that incorporated many design elements. In one of the first few lectures, the lecturer mentioned that Le Corbusier believed Architecture ought to look like something rather than try to be it. This is a very interesting idea that could also be applied to general design, including with our lanterns. The use of previously existing design is extremely important to ensure we have a sound and considered approach to a design concept. I think this idea can also be applied to tools like technology so that we should use it in a way that helps us achieve what we want, rather than rely on it to create the design for us. When fabricating the model, it was really important to be aware of the practicality of certain constructing methods. The reading Architecture in the Digital Age was useful to understand the context of design fabrication. It specified the various methods of 2D and 3D fabrication, some where you could subtract physical material from a base shape, or one where you could add on to a starting point, like with 3D printing. The card cutter we had available to us was extremely useful for our fabricatio process. It dramatically shortened the time taken to translate our models from digital to physical form. There were some limitations however, as we had to unroll and ‘flatten’ our digital model into strips of panels, which we then fit on to the card size. Also, the blade could only go in a certain number of directions, so curved lines sometimes looked jagged. Finally, there is a difference between what the printer is theoretically capable of and physically capable of, and so I found that when I asked the printer to cut out fine gaps and really small tabs, it often struggled and torn the paper. Overall though, it was a very useful tool, if you knew how to use it effectively. The perception of craft has also been changed, influenced by the introduction and establishment of digital design. Building the Future suggests that in architecture, there is a strong relationship between craft, detail, and the industry it is designed for. Although currently, craft is largely related to the ‘organisation of information’ with numeric codes and digital information. The Third Industrial Revolution also discusses the adoption of digital tools, and I strongly believe that virtual design has changed the way we think about design, and that creativity has become a thing of the manipulation of information. Looking back at my lantern, I was able to develop my designs further using tools like panelling, which became like a digital ‘rule’ when coating the base shape with a repeated unit. This would have never been possible without programs like Rhino, however I do not believe I relied on the software for my designs. The new step towards virtual design can help us develop the detail, and precision of our designs that we would have never hoped to achieve. Building my lantern this semester has been a very difficult thing to pursue, as there were often times when I came accross design and digital difficulties, however I now have a much better understanding of the context of design, digitisation, and fabrication, which I do no fully realise yet. I am very pleased with how my lantern has turned out, and it is still interesting to revisit my precedents and chosen pattern, to see the initial roots of my design.




CROCODILE TAIL dwarf_crocodile_closeup_tail.JPG


REFERENCES Poling, Clark (1987): Analytical Drawing In Kandisky’s Teaching at the Bauhaus Rizzoli, New York, pp. 107-122 Ball, Philip (2012): Pattern Formation in Nature, AD: Architectural Design, Wiley, 82 (2), March, pp. 22-27 TED talks - Thomas Heatherwick - Scheurer, F. and Stehling, H. (2011): Lost in Parameter Space? IAD: Architectural Design, Wiley, 81 (4), July, pp. 70-79 Digital fabrications: architectural and material techniques / Lisa Iwamoto. New York : Princeton Architectural Press, c2009. The third Industrial Revolution / Jeremy Rifkin. Palgrave Macmillan, C2011.pp107-126 Building the Future: Recasting Labor in Architecture/ Philip Bernstein, Peggy Deamer. Princeton Architectural Press. c2008. pp 38-42 Architecture in the Digital Age - Design and Manufacturing /Branko Kolarevic. Spon Press, London, c2003

Module 4 - FINAL  

Virtual Environments

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