ARCHITECTURE DESIGN STUDIO : AIR # 583290
PART A. CASE FOR INNOVATION Introduction 3 Material Exploration in Relation to Context 6 Natural Integration 7 Immersion 9 Computational Architecture 11 Sinosteel Int. Plaza - MAD 13 Parametric Modelling 15 The Hinzert Museum 17 Mercedes Benz Museum 21 Learning outcomes 23 PART B. DESIGN APPROACH All Things Structural... 26 Case Study 1.0 - Reverse Engineering 27 Case Study 2.0 29 Design Intent 33 Technique Development 35 Technique Prototype 37 Technique Proposal 39 Algorithmic Sketches 41 Learning Objectives 43 PART C. PROJECT PROPOSAL Gateway Project: Design Proposal Building a Reticulated Surface Part I. Building a Reticulated Surface Part II. On Site Location and Logistics
CASE FOR INNOVATION
MATTHEW CHAI AGE:
21 HOMETOWN: MELBOURNE
rchitecture and the buildt environment have always inspired and excited me so the descision to pursue a career in architecture was an easy one to make. I briefly studied a Bachelor of Architecture at Deakin University’s Geelong Waterfront Campus before transferring to Melbourne University’s Bachelor of Environments course. I have found the Bachelor of Environments course extremely interesting and well rounded in regards to relevant issues in design, the natural environment and sustainable living in all aspects of our
lives. Design Studio: AIR is just one example of the course’s diverse syllabus which equips us, as architects, with the skills to influence change within our evolving world. I’m particularly interested in learning and discovering the language of computing in architecture as the notion of parametric modelling was a relatively foreign concept before Design Studio: AIR; my experience is somewhat limited in computing in architecture and design. Nevertheless, I’m extremely eager to put my computing knowledge and skills to the test.
PART A. EXPRESSION OF INNOVATION
MATERIAL EXPLORATION IN RELATION TO
6 “Architecture is the most public of the arts. It is inescapable on a daily basis for anyone living in an urban society. Works of architecture frame our lives; we inhabit them, they define our movement through cities; they moralise and discipline, or attempt to.” Richard williams
s Richard Williams states - architecture surrounds us. It’s an obvious statement; it creates the tangible urban environment of our modern day society. From the early works of Marc-Antoine Laugier and his ideals of The Primitive Hut, architecture can be viewed as an entity which provides us with shelter, warmth and protection. However, as we progress from the premise that architecture is simply an enclosure of space which performs a certain function, the definition of architecture can become multi-faceted, subjective and even philosophical. Architecture is a unique form of expression which allows architects to design three-dimensional, inhabitable spaces unlike the limited nature of painting or sculpturing. Furthermore, architecture is often
free to experience as opposed to other forms of visual culture which is often sheltered from the public realm. Consequently, the consumption of architecture is not contained to the analyses of the professionally trained.1 As our urban environment grows rapidly, we are exposed to more and more new technology, materials and innovation. In order to consider architecture as a discourse, one must critically engage in architecture as something more than bricks and mortar, whether it be as art, as a symbolic representation or the way space can make you feel emotionally. I believe that the discourse of architecture in relation to material selection and context is one of utmost importance. Personally, I believe that architecture must not impose itself upon its vernacular, but it must integrate itself to achieve a wholesome expression. That is, buildings with no contextual formal gesture are lost or irrelevant. Material selection and performance is one way that creates harmony between itself and its surroundings.
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 (p.108) 1
CASE FOR INNOVATION
OUR UNDERSTANDING OF ARCHITECTURE IS ALWAYS CHANGING AND EVOLVING. THIS IS ONE OF ARCHITECTURE’S MOST EXCITING FACETS; IF WE LOOK AT ARCHITECTURE AS A DISCOURSE, ITS MEANING BECOMES OPEN TO INTERPRETATION AND CONTINGENT. IN OTHER WORDS, THE MEANING OF ARCHITECTURE HAS NO RIGHT OR WRONG SPECTRUM. IN THE CASE OF ALVARO SIZA’S LA LECA SWIMMING POOLS PROJECT, NATURE HAS BEEN RECOGNISED AS A DRIVING SITE FACTOR WHICH NEEDED TO BE ADDRESSED AT THE FORE.
The Leça Swimming Pools by Alvaro Siza is undoubtedly one of his most recognised and published works. It is also one of his oldest. Completed in 1966, it is situated along the Leça de Palmeira beaches, just north of Porto. It consists of changing rooms, a cafe and two swimming pools. The pools are purposefully sunken into the rocky hillside which consequently creates an undisturbed view of the Atlantic Ocean from the roadside; the pools blend into the landscape illustrating Siza’s careful consideration of the relationship between nature and the built environment. As visitors enter
with previously unseen views.1 The surrounding walls are made of a sandy coloured concrete which reference the surrounding rocks around the site. The Leça Swimming Pool complex is extremely successful in achieving the seamless interaction of nature into the design. It is one of my favourite examples of how architecture integrates, instead of imitates, its natural surroundings. However, it simultaneously disconnects itself from its vernacular by contrasting the linear concrete walls with the jagged, sharp nature of the rocks. You could say it does not pertain to either the built or the
01 View of pools from beach. 02 The concrete steps blend into the rocky surroundings.
03 Winding, planar concrete walls create dramatic environment. 04 View from children’s pool.
natural; conversely, you could also argue that it bridges the gap between the two and therefore, could be considered as mutually exclusive to both. At first glance, the complex is reminiscent of an old WWII bunker on the shores of Normandy. Although I have never visited, it appears to sit heavily within the landscape. Moreover, in plan it creates many concealed and dark spaces. I can only imagine the sense of adventure one would experience as you navigate your way through the long
dark corridors, tip-toeing through with trepidation and excitement. Eventually, you are elevated from this dark and daunting environment and suddenly the feelings of adventure vanish and the breathtaking view of the Atlantic Ocean generates a completely contrasting expanse to the depths of below. The way Alvaro Siza makes his visitors feel by occupying his spaces is truly unique. He takes them on a journey through the sensitive use of materials and program layout.
Sofia Balters, “AD Classics: Leça Swimming Pools / Alvaro Siza” , Archdaily <http://www.archdaily.com/150272> (date accessed 30 March 2013) 1
CASE FOR INNOVATION
“MOUNTAIN, STONE, WATER – BUILDING IN THE STONE, BUILDING WITH THE STONE, INTO THE MOUNTAIN, BUILDING OUT OF THE MOUNTAIN, BEING INSIDE THE MOUNTAIN – HOW CAN THE IMPLICATIONS AND THE SENSUALITY OF THE ASSOCIATION OF THESE WORDS BE INTERPRETED, ARCHITECTURALLY?” - PETER ZUMTHOR As visitors circulate through the narrow corridors, they immediately feel a deep connection with the countryside through the clever use of local materials such as stone. The internal pools are lit with minimal diffused lighting and subtle opening within the stones to allow for natural light to pierce through. Peter Zumthor’s Therme Vals in Switzerland has been described as a complete sensory experience. Built to create a cave-like structure set deep into the hillside, the baths create a serene and peaceful environment - perfect for immersing yourself. Immersion has strong connotations with water and cleansing, and indeed, they are both pertinent in terms of the Therme Vals. However, the notion of immersion is not limited to the tangible and can also include the psychological immersion of one’s self.
This building is as much about exploration as it is about relaxation. These may seem contradictory in theory however Zumthor states that this idea of “exploration” is not one of trepidation but more about personal emotional exploration.1 As Zumthor explains: “The meander, as we call it, is a designed negative space between the blocks, a space that connects everything as it flows throughout the entire building, creating a peacefully pulsating rhythm. Moving around this space means making discoveries. You are walking as if in the woods. Everyone there is looking for a path of their own.”2 Abstract in its conception, however it creates a unique experience for each individual as he or she “meanders” through the space.
01 View from outside Therme Vals. 02 Dark, dramatic spaces foster a complete sensory experience. 03 Local stone used inside and out.
“The Therme Vals / Peter Zumthor” (2009), ArchDaily. <http://www.archdaily.com/13358> (accessed 27 March 2013) 2 ‘The Therme Vals / Peter Zumthor” (2009) ArchDaily. 1
nlike most other design disciplines like sculpture and art, architectural practice requires a unique set of constraints in formulating a coherent building. Site context, costing, weather conditions and material properties are just a handful of objective constraints that need to be considered in the design process. In conjunction with other considerations such as the needs of the client, aesthetic values and contractors, architects indeed have a lot to think about in the design process. The role of the computer in architecture has drastically changed the way we think, operate and organise information and help to synthesise multiple design solutions into a final proposal. Computer-aided-design programs such as AutoCad provide a fast and efficient drafting tool to minimise time and costs to the documentation process. Modelling programs such as Rhinoceros, 3Ds Max and Revit enable architects to fully visualise complete buildings (within site context) without the need to build physical scale models. Moreover, through the use of programs such as Ecotect, we can simulate real-world conditions to monitor thermal performance, solar radiation, shadows and reflection and fully evaluate the cost of a building. Computers are extremely useful in aiding us as designers
world. However, when we look at the debate between “Computation” versus “Computerisation”, a whole new argument is formed. Often these two terms are used interchangeably; however, their meanings, by definition are quite dissimilar. As Kostas Terzidis states “Computation is the procedure of calculating, i.e. determining something by mathematical or logical methods. Computerization is the act of entering, processing, or storing information in a computer or a computer system.”1 By this definition, computerisation is predetermined and well-defined (much like the application of AutoCad and Ecotect) whereas, computation is about the exploration of vague and unclear processes. In Architecture Design Studio:Air, we will be exploring these vague and indeterminate entities in the form of algorithmic expressions. This process of applying algorithms to the proposed constraints creates unprecedented geometries which can further be explored. Over the last decade, the emergence of digital programming in design has grown exponentially. Conventional methods in the design process are a thing of the past as parametric modelling enables architects to design spaces which stimulate our senses in ways we have never seen or experienced before...
Kostas Terzidis, Algorithmic Architecture, (Hoboken : Taylor & Francis, 2012) p.57
CASE FOR INNOVATION
SINOSTEEL INT. PLAZA TIANJIN, CHINA TYPOLOGY: OFFICE AND HOTEL SITE AREA: 26,666SQM YEAR: UNDER CONSTRUCTION
he Sinoteel International Plaza in the heart of the Tianjin CBD, China, reflects a shift in economic prowess from the powerhouse of Beijing to the future of the urban metropolis in Tianjin. The concept combines geometry, structure and cultural symbolism as a repetitive motif.1 The facade is comprised of a combination of five different types of hexagonal shaped windows which symbolise the heritage values of Chinese architecture.2 Although the patterning of the facadeâ€™s hexagons appears to be randomly positioned, the intent was to respond to climatic conditions. Wind and solar radiation was mapped and the position of thes windows will minimise heat loss in
winter and heat gain in summer; the building becomes energy efficient. However, what makes this building special? MAD architects wanted to move away from the conventional, repetitive and straight high rise buildings which dominated the urban skylines of China (and indeed the rest of the world). The design is futuristic, efficient and unique to its context. Moreover, the building is revolutionary. The outer hexagonal skin also is the main structure of the building. Consequently, the need for internal structures is removed.3 Through generative modelling, MAD architects were able to formulate an appropriate design solution for the proposal.
MAD Architects, 2010, MAD Architects, Beijing < http://www.i-mad.com/#works_details?wtid=4&id=48> (date accessed 1 April 2013) 2 MAD Architects, 2010, <http://www.i-mad.com/#works_details?wtid=4&id=48> 3 Sinosteel International Plaza by MAD, 2008, ArchiScene, <http://www.archiscene.net/hotels/sinosteel-international-plazaby-mad/> (date accessed 1 April 2013) 1
WANDEL HOEFER LORCH + HIRSCH
THE HINZERT MUSEUM LOCATION:
GEDENKSTÄTTE TYPOLOGY: MUSEUM SITE AREA: 470,7SQM YEAR: 2005
et within the rolling landscape of the Hinzert village, the Hinzert Museum and Document Center acts as a shelter space as well as a museum. It houses a document center including archives, research library, seminar and exhibition spaces. The 43 metre long building is comprised of three-thousand 12mm Corten steel triangular plates which are all welded together to form the facade and roof.1 The angles between the triangular panels were calculated to ensure that the elements have an adequate structural height and that the entire construction forms a rigid folded plate.2
through a direct printing process.3 Moreover, the inner skin consists of birch plywood panels in which photographs and text are engraved So, what makes this building special? How is computing relevant to this design? Firstly, computing plays a pivotal role in the outer and inner skin designs. In the diagram below, we can see that each skin and surface has been created using a mesh which has then been folded and welded together to create an enclosed surface. In relation to its context, the material selection is a symbolic gesture to the earthy hills which surround it.
Diego Hernandez. “The Hinzert Museum and Document Center / Wandel Hoefer Lorch + Hirsch” (2013) ArchDaily,<http://www.archdaily. com/317207> (date accessed 1 March 2013) 2 Diego Hernandez, “The Hinzert Museum and Document Center / Wandel Hoefer Lorch + Hirsch” (2013) 3 Diego Hernandez, “The Hinzert Museum and Document Center / Wandel Hoefer Lorch + Hirsch” (2013) 1
CASE FOR INNOVATION
UN STUDIO MERCEDEZ BENZ MUSEUM STUTTGART TYPOLOGY: MUSEUM SITE AREA: 35,000SQM YEAR: 2001-06
he Mercedes Benz Museum, located in Stuttgart, Germany, is the crown jewel of Mercedes Benz. Its programme includes a car museum, shop, restaurant, offices and auditorium. The design is based on the geometry of a clover leaf with the three spaces connected by two helical ascending ramps which spiral around a central atrium.1 The main emphasis of the design are these two circulation pathways which enable visitors to choose their own journey through the space. At each floor, the paths intersect allowing visitors to alternate between each route.2 The curved walls are in fact a result of rigorous parametric processing. UN Studio employed the expertise of parametric consultants, Designtoproduction, to meet the design specifications and contextual constraints. The doublycurved concrete surfaces reflect the interior sweeping corridors. To achieve these forms traditional
formwork systems and manual planning methods were not suitable. Designtoproduction developed a method of planar boards to create formwork in order to achieve these curved concrete panels. The panels were precisely cut on a CNC-router and were bent into the desired shape in situ.3 The Designtoproduction team were also responsible for implementing a 3D-parametric model of the entire edifice to coordinate all the planning and construction steps involved in the building process. Due the unique an intertwining nature of the building, traditional plans and sections were nearly impossible for describing the building.4 The decision to use exposed concrete within this builing reflects the industrial language of Stuttgartâ€™s automobile history. Concrete is often clinical and cold but has been elasticised to express a sense of futurism to the building.
UN Studio, 2006, UN Studio, Amsterdam, < http://www.unstudio.com/projects/mercedes-benz-museum> (date accessed 4 April 2013) David Basulto, â€œMercedes Benz Museumâ€? (2010), ArchDaily, <http://www.archdaily.com/72802/mercedes-benz-museum-un-studio-photos-by-michaelschnell/> (date accessed 4 April 2013) 3 Designtoproduction, 2013, Designtoproduction, Stuttgart, <http://www.designtoproduction.ch/content/view/15/28/> (date accessed 4 March 2013) 4 Designtoproduction, 2013, Designtoproduction, Stuttgart, <http://www.designtoproduction.ch/content/view/4/21/> (date accessed 4 March 2013) 1
CASE FOR INNOVATION
CONCLUSION + LEARNING OUTCOMES
n order for architecture to progress, architects must employ the use of computation in the design process. With progress comes change - a change in the way we view buildings as art or a functional entity. This change may simply introduce new ways of looking, designing and experiencing space. That is not to say that computers must design for us. Through parametricism, we are able to design and create architecture that integrates its contexts in unprecedented ways. One only has to look as far back as Alvaro Siza’s Leca Swimming Pools or Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water to understand the importance of context in designing. Therefore, in the instance of the Wyndham City Gateway competition, it is imperative that the design heavily incorporates its surroundings. This will be important in defining it as a symbolic gesture - one that the people of Wyndham City will be proud to call “their own”. Moreover, the design will also, be preoccupied with the notion of structure, more specifically, structure as form-finding. The combination of structural emphasis and
contextual materiality will hopefully bring about an innovative and strong design solution. From the beginning of the semester, I feel as if I was already on the back foot as my knowledge of algorithmic architecture, parametricism and generative design was very limited. However, as this semester has progressed, these preconceptions in regards to parametrics became much clearer and more informed. Through the readings and lectures, computational architecture became not as daunting as first imagined. The idea of architecture as discourse was also a relatively new idea to me. As discovered, architecture has become much more than a design discipline; it has become a conversation with many facets. This notion of the discourse of architecture may have proven beneficial to past projects due to its philosophical nature. The in depth discussions by relevant notable academics may have given my projects another level of analysis. Moreover, the critical analysis of precendented projects perhaps could have further informed my design choices.
PART B. EXPRESSION OF APPROACH
n order to explore structure within the parameters of architectural design, we must first explicitly define structure and what it entails. History tells us that structure has always been, and will always be, an integral component to architecture. Ancient Greeks employed the use of over scale stone Doric columns as support structures in their temples, civic buildings and homes. The sheer strength of these post and beam structures was enormous and they were often highlighted as political or social symbols of strength, power and wealth. Moreover, they represented the time. However, as time progressed, various architectural movements have hidden or expressed structural elements in a multitude of ways. We only need to look as far back as the early 1900’s to see that the modernist movement of architecture was preoccupied with “progress’’ and creating something new to represent its own time. The “form follows function” argument has proliferated throughout architectural and, indeed, other design arguments, in the last century as architects such as Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies van de Rohe and Louis
Sullivan all strived for full functionality of a building’s components. This idea of stripping back ornamentation and “simplifying” architecture rejects past styles in search for a new language. More importantly, the importance of structure has still prevailed throughout the ages despite changes to its symbolic motives – structure has emerged as a vital tool of expression. Although the modern architecture movement claimed to strip ornamentation from its buildings, they almost unconsciously (and ironically) create a new form of ornamentation within its simplicity. Some critics have stated that monumentality is undesirable within the contemporary vernacular as it contains totalitarian ideals.1 However, in the Wyndham City Gateway competition, structure will be used to create a new form of monumentality, one that creates excitement, joy and an intimate experience for its inhabitants. Through its rawness and calculated nature, structure provides the ultimate language for expressing progress and evoking awe-inspiring emotions - an idea which has proliferated throughout architectural history.
CASE STUDY 1 HERZOG + DE MEURON BIRD’S NEST BEIJING TYPOLOGY: STADIUM CAPACITY: 80,000 YEAR: 2003-08
or the exploration in Case Study 1.0, I have attempted to reverse engineer the structural expression of Herzog and De Meuron’s Bird’s Nest in Beijing, Chine. Built as the main stadium for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, the Bird’s Nest creates an iconic symbol for Beijing through the marriage of ground breaking engineering and monumental scale. Using two different grasshopper definitions, I attempted to achieve the same cross pipe pattern. In the first definition (figure 1.), I aimed to create the effect of the Bird’s Nest by increasing the amount
of pipes that would sprout from the center of the circle geometry. It was found that the iterations with the fewer amounts of pipes gave a more accurate representation of the Bird’s Nest. The second definition involved connected a curve through 3 corresponding points of 3 different curves. From there, each list of points was shifted by a factor of 5 which in turn, created a crisscrossing effect of the pipes. This was found to be effective in the iterations with a higher shift list value as it gave the geometries more of a random shape.
CASE STUDY 2 JOHN MCASLAN KING’S CROSS STATION LOCATION:
LONDON TYPOLOGY: TRAIN STATION YEAR: 2012
or case study 2.0, we as a group decided to explore the new Western Concourse at King’s Cross Station in London by John McAslan + Partners in association with ARUP engineering. Completed in 2012 for the London Olympic Games, the semi-circular Western Concourse rises 20m high and spans 150m making it the largest single spanning station structure in Europe.1 It comprises of 16 tree-like columns which flare outwards into the diagrid shell structure. The project has been described as “dynamic transport interchange and a destination in its own right.”2 Rowan Moore
from the Guardian describes the building’s effect as “a mighty oomph as you enter, from whatever direction, caused by the abundance of space and the unity of the structure.”3 Moreover, the scale of the space is exacerbated by the flooding natural light which pierces through the top of the central column structure. This flooding of light gave the space a unique spatial clarity. Also, the large scale space-truss form adds a sense of monumentality which leaves its occupants with a sense of awe; in our opinion, it makes its inhabitants feel a sense of joy and excitement.
Henry , Christopher. “In Progress: King’s Cross Station / John McAslan + Partners” 24 Aug 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 09 May 2013. <http://www.archdaily.com/162461> 2 King’s Cross Station, Arup Engineering, 2012, London, < http://www.arup.com/Projects/Kings_Cross_Station.aspx>, date accessed 26 April 2012 3 Rowan Moore, ‘London King’s Cross Concourse - Review’, in The Guardian, 18 March 2012, The Observer, <http://www.guardian.co.uk/ artanddesign/2012/mar/18/london-kings-cross-concourse-review>, date accessed 25 April 2012 1
Case Study 2.0 Matrix - developed by Albert Chandra
32 KING’S CROSS STATION WESTERN CONCOURSE BREAKDOWN
sing the Lunchbox plugin for Grasshopper, we attempted to recreate the notions of spatial quality and flooding light through various outputs in the Lunchbox framework. As well as this, we also tried to take it further by adding paneling in an attempt to create a different quality. The qualities that we would like to take from King’s Cross are its monumental and awe-inspiring structural forms. As Rowan Moore put it, we will attempt to recreate that “oomp” feeling upon entry to the space. Whether this is created using the Lunchbox plugin on the opposite page, or completely from scratch, we will aim to explore these qualities in conjunction with other criteria we believe are pertinent to the site of Wyndham City.
yndham city’s geographical location provides a unique opportunity to create a monumental and unforgettable spatial experience that emerges from the landscape. The relatively empty space yearns for a place-making visual gesture. We believe the new gateway should serve as a symbolic bridging gap between the CBD and the greater suburbs – a threshold between the two. This will be achieved through the expression of structure and spatial contrasts. Moreover, the definitive “threshold” between the two shall be defined through a gradual and smooth change in form. As the occupants will be travelling at 100km/h through the site, it is vital that we satisfy this intent whilst simultaneously accommodating for the high speeds at which the space will be experienced.
FORM FINDING he next step in our process is to develop our own form (specific to the site of Wyndham City) that will express our intentions of spatial contrasts, structural expression, fluidity and monumentality. The following matrix is represents our findings in regards to these parameters. Each iteration shows a slight change in the form in order to achieve a different effect with regards to each criteria. From here, we can determine the best fit for the site at Wyndham. Another important criteria that we felt was extremely important to the success of this project was the idea of â€œfeasibility.â€? This over-arching factor was critical as it was a real-world (and not conceptual) consideration which would ultimately drive all of the sub- criteria. Without it being a feasible option in terms of construction methods, costs and material availability, we feel the project will remain purely conceptual and unachievable.
Matrix developed in association with Merik Morley and Albert Chandra
DESIGN APPROACH 01
ollowing on from our exploration of space trusses in the form of curved forms, we opted to design a rough prototype model. Using 3D printing, we were able to fabricate a small scale model to show the stresses, movements and composition of each individual member. Even though the prototype model may not convey our final proposal or form, it was interesting to be able to physically hold and rotate the model in our own hands. Consequently, we discovered a multitude of new challenges which may have been looked over had we not fabricated these prototypes. Firstly, we observed that each member was not actually made of straight members - many were curved on multiple planes. Secondly, through the use of artificial lighting, we observed that the structure produced a different shadow effect than first anticipated. Thirdly, the physical model made us question (if we had not already done so seriously) the real-life materials that were to be implemented. Our original idea was to employ steel members; however, the complex form forced us to reconsider the material selection. We also had to consider how these members would connect together at
1:1 scale as well as the appropriate construction methods for the Wyndham site. We considered welding the members together. However, the process of welding on site is a tedious and time-consumind task, especially over a major freeway. One alternative method we explored was a concealed bolted method which joined two members together at pinched ends. The joint would then be concealed with an aluminium sleeve to create the illusion of seamless connections. Although this is a logical alternative, it was pointed out that the budget for the Wyndham City Gateway competition is two-hundred and eighty dollars. To accomplish such a highly detailed joint with this modest budget renders it unfeasable.
01 3D print model 02 3D print model 03 Shadow exploration of model 04 Exploded intersection joint
05 Assembled intersection joint 06 Exploded member section 07 Assembled member section without sleeve
Photographs of model by Albert Chandra. Renders produced by Merik Morley
sing the form finding matrix developed in the Technique Development section, we were able to compare and contrast the various iterations. Each option was critically assessed in regards to its structural, monumental, fluid and spatially contrasting properties. Furthermore, each option was also assessed
in regards to feasibility. We are continuously pushing the boundaries of these criteria whilst keeping in mind the pragmatic and realistic constraints. We believe this will give us a well-rounded and researched outcome. Our findings are as follows:
Next, we analysed structure. We found that iteration number 06 the best fit. This was due to its simple and controlled structural layout. Too many lines and nodes may make it hard to read or make it read as a continuous unperforated surface. Not enough lines or nodes may completely remove this structural expression. We may have to reduce the number of nodes and lines slightly to accommodate for costs and building logistics.
Firstly, we opted to pursue iteration number 07 in regards to fluidity. Itâ€™s form and liquid nature clearly describes the notions of gradual change. The movements are dynamic yet smooth without being abrupt or jagged. We believed this section was important due to the high speed at which the users will occupy the space at. Another reason we chose not to pursue others with large sweeping curves was because of costs and construction methods.
Although the iteration 08 is hard to picture due to the top view of the matrix, we found that the scale of the structure would heavily influence the monumental quality of the gateway. We were happy with this scale because we felt it was large enough to convey our desired effect. However, it was small enough to still be manageable from a construction and cost point of view. Other aspects, such as form curvature, contrast in space and structure are also intertwined in creating an aweinspiring sense of monumentality.
Lastly, we assessed the fitness of each of the Spatial Contrasts iterations. Each of these provided dramatic and evocative spaces. However, the one which stood out and intrigued us the most was number 04. It was fluid in its motion while also creating gradual changes in lengths. The end of taper downwards which also gives the impression of an emerging form from the landscape.
WHERE TO NOW? The next step now is to develop these four ideas further. We will continue to optimise each of these iterations and attempt to combine each iteration with each other. After all, we are creating one gateway design, not four. Once we are able to synthesise all of these parameters as well as it being constructible and budget satisfying, we will begin to prototype a form which is site specific.
he following images are a few screenshots of some outcomes using a twisting loft to represent the change in areas from suburban to urban. Whilst incorporating a variety of different strategies to illustrate this contrasting threshold. These are rough concepts of how we might incorporate structure.
The sketch below shows something quite unusual which was created by mistake. I have included this “mistake” because to me, it illustrates structure’s limits in terms of constructability and the message it aims to convey. Although it was unintended, it reminded me that the use of structure has to be controlled on so many levels. If we The sketch below shows a braced create something completely wild, grid structure with an overlaying the meaning will become morph panel system. The structure is then into something quite different. twisted in the centre to provide a change in material which can be seen. This idea of materials assigned to a certain place reflects the ideas of material representation from Part A and would be a very compelling exploration. Undoubtedly, the idea is interesting and dramatic. However, in relation to the group’s design focus and feasibility, this path may be better suited to another project.
The following sketch shows If and when fabrication of the built this controlled use of struc- and scale models are needed, mateture being applied to a form. rial propoerties of piping were explored. For the sake of a scale physical model of the gateway proposal, we looked into alternatives for pipes and came up with a square section as opposed to a circular pipe. This would be easier to fabricate on a large and small scale. However, if it hinders the design intention, we may have to continue looking for another method. The image below was created by simply dividing a series of curves and apply ing perpendicular frames to these points. Square frames were then applied at these points, then, lofted together to form square hollow sections.
LEARNING OBJECTIVES AND OUTCOMES
ollowing on from the mid-semester presentations, we found we had a long road ahead of us (pardon the pun). The general feedback we received was that we had not yet developed a clear form and it was ultimately going to be the type of structure we chose that would truly inspire our form. We were asked: “do you want to design with a set structure and joint in mind? Or do you want to be more open and develop the criteria to suit the structural system?” Therefore, we decided to re-think our inspiration and what we were intending to portray as this remained very convoluted during the presentations. We sat down and looked back on what we originally set out to achieve and from there, we elaborated and specified what was important to us. As stated, our new intent is as follows: “The new gateway should serve as a symbolic bridging gap between the CBD and the greater suburbs – a threshold between the two. This will be achieved through the expression of structure and spatial contrasts. Moreover, the definitive “threshold” between the two shall be defined through a gradual and smooth change in form.” This resolved definition immediately gave us a clear direction to follow. Prior to the mid-semester presentations, our design technique was purely formulated by applying a structural algorithm to a surface. This method showed a very
superficial understanding of structure. More importantly, it did not reflect our design intent through structure. Consequently, we decided to take the advice of our tutors to incorporate the site and devise clearer design intent. The two methods of thinking are illustrated on the right; the top diagram shows our process prior to the presentations and the bottom shows more rigorous and interrogative approach. In terms of my personal parametric design skills, I believe they’ve improved significantly especially after approaching the presentations. The new approach made me criticize and continuously change and develop design aspects within the grasshopper environment. Trial and error, and independent research forced me to learn new techniques. WHAT NEXT? From here, we will keep refining and developing our design technique in order to satisfy our design intent. Once that is completed, we will look at applying our technique to the site in greater detail. This will comprise of where it will sit on the site, how it will be connected, material selection and lighting at night etc. Other site specific factors such as weather and traffic conditions will also be considered in the next phase. More prototyping, 3D modeling and superimposing will also be explored. Hopefully, by the end of part C, we will develop a highly convincing and eye-catching gateway. Stay tuned.
SELECT STRUCTURE TYPE
STRUCTURAL EXPRESSION FLUIDITY CONTRASTING SPACE MONUMENTAL
APPLY TO SIMPLE FORM
SELECTED CRITERIA REFINE NO
REFINE APPLY TO SITE CONTEXT
PART C. PROJECT
n this final part of the Design Studio Air Journal, we hope to conclude this journey with a highly eye- catching and resolved freeway installation. After weeks of toying and tinkering with parametric design, we finally get to build and create tangible outcomes. In my opinion, this is one of the most exciting stages because we finally get to picture our creations with some real-world context. Throughout the final stages of the semester, many prototypes and physical models were created to aid us, our tutors and guest critics in visualising the project proposal. Our explorations led to a finished product which would span approximately 250 meters long and roughly 60 meters wide. It would be constructed using an interlaced â€œgrid shellâ€? system (although not a grid shell) and be made of laminated plywood. The structure forms a continuous and sweeping curve which cantilevers out over the freeway and is sunken into the ground with deep concrete footings to accommodate for the weight of the cantilever.
The following pages illustrate our rationale...
GATEWAY PROJECT: DESIGN CONCEPT THE
PROBLEM WITH GRID SHELLS
he developed design intent featured in Part B: Expression of Interest will heavily influence our design concept and will drive the decision making process in Part C. From the mid-semester presentations, the design has altered drastically and a true idea of form has been developed. Instead of the original steel piping method, we have opted for a new construction technique which expresses structure as clearly, if not better, than its predecessor. We looked into precedent grid shell projects and how they are constructed and the principles behind them. The Weald and Downland Open Air Museum by Buro Happold and Edward Cullinan in 2002 was one project we explored in terms of its tectonic elements and large spanning curves. What we aimed to achieve by exploring these grid shell structures was to encapsulate the same sense of fluidity of form and apply it to our site. However, as we discovered, grid shell structures have a unique and strict set of principles to which they must abide by. In a research essay by Celine Paoli entitled Past and Future
of Grid Shell Structures, grid shells are defined as a doubly-curved surface formed by the pushing and pulling of a flat surface made of parallel lines moving in two directions. Upon uncovering this definition, we found it impossible to achieve a true grid shell with the form we had already developed in Part B â€“ developing a true grid shell would result in the loss of our underlying ideas of fluidity and contrasting space. Despite our findings, we decided to move forward with the notion of a grid shell and instead develop the techniques and effects that a grid shell has to offer rather than restrict ourselves to the rules.
01 Typical Grid Shell Construction method 02 Grid Shell Prototype 03 Typical Grid Shell Construction technique showing pushing and pulling
The resulting outcome, although quite unique, posed even more dilemmas. In image 02 and 03, double layered grid shell prototype highlighted all the problems that we would encounter when attempting to apply it to a curve which was tapered at both ends. Diagram 01 shows a typical grid shell construction method showing a threedimensional surface formed from a flat grid with parallel members.
he following diagram illustrates the breakdown of each layer and the direction they face. As shown, the space between each member varies which results in a structure which resembles a grid shell although it is completely incongruous.
BUILDING A RETICULATED SURFACE PART I. A
s stated previously, grid shells have a very particular set of rules to abide by in order for them to be classified as grid shells. Therefore, by implementing the similar characteristics of a grid shell, we will be creating a structure quite original which would require unique construction method. In a research essay by Celine Paoli entitled Past and Future of Grid Shell Structures, Paoli identifies structures which resemble grid shells, but are not fixed at both ends, as reticulated surfaces. We believe what we are designing follows more along these lines. We began at looking at some grid shell tectonic elements and materials to find a similar solution. Many grid shells used typical lumber which tends to split or crack in tension. Others opted for plywood which is much more flexible and provides a reasonable amount of strength. We decided to pursue the plywood material by testing its strength as well as experimenting with how easily the members could be
curved. We constructed 1:10 prototypes and found they were extremely useful in demonstrating compression and tension. Next, we looked at jointing techniques employed by grid shells and found one method which uses a simple pin to pierce through the members to hold them in place. Therefore, we constructed a prototype to model this outcome. We then decided that this pin-joint method may not be suitable for such a long spanning structure. By looking at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum, we were able to identify a joint patented by Happold and Cullinan which incorporates the use of steel plates which sandwich the members togethers with several bolts. Therefore, we constructed another 1:10 prototype to demonstrate the joint method. This method was found to be more suitable to the task needed as it allowed for slight movements and provided much more strength if something were to fail with one or more of the bolts.
Original single pin joint
Triple plate method (Downland connection method)
BUILDING A RETICULATED SURFACE PART II. A
s well as intersection joints, we had to also consider how long each member would be broken into. Each member needed to be large enough to avoid discontinuity but at the same time, small enough to fit onto the back of a truck. We decided 6 meter length would be sufficient as most trucks can carry around 7-8 meters. However, if we were going to break the members into parts, a joint would be needed to quickly assemble on site. It would also need to be as seamless as possible without compromising overall strength. Thus, we developed
a joint which would interlock the two members with glue, then be triple bolted. This method requires no welding and can be carried out extremely efficiently. Similar to the devised intersection joint, this element can be repeated throughout the structure. As regular grid shells get their curves from the pushing and pulling of the flat surface, it is impossible to achieve the same outcome with the form adopted. Therefore, each piece of plywood must be prefabricated off-site to achieve the smooth and undulated curve.
PROJECT PROPOSAL 01
ON SITE LOCATION AND LOGISTICS THE
HOW AND WHERE
he site at Wyndham is extremely large and elongated. We saw this as an opportunity to experiment with site positioning and scale in order to achieve the most effective outcome for the structure. Site C appeared too small in terms of the scale we wanted to impose. Consequently, we looked at Site A and B more closely. We wanted an area of the site which would compliment the original desired effect of a smooth contrasting space and monumentality. We decided the location needed to be road side to allow for cars to experience the space from start to end. We also wanted a maximum number of cars to experience the new structure. Site B was limited to only inbound traffic and made the experience for outbound occupants slightly too distant. We decided Site A, near the south-west corner of the site, was the most appropriate as it allowed for the maximum number of cars to pass regardless of its destination. Diagram 2 shows the movement of traffic through the site. As pictured, the site funnels down into a bottle neck. As occupants drive
confronted by a structure which at first appears symmetrical when they view it along its axis. However, as one approaches it closer, the speed at which they travel adds to the effect of a changing space and movement. Driving outbound from the city, one receives quite a different experience. The structure does not cantilever over the outward bound road but instead provides a different perspective. Occupants can view the movement and change in form from the outside of the structure. We hope this structure will prompt occupants from both the inward and outward sides of the road to want to experience the opposing views.
01 Final location of structure 02 Diagram illustrating traffic movement 03 Geelong, Wyndham, CBD directions
On site construction incorporates the use of conventional construction techniques such as footing systems but also require some unorthodox methods of construction. As previously touched on in â€œBuilding a Reticulated Surfaceâ€?, each member will be pre-cut to size, treated and curved. This is achievable through parametric modelling as each
individual curve can be isolated and fabricated individually. From the factory, each piece of timber can be transported to the site via truck. The section immediately near the sunken footings can be assembled by hand. However, as the structure grows, the use of a crane may be needed to hoist the remaining structure in place.
THE FINAL PROJECT
o the left are two images of a 1:50 model which forms part of the structure. We made this model of thin timber veneer which we laser cut each individual strips from. We developed a model using Rhinoceros, then unrolled the structure to a flat surface. The unrolled strips, although flat, were not straight. When assembling the pieces back together, the structure began to take its place once again. The spacing and location of the holes determined how much each member would curve. The curve is predetermined, unlike regular grid shells.
PROJECT PROPOSAL 01
THE MAKING OF: JOINT MODELS BENDING
When constructing the joint model prototypes, we wanted to make the process as similar to the real life process as possible. Therefore, it was important to use materials that would resemble the materials implemented at 1:1 scale. We first cut 40mm wide strips from 3mm plywood using a jigsaw. These strips would then be 6 layers thick and would form a singular timber member. Next we glued these members together. To achieve the smooth curve, we drilled a hole through one end of the layers and threaded a piece of string with a knot in the end. Then, on the opposite side we cut a slit to hold the other end of the string. We then pulled the string tight to create tension as the glue was setting. Lastly, all we needed to do as clamp the pieces together to make sure the layers were tight and compacted with no gaps.
01 3mm plywood strips 02 Laying wood glue 03 Curved plywood with clamps
04 Plywood kept in tension 04 Finished product held in place 05 Orbital sanding to smooth out edges
LEARNING OBJECTIVES AND OUTCOMES THE FINAL REVIEW
he final presentations brought a mix review of constructive criticism from the panel. Overall we believed we had strong concept and a well resolved final freeway installation. Therefore, we were quietly confident with the work we presented and as a result, we felt we were quite successful. Of course, there were a few areas of improvement and suggestions from the panel. Firstly, there were some concerns over the use of grid shell tectonics and whether or not the structure was stable enough to be cantilevered over the freeway. During the presentations, the design came across as a grid shell because of the terminology we used and this was picked up and questioned. Another comment made was in regards to how the structure would look in 20 or 30 years. Since the structure is made of laminated plywood, ageing and weathering will occur despite protective layers. As a result the panel pointed out that this inevitability may have been an interesting part of the design which could have added another dimension of originality. Perhaps some parts weathered faster than others to create some sort of visual effect. In terms of the 1:500 site model, a greater contrast between the environment and the structure could have been shown. The panel suggested that it was quite hard to make out the instal
lation. A coat of spray paint might have been beneficial in highlighting the structure on site.
WHAT HAVE I LEARNT? This semester has been unlike any other studio class I have experienced in the past. Throughout the first few weeks, I really struggled to come to grips with the amount of reading and theory that was needed to prepare myself for the rest of the semester. I felt as if all the reading and research we undertook was not amounting to anything. It wasnâ€™t until I started to truly engage with the subject and architecture as a discourse that I finally felt I was learning something new. This isnâ€™t to say I thought I knew everything from the beginning. In fact, it was quite the opposite. I found it difficult to link the discussions from the studios to something relevant to Melbourne or something that I have experienced personally. The next few weeks were much easier once we started to research case
studies that were sources of inspiration for the gateway project. During the group work and Part B phase I started to feel much more comfortable with the Grasshopper environment. Through making and developing different varieties of matrices, the impact and benefits of computing in architecture became clear. Things could be created quickly, efficiently and accurately by simply changing inputs and outputs. The idea of “optioneering” enabled us to pick, choose and continually refine algorithmic outcomes to improve our designs. Parametric modelling has proven to be an invaluable skill which will stick with me throughout my career as an architect. Its possibilities are near infinite and its application can be used even when designing something completely non-parametric. One of the biggest things I can take out of Architecture Design Studio Air is the process in which we’ve been forced to design through. We found that when we were in the early stages of designing, problems and changes would appear very early on and as a result could be fixed way before the fabrication process.
References Celine Paoli, ‘Past and Future of Grid Shell Structures’ (Massachusetts Insitute of Technology, 2007). Christopher Henry, ‘In Progress: King’s Cross Station / John Mcaslan + Partners’2011) <http://www.archdaily. com/162461> [Accessed 9 May 2013]. David Basulto, ‘Mercedez Benz Museum’, ArchDaily, (2010) <http://www.archdaily.com/72802/mercedes-benzmuseum-un-studio-photos-by-michael-schnell/> > [Accessed 4 April 2013]. Designtoproduction, (2013) <http://www.designtoproduction.ch/content/view/15/28/> [Accessed 4 April 2013]. Diego Hernandez, ‘The Hinzert Museum and Document Center / Wandel Hoefer Lorch + Hirsch’, ArchDaily, (2013) <http://www.archdaily.com/317207> [Accessed 1 April 2013]. King’s Cross Station’, Arup Engineering, (2012) <http://www.arup.com/Projects/Kings_Cross_Station.aspx> [Accessed 26 April 2013]. Kostas Terzidis, Algorithmic Architecture (Hoboken : Taylor & Francis, 2012). ‘Mad Architects’, MAD Architects, (2010) <http://www.i-mad.com/#works_details?wtid=4&id=48> [Accessed 1 April 2013]. Richard Williams, ‘Architecture and Visual Culture’, Exploring Visual Culture: Definitions, Concepts, Contexts (2005), 102-16. Rowan Moore, ‘London King’s Cross Concourse - Review’, ed. by The Guardian (The Observer, 2012). ‘Sinosteel International Plaza by Mad’, 2008) <http://www.archiscene.net/hotels/sinosteel-international-plazaby-mad> [Accessed 1 April 2013]. ‘The Therme Vals / Peter Zumthor’, ArchDaily, (2009) <http://www.archdaily.com/13358> [Accessed 27 March 2013]. ‘Unstudio’, UNStudio, (2006) <http://www.unstudio.com/projects/mercedes-benz-museum> [Accessed 4 April 2013]. Sofia Balters, ‘Ad Classics: Leça Swimming Pools / Alvaro Siza’, ArchDaily, (2012) <http://www.archdaily. com/150272> [Accessed 30 March 2013].