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Contents 01 Cover Sheet 02 Contents Page 03 Cover Sheet for Section One

Section One - Case for Innovation 04 Architecture as a Discourse (Summary) 05 Architecture as Sign 06 Architecture and Urban Experience 07 Architecture and Materiality 08 Architecture and Algorithms 09 Parametric Design in Architecture 10 - 11 Contemporary Scripting in Architecture 12 Voronoi Algorithms 13 Cover Sheet for Section Two

Section Two - Expression of Interest 14 Design Intents 15 Main Precedent: Airspace Tokyo 16 - 18 Research Project: Cut 19 - 21 Research Project: Reverse Engineering 22 - 25 Precedents of Form 26 - 29 Form-Making Processes 30-32 Fabrication 33 Additional Information 34 Reflection

Section Three - Project Proposal 36-37 Summary of Design Intent & Further Form Exploration 38-39 Site Plan 40-41 Catenary Structure Development 42-43 Voronoi Application 44-45 Ecology 46-49 Fabrication 50-53 Capturing the Feeling 54 Learning Objectives & Outcomes


Section One

Case for Innovation

Architecture as a Discourse Summary of Case for Innovation Motivation in architecture often comes from discussing the works of architecture themselves and, of course, the ideas behind them. Here, in the Case for Innovation, motivation came from a number of excellent architectural works which fundamental ideas were taken from in order to be applied to our own design intents, which will be discussed in Section Two - Expression of Interest. In the Church of Light, Ando’s idea of playing with solidity and shadow will be explored in our design for the Western City Gateway. Meanwhile, the idea of providing delightful journeys to high-speed motorists was gathered from the redevelopment of Southern Cross Station. Like Southern Cross Station, the gateway will act as Wyndham City’s arrival point and departure points. Times Eureka Pavilion demonstrates that the geometry of a building may also act as its structural support systems; a notion that will be thoroughly explored in our design for the gateway structure. In addition, framing essential views will also be looked into. Lastly, the use of voronoi as a subdivision system based on points will be adopted for our design as well. Voronoi will be examined closely in Section Two - Expression of Interest, and the voronoi systems will be developed and fabricated with a contemporary scripting program, GrasshopperTM.

Voronoi Tessellation Voronoi, also known as voronoi tessellation, is a process of partitioning a planar surface, with a set of given points, into convex polygonal geometries. It is divided in such a way that each polygon will only contain exactly one point. Each point on the polygon is closer to its generating point than to any other point.



Ibaraki, Japan Architect

Tadao Ando

Architecture as Sign This small church, known as the Church of Light, is one of Tadao Ando’s masterpieces. The Church of Light is located in a quiet residential suburb in Ibaraki, Osaka, and the two buildings that make up the church are arranged at an angle that responds to the urban pattern of the neighbourhood. Even though churches in general have main and direct entryways, the entry to the Church of Light is intentionally indirect, through the side street that is located on the northeast corner of the church. Unlike most Christian churches that are generally heavily ornamented, the Church of Light consists of simple unadorned concrete surfaces that remove the “traditional Christian motifs and aesthetic”1. In this piece of architecture, Ando created a new spatial experience through the use of light that pierces through the solidity of the building. The Church of Light is a perfect example of modern elemental architecture that may be interpreted differently from one person to another. The cruciform opening on the east façade allows for natural light to solemnly illuminate the interior space, and this alone can be seen as sacred2. For Ando, the cruciform shadow that moves across the interior surfaces, combined with the use of raw concrete, allow the architecture itself to humbly appeal to the senses. Ando considers this as the only way to truly experience architecture. Many visitors who entered the church felt that this building was “disturbingly empty” and “undefined”. Some others claimed it to be “nothing more than six walls and a roof”3. I, however, personally adore this church and, more importantly, Ando’s clever use of natural light. This church, while simple and unornamented, seems to be able to symbolically express its honesty and reveal its intentions and functions in an unpretentious way. The contrasts between solidness and shadows will be thoroughly explored in the development of the Wyndham City Gateway. 1

Kroll, A., 2011, AD Classics: Church of the Light/Tadao Ando, http://www., Viewed On: 05th March 2012. 2

Silloway, K., 2004, Church of Light: Osaka, Japan, buildings/churchoflight/index.htm, Viewed On: 05th March 2012. 3

Kroll, A., 2011, AD Classics: Church of the Light/Tadao Ando, http://www., Viewed On: 05th March 2012.

The Church of Light, Flickr,, Viewed On: 05th March 2012


Architecture and Urban Experience The redevelopment of the Southern Cross Station (formerly known as Spencer Street Station) has drawn a lot of attention from many architects, both national and international ones, as well as urban planners and architecture critics. The redevelopment focusses on transforming the existing station into a world-class one and providing almost airport-like facilities to the passengers, including sheltered parking facilities for approximately 800 cars, five-minute drop-off and pick-up bays and new retail outlets. Located along Spencer Street, intersecting with both Collins Street and Bourke Street, the new station aims to enhance the urban experience of the city dwellers, as well as serving as an interchange point for regular commuters and “an impressive arrival point for international, interstate, regional and suburban travellers”4. To its west, Southern Cross Station also shapes the connection between the Melbourne CBD and the emerging Docklands precinct. Altogether, the aims of the redevelopment are not merely to enhance its external appearance, yet to also establish a convenient link to the CBD for travellers. The most innovative part of the Southern Cross Station appears in its distinctive waveform roofs, which were designed using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) in order to gain their perfect undulating shapes. The roofs were designed with “the intention of exiting fumes from the station surrounds whilst providing an environment of light and openness to contrast the functionality of a train station”5. However, with the creative design, many challenges surfaced. The roofs had to be constructed with least propping possible, as the station had to remain fully operational throughout the construction period. Therefore, the adoption of 3D computer-modelling6 helped in calculating and determining the lateral stability and the structural integrity of each individual roof section. Its distinctive wavy roofs, together with its immensity, make Southern Cross Station one of the most important landmarks in Melbourne. With similar aspirations in mind, the Western City Gateway will act as a grand arrival and departure points for motorists that are travelling into and out of Wyndham City. However, since the Western City Gateway will cater exclusively for motorists, we aim to specifically design the gateway for high-speed travelling and provide the experience whilst they are driving.


Melbourne, Australia Architect

Grimshaw Jackson JV



Leighton Contractors Pty. Ltd., Southern Cross Station, pdf, Viewed On: 09th April 2012. 5&6 Star Attraction: How the Spencer Street Station Redevelopment Went from Vision to Reality, The Australian National Construction Review (ANCR),, Viewed On: 09th April 2012. Southern Cross Station, Flickr,, Viewed On: 05th March 2012

Architecture and Materiality Kengo Kuma is known for his attempts in exploring different types of material available to be used in architecture. Even though he generally plays with timber, stones and glass, this one I found particularly interesting, as he altered the soft nature of fabric into a kind of interior cladding. The store itself, Shang Xia, embraces the idea of craftsmanship. The items being sold in store are also generally personally-tailored and handcrafted. Hence, Kuma incorporated this idea into his original design, which was inspired by the local topography of the site (especially the formations of limestone found in Taihu, China). He wanted to “make an enveloping and warm atmosphere, something like the human organism�7.


Shanghai, China Architect

Kengo Kuma

The interior of the store is clad in loose fabric-like covering, which involves the waving of three yarns at the angles of 120 degrees into a three-dimensional form. After the fabric was thermo-compressed (heated), the shape is then retained and the structure created is very strong8. This process is known as triaxial waving. Even though it is structurally stable, the effect created by the fabric is soft, which gives the store its transcendental atmosphere. Hence, anyone entering it may feel like he/she is floating on a cloud. The use of cloth in architecture has not been explored much, perhaps due to its fragile nature. Even though Kuma explored this idea before in his inflatable Teehaus, Shang Xia is his first project that uses fabric as a permanent interior cladding9. Even though the use of fabric will not be considered in the development of the Western City Gateway, as the gateway structure will be highly exposed to various external weather conditions, the thorough explorations of the materials were found to be highly motivational and inventive. 7&9

Hasegawa, K., 2011, Chinese Whispers: Frame 79, http:// spreadview/130/, Viewed On: 09th April 2012. 8

King, V., Shang Xia: Kengo Kuma and Associates, http://www., Viewed On: 09th April 2012. Shang Xia, Kengo Kuma and Associates,, Viewed On: 09th April 2012.


Architecture and Algorithms Commissioned by the Times Newspapers, and in collaboration with Kew Gardens, this pavilion was designed by NEX Architecture for the 2011 Chelsea Flower Show. Algorithmic architecture was the result, as they searched to shorten the distance between architecture, nature and the surrounding environments. The design closely looked into cellular structures of plants and their leaf capillaries, as well as their growing processes. In mimicking natural growth, or bio-mimicry, NEX opted for the use of computer algorithms to design its final structure10. The geometry was also used to form the pavilion’s supporting frames, which were then combined with secondary timber cassettes that support the external plastic ‘cells’. This was intended to allow visitors to experience the “patterns of biological structure at an unfamiliar scale”11, as stated by Alan Dempsey.


London, UK Architect

NEX Architecture

Inspired by the Times Eureka Pavilion, the Western City Gateway project aims to adopt the use of voronoi as a subdividing system and apply it to design of the gateway. Our project also aims to incorporate the structural support systems into the geometry itself. The wall openings in this pavilion are specifically designed to frame views of the garden. This particular aspect would also be considered in the Western City Gateway, as framing certain views along the freeway may become necessary. 10

eVolo, Times Eureka Pavilion: Cellular Structure Inspired by Plants, times-eureka-pavilion-cellular-structure-inspired-byplants-nex-marcus-barnett/, Viewed On: 28th April 2012. 11

Jett, M., Times Eureka Pavilion, http://www.archdaily. com/142509/times-eureka-pavilion-nex-architecture/, Viewed On: 28th April 2012.


Times Eureka Pavilion: Exterior View, Architype Source,, Viewed On: 01st May 2012.

Parametric Design in Architecture

Beijing National Stadium, Read the Smiths,, Viewed On: 10th March 2012

The Beijing National Stadium, colloquially known as the ‘Bird’s Nest’, relied heavily on the use of a parametric design software in order to achieve the desired result. Due to its complex geometry, the calculations became extremely complicated and made it almost impossible for them to be solved manually12. Both the architects and the engineers used GenerativeComponents (GC), which is a parametric modelling software that is built into MicroStation. With the help of GC, the architects and the engineers are able to “automate design processes and accelerate design iterations”13. In addition, it also allows them to “explore alternative building forms without manually building a detailed design model for each scenario”14. In the “Bird’s Nest”, the parametric design software was used to make sure that the twisted steel sections fitted perfectly and that they followed the outer surface of the building accurately. The Bird’s Nest also uses Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation in order to calculate the internal temperature, as well as the speed of the airflow inside the building. This then activates or deactivates the building’s ventilation systems accordingly15.


Beijing, China Architect

Herzog & de Meuron

The building adopted many of the most advanced digital technologies that were available, and as mentioned previously, both the design and the construction phases would most likely take a much longer time than it did, if it was to be done manually. This clearly demonstrates that parametric design softwares are useful when it comes to designing buildings that are more complex than usual. However, I personally think that these softwares should not govern our design principles. These softwares are there to help us, not to dominate us. 12

Beijing National Stadium, China, Design and Build,, Viewed On: 10th March 2012 13 & 14 Stocking, A. W. Generative Design is Changing the Face of Architecture, Cadalyst, building-design/generative-design-is-changing-face-architecture-12948, Viewed On: 10th March 2012 15 Beijing National Stadium, China, Design and Build,, Viewed On: 10th March 2012


Contemporary Scripting in Architecture


Cluj, Romania Architect

ZA11 Pavilion, Improved Architecture ETC.,, Viewed on: 19th March 2012.

Using grasshopper as a plug-in to Rhino, Stefanescu and his team fabricated and assembled this small flagship pavilion at a 1:1 scale, which is something considered to be rarely achieved, especially with the fact that most of his team consisted of students. His design intention was to create a pavilion that attracts passers-by, and hence, revealing to them the notion of ontology through this product of computational design16. 16

Stefanescu, D., CLJ02: ZA11 Pavilion,, Viewed on: 19th March 2012. Process



Fabrication Layout

Dimitrie Stefanescu

Since the theme was surrounding the notion of nature, Stefanescu adopted the idea of biomimicry and emulated organic living cells, which are materialised into volumetric forms through the use of voronoi morphologies. Being free from a fixed topology, these voronoi cells can be more specifically transformed, when compared to regular hexagonal arrangements17. In addition, these voronoi cells are also extremely adaptable and responsive to their local environments and this is in line with Stefanescu’s original design intention, which is to design a highly accessible and flexible space that allows for different types of event to occur. The original idea begins with a continuous sheet that is patterned with hexagonal shapes, creating somewhat a representation of a honeycomb. These shapes are then combined, pushed and pulled until the desired result was achieved. Hollow spaces are created within, and the panels connected together act as support systems for the whole structure. Besides voronoi, Stefanescu may also have used qhull, which is a geometric application that is often required to execute the actual voronoi calculations. The design and the CNC fabrication were both made possible in time (given that they only had a week or so - with limited budget - to complete) with the aid of parametric design techniques. It could have been said that Stefanescu and his team scripted “for a voyage of discovery�18, since they have got a strong design intention from the start, however, as the journey unravelled, they began exploring new possibilities and ideas that branched out from the original objective. Yet, at the end they achieved something that consisted of both the design intention and the creative form that they discovered along the way. This project is relevant to the EOI since they are also using both grasshopper and rhino. 17

Mesghali, E. Matsys Design: Voronoi Morphologies. Biomimetic Architecture., Viewed On: 20th March 2012. 18

Mark, B., Scripting Cultures. Chicester: Wiley. 2011, p.30.

ZA11 Pavilion, Improved Architecture ETC.,, Viewed on: 19th March 2012.


Voronoi Algorithms Location

Ohio, US Architect

Matsys C-Wall was a project that aimed to explore cellular aggregate structures, especially in honeycomb and voronoi geometries. These structures are capable of performing structurally, as well as visually and thermally. As shown in the image, the voronoi wall is self-supporting its own weight by using a zigzag plan that increases its structural stability. Voronoi tesellation was used, creating two layers of two-dimensional planes that are joined at certain edges.

Parametric Model

Voronoi algorithms are now used in various fields, including satellite navigation, animal habitat mapping and urban planning. In this particular project, however, voronoi algorithms were used to simulate and materialise point-based particles. The points were “transformed into volumetric cells which can be unfolded, CNC cut and reassembled into larger aggregates�19.

Point Cloud


Matsys. C-Wall: Matsys, projects/c_wall/, Viewed On: 20th April 2012.

Cellular Solids



C Wall: View from Outside the Gallery, Matsys,, Viewed On: 01st May 2012.


Section Two

Expression of Interest

Design Intents Client Aspiration The client aspires to create a gateway into Wyndham for the city-bound traffic on the Princes freeway, with an equally compelling installation as that of the project “Seeds of Change”.

Design Intents The Western City Gateway design project has presented an invaluable opportunity for Wyndham City to multiply its growth through the use of an innovative and contemporary installation. With a full awareness of the city’s uprising value, our proposal aims to further promote the city to people entering the urban precinct by stretching the length of the gateway. Besides creating delightful experiences for both the local dwellers and the visitors, we also aim to create an installation that is both nature-friendly and expressive of the city’s respect for its surrounding environments. For these, we intend to enrich the installation with landscaping features that involve native colourful vegetations. These vegetations will be incorporated into the installation as a bundle of eye-catching features of the gateway. The form of the gateway itself will energetically represent the dynamism of the growing Wyndham City, reflected through the smooth curvatures that animate the continuity of the city’s growth and movements through time. The form of the gateway structure will be explored and explained in depth in the ‘Precedents of Form’ and ‘Form-Making Processes’ sections. Openings of various sizes will also be incorporated in the form of the gateway structure in order to fragment the motorists’ views. In addition to this, the natural topography of the site, which mainly consists of subtle undulations, as well as the surrounding natural landscape, would also be carefully examined in order to locate the anchor points of the gateway structure. The materials of the gateway structure will explore the relationships between Wyndham City and the metropolitan Melbourne, as well as with the nearby coast, therefore in line with the city’s motto, “City, Coast, Country”.

Site B

Site C



Site A

Site Plan

Main Precedent: Airspace Tokyo

Airspace Tokyo, Cubeme,, Viewed On: 1st May 2012

Airspace Tokyo was chosen as the main precedent for our proposed Western Gateway Design project as it demonstrates the blending between the artificial and the natural environments in its layered façade. Designed by Studio M/Hajime Masubuchi and Faulders Studio, the façade of Airspace Tokyo aims to artificially mimic the abundant greenery that was once there. They opted for the voronoi patterning, which imitates the trees’ foliage, and layered it, so it functionally works as a screen that provides a sense of privacy for the occupants. Hence, the façade is not only decorative, yet it is also functional. The façade is made out of two layers of laser-cut 3mm thick aluminium and plastic composite, which are separated from one another by a 15cm air gap. Fragmenting the views into the building is considered crucial, as the building may be used for purposes other than being studios, and can potentially be used for other events in the future, such as cooking and aerobic classes. Hence, the façade of Airspace Tokyo is not only decorative, yet it is also functional20. Respecting the surrounding environment, as well as embracing the existing natural landscape, are two very important aspects of the developments of Wyndham City and its gateway. Keeping these issues in mind, we would like to simulate the patterns and the ideas behind the façade of Airspace Tokyo. Since our aims are to create a nature-friendly gateway that blends in with its surrounding environment, they are very much in conjunction with Airspace Tokyo’s. We will be adopting voronoi patterning in order to represent the growth of Wyndham City. The gateway structure will be used to frame the view of the entry into Wyndham City, as well as acting as a departure gate for motorists travelling out of Wyndham City. The drivers’ views will be fragmented based on the lines of sight, by using irregular sizes of voronoi voids, which will be discussed in the next section. In line with Airspace Tokyo, we aim to design a light structure that appears to float on the horizon of the entry. 20

Nuijsink, C. Airspace Tokyo, Wallpaper,, Viewed On: 20th April 2012.


Tokyo, Japan Architect

Studio M & Faulders Studio


Research Project: Cut

Figure 01

Figure 02

Figure 03

Figure 04

Surface Normals and Rotation The use of surface normals may be incorporated into our design proposal for the Wyndham City gateway. It may be adopted as the initial form for the gateway structure. Since the surface normals are adaptable to different types of associative technique, (i.e. in figures 03 and 04, it is associated with an image sampler mapped onto circles of different sizes, which are then extruded) we may also then able to apply the voronoi patterning onto the surface normals.

Figure 05


The form of the surface normals may also be rotated two or three-dimensionally, as shown on figures 01, 02 and 05. Thus, we may also be able to find the right form for the gateway structure simply just by rotating the surface normals. However, since the form of the gateway is going to be stretched longitudinally, the form itself has to invented first before we are able to rotate it. Our design will propose to invent an original basic form, derived from a number of defined points, and the form will be used as surface normals in which it is applied with voronoi patterning. Within this process, the form may also be rotated in order to achieve the desired result.

Figure 06

Figure 07

Figure 08

Figure 09

Attractor Point and Extrusion

Figure 10

Attractor point (as shown on figures 08 and 09), which is an associative technique, was found to be very useful and may also be incorporated into our design proposal. The attractor point may be adopted when the motorists’ views need to be fragmented. When combined with voronoi patterning, the voids of the voronoi may be adjusted according to the locations of these points. Due to the proposed stretched form of the gateway, two or three attractor points will be used instead of just one. Another technique that will definitely be applied is extrusion. In order to give the gateway a thickness, it will be extruded when the desired form is achieved.


Reverse Engineering

Figure 11

Figure 12

Figure 13

Figure 14

Simple Voronoi System Figure 11 shows a simple voronoi system with a set of referenced points, which are not shown. However, this voronoi system is not bounded by any bordering system yet. In figure 12, a box was referenced in so that the voronoi is now bounded by the box. Figure 13 shows each voronoi being given a radius, and in figure 14, the voronoi was offsetted inwards so that voids were created in the centres. From this point onwards, the edges of the voronoi may be filletted, and it may also be given volume.


Voronoi Algorithms on Flat Planes and Surfaces

Figure 15

Voronoi Algorithms were successfully simulated in GrasshopperTM using the planar voronoi command and a set of referenced points on Rhino (figures 15 and 16). The lines created were then offsetted and filletted to create the voids. Vertical extrusion was also used in order to give the geometry a volumetric property. In this particular instance, the combinations made in the cut project did not prove themselves useful, since the voronoi algorithms were in a completely different field. When two-dimensional voronoi algorithms are repeated and layered, or overlapped, framing and fragmenting the views are easily achieveable, as demonstrated in Airspace Tokyo. However, threedimensional voronoi systems will provide a much more interesting effect in terms of shadowing. In addition, three-dimensional voronoi systems will also give a better sense of depth, when compared to two layers of flat voronoi.

Figure 16

Three-Dimensional Voronoi Algorithms Another concept that emerged and was explored was the three-dimensional voronoi algorithms. A small replica of it was attempted (figure 17), however, it is far too complex and the file size was doubled, resulting in a slowed-down system progress. If this was to be pursued for the Western City Gateway project, the structure itself would have to be sectioned so that it can be worked on individually.

Figure 17


Reverse Engineering

Figure 18

Figure 19

Figure 20

Voronoi Algorithms on Curved Surfaces Attempts were made at producing voronoi algorithms on curved surfaces, yet, unlike the voronoi on flat surfaces that could easily be extruded vertically on their z-axes, curved surfaces had vectorial attributes that made it much more complex to imitate. Hence, we followed a definition that adopted a projection system. Instead of placing the points exactly on the voronoi, the points were projected from a flat plane onto the curved surfaces, and then extruded (as shown on all the figures above). Even though it appears to be an easy-to-achieve concept, the actual execution of the project was very complicated. The projection system, even though complicated, is definitely less complex than putting the points onto the curved surfaces directly. This system will be adopted for the gateway structure, as the structure is more likely to take on a curvilinear form instead of a linear one.


Voronoi Algorithms with an Attractor Point

Figure 21

In here, voronoi algorithms were used in conjunction with an attractor point that revolves around a reparameterised circle, which is invisible here, that is located inside the rectangle. The attractor point does not only alter the distances between the points of the voronoi, yet it also alter the sizes of the voids and the density of the voronoi accordingly. The further away the voronoi from the attractor point, the denser they become and the bigger the voids are. This system will be adopted when the motorists’ views need to be fragmented, which will depend on the lines of sight. However, shadowing will need to be considered when this system is adopted, since the smaller voids may be likely to project the desired shadowing effect.

Figure 22

In the Western City Gateway project, two or more attractor points will be required as the motorists’ views need to be split up not only on one line of sight, yet several. As mentioned above, the adoption of attractor points is highly suitable for the Western City Gateway project. Besides using it as a view-fragmenter, these attractor points can also be used to frame the view of the entry into Wyndham City and surrounding landscaping features.

Figure 23

Figure 24


Precedents of Form Deeply inspired by the works of Greg Lynn, some of the underlying ideas behind the Western City Gateway are based upon Lynn’s scheme for the Port Authority Gateway Competition and his general observations and comprehensive explorations of digital forms. The Port Authority Gateway Competition called for an innovative design of a protective roof sheltering the bus ramps that lead into the Port Authority Bus Terminal of New York City. Simulations of the movement and flow patterns of the pedestrians, cars and buses were made, each with differing speeds and intensities. Even though these fields of attraction were invisible, Lynn attempted to introduce particles that adjust their positions and geometries according to the intensities of the forces. The particles were mainly released from both the bus terminal’s west façade and the street level of Ninth Avenue. These particles “have elasticity and density, and because they move in a space with gravitational force, the paths take the shape of gravity-resistance arches”21. The cycles of the particles’ movements were recorded over a period of time and the forms of the gateway were based upon these movement patterns. Stretched over the gateway structures, which consisted of tubular frames that link the ramps with the existing buildings and the Port Authority Bus Terminal, are tensile surfaces that act as both an enclosure and an information screen for the pedestrians and the passangers. When they are not projecting information, these screens are illuminated from below. 21

Lynn, G. (1999) Animate Form. New York: Princeton Architectural Press


Perspective View of the Ramp Phase, Greg Lynn Form, http://glform. com/buildings/port-authority-triple-bridge-gateway-competition, Viewed On: 20th April 2012

Perspective View of the Ninth Avenue Phase, Greg Lynn Form, http://, Viewed On: 20th April 2012

The Tubular Beams and the Tensile Structures, Greg Lynn Form,, Viewed On: 20th April 2012

Greg Lynn argues that even though the works of architecture are mostly defined by gravity and are therefore considered as static, it is possible to animate a piece of architecture that represents dynamism. As seen in the Port Authority Gateway Competition, the forms of the gateway structures were derived from the movement and speed patterns of the pedestrians and passengers, as well as cars and buses. These strongly reflect Lynn’s approach towards dynamic digital form. Different from the Port Authority Gateway Competition, the Western City Gateway does not require the need to design for pedestrians nor passengers. The design will cater mostly to motorists that are travelling at a high speed, and in order to greatly enhance and prolong their delightful travelling experiences into and out of Wyndham City, their movements and speeds will be thoroughly observed. The form of the gateway will be stretched and teased according to the observations made. In order to express the notion of time and motion, curvatures will be adopted in shaping the form of the gateway. As opposed to linearity, curvilinearity, which “integrates multiple, rather than single, entities, is capable of expressing vectorial attributes, and therefore time and motion�. Time may also be simulated through a number of snapshots of the motorists travelling at a particular speed.

Each section of this composite curve is defined by a fixed radius of the circle governing it. The connections between the curve segments occur at points of tangency that are defined by a line connecting the radii. Straight line segments can be drawn perpendicular to the connecting lines.

This curve, different to the one above, is defined using a spline geometry. Here, the radii are replaced by control vertices with weights and directions and the curve spline flows through these.


Precedents of Form Catenary Curve Forms In exploring different types of structural support system available for the Western City Gateway, we came across the works of Antoni Gaudi and Frei Otto, who laboriously explored and adopted the use of catenary curve forms. Gaudi’s interesting preparatory models used strings, weights and the force of gravity, in order to determine the curves of these catenary structures. The generated curves were then inverted to create the organic forms of his arches23. The inverted arches work entirely under compression. This type of structural support system will be adopted for our design of the gateway structure, as this allows the voronoi system to be self-supporting, therefore eliminating the use of beams and columns. This form will also act as a way of bridging over the highways. Atmospheric Front, Gaudi and Catenary Models, gaudi-catenary-curves-and-other-sources-of-inspiration/, Viewed On: 2nd May 2012. 23

Catenary Curve Forms, Atmospheric Front,http://atmosphericfront.wordpress. com/2011/10/30/gaudi-catenary-curves-and-other-sources-of-inspiration/, Viewed On: 02nd May 2012.

Inverted Catenary Curve Forms, Adagio Journal,, Viewed On: 02nd May 2012.


Simple Graph of Catenary Structure, The Garlo Wall Temple and Tholos Structural Mechanics,, Viewed On: 2nd May 2012.

Catenary Curve Forms Location

Los Angeles, USA Architect

IwamotoScott Architecture IwamotoScott’s installation, Voissour Cloud, employed the use of catenary curve forms. They coupled this structural support system with ultra-light panelling system, which is made out of thin timber laminates. The petals of timber laminates become denser along the edges of the vaults and the columns, forming strengthened ribs, while the upper vaults loosen. By doing this, they have successfully explored a structure that acts purely under compression. IwamotoScott was also heavily influenced by the works of Antoni Gaudi and Frei Otto, and particularly their catenary curve forms. However, in this particular project, the materiality and the structural support system were being intentionally confused. This particular idea may be applicable to our design, yet, instead of combining materiality with structural support system, we will be looking into combining the use of voronoi as a subdivision system with the use of catenary curve forms as a structural support system. This way, the voronoi would be self-supporting.


Form-Making Processes










The images on the left-hand side depict typical movement patterns of motorists travelling on the Princess Freeway. Yellow highlights the locations available for the proposed installation. The lower road heads west towards Wyndham City, where the upper road heads east towards Melbourne CBD. The upper road also branches into Geelong Road exit. The method involves combining three attractor points to create one definition in Grasshopper that is laid over the map of the proposed site. On these images, we are seeing one vehicle travelling into Wyndham City at a speed of 100 km/h, and two vehicles travelling out of Wyndham City at a speed of 100km/h; one heading towards the Geelong Road exit and the other one continues to travel on the freeway. The vehicle that exits slows its speed down to 60km/h, hence is seen to travel at a slower rate.

Form Adjustment: Phase One

The difference between one snapshot to the other is 5 seconds, and the distance travelled within this period of time is 140 metres. The total period of time that motorists may be able to enjoy the view of the gateway structure, if it were to be located in the middle of the two major proposed locations, are approximately 20 seconds. Hence, if this was to be slightly prolonged, the form of the gateway needs to be stretched towards the direction of travel, creating a somewhat ‘S’ form. In order to avoid unsightly deformation of the gateway structure, we will not be considering the locations of the motorists that are too distant from the midpoints of the two major proposed locations. For this purpose, the convergence point of the three vehicles will be focused on. Hence, we will be looking closely at figures 4 and 5. Phases 1 and 2 of the form adjustment stage, which are shown on the right-hand side, adopted the points from figures 4 and 5. Directional vectors were applied in order to determine the optimal shape of the structure that will achieve the longest prolongation of view.

Form Adjustment: Phase Two


Form-Making Processes In Form Adjustment: Phase One, the two lines that were drawn previously were combined, and are visibly overlapping each other at a point. These lines will serve as the backbones of the design of the gateway structure, as it has been proven to give the maximum prolonged time for motorists. However, it is not final yet, the design will be subject to changes in the future (especially during the design development stage), however, this is a starting point for the structure. Form Adjustment: Phase Two shows an experiment done to the two elemental lines. The lines were broken into a number of segments, marked by points. Catenary curves were drawn from these points and rotated three-dimensionally on their planar axes. They were then lofted to give a simple surface (Surface Lofted One & Two).

Form Adjustment: Phase One

Form Adjustment: Phase Two

Surface Lofted: 01


Surface Lofted: 02

Trials The two diagrams above were another set of trials that was attempted in determining the shape of the catenary curve forms (on plan), however, we’re not sure yet as to what would be chosen for the final form. Further explorations will have to be taken during the design development stage.

Form Adjustment: Trial One

Form Adjustment: Trial Two



Shadow: 01

Shadow: 02

Shadow: 03

Shadow: 04


The process of fabrication for the voronoi systems on flat surfaces was not difficult to achieve. However, producing voronoi on curved surfaces, especially the doubly-curved ones, was extremely hard to achieve. It was not achieved successfully, therefore we will have to try different methods in the future.

Layering & Overlapping The photo on this page shows two layers of flat voronoi systems that were separated by a set of trusses in between. By overlapping the two layers, the effect of the light that is filtrated through will also become much more interesting.

Shadowing Effect The series of photos on the left-hand side depict the movement patterns of the shadow during the day (as the sun moves across the sky), creating a constantlychanging environment. The shadowing effect will be used to create a unique visual experience as the motorists drive under the gateway, giving an impression of driving in the countryside where light flickers through the trees.


Fabrication Shadowing Effect This model was fabricated to further test the shadowing effect, as well as to test the effective use of larger and smaller voids. As expected, the shadowing effect is much more elaborated when the sizes of the openings are varied. This will also be used, not only to enhance the shadowing effect, yet to fragment the motorists’ views according to the lines of sight (which will be discussed during the design development stage later on). The model was fabricated using the etching technique, which does not cut the board fully, except for the voids themselves. All of the trial models were fabricated with box boards that were either 1mm or 3mm thick, however, in the final model, materiality will be thoroughly explored.

Shadow: 05

Shadow: 06


Additional Information Materiality The gateway structure will be most likely to be made out of perforated copper, and the use of copper here would embrace weathering and represent the gateway’s relationship and connection to nature and its surrounding environments. The use of copper would also link the gateway structure to the concept of ‘countryside’, which is in accordance with Wyndham City’s motto, ‘City, Coast, Country’.

Ecology The voronoi would also be used as a trellis for growing plants, and this would represent the growth of Wyndham City and ties the idea of landscape and nature into the gateway.

Potential Growth of Plants on the Gateway Structure

De Young Museum by Herzog and de Meuron, http://slowpainting.wordpress. com/2007/04/30/jacques-herzog-and-pierre-de-meurons-de-young-museum/, Viewed On: 2nd May 2012.


Reflection This subject has many different aspects to other design subjects that I have taken in the previous years. Not only that we have to familiarise ourselves with new softwares, namely Rhino and Grasshopper, we are also approaching the brief (or the challenge) from a completely new angle. Most of the design subjects in the past have taken a top down approach, where we were given a brief and approach it firstly by defining the problems, recognising the site limitations, developing a concept and finally getting into the details of the project. In this subject, I feel like we were approaching the brief from the other way around, firstly by looking at the details and making up a concept as we proceed. Often during the presentations last week, I noticed that the critics told the students that their concepts are not strong enough, or that they seemed to have arrived at some points without knowing how they got there, and I think this is due to the fact that we approach the brief in a way that is different to other normal design subjects. In looking at many other parametric models, I do believe that the use of both Rhino and Grasshopper can really get us places, and that the two softwares combined will be able to make anything achievable. However, a lot of the times I was caught in moments where our limited knowledge about the softwares themselves get in the way of us achieving great things. Most of the time it is not that we can’t make it, we just don’t know how to (for example, which commands to use to create that effects we want). Not to mention that being put in groups means everyone having different ideas of one structure, and may eventually result in a single structure that looks so scattered (in terms of ideas and concepts). Nevertheless, the tough journey has been more or less fun and I am definitely looking forward for the last four weeks and to really get into the design bit.


Section Three

Project Proposal

Summary of Design Intent This design intent diagram on the right-hand side of this page aims to summarise our proposal for the Western City Gateway project. Voronoi will be used to blend the natural and the artificial environments together, representing Wyndham City’s respect for the surrounding environment as well as embracing the natural landscape. It is also representational of the city’s future growth. Catenary structure is adopted in order to maximise structural efficiency. It is based on the ideology of the hanging chain under gravitational force, which when turned upside down, acts purely in compression.


In addition to the above two aspects, a trellis of vegetation will be applied to parts of the structures that touch the ground and will consistently evolve. This growth will be assisted by the use of a capillary system, and will also be integrated further into the landscape.

Catenary Structure

Ecology: Growth Over Time


Further Form Exploration Form was further explored by looking at the relationships of the three cars previously mentioned. Lines were drawn in order to connect the points that indicate the directions and movements of the three cars. This is depicted in Form Exploration: Two. Within the lines drawn for cars in positions 4 and 5, a large proportion that follows the direction of movement was chosen (as shown in Form Exploration: Three).

Form Exploration: One

This large section was then dissected according to the lines that intersect it. A part of it was chosen to go over the road and the other part is elongated towards Wyndham City, in order to prolong the welcoming experience. This is as depicted in Form Exploration: Four. Form Exploration: Four also shows the grey areas that are going to be the gateway structures, and the black dot points, which are the structures’ anchor points.

Form Exploration: Two

Form Exploration: Three

Form Exploration: Four


Site Plan This aerial photograph of the site model shows the locations of the two gateway structures, with the first one placed over the road from Site A to B, and the second one positioned on Site A, stretching towards Wyndham City.


Catenary Structure Development

First Structure (Mesh)

First Structure (Surface)

Second Structure (Mesh)

Second Structure (Surface)

Kangaroo, which is a physics plug-in to Grasshopper, was used in order to determine the absolute shapes of the catenary structures. Forces were applied onto the structures and these forces determined the structures’ shapes and heights. The Grasshopper definition on the next page shows a typical definition for the catenary structures. For accuracy purposes, anchor points were derived from the meshes’ vertices, which are listed using the List Item command in Grasshopper. Two meshes, a top one and a bottom one, were developed, and these meshes were then converted into smooth surfaces using the “Patch” command so that voronoi can be applied onto these surfaces (as shown on all four images above).


Both Structures: Looking East

Both Structures: Looking West

Grasshopper Definition for Catenary Structures


Voronoi Application

South Elevation

Short Section

West Elevation


Since the proposed gateway structures are quite large in terms of size, application of the voronoi had to be separated into a number of smaller panels (this system of separation would also be adopted for the fabrication stage as well - which will be discussed later in the journal). The application of voronoi onto these panels turned out to be more complicated than expected. As we adopted the projection system, the absolute patterns of the voronoi became unpredictable and changed as they were projected onto different panels. In addition, the top and the bottom surfaces as shown on the previous pages differ in terms of shapes and angles, and projection onto these surfaces turned out to be very difficult to control. Hence, we had to pick only the top surfaces and extruded them. In doing this, the process became a lot more achievable and less confusing.


Ecology Trellis of Plants





Taking the inspiration from Patrick Blanc and his green walls, the structures of the voronoi (depicted in grey on the sequence of pictures on the righthand side) would be adopted as the trellis for plant growth. The structures would be attached with a system of steel wires, which will support and guide the plant growth. Over time, the climbing plants, which will be of Native Derris (as depicted below), will grow up into the structures, as demonstrated on the four diagrams on the right-hand side. They will begin growing from points that are touching the ground (the anchor points). The trellis of plants would act as a link that connects the gateway structures with their natural surrounding environments, which is in conjunction with our aim. As the plants grow, they will also mimic the growth of Wyndham City. In addition, this concept also adds further to the structures dynamically, further elaborating the fact that the structures are constantly changing and evolving with time.

Native Derris or Derris Involuta


Capillary System A capillary system has been integrated into the design, which acts as a catchment system for the rainwater. The rainwater caught would be channelled through the structure to the ground, as seen on the picture on the left-hand side. The caught rainwater is then stored in a water tank and recycled for watering the plants that are growing over the structures. This is as depicted on the Capillary System Plan below. The blue lines represent the rainwater flowing into the water tank, and the red lines represent the recycled water being pumped to water the growing plants.

Capillary System

This way, the installation can be environmentally sustainable as it grows and changes over time.

Capillary System Plan


Fabrication & Materiality Fabrication of the site model was achieved through the use of a waffle-grid system. Since the means to produce smooth double-curved surfaces were largely inaccessible, we focussed on the production of the structures’ skeletons instead, which would express the shapes and the curvatures of the structures. For these purposes, the waffle-grid system seemed to be right choice.

Materiality The supporting structures would be constructed out of galvanised steel, while the voronoi cells would be of thin copper sheeting. The copper would gradually weather to create a beautiful transition from brown to green, as demonstrated in De Young Museum.

Site Model (Digitally-Fabricated) at 1:1000


Site Model (Digitally-Fabricated) at 1:1000

Waffle-Grid Rhino Model of Structure One

Waffle-Grid Rhino Model of Structure Two

Waffle Grids Layout De Young Museum by Herzog & de Meuron


Digital Fabrication of Panels The surfaces were doubly-curved, hence the fabrication had to be done in a number of smaller panels. These panels were further divided into a number of singular voronoi cells that could be unrolled into flat surfaces (refer to fabrication diagram on the right-hand side). The top and bottom surfaces for each panel were also unrolled. These unrolled surfaces were labelled and then sent to the laser cutter. Problems, however, rised as it was sent to be cut onto 1mm mountboards, which turned out to be way too thick, while the gaps between each cell were a little too thin for the 1mm mountboards to be fitted in between. This did not turn out to be as expected and as we were pressed for time, we had to fabricate them manually. We printed the previous sheets and traced them onto cardboards. This process was more time-consuming, however, had to be done.

Fabricated Piece

Fabrication Diagram

We chose to fabricate four panels that show the curve of the structure and page 49 shows a fabrication layout for two of the panels. Each panel had approximately twelve to fourteen voronoi cells and each cell was numbered in the Rhino file, hence when the panels were put together, reference had to be made back to the Rhino file for accurate placement of each cell. This whole process were rather tedious, therefore, in the future we may consider etching the lines in both surfaces so that the cells can be easily slotted in.








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Layout of Unrolled Voronoi Panels and Cells


Capturing the Feeling Shadowing Effect With one of our aims being to provide a delightful experience of driving on the country roads, shadowing effect became a major part of our design intent. This has been successfully achieved through the use of the extruded voronoi voids. As seen on the series of photographs on the righthand side of this page, as well as on the left-hand side of the next page, the shadows created by the extruded voronoi voids will differ throughout the day. This way, the motorists will undergo different experiences when travelling underneath the structures at different times of the day.

Shadowing Effect: 1

For example, early in the morning, the experience travelling underneath it would be close to Shadowing Effect: 1, where it is possibly still really dark with only a slight glimmer of light. However, later during the day, when the sun is right above, the experience would be close to Shadowing Effect: 3 and 4. Shadowing Effect: 5 and 6 would be more likely experienced by motorists travelling later in the evenings.

Lighting Scheme At night, lights may be installed in order to light up the inside of the voronoi voids. This effect would be as shown on Light Effect: 1, on the left-hand side of the next page.

Shadowing Effect: 2

This lighting scheme may be considered at a later stage and may be installed additionally if the council wishes to ornament the gateway structures.


Shadowing Effect: 3

Shadowing Effect: 4

Shadowing Effect: 5

Light Effect: 1


Capturing the Feeling Shadowing Effect The montage below depicts one of the gateway structures in context, on the Princess Freeway - east bound. The backdrop is of the petrol station that is adjacent to the site. This montage particularly aims to show the kind of shadowing effect that we are aiming to achieve, giving the motorists the experience of travelling on the country roads, with the light flickering through the trees’ canopies.



Learning Objectives and Outcomes Initially, when the course began, I knew nothing about parametric design. However, by looking at the precedents of parametrically-designed buildings and structures (refer to first section Case for Innovation), I learnt that parametric design is largely adopted these days in the fields of architecture and construction. I also learnt that most of the time, parametric design is used to ease design methods and processes that would otherwise be very complicated and tedious. However, in saying this, I am also aware that even though parametric design is getting more and more popular, the designs of the buildings/structures do not always depend on it, meaning that architects are still required to manually sketch the designs in their heads and translate it into parametric softwares so that it can be further manipulated and then fabricated. In the development of the EOI (refer to page 14-33), I learnt many ways of manipulating designs in Grasshopper, which were largely useful, however, did not relate much to our project (refer to page 16-17). In terms of our own project, we did not get much time to develop the design further, and a lot of the time, this was because we had difficulties in developing/manipulating certain definitions in Grasshopper. Even though there are many ways to achieve one single goal (in Grasshopper), many of these ways could not be combined, resulting in us having to either come up with new definitions or adopt the trial-and-error experiments. This was the part that made it time-consuming. The last four weeks of the course (refer to third section - Project Proposal) was rather challenging, as the concept had to be developed quickly and we did not have enough time to look into a number of design issues. For example, the original idea of having larger voronoi voids on parts of the gateway structures (in order to frame and fragment the motorists’ views) was not achieved. This was due to the fact that digital fabrication took such a considerable amount of time, and we had to come up with the design quickly, so that we could fabricate it as soon as we could (and not leaving it until last minute). However, I was very satisfied in terms of the whole design that we came up with at the end. Fabrication went rather smoothly even though we had difficulties here and there, and most importantly, we learnt how to digitally fabricate double-curved structures by dividing them into a number of flat panels angled in different directions (refer to page 48-51). Firstly, we did not think that it would be possible, but with guidance from the tutors, we successfully achieved our goals. The whole course was indeed very challenging and the learning curve was very steep, with tutors expecting rather a lot from the students (remembering that most students had no clue of what parametric design was at the start of the course). Additionally, the fact that it was very disorganised did not help, and the tutors were very diverse in terms of expectations and approaches to parametric design. Yet, I do believe that it depended largely on students on whether or not they wanted to learn parametric design or not. As for me, I did learn many useful things from it, which may come in handy in the next semester, or even in terms of looking for an architecture job.


ADS/Air Journal  

Journal for ADS: Architecture (Air) Design Studio

ADS/Air Journal  

Journal for ADS: Architecture (Air) Design Studio