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Digital Design - Module 01 Semester 1, 2018 Michaela Prunotto 911080 Han Li, Studio 15

Week One

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

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

Zeara-Polo distinguishes diagrams from other signs by drawing on Peirce’s semiotic classification of the icon, symbol and index. Pierce asserts that icons are not arbitrary, and thus share a resemblance to what they depict; they are a “material” expression of the “qualities, functions and properties” of their dynamic object (for example, a photograph or religious image). Contrastingly, symbols carry no resemblance between the signifier and signified. By this means, the connection must be culturally learned (i.e. numbers and letters). Separate to both, indexes capture evidence of their dynamic object (i.e. mercury flowing up capillary of thermometer). Despite these various distinctions, icons, symbols and indexes all function as representations. Zeara-Polo argues that diagrams lack this quality and therefore distinct. Instead, he posits that diagrams mediate between the physical and abstract on an organizational level, and that their performance “depends on how they are deployed”; they are framed as a projective medium that is able to elicit and instigate the emergence of new physical creations.


Week One

Precedent Analysis


Due to the poor quality of the provided plan and elevations, visualising the pavilion proved difficult. In order to gain a clearer understanding of the threedimensional structure, I began by simply extuding walls up from the plan (top right). Following this, I traced the elevation to ‘cut out’ the wall shapes. A comprehensive collection of reference photographs was then utilised to intuitively approximate wall angles and roof placements (middle right). Importantly, during this process I came to the realisation that the form was comprised entirely of six angular, distorted arches (see bottom right).


Libeskind, Daniel. Eighteen Turns, 2001, aluminium and timber. Kensington Gardens, London. 1. Photographed by Delieu, Silvain. Sourced from 2. Photographed by Binet, Helene. Sourced from


Week Two

Reading: Hertzberger H. 2005. The in-between and The Habitable Space Between Things, from Lessons for Students in Architecture. Herzberger discuss how design should not be extreme in its functionality. Use your precedent study to explain how the pavilion allows for an appropriation of use. (100 words)

Herzberger advocates for design that is flexible and that allows the user to interpret its function with greater autonomy. Libeskind’s Serpentine pavilion encapsulates this ideology to some extent, in that the raised platform-floor may be adopted as both ground (overt design purpose) and low seat (discoverable purpose) by the user. Whilst the shiny, reflective quality of the panels causes the pavilion to blend with its surrounds, users may also appropriate the exterior shell as a mirror. They may not only enjoy the pavilions for intrinsic reasons of delight and experience, but also as a backdrop for Instagrammable, identity-furthering photos, in a kind of elapsed appropriation. In a broader sense, the pavilion body may be appropriated by groups for different purposes, such as a lecture theatre, gallery party venue, cafÊ, playground, contemplation space, or transitory passage.


Week Two


‘Ground Prop’ GIven the diagonal intersections so prevalent in Libeskind’s work, Mark Wigley proffers Libeskind as “realign[ing] the sky” wiith “the ground prop instead of a sky hook” in an attempt to retrieve “utopia from the pit”.1 Certainly, in this pavilion the space between ground and sky is mediated by the presence of angular arches, which simultaneously influence the circulation of users. Whilst the six arches appear to meld into a single origami-like form, the fact that the structure is (theoretically) comprised entirely of interlocking thresholds is significant; it suggests a space that facilitates movement and transience. Indeed, even the structure itself - which may be flat packed and easily reconstructed - embodies ephemerality. Despite this, some of the carefully-positioned arches may be interpreted as articulating spaces of temporary rest and so come to suggest ‘interior’ as opposed to ‘threshold’. When circulating these inner spaces, it is impossible to exit the structure without a change in direction. At a first visit, it is likely that a subject will weave in and out of the disruptive planes multiple times, perhaps by chance even executing ‘Eighteen Turns’ in alignment with Libeskind’s title. Strikingly, the structure spills over to cover a section of path running through the gardens. In framing existing infrustructure, the notion of buildings as agentic in determining the circulation of users is reinforced.


Cited in Broadbent, Geoffrey, ‘The Architecture of Deconstruction’,

Deconstruction, a Student Guide 1991 : 21.


Week Two Diagrams

Exterior (transit)

Threshold Spectrum


Structure as entirely comprised of archways/entrances

Flux (circulation diagram)


A structure of permeability, bodies weave in and out of the space, filtered between and around angular walls; a straight pathway through the interior is impossible. Note the three main entrance points, as indicated by thicker line bundles.

Ideas behind this diagram are articulated on the previous page. To add, I utilised green to convey how the reflective surface of the pavilion causes it to visually merge with the external (the surrounding landscape is green grass). It seems, then that Libeskind is challenging the very fabric of what constitutes an enclosure on multiple levels.

Here, the colour red was adopted to evoke the energy of pulsing, moving bodies.



Drawing rivets and aluminium panels

Through her observation of all the rivets fastening the aluminum skin in place being “of a sort of regimented exactness” Julia Peyton-Jones, the Serpentine Gallery director, draws the viewers’ attention to the fixings of the aluminium skin.2 Indeed, they are a underestated yet crticial detail due to the textural quality they provide and reminder of the pavilion as ‘constructed’ rather than effortlessly folded/fabricated, as the form otherwise suggests. Modelling the panels and rivets was a challenge as they were applied at the end, and so had to be matched to the angle of each plane. In order to do so accurately, for each panel I painstakingly changed the construction plane (top left), drew and copied out the pattern, then trimmed it to fit. In the final version, I removed the panel linework as I felt the rivets on their own were more tasteful and mimicked the subtlety of the structure’s skin. 2

Sourced from




Circulation diagram

As seen here, I sketched out circulation paths using curves on Rhino. In doing so I realised the sheer number of possible routes and thus the irony of Libeskind’s prescriptive title ‘Eighteen Turns’. According to Peyton-Jones, the structure may be percieved as a single form of origami; in a similar fashion, subjects enter and are folded in and out of the space. Barring the two external arches, a straight path through the structure is impossible.




As seen here, the scales of the plan and elevations provided were consistent, but the actual drawings and their measurements did not. The drawings were also poor resolution. Additionally, on the plan some markings are ambiguous (i.e. roof shadows). This made it difficult to produce an accurate drawing.

Degrees of Threshold

Exterior (transit)

For the threshold diagram I played around with different ways of illustrating the overlapping ‘in-betweens’ of the archways. Ultimately I settled on a massing and extraction diagram because it best communicated the paradoxical simultineity of coherency and fragmentation inherent in the structure.


Initial black and white colouring of structure. Change to green explained page 6.



Screenshots of structure - circumambulating in a clockwise direction


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