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Architecture Design Studio AIR

Journal Wong Siew Wuen 376197


Journal Content Part I. Expression of Interest I.1. Case for Innovation I.1.1. Architecture as a Discourse 1-8 I.1.2. Computing in Architecture 9-14 I.1.3. Parametric Modelling 15-20 I.1.4. Case for Innovation Conclusion 21 I.2. Research Project I.2.1. Scope of Possibilities 23-24 I.2.1.1. Input/Association/Output Matrix 25-44 I.2.1.2. Reverse-Engineered Case-Study 45-52 I.2.1.3. Materiality/Performance/Ornament 53-56 I.2.1.4. Exploration and Prototype 57-67 I.2.2. Research Project Conclusion 68 I.3. Expression of Interest Conclusion: Competitive Advantage 69 I.4. Learning Objectives and Outcomes: Interim 70 I.5 Feedback on EOI 71-74 Part II. Design Proposal II.1. Project Introduction 75 II.2. Form Development 76-78 II.3. Dynamism 79-85 II.4. Materiality 86-90 II.5. Technical Construction Process 91-97 II.6. Conclusion of Design Proposal 98 Part III. Learning Objectives and Outcomes III.1. Personal Background and Objectives 99 III.2. Learning Progress and Outcomes 100-101 III.3. Future Work 102


I.1.1 Architecture as a Discourse Architecture. Ever since its birth, its definition has been notoriously hard to established. As a cultural practice, architecture always reflects the existing trends or influences of the particular period of time. Back in Renaissance up to the present in which human’s life are driven by digital technology, architecture encompasses a wide range of complexity, interlocking and changes. As introduced in the lecture, such ever-changing system could only be fathomed and promoted via discourse- conservation about it. In fact, by considering the opportunity for real life selfexperience in those prominent buildings around the world, the argument that discourse is much more important than the function of the building itself is undeniably irrefutable.

“Architecture is as much a philosophical, social or professional realm as it is a material one, and it is through the consideration of architecture as discourse that one can engage with it as visual culture.� -Rampley, Exploring Visual Culture : Definitions, Concepts, Contexts (2005), p.103 1


“Architecture’s most significant instrument is the discourse it has created.”

-Stanislav, Lecture 1(2012), University of Melbourne

“Above all, architecture ought to be seen as discourse. Buildings, as material facts are a small part of the overall field of architecture; a field which is better regarded as a network of practices and debates about the built environment. -Rampley, Exploring Visual Culture : Definitions, Concepts, Contexts (2005), p.103

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Personal Work Headpiece, Virtual Environment [2010] Inspired by Hoshino Wedding Chapel by Kendrick Kellogg, domino effect is of the main interest in developing the headpiece because it brings in the idea of connectivity. Just as how a fallen domino will topple on the neighboring domino and the subsequent one continuously, it the similar to how every thing in the world is interrelated and connected. Particular interest is in the chain reaction stimulated instantly with one slight change in the system. Each trapezium pieces exhibit individuality with different toppling angle and position, with different parts being covered and unveiled. Where it fulfills the design brief as a process-based invention with the circular toppling flow, it gives a sense of mysterious by covering a portion of the face [symbolizes the barely tangible relationships amongst the people]. Meanwhile, it embraces the idea of inclusiveness with its overall shape which is not enclosed [express the intricate interactions existed between people and the environment].

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However, it is believed that the design could be improved had parametric design applied on it. The rigid surfaces and edges could have been made smooth and appear to be more fluid-like instead. The effect of toppling could be enhanced too. In fact, changes or modifications could be made easily and save up time.

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Guggemheim Museum Architect Frank Gehry Completed 1997 Location Bilbao, Spain

The Guggenheim Museum was credited for its distinct sensation to its urban context environment. As an iconic identity for Bilbao, its design forged a strong sense of visual presence with its surrounding buildings and serve as a gateway to the city’s business and historical disticts.

“Promoting greater freedom in the design and construction process, through the use of the computer as a tool, Gehry has reintegrated the architect into the construction process as a master builder.”

-Nero, Electronic Theses (2004), p. 73

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With the use of CATIA, Gehry created the building’s undulating curves and nonrepetitive geometries, espeically its signature rooflines composed by twisting and curving forms that unfold like a flower over the atrium. Also, CATIA was used to check the computer images for structural tolerance factors for construction feasiibilty. Despite the sketches and rough models, such distinctively organic forms can only be implemented through digital means. These are particularly significant and allows the project to be less time-consuming since design can be manipulated instantly with ease. It also enables construction process to be carried out smoothly as the number of materials needed can be obtained precisely. In fact, the museum has contributed to architecture discourse where it completely changed the design process and altered the traditional building norms which were restricted to symmetry and grid at that time. On top of that, while serving for arts exhibition, the design enabled the museum to stand by itself as an impressive art of sculpture in the city. This changed the way people think about museum and challenge the conventional relationship between arts and architecture.


The museum has generated significant public responses with the well-know ‘Bilbao Effect’. Critics attack on the ‘cloning’ possibility of the museum since its curves could be easily replicated via computer. Some even crtiqued that the museum’s dramatic appearance has overshadows the art collection displayed in it. Some think that it hardly fit into the urban fabric with the deliberate deviation of the design from conventional buildings. Nevertheless, it is exactly with such unprecedented daring geometrical formsthat brought about urban renewal and economic revitalization. In response to the Wyndham City Gateway Project brief which asks for a new, inspiring and daring proposal, it is believed that computational design is the way for satisfying the brief as such approach can devise inventive and innovative forms and even capable of stirring discourse for the locals.

While closing the door on an historical industrial period, Gehry opened the door for an e-technological period in architecture. Representing our e-technological society, Gehry provided us with the first post-industrial building. -Nero, Electronic Theses (2004), p. 73 6


Beijing National Stadium Architects Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron Completed 2008 Location Beijing, China

Beijing National Stadium was built for the Olympic 2008 and become the significant icon for the country with its vast scale and innovative structural steel design. With some basic inputs, a number of alternative forms had been developed for the stadium simply by adjusting the parameters. With the aid of computational tool, they reduced the potential repetitive work during various experiments done for the building. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CDF) has been used to calculate the internal temperature and airflow speed at every angle of the structure via digital simulation of Games-time situation. This can be regarded as a big advancement in architectural field as such approach optimises all ventilation facilities and contributes for a more feasible product. Parametric design is undeniably useful for the project as it was confined by budget limitation and structural difficulty. All the modifications and revisions of the building design were altered through parametric factors without repeating the entire design process from the outset. The calculations for the geometry were enormous and complicated which could not be solved manually. Such complication was solved by heavily reliance on parametric design software in order to work out the sightlines, the bowl geometry, and the structural stability of the web of twisting steel sections. Different methods for constructing the steel geometry were assessed and compared. Thus, it should be acknowledged that the placement of each steel frames do serve structural purpose in supporting the whole structure.

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On the other hand, controversy arose as the final design stands as a building of technological sophistication with no trace of traditional Chinese elements. Nevertheless, it is with such distinctive design which is completely different from those in China that places the nation at equality with other developed nations in the world. This has justified the idea of the significance of discourse as suggested in the lecture as people started to recognize and understand the structure via such debates. For the Wyndham City Geteway Project, it is expected that the gateway could create new iconic feature and encourage a sense of pride within the local community. This building is thus a good precedent to refer on since the outcome of its parametric design was innovative and refreshed without excessive workforce consumed by manual processes. As such, by adjusting the design’s variation, precision, and optimization of the process could be achieved.

To achieve the optimum design, the team relied heavily on parametric design software. -Designbuilt, 2011 8


I.1.2 Computing in Architecture The norm of seeing design computation as ‘just a tool’ is being challenged and design computation has now appeared as a mean which extends human intelligence for greater design possibilities. This is particular true as human has always designed based on the preconception which has long ingrained in their minds, and thus restricted the growing potential in design. With the use of computers, there is a radical shift from traditional norms of architectural design to the digitally-based generative techniques articulated by an internal generative logic (Kolarevic, 2003). Such computational design techniques have offered a wide range of unprecedented geometrical forms which were not possible due to constructional constraints (Kalay, 2004). In fact, such approach enabled greater exchange of information in regard with design response since the beginning of design process. As such, every decision made would have been evaluated and justified before proceed to the next step and subsequently saves up time and resources consumed.

“The recent addition of computers to the repertoire of means of communication has expanded access to information and opened up the design process for more people to become involved.” -Kalay, Architectures New Media (2004), p. 3

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“..Computers will contribute their superb rational and search abilities, and we humans will contribute all the creativity and intuition needed to solve design problems.” -Kalay, Architectures New Media (2004), p. 3

“Infinite variability becomes as feasible as modularity, and masscustomization presents alternatives to mass-production.” -Kolarevic, Architecture In The Digital Age (2003),

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UK Pavilion

Architects Thomas Heatherwick Completed 2010 Location Shanghai, China

More prominently known as the ‘Seed Cathedral’, it was built for Shanghai World Expo 2010 and inspired by the idea of the relationship between nature and cities. Formed by almost 60000 slender transparent fibre optic filaments, the design has rendered itself as an unconventional evolutionary organic piece which has attracted the world’s attention. The geometric accuracy could never have been realized had it not relied on computational design techniques to determine the precise positioning of the aluminium sleeves through which the filaments are inserted (Archdaily, 2010). During the day, the interior is illuminated by ligiht drawn from the outside by the optic fibre rods. At night, light sources inside each rod allow the whole structure to glow. The wavering external surface formed by the ‘optic hairs’ gently move and creates a dynamic effect just like a real Dandelion as the wind blows. This has prompt a critical realisation that the choice of materials is very important in creating the desired effect. With the aids of computers, materials properties could be explored by various experiments carried out in the virtual environment created in the computers. In fact, digital model was refined and used in the full scale construction to directly control the production and assembly of the componenets. While amazed by the seemingly soft and organic strucutre, the durability of the structure to resist to weather is questionable with the numerous puncture on its skin. This has triggered a concern for the issue abouat structural skin which will most probably be adopted in the design for the Wyndham City Gateway Project. Computational design has again shown its feasibility for producing building with high accuracy without fault.

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“This accuracy(achieved by 3D modelling data) ensures that the Seed Cathedral’s fibre optic array creates an apparent halo around the high structure, with the fibre optic filaments rippling and changing texture and reflectivity in the gentlest wind.” -ArchDaily, 2010

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Port Authority Bus Terminal (Project) Architects Greg Lynn Completed Competition (1994) Location New York, United State

It was the first competition entry in architectural history to utilize animation software as a medium for form generation rather than representation. A gradient field of attraction is established in relation to the forces of movement and flow of pedestrians and vehicles, as well as the forces of natural phenomena like wind and sun. To discover the shape of this invisible field of attraction, Lynn utilized geometric particles that change their position and shape based on the forces influence. Hence, the design of the protective roof is produced through a series of phase portraits of the cycles of movement over a period of time.

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By incorporating dynamic simulation into the design, Lynn has initiated a paradigm shift from ‘a passive space of static coordinates to an active space of interactions’. In fact, it wisely takes advantage of the forces present in the given context as a fundamental element for the form-finding of the design (Kolarevic, 2003). This approach is similar with the generative principle discussed in the lecture where criteria is set at the outset for generating an optimal solution for the intended goal. In fact, this project is an exemplar showing how computers are able to provide pure new possibilities for designing. This could never have been imagined by humans’ mind which has always designed based on the preconception set by precedents. Be it deliberately or subconsciously. In regard for the Wyndham City Gateway Project, this project is particular relevant as it demonstrate the technique for generating a design which is developed from the movement in the context itself. Movement and speed of cars driving across the highway could be considered as a variable for finding the form of the gateway. Such concept which involves animated changes and fluxes could only be realized using computational design techniques. The outcomes driven by non-linearity, indeterminancy, and emergent processes is expected to create design which is exciting and eye-catching as stated in the brief.

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I.1.3 Parametric Modelling As discussed in the lecture, parametric modelling establishes a hierarchical relationship between functional objects. Subsequently, simply by configuring a small part of the model based on preselected criteria, it enables the designer to achieve an optimal solution for the design at instant. As one delves further into this topic, the idea of scripting emerges as a powerful medium to provide greater manipulation over the design process. Such implication of low-level computer scripting is pretty much identical to the Grasshopper software which serves as the main practicing medium for this course. Scripting provides a platform for greater engagement between the computer and designer, and consequently stimulate a broader range of potential outcomes for the same time investment (Burry, 2011). The use of scripting also extricates designer from the restrictions inherent in design software whereas standardisation forced by budget constrain could now be neglected as this new territory associates with affordable digital fabrication technologies (Burry, 2011). Hence, it is not surprise that a surprising outcome could be anticipated for the Gateway Project as scripting is adopted as a voyage of discovery, a discovery closely engaged with experimentations.

“Scripting, as an approach to computational design, offers access to whole new ways of exploring design, but design remains always at the core.�

-Burry, Scripting Cultures (2011), p. 11

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“At least three scripting cultures...The first is scripting for productivity, the second is experimentation by scripting a path to 'the answer', and the third is scripting for a voyage of discovery.” -Burry, Scripting Cultures (2011), p. 32

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Research Pavilion

Architects Achim Menges/ICD Jan Knippers/ITKE Completed 2010 Location Stuttgart, Germany

“Based on 6400 lines of code one integral computational process derives all relevant geometric information and directly outputs the data required for both the structural analysis model and the manufacturing with a 6-axis industrial robot.�

-University of Stuttgart, 2010

The pumpkin-like pavilion in the University of Stuttgart is constructed entirely using only 6.5mm thin birch plywood sheets which sustains itself as a structural skin. Interestingly, its form is informed directly by the physical behaviour and material characteristics of the plywood itself. This material-oriented computational design embedded all the relevant material behavioural features in parametric principles. Enormous experiments focusing on the material properties such as bending capacity and method for joining the plywood sheets were performed using computers. A specifically modelled mesh topology which reflects the built prototype was created in computer for studying detailed structural capability in relation to external forces like wind and rain. It is the ability of scripting to work with large data sets (Burry, 2011) that contributed to the success of the structure. Unlike traditional design method which might encounter structural impossibility at later stage of design process, scripting increases the efficiency of the design process as all the designs are based fundamentally on its structural feasibility at the outset. There is no need to remodify the design to cope with structural capability and this boosts the speed of construction without much delay.

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Diagrams showing digital models of Pavilion for examining the material properties and structural stability. 18


“Firstly, it(scripting) was not quite as forbidding as I had expected and, secondly, there was no room for approximation or error: for an effective outcome that was both robust and consistent, precision was nonnegotiable.�

-Burry, Scripting Cultures (2011), p. 33

As the connection points between strips change along the pavilion for structural stability, 80 different strip patterns constructed from more than 500 geometrically unique segments are created by means of computers. By means of mass customisation via computational design, these individually different but topologically similar components are achieved in a cost-effective manner. These are then produced by digital fabrication tecchnology with high degree of precision.

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“ Where we see interesting work occurring is in the development of interfaces between different software applications that enable designers to further test architectural ideas that bridge across related disciplines such as engineering and construction.”

-MESNE, in Burry: Scripting Cultures (2011), p. 51 In fact, scripting proceeds in various directions simulaneously and works beyond human’s perceptual capacity (Burry, 2011). It is with such features that results in the simple yet innocative Research Pavilion. This, on the other hand, has renounced the stereotype about the complexification of scripting as it could do the exact opposite (Burry, 2011). The success of this project could be referred as inspiration for developing the gateway design. Materials’ potential could be set as a logic at the up front for scripting a design. Endless possibilities could be generated via scripting (Burry, 2011). Mistakes could be avoided while construction could be carried out efficiently. Most importantly, it saves up on costs, energy and time consumed. Hence, for the Wyndham City Gateway Project which asks for an inventative design with significant impact, the use of scripting is irrecovably beneficial.

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I.1.4 Case for Innovation Conclusion Above all, digital computational design has demonstrated a wide range of advantages for architecture. In terms of architectural discourse, the ability of computational design to produce unprecedented complex geometries has extricated architecture from traditional building norms with regular geometries, and opened up the a new way to design for architectural design. Highly controversial building like Frank Gehry’s Bilbao Museum has become a topic or discussion people talk about, while the Museum has become an significant icon for Bilbao ans subsequently brought its identity to the international fame as attributed to its eye-catching forms. On top of that, by means of computational design, complex structural system could be analysed and adjusted in the computer where great accuracy and precision could be guarantee. Furthermore, design process has then evolved to where architects are no longer limited to concept drawngs but actually overlook the whole process from its design drafting to its construction stage until its final realization as an end product. Mass-customization is encouraged while mistakes and repetitive work could be avoided, producing an efficient design process with great productivity and least consumption of time, cost, and both human and material resources. Meanwhile, it also serves to provide greater design opportunities by allowing the integration of natural context into informing the design products. By establishing parametric variables, the design could be easily manipulated and altered to obtain the most desirable solution. Where design produced by human mind tend to be constrained by precedents or subconscious preconception, scripting (digital computation design) serves as platform offerring great variety of design possibilities based on an alogorithm behind it. In short, digital architectural design in irrefutable the future for architecture, like an revolution in its course. Hence, this approach is adopted for the Wyndham Gateway Project to explore for a brave, new and inspring design as the icon for the council and the people. 21


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I.2.1 Scope of Possibilities Design Project -Public Art and Motoways An introduction to the Wyndham Western Gateway Project in the lecture brought the course into a new stage of learning, where design has finally come in play. In accordance with Wyndham City effort to enhance its streetscapes, the Gateway Project aims to create an iconic landmark established on the base of its community identity. Through the photos and videos provided on the LMS, it is observed that the site is rather dull with great coverage of grass besides the roads. Also, precedent such as the Seeds of Change appears to blend in well with its static and less energetic context. Consequently, a design concept intended to base on dynamism is generated. It is the dynamism occurs in natural environment that is explored. Such idea of dynamism will be approached using parametric design via scripting with Grasshopper. At his stage, scripting is adopted for exploiting generative processes, engaging with complexity based on alogorithm logic, and most importantly toying with the uunpredictability and delving into the unknown (Burry,2011). The following section of the journal deals with the CUT matrix composition produced by combining a variety of definitions provided on the LMS. They are achieved similar to the “Tangram puzzle-making paradigm” discussed in Kalay’s reading. The search process is mostly ‘best first’ (Kalay, 2004) oriented to explore the unexpected outcomes for each of the combinations.

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“Design is a process of discovery... The process may be compared to puzzle making: the search for the most appropriate effects... through the manipulation of a set of components, following a set of combinatorial rules.�

-Kalay, Architecture New Media (2004) p. 15

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I.2.1.1. Input/Association/Output Matrix While experimenting the possible results by combining each of the definitions with each other, certain ideas have been developed regarding on the definition provided. These ideas are experimented with the aim of achieving sense of dynamism, speed, and nature. These will be explained in a succinct manner whereas the results of other matrix combination which appears to be inspiring will also be included in a grid-like arrangement. The results from the experimentation show consistent similarities yet distinctive characteristics with each different combinations. In fact, some of the results are indeed surprising although completely different from what was initially intended for. Nevertheless, the joy lays on the foundation of exploring the unexpected- the design experimentation itself.

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Input Booleon Patterning Associative Curve Attractor Output Data Driven Rotation Rotation is observed to be an useful definition which enables the creation of the sense of dynamism. Simply by moving the data based on a designated plane the results appear are interesting and suggests movemennt. The idea of movement has coincided right within the interest in concept of dynamism for the Gateway Project. While Figure 1 and 3 appear to be static, Figure 2 and 4 give sense of momentarily flows. Such effect could probably be useful for developing the Gateway design.

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Input Booleon Patterning Associative Curve Attractor Output Polygon While experimenting for obtaining forms with greater depiction of dynamism, circle is changed and replaced by polygon. The result appears to be more directional while the sizes and distances between the polygons are hard to control for achieving a result like that of circles. Although might not be useful for CUT research, polygons especially triangles are extremely helpful for creating complex geometries like what had been experimented during Virtual Envrionment.

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Input Surface Normal Associative Point Attractor Output Polyline + Data Driven Interestingly, while the surface covered with circles appear to move with Rotation definition, the effect is enhanced by replacing circles for Polylilnes. The results show fluxes and speed. Depending on the shape of the surface created, the forms generated are completely unexpected and surprisingly beautiful [in my point of view].

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Input Surface Normal + Booleon Patterning Associative Curve Attractor + Sets Output Circle With Curve Attractor, the size of the circles varies depending on its distance from the curve. By sorting such data to a series of sets, the sizes of particular set of circles could be altered for generating different outcome. On top of that, it is observed that by adjusting the Booleon Patterning, the outcomes generated share similarity with those by modifying the number of points on the surface. Figure 13 shows the production of a lighter product generated by Booleon Pattern with more ‘False’ data. Figure 14 show product with greater intensity while Figure 15 appears to be heavy and further elaborate the actual figure of the surface created. Such experiment exposes more options for controlling the intensity of elements on surface for developing the concepet of water for the Gateway Project.

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Input Surface Normal Associative Curve Attractor + Sets Output Data Driven Shaders/ Moving Lines Using the Data Driven Shaders, thie result is interesting as the various sizes of circles are further emphasized with differences in their colour tones. Shaders could be a useful tool for identifying the intensity or significant parts within an object. In fact, with Shaders, the colour of the product could be tested and decide for the most desirable one to be used for construction. As the pattern generated by such combination is particularly attractive, further exploration is done by changing the output into Lines and moved based on the data set by the Input and Associative definitions. The results indicate sense of depth and in a way similar with that created for the UK Pavilion [Seeds of Cathedral] discussed previously. In fact, by manipulating the length of lines, the outcomes give entirely different feeling, giving much inspiration for further design process.

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Input Surface Normal Associative Image Sampler Output Data Driven Shaders Image Sampler is by far the easiest means to achieve the target for creating a figure on a surface. However, it is also a ticky definition as the result produced relies heavily on the size of the circle. So far, the result is controlled via simple mathematic operations like multiplication and addtion. Hence, limited variables are available for control the image quality. More exploration could be done for such restriction. Figure 20 and 21 different greatly in terms of clarity of the image used. Nevertheless, the “abstraction� exhibited in Figure 20 is as interesting as Figure 21.

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Input Booleon Patterning Associative Image Sampler + Maths Function Output Data Driven Shaders Experiment is done by testing out the effect of Booleon Patterning with Image Sampler. With a sequence of lines removed from display, the outcome appears to be rather linearly-oriented and the image shown migh or might not be obvious depending on the adjustment on the Booleon variable. On top of that, by adding Maths Function to Image Sampler, it allows greater control over the size of circles generated. Maximum and minimum radius of the circle could be altered in order to control the overall quality of the image produced. For the Shaders output, a “Larger Than� component is added so that any circles with radius greater than the set value would be generated in different colour compared to those smaller than it. In this way, a gradient of colour is observed from the image. Larger circles are in darker tone and vice verse. An interesting trick to test out the image result is that any modification done in Photoshop would affect the product in Rhino(as scripted by Grasshopper) directly once the changes are saved. Figure 22 and 23 show the inverted version of the image where darker tone and lighter tone are swapped. This actually saves up some effort for manipulating the component in Grasshopper for achieving the same result.

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I.2.1.2. Reverse-Engineered Case-Study CUT Research Project- Case Studies Dior Ginza (Office of Kumiko Inui) was chosen for the CUT research project. A number of methods have been experimented for creating the surface of the building. Each of them offers different types of conveniences and difficulties as well. The first approach appears to be more direct and easily understood. To begin with, a surface and a number of lines are created in Rhino and then referenced into Grasshopper. While it is difficult to refer multiple curve attractor, the “Pull Point”component is used instead. Its function is similar to that of Curve Attractor as it pulls every point on the surface to the geometries(lines) created. The result depicted is much satisfising compared to initial attempt using Curve Attractor. Using the Closest Point, the closest distances of each of the point to each lines are obtained and remapped between 0 and 1 for easier manipulation of data. “Create Set” component is then added for creating two sets of integer with each containing distinctive numbers. These two sets of integer are then sorted as two different lists. The lists are then replaced by integers between 0 and 2 and the integers within are further retrieved using “List Item” component. From there, all the points on the surface are retrieved. The data are then displayed as various big and small circles based on its distance from the lines, forming a surface similar to that of

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Case Studies

Dior Ginza (Office of Kumiko Inui) Nevertheless, the result appears to be heavy and brutal compared to Dior’s. An “Addition” component is added to the output of “Remap” so as to control the size of the circles more effectively. The logic is that, as the distance between a point on the surface and the lines have been remapped into a domain between 0 and 1, by adding a number into the distance values, some of those which are initially less than 0.5 could then be increased and joined the list of 1 instead of 0 in the sorted lists. This modifies in the number of items within sorted lists and change the number of big and small circles on the surface. Hence, it is free to modify the effect of the surface simply by changing the value of the number added. Figure 1 show the initial outcome without adding mathematical operation. Figure 2 and 3 show different texture intensity as the number added are being altered. The final outcome achieved is like that in Figure 2. To give sense of perforation rather than a surface covered with a number of circles, a “Move” component is added to the definition to move the surface a distance from Z-plane. The moved surface will again be divided into a number of points and the whole definition is repeated throughout. The size of the circles is adjusted so that they are different from those on the former surface simplying by modifying the values of replacing items at the input of “Replace” component. At last, a surface perforated with large and small circles are created.

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Case Studies

Dior Ginza (Office of Kumiko Inui) The second definition for approaching the design of Dior’s surface is taught by tutor Loren. This definition is relatively simple compared to the previous one. Similarly, a surface of grid is created beforehand in Rhino and referenced into Grasshopper as surface and curve attractor.

Finally, a “Dispatch” component is plugged in to separate the data into two lists- a list of points on the surface, and a list of those influenced by the curve attractors. Its output results in two sets of circles of which individual radius could be adjusted independently.

The data of the distance is then flipped so that instead of having an enormous number of items in a branch, the number of items in each single branch has now been significantly reduced even though the number of branches increased tremendously. This condition is more favourable for working out the definition since it is the number of items(closest distance of each base point to each curves) that matters the most. With lesser number of items, the curve attractors are able to function properly. Such data is then sorted into paths. These paths are then connected to a “List Item” component so that the huge pool of items could be retrieved. From there, the items are flattened so that it appears as only one branch for Grasshopper to work on.

The result produced is comparably satisfising like that created using first definition. Figure 1 shows the result created by such simple definition while Figure 2 shows the inverted version where circles closer to the curve attractors appears to be smaller. This is done for the saking of exploring its reverse effect on the surface. Figure 3 shows the closer shot of the surface.

Next, a “Larger Than” component is plugged into the flattened output of “List Item”. The “Larger Than” component serves similar function like the “Addition” component used in the previous definition- the items of the data will be compared to a value plugged in its input and to generate a series of ‘true’ and ‘false’ booleon patterning. This is useful for controlling the number of large and small circles on the surface.

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Case Studies

Dior Ginza (Office of Kumiko Inui) Upon consulting tutor, alternative way has been explored. The definition is created by tutor Loren(again) in which case the initial step to draw grid surface in Rhino could be completely abandoned. This definition starts by creating a square grid in Grasshopper itself, rotating the plane so as to generate a diagonal square grid. Additional curve is drawn in Rhino to be referenced as the curve attractor instead. Although convenient for not having to draw grid manually in Rhino, this definition requires comprehensive level of understanding in alogorithm. Since it is a definition that I have yet to figure out, I would not(unable to) elaborate much on the logic behind the definition. Nevertheless, Loren’s patience should be acknowledged by attaching some of the pictures(on the following page) of the outcome for the definition she has created. More efffort will be put in to improve my understanding on the alogorithm in the near future.

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9 Pattern of diagonal grid influenced by Curve Attractor.

10 Closesr view of the grid pattern formed by circles in various sizes.

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I.2.1.3. Materiality/Performance/Ornament As introduced in the lecture, the most debated topic about ornament has become inseparable from the design itself in expressing design intent and cultural meaning (Moussavi, 2006). In fact, unlike traditional perspective about ornament which was all about colour or texture, we are presented with a wide range of contemporary ornaments inlcuding frits, laser-cut sheet, glass tubes, pleated floor plates, perforated screens, complex tilings, and even structural patterns (Moussavi, 2006). For the CUT research project, the case studies of Aoba-Tei Restaurant was fabricated to explore on the potential of “CUT� on surface to serve as a form of ornament for the Gateway design. It was chosen rather than the CUT on Dior building as it consisted of greater circular cuts with varying sizes patterned in the image of a tree, which is expected to give more interesting experiment outcome. For the fabricated CUT surface, experiment on lighting and shadow was carried out. Interesting results were produced by changing the angle and direction of light source projected to the surface. Concentration of light was also varied to study on the intensity of light on shadow produced. Distance between light source and the object itself was also important to determine the quality of effect produced. For instance, if a clear and bold image is expected, light should be placed further away from the surface whereas if an ambigious effect is expected, light could be placed closer to the surface. In addition, the model is bended and twisted for further exploration on how CUT ornament would perform on more complex geometry and the results obtained were surprisingly interesting as well.

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“Ornament is the figure that emerges from the material substrate, the expression of embedded forces through processes of construction, assembly and growth. It is through ornament that material transmits affects. “ -Moussavi, The Function of Ornament (2006), p. 4

Glowing effect on surface with moderate light intensity. Such effect is particularly interesting at night in the way light penetrates through the perforation on the design surface.

Bending yet continuous effect of shadow casted on two perpendicularly intersected surface rather than plane surface.

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The sense of ‘grandeur’ produced with two direct light sources in two different positions.

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“Over-significant” effect produced by putting light source directly behind large perforation which might distract people’s sight while driving on the road.

Experiment on bending the flat plane.

Clear shadow produced as light source is further away from the surface.

Ambigious effect produced as light source is closer to the surface.


While the experiment of light and shadow produced interesting effect on flat plane, further exploration is carried out by modifying the geometry of the fabricated surface by distortion like bending and twsiting and even folding. By manipulating the flat plane, astonishing atmospheric effect is produced as shown in figures below. By adjusting the level of light source within the cylindrically-folded surface, different ambiance is created for the environment. In fact, the effect of overlaying is attemped by directing light from two different position in order to achieve an overlapping shadow effect.

Overlapping shadow produced by light source from two different direction with different intensity.

Overlapping of shadow produced by light source with different intensity but same position. By experimenting on ligth and shadow effect, together with distorting the shape of the orignal flat plane, it brought up awareness on elements and features to be consider for generating the Gateway design. For instance, light distance, light source position and direction, ligth intensity, reflective properties, as well as overlapping tendency.

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I.2.1.4. Exploration and Prototype Air in Architecture The idea of air in architecture has been introduced in the lecture where the natural phenomenon of air (natural effect of air on building design) could be exploited to produce design effects which would not be possible without collaborating participation of the atmosphere surrounding the building. In particular, the façade of building is undermined by the inevitable nature of material to change with time, giving the sense of impermanency and unpredictable changes. This idea of enduring ambiguity coincides with the idea of immaterial architecture which is characterized by its ability to reveal qualities like the subjective, unpredictable, porous and ephemeral effect for the design (Hill, 2006). In fact, the idea of weathering such as corrosion or fading in colour, mechanical tear or wear, and even biological growth of plants is particularly interesting in the way it changes the appearance of the design voluntarily without artificial means (human-made effect).

“As the users’ experience depends on complex juxtapositions of many moments and conditions, whether a building is critical may depend not on instantaneous shock but enduring ambiguity, the ability to appear ever-changing, resist evolution and remain open to interpretation.” - Hill, Drawing Forth Immaterial Architecture(2006), p. 54

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Aqua Tower

Architect Jeanne Gang/Studio Gang Architect Completed 2010 Location Chicago, USA Designed as a residential apartment, Aqua Tower projects itself as a significant landmark in Chicago with its irregularly shaped concrete floor slabs which lend its façade an undulating and sculptural quality. The undulating balconies which vary from floor to floor are built with painstaking consideration on views extension and maximization of solar shading for each apartment units. As such, the design is driven by the forces of its context, creating an extremely site specific building which could never be justified in other places. This criterion is particularly important for the Gateway Project as the design is targeted to be informed by the natural elements on site, specifically sun path, climatic, and atmospheric conditions throughout the day. Besides, the building is significant in the sense that it offers different sense of appearance as one move from afar and gets closer to it. From afar, the building as a whole appears like the striated limestone outcroppings commonly found in the Great Lakes, which is interestingly the very initial inspiration from which the design was developed. Such effect changes completely into a series of ocean waves flow across the façade with the rippling balconies as one move closer to the building. This is an interesting idea that could probably be adopted for the Gateway Project design which aimed to create a sense of constant changes for a static sculpture. In fact, the undulating balconies appears as if the wind were blowing ripples across the surface of the building itself and the gentle rhythmic effect produced could probably guide the gateway project as an effort for incorporation of ‘air’ into design as advocated by the studio.

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Facade appears like wave being blown by wind (an effect of air)

On top of that, the most fundamental aspect of the design lays on its design approach. Unsurprisingly, the design is highly computational-based whereby each of the floor slabs possesses different calculations which needed to be done separately by digital means. Every slab piece consists of distinct measurement which is achieved by mass-customization using digital computation enables greater design efficiency as redundant repetitive work could be omitted simply by changing the parameter values set to it. This has again exhibited the advantage of parametric design and further augmented the choice for parametric design as the way for the Gateway project. Specific site analysis in terms of sun positions and views viewed at specific angles for each unit are carried out via computational analysis as well in advance. Also, erection and placement of these individually unique curves are made easy via digital coordination. Such accuracy and precision are of paramount important for enabling building to be constructed with least mistakes, greater efficiency, and subsequently less cost.

Balcony created by the undulating floor slab.

Conceptual drawing of the floor plan for each floor with their structural system

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The idea of Fluidity as Form Exploration Nevertheless, as an effort in searching for the form for the Gateway design, the idea of fluidity is adopted. This is inspired by the sense that the form of fluid is always varied and never twice the same. The philosophy is that the quality of ‘new, inspiring, and brave’ as stated in the brief would be achieved through a design which shows constant changes throughout its lifecycle. Experiment is carried out by pouring water in different ways so as to obtain a desirable form suitable for the Gateway design. The process of water-pouring is recorded and played in slow motion to compare between the forms generated. Then, satisfising outcomes are edited and composed into pictures as shown in figures below. The result produced has justified the idea that fluid is never the same twice and hence will be further developed as the form for the Gateway design.

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Light Exploration As aforementioned, the design aimed to achieve a sense of constant change so that every time when the passer-by drive through, the structure will appears different and never twice the same. Such attempt is approached by exploiting the position of sun during the course of the day, both in summer and winter. The experiment is carried out in 2 parts, in which each of them have different fixed and manipulation variables in order to explore on the most suitable folding of the design membrane and sizes of the perforation on its surface so as to achieve the proposed changing conditions. The first part of the experiment investigated the effect of sun position on the design via the shadow it casted on the surface. With regularly-sized circular holes cut on the paper surface, this is carried out by placing the camera at a fixed position and the photos taken show how the changes of the sun position might affect the overall design appearance to the passer-by of the road. Angle of light source is adjusted in reference to the sun path diagram and the results obtained show that the shadow cast on the surface is longer during winter and vice versa. Other than that, the results obtained generally made little or minimum difference on the design. Hence, the second part of the experiment is carried out to examine on possible ways to maximize the effect of sun on the design.

9am during Winter (Estimated)

9am during Sumemr (Estimated)

3pm during Summer (Estimated)

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3pm during Winter (Estimated)


For the second part of the experiment, photos are taken from one end to another, just as how the drivers and passengers might have looked at the design. The size of perforations cut on the surface varies randomly. Then, the paper length is increased and folded in ‘S-shape’ manner as possible, hoping that the shadow can be cast on the surface of the design itself instead of casting on the road. The result, however, still turned out to be less satisficing as shown in the figures on the left. First sight while approaching the site (Driving towards North)

Second sight as one passing the design

From there, the paper is modified by cutting it into a long strip of random height (some parts are high while some are short) and folded more extensively into a number of ‘S’. This time, the results appeared to be up to expectation as giving a fixed sun position, the design appears differently from one segment to another due to the shadow effect. For smaller perforation, it appears just like a strip of light similar to the interior of the UK Pavilion as discussed in section above. Most interestingly, the distinction between real perforations and ‘fake perforation’ resulted from shadow cast is barely recognizable. The series of photos show how each segments is different as a car drives through it. In fact, since the sun changes its position, the images seen in the morning might change in the afternoon and near dusk. This has successfully demonstrated the effect of change in the design in relation to the

Last view as one pass through the deisgn

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Since the experiment is carried out manually without digital aids, the results obtained might not be as accurate and precise as the professional one. However, it still worth acknowledged that a number of parameters has been identified for further exploration in the future. These include the placement of the design on site which could be slightly tilted so as to provide greater views for the passer-by, the various height of the design membrane which helps to create more visualized effects, the size of perforations. Most significantly, it is important to acknowledge the direction of driving so that the curvature of the design could be designed in such a way which allows maximum casting of shadow while offering maximum viewing faces for the drivers. This is because a convex faces could have part hidden from direct viewing except for passengers who can turn their around for seeing it. Figures on the right (next page) show how the design appear as a driver drives through it. Nevertheless, the effect obtained is not up to expectation. The result obtained appears to be less obvious and insignificant to be noticed as driver drive through with high speed. This has prompted the acknowledgement about type of materials used for the design. Reflective materials like metals or even mirror could be used to enhance the desired effect upon influenced by light and shadow.

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Prototype 1

Fabricated in plywood sheet, the prototype demonstrated limited elasticity and hence restricted from more ‘aggresive’ bending. It appeared more like a rigid geometry formed by a series of panels rather than intial smoothly curved membrane as envisaged. However, with fabrication, the perforation produced exhibited larger holes and more regular pattern as a whole. Desirable lighting conditions as experimented previously are applied and the results are recorded as shown in the figures on the left. In essence, the perforation on the surface appears to be regular and consist throughout as to maximize the effect of shadow cast on the surface. This is based on the experimented result where more perforation is capable of producing more striking effect compared to those of less perforation on the design surface.

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Prototype 2

Prototype 2 is fabricated using plywood as well. Hence the ability to bend has been limited. However, due to its more expressive form, it does fulfill the brief requirement to be an eye-catching sculpture. The light effect produced shadow and atmospheric effect much significant than than those casted on the surface of the design itself. In fact, the effect of glow is achieved by casting light onto the perforated the membrane.

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Prototype 3

Since the first 2 prototypes do not exhibit significant effect as expected, the idea of fluidity is explored by placing three layers of surface membrane over each other, creating an overlapping effect. As cars drive pass, with the difference of perforation on each membrane, the sense of changing is created as if the surface are changing from one with perforation to one of complete blank and flat surface depending on the position of cars viewing the object. Light has played a minor role for this prototype. In fact, the prototype has enhanced the idea of overlaying of surface for producing greater effect for in generating the Gateway design.

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I.2.2. Research Project Conclusion Based on the experiments and research that we have done, we realised that digital technique is very useful in creating complex geometry and also intricating patterns. The matrix combination is an evidence showing how digital design can create infinite possibilities of design forms that can allow us to choose from. Although it could be generated easily but it is an important design approach in searching for a favourable outcome. This method also shows a number of surprising results that contributes to another advantage of coomputational design. Unlike the matrix combination, the reverseengineered case-study imposed certain restrictions for developing a design outcome. On top of that, personal research including the exploration of form, effect of light and perforation has been carried out for achieving the desired goal set for the design- never twice the same. Through the success and failure of those experiments, further exploration could be attempted for the design as there is still potential that have not been developed yet. Experiment with material types could be explored in response to the design theme of ‘air in architecture’. The constantly changing effect proposed for the Gateway Project will evoke curiosity of the Wyndham community, which might subsequently create architectural discourse where people will discuss about the Gateway Project in terms of its desigin method as well as its design representation. In fact, this proposal will become an iconic gateway and elevate the identity of the Wyndham community.

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I.3. Expression of Interest Conclusion According to the design brief, a new, inspring and brave idea associated with its ability to inspire as well as creating a new discourse for the community is anticipated. Digital computation design, in particular scripting and parametric modelling, is used as the approach for achieving the stated qualities. Starting from Case of Innovation, where the fundamental idea about digital architectural design is introduced, its associated advantages and precedents have also been presented, enforcing the idea that computational design is the right approach for the Wyndham City. Furthermore, examples of work and experiment in the Research Project are definitely the most convincing way of showing what scripting and parametric design is capable of. For instance, the matrix combination and the CUT research projects exhbiting the flexibility of computational design in designing design. In fact, by incorporating the idea of fluidity which could only be achieved by scripting cultures with the effect of sunlight and wind on site, it is believed that the design produced will be an site-specific and eye-catching sculpture for the Wyndham City. Hence, it should be emphasized again that, digital architectural design is definitely the best approach for creating the Wyndham Gateway.

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I.4 Learning Outcomes (Interim) At the beginning of the semester, digital architectural design, as the core of the subject, is first introduced and inevitably placed us in an active engagement with computational design, both in theories and practical work. Traditional paper-based design process is considered obsolete while digital computational design is argued to be a more vibrant and promising approach for contemporary architectural discourse and practice. With a couple of readings in accordance to the lectures content, the ambiguity of digital design is clarified as we started to get on track with the subject objectives. Researches on precedents adapting computational design gave us an idea of the controversies and contradiction of such approach in architectural field. It also provided a better insight into what digital architectural design is capable of in terms of their application and advantages. For instance, more complex geometries can be created, greater manipulation over the design is enabled, and redundant repetitive work can be avoided while the consumption of time and resources is reduced. Apart of the theoretical aspect, we were given opportunities to develop practical skills using parametric modelling in Rhino together with visual scripting via Grasshopper. Despite the theoretical knowledge of the advantages of digital computational technique, as novices, the design process turned out to be the complete opposite and demonstrated the argument against computational design well enough. This was because we’ve encountered enormous amount of technical problems due to insufficient understanding on the algorithm behind the software. Nevertheless, it is also via such mistakes made that we learned and started to fathom the foundational computational principles behind digital geometry, data structures, and programming.

Then, as we proceeded with the course structure, the matrix combination proved how unpredictable results could be made possible by digital means. The definitions provided were combined in certain manners for examining its possible outcomes and the some of the results turn out to be surprisingly innovative and inventive, just as what has stated in the project brief. This exercise, while providing a platform for exploring the unthinkable, allowed us to fathom more about the Grasshopper components within. Also, digital fabrication was explored for the first time as an architectural student by fabricating one of the CUT projects in the case studies. Progressively, slowly though, we’ve developed the capability to work in various three-dimensional media as specified in the course objectives. On top of that, with all the knowledge and practices learned so far, we’ve managed to form a strong argument for defending the inevitable role of digital architectural design as an alternative for traditional approach in this field. This is formulated in our EOI, supported by precedents and researches carried out throughout the semester thus far. In short, the learning so far has been really interesting and challenging as well. The intriguing outcome promised by digital architectural design has indeed stimulated a sense of curiosity for further exploration on such approach in the near future. It is undeniable that this course has provided a valuable platform for such interesting approach which will definitely be explored with greater time commitment and practices.

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I.5 Feedback on EOI An enormous amount of constructive feedback was received after the presentation. Firstly, the idea of fluidity we tried to express had failed in terms of its visual presentation. Clearer images and photographing technique should be explored to enhance visual quality for presentation. Secondly, the inadequate research and experiment for generating forms and exploring design potential. It was noted that every prototype produced exhibited the same insignificant result and that every experiment conducted was confined to the same field of exploration- light and shadow. Experiment on addition features such as wind, water, or even weathering should be carried out for more design possibilities. In fact, mechanical means was recommended for expressing the idea of fluidity by means of wind rather than sunlight and shadow. Elements like little flag on surface could be considered. Also, more active engagement with digital computational design should be established in experimenting the effects proposed. With regard on the feedback, additional exploration on the effect of air on the fabricated model is carried out. The idea is to fill the chosen site (as noted in EOI document) with water, creating an artificial lake. The experiment is carried out by placing a series of panels connected by thread at both vertical edges to neighboring panels, on the water. Wind is applied towards the panels and each panel appeared to be moving forward or backward on the water, independently yet remained connected, creating a sense of fluidity while providing constant changes for visual apperance. The direction and velocity (speed/strength) of wind are important determinant for the design. More research should also be delved in for examining on the suitable mechanical connections between the panels so that they are strong enough to hold the panels while providing flexibility for them to move in repsonse to wind. In fact, instead of circular perforation on surface, little flag-like elements could be exploited as presented in the week 8 lecture. In short, potential of wind in contributing to the changing effect of the design associated with the idea of fluidity is worht-exploring as it appears to be a produce more evident changes compared to those of sunlight. 71


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Exploration of Wind 1.

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Figrues extracted from stop-motion video showing changes in the panel position in relation to each other upon affected by gradually strong wind.

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II.1. Design Introduction Following the feedback on EOI, it is realized that the use of shadow and cut surface on planar design is insufficient to achieve the effect of changes as envisaged. Hence, while the design critiria [changes and dynamism] are retained, a new form was adopted for the design. Inspired by the idea of a sunflower field, the design attempts to adorn the exisiting mundane landscape at the site by creating a series of objects across the slightly slopy grassland on either sides of the freeway. Such effect is to be achived by the form of the design, its ability to move for exhibiting changes, as well as its materiality. The following sections of the journal will explain in details on the design’s form, dynamism, and materiality of the proposed design for the Gateway.

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II.2. Form Development The form of the design is informed by the idea of fluidity. As discussed earlier, experiment was carried out by pouring water in different ways in search for a desired form for the Gateway design. Instead of taking the form and literally make it into a planar design as proposed in the EOI, for the project proposal, these interesting pattern of water splashing was further modified and refined. A most desirable pattern was chosen from a matrix of possibilities and further resolved into the final form for the Gateway design.

Possible formation of water poured via different ways

Refined matrix of forms which demonstrated various possibilities yet restricted in term sof its ability to rotate. Simpler form is preferrable to avoid confusion or possible chaos which might happen due to individual rotation on site. 76


From the pool of matrix, the selected form was simply derived from a single pour of water. The refined pattern appears as if the pour of water was frozen at the moment. It was further resolved to forming the constructable and rational form for the design. The form is then developed in Rhino to proceed with the next step of the design in terms of its dynamism.

The final design depicts a structure featuring a twisted form with thicker base and gradually thinner top. It is twisted in such a way that the side placing the solar panel will be as 60 degree as possible towards the sunlight. Also, such twsiting allow two or more surfaces to be viewed from a single point or direction. In fact, each faces exhibit distinctive appearance which is different from each other. This enables the design to depict individually distinctive visual experience as viewed from different angles and different positions. As such, such surfacial differences help to enhance the sense of changes upon influenced by the sunlight. On top of that, the cantilevered part of the form serves to offer both visual and practical experiences for the design. As the whole structure rotates in relation to the position of the sun during the day, the position of the cantilevered part changes as well,

Further resolved final form.

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The form is replicated in three different sizesshortest 10m high, middle 15m high, and the tallest reaches 20m high. Such scale is adopted in consideration of the possible visual experience both from afar and as one drives next to it.

Duplication of form which is simple yet able to provide interesting visual appearance.

The allocatino of number of structures for the series is based in consideration of Wyndham municipality as a society made up of larger proportion of younger age groups (0-17) with a saller proportion of older age groups (60+). Therefore, there are relatively least number of the largest structure with relatively largest number of structures for the smallest(shortest) series. This analogy is aimed to represent Wyndham as a peaceful city composed of people of varies age groups living harmonily and looking for each other.

Bar chart showing age structure of Wyndham City sourced from Australian Bereau of Statistic 2006.

The idea of repetition is adopted where each series of the form with different height and scale was placed along Site A. The placement of these structure is informed by the contour of the site, contributing to the slightly undulatiing pattern as seen in the site plan. In fact, each of the structure is position in such a way that each has an adeqaute radius of circle for rotation without hitting or colliding each other as they rotate.

Animation played in Rhino to examine on the most effective visual and practical experience in deciding the placement of the structures.

The decision on where the middle part of the site was left empty rather than fully occupied by the design is to avoid the possible chaos effect which might occur had the concept of repetition was overdone. Also, by considering the possible eye-level and position of the drivers/passengers inside a vehicle, the cantilevered part can only be experienced at most at the third row (about 5m from the road). Hence, the placement of any structure beyond 5m from the road could hardly provide any practical experience for the road users. This might contributed to a waste of material or underutilization of the form designed. All these factors contributed to the decision on the arrangement and placement of the structure on the site as proposed.

Site plan showing three series of the design structure placed along the site close to the road for both direction to and from CBD.

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II.3. Dynamism As an attempt to create a dynamic design rather than a static sculpture, the technology of solar system is explored for generating changes for the Gateway design. This has definitely addressed the design brief asking for an innovative approach for the Western Gateway. As aforementioned, the position of sun on sky over the course of a day during summer and winter has been explored as a defining factor in predicting the changes that the design might experience.

Sun path diagram for Melbourne is used for the design.

Since the form comprises four sides/faces, solar panel is proposed to be incorporated as one of the faces to absorb and store solar energy. Together with the sensor, it is believed that the twisted ‘pole’ will rotate in relation to the position of sun on the sky during the day. With the idea of repetition, it is expected that the overall effect will demonstrate a field of rotatable twisted poles similar with those of sunflowers. Graph showing sunshine period over the course of a day.

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Site plan with sun path diagram giving an idea of how the design might rotate based on sun positions during summer and winter.


At this point of the design, Rhino and Grasshopper, two software which have been introduced since the beginning of the semester, has finally come into full utilization for making the dynamic design possible. While a twisted form is created in Rhino, it is replicated by copying and then adjusting its scale until three forms with different scales are engendered. Then, a pseudo-sunpath diagram is created in Rhino as shown in the diagram on the left. From there, a grasshopper definition is created in order to manipulating a series of structures so that they rotate in response to the sun position during the day. A series of points are drawn in Rhino at places where the structures are expected to locate on the site, and then referenced as points in Grasshopper while the twisted form of desired scale was referenced as Brep in Grasshopper. It should be noticed that all three geometries of the twisted forms are located at the origin in Rhino so that it has a rotation about the Z-axis of zero. Following that, a Point XYZ component is connected to the base point input of a Vector 2 Points component, whereas the tip point input is connected to the series of location points. From there, a Move component is used to position the referenced geometry to each of the location points.

Summer sunpath

Winter sunpath

Twisted poles of different scales at origin.

Next, an attractor point (which serves as the position of sun) is referenced into Grasshopper and a vector is created between each of the location point with the attractor point via another Vector 2 Points component. At last, a Rotate component is used, connecting move geometry from the Move output into its base geometry input; location points to its plane of rotation input; and its angle input to the angle between vectors output from the Angle component. The position of the attractor point is moved based on the sunpath created in Rhino to examine on the possible rotation of the field of ‘twisted poles’ in response to sun position.

Digital (Rhino) interface for examining the rotation of twisted poles in relation to sun position. 80


Results showing the gradual change/rotation of the structures over the course of a day during summer.

Driving on Princess Freeway towards CBD

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Driving on Princess Freeway to Wyndham City from CBD

Summer 7am

Summer 7am

Summer 10am

Summer 10am

Summer 12pm

Summer 12pm

Summer 2pm

Summer 2pm

Summer 6pm

Summer 6pm


Results showing the gradual change/rotation of the structures over the course of a day during winter.

Driving on Princess Freeway towards CBD

Driving on Princess Freeway to Wyndham City from CBD

Winter 8am

Winter 8am

Winter 10am

Winter 10am

Winter 12pm

Winter 12pm

Winter 2pm

Winter 2pm

Winter 4pm

Winter 4pm

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With the results obtained, the outcome is simplified into diagrams to provide a clearer idea of how the twisted poles are changing during the day. The diagrams below demonstrate the rotatioin of the structures in general during summer (left) and winter (right).

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Similar with the sunflower field, the changes or rotation of the poles are gradual and not abrupt. While some might critique its relatively slow rotational speed (since it is based on the sun movement) for not being able to provide a striking effect at the immediate instant as people drive pass, it is believed that the design has strong impact for its targeted subjects- the majority of Wyndham residence of which cars are the main transportation mode for them to travel to work in Melbourne CBD. The to-and-fro journey and the different travel time will definitely impose a sense of curiousity for the poeple. The different views of the structures seen by different people at different times would contribute to a new discourse, discussing on how exactly the structures stand and so on. In fact, the gradually changing nature provides more opportunity for each individually distinctive faces of the twisted form to be apprehended, creating different visual effects for different people driving at different speed, at different positions and angles from the design. Also, the design with such gradual change rather than abrupt motions helps to ensure on-road safety as they do not distract the drivers sight at extreme manner. On top of that, solar energy used to generate the movement of the poles are also stored for generating electricity for lighting at night. In a way, the design tried to incorporate the idea of sustainability with the use of renewable energy which is the sun as the main power resources for the performance of the structures. This has then promoted, as well, the idea of green energy, where a significant iconic Gateway sculpture can be achieved without costing environmental condition.


Image showing the rendered product of the digital model. The perspective view shows the position of the twisted form at 9am during summer with cars heading towards CBD.

Rendered image of he digital model at night.

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The design located along Princess Freeway at Site A, showing the cantilevered part creating a hovering effect along the road.

Perspective view from CBD when the structures rotate in a way that the cantilevered part is on the inside, creating no sense of hovering at this point at the tie on the day.

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Closer look up of the design as one is viewing them in a car.


II.4. Materiality The pole-like design as discussed earlier is proposed to be made up of lightweight steel truss system in order to produce the relatively complex twisted part of the form. Besides being flexible for achieving constructibility of the design, the lightweight nature enables the structure to rotate more easily in accordance to its sun-position-based dynamism.

Welded to form the twisted structure

On the other hand, the lightweight steel truss is to be cladded with different materials for each of the four sides, including solar panel for one side, reflective mirror material for one, and copper cladding for the other two. The use of solar panel is associated with the application of solar energy in generating dynamism for the design, both for absorbing, and storing energy for rotation during the day and lighting effect at night. Mirror, is chosen for creating a distorted images with the twisted/curved surface, establishing sense of curiousity every time car passes through the structure. At certain positions upon rotation, the mirror also reflects the adjacent structures, generating an effect of ‘structure within structure’. This helps to implement the idea of repetition and subsequenly enhance the overall visual effect at site.

Complex shape achieved by lightweight steel truss system

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Copper has always been well-known as a metal with great oxidization nature. Copper cladding is adopted for the design for its weathering effect which serves as one of the sub-approach for achieving changes for the design. Its effect can be seen over a long period of time. Starting from bright brownish-red, the copper will gradually oxidized and changes into green color (Verdigris Patina). This will therefore changes the appearance of the structures over the course of time. Such weathering effect engenders sense of ageing where teh structure is perceived like a growing organism which grow together with Wyndham munipicality. The ability to rotate based on sun, in addition with the weathering effect achieved by the material chosen, the Gateway will always remain lively and durable in terms of its visual sensibility.

Copper weathering color chart

Predicted weathering effect on twsited pole for the design

“...the weather – may intervene to alter perception and matter. For the user, binding immaterial architecture to perception focuses attention on the capacity to perceive one perceiving’ and encourages critical awareness of the spaces we inhabit.” - Hill, Drawing Forth Immaterial Architecture(2006), p. 54 87


Material composition

Mirror to achieve distorted effect as such.

Solar panel for collecting and storing sunlight.

Copper cladded building facade.

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Structural composition

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Apperance composition


Details of Joinery Since the design’s main characterisitic is the ability of the whole structure to rotate in response to sunlight, the structural engineering details are of paramount important to assure the constructibility of the design. The structural details produced for the design is partly referenced on the mechanism of solar system technology and partly informed by the structural knowledge learned thus far. These information are put into logical manner in producing the details as such.

Structural detail as a whole

Connection between steel structure and spherical rolling joint via pivot point

Detail of Pivot and Footing connection with structure

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II.5. Technical Construction Process After getting feedback from the tutor, the design proceded from conceptual ideas into digital modelling and finally to realization [construction phase]. Having three digital model of the twisted forms with different scales, each sides of the geometry are unrolled into 2D flat surfaces in Rhino. Despite the idea of repetition which requires huge amount of the specific forms, these can be easily produced via Rhino. Due to the vastness of the design coverage on site, only a portion of them are realized. The 2D strips for each specificallyscaled series of form are duplicated conveniently and quickly. This could probably be related back to what have been discussed in the early semester about the advantages of computational architectural design as the amount of time consumed is indeed minimal. Next, the unrolled 2D strips are arranged nicely to fit into the desired paper size for fabrication. Due to the time constraint, the design was not fabricated in FabLab but rather manually cut and assemblied. With these, the whole process of scoring, cutting strips and tabs are carried out. These process had taken up to two days in order to produce strips ready for the twisted form assembly. Mistakes made during the scoring and cutting process had caused some flaws on the strips produced. Moreover, some had to be redo or reproduce due to the human errors. The entire process was indeed energy and time consuming.

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The strips with tabs cut were then glued together to produce the twsited form as designed in Rhino. Despite great effort put in to make it as flawless as possible, the inaccuracy or less precision caused by the discrepanies done by different group members had caused the imperfection of the physical model. This has, again, proved how the alternative of using digital technology [for instance, laser cutting] associated with computational design would have avoided mistakes made, saved up the redundant energy and time consumed with high accuracy and precision. Figures on the following page showed the technical construction process.


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Fabricated strips are printed out on A1 paper. 2.

Completed strips with cut tabs. 5.

Strips are cut out to be sticked to specific paper materials representing specific panels for each face of the design 3.

Tabs are folded at 90 degree.

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Tabs are cut.

Tabs are used as the connecting joints for assemlbying the whole structure.

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Physical Model As all the strips have been realized into the twisted form, the question on how to make the physical model rotatable has prompted the use of pins as the supporting elements for the standing ‘poles’. It was thought that the pins might perform like the spherical rolling joint designated for the design and enabling the twisted poles to rotate. It did work as the twisted poles can be manually rotated. While everything seemed to be working fine, the largest poles lost its stability and tended to overly inclined toward its cantilevered part. In other words, the pins are only capable of supporting the largest poles for a fleeting momentand the poles eventually fell off from being secured on the site model. The falling of a series of poles had toppled on the subsequent series situating in front (middle poles) and damaged the model as a whole. At last, all the twisted poles are sticked and fixed at places with glue. Despite structural stability, the physical model lost its rotatable quality as those have been envisaged in the digital model. The failure of the largest poles to stand has prompted the problem about the constructibility of the design. The inability of the form (of all three scales) to stand by itself due to its twsiting properties and the cantilevered feature has also brought up the issue whether the design is stable enough to be built for real construction. The cantilevered part of the design has probably affected the overall stabilty of the form despite the tapering effect adopted for the design. On the other hand, it could also be possible that it is the inperfection or man-made flaws during the assemblying process that caused problems for the structural integrity.

Site with pins to indicates locations for placing poles.

Succesful example of pole supported merely by pin.

Failure of pin to support larger pole.

Marks of scoring on ‘mirror’ material causng flaws rather than smooth surface.

Final Physical Model at the scale of 1:100. 93


Physical Model

Rotation changes the position of cantilevered part.

View seen during the absent of the hovering effect at the end of the design.

View of the poles along the road when the hovering effect is not seen.

View looking back at the twisted poles upon passing the site.

Cantilevered part aligns next to each other forming new pattern.

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Physical Model

View seen as car is approaching the site from afar.

Side view from car as one drives through the site.

Expected effect to be seen as car drive through- overhang with reflective surface at certain time of a day.

Hovering effect is experienced as car drive pass.

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Physical Model

Perspective view at higher angle.

Close up view on three series of poles with different scales.

Perspective view from the grassland.

Scoring was not done for the middle and largest poles after seeing the result produced in the smallest poles- clear and smooth reflective surface is achieved.

Model under lighting condition with interesting reflective light projected on floor from the reflective ‘mirror’ material.

Interesting effect created under light condition as if the model was built on water.

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Physical Model

White material to represent solar panel which is placed as 60 degree as possible for maximum absorption of sun.

View seen as car is further away from the poles (at the most left lane, for instance).

Reflective material (mirror) and black material (copper) can seen from a single point of view.

View seen as car is driving at the right lane (closest to the poles).

Ability of mirror material to reflect the grass color- depicting new visual experience for people as the pole rotates.

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II.6. Conclusion of Design Proposal As a whole, the main three design criteria: significance, dynamism, and changes, are achieved by the idea of repetition, its specifically designed form, solar system technology, as well as its materiality. Firstly, the quality of significance is realized with the repetition of the structure across the site, presenting an analogy similar to that of the sunflower field. Instead of having a large single structure as the point of attraction for the Gateway design, something new is proposed- a design comes in vast quantity for enhancing the the overall landscape experience of the site. On top of that, the potential of solar technology is extended and serves as the main source for driving the movement of the twisted poles. In relation with the sun position over the course of a day, the design will rotate and exhibits various different arrangement, thus presenting different visual perception for the people every day. For instance, the overhang of the poles might be experience in the morning as people drive to work but become absent during the dusk as people return from work. This has then contributed to the third criterion of changes, where both visual and sensational experience change as people pass through the site at different time on a day.

Speaking of the nature of the design which relied so heavily on the sun to perform, the problem of risking the structure remain static and not rotating is inevitable. The solution- the ability of solar technology to store energy for later use could be upgraded for greater storage. Also, the efficiency to covert solar enery into kinetic energy could be improved for generating energy for the poles to continue to move during day when sunlight is weak. In short, it is believed that the design proposal has fulfilled the brief requirement asking for a new, innovative and inspiring ideas which is apprehendable for people of all age groups. The design is innovative and easy to fathom- for its apparently lamp pole-like design. With its interestingly twisted form and thoughfully chosen materials, the rotatable composition could definitely invite a new sense of excitement for the exisiting mundane freeway as well as perform itself as an ever-lively iconic Gateway.

In fact, other than this daily changes, weathering effect incorporated within the design also demonstrates changes of the structure over the course of years. Such changes could be attributed to the careful selection of the design materiality. While lightweight steel truss system is used to provide adequate structural strength and achieving the complex twisted form in an efficient manner, copper cladding and mirror material are used for augmenting the effect of changes. Copper weathered and changes color whereas mirror reflects everything that it comes in contact with and hence altering the pole’s appearance depending on the rotation of the pole itself.

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III.1. Personal Background and Objectives As a student with very elementary knowledge on digital architectural design, the only experience of practising computational design might probably be the experience of creating a headpiece for Virtual Environment subject via Google Sketch Up. This subject, has provided an opportunity to explore computational design more in depth and it was hoped that the objectives of understanding architectural discourse brought up by computational design and also the capacity of utilizing more advance digital modelling tools could be achieved. After the Mid-Semester submission, lots of effort have been put in search for a more convincing design approach for the Gateway design. The failure to produce convincing argument and sounding effect for the design in the EOI has prompted us to engage more aggressively with the subject. These include engage more actively in discussion with the tutors and take feedback critically, spending more time in exploring the software like Rhino and Grasshopper which serve as the main designing tools for the subject, and also think more critically for every aspect of the design. The final outcome has been discussed in the Design Proposal section.

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III.2. Learning Progress and Outcomes In terms of individual progress, the most convincing learning outcome would be the theoretical understanding on parametric design. Since the beginning of the semester, the idea of computational design has been introduced and many readings and personal researches on architectural practices adopting digital design have been done and carried out. For understanding and being capable of explaining the word ‘parametric design’ to the others, I reckon it as a great achievement in my architectural studies. What’s more is the practical experience for using Rhino(parametric modelling tool) and Grasshopper(visual scripting tool). With the Matrix Definition provided in the early semester, the trial out for various combinations of these definitions have developed the idea of how input, associative and output components are used and clarified the scripting nature of the software in terms of its ability to generate various design possibilities. As a first-timer who could not understanding why a particular component is used or why a particular input is connected to a particular output in Grasshopper at the outset of the semester, a concrete improvement has been seen in the capability to make sense of complicated grasshopper definition and even development of definition as seen in the CUT Research Project for the Dior facade as well as the definition to control the rotation of a series of objects for the final design. Similarly, for Rhino, instead of being only capable of lofting two curves to form a surface as those up until week 8, other features of Rhino are explored for developing the design. These include the ability to play animation in Rhino so as to grasp an idea of how the real life experience would be as one drives pass the site. From there, adjustments are made in deciding the arrangement of the twisted poles on site. This process is probably similar with those carried out by the professional architects where a pseudo environment of the design is examined in the digital interface (with great accuracy) before proceeding to transform the design into a real building. media have been developed throughout the semester.

In fact, by week 12, the ability to build a 3D twisted pole and easily duplicated them into three different scales in Rhino, the ability to develop definition for controlling the rotation of 3D model built in Rhino, and also the ability to perform digital fabrication by unrolling the twisted form into 2D strips have definitely exhibited how the skills to design in various three-dimensional As mistakes are constantly made throughout the course, they are learned and corrected as well. For instance, as an inept photographer who took photos of physical model from ‘God-eye’s’ view during week 8, attention is paid for taking photographs only from the driver’s view during the final submission in week 12 (with exception for those to demonstrate particular perspectives). On top of that, the sacrifice of the rotation quality of physical model was sacrificed for achieving its overall stability had impeded the production of the stop-motion video on the dynamism and changes of physical model. Nevertheless, instead of presenting the dynamism with only words as those in the early semester and EOI, digital model in Rhino is used as an alternative approach for showing the proposed dynamism in the final week submission. Such approach demonstrated the competency to exploit computational method in achieving ideas which would not have been thought of in the earlier stages. The twelve week engagement with the subject has explored me to a series of interesting computational designing methods as well as creative presentation medium such as stop-motion video other than static diagrams. The controversies and contradiction of contemporary computational design practices are learned and experienced during the design process. It appears to be a truly controversial issue in terms of whether computational design is only a media for mimicking without actual creativity – this is experienced in the exercise of mix-andmatch definitions during week 4 where all the outcomes produced are of similar results amongst the students. 100


III.2. Learning Progress and Outcomes While the question of genuine creativity was in doubt, the final presentation in week 12 had refute the fact that computational design is merely a tool for copying as various design with different design approaches and effects are presented despite the fact that everybody is using the same designing and scripting software. In fact, the benefits of digital architectural design have been experienced including simple duplication of forms, capacities for versioning using 3D models, convenience in modifying design upon receiving feedback and so forth. Meanwhile, the disadvantages of computational techniques have also been confronted. These include the change of initially designed form in Rhino into a much simpler form as proposed for final design due to the inability to unroll it even after attempted by tutor and also the temporarily halt of design process due to inability to develop an appropriate Grasshopper definition to control the rotation of the poles as intended until professional guidance was sought from tutor.

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III.3. Future Work In essence, with the learned background and novice level of adopting parametric design and scripting culture, it is decided that the skills of using Rhino and Grasshopper will be developed by adopting them as the main means of design for the coming studio. Meanwhile, more information on the software will be explored via reliable online videos and the BEND manual. More time will be committed in figuring out the logics and reasoning behind the Grasshopper definition. Also, stop-motion video will definitely be adopted for future presentation as it communicates more effectively to the audience. With these, it is hoped that computational design could be mastered to inform my future career in this field.

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Journal