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“applying the principles of science to solving the problems of humanity.� B u c k m i n s t e r

F u l l e r

Personal Statement

My name is Nicholas Cooper, I am 39 years young. I am a third year Environments student majoring in architecture. I have completed a Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design in which I gained experience with digital design programs such as AutoCAD, 3D Studio MAX, Page Maker and Photoshop. I have had limited experience with Illustrator and Indesign. I have a keen interest in architectural design, interior design and industrial design, as well as sculpture and fine art. It has been a long time wish of mine to study Architecture with the aid of digital design tools as I am passionate about a career in which I can be involved in an imaginative blend of Art and Science in the design of environments for people. Naturally I am a decision maker and I revel in team leadership and creativity. In choosing Architecture with the use of digital design tools as I am interested in the fact that people need places in which to live, work, play, learn, meet and shop all of these enabled by the evaluative nature of these tools. At a young age I was a Designer using CAD, I am trained in the art and science of building design and I long for the privilege to be licensed to protect public health, safety and welfare. In the future I hope to transform these needs into concepts and then develop these into building images that can be constructed by others through the use of a virtual environment.

Skill Set: Rhino:










In doing so, I will satisfy my personal need to communicate between and assist those who have needs. I believe my talent lies within a role that will involve computer generation of architecture as well as interaction with clients, users, the public as a whole and those who will make the spaces that satisfy those needs. Whether the projects I tackle are single rooms or a new building or the renovation of an old one, as an Architect I am interested in providing professional services, ideas, insight, technical knowledge, drawings, models both physical and computer generated within the virtual world. I am confident in my ability to deliver a balance of an extraordinary range of functional, aesthetic, technological economic, human, environmental, and safety factors. As an Architect I will be in a position in which I have the opportunity of finding a coherent and appropriate solution for the needs at hand. Interest in a career as an Architect comes easily, and it began early. By learning to see buildings, spaces, and their relationships, I am sensitive to things that concern Architects. I notice the effects of colour, texture, light, and shape. I consider how spaces feel when we are in them. I look for rhythm and pattern, simplicity and ornament, old and new in our environment. As an Interior Design Student I visited the design studios of schools of architecture, toured the offices of a local firms and read books and magazines on architecture to gain a broad understanding of the nature of an Architects work and the values of the profession. An Architecture curriculum is intensive and demanding, however I know that I am capable of putting in the required hours of late-night effort. The most exciting thing for me about the prospect of Architecture study is the opportunity to participate in a digital Design studio.


Architectural technology has developed significantly over the last 2 decades which have allowed a multitude of options for generating designs. Computerised design has enabled students to manipulate the design process from its infancies to be most high-tech levels of analysis. At university computer modeling has become the most integrated design solution to the varying problems that arise in designing the high-tech buildings of today. In fact it has become the universal discourse of the design and building industries. It presents an interface in which sculpting architectural space has allowed various and wide architectural forms to become possible. Digital media becomes malleable in a physical sense as the type of architecture we are talking about allows a complex set of architectural prototypes which are precisely aimed at generating a discourse about the design of interactive space. Entry into such a highly diverse range of possibilities is allowed as the built or physical is transformed into the digital environment and parameters are tested to the ‘limit’ of unlimited possibilities. Structures within computer environments allow geometry to be unfolded into translucent and divided layers creating a virtual space which is hypothetically perceived in four dimensions. In this journal which has been created through extensive research through architectural magazines I have encountered and included different contributions from leading architectural projects most commonly concentrating on the use of parametric modelling to create these buildings of interest. I have also included one building in which I believe the design to be boring, in fact ugly. At this point the question arises - which of these buildings uses parametric modelling? Can parametric modelling techniques replicate nature? - and if so, how? Does it do it through the replication of form, structure or ornamentation? The use of space by interaction between physical and ethereal elements enabling people using the space to have their senses provoked and to see the unseen. An interesting question is how parametric modelling enables the use of a designed space in regard to how it was foreseen and ultimately constructed. In regard to the buildings in question their atmospheric quality, acoustics and light all play a part relevant to how they were perceived from the architect’s vision of the space and then realised through parametric design.

A.1. Achitecture as a Discourse

‘Over the last 20 years technological advances have presented a range of new possibilities for architects. All students now learn some form of Computer Aided Design (CAD) skills at schools of architecture and it is now an accepted language in the discourse of the discipline.’11 Now that we are taught how to use scripting or computer based methods of architectural design the ultimate “solution space” can be susceptible to designer abuse with the creation of unbuildable architectures. If addressing the problem and continually referring to it, we can avoid such side tracks of abuse and we can orient design and in some cases produce amazing, previously unattainable, architecture. An advantage with parametric design is that as in virtual reality environmental conditions can be tested as with car and boat design where things like aerodynamics are important. ‘The starting point for many design methods has been the notion that design is a process of searching for a solution that satisfies a given set of goals and constraints. The sought-after solution, according to this notion, “exists” within a universe of potential, or candidate, solutions— a so-called solution space.’ 15 This technological advance has presented a whole new interface to describe architectural spaces and has allowed new sorts of architectural forms to evolve. ‘A set of installations and architectural prototypes, it is aimed at developing a discourse about the design of interactive space and, more precisely, investigating ways of treating digital media as physical matter. The surface of a computer projection is unfolded onto a translucent structure, with the result that ‘layers of digital information, behaviour and ambience share projection territories’ and create the prospect of a ‘nonscreen-based computer environment’.’ 1 As history tells us the process of architectural design is now a lot further down the technological track than previous methods using plans, sections and elevations all done by hand. In the birth stage, design appears in one’s head then on paper and for highly sophisticated generation – the computer. It is infact, the computer that allows us more technically advanced design through which we can create a level of abstraction not formally attainable with previous methods.

‘As an idea, a formless phenomenon, a technological development towards lightness, a tabula rasa of a capitalist economy, a gradual loss of architecture’s moral weight and certitude’ 6 Despite the current situation - where the computer has its downfalls because of a lack of control in some situations where the computer becomes the designer – not the facilitator as designer. However, the computer has an innate ability to provide the platform within which we are provided with the opportunity to conceive, write, draw and model to a further and far more sophisticated form of architecture. It is important to note that the quality of the design idea, its purpose or “moral weight” is dependent on the ability of the designer – not necessarily the technology. ‘For a long time architecture was thought of as a solid reality and entity: buildings, objects, matter, place, and a set of geometric relationships. But recently, architects have begun to understand their products as liquid, animating their bodies, hypersurfacing their walls, crossbreeding different locations, experimenting with new geometries.’ 5 With the attraction of blob architecture, in this case where ‘the term blob connotes a thing which is neither singular nor multiple but an intelligence that behaves as if it were singular and networked, but in its form can become virtually infinitely multiplied and distributed.’ 7 Currently there are many theories surrounding blob architecture and its ability to impress visually and the possibilities of fabrication at high speed with a previously unachievable precision. The only downfall of this type of architecture is that the more sophisticated the design is, the harder it is to build. Though the architect is allowed to visualise his or her dream design and critique it, in some cases it may not be built and they just remain as theorised entities. ‘architecture is as much a philosophical, social or profes¬sional 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.’ 13 As Patrick Schumacher states, ‘[architecture] encompasses all three categories: artefacts, knowledge and practices - all understood as communications that connect to each other in an ongoing recursive network.’10 Hence, the built and un-built architectures both have just as much authority in the context of architectural discourse and how we communicate them.

‘The autopoiesis of architecture is the ongoing communication process that takes place in myriad architectural practices, schools of architecture, magazines, books and web-sites: a gigantic parallel process producing a swarm-formation of cross-referencing elements. The total mass of communications that constitutes this autopoiesis comprises diverse items such as sketches, drawings, CAD files, renderings, buildings and photographs of buildings that all circulate as communications.’ 10 At this point of scripting for architectural purposes we can say that the environment has come to a point where the majority of architects are using Computer Aided Design methods. Historically CAD has used primitives where scripting software creates volumes via points, curves and surfaces – in contemporary practice it is becoming more prevalent that through object oriented scripting within a CAD tool has imbedded itself within the designer’s process of creating and procuring the architectural result - of which the software is either too advanced to pick-up. The environment of cyberspace allows for sharing of scripting data which in some ways compromises the control or authorship of parametric design processes. The concept of design sharing is still in the stages of debate and it is a fact that learning scripting is enabled by the use of co-authorship. This type of learning enables a further depth in architectural concepts, both philosophical and material which an individual can presuppose.

1. Circle 2. Copy x2 top

3. AreaCentroid 4. Scale 5. Loft



1. Rotate3d 2. Cap


3. BooleanDifference 4. Extractsrf



1. Rotate3d 2. Rectangle


3. Split 4. Scale1d



1. Mirror 2. Dupborder


3. Planarsrf 4. Split Left

5. Extractsrf


Grasshopper Challenge 1.0 Volume/Room

Grasshopper Challenge 2.0 Meshing Exercise



Bouman, Ole, 2005, ‘Architecture, Liquid, Gas,’ Architectural Design, vol 75, no. 1.


Brady, Peter (2013) Computation Works: The building of algorithmic thought. Architectural Design, 83, 2, pp. 8 – 15


Brady, Peter (2013) Realising the Architectural Intent: Computation at Herzog & De Meuron. Architectural Design, 83, 2, pp. 56 - 61


Farrelly, Lorraine, 2007, ‘The Fundementals of Architecture,’ AVA publishing SA, Switzerland.


Freiberger, Marianne, 2007, Plus Magazine, viewed 10 April 2013, < fect-buildings-maths-modern-ar chitecture>


Hill, Jonathan (2006). ‘Drawing Forth Immaterial Architecture’, Architectural Research Quarterly, 10, 1, pp. 51-55


Lynn, Greg (1998) “Why Tectonics is Square and Topology is Groovy”, in Fold, Bodies and Blobs: Collected Essays ed. by Greg Lynn (Bruxelles: La Lettre volée), pp. 169-182.


Morten Wilhelm Scholz, 2001, Open Buildings, viewed 21 May 2013, ings/milwaukee-art-muse um-profile-2502


Pilloton, Emily,2007, Inhabitat, viewed 21 May 2013, < um-by-herzog-and-demeuron/>


Schumacher, Patrik, ‘Introduction : Architecture as Autopoietic System’, in The Autopoiesis of Archi tecture (Chichester: J. Wiley, 2011), pp. 1 - 28.

11. Somlai-Fischer, Adam, 2005, Aether Architecture, ‘Induction House,’ Architectural Design, vol 75, no. 1. 12. Weisstein, Eric, 2003. CRC Concise Encyclopedia of mathematics. Second. Florida: Chapman & Hall/ CRC. 13. Williams, Richard, ‘Architecture and Visual Culture’, in Exploring Visual Culture : Definitions, Con cepts, Contexts, ed. by Matthew Rampley (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005), pp. 102 - 116. 14.

Wilson, Robert A. and Frank C. Keil , 1999, Definition of “algorithm” in The Mit Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science (London: The MIT Press) pp.11-12


Yehuda E. Kalay, Architecture’s New Media : Principles, Theories, and Methods of Computer-Aided Design (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2004), pp. 5 - 25;

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Cfi 339517 nicholas cooper discoursedraft  

Studio Air - Journal Draft

Cfi 339517 nicholas cooper discoursedraft  

Studio Air - Journal Draft