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AirStudio Nicholas du Bern





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PART A - Introduction - Personal Testimonial Knowledge of Digital Design Architecture as Discourse Computational Architecture Parametric Modeling Algorithmic Exploration Interim Conclusion PART B - Design Approach Algorithmic Sketch 1 Algorithmic Sketch 2 Case Study 1 - VoltaDom Case Study 2 - La Vo没te de LeFevre Technique Development Technique Prototyping Technique Proposal Conclusion and Learning Outcomes PART C - Design Concept Site Maps Design Evolution Artistic Impressions Technical Elements Pre-fabrication & Connections Design Realisation Learning Outcomes Bibliography


Introduction. Personal Testimonial.


My name is Nick du Bern. I am currently studying at The University of Melbourne where I am in my third year of a Bachelor of Environments, majoring in architecture. I am Australian born but grew up in New Zealand. I returned to Australia to gain a higher education. The things I enjoy most in life are art, design, travel, friends and family. After secondary school I did not know what kind of a career I could envisage myself enjoying for the rest of my life so I put tertiary education on hold. I had a ‘gap year’ that lasted seven years. In that time I mainly travelled which encompassed the world and many seasons chasing the snow. I came to the realisation that I wanted to study and so I have decided to embark on career that I think I will enjoy. Architecture ticked all the boxes for a career being creative, evolving, engaging and most of all challenging.

1. Maximillion Scott-Murray, 2012, Photograph.



Educational and Digital design Experience.


Since the commencement of my studies in architecture I have used computer programs as a platform to display, layout and construct pre-designed works derived mainly from physical exploration and design. In 2011 I completed a first year studio based course ‘Virtual Environments’ where I had an introduction into the possibilities of computer-generated designs with the use of Rhinoceros. The studio worked from design development through to the physical construction of a [3] design. This process included the digitisation of a physical model into Rhinoceros. After digitisation we explored different design outcomes and modifications using the panelling tools in Rhinoceros. Although my design didn’t significantly contribute anything to the field of digital design, personally it shed light on an area of design and architectture I had never encountered before. I have also had a small amount of engagement with the fabrication of models using computer aided manufacturing (CAM) with the Fab Labs lazer cutters. I found this method for constructing models much faster and much more accurate. I am looking forward to investigating digital design outcomes further and pushing myself to gain a greater understanding of the theory involved in the hope to contribute to this interesting field of architecture. 2. Nicholas du Bern, 2010, Model/Photograph. 3. du Bern, Model/Photograph.


[4] 4. du Bern, Model/Photograph.


Architecture as Discourse.


Architecture as discourse is the theoretical thinking that is exchanged, analysised, critiqued and followed (or not followed). This is an ever changing set of ideas and principles that govern the direction of architecture in its strive for forward movement. Historically this discourse was generally closed to only the people involved with architecture, engineering and building. Modern architectural discourse has since evolved with the methods of exploration and now includes an immensely wide variety of disciplines ranging from science, mathematics, and boat builders to name a few. Anthony Vidler notes that “any serious “rethinking” of architecture at the start of this century cannot be undertaken without upsetting the structure and emphases of the traditional typologies, and of traditional modes of envisaging the architectural subject […]” [5]. What I take from this statement is the necessity to rethink architecture no matter what the outcome is as there will always be an adverse reaction when one is experimenting, for a truly open discourse we must break tradition and explore all avenues. Through the tools and information shared in Air Studio, I plan to take proactive steps in exploring the possibilities to extend my knowledge of architecture as discourse. The importance of architecture is argued by Williams to be forms or structures that govern our movement within an urban environment, which even endeavors to moralize and discipline us. This description of the public realm gives a far greater meaning to


5. Vidler, Anthony. ‘Review of Rethinking Architecture and The Anaesthetics of Architecture by Neal Leach’, Harvard Design Magazine, no. 11 (2000), pp. 3 6. Patrik Schumacher. ‘Introduction : Architecture as Autopoietic System’, The Autopoiesis of Architecture (2011), pp. 1.

architecture than merely just built forms. This means that there is a connection between the physical, social and political which can be explored through the development of a holistic and organic view into architecture. This restates the need for discourse to be open to more than just architects but to anyone who feels they can contribute. I strongly agree with the statement made by Schmacher when he said “architecture as a system of communications is neither a mere collection of artifacts, nor a mere form of knowledge, nor merely a particular professional practice. Rather it encompasses all three categories: artifacts, knowledge and practices.”. This is way of breaking down the historical and theoretical boundaries of what can contribute to architectural discourse. This means that architectural dialog can be shared and interoperated from many different forms of information, ideas and areas.[6] The endeavour for innovation in architecture is not a new concept and neither is computational design a radically new concept. Throughout the cold war era, the work by a group of MIT researchers and engineering students developed technological design discourses based around computational abstractions. The above image shows some of the first abstractions. This new idea addative to architectural discourse altered the view on possible design outcomes and design parameters. This was the basis of what 3D software are based off today and has significantly changed the possibilities of architecture today with the use of Algorithmic exploration. [8]

7. Daniel Llach, ‘Algorithmic Tectonics: How Cold War Era Research Shaped Our Imagination of Design’, Architectural Design, pp 21. 8. Llach, ‘Algorithmic Tectonics: How Cold War Era Research Shaped Our Imagination of Design’.

Right - Vila Savoye. Architect: Le Corbusier Location: Poissy, France. Year: 1931

Below - Drawings by Archigram.

Architect: Archigram Location: Paris Biennale des Jeunesses, France. Year: 1967

Architectural discourse can be seen as a way in which we as a global culture can reform the interpretations we have upon the built environment to gain a current yet constantly evolving meaning, function and practise of architecture. I found the following quote from Archigram very thought provoking, “buildings with no capacity to change can only become slums of ancient monuments”[9]. Some of the work by Archigram was really interesting in terms of theory and exploration that added to architectural discourse. The project submitted to the 1967 Paris Biennale des Jeunesses was based around the idea of ones self determination of their own environment where designers and architects are not involved. The structure is reduced to a mere carcass, in which the inhabitants have control over thier environment.[10] Le Corbusiers Villa Savoye (1931) is another project that contributed to a new way of thinking about architecture. This building was designed encompassing new ideas from Le Corbusier, the five points of architecture. Simplified, the five points are as follows, The main structure should be lifted off the ground on pilotis, this links to the next two points, a free façade and an open interior. Ribbon windows for continuous engagement with the external environment and lastly a rooftop garden to replace the natural area in which building now sits. These five points have been monumental in their influence for future architects and their inhabitants. Although sometimes slightly altered these five points are very commonplace in current architecture.[12] [11]

9. Archigram, dir., Archigram, bbc Productions, 1966. Lecture 1, Studio Air 2013, Stanislav Roudavski, University of Melbourne. 10. ‘Control and Choice Dwelling’, Archigram, 2010, < project.php?drwid=291> 11. Archigram, ‘Control and Choice Dwelling’.

12. Leupen, Bernard. ‘Design and Analysis’, (New York : Van Nostrad Reinhold, 1997), pp 51. <> 13.


Computational Architecture.

Computers have been used in architecture for nearly 50 years. Over the last ten years the use of computers has become a standard tool in the industry. In recent years years there has been a change in the way architects are using computers in relation to the design process. There is two ways in which you can talk about computers involvement with architecture. Kostas Terzidis terms “computerisation” as the act where an architect uses a computer program as a platform where drawings are easily and quickly edited, copied and highly precise.[13] This is one benefit of using computers in architecture. In comparison to computerisation, Computation is still a relatively uncommon practise in architecture today. Computation is the use of computer programs to aid in the creation of a structure that is designed through the limitations set by a framework where parameters determine the interaction between different data sets within the set framework. This method is not new but the depth of complexity and its relationship connections made possilbe by computers helps in creating complicated and informed, geometries and structures.[14] Similarly to the other movements in history such as the inventive industrial age, computation in architecture is changing the way in which the design process is approached. Instead of a process where a project is pre-designed and then represented within a computer, you can set out information within a computer program and generate designs from the organisation and definitions of data with parameters. 13.Terzidis, Kostas, ‘Algorithmic Architecture’, Oxford: Architectural, 2006. 14. Menges, A, & Ahlquist, ‘Computational Design Thinking’, (Chichester, UK : John Wiley & Sons, 2011).



This can restrict the function, form and performance of the model. One of the other changes that comes with Computation is the ability to incorporate a wide variety of information and data within a 3D drawing in a computer program. This information can be things such as the analysis of the material performance, structural analysis, and the break down of components for Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM). With the use of computers, new opportunities are becoming more widely used and explored. The use of Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) brings a new level of precise and complex construction. The use of machines and robots means the ability to create incredibly intricate and technical structures (or parts of) at a faster rate with higher precision than if a human had constructed it. The use of parametric design is not only about control but is also about exploration. Pre-rationalisation is one method in which one can set out a number of principle rules regarding the feasibility of construction from the start of the design process. With the use of computational parametric design, a shift from the stricter pre-rationalisation may occur. A different approach could be post-rationalisation where an aesthetic design outcome is the main focus and not the physical conditions of a constructed building. 15. Stock Photo - Steel arch golden Fish Frank O Gehry Port Olympic, Barcelona <

Peix d’Or.

Architect: Gehry + Partners Location: Barcelona, Spain. Year: 1992

The work by firms such as Gehry Partners show a thorough understanding of postrationalisation. A design may be physically constructed with the use of sketch models and then digitally remake the model in a 3D computer program. With the use of mathematical concepts with a specific material in mind (generally sheet metal), the out comes they can envisage are generally very interesting and exploratory yet completely feasible. Physically modelling their designs from refine the model as the card mimics the properties of sheet metal in reality. The use of computers and parametric design is to investigate, refine and capture these innovative geometries. This approach is one that I believe is acutely feasible due to the relationship between materials and geometry. This is reflected in their project the Peix d’Or or Fish Sculpture at Vila Olimpica in Barcelona, 1989-1992. This design was constructed using a computer software originally designed for aircraft design and manufacture, CATIA (Computer Aided Threedimensional Interactive Application). The design was a ‘file to factory’ project where no paper plans were necessary in its manufacture of its components. At the time this was a relatively new idea for architecture and this project added to global architectural discourse.[16]


This was a new option for manufacturing. The convergence of the representational process and production process has changed the roles of architects from just the designer to the designerbuilder. The ability to change a model and alter a model in a 3d design format can have the advantage of taking little time and automated correcting of features. A key factor I believe that parametric design offers the new wave of design thinking is change and alter, over the traditional process of scrap it and re-design. Within parametric design another factor in parametric design is the method of design exploration can quite easily lead to unexpected design outcomes. These unexpected outcomes can be a positive design feature that was inconceivable and or unthinkable through the conventional design approach.

16. Lazo, Caroline E. ‘Frank Gehry’, (Minneapolis : Twenty-First Century Books, 2006). 17. Lazo, ‘Frank Gehry’.


Parametric Modeling.

intent in merely a new directional platform that adds a more complex and directive relation through strict algorithms. This has brought about a change in not only in design approach but the total methodical process of the project at hand. Parametric thinking has emerged out of the field of mathematics. Mathematics in some way or another have been involved in architecture from the beginning, over the years extremely complex mathematics have been involved in many pre-computer age buildings. Computation means a new element of mathematics is added to the architectural design process that had not been thoroughly utilized before. The aesthetic final form is not the primary focus at the beginning of exploration, it is first the patterns, then details are added which culminate into a final form. Inessential details are left out in this process leaving a certain room for unexpected design outcomes. This is contrasting with traditional design approaches.

Parametric modeling from my understanding is not new. The idea of having set number of parameters that are interrelated comes with practically any design. The notion of a parameter or function that governs a design output is normal. The emergence of computation with parametric

This means, if a complex design is planned via the traditional method of design and is incorrect or needs reworking, the amount of time and effort may make the project unfeasible. The design outcomes of a parametric design may not be evident until the final stages of the process. As there is a more cohesive connection and understanding of the design this mean a change can be more easily altered. These algorithms within the design must be carefully planned and understood if any value can be taken form the project. It is very important to understand what the algorithmic relationships are in the design as complexity can be the downfall of computational parametric design.

[18] 18. Skylar Tibbits, Image, 2011, <>



Architect: Skylar Tibbits Location: Massachusetts, USA. Year: 2011

Through out the building up of a design, the nodes and algorithms may form extremely complex and daunting groupings, this can be confusing or hard to interoperate which will limit the ability to share the information with anyone else or even understanding by the creator themselves. This is where importance of planning, clarity and notation come into play as an algorithm is explained like a recipe, if one ingredient is missing then your dinner is ruined. Some designers like myself find it hard to think in this new world of textual representation but it is really just like a language that needs to be studied, practiced and learnt. Once you know the language and understand how dynamic parametric modeling can be, the possibility for exploration are immense. This dynamism means that varied design outcomes are more easily and quickly produced. Through a dedicated community of parametric designers, there is a large support base, which is actively engaged in parametric design as a discourse. A section of parametric design that interests me is the tessellation of extremely complex forms. Tessellation at its most basic definition is the possible patterns and forms in which a surface of plane can be broken into. This is not to say that its strictly a aesthetic approach yet is often linked to the underlying structure of a design.


A good example of Tessellation is in the work VoltaDom by Skylar Tibbits. This installation is positioned in a hallway between two buildings at MIT. The structure is made of hundreds of doubly curved vaults with oculi openings. The aim of the project was to create a complex surface with an ease of assembly. This was feasible through the use of computational design. The vaults were made so that each vault was a developable surface that could be flattened into a single flat plane and in turn machine cut straight from information supplied by the 3D computer model. This shows that with the aid of computational design, incredibly complex forms can become easily constructible and visually very captivating.[20]

19. Skylar Tibbits, Image, 2011, <> 20. ‘Voltadom – MIT 2011’, Sjet, Date accessed: 17/3/2013, < VOLTADOM.html>


Dragon Skin Pavilion.

Architect: Emmi Keskisarja, Pekka Tynkkynen, Kristof Crolla, and Sebastien Delegrange Location: Hong Kong, China. Year: 2012


Another very interesting project was the Dragon Skin Pavilion by Architects Emmi Keskisarja, Pekka Tynkkynen, Kristof Crolla, and Sebastien Delegrange. This project was also made with tessellation. Like Gehrys ‘Fish’ this is a file to factory design. the only material used in this project was post-formable Grada Plywood. It is a new material that can be heated and compressed into forms. This was revolutionary in the field of moldable plywood. As well as the use of new materials, CNC machines manufactured the joins that connect each individual board. This helped in creating a very accurate construction method that steered away from conventional methods of communication where plans and drawings are necessary. The two precedence mentioned previously show a shift in design approach and procedure. They are a new way of designing and constructing. These projects in my opinion add to the greater architectural discourse. [22]


[24] 21. Dragon Skin Pavilion, Photograph, 2012, <> 22. ‘Dragon Skin Pavilion’, Labritory for Explorative Architecture and Design, Date Accessed 20/3/2013, <>


23. Dragon Skin Pavilion, Photograph, 2012. 24. Dragon Skin Pavilion, Photograph, 2012.

Through out the building up of a design, the nodes and algorithms may form extremely complex and daunting groupings, this can be confusing or hard to interoperate which will limit the ability to share the information with anyone else or even their creator themselves. This is where importance of planning, clarity and notation come into play as an algorithm is explained like a recipe, if one ingredient is missing then your dinner is ruined. Some designers like myself find it hard to think in this new world of textual representation but it is really just like a language that needs to be studied, practiced and learnt. Once you know the language and understand how dynamic parametric modeling can be, the possibility for exploration are immense. This dynamism means that varied design outcomes are easily and quickly produced. Through a dedicated community of parametric designers, there is a large support base, which is actively engaged in parametric design as a discourse. A section of parametric design that interests me is the tessellation of extremely complex forms.

definition is the possible patterns and forms in which a surface of plane can be broken into. This is not to say that its strictly a aesthetic approach yet is often linked to the underlying structure of a design. A good example of Tessellation is in the work VoltaDom by Skylar tibbits. This installation is positioned in a hallway between two buildings. The structure is made of hundreds of doubly curved vaults with oculi openings. The aim of the project was to create a complex surface

with an ease of assembly. This was feasible through the use of computational design. The vaults were made so that each vault was a developable surface that could be flattened into a single flat plane and in turn machine cut straight from information supplied by the 3D computer model. This shows that with the aid of computational design, incredibly complex forms can become easily constructible and visually very captivating. (sjet) [25]

25. Dragon Skin Pavilion, Photograph, 2012.


Algorithmic Explorations.

When exploring Rhinoceros and Grasshopper the most interesting Exlab tutorial I followed was Fractal Tetrahedra. I found the possible geometries very interesting. Exploring alternative outcomes with different shapes like hexahedrons however were not very successful. I found my limited knowledge a limiter in the exploration as I had Ideas to add to the design yet didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have the knowledge to execute them. I explored the possibilities for the use of Computer Aided Manufacture in a similar way to that of the Dragon Skin Project. Planar surfaces could be cut and assembled from the model on the lower left. The edges were offset to extend beyond the joins to be used as a connection point. The Model images of the models over the page are from the repeated use of the Mirror command in Rhinoceros. This created some very interesting outcomes. I think these geometries with some tessellation alteration to explore optimization and its surfaces could be an interesting avenue.



Interim Conclusion. Part A Conlusion.


Conclusion: With the use of parametric design via computation, architects have gained a new approach to designing and constructing. This is totally revolutionary not only in the design process but also in the involvement of a wider array of consultants, which include the user. The aesthetics of a building do not need to be separate when using parametric design, the ability to combine the two into one interrelated model is possible. Through my research in this field, I have seen the difference and value that this design approach that can give us as designers. My studio-group and myself plan on using these new methods to explore an architecture response to the Wyndham City Gateway project. The approach we will take is that of a design process where a design outcome is set by the allocation of parameters with explicit relationships to each other that governs the outcome. A focus on tessellation will be a key factor but as our explorations in parametric design likely to unfold other factors such as patterning, materials, and structure. This method will create an in depth and connected response to the brief that will hold a high level of complexity. This level of complexity will not be seen as a barrier but will show the scope and feasibility of using tools such as computational design. This will be an example of Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, and more specifically Wyndhamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s strive for more advanced involvement with architecture and its current discourse. Learning Outcomes: Throughout the course so far I have learnt new and interesting theories about architect and the way in which design outcomes may be achieved. Through the engagement with the supplied texts and my own research, I have gained an understanding that this field of architecture is under constant discussion and transformation. For any of my previous design projects I could have used parametric design happily if I had known the language to use it. I think that this is a very valuable and significant area of architecture that Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m sure will become commonplace in future.

26. Old and New, Nicholas du Bern, Digital Collage, 2013.



PART B: Design Approach. The Search for an Outcome.

In light of the design project for the Western Gateway Design Project, a design collective consisting of Emma Pattenden and myself has been formed to engage and interpret the brief to create an informed design proposal. By utilizing the ideas expressed in the previous study into computational design, we aim to explore the surface tessellation as the key element in our design outcome. We will use a number of case studies to gain a further understating into tessellation and then apply the learning to the Western Gateway Design Project. The application of computational design has permitted designers and architects to develop ever more sophisticated and technical surface patterning and tessellation techniques. The new surface techniques have the ability to create a vast number of different expressive building envelopes [QUOTE]. Patterns can now be used to express cultural and political information exceeding a purely decorative aesthetic. We plan to use tessellation in relation to the urban context and its history within Wyndham.


Algorithmic Sketching.

This matrix displays a number of ways that explorations were used to gain a further understanding of Grasshopper. This Matrix shows exploration of a 2D curve that had been populated randomly and then had a Voronoi added to divide the area. The Voronoi was offset and filleted. From here an attractor point was added to a sweeping curve that ran diagonally across the bounding curve. Quantities of attraction as well as push were added and to both the offset and the Voronoi. This created some interesting patterning effects and tessellations which would be used for further exploration later on.


Algorithmic Sketching.

In the lead up into more intensive study on tesselation, Image sampling was explored in Grasshopper. This was to see if any advantages could be taken away from intergrating external information such as Images. A number of variations were attempted. The most successful I believe are the forms where geometries were added as volumes to represent the images contrast. This brought 2 dimentional information the into 3 dimention.





Case Study 1. VoltaDom.

Architect: Skylar Tibbits Location: Massachusetts, USA Year: 2011


As previously described, Skylar Tibbits VoltaDom was chosen to explore the use and possible effects of surface tessellation. This project shows a very complex and deep understanding of the use of parametric design by Skylar Tibet. For the means of this exploration, a replica of his design is not the purpose rather a starting point for surface investigation. The replication of the VoltaDom started with a 2D curve in the X-Y plane which will create a boundary. A base geometry of a cone is made and cross-referenced with an identical cone in the same position as the first to determine the height to which the top is trimmed to give the cone its opening. These geometries are then randomly populated into the boundary curve. This was the base of the exploration. A number different techniques were explored with the opening apertures, resizing of the cones and density of the cones. These explorations were not overly valuable. The strive for a non-uniform cone geometry was needed to give the model variation and difference. A range parameter was introduced to govern the openings and height of the cones that started introducing variance. There were a number of problems that emerged in Grasshopper that exceeded the amount of personal knowledge acquired. When trimming the cones, the majority of the overlapping cones would trim but there were always pieces of the mesh that wouldn’t trim and sometimes create random ‘trim explosions’. The application of this tessellation to a 3D surface added a valuable outcome. The 3D surface was contoured and then the contours lines were divided and points added. Onto the points a plane was added to correspond to the angle of the changing divisions on the curve. The cone geometry’s were again added to the points and reflected the original 3D surface. This aids in the realization of the tessellation onto a 3D structure when contemplating a design outcome for the Western Gateway Design Project. 27.’Artinstallation’, Acidgalore, < artinstallation/>



Design Outcomes.

As a whole the desired outcomes were only partially met. The ability to create a non-uniform tessellation was positive but I believe the variation to be lacking in the magniture of variation and contrast I wanted. The lack of control when trimming also limited the valuable outcomes obtained. The level of complexity gained in VoltaDom is far surpass the experience of my novice application of Grasshopper. The outcomes that were valuable through exploration can contribute to a design outcome for the gateway project. The tessellation over the 3d surface, I believe twould react in similar ways to that of the VoltaDom. It would stand as a self supporting structure and could be used for a number of applications such as a gateway, pavilion, sculpture etc. By changing the geometry to a shorter, flatter cone without the opening, the design could be used as a self supporting emergency structure. The design could come in a flat pack, which is easily buildable by only bending and connecting a waterproof flexible plastic material. The opposite page shows a model unrolled into a planar form which is ready for computer aided manufacture and then assembly.



Unrolling a model for Computer Aided Manufacturing.






























Case Study 2. La Voûte de LeFevre . Architect: Matter Designs Location: Ohio USA. Year: 2012

[28] [18]

This installation was planned to engage in the discourse of innovation within architecture through the use of computational design. The design aimed to create an ideological relationship between contemporary architectural applications and the historic applications of compressive architecture.(QUOTE) The design outcome was a compressive structure comprised of a number segments of compressed Baltic birch plywood blocks. These blocks have been routed using a 5-axis Onsrud router. The alteration of its different components was completed by a complex evaluation the load forces being passed through the structure. After the evaluation of the members, subtractions of matter were removed from each member depending on the relationship its bordering members(QUOTE). This created a complex form where information of structural forces that hold a relationship which defines the tessellation. This left the design as an optimized compressive structure that referenced the historic practice of compressive architecture.

[29] 28. ‘La voute de lefevre’, 2012, <> 29. Ibid


In order to reverser engineer and explore possible outcomes from the emulations of La Vo没te de LeFevre, we started by exploring the application of a hexagonal geometry across a form. This created some interesting visual outcomes but did not achieve the outcome we wanted. Through a number of algorithmic explorations we discovered that using a voronoi or hexagon pattern is difficult to put across a mesh and limited to its alteration. This is partly because as we projected these outcome they were just skewing a 2D pattern onto a 3D surface. We were looking for a controllable surface of uniform segments to alter. In order to get closer to a set of valuable outcomes, we started our design on a simpler, single cone like surface. This created a lofted surface rather than a poly surface. After following tutorials and researching different commands we discovered different surface paneling tools. Some of these tools created complex geometries through using commands such as box morph and projecting voronio 2D patterns. The hexagon patterns still proving difficult to duplicate, we changed our focus from the hexagon grid to a form as close to La Vo没te de LeFevre as our knowledge of Grasshopper would allow us. After changing our approach, we discovered line and distance evaluators that enabled us to create some complex surface patterning across any form. The line attractors worked with the use a rectangle form where points are plotted along the vertices and have lines joint to a point placed into the middle of the surface. The lines inputted form the aperture in a hexagonal shape which when brought into 3D by moving the point out of the original plane. Evaluating the projected panels on the surface with a point offset from the lofted form manipulates the overall form giving us the ability to alternate cone like apertures.



After the multiple attempts to reverse engineer this project, we have achieved a number of valid and varied outcomes. Through this in depth algorithmic exploration in grasshopper, we have a solid base of knowledge and techniques in which we can take forward into our final design approach. We plan on further exploring the ability to manipulate certain surface geometries to give the notion of movement, change and adaptability. By using these techniques we can envisage the ability to create a dynamic and interchangeable surface that reacts to external information that can be engrained in our design.


Technique Development.


After the previous investigations of Case Study 1 & 2, We were interested in possible outcomes we could create. To check the feasability of the tesselation member, We divided a simple doubly curved surface in which we tesselated our geometry across. Once completed we unrolled each seperate geometry and added tabs for connections. Once nested, the mechanically driven Card-cutter at FabLab cut out each piece leaving it ready for assembly. Assembly was simple, following a set of prenumbered tabs that aligned and were then joint.




Technique Prototypes.

This stage of our design acts as a turning point in our design process where the modern process of purely computation design intermingles with the traditional design process. This is the stage in which we began to think of the reality of building our structure and its components. Following on from the forms created in our exploration process, most of the forms we created were composed of multiple connected planar surfaces. This installed a the idea of using mainly planar materials such as sheet metals, composite material boards, laminated compressed timber and or plywoodâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s. We came to the conclusion that a planar sheet such as plywood would be most suitable for this construction due to its availability, relative low cost and strength. As we started to break down and explore the possible joint systems we reverted to using only Rhinoceros due to the speed in which we could mock up vastly different connection models before we were to invest the time adding a possible unsuccessful joint into the model via Grasshopper. After a number of possible outcomes we felt that the two main joints we would take away and explore further would be the hexagonal grid structure consisting of vertical planar ribs and the key and pin type joint. Both of these systems show a relative simple construction method that enables the possibility of community involvement in the building process. This will give the community of Wyndham a sense of ownership and collaboration with the structure.




Hexagonal Grid Structure and Key & Pin Joint. Below: Images of both of the most sucessful types of joints.


Technique Proposal. Final Approach.

The design of the new sculpture along the freeway south of Werribee seeks to communicate the relationship between history and the present culture. It is an embodiment of the open-ended concept time and population. It expresses the physical conglomerations of people of Wyndham by using quantitative information about current area populations to restrain and manipulate a tessellated surface. When studying the idea of history in relation to populations, we came across two main factors that could influence the form. The Werribee river has been flowing since before the time of man within Australia,and once the first inhabitants arrived here it became a boarder between different Koori language groups. The different groups were the Wurundjeri, Bunurong/Boonerwrung and Wathaurong people. We took these two key factors and used them as referances in the formation of the base arrangement of the gateway. The surface treatment will be formed by a tessellation of oculi forms that change in shape and size with relation to the current population and its density within the Wyndham City Council area. This will become a focal point in the design as this will be the directly engrained information of the community in the project. As the cities growth will change in density and character due to the migration into, out the region, our gateway will have the ability to reform and change with these shifts in population and culture. The interchangeable panels along the sculpture will have the potential to grow into a diverse range of outcomes through further adaption and exploration. This will give the design a level of dynamism that will keep the sculpture as an ever changing and updating model of Wyndham and its history. The physical correlation between the people of Wyndham and the sculpture through the data input that alters the surface tessellation will allow locals to identify with the structure, personalizing it and physically seeing how they have directly influenced the design. The panels and joints connecting the tessellation surface will be designed in a way that will enable the community to assist in the connection and assemblage of the form, reinforcing the communities engagement in the sculpture, giving them a sense of pride when experiencing the sculpture at later dates. This construction process contributes to a development in the connection between architects, engineers, builders to the everyday users of the structure. The association between the varying density of Wyndham and the tessellation pattern will create a non static form, which will reveal distinctions depending on your perspective of the sculpture, emphasizing movement while traveling along the sculpture at high speeds The installation of the sculpture displays the way art is interwoven in the cultural fabric of Wyndhamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s populationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s daily lives, and brings these ideas into to the lives of everyone that uses the highway. It reminds and shows people that Wyndham has a dynamic and forward thinking society.




Expresion of design concept. Right: Wyndham City Region with the 3 Original Tribal regions, and the current population density map. Below: Form Diagrams



Site Map.

Werribee River.

3 Original Tribes.

Current Population.




Tessellation Outcome. Left: Diagram show how the external informaion of the population density in a 3D mapw could be put inplace to manipulate the tesselation.

These images show the further exploration with grasshopper. An Octagonal form was used to express a more complex tessellation. The application to a 3 dimension surface displays the possible workings of an externally informed design outcome.



Possible Formations.

Form Explorations, Emma Pattenden, Watercolour on Paper, 2013.


Interim Conclusion. Part B Conlusion.

Computational design was and still is a new tool within my architectural language. The extreme difference to the “typical” design approach was astounding and difficult to grasp at first. Once I had relaxed into the idea that the form doesn’t come first, I found it easier to design and let exploration take its course. Throughout the studio, a love-hate relationship developed. I found thinking mathematically orientated over design orientated very difficult. This is where group work became a valuable component to this studio, where as Emma is extremely proficient with math, I am far less confident in this field. The dynamics of our group worked well, the work was easily shared and the different skill sets were optimized. Overall I found it very enjoyable and engaging to investigate this field of architectural design. I feel as though I have learnt a lot within the short period of time within the studio but I would need much more time to be able to use computational design as an effect tool of for the creation of a wide variety of projects. Some projects need a level of sophistication and complexity that I believe that computation can deliver. This set of complex relationships is above human’s purely creative and conceptual intent, but on the other hand I believed some projects still only need a pencil and paper. Throughout the semester the readings showed an in depth discussion into the application and value of computation in the field of architecture. Although I agree that there are valid applications of computational design in architecture but I do not believe that it will become a main practice in the field of architecture. If computational design is to gain a more in depth involvement within the field of architecture, the architectural community needs to be more engaged and accepting of this field. Through the use of parametric design in Air studio I feel as though I have started to engage in this field and in turn are adding to the notion of computational designs involvement in modern architectural discourse.


PART C: Design Concept. Evolution of an Outcome.

After the initial planning of the design direction in Parts A and B, the implementation of the design within a site context was needed. We revisited the brief to scrutinise the relevance of our project, we felt that we had sufficiently met the briefs aims and requirements with our design direction. Our main focus from the brief was the goal of the structure to give a sense of identity to the people of Wyndham. With the use of parametric design as a tool, we developed an eye catching and intellectually stimulating design outcome. This will be done using methods of ingraining information about the history and current community in Wyndham, as well as the communities inclusion in construction process. This will give the community a sense of pride in the structure and in turn the structure will be a celebration of Wyndham and its people. This is where the technical implementation of the design process began. A direction we felt that needed more attention was the expression of growth and change. The design intent aimed to create a kind of openness to the restraints of the conventional ‘final’ design outcome. Evolution and change would be an integral part of this project that will see its form forever changing to replicate the community of Wyndham. After the installation of the initial design outcome, a time margin will be set to reevaluate the model and alter its physical design (we propose increments between 5-10 years). It is predicted that Wyndhams population will grow from its current population of 187,788 to 313,993 by 2028, this means they will be seeing massive changes in population density which will manipulate the future outcomes[30]. This will be done by using the information from the original design and contrast that with the new information of the population. The new form will be shown where deviation from the old form takes place. Material choice was an important contributor to the success of visually displaying the change and concept of time in the physical appearance of the model.

Form Finding.

Historical Layering - River - 3 Original Tribes - Current Density






PULL 30. Wyndham City, ‘Welcome to the City of Wyndham Population Forecasts’, 2011, <http://>


Site Maps.






Right: Wyndham City Region with Site marker, and genral Site map displaying site areas A + B. Below: Site Map with the current Design outcome




Design Evolution.

Material Consideration and Construction Planning.


Current Design.


2020 Design.

Design Evolution Diagram. Below: Possible future design outcomes that show a dynamic change.

The main material for the planar members of the tessellation groupings would be a 37mm Glue Laminated Structural Plywood. This structural plywood would be used for its strength to weight properties and environmental benifits over other materials. Standard plywood alone would not give us the desired effect of colour change over time so a thin veneer will be added. After researching a number of native timbers, a veneer of Grey Ironbark was chosen. This timber is extremely hard wearing, strong and has a substantial shift colour. Factors such as photochemical reactions from sunlight, pollution and weathering will be an important factor in displaying the notion of time in the design intent.[31] Grey Ironbark colour change symulation over time. CURRENT + 5 YEARS

2025 Design.


2030 Design.

31. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Forestry - Regional infrmationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, 2012, <>


Artistic Impressions.

Below: Visual representations of the possible design alterations over time. CURRENT DESIGN





2025 DESIGN 32. ‘Probable Design Outcomes’, Emma Pattenden, Watercolour on Paper, 2013.


Tectonic Elements.

Below: A diagram showing the simple 3 step process of constrction.

Parametric Design has enabled a level of connectivity with the people of Wyndham by embedding information of the community themselves into the physical outcome of the design. The involvement of the community does not stop in the design process as information but goes further to the participation in the construction process itself. The basis for the entire structure is the repetition of a singular tessellation group. These repeated groups change individually depending to their location within the final model. A method for construction was needed for the connection of the planar elemets. A pin joint system was derived and implemented within Grasshopper. The joins were developed to change independently to the relationship between each planar panel. This created a design that was feasibly 100% manufactured from computational information. This also facilitated the possibility for direct community involvement in the construction process due the simplicity of the connection. A 1:10 study model a single tessellation group was produced to check the feasibility of the construction method. This study model confirmed the ease of construction and the possibility for construction. The Material choice for the study model was 2MM clear perspex so show the joint detail easily from the exterior and the interior. [Image overleaf]






Pre-Fabrication & Connections.

Below: Image of a tessellation group that has been labelled, exploded and flattened then cut into ply-vaneer panels, metal joint connectors and pins are shown in blue.

One of the advantages of computation that was pointed out previously was the ability to use computer aided manufacturing, this will be employed in the Western Gateway Design Project. Once the final digital design model had been selected, a construction method was needed. By using a computational design platform such as Rhinoceros and Grasshopper, vast amounts of information is easily accessible. Options to clearly and quickly number large numbers of components within a model saved vast amounts of time. The design consisted of 180 different tessellation groupings over the 3 sections of the design. Each of the tessellation groups consists of 16 different size and shaped panels, making a total of 2880 individual planar panels. Each one of these panels were assigned a number in the model. After labelling the model is exploded and unrolled into a 2D format ready a CNC router to cut out the pieces This manufacturing method is simple and easy to read which enables the accessibility for an unskilled construction team such as the Wyndham communitys envolvement. The unrolled and labelled design will be cut on a large scale 2D industrial CNC router. After cutting, pieces will be packed into clearly labelled groups and sent to the site ready for the simple assembly. Each tessellation group will be able to be built by the community just off site, when a tesselation group is completed, a professional team will use a crane to lift and secure the group into place onsite .


Joint Model.

Right: Close up of 1:10 Joint model showing the working Joint Below: One complete tessellation group modelled at 1:10, this shows the feasibility of the joints.


Design Realisation.

Current Design Model displaying the manipulation and suggestive forms of the tesselation in relation to Wyndham.



Learning Outcomes. Below: Algorythmic Flow-diagrams.

Tesselation Group Flow-Diagram

Joint & Fabrication Flow-Diagram


This studio from the start worked at denying any notion of what I believed to be the best approach to design. At the beginning of the studio conventional design approach was thrown out the window and a new approach was offered. Computational design allows for the final outcome of the design process to be realised at the very end of the process, at first I thought was not economical in both time and effort. What I would learn over the semester would change my views on this alternative design approach. I would see that Computational deisgn has a time and a place within the future of architecture. Over the semester I have learnt the valuable idea of design optioneering from this studio. With a focus on the abilities of parametric design, the vast array of possible design outcomes were shown in the early matrixâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s where I first explored the possibilities of Grasshopper. A vast array of options manifested at a much after rate If I was to have designed and hand draw the same quantity of work by hand.


Learning Outcomes Cont.

Below: Overall Learning Diagram from Start to Finsh

Algorithmic sketches proved to help me explore the possibilities and alterations of outcomes. These alternative possibilities gave rise to more interesting avenues of exploration such as tessellation. This started to become evident in the algorithmic sketches a the start of Part B. This investigation of computational design lead to gaining greater understanding of the possibilities of what could achieved when using Rhinoceros and Grasshopper. An interest in incorporating information from an external set of information to govern our design became a focus early in our design process. This was heavily influenced by following our second case study La Vo没te de LeFevre by Matter Designs (page 33). We aimed to replicate a the semi hexagonal forms of tessellation which were governed by force information of its structure. We failed to succeed in its repition due to our lack of knowledge in Grasshopper.


A number of other techniques were used emulate the case study such as box morph but these did not portray the kind of complexity in tessellation we wanted. We shifted focus to use distance and line evaluation of a divided rectangle that created a form of tessellation that was easily variable. From this we created a relationship to between a form and a 3D graph of the population density of Wyndham to alter the tessellation member. This was an entirely different method of designing that sees the final form come together relatively late in a design approach. Due to the amount of research, trials and errors in getting to this point the design process, we believed the design would feasible. Although I worked very hard to gain a firm grasp of Grasshopper as a design platform, I constantly found myself staring into a computer screen, suck without the knowledge to move further.

This is where group work became the saving element. Although my team mate and myself were both new to Grasshopper at the beginning of the semester, my team member became more confident a lot faster. I think this was due to the fact she was more knowledgeable and in turn confident with the mathematical approach to design. This dynamic worked well for me as if I became stuck, she always seemed to have a better understanding of the problem and in turn a way to solve the problem. This dynamic also worked well in other areas such as analytic diagramming where I felt more confident in bringing forth the information needed. As a group I think we used the strengths of each otherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s knowledge to our advantage and could easily split the workload accordingly.


Learning Outcomes.

Digital Fabrication was a major factor in our design. Although I had some experience in digital fabrication I learnt valuable lessons in creating the joint models. We made a number of joint models where some were successful and others were not. When using the laser cutter, we learnt that some materials such as plywood lost more material cutting process than perspex. This meant that we had to change the sizes of the joints to allow for this loss of material and keep the joints snug and fitted. This proved rather frustrating and very expensive when the measurements were wrong. Double and triple check our measurements before sending them for fabrication was a hard lesson learnt. In other subjects I have used digital fabrication as a method to simply speed up the model making process. I had no need to justify weather the materials such as box board would represent a material likeness in the reality of construction. In this Studio when it came to making our final model, we found that the 200gsm card to be too weak and did not respond in the same way as to that we had envisioned it would. This meant that we had to add some additional support by the means of wire, which I believed detracted from our final design model but we had not time to build another model. Overall, throughout this course when a model was laser cut and did fit perfectly, I felt a great feeling of accomplishment. To see a model go from â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;File to Factoryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; and come away with a positive result similarly to works by people Frank Gehry was very enjoyable.


Through out the first half of the course, the theoretical component was immensely interesting and thought provoking. Through the readings and research I conducted, I realised that my idea of computational design was very shallow in understanding. After Studio Air and this project, I feel as though I have gained a higher level of understanding of computational design and its processes. I struggled with the whole concept of designing parametrically in the beginning but after the readings, research and grasshopper work I began to get a grasp on the concepts. By studying further into a single area of computation such as tessellation, I gained even further understanding of the depth, complexity and almost endless possibilities computation has to offer. After letting go of my fears of a final outcome I engaged more into the research into the tessellation technique and gained a further understanding. This proved to work very well and in the end I was pleased with the outcome and should have trusted the method form the start. This would have wasted less effort and stress thinking about something that in the end turned out a positive out come. Overall I feel as though I have learnt a great deal about computation over the semester. I have learnt that there is defiantly a place for computational design within the field of architecture. I think it will play a more important role in the future discourse in architecture and over time we will see further developments in this field. Although my work may not have been ground breaking or monumental in this field, our engagement in computational design will solidify its foundation in the greater context of architecture.



1. Scott-Murray, Maximillion, 2012, Digital Photograph, Personal Source. 2. du Bern, Nicholas, 2010, Model/Digital Photograph, Personal Source. 3. Ibid. 4. Ibid. 5. Vidler, Anthony. ‘Review of Rethinking Architecture and The Anaesthetics of Architecture by Neal Leach’, Harvard Design Magazine, no. 11 (2000), pp. 3 6. Patrik Schumacher. ‘Introduction : Architecture as Autopoietic System’, The Autopoiesis of Architecture (2011), pp. 1. 7. Llach, Daniel C, ‘Algorithmic Tectonics: How Cold War Era Research Shaped Our Imagination of Design’, Architectural Design, Volume 83, pages 16–21, March/April 2013,Wiley online library, viewed 10/3/2013 8. Llach, ‘Algorithmic Tectonics: How Cold War Era Research Shaped Our Imagination of Design’. 9. Archigram, dir., Archigram, bbc Productions, 1966. Lecture 1, Studio Air 2013, Stanislav Roudavski, University of Melbourne. 10. ‘Control and Choice Dwelling’, Archigram, 2010, < php?drwid=291> 11. Ibid. 12. Leupen, Bernard. ‘Design and Analysis’, (New York : Van Nostrad Reinhold, 1997), pp 51. <> 13.Terzidis, Kostas. 2006. Algorithmic architecture / Kostas Terzidis. n.p.: Oxford : Architectural, 2006., 2006. University Of Melbourne’s Catalogue, EBSCOhost (accessed April 1, 2013). 14. Menges, Achim, and Sean Ahlquist. Computational design thinking / edited by Achim Menges and Sean Ahlquist. n.p.: Chichester, UK : John Wiley & Sons, c2011., 2011. Harvard Library Bibliographic Dataset, EBSCOhost (accessed March 25, 2013). 15. Stock Photo - Steel arch golden Fish Frank O Gehry Port Olympic, Barcelona < 16. Lazo, Caroline E. ‘Frank Gehry’, (Minneapolis : Twenty-First Century Books, 2006). pp. 139-140. 17. Ibid, pp. 362. 18. Skylar Tibbits, Image, 2011, <> 19. Ibid 20. ‘Voltadom – MIT 2011’, Sjet, Date accessed: 17/3/2013, <> 21. Dragon Skin Pavilion, Photograph, 2012, <> 22. ‘Dragon Skin Pavilion’, Labritory for Explorative Architecture and Design, Date Accessed 20/3/2013, <> 23. Dragon Skin Pavilion, Photograph, 2012, <> 24. Ibid 25. Ibid 26. du Bern, Nicholas, 2013, Old and New, Digital Collage. 27. ’Artinstallation’, Acidgalore, <> 28.Matter designs, Image, 2012, <> 29. Ibid 30.Wyndham City, ‘Welcome to the City of Wyndham Population Forecasts’, 2011, < au/Default.aspx?id=124&pg=5000> 31.‘Forestry - Regional infrmation’, 2012, <> 32. Pattenden, Emma. 2013, ‘Probable Design Outcomes’, Watercolour on Paper.


Nicholas du bern 394200 air studio journal  

Studio Air 2013 Tutor: David Lister

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