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Architecture Design Studio 2013

Kewei Li |369263

Catalog Introduction


Architecture as a discourse


Case of Innovation


Computation Design


Parametric Modeling


Algorithmic Exploration


Conclusion & Outcomes


References & Images


Introduction Hello~! I’m Nicole and am an international student come from western China. I’ve been in Melbourne for three years already and this is my third year of architecture studies. Designing became one of my favorate interests since I was a child. I’d love to see the different things much rather than those which are changeless, and it’s happy to see how things change into various forms and how people get inspired by those normal existences around us and manipulate them, recreate them into such fasinating, amazing works.

“Architecture is really about well-being. I think that people want to feel good in a space... On the one hand it’s about shelter, but it’s also about pleasure.” --- Zaha Hadid

There’s one subject relates with this course that I took in year one was Virtual Environment and that was my first time to have a chance to start learning about processing digital design. I would say that although digital design is not the only way to develop projects, it can bring up more designing possibilities and outcomes compare to other techniques. And what makes it outstanding is, people may get to know more detailed problems and methods to tackle these issues through the way they using it.


Part A


Architecture As A Discourse We actually have been asked so many times about ‘what is architecture and how do u define it’ in order to help us to approach our basic understanding of meaning of an architectural existence. And surely, an architectural work is not only referring to a physical shelter for people to resident in, nor a collectoin of arts. But for much more complicated meanings, it is an outcome of multiple factors, it is an combination of individual and public; objectivity and subjectivity, simplicity and complicity.

Far more, you could say that architecture is influenced by the combination of various effects, but at the meantime you have to admit that a good architecture will also bring up its effect back to society and people. It may change the way people living, it may change the way people thinking, it may change the way people vuluating and further deliver that power into society, and then the influenced society transfer this new impact on the next ‘generation’ architecture works. Just likes a running circle.

Architecture is life, or at least it is life itself taking form and therefore it is the truest record of life as it was lived in the world yesterday, as it is lived today or ever will be lived.

In the following sections, I will start with an explanation of discourse of architecture, and further argue through examples that compare to non-digital design, computational design is the more efficient way to achieve the idea of architecture as a discourse especially be an experience or living pattern of people in terms of computation design, parametric modelling and algorithmic explorations.

Architects speak through their architecture, and their architecture is also the language spoke by a specific “environment” such as culture, value, politics, desire, period, property, etc1.


Case of Innovation


Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum NY In June 1943, Frank Lioyd Wright received a letter from Hilla Rebay, the art advisor to Solomon R. Guggenheim, asking him to design a new building to house Guggenheim’s collection of non-obejective art, a radical new art form being developed by such artists as Paul Klee, etc.

Wright whisked visitors to the top of the building via elevator, proceeding downward at a leisurely pace on the fentle slope of a continuous ramp, enjoying the art on display, until returning to the entrance in rotunda. As Frank Lloyd Wright was always interested in the relationship between buildings and their surrounding environments, this museum was made to complement its environment so as to create a single, unified space that appears to “grow naturally” out of the ground3.

It is a local museum of non-objective painting and it has been used in the same way from the start although it went through a short-term restoration in 1990. In 1990, Before the final design, Wright had gone through many other ideas and revisions. One of them was meant to be hexagonal2; another was clad in pink marble. The museum was closed due to expansion and restoration. The restoration opened the entire Wright building to the public for the first time, converting spaces that had been used for storage and offices into galleries, with the restored restaurant and retrofitted support. This museum has been used as same function area.

As for the style, it is a monument to modernism, the unique architecture of the space, with its spiral ramp riding to a domed skylight, continues to thrill visitors and provide a unique forum for the presentation of contemporary art4. This building made it socially and culturally acceptable for an architect to design a highly expressive, intensive personal museum. It has become a cultural icon in New York City and can be seen widely throughout popular culture. And most importantly, compare to other normal stairway or pathway design, Wright’s idea of new route to walk through has brought people to a brand new experience and gave them a new idea of how they can experience with space more efficiently.

His new idea that has been appriciated is that he created a innovative method to lead visitors travel through his building: without using the conventional approach to museum design, which attrack people walk through a series of interconnected rooms and forced them to retrace their steps when leaving. Instead of this,


Guggenheim Museum Bilbao SPAIN As an opposite example from Solomon Guggenheim Museum, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao has not really being appreciated by the world. The museum was built by by Gehry Partners in 1997. At a time when modern meant austere and rectilinear, Eero Saarinen defied orthodoxy by designing an airline terminal that looked like it was taking flight. Beginning in the 1990s, a new generation of curvy, dynamic buildings suggested waves, organisms, or natural forces locked in perpetual spectacle5.

any particular reasons or derived from any geometrics laws. It is considered as a shell that evokes the past industrial life. However, It was surely appreciated at the start, but people have been argued away whether it is a successful for a long time. Although it is the fact that this museum was created by a very innovative way in terms of shape, materials and space distribution which had made it an iconic building, the project fails miserably as a public space: disable to be a significant part to support the culture and community life that is throbbing through the city6. The museum located on the waterfront near the center of Bilbao and it interrupts the life of the city also an insult to pedestrians who would like to use this space for anything rather than gawking at this tremendous metal cladding. As people pass through this space as fast as possible since there is nothing really to do here but just and only impressed by the architecture. And the city of Bilbao is a very sociable place with a sociable culture, this building is kind of block the possible social activities from its enormous public space. Moreover, the skin with like endless cold metal blank and no-decoration surfaces are unfriendly and even an irritation for inhabits. Therefore, it failed to acknowledge the relationship with surrounding human activities and its adjacent environments.

Almost from the moment it opened in 1997, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, with its distinctive titanium curves and soaring glass atrium, was hailed as one of the most important buildings of the 20th century. Gehry’s use of cutting-edge computer-aided design technology enabled him to translate poetic forms into reality. The resulting architecture is sculptural and expressionistic, with spaces unlike any others for the presentation of art. Guggenheim Museum Bilbao has been functioning as an impressive stage for the exhibition of contemporary art, as it was the original purpose. However, visitors come from all over the world are putting much more attention on the museum itself rather than the inner exhibition works. This design was inspired by the shapes and textures of a fish; it is not only architecture but also a sculpture. The form does not caused by



Computation Design


Burnham Pavilion Millennium Park Zaha Hadid Architects participation in the Burnham Plan Centennial celebrations is a great opportunity to participate in Chicago’s ongoing tradition of bold plans and big dreams with an architectural design at the scale of a pavilion. The structure will trigger the visitor’s intellectual curiosity whilst an intensification of public life around and within the pavilion supports the idea of public discourse and design language of future7.

Computation in design process, help to clarify and divide rules and integrate different information. Furthermore, although it is a pity that computer lacks any creative abilities, it still can predict and show the potential various outcomes under each actions to achieve the goals. All in all, computer in design process gives a hand to analyze problems, clarify aims and distribute movements and make them all logically in working system9.

Some people might stand oppose to computing design saying that it will lead to uncontrollable outcomes. However, sometimes people do need to obtain an unpredictable results to achieve their predictable intentions. And Burnham Pavilion has explained it well: superimpositions of spatial structures with hidden traces of Burnham’s organizational systems and architectural representations create unexpected results. By using methods of overlaying, complexity is build up and inscribed in the structure. As Kalay demonstrated, design is a process with its goal-directed movements, to direct at obvious achievable target8. And since computer is, as we known, is a grand analytical machine. It can easily follow the rules without making some silly calculation mistakes. It is reasonable, efficient, and has great abilities to search specific information and deal with arithmetic counting as well as repeating the fussy instructions endlessly.

The pavilion is composed of an intricate bent-aluminum structure, with each element shaped and welded in order to create its unique curvi–linear form. Outer and inner fabric skins are wrapped tightly around the metal frame to create the fluid shape. The project encourages reinvention and improvement on an urban scale and welcomes the future with innovative ideas and technologies whilst referencing the original organizational systems of Burnham’s plan. The design merges new formal concepts with the memory of bold historic urban planning. It is argured that most people may not have a strong ability to comprehend the complex geometry from digital design. However, this example just proved that computational aid-ed design could bring out with much more interesting structure that attracting people’s eyeballs and spend their time play with it, also let its aesthetic perception daily life.


Chamber Music Hall Manchester Zaha Hadid Architects have created a unique Chamber Music Hall specially designed to house solo performances of the exquisite music of Johann Sebastian Bach. A voluminous ribbon swirls within the room, carving out a spatial and visual response to the intricate relationships of Bach’s harmonies10.

otherwise be impossible and produces a proliferation of formal outcomes, seek more possible flexible outcomes at the meantime can abtain obtain a better idea as a whole process. Digital architecture allows complex calculations that delimit architects and allow a diverse range of complex forms to be created with great ease using computer algorithms12.

As those who disagree with computing design thinking, these techniques do not respect hand-drawing process and it replaces the work of human brains, also may automatically skip some detailed engagements. However, computing design is acting as a supplementary assitance out of architect’s self-engagement and the main director decisoins still controlled by designers. Therefore, as long as the designer is controlling it, it won’t change to a whole unexpected results that are out of control, it is uncontrollable under conrol.

The flexibility of computation design would propose more construction detail challenges such as surface texture, fabrication inter-connection. Therefore, it requires stronger and more advanced techniques that can satisfy digital design’s level and can bring it into reality. Computation impacts on achievable geometries through relative digital software. These software will maintain conceivable geometries through their proper manners13. Computation design should be considered as a design search instrument. This requires us to understand traditional design explores and the prediction designers presume, before being able to start creating emulations that allow the visualization of the search process as well as implicit qualities of space. Designers will be in the position to search through the design solution spaces that gather their assumptions about spatial phenomena.

These were developed as 3D CAD models by Zaha Hadid Architects and were then imported into acoustic modelling software. This enabled the investigation of different finishes and sculptural shapes to enhance acoustic conditions around the stage and audience areas of the space11. With using computer-aided design technologies, designer can create effects that would


The surface of the fabric shell undulates in a constant but in a constant but changing rhythm as it is stretched over the internal structure. It varies between the highly tensioned skin on the exterior of the ribbon and the soft billowing effect of the same fabric on the interior of the ribbon. Clear acrylic acoustic panels are suspended above the stage to reflect and disperse the sound, while remaining visually imperceptible within the fabric membrane14.


Parametric Modelling


Skyscraper Competition in 2007, by Dominiki Dadatsi, Fountoulaki Eltini15 It is a very twisty flexible digital form which looks like an accumulation of numerous levels. It is argued that in parametric design system, every part,every dimension is designed through parameters, if users want to change only a dimension, they will find it hard. However, through this skyscraper project, it is easy to see that by using parametric system, designers can design a series of parts through using the same parameters, but if the designers do not use parametric design, they have to use fixed dimensions in designing every part which will waste much time of them. Also if observe carefully at this project, you can find that there are a lots of layers are set as the same but at different angles. That is, in the parametric design, if designers have to design some parts which are similar, they don’t need to design every part, they can design one part, and modify the geometry models through modifying some parameters to make the others parts that they need.


Swooth Pavilion, 2008. Figure 1 Swooth Pavilion has been one of the most representive examples of small scale architectures designs that made out of parametric system. Starting with intentionally chosen values, and under certain rules that we have imposed on the system when setting ti up, we are able to instanstly obtain very complex results, which also, can be immediately recalculated by simply tweaking the orginal parameters16.


Swooth Pavilion, 2008. Figure 2 Compare to non-computational process, the effects from parametric modelling is immediate. It is could be considered as a huge leap in the quality of process, since designers are no longer bound by general tools anymore; now it is will be designers to design their own tools. Swooth Pavilion is one of the different outcomes that designer chose to bring it into reality after parametric testing with bunch of possibilities. Therefore, in the other hand, parametric design is fundamental when minimizing the effort needed to create and test design variants. Generating an automated process eliminates tedious repetitive tasks, the need of complicated calculations, the possibility of human error, and works with huge shifts in the outcomes with slight variations of the original parameters.


Algorithmic Explorations

As a start, I followed the tutorial vedios on website, and after I have obtained a basic acknowledge of operating Grasshopper in Rhino, I decided to explore it a bit seek for a extention. Tree dimension toolbar, allow us to create complex geometrics component from an initial simple shape. we can immediately obtain possible various outcomes by setting up and changing the value of algorithm to engage with further development propo -sal. Through this project, I have a better understanding of parametric system and algorithm design. The power of algorithms lay in the ability to solve a wide range of computational problems including but not limited to sorting and searching, data structure operations, combinatorial problems, numerical problems, and computational geometry. Compare to non-digital design works, algorithmic thinking and algorithmic design has much relevance to the concept of generative design. Algorithms can computationally generate and manipulate design entities such as geometric form, design variables, data structures that contain numeric or geometrical entities, mathematical expressions and operations, and the logical operations.


Conclusion To sum up, architecture as a discourse could be more achievable via computational design rather than non-computation-aided design. Non-computation-aided design could assume long period time, and hard to document it up which will lead to the difficulty to refind or repeat the former record. Computation design short down the time using on process, provides much more possibilities and allow designer to choose, to manipulate in a very convenient controlling way, you can choose one as your final outcome, but you can also choose one as your basic foundation for further development. Through getting touch with computational system spproach to design process, I realized that computer-aided technique is not only just used for adding artistic visualization on a work, but more significant, it helps us to be compensated in the effort of adding this layer of intelligence to our design with the reward of exploring the possibilities our parameters can bring us, and the possible surprise in the discovery of unimagined outcomes generated by our creation. Parametric thinking introduces the shift in the mindset between the search for an special static and

defined formal solution, and the design of the specific stages and factors used to achieve it. It is the use of algorithms and advanced computational techniques not for the sake of drawing shapes, but creating formal possibilities. It is not about producing a solution, but the package of possible outcomes. In the case of Western Gateway Design Project, I think it is a really good opptunity to practise with parametric system. Since we don’t need to consider about the construction detailed in reality, it lets us to play with computational design with few limitation. This is good for us to maximize our creativities and innovations to produce brain-storm works. Therefore, has a knowledge that already know parametric is really creative tool of making and maniputing object into amazing shapes, I would really like to have a try to design something that relates to futurism, as well as bring it down to reality to consider the design as a combination of different aspects influence such as adjacent traffic flow, culture or even society. To make it as a real discourse of architecture.

Learning Outcomes Through this process by looking up examples and have a argument to for computational design, my understanding of the profit from using digital-aided tool has been becoming more and more deep-going. These kind of softwares can help us to capture and exploits the critical relationships between design intent and geometry. Designs can be refined by either dynamically modeling and directly manipulating geometry, by applying rules and capturing relationships between building elements, or by defining complex building forms and systems through concisely expressed algorithms.

I think design is considered as an iterative divergence or convergence process, where designers are supported and encouraged to generate the widest possible range of concepts, and then to explore, evaluate, and modify. Parametric modeling and alorithmic design as design synthesis methods allow for the divergence of the deisgn space in order to explore many variants of the same parametric model. Both parametric modeling and alorithmic system are the basis of computational desgn process, it will be a good start if we get to more understand them well and getting familiar with them.


References 1. Australian Institute of Architects (2013), ‘What is Architecture?’, in Becoming an architect, (Australia). P1. National Historic Landmark Nomination (2008), ‘Exterior‘, New York, P5. Quinan, Jack (1993), ‘‘Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim: A Historian’s Report.’ Journal of the Society of Architecture Historians 52, P446-482. Twomby, Robert C (1979), Frank Lloyd Wright: His life and His Architecture, New York: John Wiley & Sons. 5. Katie Cacace (2004), ‘An evaluation of the cladding materials’, from P2, last access 4th April 2013. 6. Katie Cacace (2004), ‘An evaluation of the cladding materials’, from P3, last access 4th April 2013. 7. Designboom (2009), ‘zaha hadid architects: burnham pavilion, chicago’, from last access 4th April 2013. 8. Yehuda E. Kalay (2004), ‘An introduction to the principles of design as a foundation for digital approaches’, in Architecture’s New Media: Principles, Theories, and Methods of Computer-Aided Design, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, P5. 9. Benjamin Jotham Fry (2004), ‘Computational Information Design’, Process, Cambridge, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, P18. 10. Zaha Hadid Architects (2009), ‘JS Bach Chamber Music Hall’, from js-bach-chamber-music-hall/ last access 4th April 2013. 11. Archdaily (2009), ‘Chamber Music Hall / Zaha Hadid Architects’, from last access 3rd April 2013. 12. Kostas Terzidis (2006), ‘Algorithmic Architecture - A Brief History of Algotecture’, Boston, MA: Elsevier, P3. 13. Rhinoceros (2013), ‘Conference: Computational Design and Architecture in Turkey’, from http://blog.rhino3d. com/2013/03/conference-computational-design-and.html last access 3rd April 2013. 14. era Verner Panton (2009), ‘Chamber Music Hall Manchester’, from raumdesign-mit-verner-panton/chamber-music-hall-manchester/ last access 4th April 2013. 15. eVolo (2009), ‘Parametric Urbanism’, from last access 3rd April 2013. 16. Rethinking-Architecture (2010), ‘Introduction: Parametric Design’, from http://www.rethinking-architecture. com/introduction-parametric-design,354/ last access 4th April 2013.


Images 1. Guggenheim-BW-01-web-L.jpg&w=800&h=533&ei=h0FcUbL0KIuiiAf3y4DgCQ&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:35,s:100 ,i:109&iact=rc&dur=251&page=4&tbnh=183&tbnw=266&ndsp=41&tx=211&ty=119&biw=1920&bih=924 2. jpg&w=413&h=330&ei=c0FcUaKKGa6tiQfalYGgDg&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:65,s:0,i:285&iact=rc&dur=278&page=2&tbnh=182&tbnw=227&start=32&ndsp=40&tx=171&ty=122&biw=1920&bih=924 3. jpg&w=900&h=706&ei=7kFcUdPWC-SZiQe_yoG4Aw&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:3,s:0,i:105&iact=rc&dur=91&page=1&tbnh=175&tbnw=242&start=0&ndsp=27&tx=63&ty=130&biw=1920&bih=924 4. jpg&w=1000&h=1333&ei=7kFcUdPWC-SZiQe_yoG4Aw&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:90,s:0,i:374&iact=rc&dur=252&page=3&tbnh=185&tbnw=130&start=65&ndsp=36&tx=78&ty=45&biw=1920&bih=924 5. jpg&w=468&h=432&ei=wkJcUeDsFoSciAftlYCYDw&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:43,s:0,i:219&iact=rc&dur=141&page=2&tbnh=182&tbnw=197&start=31&ndsp=37&tx=143&ty=72&biw=1920&bih=924 6. uploads/2009/07/zha_jsbach_manchester_cp_lh_04.jpg&w=1000&h=546&ei=PkNcUcGcBMnMkwXBx4CACQ&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:0,s:0,i:82&iact=rc&dur=197&page=1&tbnh=166&tbnw=304&start=0&ndsp=30&tx=206&ty=115&biw=1920&bih=924 7. zha_jsbach_01x.jpg&w=1075&h=1200&ei=PkNcUcGcBMnMkwXBx4CACQ&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:2,s:0,i:88&iact=rc&dur=196&page=1&tbnh=190&tbnw=178&start=0&ndsp=30&tx=123&ty=109&biw=1920&bih=924 8. 9. swoosh%252Bpavilion%252B%252525282%25252529.jpg&w=400&h=275&ei=skNcUfjDDYSciAftlYCYDw&zoom =1&ved=1t:3588,r:14,s:100,i:46&iact=rc&dur=388&page=4&tbnh=186&tbnw=264&ndsp=45&tx=137&ty=90&b iw=1920&bih=924


Part B


Design Approach


Design Focus

By having a basic understanding of the Wyndham’s Western Gateway Project and the interest of contouring manipulation method, I would argue that the theme of sectioning is the one that most fits with my idea of further gateway design proposals. Take the One Main Street for an instance, it is clearly showed the relationship of final outcome and sectioning process. Sectioning provides a mode of changing and enhances the visual art of a sense of physic. And timber is the material selected to bring into shape, so to some extent it achieves the idea of eco-friendly environment but the examples do not mention much about the surrounding environment of project therefore not sure whether it reflects with the outside environment well. If back to the theme itself and the requirements of the project, sectioning could be regarded as the most appropriate method to satisfy the demands rather than other methods like patterning or geometry.

First of all, the host wants the gateway to be “seeds of change”, which refers to sense of movements, could be explained well through using sectioning method which always can provide a flexible form by creating contour lines. These lines in sections can also become the key view lines for drivers who pass through. Secondly, it is demonstrated that, this gateway does not really demand literal or didactic context but it needs to be more abstract, aspirational aim. Compare to sectioning, geometry or patterning themes is most likely to create something for visual art rather then being abstract, they apply creative skin displays on surface but may have little thing to do with structure manipulation. However, in this gateway case, it does not need much such creative patterns, it more needs a method that can provide a kinetic overall structure to response with the high speed traffic flow and at the meantime reflect well with the open landscape. Thirdly, patterning somehow would just apply died skin on gateway but hardly become dynamic. However, as Gaggart argued in Australian Design Review, gateway “sustains a massive scale but is open and dynamic”, sectioning method can achieve it by its fluent form and contour curves connection.


1. Allow for Three Dimensional form to be constructed from Two Dimensional planes. 2. Available to compartmentalize the structure. 3. Broken views and they are controllable / Montage. 4. Movement, dynamism and change. 5. Individual unit becomes an expression within a homogenous whole. 6. Structure and form become homogous. 7. Materiality. 8. Visual Art 9. Light and shadow effect. The dynamic shape of sectioning encourages both continuity and discontinuity produces attractions. Sectioning is also a system of self-standing without extra supports. It embraces the idea of speed, movement hence provides attractive visual effect. It is produced by easy prefabrication cutting process.

Sectioning offers a homogenous form to be created from individual units. This can be seen as an analogy for Wyndham, a single suburban entity defined by its parts, but all striving for change and development. The sectioning process allows for view points to occur and to alter perception of both place and of the form itself. Allowing for view to emphasise aspects of Wyndham and obscure others. It allows for a manipulation of place and of landscape. Sectioning allows for position to determine perception. Sectioning also allows for structure to be form and form to be structure. A powerful expression of solidity and understanding. An apporoach to construction that grounds itself within reality but through form may inspire. Sectioning also allows for kinetic expession, for movement, change and dynamism to be expressed through solid and void. Space creating frames of change. A time lapse of illussion and an exciting and experiential structure. Offering Wyndham an entry that inspires and promotes its want for change and development.

Case Studys and Matrixs

Banq Restaurant. Nadaa Architects. The design of the space, is conceptualized around another division, on the z axis, between the ceiling and the ground. developed a striated wood-slatted system that conceals the view of the mechanical, plumbing, and lighting systems on the longitudinal axis, while offering a virtual canopy under which to dine. The geometry of the wood slats conform to each equipment above, but are also radiused in order to smoothen the relationship between other adjoining equipment, creating a seamless landscape.

Banq Restaurant. Nadaa Architects. It longitudinal axis emphasizes the seamless surface, then lateral views offer striated glimpses into the service space above, and demystify the illusion. Position of view dictates understanding of form. From a longitudinal axis the seamless form is materialised, yet from lateral viewpoints its fluidity dematerialises and the structure and individual elements are understood and expressed.



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