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INTRODUCTION My name is Petra Bauer, I am currently in my third and final year of studying a Bachelor of Environments at the University of Melbourne. Prior to this course I completed a Certificate in Interior Decoration which I thoroughly enjoyed, however this only made me want to learn more in the Design and Architecture field. Previously I have had little experience with


digital design software, during my first year I was taught a basic level of Rhino. I believe Digital Design is the future and so is a necessary skill to learn. This semester I look forward to developing these skills, including Grasshopper.

A.1 DESIGN FUTURING The only way we as society will change is if we create space for discussion, to critique, to challenge, to debate or to inspire. Humans have placed themselves at the centre of all being for so long, this is a critical time whereby we have opportunity as people to make positive change in the world. We should be asking ourselves what kind of future do we want?


1.0 CASE STUDY This dome like structure was developed by the Institute for Computational Design (ICD), Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE), and by students’ at the University of Stuttgart. It’s design is based on the study of a sea urchin’s skeletal system, specifically the biological patterns. From this analysis a unique principle of integrating an organism’s biology into the design of pavilion was created. The development of the modular system was designed to be adaptive with a high load bearing capacity. This is due to the placement of polygonal plates and their connection types. Challenging conventional lightweight construction, this load bearing capacity was made possible due to the use of advanced robotics and digital design software, which produced thin plywood sheets 6.5 millimeters


thick. Lightweight and flexible, the pavilion’s ‘cells’ stretch and orientate themselves depending where the mechanical stress lies. To do this it was necessary to have an understanding of nature’s natural pattern formations, as replicated in particular the Sand Dollar, a species of Sea Urchin. This temporary pavilion does not impede the earth but rather has a limited life expectancy. This pavilion provides an alternative and imaginative way of overcoming a design challenge and has the potential to raise speculation for discussion and debate. Whilst nature may be able to adapt and respond to it’s environment, this system has not quite overcome the division that lies between machine and organism and find a way to incorporate this.

Image sources Dezeen, ‘ICD/ITKE Resarch Pavillion at The University of Stuttgart’, Dezeen (October 2011) < uploads/2011/10/dezeen_ICD-ITKE-Research-Pavilion-at-the-University-of-Stuttgart-24_1000.gif> [31 July 2018]

Image Source ‘ICD/ITKE Resarch Pavillion at The University of Stuttgart’, Dezeen (October 2011) <> [31 July 2018]


1.1 CASE STUDY American Architect Greg Lynn designed a microclimate chair for high performing athletes. Fabricated out of a rigid, flexible carbon-fibre and using sensory technology. This chair was built for athletes playing intensive sports where they are constantly stopping and starting, followed by short periods of rest. Built around the state of an athlete, the 70 Peltier thermoelectric pads create a mini microclimate. The pads convert the body temperature of the person sitting to an electrical current. Each pad can then individually heat, or cool. The chair will reduce an athleteâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s core body temperature whilst retaining warmth in certain muscles and vital areas.


The chair also blows a soft air from the perforated rim on the chair which surrounds the body to control the humidity levels. Lynn believes this technology gives athletes a distinct advantage over players and enhances their performance. This chair was deliberately designed to provoke questions on the nature of design, furniture and ergonomics. The design of furniture in particular has not progressed at the same rate of technology with companies generally designing furniture for purely aesthetic reason. The microclimate chair has pushed boundaries technologically and certainly creates a challenge for future design.

Image source Carman, Ashley, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;This Nike-sponsored microclimate chair keeps muscles at an ideal temperatureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, The Verge (May 2016) <> [1 August 2018]

Image source Lynn, Greg, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Microclimate Chairâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, Greg Lynn Form <> [1 August 2018]



A.2 DESIGN COMPUTATION Computing at large has had such a dramatic effect on life as we know it. It has changed design forever, giving the ability to create forms which previously may not have ever been able to be conceptualized. This is done through algorithms or other frameworks. Humans are forgetful, they make mistakes, they get tired and whilst computer software may also have itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s limitations, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re nothing like humans. It has enabled a new way of thinking, new shapes and forms are only just the tip of the iceberg. Although the results can be experimental or even very unexpected. The data sets can be manipulated in order to elicit a more specific response. This combination of raw computer output with a human sculpting and curating the results can produce designs that are strikingly different from conventional design.



The Architectural Association DLAB visiting schoo created an installation ‘Fallen Star’. This project explores themes of regeneration, emergence and growth as seen in their natural and biological counterparts. This installation explored using

fabrication techniques and explored digital design with the Lindenmayer system, Voronoi algorithm, fractal theory and reaction-diffusion systems.

The design process was completed in a workshop in two stages, the first creating a tangible design

proposal by way of a scale model that explored th project themes. In the second part of the process


Image source Furuto, Alison, ‘Fallen Star‘, Archdaily (August 2012) <> [7 August 2018] Image source Furuto, Alison, ‘Fallen Star‘, Archdaily (August 2012) <> [7 August 2018]



full scale installation was created and assembled.

changing the relationship between the installation

A series of teams submitted proposals for the

and the user. The installation could change in

installation, these included a video or mapping,

many ways based on the userâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s input including the

and had broken down their growth algorithm in to

sound, the type of algorithm run as well as various

more specific constraints to be controlled by an

controlled manipulation to the algorithm by altering

iPad. These proposals were combined together

certain constraints.

into a live animation vessel that converts the


proposals from digital in to three dimensional, this

This project explores ways of creating a whole new

was done through processing, with Grasshopper

level of interaction between the installation itself

using input from an iPad or iPhone.

and the person who is viewing it, by offering a dynamic spatial experience and changing our view

he a

Each team designed their own iPad interface to

on perception and transience.

directly manipulate the installation, essentially

Image source Furuto, Alison, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Fallen Starâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;, Archdaily (August 2012) <> [7 August 2018]



The University of Tokyo developed Ninety Nine Failures a pavilion structure fabricated out of stainless steel sheets with the assistance of robotics and digital design software. The aim of this project was to experiment with design, fabrication techniques, assembly and construction. The different hypothetical measurements of the pavilion were found through a digital simulations test and scale model testing.


A series of 50 different variations were tested digitally with multiple constraints to ensure the structure would unfold onto a flat surface. Work between the digital model and the physical assembly were closely linked, ensuring quick efficiency for the robot arm. Opposed to taking the quickest, easiest route, instead this project was interested in finding a creative response that challenged conventional ideas.

Image source Archdaily, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Ninety Nine Failuresâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, Archdaily (January 2014 ) <> [8 August 2018]

Stainless steel components were used on the pavilion in order to hold it in compression; the shapes of the parts were drawn in a custom-made program created specifically for this project. Two hundred and twentyfive components were fabricated with three metal layers. The steel edges were welded sealed and when deemed watertight they were hydraulically inflated becoming ‘pillow’ like, each producing a unique shape. These were fixed together with crimps; stainless steel bolts and double cables acting in compression.

This project challenges the usual design process, instead choosing a unique way of problem solving and thereby changing the entire building process. By implementing constraints into this project, the construction process was much more flexible and allowing the designers to experiment in the fabrication and assembly process, creating innovative results.

Image source Archdaily, ‘Ninety Nine Failures’, Archdaily (January 2014 ) <> 8 August 2018]



A.3 COMPOSITION/GENERATION Generation, the use of an auxiliary or some other system to help generate form. This is opposed to Composition using a made up set of rules to generate form, generally based from your own understanding and experience. Computing has changed over time, in particular the precedents look at studying biological matter, at ways of improving materiality and sustainability. These systems give the ability to quickly explore multiple iterations of a design, allowing vast exploration of an idea.



Architects Alisa Andrasek and Bruno Juričić designed Cloud Pergola a collaborative installation showcasing three elements a pergola, an audio installation by artist Maja Kuzmanović and a series of drawings by Vlatka Horvat. Using robotic fabrication, data and digital software this exhibition is inspired by cloud formations and site-specific data from weather events. Resembling a tree like structure’s the pergola looks at exploring what is man-made and the natural environment. This is done through lighting effects, form, porosity,

shadow and tectonics in the structure.

The architects studied the pergola in it’s historical context and looked at the creation of particular experiences. A space that lays in between public and private as well as providing shelter from the outside world, bringing people together and goes beyond culture, identity, language or ideology. It also recognises the impact the natural environment can have on events, impact that is beyond human’s control.

1 Alisa Andrasek, ‘Cloud Pergola’, Alisa Andrasek <> [7 August 2018]


Image source Andrasek, Alisa, ‘Cloud Pergola’, Alisa Andrasek <> [7 August 2018]


Produced out of bio-degradable plastic and covering 57.6 square meters, 3.3 metres tall and weighing 300 kilograms makes this one of the largest 3D printed structures. This complex lattice structure is made up of over a hundred thousand extruded elements and uses a multi-agent algorithm to formulate the voxels along a field of vectors1. A programmable light design was also developed along with the installation. A challenge was ensuring this complex design could be simply and quickly, built and assembled, when there were

so many different elements. This installation pushes the envelope in art and architecture. Through complex mathematics and data analysis this pergola makes us question the known on a variety of issues. The structure, along with the drawings and audio effects transcends time and place, bringing people together for discussion on a number of different issues climate change, architecture, hospitality.

Image source Andrasek, Alisa, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Cloud Pergolaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, Alisa Andrasek <> [7 August 2018]



“Derived from organic matter, printed by a robot, and shaped by water, this work points toward a future where the grown and the made unite.”1

Neri Oxman and MIT developed programmable water based bio composites, a design method looking at generating materials and robot fabrication to produce Aguahoja, a five metre tall pavilion and a series of artefacts. The fabrication of the material produced for the series was inspired by natural ecosystems and their lifecycle. This included the analyses of rainforests and coral reefs and compared them to the construction industry, where materials have a use by date and are taken from the Earth at a faster rate than can be replenished.

The bio composite materials as seen in Aguahoja were digitally fabricated from biodegradable materials that are commonly found on the planet - cellulose (found in plant cells), chitosan (a form of sugar found in shellfish) and pectin (a fibre found in fruit). The form and behaviour of these material compounds perform as they do in nature, responding to heat and humidity, constantly changing and evolving. Finally when coming in contact with water the structures dissolve back into their original building blocks, creating new life as in nature.

1 Yiling Shen, ‘Neri Oxman and MIT develop programmable biocomposites for digital fabrication’ Archdaily (May 2018) <https://www.archdaily. com/894979/neri-oxman-and-mit-develop-programmable-biocomposites-for-digital-fabrication> [8 August 2018] Image source Shen, Yiling, ‘Neri Oxman and MIT’ Archdaily (May 2018) < for-digital-fabrication-image> [8 August 2018]

The robotic fabrication of the bio composites allows the molecules to behave differently when brought in to contact with humidity, heat, or rain and respond to the environment. Depending on molecule composition, by changing the amount of cellulose and chitosan in the skin’s panels, the density, texture, stiffness or colour of the panels is altered.

Each of the series produced in Aguahoja, are unique in appearance yet are composed of the same bio composite matter. The skin and pores separate when exposed to humidity and enter back in to the ecosystem essentially removing waste from the lifecycle. This project would not have been made possible with out advanced robotics and scripting software to calculate and produce the exact quantities of bio composites into intricate algorithmic patterns. Complex in design this project allowed those to work with highly complex information that wasn’t only limited by what we do or do not understand.

Image source Shen, Yiling, ‘Neri Oxman and MIT’ Archdaily (May 2018) <




After completing Part A of this assignment and reflecting over the past three weeks I have enjoyed the lecture content. It has been fascinating to look back at the evolution of digital design.

I do wonder how things will be in 50 years and after completing week ones readings believe this train of thought should be encouraged that perhaps as a society we need to ask more questions, be speculative.

In particular during the second lecture it was highlighted how much of an influence software AutoCAD has had on the Architecture and building industry. This has impacted the industry as we know it today and certainly placed limitations and hindered creativity which is something that I had never thought about previously. Perhaps this is also a reason the Architecture industry hasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t progressed at the same rate as other industries have.

I feel we are at a point in time where so much is possible through technology and computer software. After studying the precedents and how they have used algorithms to generate a form has broadened my sense of understanding to what design can achieve. I hope that If I am able to achieve a design that opens space for discussion, to question and challenge the given then this can only benefit.

A.5 LEARNING OUTCOMES Learning theoretical and practical skills in architectural computing has been very informative. I have started experimenting with Grasshopper and the outcome of the forms are very organic compared with other software, it also allows you to do many things which would otherwise be much too complex for the mind to even comprehend doing.

This combined with the theory has made me see design processes in a different light. Now I have a much better understanding on the effects and changes going on within the design industry.



This was my first attempt at Grasshopper





Maelstrom effect


Studio Air journal Part A  
Studio Air journal Part A