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Riley Woosnam 639454 Semester 1 2016 Tutor: Caitlyn Parry








Riley Woosnam, Third Year Architecture Student Design and technology has always been a great passion of mine, from furniture design in high-school up until the recently completed Studio Earth & Water it has always been a field I have enjoyed pursuing. Throughout all of these subjects CAD programs were used at some point in the development process to further develop an idea into realisation. Whether it be for sharp renders, construction documentation or abstract composition, digital design has always been a fundamental media that I have used to strengthen and convey an idea. My first experience with Digital Architecture would have been hearing about Frank Gehry’s use of aeronautical engineering software to bring his designs to life. The complex array of metal sheet panels found on the facade of his Museum Bilbao was made possible due to CATIA’s support. Although this example wasn’t exactly a “bottom up” approach to digital design, it was incredibly interesting to see how the use of this software solved the problems that complicated innovative design possesses. Studio AIR presents an introduction into the field of parametric design. I am excited about exploring Grasshopper and its design potential while also investigating the current role of parametric design in contemporary architecture.


Digital Design & Fabrication: Second Skin - Personal Space Exploration

Studio Water: Studley Park Boathouse - Ă lvaro Siza Inspired





A.1 DESIGN FUTURING ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion, University of Stuttgart, 2010 The interesting feature about this pavilion was the way in which the various plywood panels were tested through pre-stressing before anything was fabricated. This method of design is powerful where the 3D model possesses the exact same characteristics as the end product. This determined the shape and structure of the pavilions 6.5mm plywood panels, and also the placement of structural joints. I believe this project is influential in its ability to create a very complicated structure that performs exactly as it was designed to. Highlighting the beneficial uses of computational simulation and design by inputting the specifications of the plywood panels and then virtually strength testing them.


The research exercise that this pavilion explores links back to Thackara’s statement that “it makes more sense to think of design as a process that continuously defines a system’s rules rather than its outcomes”. 3 By following the bottom up approach to designing a project, the ways in which this design is developed can lead to even more complex systems which can then be vigorously tested before a single cut is made, or any money is spent on materials. This foresight into the performance of a design is invaluable for construction as it would help to eliminate doubt and further convince the client, but also streamline the production process by being resourceful with time and methods of fabrication.

Fig 1: Pre-stressing of plywood. Source: ICDE/ITKE

Fig 1: ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2010 « Institute For Computational Design (ICD) Fig 2: (2012), Spotlight. Archit Design, 82: 8-13. 3 Thackara, John (2005). In the Bubble: Designing in a Complex World (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press), p. 224 Fig 2: Inside pavilion canopy Source: Archit Design


A.1 DESIGN FUTURING Shigeru Ban, Centre Pompidou, Mets, France, 2010 Shigeru Ban shows how parametrisation can harness the full potential of malleable materials such as timber. The self supporting hexagonal frame appears to be floating above the internal structure. This design shows how parametric design can “prove” innovative forms can be realised. By creating the structure with the help of reference geography from parametric modelling, the wooden beams were CNC fabricated individually and then combined to “braid the structure”. 2 This example builds upon the old ideology of the architects role as the “master builder” by explicitly controlling the outcome of the design almost exactly as it was envisioned. Shigeru Ban’s experimental form is a step in the right direction for parametric design as it highlights the potential that sophisticated designs can achieve. In an ever evolving industry that relies so heavily on manufacturing technologies, designing in a way that exploits the potential of the software at hand can maximise the potential of current materials and construction processes.


Fig 1. “Centre Pompidou, Metz | France - Binderholz Gmbh Holzindustrie - FĂźgen, Zillertal 2

Scheurer, F. (2010), Materialising Complexity. Archit Design, 80: 86-93.


A.2 DESIGN COMPUTATION Andrew Wright Associates/S&P Architects with Buro Happold, Scunthorpe Sports Academy, Scunthorpe, 2011 Engaging with contemporary computational techniques is exactly what the team behind the Scunthorpe Sports Academy have done in their collaborative efforts to produce a diverse and challenging design. By working with a variety of methods in their exploration of form-finding, the structure was ultimately realised due to the power of “user interaction in real time�. 2 This quick and accurate modification process allowed the sports academy to be trialled with various design decisions and approaches while still complying with an algorithm designed to evenly distribute the structural loads of the converging domes. With this sort of software utilisation in a collaborative environment, the design process was streamlined, allowing for fabrication, structure and aesthetics to be adjusted and balanced in a progressive manner. This relationship between a buildings form tested with its structural performance is incredibly powerful in the construction industry by providing immediate feedback earlier, which can then be prototyped faster, tested faster and in theory be less likely to fail.


Fig 1: Scunthorpe Sports Academy “Space & Place”. Space-place. com. N.p., 2016. Web. 16 Mar. 2016. 2 Fisher, A. (2012), Engineering Integration: Real-Time Approaches to Performative Computational Design. Archit Design, 82: 112–117.


A.2 DESIGN COMPUTATION Herzog & de Meuron, Messe Basel - New hall, Basle, Switzerland, 2013 Prototyping and fabrication is an incredibly important area of design which digital architecture is exploring. This example from Herzog and de Meuron demonstrates how they were able to test their hyperbolic facade prior to implementation. This emphasis on performance is where computational design excels, providing data specific to scenarios that can further be simulated in various environments to understand how materials will react. For example a durability test to weathering, or how much shade will be generated.

This push in technology that provides “rational appraisal of human designers’ solutions” 5 is influential in providing comparative data, useful for problem solving and developing different paths for a single design. The computation approach is a logical and progressive, allowing designers to uncover new forms of information and further enhance the prototyping process.

Fig 1: Prototyping. Source: Archit Design

Fig 2: Hyperbolic Weave. Source: Archit Design 14

Fig 3. Source: ArchDaily

Fig 1 & 2: Peters, B. (2013), Realising the Architectural Idea: Computational Design at Herzog & De Meuron. Archit Design, 83: 56–61 3, 4 Fig 3 & 4: “Gallery Of Messe Basel New Hall / Herzog & De Meuron - 3”. ArchDaily. N.p., 2016. Web. 16 Mar. 2016. 5 Kalay, Yehuda E. (2004). Architecture’s New Media: Principles, Theories, and Methods of ComputerAided Design (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press), pp. 5-25


Fig 4. Source: ArchDaily

A.3 COMPOSITION / GENERATION Foster + Partners, Masdar Institute, Abu Dhabi, UAE, 2007-2010 With the Masdar Institute, Foster + Partners really pushed the generative capabilities of the software that they had designed down to the ability to “recognise an attractive view, or predict which route pedestrians will prefer� 2 from accumulated data and options. This could explain the sporadic placement of windows and the subsequent framing boxes that deliberately channel views. Although this approach seems to be the most logical for design by exploring as many contrasting options as possible and then cherry picking the most rewarding outcomes, it still falls short in understanding design experiences which cannot be explained or parametrised.


Much like the BOIDS explored by Craig Reynolds, this analytical approach to design is powerful in forming parameters which can be explored to their limits. Although as Foster + Partners found out when analysing urban living and public space, these tools will not replace human idiosyncrasies and unconventional behaviour. Meaning that there is only so much that these computers are capable of interpreting when the variables are infinite.

1 Fig 1: “Masdar Institute | Foster + Partners”. N.p., 2007. Web. 16 Mar. 2016. 2 Aish, F., Davis, A. and Tsigkari, M. (2013), Ex Silico Ad Vivo: Computational Simulation and Urban Design at Foster + Partners. Archit Design, 83: 106–111.


A.3 COMPOSITION / GENERATION MARC FORNES/THEVERYMANY, Labrys Frisae, Art Basel, Miami, Florida, 2011 & Under Stress, INRIA, Rennes, France, 2014 These prototypical compositions from Marc Fornes are incredibly intricate and organic in their form. This is a clear example of how parametric generation can be perceived as organic, due to its random complexity and dynamic framework. The primary element within these designs is scale, a growth from a single idea or unit, into a “spatial experience�. 3 Although these geometries could be associated with biomimicry, labelled as living, and likened to human cell structure, it is still important to critique the design process in generation and how it is ultimately governed by a set of parameters or rules.

18 1: Labrys Frisae. Source: Archit Design Fig

Either way, the possibilities are endless with generation. Designs and forms that nobody can even envision are uncovered, contemplated and then claimed. If generation can actually be a feasible form of architectural response to a brief or agenda is arguable, although it still reinforces the major feature of computer orientated design which is the fact that it is ultimately a tool that helps designers to develop and convey ideas.

Fig 2: Under Stress. Source Archit Design

Fig 1 & 2: Fornes, M. (2016), The Art of the Prototypical. Archit Design, 86: 60–67. 3 Fornes, M. (2016), The Art of the Prototypical. Archit Design, 86: 60–67.


A.4 CONCLUSION Part A: Conceptualisation Whether its exploring completely experimental architecture like Fornes’ prototypical architecture, or structural configurations like Shigeru Bans hexagonal, material efficient timber beams the avenues and opportunities that parametric design explores is incredibly exciting and progressive. Through the various precedents that have been examined, it has highlighted the amazing benefits that digital computation and parametric software has to offer in a variety of applications. This shift towards a digital medium is vital for pursuing fabrication technologies and harnessing the most efficient structural systems to build with. While all this evidence portrays the parametric approach as the key to all design problems, there still has to be a grounding reassurance in the sense that the computer is still a tool in aid of the designer, and the input of that designer is what drives data into form, and form into reality. The possibilities that parametric design software can provide in response to a site is what I think will be most useful to me moving forward. Alongside experimental generative forms, the idea of incorporating dynamic data into a dynamic design is something I hope to explore further.


A.5 LEARNING OUTCOMES Architectural Computing Studio AIR has widened my perspective on the role of parametric design and the versatile role it has in contemporary architecture. It has been an incredibly extensive introduction into the field of digital design, and I believe the theory that has been covered explains the necessity and importance that this evolving field possesses in terms of designing for the future.

Grasshopper is an incredibly powerful design program. Its ability to update a design based on a set of variable real-time parameters can be incredibly helpful when exploring definitions and tweaking specific aspects of a form. This quick ability to trial a new idea or design option is my favourite feature of the software as it allows for every aspect of a form to be explored.


A.6 ALGORITHMIC SKETCHES 3D Voronoi The 3d voronoi was the most enjoyable set of iterations as the process began with a form full or geometries which were then deleted and de-constructed. This resulted in an abstract group of shapes that shared the same original boundary.

Facet Dome - Mesh Further exploration into the mesh transform tools resulted in a faceted dome around the softened mesh, which was taken from the points inside the geometry linked to random points offset to create a geodesic link dome around the mesh.


Facet Dome - Pipe - Box Morph Using the facet dome tool similar to the 2d delaunay edges produced a rounded pipework that randomly interconnected with itself, almost appearing as if it could support its own weight under tension & compression.

Box Morph Experimenting with the box morph on the previous lofted surfaces proved to be an interesting exercise in pattering applied to a dynamic surface. Exploring the different forms used as a reference mesh showed how the form can transform from something permeable to a solid structure.


BIBLIOGRAPHY “Spotlight”. (2010). Architectural Design, 80(4), 8-13. Thackara, John (2005). “In the Bubble: Designing in a Complex World” (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press), p. 224 “ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2010” « Institute For Computational Design (ICD)”. N.p., 2016. Web. 16 Mar. 2016. Scheurer, F. (2010), “Materialising Complexity”. Archit Design, 80: 86-93. “Centre Pompidou, Metz | France - Binderholz Gmbh - Holzindustrie - Fügen, Zillertal”. N.p., 2016. Web. 16 Mar. 2016.v Fisher, A. (2012), “Engineering Integration: Real-Time Approaches to Performative Computational Design”. Archit Design, “Space Place”. N.p., 2016. Web. 16 Mar. 2016. Peters, B. (2013), “Realising the Architectural Idea: Computational Design at Herzog & De Meuron”. Archit Design, 83: 56–61 “Gallery Of Messe Basel New Hall / Herzog & De Meuron”. ArchDaily. N.p., 2016. Web. 16 Mar. 2016. “Masdar Institute | Foster + Partners”. N.p., 2007. Web. 16 Mar. 2016. Aish, F., Davis, A. and Tsigkari, M. (2013), “Ex Silico Ad Vivo: Computational Simulation and Urban Design at Foster + Partners”. Archit Design, 83: 106–111. Fornes, M. (2016), “The Art of the Prototypical. Archit Design”, 86: 60–67. Kalay, Yehuda E. (2004). “Architecture’s New Media: Principles, Theories, and Methods of Computer-Aided Design” (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press), pp. 5-25


Woosnam riley 639454 parta journal submission