...A Case For Innovation
__________________Architecture as Discourse
How to start a journal, I will never know… Ideas about architecture started for me in the heart of Adelaide suburbia. The idea of developing a vacant lot of land into a dream family home, equipped with self-maintained kitchen, power guzzling appliances and poorer quality design and construction than any fast food outlet is no less prominent than in what kids colloquially call the ‘urbs’ of that city. And so growing up in a state that experiences some of the worst heat waves and cold spells of the country once motivated me to think “what is wrong with this house, with this socially acceptable standard of living, with this neighbourhood?” And following a continuum of falling in love with art, design (initially industrial design) and sustainability, the beginning of my academic life threw me into the lap of Melbourne University’s Bachelor of Environments. More recently my motifs for completing this course have changed, though many of these priming elements remain prominent in the completion of my final subjects. Personally I’m becoming more interested in austere, vernacular architecture with its associated benefit of ultimate sustainability and relationship to surrounding environment. Naturally contemporary design still has a lot to offer architecture as a discipline, with many benefits to social, aesthetic and economic realms…but my interests remain simple design and its associated self-sufficiency. Unfortunately, albeit some personal projects and sketches, my architectural experience is limited to the minimal design work set out during this undergraduate course. Many of the theoretical subjects have been truly interesting, but the requirements for researched and developed design have been lacking in my opinion. Consequently between Year 12 Design, Designing Environments and Architecture Design Studio 2 I feel I have learnt the most basic of terminology, methods and skills to design to a reasonable standard. Nevertheless I try my best to sketch as fluidly (sometimes archaically) as I can, and intend to learn the necessary programs to excel in this digital age.
I do however have a confidence in navigating certain applications. I’ve played around on Google SketchUp to an extent (soon realising its restrictions in exploring design possibilities) and have been an avid user in Photoshop for the past several years. Though I have primarily used the software for photo adjustment and manipulation, I’m intrigued in its capability for rendering, page layout and effective presentation. This year my fear of mastering Illustrator and InDesign are greater than ever with my love for an Adobe program wholly monogamous. But these are hurdles I’m still eager to conquer. My first battle was installing InDesign, followed by hours of searching the Internet for an additional program to change the language from Greek to English. Now my problems lie in enabling shortcuts, allowing layered images to actually fill the page and utilising page guides rather than get frustrated at their stubbornness (or my ignorance). So realistically any evidence of my participating in architectural design relies on an assignment based in the style of Le Corbusier in ADS3. I focussed on several stylistic features prevalent in his work, particularly the use of horizontality to add to his idea of the open façade. Similarly people movement, the filtration of natural light and a geometrically focussed three-dimensional façade were taken into consideration. The project was completed by hand with cardboard and SketchUp models. As far as digital design is concerned, my experience ends there. I feel overwhelmingly lucky that I have had the experience to travel, and study abroad during, and before my university course. My first time experiencing a solo trip overseas, in 2009, broadened my horizons, and exceeded my already grand expectation of art, design and architecture of Central Western and Eastern Europe, particularly the presence of Renaissance, Gothic and quality Modernist styles. Similarly intriguing, design, and the art I only remember from primary school text books was amazing to witness firsthand, to say the least. My second trip in early 2012 was perhaps even more remarkable. Though once again I did spend most of my time in Paris in the Pompidou Centre, and my spectacular experience of Stalin’s Seven Sisters predominantly occurred whilst wandering the streets at night, I was nevertheless amazed at what creativity and perhaps an influence of dictatorship can create within the built realm. University in Stuttgart opened my eyes to the productivity of the modern age, and what digital and mechanical technology can create too.
Socially, aesthetically and ‘comfortably,’ my favourite no doubt was Portugal, and to an extent Morocco. Islamic architecture does a lot more than I assumed in capturing the intricate mathematics of fractals in both three, and two-dimensional design. The austere and history-drenched cities of Porto and Lisbon proved to present more than just a visually relaxing backdrop for a pleasant culture. The way Baroque churches intertwine with the narrow alleyways, the rickety tram that exposes intricate facades of hidden gems and the best modern designs I have seen anywhere in the world on the outskirts of town, perhaps signifying a new modernity, a then-emerging lifestyle were amazing to consider in a more multi-disciplinary aspect. The buildings were not just pieces of art, they seemed to blend and support the society they housed. There was a distinct dialogue with the built environment and the social, one that goes beyond the physical. It made me realise that perhaps there is just more than size, symmetry and placement of city squares to appreciate. Their value as working social spaces and the effectiveness of their utilization was remarkable, in my opinion much better than most in Australia. Simply speaking, my particular favourites in that country was Viera Siza’s modern houses and one particular museum he designed in Porto. My ventures then lead me to Cambodia to volunteer for a friend from a poor rural village. To consider what I witnessed and how I lived for three weeks so separated from civilisation as I know it, with an architectural discourse point of view, is truly beautiful. Though I have always l oved the austere and vernacular, my stay in timber bungalows hours away from any metropolis or building services once again opened my eyes to the way we can live in different environments. True the architecture there hasn’t changed for centuries but it made me appreciate the value of passive ventilation, materials appropriate to the environment and how the architecture reflects the people and the culture of the area. The dialogue between the timber huts and the surrounding rice fields were perfect.
Alvero Siza Vieira’s 1997 Museum of Contemporary Though this is one small element within a big (physically Art and conceptually) building, for me it signifies the architect’s realism of projecting into the future, understanding how “The large doors and partition walls between exhibition the building responds to the brief now, but also in years rooms can be used to create different routes and to come. Locally, the building perfectly resembles modern separate exhibition spaces”(AlvaroSizaVieira.com, 2012). planning and beautifully displays art. On a greater scale, Not only is this a practical design element within a it’s nestling within a large almost national park type garden museum space, perhaps even a standard in most signifies the rise of modernism in the middle class suburbs. exhibition spaces, it is one feature of Siza Vieira’s It presents a stark contrast between the built environment modernist typology. Modernism is almost a century old, and the natural. The towering white walls almost seem like yet the architect still makes a point of manipulating a mirage when viewed from the beautiful rose, lily and the built environment to cater to contemporary ideals, plant garden (immediate surroundings). It’s a landscape uses and standards. As the apses of gothic cathedrals that appeals to the senses and presents a new style were used to permanently house sacred relics and of living and architecture that many architects attempt to museum spaces owned by the rich for safekeeping of achieve, but unfortunately fail. (I say this with regard to decorative arts during the renaissance, the paradigm our ideals of modernity, having clean contemporary houses of exhibition space has greatly shifted, and continues that resemble what we as individuals and society strive for, to do so in the 20th and 21st centuries. Siza Vieira whether it be a sense of security, shelter, freedom, display responds to this transcendence creating spaces of of status etc.) variable size. Like the Tate Modern in London once commissioned a small house within the gallery, and Similarly, my visit to Porto also lead to Siza Vieira’s first the Pompidou Centre in Paris showcases upcoming, built house, the Boa Nova Tea House. Though physically sometimes utterly pretentious large instillations, a different to his later museum, the small house presented gallery in the small town of Porto can now similarly something interesting to the seaside landscape not far compete on the world stage for showcasing a variety from Porto. Still a stand-alone building, it blends into the of mediums of modern, and even classical art. rocky landscape, creating a dialogue between the nearby urban environment and Portuguese coastline. Remarkably At the time of my visit a retrospective exhibition of a the building is still designed and constructed in complete prominent graphic and cartoon artist was exhibited in modernist style, but a tension that could of existed one of the main halls. Though this didn’t particularly between white sheets of concrete and white sand has appeal to me at the time, the rooms were set up been cleverly dulled. Instead the building stands as an with images and digital media on the walls as well icon for innovative design within a fragile landscape. It was as a zigzag of temporary partition walls. Personally it one of the first houses in an up-and-coming outer-suburb felt that this added surface area crowded the space and introduced Siza Vieira’s principles of modernity into a little, but in retrospect the geometry of the zigzag the region. Now the area resembles a reasonably typical adapted perfectly to the surrounding environment. gentrified neighbourhood, but an element of quality and Not only did it stylistically ‘work’ with the jagged and intrigue remains. Rather than tea houses, mid and high irregularly angled walls of the permanent structure, but rise apartments now spot the beach neighbourhood, but also interacted with the art itself. The artist exhibited in a style I rarely saw in other areas around the country. used many geometric patterns, shapes and overlays I can’t help but think that Siza Vieira had some influence as subtle features in his work, and the ability to re- in the typology around the area. The legacy still remains, arrange the room in accordance with the architect’s though the teahouse was perfectly secluded amongst the preconceptions of a ‘new modernity’ meant this was a giant rocks. Probably more recently the simple esplanade perfect place to exhibit. leading to the building has been developed and adds to the interaction between public, house and beach. And so in terms of the architecture of Siza Vieira, the discourse of the building does go beyond the immediate site of the physical building. The buildings are important locally, nationally and theoretically.
________________Computing in Architecture Taking into consideration the hard to believe capabilities of current high-powered computers, and their ability to execute high-profile programs to analyse, render and calculate complex functions, it is important to remember the computer as an engineered object, and a tool. Though the machine itself (and software) can often complete tasks the most intelligent, quick-witted, dexteric and theoretical struggle at, it is merely an aid at resolving the issues we as designers, engineers etc. are faced with. It cannot complete an exercise it does not know the formula to, and has a program-solving intelligence limited to the programming capabilities of its designer. As such, as well as being the savour of our generation, I consider the computer not much more complicated, incredible or – respective to human calculation – intelligent than a calculator. However, it is important to remember that despite all the limitations of a CPU and ill-designed software, if we can access the methods of computerization, we can adapt software for personal needs and design-desires. In this respect, the digital and technological realm has infinite benefit. In modifying software to search for, and calculate possible design alternatives, design tools seem to be tending from the computerization (CAD) of design to the actual analytical and ‘thoughtful’ conception. Taking into consideration the ability to analyse a number and variety of quantitative data (possibly extracted from qualitative data), the computer is able to instantaneously suggest a variety of options as design solutions. This is truly an incredible advantage of digital design, with a subsequent benefit in architecture. The reading in week 2 brought up the important notion of communication between individual and computer. Though the sole aim of computerization software is often to represent an imagined concept as a two, or three dimensional graphic for demonstration, to either the designer or design/construction team at a later date, we must also consider the possible and most efficient ways of communicating an idea to the computer. CAD software allows for the input of dimensions and real-time drawing of lines, shapes, volumes but is limited by the mathematics of the software and often ease-of-input of things such as curvilinear equations to create lines and surfaces. Perhaps other mathematical representations such as matrices or vector notations may be used to aid the computerization of an idea, but the design is still often limited to the physical input of data on behalf of the user.
However, as mentioned in the second reading, digital generative processes provide for a shift of emphasis from traditional to somewhat futuristic design methods, from a “making of form, to a finding of form.” Similarly, a generative logic (a logic nonetheless) allows for a flexible and dynamic transformation of form, something an individual would have to work tirelessly for to model manually. The readings also introduced a topic of separation of conception and construction. Traditionally (post craftsman/stonemason/designer/engineer division) organised and scales drawings were used to model the idea of the designer. Now, with the expansion of digital technology in all the aforementioned fields, 3D Cad, models and building schedules as a part of highperformance software can be used to transmit ideas about the conception and simplify the construction of a structure. The over-all rise of technology, including domestic products such as iPads that can be easily transported to exhibit ideas, faster computers and email to instantly send detailed plans and files all aid in empowering the digital age.
David Fisher‘s Twirling Tower represents the epitome of contemporary dynamic design. As well as utilising an aesthetically wonderful design with sustainable consuequences. the building reforms the discourse of architecture. Buildings no longer have to be large, heavy, static forms of mass to remain structurally safe, but contrastingly can adapt to local surrounding for an array of benefits. Image from inhabitat.com
Dynamic Architecture; From Dangar Reinhardt’s Prosthetic Surfaces: Design Model for a Dynamic Architecture When I consider the term Dynamic Architecture, I inherently think of moving structures, skins and limbs of buildings responding to constantly changing exterior conditions. Floors of an unidentifiable mass rotating independently of one another due to varying winds at different heights along the vertical axis of a building, perhaps in conjunction with varying levels of friction acting on these floors. But realistically, how to do we model this motion? What if a wind is too strong, or too erratic, and can defect the integrity of the building? Computer modelling can be the solution, and an incredible aid in understanding the changing form of a building due to external conditions. Design is infinitely variable whilst in a two dimensional digital realm, but when extracted into the third dimension, structural technicalities limit possible movement. Similarly when removed from the digital realm to the built one, problems of conceptualising movement due to elements such as heat, wind etc. become even more apparent…were it not for the magic of dynamic and responsive software. With such programming, we can analyse the effect of environmental conditions, such as sun, heat, wind on a dynamic structure, understanding the capabilities and restrictions of movement. As Reinhardt describes, prosthetic surfaces of a building are likely to ‘respond to’ a number of conditions, but simultaneously undergo a process of modification…an ‘evolution’ as a result of the forces around them. Like most of the organic realm, it seems that these changes will have a random, if not anarchic effect on building skin. However, with appropriate modelling, it would be possible to recreate a set of random conditions, and visualise otherwise inconceivable options. As a building would register changing conditions and react to the dynamic system of an external environment, software could theoretically recreate the effect on a digital version of a building.. The paper describes the notion of a ‘Design Model’… the essence of design. In a way we can conceptualise this as the guiding parameters of a design, the essence that remains even after visual or structural transformation of a structure. A crossover between elastic interval and independent is the Design Model in a piece of clothing mentioned in Reinhardt’s article. Structural integrity and dynamic change of form due to wind can be the Design Model of a building. In terms of dynamic architecture, a key element of the Design Model would be interaction. Interaction between user and space, object and weather or light and sound.
The realm of dynamic design can be taken even further. Using the important characteristic of ever-changing form, evolving through various unique shapes, we can consider the impermanence of form as a remarkable stage in the design process. For example, software that continuously manipulates the skin of an object until the point of manufacture will imply that the final outcome is dictated by the chaos of the software, and not a uniform design dictated by designer and machinery. In an industrialised world where all items are unified by manufacturing technique, mass-produced and hence lacking all individuality, developing a software that changes minute, even insignificant elements of an object seconds before manufacture dictates that each item will have at least some element of originality. Depending on the algorithm of the software, it would even be possible to create truly unique patterns, shapes, and volumes. Personally, this seems like a valuable quality to an object owned by millions of others, and more importantly, a revolution in design, and mass production. Theoretically, this idea reflects the shift from digitally dynamic form to a static object. Essentially, kinetic design is responsive to environmental factors (though this definition can be stretched further) and increases the number of functions performed by a building. A greenhouse that incorporates movement into the design increases productivity by responding and adapting to external surroundings. Similarly, it communicates with the landscape, both conceptually and practically.
Dynamic form can be interestingly explored in sensitive environments that require a stable interior climate. For example in this proposed greenhouse, perhaps it would be possible to create a mechanism that rotates plants for optimum exposure to sun, shade and warmth. Light and heat sensors can theoretically be used to inform machinery of scale and form of movement. Image from nextnature.net
_____________________ Parametric Modelling The week’s readings give an interesting insight into the idea of parametric architecture, and particularly the impact of the style within greater architectural discourse. However, as Patrik Schumacher pledges that this style (or perhaps the employment and clever utilisation of new software?) is one to dominate the design realm, his Parametricist Manifesto can be scrutinised in its one-sidedness. Indeed the term manifesto evokes a somewhat negative connotation, especially in a field such as design, which embraces all aesthetic and theoretical principles in their infinite potential and evolution of style. In the first article, from architectcsjournal.co.uk, Patrik mentions that style is an important way architecture is observed and recognised…perhaps one can say even simplified. But it is not merely a matter of appearance, it is a reflection of modern life, both social and personal, of the complex web of systems our postmodernist lifestyle has imposed on us. Globalisation, economic ties and the boom of a computer-based generation are mere points that reflect the world we live in, and are indeed elements of focus for designers. As such, it seems this is where the powerful theoretical and mathematical underlying of parametric architecture can be put to use. Can these abstract concepts be an integral part of design style without high technology? However, following the evolution of style in general, parametrical design does call on other styles to enrich and progress the “coming epoch of parametricism.” Though I think this is a truism, for all design takes information from the past, adapted to the needs of a present to create new form and/or function, it seems Patrik is referring to the conceptual underside of parametricism. Considering his works at ZHA, I find it hard to associate the fluid and sculptured buildings designed with software to the more traditional forms before and during the twentieth century. Here, form is temporarily separated from the notion of style.
Despite the unfortunate, and sometimes strict, one sidedness of certain arguments concerning parametricism, the term lends itself to a broader vagueness. The important notion of setting up parameters, modelling with an inter-relationship of these small elements to create a greater form is in a way exercised in all design. The term becomes much about interpretation when we consider something like the coming about of the Bauhaus. The early twentieth century style was also about A) utilising contemporary technology to B) appeal to the needs (functions) of citizens, subsequently C) reflecting their emergence into a contemporary and modern world. These elements D) dictated a new form that was reflective of greater society. Not to mention that many of the aesthetic and design principles were set up by the (parameters) of the Bauhaus school. In understanding and considering the technical interpretations and associations of the terms style, parametricism, modernism, the arguments raised seem a little trivial. All new things constructed are ‘modern.’ Labelling them and categorizing according to a set of defined principles almost contradicts the evolutionary nature of design. Just as laws of geometry and mathematics can be applied for visual interest, Grasshopper can be used to create new curved shapes and volumes, appealing to, and reflecting the people that engage with the building. As mentioned in the last reading, “style… goes beyond form, and actually has more to do with the formal expression of the zeitgeist.” Buildings designed with parametric software need not be called ‘parametric architecture’ but simply, contemporary. Lastly, the notion of bottom up, generative processed versus top down is a downward spiral in understanding a theoretical aspect of the process of design (practically, it is an interesting and beneficial method of design however). Essentially all architecture is both. The building is defined by form, yet this is dictated by the inter-related network of parameters that must be considered, and make it. This is a very interesting notion and one not often thought about by designers.
Practical shortcomings of the parametric method of design do exist too also though. After playing around a little bit on Rhino and Grasshopper, the technical difficulties of setting up a working grasshopper definition are one. This surely would eventually be overcome through practice. More importantly, the lengthy process of setting up the â€˜bottom upâ€™ technique is a related drawback, and a great level of technical skill is involved. An idea must be had in mind, and then expanded after setting up all the parameters of the project. These parameters may include all the geometries used, their relationships, and the over-all form of the structure. All the technical aspects are to be configured later, including enclosed spaces, openings and their repsective sizes. As all these minor adjustments are made further along the design process, it is important to include the vital characteristics that make design successful. For example, an intuitive and emotional response must be considered by the designer, as computation software does not really take this into account. The benefits of this are concerned with the flexibility of fine tuning the design without having to edit the whole design. If all the parameters are already set-up, then the more specific elements can be easily manipulated. This framework of relationships and constraints allows for automatic updates if changes to a single element are made, implying extremely fast modification with high precision and accuracy. Similarly, more complex equations can also be run and modelled. As we will see in the below examples, unusual gradients and curves can be mapped to quickly understand the form of the building without major difficulty.
Mercedes Benz Museum; UN Studio The design of the museum is based on on a geometric model of trefoil organisation. Though the aesthetic of this arrangement is somewhat obscured, the form presents and interesting modern ideal of combining various geometries in an exciting, yet elegant fashion. The sloping facade and what appear to be shards of glass for fenestration contrast the gentle slope of the ambulatory path around the atrium. The building represents the value of parametricism both visually and structurally. It can be observed that elements are pushed and pulled to adhere to the greater geometry of the building, creating a variety of what appear to be deformed sections of the museum. In fact, it is an interesting interplay of materials, scales of geometry and subtle manipulation through parametric software.
Serpentine Gallery; Alvaro Siza
The inherent beauty of the pavilion lies in its simplicity. Constructed from a rectangular grid slightly distorted to suit, and create, a dynamic curvaceous form, the structure lies peacefully amidst a park environment. The interlocking timber beams accentuate this relationship with setting; the building exhibits a new architecture in a new format. Additionally, the architect wanted to create a dialogue with a traditional building type, influence seen in the selected material and scale. As well as its aesthetic intrigue (simple, yet exciting) the pavilion demonstrates the idea that perhaps parametric design doesnâ€şt have to be something of an avant-garde practice. Vieira used parametric software to deform the grid that envelopes the structure without creating stark new geometries that would contrast the site rather than communicate with it.
____Case Study: Michael Hansmeyer and Computational Architecture Upon looking at the potential of current experimentation with parametric software, it is important to mention the work of Michael Hansmeyer. His project of ornamented columns through a process of subdivision is conceived through the conception and design of a new column order. The architect focussed on exploring how subdivision can define and decorate a new column order with elaborate ornament. By taking a base form and subdividing its surface into a series of smaller faces that can then be manipulated, great detail and variation is achieved. Folding and mirroring sections of the component can be one such method of achieving new form. By applying an algorithm that considers significant topographical and topological information, a heterogeneous application of processes allows for the computation of a new column. The course is essentially a responsive reaction within softwareâ€Śa generative process that creates a complex physical structure. Hansmeyerâ€™s series of ornate columns were fabricated as a layered model using 1mm sheets: .The sheets are stacked and held together by poles that run through a common core .A calculation of cutting path is exectuted .Individual line segments are generated and tested for self-intersection and combined to form polygons once an over-all form has been decided .A polygon-in-polygon test deletes interior polygons .A series of filters ensures that convex polygons with peninsulas maintain a minimum isthmus width. .Interior offset is calculated and hollowed out
_______________________________Term Index Polygons
A simple, yet important reminder about basic geometries...
Topography & Topology
Though topography is a science and branch of mathematics mainly associated with the study of Convex polygon: a simple polygon whose interior is a Earthâ€şs surface and its features, the more specialist convex set; every interior angle is less than, or equal theme of topology is a more technical way of to 180Â° understanding the underlaying nature of abstract Every line segment between two vertices remains surfaces. inside or on the boundary of the polygon Concave polygon: a shape with interior angles greater Topology examines the properties preserved under than 180Â° continuous deformations to objects. So if we were to Can be partitioned into a set of convex polygons imagine a form or loop formed into an irregular pattern, Simple polygon: has only one boundary or we stretch, or untangle the shape into a new form, Complex polygon: intersects itself topologically it would remain the same. Regular polygon: all sides and angles are equal Irregular polygon: varying side lengths and angles Essentially, the science is a qualitative study of properties of objects. Though perhaps the theory is not important to this subject, the field in general is vital when manipulating geometries.
Cut Case Study Project
Considering Biomimicry and Parametricism...
________Case Study 1.0 :Understanding Parametricism
After a pretty overwhelming couple of weeks understanding the processes and value of computation in digital design, the topic of parametric design is definitely becoming more interesting. Though I still value traditional, quality design derived from a vernacular (opposed to the distanced global style), this form of architecture displays its perks especially when dealing with complex forms, geometries and mathematics. The ability to adjust and manipulate certain components of a structure without having to rebuild the whole thing is a valuable quality. Similarly, and perhaps more interesting to me, is the fact that the digital realm allows for the incorporation of other architectural ideas. For instance, the complicated notion of biomimicry can much more easily be evaluated and explored through a digital program. Considering it is an analysis of organic form in terms of scale and complex geometries, understanding the underlying laws of the natural realm would be very hard manually. However, constructing or finding an algorithm for the cell structure of say, the wing of a dragonfly, is relatively easily. This algorithm can be displayed in one, two, three and perhaps four dimensions and consequently manipulated to achieve different form. But in terms of understanding the software and practicing these techniques, I still have some catching up to doâ€Ś
_____An Argument for Biomimicry in Design
As a group, we have decided that a biomimicry approach would be suitable for an instillation for the Wyndham Gateway Project. Though many forms of parametric design would perhaps be suitable for an art piece representative of a growing city on the outskirts of Melbourne city, using biomimicry as an underlying concept allows us to focus on the organic realm as a conceptual and literal example. At first glance at the Wyndham City achievements and prospects, the values of the region are sustainability, community and growth (economic, population etc). As such using biomimicry can be useful because it can visually resemble the natural realm, one that can be associated with sustainability and the green movement. Introducing an element of nature, albeit through built form, could interestingly reflect this ideal. Similarly, the organic beauty of the natural environment is a benefit (or does art have to be beautiful?), especially when contrasted with the industrial landscape of the highway and city outskirts. When considering the highway as an entity, it is a monotonous, dirty and inorganic environment, one seeking to be complimented by an instillation that reflects the ground around, and below it.
Growing cities are dynamic places, characterised by movement and constant change, conceptual and literal progress. Just like an organism, municipalities respond to the greater environment (whether it be environmental, political, economical), with episodes of growth and decay, vitality and tranquillity. Just like the natural realm, they are responsive entities. This factor can also be reflected in a design constructed with the theme of biomimicry. Constant transition and evolution can be recreated in a variety of methods with this approach; with an interesting perspective from the highway, growing form caught in static, or fluid form captured. An element of responsive design (perhaps to the weather or daylight) can hence also be incorporated, as can the idea of an attractive system. Lastly, the value of biomimicry in parametric design also lies in natural organismsâ€™ inherent mathematic and algorithmic structure. The natural realm is governed by a set of patterns and laws, in essence parameters. Cell reproduction, the fractal structure of vegetables like the romanesco and even a sunflowerâ€™s yearning for photosynthesis through growing towards the sun all demonstrate the importance of parameters and formula. If some of these patterns and formulas can be decoded, interesting physical structures can be recreated with software like Grasshopper and Rhino.
Noted by Benoit Mandelbrot as shapes that are infinitely detailed, fractals are forms that self-replicate at any scale. This is not only aesthetically intriguing in its potential as an art piece, but is a very interesting concept to consider for The Gateway Project: a creation that will be observed from a variety of distances (scales) within a short period of time. The detailed and repeating pattern of the romanesco represents a complex three dimensional form and reflects the complicated and amazing realm of the natural. Exact, Quasi and Statistical self-similarity can be experimented with to create functions derived from biology, but inherently maintain a statistical structure. Through fractal analysis, the geometries and characteristics of forms can be assessed. The intricate nesting of cones composing the face of the vegetable can be evaluated further to understand how basic shapes can be rotated and scaled to create a complex whole.
The texture and hexagonal divison of the honeycomb provides much inspiration as a design model. As well as a similar shape covering a surface, the pattern lends itself to a highly organic characteristic. Both as a single component, and an amalgamatio, the shapes composing a honeycomb represent the fluidity of the natural realm. Like fractals, a consistent aesthetic is portrayed through the manipulation of scale. Change in material can also lead to interesting visual illusions. Changing the density or material of certain shapes composing the whole will change the overall texture, light transmitance and affect on the viewer. The interesting transition from the organic to geometric form can also be analysed. The inter-relationship of scale, form and geometry can reveal the connections between the organic and built world.
Repition, change of scale, and change of form can create new patterns, and visual illusions that reflect the biologically mimicked component and its place as contemporary art.
________Case Study 2.0:Yorkshire Diamond The Yorkshire Diamond, a project commissioned by the regional agency by Various Architects development for the Yorkshire, UK region, is intended to be a relocatable and inflatable multi-function pavilion. Based on the atomic structure of the diamond the pavilion is intended to represent Yorkshire Forward at local events around the region and further abroad. Inflatable tubes for easy relocation and redefining form with multiple configurations are an integral feature of the structure, combined with the stability and simplicity of the pavilion. The building seeks to promote a very contemporary image for the client, and modern architecture in general: it is a green, cleverly designed, recyclable parametric system that fulfils a range of functions in essentially any environment.
Though the building has not been built, its focus on flexibility and incorporation of passive design (through natural lighting and ventilation) make it a conceptual landmark for contemporary design. In theory, it sounds like a successful building, appealing to the brief with innovation and construction beyond convention. In terms of its parametric sub-structure, the building is modelled on the basic geometry of the diamond atom. In essence, two perpendicular elements (V shaped) are stacked upon one another, one of which is rotated ninety degrees. The whole â€˜atomâ€™ is slightly more complicated, though just an expansion of these two forms too accommodate for repetition.
It is assumed that once this structure was determined and modelled, it could easily be duplicated (‹moved› in Grasshopper) to create a greater cubic form. Certain components could then be removed to create interior openings and fenestration systems. Lastly, the cavities would be panelled to create an enclosure.
Though we had some difficulty understanding the geometry behind the diamond atom at first, the greater struggle resulted in plotting this in a three dimensional space using suitable grids in Rhino. At first, looking at the images of the pavilion, they represented hexagons with striking vertical elements not present in the diamond atom. We tried to replicate this threedimensional shape and consider the possibility of the architects’ choice to modify this form for further aesthetic merit. Considering the vertical elements were in fact an illusion as a result of the structure of the atom used, our trial and error process of form finding was over. We understood the overwhelmingly simple geometry of two right angles atop one another could be recreated with lines on two planes (grids) offset at %50 of one unit (one square). We then grouped this form and exported it to Grasshopper as a curve, ready for replicating. Though we had many difficulties using the appropriate Grasshopper commands, it would be interesting to play around the with the geometries of each diamond atom making the building. If, for instance, the building did not have a façade of perfectly arrayed hexagons and triangle forms, but rather a complex web of almost organic geometries, it would surely add to its interesting aesthetic whilst maintaining the structural arrangement of beams. cont,
________Parametric Modelling: Biomimicry Though a man-made landscape feature, this garden represents the aesthetic pleasantness of organic form in design. By replacing a garden layout that could be rigid, geometric and uninspiring with a flowing and cell-like pattern, the garden visually reflects the natural realm. This cell-like texture on the vase and sculpture and chair below also introduces an aesthetic that we can associate with the natural. The subtle transition of form and scale of the particular components (adjusted ellipses and voronois) exemplifies the idea our group is interested in: the repition of a single form, manipulated to represent the random and fluid structure of the biological realm. The three-dimensional sculptures below appear to work well â€˜in the roundâ€™ as well as creating an interesting shadow due to its organic form (as a result of the individual components composing the skin and fluid angulation of the surface). This example re-inforces the importance of curving surfaces responding to the elements that construct them, composing a structure that relies on its own form as well as individual components to create intrigue. These structures use the interesting technique of taking the organic form of a cell-like shape and styalizing it to create a strict geometric component. Though the shape itself can still only be described as an irregular polygon, its aesthetic has been transformed from something resembling the natural realm to a modern form composed of straight edged shapes. This process seems interesting in the creation of a matrix for the Gateway project because it draws on a relevant concept (biologically inspired form) to create a modern, aesthetically pleasing form with the potential for flexibility in light and shadow studies, as well as identifying the link between nature and contemporary form. Just as the above designs, the images show the ambiguous forms of the natural world. Ellipses slowly transform in size and shape to cover a surface whilst keeping the connections between them at a minimal surface and area. The sculpture is made purely out of varying sizes of interconnected circles. As seen, the choice of material (a thin metal) allows for great luminosity of the art-piece, and curving surfaces and deformed over-all form present a pseudo-organic aesthetic. This idea could also be incorperated in our design.
_________________________________________Argument We want to create a visually intriguing, three-dimensional structure that utilises and filters direct sunlight to project an abstract and aesthetically interesting shadow on to the site. In doing so, the structure will have a fabric or texture that compliments and contrasts the conceptual goals of our design team (primarily reflecting Wyndham cityâ€™s growth, the juxtaposition of natural and industrial landscape and the beginning/end of suburban Melbourne) through an organically derived aesthetic and method. Manipulation of light and shadow will be achieved through an intriguing design made of components modelled on biological forms. A diamond lattice form will be used as a base element, deformed and reconstructed to create the structural and aesthetic properties of the sculpture. Through repetition, scaling and subtle transformation of form of interdependent elements, the fabric, and the whole of the structure is to represent the dynamic shift between baron natural landscape and populated city space. Varying densities, structures and scales of the diamond atom will aid in representing the conceptul goals of our team. Additionally, the asymmetrical and irregular shape of the structure will appear to change form whilst driving past the site, including an element of personal interaction with the piece.
The first set of matrices (the diamond atom spaced along a curve) introduces the possibilities of manipulating a component along a -2dimensional line. Whilst series â€šAâ€ş remains quite simple, it represents the interesting aesthetic benefits of changing density and spacing of a single unit. This variation already starts to tend to our goal of manipulating light and casting an obscure shadow. The use of various graphs (incorporated as a component in the grasshopper sequence) produces an effective method of manipulating a string of units to display and alter the openness and density of what could potentially be a sculpture. This transition of form and scale also represents a growth of the sculpture, perhaps representative of the growth and transition our group is trying to achieve. The unexpected inclusion of a cubic form not structurally based on the diamond atom - though following the rest of the grasshopper definition - produces an interesting aesthetic representing great dynamic and kinetic movement. Visually, the appearance is almost futurist, the strict geometry of a cluster of cubes deformed to appear rather chaotic and modernist. The second series of matrix develops this square and cubic unit further to reveal further possibilities for overall forms and strings of unit. The structure resorts back to a more geometric cohesion. The addition of an origami section (column 5) adds an openness and lightness contrasting the density of the rest of the options created. This characteristic can be utilised to create part of the structure we aim to be more airy and light, positively effecting our goals of a varying shadow.
After manipulating our grasshopper definitions, and particularly experimenting what base forms influence the over-all structure, we have been exposed to the potential of our design. Importantly, we realise that through a focus on biomimicry, the aesthetic of our design is dictated by two key elements: the structural method of creation, and the visual arrangement of elements. The diamond atom has provided much information regarding intricate pipe-work and flexibility of density. But so far we have really been sticking to our ideal of repeating a slowly deformed unit. It has produced some very interesting forms, but we must consider what other factors can be manipulated and further the design process. Now it is time to make a decision, and tweak our design further..
Preparing our Expression of Interest
_________________________________Process In preparing for our Expression of Interest presentation, we decided upon a distorted diamond atom that represents the key concerns of our group. Particularly, they are a transition of density to signify city and population growth, the contrast between built and organic environment and interesting light and shadow. However, with limited time to produce a model to showcase our concept technique, we also have to adjust and simplify our concerns. The laser cutter is proving to be an invaluable tool, however the complex geometries and joins of our model still leave us with lots of manual labour. On the other hand, our process of design and notion of repetition of a single base unit makes it a linear process. Considering we have a distorted atom, which we lofted with eight sides, once we understand the arrangement of these surfaces (most of which have been etched to fold into one-another) the model-making process is quite straight forward. We did learn some valuable lessons about model scale too. Some of the components were approximately one centimetre squared in surface area, making for quite detailed work. Lastly, our inabilities to decide upon a single surface treatment lead us to include several patterns on our model. Though we kept to a single pattern per component (of which there were five in total) the model seemed a little messy. This was an inadvertent effect of exhibiting our concept without determining certain details. If we hadnâ€™t of glued the components together, and revealed only the concept as single units, it would not have demonstrated a significant part of our design process; the adjustment of repeated units along a curve. Our final model was chosen on a series of conceptual and practical factors. We picked a design that reflected biomimicry aesthetically and methodically, structurally and as part of surface treatment. Final developments on grasshopper allowed for tweaking of the structure along a suitable curve that would be appropriate to physically replicate. Similarly, density and scale had to be taken into consideration as we were only building a segment of the designed sculpture.
Mid Semester EOI
We are very confident that our concept is valid for Wyndham City Council. It interestingly ties the organic realm into a piece that is representative of modern social and city growth. Parametric software has been utilized for structural, conceptual and aesthetic benefit. A key concern of interaction and representation has been maintained throughout the design process, and will continue to be a driving factor. This includes an interaction with the individual driving past, as well as the city as a whole.
_______________________________Evaluation In presenting our concept for the Gateway Project, our group has experienced a great jump in understanding the value of parametric design and software, and the methods in creating and evaluating an appropriate form and process. Two important questions were brought up in our critique of concept; how does it differ from other Expressions of Interest, and how is the interplay of geometries a valuable focus during the design process? Considering this subject is just an introduction to parametric and computational design, the former question is hard to answer without tending to the obvious answers of a different form, a combination of surface treatment and changes in size and density. Methodically, our design focussed on dealing with the philosophical aspects of a theme (biomimicry) and how it can be practically utilised as a design method. By separating the process into structural and aesthetic components, we were able to further our understanding of how we want to reach our design goals. Processes of nature provide us with valuable information regarding how efficiencies and intricacies can be achieved. By looking at the diamond atom, we realised that a naturally found atomic structure can be used for structural and aesthetic benefit. The skewing of a network of piped structures shows great potential of flexibility and interesting form. Now we just have to understand what other geometric potential this concept holds.
After some consideration, and observing other group efforts, it seems reasonable to incorporate an element of organic design into a technique that has so far (at least on the surface) been very geometric and aesthetically standardised. Voronois are perhaps not the answer, but adding a surface treatment means there is an additional factor to grab the attention of the passer-by. Similarly, expanding our design technique to not only repeat a component along a uni-directional curve could reveal more possibilities. Now it is time for us to think in a more threedimensional way. Orientation and local geography of the chosen site should begin to play a greater role in influencing design. Perhaps we want more of an interaction with the piece, not just one based on dense versus open aesthetic. Using pipework has great flexibility and greater potential in representing our goals. How else can we enhance the notion of organic to a structure that is seemingly geometric and separated into components forming units? We have created an interesting form, but now it has to fill a much larger space, and more effectively interact with passengers travelling at high speeds and communicate conceptual ideals of the council.
Our next steps with grasshopper deal primarily with manipulating form to create a more engaging structure. We will continue to perform shadow studies as well as focus on a design that works â€˜in the round.â€™ Surface treatment and lofting strategies should be expanded upon through manipulating grasshopper definitions. We will also look at It would also be valuable for us to extend our definitions organically derived growth definition and see if they of organic functions. True the diamond atom is a good can be replicated in a parametric format. starting point, but understanding further structures and forms would be interesting. After eight weeks this terminology and sfotware is beginning to make sense. Parametricism is a valuable and powerful tool, cabable of executing many functions that perhaps are idealised in contemporary architecture. Many times it is frustrating, but group work increases the ease of problem solving and labourous tasks. Though the projects created in this class indeed are interesting and complex designs, and I have been inspired and shocked to learn a new design method, it very much lacks a human, organic element. Craftmanship and human error have been completely erased in favour of a computational design. In my opinion, it is valuable and specific field, but remains an avante garde expression of modern technology, perhaps not suitable for day-to-day architecture.
Published on Sep 20, 2012