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INTRODUCTION Samuel Bell Growing up on a farm in South West Victoria, I lived a childhood where I was encouraged to go outside and explore, to get dirty, to climb a tree, to make something. That lifestyle guided my learning and helped me discover my real interests. Everyday after school I would go out into my dad’s workshop and begin building something. As I was young, I was restricted to the use of hand tools for a number of years, insisting I spent hours and hours with saws and chisels and planes. I learnt through experience how to skilfully use all the tools in the workshop, and with the acquisition of each new technique I became less restricted in what I was able to design and then construct. I continued constructing as I got older, undertaking Woodwork classes throughout highschool, where I found a passion for the craft itself - only satisfied with perfectly fitting joints and the highest level of finish in my projects. While learining the importance of the fine detail, I also began to understand construction at a larger scale, when helping my dad with numerous house renovations. Art, specifically drawing, was another interest in my life that, like construction, grew as I did. With any long car trip or free weekend at home, I’d pull out my sketchbook and grey lead and sketch anything and everything. I liked to be able to take an image in my head, and put it into lines on paper. Similarly to building, where I could turn a thought into physical form. While I was using my drawings to visualise my designs for many years, it was almost a ‘kick yourself’ sort of moment when I thought about my two passions, and thought ‘Architecture!’ Going into my third year of the degree, I couldn’t think of anything I’d rather be studying, and while I have learnt an enorous amount about design, I feel those pre-existing skills of drawing and constructing have, to an extent, got me through to this point with relative ease. Studio Air, however, takes an entirely new approach to design which has me quite nervous and well out of my comfort zone! Learning computational design skills, I know, is vital for anyone pursuing a career in the ever-advancing discipline of architecture. When considering the past twenty or so years in architecture, we have seen computerised modelling pro4

Fig. 1 - Me and my dogs on my newly built woolshed ramp

grams, namely AutoCad, work their way into most design processes, and eventually take over almost completely from hand drawn methods. Computational and parametric modelling programs like Grasshopper will surely be the next generation. Studio Air is set to be far more challenging than any other studio I have undertaken to date, but it is that challenge that I expect will tease out the greatest results in my design, and begin to reveal the concept of parametric modelling, the future of architecture.

“Studio Air takes an entirely new approach to design,


which has me quite nervous and well out of my comfort zone





LAGI DESIGN RESPONSE 2012 ‘SOCK FARM’ SOLAR + WIND POWER I was drawn to this proposal initially by its successful visual presentation, but it also provides an innovative multienergy generating response to the LAGI Design brief. The project consists of solar producing greenhouses, carefully arranged to maximise energy collection, while still allowing adequate light penetration through the semi-tranparent pv’s to sustain growth of various sized plants. The large solar collecting area across the 84 ‘Fresh Houses’ has the capacity to produce enough energy to power 1200 homes every year. Above the fresh houses are a number of ‘Super Kites’, flying in consistent high altitude winds. Connected to the mother kites are networks of smaller kites, modelled from the idea of a wind sock. With this vast number of kites flying at all times, energy production is never at a stand still, resulting in huge additional renewable energy generation.

Fig. 2 - Sock Farm as seen from lake


While the LAGI Design sets a brief for an energy-generating proposal, successful entries are often those that use innovation to be environmentally benificial in more than one way. The community garden aspect of this design is a thoughtful way of involving the public in a like-minded way; educating about self-sufficiency while renewable energy is being generated all around them. This proposal gives the public the opportunity to be constantly involved and to take pride in the site which would certainly increase their interest, and therefore awareness, in what is happening in the rest of the site. This demonstrates how energy can be produced in more than one way quite easily on the same site. The topography of the Fresh Kills site makes wind power an effective option, where solar can be used in basically any context, provided it is not completely blocked from the sun.

Fig. 3 - Fresh House containing community garden plots

Fig. 4 - Wind socks hovering above site



LAGI DESIGN RESPONSE 2012 ‘THE BEAUTY OF RECYCLING’ SOLAR POWER This proposal is another example of where, as well as producing energy, the design attempts to be innovative in making it as environmentally efficient as possible - in this case by using recycled materials. A series of floating balls, made from recycled plastic, collects the sun’s rays throughout the day through thin solar cells. This energy is then distributed to local power grids. The system also stores a small amount of its own energy to power small coloured LEDs within each unit, producing a visual light display every night for the public. At first glance I assumed this was a hydroelectric proposal, and I think that’s where this idea could be expanded. The

Fig. 5 -Array of solar collectors bob on the surface of the river


floating ball and cable mechanism almost already has hydrokinetic capabilities. Why not use the movement of the water to generate extra power? The opportunity is also there to make the proposal interactive. The system could also be a rowing activity or training station, where the float can be dragged out to measure power/endurance, and at the same time produce human-powered kinetic energy. This proposal has unfortunatey not maximised the opportunity of the site or the potential of the many renewable energy technologies that are rapidly advancing and becoming available.

Fig. 6 - Hydrokinetic bouy off the coast of Hawaii

Hydrokinetic bouys tethered to the ocean floor use wave momentum to spin hydraulic turbines, generating up to 80% energy output over energy input. This method could have been implemented in ‘The Beauty if Recycling’, and is one that stands out to me for possible use in the 2014 Copenhagen LAGI Competition.

Fig. 7 - Collectors in submerged state

Fig. 8 - Solar array during Twilight Show




Fig.9 (Top right) - Interior ceiling grid Fig.10 (Middle right) - Lighting pattern projected on walk-under ceiling Fig.11 (Bottom right) - Phaeno Science Centre




The Phaeno Science Centre, by Zaha Hadid, is conceptualised as a magic box - “an object capable of awakening curiosity and the desire for discovery in all who open or enter it.� The project has used computational design techniques to outlay glazing patterns throughout the building. Internally, feature ceiling grids are created, to house services, act accoustically, and create a feature of the space. The curvature of the form is also likely to have been constructed in a computational program similar to Rhino, where parametric controls can quickly and easily manipulate the fluidity or strength of the form. This is not a strong precedent for computational modelling.



MELBOURNE RECITAL CENTRE ASHTON RAGGATT MCDOUGALL Melbourne’s recital center utilises computational design in a number of different elements of the building. The polygonal glazed facade utilises one of the earliest techniques created in architecture by computational design - a Voronoi Diagram. This is where lines are projected through the most central path between a set of points, dividing the space up into many different regions, creating an irregular, but organic pattern of polygons. This pattern, once realised, was used so regularly that it has now gone the other end of the popularity scale, and is almost seen as a primitive idea. The inside of Elizabeth Murdoch Hall shows use of computational design techniques, similar to that used for the Driftwood AA Pavilion. The accoustic wooden panelling of the hall is produced from contour-like patterns projected onto the interior surfaces through a computational design program.

Fig.12 - Voronoi Diagram

Fig. 13 (Top) - Recital Centre’s facade of Voronoi panels Fig. 14 (Right) - Elizabeth Murdoch Hall featuring contour-like timber panels




COMPOSITION/GENERATION PRECEDENT 1 ENTRY PARADISE PAVILION LAVA ARCHITECTS This transportable Entrance Pavilion by Cris Bosse (The Watercube) is inspired by microscopic cell structures taken directly from nature. This subdivision of three-dimensional space is seen in the cell biology of coral sponge and polyps, as well as the natural formation of soap bubbles, making it the most efficient subdivision of that particular space. Similarly to the materials making up those natural formations, the Pavilion is constructed from thin, tensile fabrics, stretching smoothly from floor to ceiling; then can be packed away into a bag weighing 17kg. Using images of cell structure, the form is created with mesh tools in Grasshopper. Using sliider funtions, or equivalent, the size, shape and fluidity of the structure can be manipulated to quickly generate many variations and find the desired form. Without this paramteric link the architect would be required to rebuild his mesh from scratch, making for drastic time increase.

The nature of this structure makes for the entire process of fabrication and installation to be of speed and ease. After the form is created in Grasshopper/Rhino is fed into a ‘sail-making’ programwhich works out the easiest way for the tensile pavilion to be fabricated, from individual sheets of fabric. This process is similar to the unrolling process of planar Rhino models.

Fig.15 - Mesh model of Pavil

The Entry Paviliion is an incredible innovation which creates amzing spaces from easy-to-work-with materials which are cheap and lightweight, and it can be transported to different events and set up within an hour. While our brief asks for a permanent artform, tensile fabrics are not to be overlooked. They could easily be used for both solar and wind energy collection, and there’s nothing to say it couldn’t be used for hydro and/or kinetic in the future too.

Fig.16 - Pavilion shown to sc


lion surface formation


Fig.17 - Built pavilion


A.3. PRECEDENT 2 LOUISIANA STATE MUSEUM & SPORTS HALL OF FAME TRAHAN ARCHITECTS Louisiana State’s Museum and Sports Hall of Fame is one of the most perfectly constructed buildings I have ever seen. The intent of the design was to smoothly connect both the sporting and cultural historical records into one building with vague, or blended separation. The form of the internal space conceptually represents the fluvial river systems that have carved away at the Cane River banks for centuries. This organic, twisting, folding form is made up of sculpted panels of cast stone, and would be simply impossible to manufacture without the help of computational modelling. Trahan Architects enlisted the exper-tise of Method Design consultants to design and fabricate a steel support system to perfectly fit the 1150 unique stone panels. Grasshopper was used to plan all the steel detailing supprting the panels. The details of this model are iteratively generated using a ‘reponse loop system’, creating every individual member, support and connection. Working in conjunction with Advanced Cast Stone, each panel was fabricated and fixed perfectly, creating the smooth interior that would otherwise has been tedious, messy, and basically impossible.

Fig.18 - Concept diagram

Fig.19 - Model in Rhino

Fig. 20 - Structural elements in Rhino

Fig. 21 - Building Assembly


Fig.22 (Right) - Building interior: Stone Panels



CONCLUSION The introduction to the subject through Part A was an almost overwhelming merger of the Land Art Generator Initiative brief and an overview of the evolution of computational modelling and it’s increased use in design processes in architecture. Renewable energy sources and Grasshopper - two highly complex elements in their own right, put them together and surprisingly they aren’t any simpler!

adjustable, as well as tuning distribution of space (high level of movement/activity areas and low level of movement/ passive areas). This idea is in the very early stages and at this point I have only thought about ways it could succeed, steering clear of thinking critically about ways it could fail.

Researching previous LAGI entries gave clear insight into the myriad possibilities for the brief; notably the inclusion of renewable energy technologies that are still in early stages of research. This encourages, or even permits, entrants to think for themselves about what could be foreseeably possible in the future - something that I, for one, would probably have never bothered with. I think this, while very minor, is perhaps my favourite part of the brief, as it ensured that I didn’t just pick an existing energy source and drift on through the phase, and in doing so really challenged my thinking. In saying that, at this point I have only come to think of innovative ways of differently using existing energy sources, rather than creating completely new forms.

With further exploration into renewable energies, and further experimentation with Grasshopper, hopefully I can further my design concepts and begin turning them into three-dimensional models.

Considering the site context, and the abundance of available water (not often so dominant), my first and constant thoughts are to use hydroelectric or hydrokinetic power as the major energy-generating source. While the port is relatively sheltered from waves, the rising and falling of the tide and wakes created from boats may have the potential to generate substantial power. One of my initial concepts is a ‘Sea Blanket’™, which I imaging to be a floating surface that is hydrokinetically systemated. With the rolling of water underneath or human activity on top, hydraulic pumps spin many small turbines to create power. This concept is quite applicable for a computational design as the loating surface would assumably be constructed from hundreds of panels with water-tight and flexible junctions, resulting in living surface. The use of Grasshopper would make panel distribution and scaling fast and easily



LEARNING OUTCOMES Throughout Part A, our research into computational design and parametric precedents has demonstrated the wonders of what this method of design is beginning to do in architecture, but merely breaking the surface of what it can do and what it will do in the future. While computers rely on humans to put in the parameters, their ability to generate enormously complex data structures allows them to create forms and patterns to a degree of accuracy simply impossible for humans to match. As the technology is still so new, architecture that has never been used before is being easily spat out of computers, with countless variations available with the click of a button. And that is where the biggest question lies... Is it becoming too easy? To a point where architects are restricting themselves by this new technology? It is clear that parametric modelling can be very efficient after one becomes competent with it, however, the likes of Grasshopper go far beyond standard design programs in terms of complexity, and I believe it will be that fact that will prevent a ‘design democracy’ occuring with parametric tools.



1. Case Building & Tecnology, Louisiana State Museum and Sports Hall of Fame, last modified 2011, project/BIM-consulting-louisiana-state-museum-and-sports-hall-fame-LOD-400-cast-stone-panel-fabrication-models-andcoordination. 2. Chris Bosse, Entry Paradise Pavilion, 3. Elizabeth Murdoch Hall, Melbourne Recital Centre, last modified 2014, 4. LAGI 2012 Porfolio, Land Art Generator Initiative, last modified 2013, 5. Louisiana State Museum and Sports Hall of Fame / Trahan Architects, Arch Daily, last modified September 2013, http:// 6. 7. Melbourne Recital Centre, Check on Site,last modified August 2012, 8. Method Design, Louisiana State Museum and Sport Hall of Fame, last updated 2014, 9. Phaeno Science Centre, Zaha Hadid Architecture, last modified 2007, 10. Robert Ferry & Elizabeth Monoian, A Field Guide to Renewable Energy Technologies, Land Art Generator Initiative, 2012. 11. Voronoi Diagram, 12. Trahan Architects, Louisiana State Museum and Sports Hall of Fame, last updated 2009,


IMAGES Fig. 1 - Sam Bell, Me and my Dogs, (Cavendish, 2013)

Fig. 2,3,4 - “Sock Farm”, Land Art Generator Initiative, last modified 2013, soc26010/.

Fig. 5, 7, 8, - “The Beauty of Recycling”, Land Art Generator Initiative, last modified 2013,

Fig. 6 - Ocean Power Technologies, “Bouy Type Wec of the Coast of Hawaii”, A Field Guide to Renewable Energy Technologies, 2012, Robert Ferry and Elizabeth Monoian.

Fig. 9, 10 , 11, - Phaeno Science Centre, Zaha Hadid Architecture, last modified 2007,

Fig. 12 - Voronoi Diagram,

Fig. 13 - Wojtek Gurak, Melbourne Recital Centre, last modified August 2012,

Fig. 14 - Pia Johnson, Elizabeth Murdoch Hall, last modified 2014,

Fig. 15, 16, 17 - Entry Paradise Paviliion, LAVA,

Fig. 18, 19, 20, 21, Louisiana State Museum and Sports Hall of Fame / Trahan Architects, Arch Daily, last modified September 22 - 2013,


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