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1.1 Introduction 7 1.2 Architecture as a Discourse 11 1.3 Computational Architecture 14 1.4 Parametric Modelling 18 1.5 Algorithmic Explorations 24 1.6 Conclusion 26

2.1 Design Focus 32 2.2 Case Study 1.0 34 2.3 Case Study 2.0 40 2.4 Matrix Explorations 44 2.5 Technique Development 52 2.6 Technique Prototypes 58 2.7 Technique Proposal 64 2.8 Learning Objectives and Outcomes 70 2.9 Algorithmc Explorations 72 3 PROJECT PROPOSAL 3.1 Design Concept 74 3.2 Tectonic Elements 94 3.3 Fabrication 96 3.4 Installation 102 4




REFLECTION 5.1 Further Development 5.2 Algorithmic Explorations 5.3 Conclusion

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My name is Sarah Yeun, I am currently a third year student studying Environments at Melbourne University and majoring in Architecture. I moved to Melbourne in 2006 from Singapore to further my education and to experience the culture and lifestyle in Australia. Digital design and theory is something I am very interested in, further enhanced by my brief contact with using modelling programs in and out over the period of two years. I aelectronically fascinating and challenging. My experience with using digital software is limited to Rhino, AutoCAD and Autodesk Revit. I am excited to see what Grasshopper has in store for me this semester. My grasp on Rhino is not perfect at this stage and I am keen to continually improve.


VISUAL COMMUNICATIONS 2012 In my second year of study, one of the tasks for my module subject of Visual Communications was to utilise digital design software to create a proposed structure for a garden project. This was enjoyable for me as I was able to use various crazy methods available in Rhino to loft, twist and shape a multi coloured structure. This project is another reason why I am supportive of using digital programming for design. It allows an individual to quickly and efficiently create extreme and completely wacky designs not otherwise achievable if using the traditional methods of pen and paper idea generation.



DESIGN STUDIO WATER 2012 This structure above is also another design I created in my second year using Autodesk Revit. This project was essentially an interpretation of a style of a previous well established architect. I choose Kazuyo Sejima, a Japanese architect whose ideals and style I found relatable as well as beautiful in its simplicity. I am particularly happy with the outcome, considering I learnt the basics tools and experimentation as well as producing my realized design with Revit in a span of two weeks. My design was heavily focused around the spatial logic of independence and interconnectivity with the environment forming public space. The structure generally provides an organizational system circulation as well as opening opportunities for utilisation and experience of space within the building. It creates an infinite combination and possibilities of movement.



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LOUVRE LENS MUSUEM, FRANCE SANAA + IMREY CULBERT + CATHERINE MOSBACH 2003 Le MusÊe du Louvre-Lens was designed in 2003 by Japanese architectural firm SANAA. It is located approximately 200 kilometres north of Paris and aims to draw touristic attention to the industrialized region of Nord-Pas de Calais. The dominant theme displayed and emphasized in the building design indicates strong usage of transparency. The majority of the building is constructed from clear glass panels and tubing, inducing a unique atmospheric experience due to transparent and reflective qualities of the material. The museum consists of a surface area of 28,000 square metres forming a low-slung, horizontal structure including a core central square and four rectangles, attached at various corners and with slightly curved walls to soften the lines. Glass-enclosed galleries open perspectives across the grounds, utilising subtle transparency to create cross views through public spaces. The reflective façade alternates between glass and anodised aluminium. Seen from the air, the building bears a resemblance to the original Louvre with a twisted section behind. I love the complexity of design inherent in the simplicity of the design. The space makes use of carefully constructed volumes of standalone space, further combining seamlessly into a beautiful coherent whole. The building is minimalistic in regards to style and materials but designed in such a way that the final result creates an organizational system which projects circulation with striking complexity. Due to the layers of glass, the walls not only reflect and refract the spaces they enclose; they also visually project those spaces through and beyond one another. Each space has the potential to be open or closed, to be connected and separate from the others, to create areas of relaxation or activity. The transparency allows users to orient themselves while experiencing an awareness of their relationship to spaces and their surroundings. The Louvre Lens building exudes an air of cleanliness and transparency which I can appreciate. However, these same features can also be negative. The building could easily be transferred to a clinical test laboratory with a need for sterile spaces and still be a working design. Museums should be exclusive spaces where art, science and people form an interaction between personal reflection and the object. This building does not fulfil the intimate connection that should be present where people are able to discover personal meanings and relations. That atmosphere is sacrificed in the neutrality of the space.

11 Fig. 1 & 2: A As Architecture. (2012). Louvre Lens Museum. Available: http://


ARTS SCIENCE MUSEUM, SINGAPORE MOSHIE SAFADIE 2011 Traditionally, art and science museums have been segregated into separate exclusive entities. I feel this distinction is a pity, as it removes the intricate relationship between them. Art has the ability to influence science heavily. Similarly, science and technological developments have boosted artistic innovation. That is why this building, aptly named the ArtScience Museum has such an impact on the improvement of architecture and perspective. The design and construction of the actual museum is a huge step forward in terms of sustainability in architecture. Not only is the museum an artistic success, it also has a functional environmental sustainability. The architecture is designed to provide an aesthetically pleasing structure which makes use of advanced technology. Safadie based the building on the thought “search for rational geometry”, achieved by modelling 10 ‘fingers’ into an interpretation of a lotus blossom or open palm. They array around an oculus, increasing in size and height to create gallery space. Skylights are built into the tips of the fingers which allow natural light to filter into the galleries. The oculus is also an aspect of the sustainability features. It channels rainwater into a central atrium integrated into a waterfall which finally collects in a reflection pool. This rainwater is subsequently moved from the pool into the plumbing system of the building as part of Singapore’s Green Mark Programme. The structure is clad with double curved Fiber Reinforced Polymer, a lightweight and strong material. The vertical sides of each finger are covered with stainless steel panels. The use of FBR allows for a smooth and uninterrupted surface. The building extends 60m into the skyline, supported by a steel lattice structure which is supported further by ten columns built into the center. The result is an efficient resolution to the asymmetrical properties of the building. The combination of all these elements propels the Art Science museum to reach the highest standards of sustainability. I find the design and thought behind the construction of this building highly sophisticated. The building was able to create architecture which incorporates traditional values of aesthetic beauty with rising concern for environmental sustainability. Too often nowadays, people tend to judge architecture merely on how it looks and appeals to them. To appreciate a building fully, I feel an individual should discover the process and thought that went into development as well as the architect’s goal for the final product. This building has achieved everything Safadie had originally planned for and more, rendering it a striking example of modern architecture today.


Fig. 3. Lincoln Center Institue. (2011) A Convergence of Disciplines: Singapore’s New ArtScience Museum. Available:


In this current age of computer science and engineering, computational architecture has developed as an art form which intrinsically links the process of design with digital programming. In traditional architecture, this art of design is performed visually. Using computational architecture transfers this thinking into a logical and defined system. Digital architecture utilises programming, simulation and computer modelling to create new and innovative virtual forms of physical structure. It does not rely on the actual materials such as brick or stone, but instead relies on numbers and algorithms used in electromagnetic format which is used in combination to create and represent form1.

AOBA TEI, SENDAI JAPAN HITOSHI ABE 2004 This restaurant by Aoba Tei is a striking example of digital architecture applied into a small scale internal space. The entire interior is designed following the natural form of the zelkova trees along the boulevard outside. 3D modelling was employed as a complex technique to create an extraordinary atmosphere, giving users the effect of sitting under the zelkova canopy. (Fig. 6 & 7) Aoba Tei integrates many qualities of older Japanese architecture and new digital design to achieve a significantly sophisticated result. It evokes the mood of traditional Japanese architecture using technological advancement of today. The tree images curving around the interior walls were created using digital photos taken from under the zelkova canopy. They were then pixellated and applied to the curved surface wrapping around the interior, a process borrowed from 3D gaming development known as texture mapping. This technique was realized in physical form through the drilling of holes in steel sheets, shaped perfectly to match the 3D model. The effect the final structure gives when backlit is akin to the effect experienced when standing under the canopy as the trees render various pixellated shadows of leaves and tree limbs. (Fig. 5)




Bertol, Daniela (2012) David Foell Designing Digital Space. p57

Fig. 5. Judit Bellostes. (2010) Hitoshi Abe, Aoba Tei. Available:





Fig. 6. & 7. Graham Barron. (2009) Under the Zelkovas: Hitoshi Abe’s Aoba Tei Restaurant . Available: Fig. 8. Inspirationish. (2013) Aoba Tei Restaurant. Available: aoba-tei-restaurant.




Fig. 9. Lidija Grozdanic. (2012) Archipelago Parametrically Designed Pavilion. Available: architecture/archipelago-parametrically-designed-pavilion/.


The benefits of using digital architecture extend far beyond the scope of current use. It allows complex calculations that break the boundary of human limits and opens up a new world of creation with intricate and diverse forms 2.This greatly increases the possibilities available to create previously unthinkable designs. Digital architecture has led to the creation of new forms of non-standard architecture.

CHALMERS UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, RÖHSSKA MUSEUM OF DESIGN, GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN 2012 The Archipelago Parametric Pavilion was designed and built as collaboration between Chalmers University of Technology and Röhsska Museum of Design in Copenhagen, named after the resemblance to an intricate web of spaces akin to islands in an archipelago. It is essentially a seating structure made up of a simple network of connecting structures. It provides shaded seating and allows spaces for existing chairs and tables. The architecture form was built on site by 33 architecture students. This pavilion is an example of a parametric form designed digitally in Grasshopper and Rhino and realized physically using laser cut sheets of steel. Visitors are able to stay inside the structure comfortable for extended periods of time due to the material’s ability to stay at a constant cool temperature when shaded. Perforation in the roofing follows an organic pattern which simulates shadows rendered by trees in a forest. The structure explores translation of computer generated design built into actual feasible architectural structure through digital fabrication. Following this train of thought, I find digital architecture a fascinating aspect and an amazing tool to further the development of architecture into the future. It does not just represent spaces but creates completely new and innovative volumes that have never been seen before. It gives designers and architects the capability to expand their range of understanding of structure as well as develop their thinking towards the infinite opportunities available through the use of digital architecture.

A. Ali, C. A. Brebbia Digital architecture and construction Abstract by S. Hatzellis, University of Technology, Sydney Australia page 51, 54 2




Parametric modelling is simply defined as a far more sophisticated method of generation digitally. Often when designing and drawing a concept manually, certain processes required to design are repetitive and monotone. Every process in design is linked, however distantly, to algorithms and mathematical geometry. That’s where computational design and digital software come into play. Architectural design was inspired by a variety of different possibilities available from technology. Many topics from different fields of work began to influence design such as mathematical and geometrical algorithms, leading to visible and spatial established architectural techniques. Digital media has been used in various ways in both construction and design since its introduction to the architecture field of study. It began as a simple representational tool, which later evolved into a conceptual tool for design in relation to emerging digital technology. Patrik Schumacher defines parametric modelling as a positive style for the future, albeit with a few discrepancies. Essentially, parametric design is a process. However, Schumacher presents an argument of parametric design as artistic expression 3. Parametric modeling is an innovative concept, void of previous precedent and social aim. This style is highly utilized in areas such as small scale experimental design but less common in current conservative residential or commercial architecture. In our current age of digital non-standard architecture, mathematical and geometrical processes represent the core of architectural design. It forms a key role in initial design stages of finding and developing form, followed by generation and shaping form then the process of manufacturing elements as well. Contemporary digital technology makes easily accessible the design, simulation and analysis of complex structures and form. The leading architects and educational systems today give rise to the new aesthetics of digital architecture. Technical possibilities are able to be explored in relation to architecture and prompt new issues and solutions to the discipline of mathematics and geometry. Development of digital design has extended into scripting, or use of generative algorithms. Several software plug-ins already offer this built in enhancement to regular 3D software (e.g. Grasshopper for Rhino) and allow interactive parametric modelling. They do not require previous knowledge of scripting but provide easy access to generation of a broad range of non-standard designs. This new method of parametric based modelling approach allows architects to search and develop beyond the restricted design space and create a new level in form generation. In my opinion, parametric design is another tool for designers and architects alike. The premise is simple; learn the processes and how to use it to maximum benefit and the results will speak for themselves.

Patrik Schumacher. (2010). Patrik Schumacher on Parametricism, “Let the Style Wars Begin�. Available: http:// 3



Use of algorithms and computer simulation for general of virtual structures that develop functional and formal properties is a well established notion in architecture and urban environments today. Digital modelling and visualization of building structures are unavoidable key components of an architectural education. The use of digital programming has improved from 2-D software, turning to use instead new 3-D programs based on parametric modelling. These new possibilities have led to result in innovated movement in architecture and re-defined the boundaries of non standard architecture.

BRITSH MUSEUM ROOF, LONDON LORD FOSTER 1823 Parametric modelling can be used for many purposes, one example being form-finding. This represents the use of a hypothesis of an external influence which subsequently defines the physical shape as well as material composition of a structure. This strategy is commonly used in accordance with engineering design, maximising solutions to constraints. The roofing system of the British Museum in London is one the most striking examples of building types where architectural and structural problems with solved with the same technical system. The roof configuration was determined by a relaxation algorithm. The primary goal of the design was visual continuity, not structure. The design promoted lighting, enhancing the seemingly endless panels of glass. Strength and support were achieved during the design process in solution to the problem of aesthetics. It is gained by sectional properties seen in the tessellation design of the partitioned roof. The patterns created by the organizational structure to create an endless effect as well as the materials used equate the structure to an effective result of form finding.


Fig. 10. Free Images Live. (2010). British Museum Library and Roof. Available: http://www.freeimageslive.

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1.4 PARAMETRIC MODELLING Conceptual parametric design is defined by the parameters of a particular design and not by shape. By changing the values assigned to the parameters of objects, different configurations can be achieved. This type of generation is strong in the sense that they are able to capture a large range of variations in a few numerical values. Software such as Rhinoceros (with Rhino script) offers editing of the script for parametric design.


GALAXY SOHO, BEIJING ZAHA HADID 2012 Parametric modelling as an emerging concept of design is synonymous with the work of Zaha Hadid Architects. The design process focuses on parameters interconnected as a system. The effect of the change of one parameter can change the network and influence global design. It is systematic, easily adaptable in many variations and creates dynamism in form.   The design concept of the project relies on the combination and interconnection between parametric modelling and reflecting physical structure, in this case the Chinese courtyard. The project evolves from traditional rigid block forms into a smooth and malleable volume of long sinuous lines. These lines form levels of the building, giving it a synchronized and fluid shape. Another aspect of the design takes influence from rice fields, forming a synthesis with digital parametric technology and natural landscape. This building is similar to the previously mentioned Louvre Lens museum, starting with a series of individual volumes that blend together to create a monumental whole. Each volume has the ability to function separately with their own atrium and cores, merged together in a series of intricate level walkways, forming a sense of immersion in the environment. It is very much a curvi linear design, a form inspired then shaped by nature and digital technology. Fig. 11. Galaxy Soho. (2013). Galaxy SOHO. Available: Fig. 12. Zaha Hadid Architects. (2012) Galaxy Soho. Available:


The first attempt on the left shows an example of a tunnel definition and result I made in week 2 as I familiarised myself with grasshopper. This definition was fairly standard, using repetitious curves along the structure with applied piping to achieve the tunnel form. The final result is satisfactory for this stage however messey and unorganized it may appear. The second attempt is another tunnel form constructed two weeks after the first attempt and my first foray into using the Lunchbox plug-in. This proved to be much faster and simpler to create, along with providing uniform and simple grid work. I find that with increased use and experimentation, the concept of Grasshopper is gradually getting easier and much more interesting to explore. Familiarisation with the basic tools available as well as individual research in Grasshopper forum and online material is definitely needed.



The above images show an exploration into the concept of parametrically modelled origami shapes. The folds were created through various extrusions arraying around a base lofted curved surface. Change in variation causes a subsequent change in the form while still maintaining the original aspects of the model. The variance in one parameter can influence the whole look and aesthetic of a design while maintaining the original shape and integrity. From left to right, parameter values were changed from 5, to 10 then to 25. An increasing value leads to a subsequent increase in number of folds.




The aim of the Gateway Project is an approach to understanding and broadening the perspective of modern digital technology. Parametric modelling is a powerful tool which will assist this surge forward. Analysing the approaches, fabrication methods and advantages of precedents has challenged my previous understanding of architecture as a discourse. Through analysis of ideas and precedents, CAD programming as well as other digital technologies can be concluded to be an imperative tool for development of the Wyndham’s Western Gateway Project. In our current age of digital non-standard architecture, mathematical and geometrical processes represent the core of architectural design. It forms a key role in initial design stages of finding and developing form, followed by generation and shaping form then the process of manufacturing elements as well. Contemporary digital technology makes easily accessible the design, simulation and analysis of complex structures and form. Technical possibilities are able to be explored in relation to architecture and prompt new issues and solutions to the discipline of mathematics and geometry. For a truly innovative and modern design, utilisation of digital technologies in a multi-disciplinary approach should be undertaken. The use of parametric design and computational algorithms promises a mutually beneficial and efficient result. This is an opportunity for Wyndham city to fully adopt these technological advances into the Gateway project and showcase their integration into the architectural discourse of today.

The focus of Design Studio’s brief is not a building but instead, a built form. Through discussion over the past few weeks, I have developed an understanding as to why this is so. This project challenges us in a completely different way as opposed to an architectural building brief. It gives us the freedom to explore the exciting forms available through parametric design which may normally be unable to be applied to a structure such as a building. Students of today are the future leaders and creative minds which utilise these digital techniques and technologies in various fields. My understanding of the theme of this course is an education syllabus which allows us to develop and hone a much needed skill set for the future, manipulating complex data and ideas into a coherent solution to design problems. We should be exploring various developing ideas of the building industry through analysis of both physical and concept precedents in abstract as well as realistic forms. I have already developed my understanding of architecture as a discourse so much in the past few weeks of intense analysis and exploration. I can’t wait to see what part two brings to the table.




IMAGES 1. & 2. A As Architecture. (2012). Louvre Lens Museum. Available: http://www.aasarchitecture. com/2012/12/Louvre-Lens-SANAA-Imrey-Culbert.html 3. Lincoln Center Institue. (2011) A Convergence of Disciplines: Singapore’s New ArtScience Museum. Available: 4. Judit Bellostes. (2010) Hitoshi Abe, Aoba Tei. Available: 5. & 6. Graham Barron. (2009) Under the Zelkovas: Hitoshi Abe’s Aoba Tei Restaurant . Available: 7. Inspirationish. (2013) Aoba Tei Restaurant. Available: 8. Lidija Grozdanic. (2012) Archipelago Parametrically Designed Pavilion. Available: http://www. 9. Free Images Live. (2010). British Museum Library and Roof. Available: http://www.freeimageslive. 10. Galaxy Soho. (2013). Galaxy SOHO. Available: 11. Zaha Hadid Architects. (2012) Galaxy Soho. Available: galaxy-soho/# REFERENCES A. Ali, C. A. Brebbia Digital architecture and construction Abstract by S. Hatzellis, University of Technology, Sydney Australia page 51, 54 Bertol, Daniela (2012) David Foell Designing Digital Dpace. p57 Patrik Schumacher. (2010). Patrik Schumacher on Parametricism, “Let the Style Wars Begin”. Available:







STRUCTURAL PARAMETRIC DESIGN Structural parametric modelling is a design concept which focuses on absolute values of a structure such as the height, loading, thickness of a member etc. These parameters can be defined in various methods, either through detailing, analysis or structural. Once the parameters are defined, the values and settings can be easily adjusted by the engineer or designer. The results of a small change in the parameters can obtain either a small or large change in the structure, without affecting the initial design shape. Theoretically any input data of a structure can be parameterised, whether it is descriptive, analysis or geometry 4 . The user is able to completely control parameters, leading to several improvements including a rapid design where new design models are replicated easily from re-using of existing parametric parts, the ability to create increasingly complex designs and studies of how sensitive a structure changes in relation to parameters. Parametric modelling recognises elements of a structure as controlled and adaptable properties rather than geometric representations. Having a full understanding of this technique allows intelligent operation and control of a building model as a dynamic tool of information. This enables increased functionality and integration. Technology has developed to such a level that computational and programmatic tools are now available to assist with these issues from the initial design stage to manufacturing. By connecting the design stages with fabrication, this causes a resulting development in architectural and engineering software, tools which incorporate parametric design and analysing processes. These new techniques are an effective method of communication, streamlining the connectivity between construction and fabrication. As a gateway project above a highway on which hundreds of cars pass by every day, structure is undoubtedly an imperative aspect to consider. The active loads imposed on the final members would have to be taken into consideration from the start and all throughout design in order to assure structural integrity. Structural optimization is much more sensible in terms of the requirements and needs of the Wyndham Gateway Project brief. Done appropriately, it results in a winning proposal for all individuals involved, the users of the structure, local residents and environment as well as future designers alike. The end structure will not only reflect the processes of digital fabrication in this current day and age, but also form a basis for development and reflection for further idea generation and improvement of all architectural fields in the future. The application of Rhinoceros and Grasshopper software in the project can essentially allow us to create expressive and flexible forms while maintaining a strong structural integrity. We intend to use the Lunchbox plugin as a form finding tool explore and test the structural capabilities and forms of space truss frames, while the Kangaroo plug-in can be used to detect and evaluate the tensile and compressive forces imposed onto the frames, thus contributing in shaping and refining these forms which will eventually lead to a final form. The gateway project is thus presented with the opportunity to achieve iconic design standards that will comprise of a union of both beauty and structure. A union that we believe can only effectively represent and illustrate the achievements and growing development of Wyndham City.

33 Ing. Emiel Peltenburg and Nemetschek Scia (2011). Concepts of Parametric Modelling. Available: http:// 4


2.2 CASE STUDY: 1.0

CANTON TOWER GUANGZHOU CHINA, INFORMATION BASED ARCHITECTS 2010 The Canton Tower, or formerly known as the Guangzhou TV Astronomical and Sightseeing Tower is a 600 metres high observation tower. The tower is the tallest structure in China and the fourth tallest freestanding structure in the world. This building represents the result of the fusion of structure and form, where the design form is expressed through manipulating the structural components of the building and was designed using parametric software. The final structure is made up of a diamond lattice pattern twisting around the perimeter. Mark Hemel, the IBA architect that together with his partner Barbara Kuit designed the Guangzhou TV tower with the ultimate aim of portraying a slender and elegant fusion of aesthetics and structural integrity.5 The skyscraper is based on a complex form based on repitition, The building is non-symmetrical and designed to portray movement and the sense of being alive. We chose to focus on the Canton tower as it parallels our aim and objectives. Using both Lunchbox and Kangaroo, we proceeded to reverse engineering and explore the concept inherent in this building. The dominant central focus of the building is focused on the lattice diamond grid patterning curving up and around the form. 6 In the following slides, the reverse engineering process was easily reconstructed using the lunchbox plugin. The ‘twist’ was created by rotating the tip of the form against the base, thus showing that form and function can in fact be molded as one, similar to the goals and capabilities our direction will achieve. The subsequent slides will show further experimentation of form by manipulation of parameter values.





Information Based Architects. (2013) Engineering Canton Tower. Available: Last accessed: 10th May 2013

Fig. 12: E-Architect. (2010). Guangzhou TV Tower. Available: guangzhou_tv_tower.htm Fig. 13-15: IBA Architects (2012) Canton Tower. Available: Last accessed: 6th May 2013


Simple Loft


Lunchbox Grid

Pipes Applied

Twist achieved through manual rotation


2.2 CASE STUDY: 1.0 REVERSE ENGINEERING CANTON TOWER This page describes a reverse engineering process of the Canton Tower. This was made much easier by using the lunchbox plugin. We started with a simple loft. then utilised the lattic grid pattern in the lunchbox plugin to create a similar diamond pattern. Piping was applied to create tubular structures to the lattice grid. To achieve the twisted hourglass form of the Canton Tower, we rotated the circular curves manually in Rhino then added an extrusion for the top and bottom.


Simple Loft


Applied Grids

Applied Grids

The combination of piped structural grid formwork

Final result

2.2 CASE STUDY: 1.0

REVERSE ENGINEERING CANTON TOWER This page show a different approach towards the Canton Tower construction with the application of the Kangarro plug-in to simulate stress and gravity. We followed a similar thought process to the previous reverse engineering with further development towards accommodating loads and applied stresses in the form of additonal piping and manipulation of the overall form. The Kangaroo plug in can be utilised as an evaluation technique applied on any given structure to test performance under stress and loading. The concept of urinary force imposed on varying points with the force of gravity can be used to determine stress and possible deflection of curves connected to the defined points. The final result was the generation of a form similar in appearance to the original Canton Tower while maintaining structural integrity. Additional diagonal bracing to the original diamond lattice shape proved to be successful when placed under simulation. An important distinction to make when designing this parametrically is to consider real life construction methods compared to digitally produced models. We are making the assumption that the structure is only held up by the other diamond lattice grid and apply a certain amount of stress and supposed gravity to test structural strength. In reality however, it is likely that the building itself would incorporate other supporting elements such as a central core or suspension features. This is a notable difference.


TOKYO TATSUMI INTERNATIONAL SWIMMING CENTER MITSURU SENDA + ENVIRONMENTS DESIGN INSTITUTE 1993 The building falls within the line of vision from both the Inland Sea to the north and the elevated JR lines passing to the east, the external appearance of the center is made up of a vault of five overlapping solid trusses which take the form of the beating wings of a water bird. The roof is constructed from 5 curved surfaces of varying heights. The steel space truss further enhances the arch effect which maximizes the rigidity of the roof. This is an excellent example of flexible, natural forms created purely through the use of space frames. Various recreational elements have been incorporated into the huge openings which faces the water. The consideration given to the circular arena and the texture of the materials reflects the designers aim and experience in creating environments specially designed for children. This structure was of significant interest to us as it demonstrated an unconventional form imposed on to space framing. In contrast to the Canton Tower, the space framing is utlised as a structural support for the whole structure. The roof works as a self supporting structure, creating void below and the possibility for space. Another concept we observed which we would like to develop and analyse further is the concept of cladding and panelling applied to the surface of the space frame.




40 Fig. 17-20. Kozo Keikaku Engineering Inc. (2012) Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Center. Available: Last accessed: 7th May 2013

2.3 CASE STUDY: 2.0 REVERSE ENGINEERING TOKYO TATSUMI INTERNATIONAL SWIMMING CENTER This is another example of a reverse engineering project done. The process is similar to the previous Canton Tower project but with a couple of changes. More lofts were created first, followed by a lunchbox plugin for a space frame truss system. Similarly, the grid were pipped and rendered to crete the final curved form.






Changing vectors allows for invertion of grids - possible use for large faced bottom


Flexiblity is achieved through control point curves. Concluded as strong form finding exploration technique.



Integration of control point curves with possible panelling applied.


Input of extreme high values in parameters forces grid to distort substantially. Creates unexpected form.

Altering grids to create real life form.


In the process on exploring horizontal structure, the intial reaction was to imagine the final form as roof components. Following this mind set, we conducted experiments using the Lunchbox plug-in and produced forms from the original curves. Through this process, we began to speculate towards the possibility of utilising vertical form to experiemtn with another completely different perspective. This fufils our objective of aesthetically pleasing form while displaying structural integrity inherent in the composition of the frame. Further development on this prospect will be explored.





We decided to focus some time on exploring possibilities of vertical structure. The general consesus of vertical cruves and composition as expressive projecting form was agreed upon. The method of creating space frames through two lofted cruves was heavily favoured as the most flexible and easiest option for formulation of expressive outcomes. The idea highlighted above is one such example of how vertical curves can be used to fabricate form generally suited for the Wyndham highway due. It created a highly dynamic result, showcasing the potential for developed vertical like structure.



Through rigourous testing of all structures and forms using the Kangaroo plug-in as well as external research, we settled upon arches as the most structurally sound. In terms of real life structure, stability of the arch is derived from its wide center of gravity and base.


Further testing was done on varying forms as seen above. The simple arch highlighted by the box above proved to be the most successful when placed under high pressure, encapsulating all the objectives of curved form and structural integrity. However, we intend to do more experiementation to select and define a form with similar structural capabilities while providing us with aesthetically pleasing dynamic form. In the time restrained period we were under, we chose to go forward and fabricate a model with this chosen inverted tick form.



Urinary force from Kangaroo applied as a form finding option. ‘Gravity’ causes distortion in form - rises up from edges.


Urinary force working as vectors. Form follows vector and creates expressive structure.

Anchor points experimentation - different forms created when urinary force is applied.

Combination of urinary force and anchor points causes naturally resulting form.



Stable but not due to structural strength but attributed to the fact that more than half of the form is touching ground.

Cantilever structure we were interested in pursuing. Result was caved in as members proved to be too heavy.

Expressive form that responds to the Wyndham highway. Again, unstable as base was too small and spans were short.

Inverted tick form. Form was too long and trusses too short to support the weight. This was chosen as our proposed development and experimentation in fabrication,




These images are experiments detailing strengths and weakness present in each form we contemplated further development on. Using the algorithim created, each design was evaluated using the Kangaroo plug-in simulating applied stress and gravity. Through this, we were able to poinpoint the main structural components as well as location and type of stress (compression/tension) on each member.




Truss is weak and span is too long, truss numbers need to be increased and span length decreased.

Unstable Form, High Tension & Compression

This created form is highly unstable with high tension & compression. More experimentation is needed to create stability.




Stress & load distributed safely

Maintained form due to decreased stress

This form is much more stable, more trusses have been added, the width span has been increased as well while the curve is lifted up.



Lunchbox Plug-in:

Kangaroo Plug-in: Using Gravity



Colour Indicator Red: Heavy Compression Blue: Heavy Tension






The images above simply show the experiments we took to define a form with structural support. The forms on the left were completely unstable and buckled almost immediately. With the addition of trusses and longer width spans as well as a stronger curve, the final preliminary form was stable and held its weight. This was tested through the use of the Kangaroo plug-in which showed members in both compression and tension.






We chose to focus on the developed inverted tick model as it proved to be fairly steady in simulation while providing us with a simple form for experimentation and fabrication. In order to fully understand how the structure would work, we decided to print a smaller scale model first, followed by the larger and hopefully more successful version. The digital model we made with the proposed stable form was taken apart and analysed. To create the structure we decided to 3D print the spherical joints and use toothpicks or bamboo skewers to function as the connecting members. Using the digital model for reference, we created the form by building the trusses systematically from the curved end. Creating the ball joints was derived from the digital model. Points where the straight members intersect the spheres were already defined digitally. Using the Boolean difference option in Rhino, we were able to fabricate holes in each sphere as well as an exact depth of how deep it would be. To aid in construction each ball was numbered according to row. By following the numbers and identifying the exact position of each sphere, we were able to connect them with the digital model for referencing. Two options for numbering were send to the Fab Lab, one with etched numbers and the other with extrusions on the surface.








To combine the structure correctly each ball was numbered and the distance between them was measured. We found each corresponding ball and skewer then connected them methodically. Each end was secured with strong glue. The whole form was then given a coat of spray paint to create a visually cohesive look.The final form created turned out exactly as we wanted with the proposed structural strength as well. We found no need to modify the digital definition as the physical model turned out just as we wanted it to. The experimentation done before on the digital model using Kangaroo justified the final result. Some problems we found was the fragility of the dust balls as one nearly broke completely. At first appearance they proved to be fairly sturdy. However, once we inserted the sticks the intergrity was compromised as the diameter proved to be slightly too thick. To solve this issue, we decided to shave the ends of each measured length of the sticks to fit perfectly into the holes, a tedious and time consuming process. In the future, we will print the spheres using polymer, a plastic material which is advised to be stronger and less likely to crumble. However, we may also have to increase the size of the spheres to prevent mistakes being made by the 3D printer. An interesting feature of the truss space frame we discovered while construction was the form’s ability as a freestanding structure whether placed on it side, the front or back. The final result has no sense of gravity and can be interpreted in all directions.






Compression Tension



Further development and rationalization of our form needed to be explored in order to justify our objective of achieving structural integrity. This would not only prove our theory of physics and potential loading, it also determines areas of possible improvement. The images to the left show a stress simulation done through the Kangaroo plug in. The model was put under several varying stress simulations. It present members in compression or tension and the sizing of pipes indicate the level of stress put under and required structural input.. Through the analysis, we are able to pinpoint areas of tension and stress as well as those which we can justify potential elimination from the final form without compromising structure. The concept of ultimate optimization and create an expressive form based on, dependent on and representative of structure is something we would like to explore further.





Using the newly explored Kangaroo option relevant to investigation of stress and loading, we were able to determine members of low level influence on the structure. These members have little on no direct impact when removed. As mentioned before, one of the main objectives in our proposal is sheer optimization of the final form. It displays, accentuates and enhances structural integrity as well as strength. The removal of these members will also aid in creating expressive form. The images on the left show a selected idea model which we tested before and found to be fairly stable due to large surface ground area for support. The vertical span has a low degree of influence in terms of loading on the structure (shown in the second image of the column). We concluded that structural members from the vertical span as well as the the area resting on the ground could be removed. The result in an unexpectedly angular shape while still maintaining curvature with little resemblance to the original space frame. Further research and experimentation to reach a final shape will have to be done. However, through this algorithm we have taken another step forward in advancement and refinement of our design objectives.




The main focus topic of our crit was the element of differentiation of engineering and architectural constructs in our final form. To truly be classified as an architectural product, we would have to develop and manipulate our shape further until it no longer resembles a simple space frame truss but another form entirely. In response to that, we concluded our next design focus to be a concept of optimization. Create a sense of visual interest focusing on the nodes connecting structural members together instead of placing interest on the linear form. Strip everything back to the absolute raw minimum foundations. The result is a distinctive form in terms of sheer recessive quality and definitive optimization. The structure itself is pared back to the basics with highly ornamental nodes as main focus of the final form. A possible move forward in terms of materiality of the model is to utilise clear acrylic tubing in place of the bamboo skewers in terms of connecting truss memebers. The structure is reduced to nearly nothing, supportingly seemingless floating ornamental nodes. The design focus is shifted to incoporate decorative and ornamental concepts balanced in a expressive and structurally stable form following the notion of optimization and rationality.

Through the entire development process so far, I have gained an understanding towards the incredibly complex field of digital parametric design and computational methods. Before beginning this project, I had little to no interest in the process and significance of digital technological design until experiencing it stage by stage in the Wyndham City Gateway proposal. Now, it has gradually become an increasingly adaptable and interesting field of study. I am excited towards the future prospect of our model. One of my team members remarked upon the relationship we were forming and the exchange of information, data and definitions in every group meeting. The project not only served as an enabling prompt for the usage and analysis of the concept of puzzle making and form finding, it also functions as a tool for individual expansion of knowledge and skill. By working together in a group and combining individual tehcniques, we hope to succeed our original and developed objectives and result in final form reflective of what we set out to achieve as well as integration of our individual approaches.







The experimentation explored through patterning hold strong potential for enhancing aesthetic quality of the final product. As explored previously, line attractors/repellers as well as grid pinching can be applied to panelized surfaces and created highly intricate form. This is a way we could incoporate elements of patterning as well as geometry into the space frame and develop structure as an exploration into a more complex and expressive final result.



Prior to research and development, we decided to work on refining several options for space truss definitions. This page shows the different types of definitions which could be used to create similar structure with varying strengths and weaknesses. The Space Frame from two surfaces was advantageous in aiding our understanding of how space frames were constructed. This final form was created from two lofted surfaces and connected by straight members. It is flexible in nature and easy to manipulate into many shapes. However, it lacked diagonal truss members which would compromise integrity.



This definition created a space frame from one single curve. Parameters could be varied to extend or shorten the span of the form, number and size of truss members as well providing the opportunity for panelling or a cladding element. It showed strong design potential as a solid and structurally sound space truss,. However, a drawback we found was that we were unable to freely manipulate the structure easily, it proved to be a fairly rigid definition.




Engineering Canton Tower. Available: Last accessed: 10th May 2013 Home Canton Tower. Available: Ing. Emiel Peltenburg and Nemetschek Scia (2011). Concepts of Parametric Modelling. Available: IMAGES Fig. 12: E-Architect. (2010). Guangzhou TV Tower. Available: guangzhou_tv_tower.htm Fig. 13-15: IBA Architects (2012) Canton Tower. Available: Last accessed: 6th May 2013

16-19. Kozo Keikaku Engineering Inc. (2012) Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Center. Available: Last accessed: 7th May 2013









Manipulation of perception emphasizing structural properties

The combination of structure and architectural design



The final form has to withstand pressure and loading in Kangaroo simulation

Pushing the form to develop and optimize as neccessary


We begin this section of the project proposal with a comparison of our current aims and concept with the brief objectives of the Wyndham Gateway Project. The city of Wyndham brief states the final proposal should envision a design which represents progress, health and diversity of the city. Our design achieves the intended requirement by developing a form which combines technical engineering aspects with the essence of architectural design. We believe the most effective combination proposal is one which seeks to mesmerize and evoke curiosity in continuous motion. It combines design aesthetic together while evoking response of the users in regards to structural stability of the form. One of our main objectives was to completely manipulate perception and previous notions of structure in regards to appearance and usability. We hope to develop and further analyze he traditional form of a space truss as experiemted with earlier and reverse how users may perceive it through form and materiality. We utilise the concept of spherical objects in the appearance of suspension in the air with little to no support, amplifying the structural concept and strength of the design. Our design focuses heavily around the concept of immersion, perspective and the aspect of cohesion between technical engineering aspects of structure and architecural design. Following our previous experimentation with Kangaroo, our team agreed to develop a design compliant with the simulation applied by Kangaroo and achieve a proven structural stable final result. Through the process of sheer optimization and pushing our form to the maximum limits, we hope to fufill our objectives of a structurall choesive and expressive form. Our previous form was criticized to be much too technical focused and we should shift our focus and perspective towards a design approach. The form was much too rigid and inflexible, conveying a sense of static instead of our aim of free flowing expressiveness. We decided to development the form by optimizing the form while maintaining solidity to reduce the appearance of a space truss. A space truss, although flexible, is visually unappealing in terms of design. It is considered a much more technical engineered form. In order to produce a form encapsulating our design ideals as well as our new goal of cohesion between structure and design, we decided to move forward with the concept of immersion. Manipulating the form as well as parameters determining density of web truss members allows us to create an atmospheric mood and manipulation of perspective while emphasizing structure. The concept of floating and suspension is one which we have decided to explore further in this project. We aim to develop a structure with the appearance of absolute instability and suspension with the objective of suprise in users of the highway in regards to structural properties and form. Structure is acknowledged as a powerful medium in the process of conveying metaphoric message in design. Unlike typical approaches to showcase aspects of a city through corresponding static high rise structures, our aim creates the atmospheric amazement and discovery most effective in representation of the persona and character of Wyndham city.



Image above displays a perspective experienced by drivers. The eye is led to trace the structure from the ground up towards the

Sweep curves (Loft) Apply Lunchbox Space Truss Manipulate Parameters Kangaroo Simulation Evaluation



Our first concept was an exploration into the development of cantiliever structure, one we agreed best represented our objectives of immersion and fluidity of form. This concept allowed us freedom in terms of site placement; cantilevers are highly flexible and unrestricted by site and surroundings. From here, we began our experiementation with varying base curves and the same definition and process in order to determine feasability in terms of strongest level of immersion atmosphere and suspension. The design sketch we proposed moving forward with in exploration was a form, stretched out and pushed to its maximum boundaries. Essentially, the structure consisted of a skewed ring shape, lifted out and stretched across the freeway on an angle. This displayed the sense of instability and free falling suspension, giving the impression of crumpling over and falling. We positioned the pointed angle towards the opposing freeway road for an additional perspective. Users travelling towards the point will experience a startling moment of surprise and build in intensity as the approach, resulting in amazement and wonder when they finally reach and pass through. We wanted to develop this approach the most, concluding it as one of the more powerful forms responding to all of our ideals and requirements. However, we encountered problems in terms of structural stability - no matter how many reinforcements we added or varied density of the truss, the Kangaroo simulation always evaluated it as unstable. We followed up with research and determined the problem; the fundamental form was simply much too unrealistic unless consideration is made for foundation footings and structural support beams along the cantilever form. However, it would ruin our concept and ultimately, the proposal was rejected. We still wanted to incorporate the cantilever, even in a section of our final form and this would prove to be a challenge. center point.

The form we created was unrealistic in terms of structure and ultimately failed under the Kangaroo simulation. However, we were still determined to incorporate a cantilever form in our final proposal.



The structure is situated around the curve in the highway and extruded to follow suit. Users develop a gradual approa perience the immersion effect much mroe easily. Gradation of sizing of the spheres emphasize the suspension an


Sweep curves (Loft) Apply Lunchbox Space Truss Manipulate Parameters Kangaroo Simulation Evaluation


At the point, we were frustrated with the results of our first concept. Following this, concept two was a developement and exploration into our technique proposal in the second part of the design process. We identified a curve in the highway section between Site A and B which we wanted to integrate into our proposal. The result was a structural wall which stands out and is directly noticeable due to sheer size. In this concept, we utilised pin and concentrated supports. Due to the extrusion and length of the shell concept along the highway, it encourages the atmospheric immersion effect and extends the experience period.We discovered a new feature whereby highly curved forms result in clusters of concetrated spherical nodules in contrast to simple curves, creating a natural visual gradation throughout the form. This was an exciting discovery. It allowed us the abiltiy to manipulate the form as needed, varying concentration of joints throughout the form to emphasize optimization. A smaller number of joints towards the top section of the form creates a weightless suspension effect and increased concentration towards the base gives the impression of strength and structural stability. The potential of gradation and concentration realized in this concept is limited by the form itself. To push the design further, we wanted to focus a heavy density of spheres in the top section with minimal supporting side sections. This would give us the impression of floating we were aiming for, no the opposite of ‘sinking’ into the ground. The form itself was again, unstable and unable to hold itself up under simulation in Kangaroo. The base supports were much too weak and we were opposed to the notion of standard strip supports, which would render the design as too simple and a static tunnel.

ach and are able to exnd sense of floating.

The form is unstable; fundamentally, pin beam supports are unable to take into account the weight of the entire structure



This shows the site and section we have chosen to situate our design. The image below displays an analysis of a typical driver’s viewpoints as he approaches the designated site. The majority of the focus is directed towards the left and front while in the left lane and vice versa for the right.


Field of Visual Focus

Path to Wyndham




Our first two design concepts, although unsatisfactory in terms of proposal form, gave us a great source of information as well as inspiration for future development. An interesting feature we discovered and wanted to move forwards with was a visual path created by the structure in a users perspective. We wanted to test and explore the the eye’s ability to trace the form from the bottom up and manipulate the effect created towards a simulation of instability. This, including the gradation of sphere joint nodules, creates our required effect and enhances visual recognition of structural properties. Following this train of thought, we began analysis of the site and surrounding environment. As mentioned before, we wanted to make full use of the slight natural curvature in the highway, encouraging us to think of new and innovative forms which utilise it to full effect. The curve in the highway is also imperative to the design; the visual path our eye follows naturally as analysed before focuses towards the front and the left when turning, much more so than towards the right section. What this entails for our design is that most of the complexity and interest in the structure should be situated on the left with the majority of support on the right, emphasizing the floating effect easily. This point in the road is labelled as the ‘sweet spot’ and the point where all our design objectives are both encapsulated in and spread.

The top two images show a simple experiement we used when testing our concept of visual analysis. It confirms our previous notion that by situating supports of the right and interest on the left, our concept is amplified.In the visual field, the roofing section interacts strongly with the horizon and sky, giving us the structural integrity as well as cantilevered and suspended section we wanted. If the structure were to be placed on the left, it eliminates the visual floating effect due to distractions created by the excess members.




Picture Frame command: import a scaled image into Rhino and trace the road with Curves. Each curve is joined. Through development so far, the fastest method to create of effective immersion is through mimicking of the highway curve. This renders the structure as a constant and distinct focus. We began by measuring the road and simulating the curve of the road.


Curves used again for the additional support member. To make sure everything lines up on the XY plane, toggle ‘Orthoganl Mode’ when creating curves. More curves were added at the side sections and lofted. These form flat support structures rather than concentrated pin legs. An extra support curve was added to the middle region as an additional support member.




Loft the surfaces together. Due to the curved nature of the roof section, a loft gives a distorted result. Therefore, we used Sweep Rail 2 and built a surface. To make sure the surfaces are identical, each one was rebuilt. Next, we used the loft and sweep function to form individual surfaces and referred it accordingly in Grasshopper. Each surface is ready to be transformed with the Space truss command.

Match corresponding curves in Grasshopper then apply Space Truss Structure 1 to surfaces. Essentially, we now have three connected but independent surfaces to apply the Lunchbox truss to. This allows flexibility in terms of parameter values and gives more control over creation of optimized form.




Use Kangaroo Physics to simulate gravitional force on the structure. The colour indicator, as explored before, displays which beams are under tension or compression or none at all. We could potentially remove them by forming a list and using the Cull command. In Part 2 of development, we explored the method of optimization following removing of beams we considered unneccessary. We determined this in the Kangaroo simulation and using the Culling command. However, after research done on space trusses, we realized the importance of every beam in a truss system. Each one, no matter how insignificant it may appear, plays an important part in securing structural stability of a form. If it were to be removed, the entire structure would cease to stand. The Lunchbox truss systeme command is designed to automatically produce a truss with the optimum number and arrangement of beams. We tried to manually remove components with little stress and found it took its toll on the collective, causing more pressure on the others and an ultimate fail.


Alter the value and complexity of trusses using Sliders. Assign a constant V value along all three surfaces then match and line up points on the model manually. Following this development, instead of removing beams from the structure, we focused on finding a combination of parameters which would create the optimum system and density of beams. For this structure, we made sure to keep the V values the same in each surface. If the lines did not match up perfectly, we simply baked the model and rejoined it manually. This discovery allows us to manually join truss systems into a single structure and allow an increased reduction in beam numbers.








Alter density of truss systems using sliders. The optimized U pattern decided on was a 1 - 3 - 1 from the left to the right. This creates the highest impact with a structurally stable optimized truss form. In this section, we explore gradation in density of the form. This creates the sense of instability we wanted to achieve in the form. The top image displays our inital design sketch proposing a heavy complex truss system towards the right side of the road as explored before, moving towards a gradual decrease as you reach the cantilever section. However, we discovered this effect was not easily experienced from the drivver’s point of view. Therefore, we looked into focusing the complex section on the top roof region with minimal sides. Again, this gives the suspended effect we aim for with the added benefit of a directly noticeable effect.




From the Space Truss command in Grasshopper, seperate the node clusters and bake into Rhino. This way, lines can be joined from one point to another easily. Create linear members in Rhino then reference accordingly in Grasshopper. The form is now finalised and determined. We can bow begin connecting the truss systems together manually to create our hybrid system while maintaining structural integrity. By baking the points where members connect, it allows us to join points together easily. In Grasshopper, to combine all the lines and trusses as one system, we used the Merge and Flatten commands.









Reference the bakes points back into Grasshopper, then apply Spatial Geometry. Group the point in sections (top and sides). The small and large spheres will have a 300mm radius and 550mm radius respectively. Again, gradation is used throughout our design in a different application. The sizing of sphere can affect how the effect of floating and instability is achieved. By manipulating in the method we explored, the spheres are made noticeable and seen as a seperate and distinct from the beams. We tried various experimentation of many varying sizes of spheres and sections of gradation (e.g. large at bottom, small at the top and vice versa). The strongest impact made was with a top heavy section with large spheres and a constant size of smaller spheres for side sections. This way, the structure appears completely unstable with slim and minimal sides (less beams and smaller spheres) supporting a impossible roof (denser beams and largers spheres).




Kangaroo simulation of gravity is applied on the structure. C

Finally, after all the experiements, development and refinements in striving for structural stability, the final form is stro



Use Mirror Comma

This final result in form along the highway was an unexpected accident. When mirroring the structure and facing it towards the other d Much of the structural elements towards the left side of the freeway has been passed when first entering and the installation is free t trace the structure u

We believe our final form successfully answers and takes into co



Colour indicator displays compression or tension members.

ong and stable as determined by Kangaroo. This is attributed to the shift in footing type from a typical pin to a strip.

and to flip structure.

direction, users are able to experience a much more dynamic and uninterrupted view of the structure, environment and sky interaction. to display its objectives. This form encapsulates all our previous development with an established visual point for the eye to follow and upwards as it passes.

onsideration all the design ideals and aims we hoped to achieve.



1: DETERMINE BASIC FORM Curve Command To Create Form.

1: DETERMINE BASIC FORM Loft curves and reference in GH.

6: GRADATION SPHERE Bake Nodes for point snap.

5: M Conn


2: APPLICATION LUNCHBOX Apply Lunchbox Space Truss to Surface.


3: OPTIMIZATION Develop top area with higher density.

4: GRADATION (FORM) Constant V value applied.




MANUAL STRUCTURE nect points manually.


6: GRADATION (SPHERE) Adjust Parameter to achieve pattern form.

8: MIRRORING Mirror command on form to flip.


5: MANUAL STRUCTURE Ref lines in GH; Merge and Flatten as one Data system.

7: KANGAROO SIMULATION Apply Urinary force simulation.





Typically, a normal space truss uses directly connected joints or basic pipe jointing.1 This would not work in our design and envisioned spherical nodules. It would achieve our aim of complete optimization and absolute minimalism, an attractive option, but completely lose much of our previous design focus and objective. After consultation from our tutors, we received valuable advice on how to continue our approach. Utilise the basic pipe joint as necessary and what would be considered as traditional but include an additional element of a spherical plastic membrane surrounding the node. This way, the structure would function well and maintain structural stability while giving us the flexibility and option of changing the size of the spherical membrane outer shell as needed. The plastic membrane shell is simply two pieces of half sphere shells connected together at the top with a simple screw or nail joint. The joints were resolved digitally in Rhino using a combination of Boolean commands and manually labelling each ball (64 in total). Similar to the previous model, we created holes where each pipe would be inserted and labelled it accordingly to location. Previously during fabrication, we discovered the incredibly time consuming process of searching for and arranging each ball by counting and identifying the specific patterns of the holes. Unlike the previous labelling system where groups of balls would be numbered the same by row, we labelled each ball individually. Construction elements of the joints will be discussed later.

Cleirton, Freitas, Luciano, Bezerra &Ramon, Silva (2011) Numerical and Experimental Study of Steel Space Truss with Stamped Connection. Available: http:// 1



Original Balls

Numbers ready for mass Boolean Difference

Final Etched Result

When numbering the balls, instead of extruding the number as we did previously, we performed a Boolean difference and etched the numbers into the spheres. This would prevent any possible confusion. The numbers extruded from the balls previously were fragile and crumbled easily. The image below shows how the STL file sent to the FabLab.



In order to achieve the effect of floatation, we had to consider the material of the structural members. Essentially, the material itself had to be transparent or translucent and have inherent strength similar to that of typical steel or glass as well as a certain level of flexibility. Many options were considered but we finally decided to order lengths of acrylic rod and custom cut them to our desired lengths using a hacksaw and strong pliers. The bottom left image shows a foam sheet we used to store the finished cut rods. Each is labelled (e.g. from ball 1-2) and with its corresponding length. For fabrication purposes, we choose to use solid dust balls instead of polymer balls. First of all, the dust balls would be solid to avoid fragility and breakage. Secondly, the advantage of dust over polymer is the matter of accuracy of laser printing the holes. However, the dust balls have a certain level of crumbling when put under pressure (e.g. insertion of the rod into the hole) which we had to take into account by using extra solidity protection of liquid superglue. This hardens the ball substantially as discovered earlier in fabrication. We followed a similar method to our previous prototype in fabrication of the balls. We finished and labelled each ball digitally and sent it for 3D printing at the FabLab. As seen in the top right image, we printed two different sizes (radius of 22mm and 12mm respectively).


Section D

Section A

Section B

Section C

Section A: Tunnel Section B: Gradiation in form Section C: Cantilever When building the model, we decided to start from Section A and work our way towards Section C. As our model included a cantilever section, we felt that the most feasible method was to begin from the area with the largest amount of structural support (A) and construct the model. Section D (Fig. 1) is simply a reference to an additional member we attached to provide support when transporting the final model against unexpected situations (e.g. strong wind, human traffic, shaky transportation).

Fig. 3. Image showing support member



Immediately as we began, problems with fabrication began to surface. Firstly, we established that the whole form is structurally dependent on every single member. As our model included a cantilever section, we felt concerned towards the issue of structural stability and agreed to avoid putting too much pressure until we constructed it and reached a point where the model was solid. (Section B). Secondly, the skewed form of the model was fairly complex and did not follow a readily recognizable pattern. Instead of building the model row by row, similar to what we did for the previous prototype development, we had to construct it piece by piece. Essentially, with one person holding the model at all times off the table to prevent excess pressure, the other two would reference the digital model and connect each ball to structural member with no set pattern. This method turned out to be easy to follow once the group set into practiced motion but very time consuming. Thirdly, we discovered an slight mistake with the 3D printed spheres. Typically, the penetrations into the balls are supposed to look like what is shown in Fig.2. However, most of our smaller spheres were printed with the holes merging together. We deduced this unseen problem as a result of the Boolean split command. In the Rhino digital model, the command does not recognize the presence of seperate rods and simply creates penetrations for one slightly misshapen pole. This was much more prominent with the smaller spheres where poles were much closer together compared with larger spheres. Some spheres had no holes at all where they were supposed to. Our conclusion? Try not to rely too much on technology and always have a back up option. However, due to time constraints, we decided to utilise air dry clay to form a ‘glue’ between the spheres and rods where needed. This distorted the image we wanted to achieve originally - the final model contained some slightly ovoid shapes in contrast to our objective of clean spheres.

Fig. 2. Typical Penetrations

Fig. 3. Merging holes




First, we organised the balls and lengths of rod. Insert corresponding rods into balls and work from Section A to C. For extra support, apply superglue or UHU glue. We decided to work with the model vertically to prevent extra pressure. The large balls proved to be fairly easy in construction and we only experienced difficulty with the smaller balls with the inaccurate Boolean split. For the spheres that weren’t printed correctly (usually the smaller spheres), we found a solution using the air dry clay. The clay was a great solution as it started off pliable, giving us the ability to mould and shape it easily. Once we finished putting the clay on the balls, we moved on to another section and allowed it to air dry naturally. After a few hours, it began to harden solid. As mentioned before, the result was a slightly crude form but it worked. After finishing the entire model, we allowed it to dry for an hour before commencing on painting the balls and clay with black paint. We were concerned that the dust balls would be weakened with the addition of a liquid, but after some testing done on a spare ball it proved to be strong enough and did not crumble. The final result was a streucturally stable form that held up really well. We only added a single acrylic rod for extra support in transportation.






Basic Pipe Joint

Plastic Membrane Cladding

Structural Member

Node Cluster

Our form, as a space truss system require little in terms of structural components and these can be pre fabricated and transportated to site easily. The structure should be strong and light and avoid putting too much pressure on joints due to the load of the form itself. Therefore, material components should be hollow and lightweight. The structural system is developed to consist of: Ball joints: Link beams together Beams: Structural component and preferably hollow Spherical cladding material: Surrounds and protects the ball joints. The above image displays and explains how the jointing system works. Firstly, the ball joints are easily fabricated in factories with the accurate dimensioning and angles of insertion. Additional circular rings are welded and attached to the joints to create a clean finish and support. The sphere is then glued and screwed to the rings. Finally, the plastic cladding membrane is sealed. The design process is illustrated in the above and right image.



Structural piping is bolted to each other.

Circular rings are attached to where the spheres meet the pipe.

Spherical cladding is attached.

Finish the node with the other half and seal.










Our design consists of two main components, spherical balls and structural beams. The two materials chosen below are the most feasible options that reflect our requirements and aims. Circular Hollow Steel Pipes These are light and able to withstand pressure/loading and is also able to be produced quickly in large quantities. As the installation would be constructed outdoors, steel is a feasible choice when considering the elements (wind, rain etc.) We have decided to use the 165mm diameter piping as it satisfies our ideal size and weight. The materiality of the pipes allows our design objective to function - the texture is smooth and bland, and will not distract from the spheres. Joints will be fabricated in the same material to ensure connectability. Polyethylene Hollow Plastic Balls This material is not only cost-effective and common, it is lightweight, strong and flexible. These balls can be manufactured quickly and efficiently in required sizing (Fig. 24. Large sizes can be made). The balls are also available in either transparent, translucent or opaque finishes. The plastic is able to withstand high temperatures up to 1300C and it also resistant to the elements. Our spheres would achieve our objectives best and stand out if manufactured in a dark shade in contrast to the lighter colour of the steel and surroundings.

Fig. 20. Orrcon Steel. (2013). Circular Hollow Sections. Available: australian-steel-products/tube-and-pipe/structural-steel/CHS. Last accessed: 10th June 2013. Fig. 21. Pulham Steels. (2011). Circular Hollow Sections. Available: circular-hollow-section/10/. Last accessed: 10th June 2013. Fig. 22. Hangzhou Steel Pipe Co. Ltd. (2013). Black Round Welded Steel Pipes. Available: http://www. Last accessed: 10th June 2013. Fig. 23. Brunobignose. (2011). Flickr: Gian Inflatable Ball. Available: brunobignose/5743823066/. Last accessed: 10th June 2013 Fig. 24. CIC Ball Company. (2012). Large Hollow Plastic Balls. Available: viewitems/hollow-plastic-balls/large-hollow-plastic-balls. Last accessed: 10th June 2013





FOOTINGS The structure is supported on the ground using a combination of strip and pad footings. These foundations are situated under spheres directly touching the ground. The strip footings, as shown in the image below, is positioned in between the spheres and parallel to the pad footings. As such, the majority of the loads exerted by the structure is transferred to the pad footings, a feasible choice of foundation as it reaches deep into the ground for support, The section drawing to the left illustrates the system connecting the structure to the foundations. Spheres are connected to the footings through the pipe joints; one of the columns of the pipe joints is attached to a steel plating and subsequently the concrete slab as well.










DIAGRAMMATIC JOURNEY Please follow from left to right row by row.



The structure follows a seemingly impossible free flowing form, conceived and made possible through analysis and development of structural systems. The final form is minimalistic, honest and representative of the concept of structure as a whole. Our gateway proposal invokes the impression of instability and motion but designed in such a way that the structure is completely solid and strong. Through initial appraisal comes the amazement and appreciation towards the beauty of structure through a design perspective. The overall structure aims to give the impression of impossible stability and triggering the response of unmanageable structural steadiness. The perception and agreed response is for the whole structure to fall over or crumple it on itself but with our development of the space truss form and materials, it was made possible. Not only does our final form manipulate notions of structural elements, it also provides an atmospheric journey through the tunnel. Arriving from the North bound entrance; users are treated to an immediate view of horizon as a seemingly heavily clustered wall of spherical objects and the initial appearance of a tunnel like form. As they enter, the sense of engagement is immediate, provoking the effect of complete immersion while surrounded on all sides by spherical objects. As it follows the regular bend in the road, the form extends to naturally curved upwards and out into a secondary cantilever form. Again, this invokes a sense of shock interest in the viewer in regards to the impossible combination of how the structure is able to curve outwards and balance itself with no support in addition to the concept of suspended floating spheres. Our final design successfully achieved our initial objectives of immersion and the effect of suspension in motion. A typical space truss is characterized by density of the structural members as well as typical linear or slightly curved shapes. We sought to change the accepted perception and develop a final form optimized to utilise only the absolute bare minimum number of nodes and members to achieve expressive form as well as structural stability.

STRUCTURE is recognized as an influential method for conveyance of symbolic significance in design. The combination of structural proposal and design perspective forms a powerful approach towards showcasing characteristics of a city. We believe our design scheme efficiently responds to and creates distinct wonder and innovation most effective in illustration of the flux and personality of Wyndham city.





Feedback received from the crit presentation panel proved very useful for development. It highlighted aspects of our design which were perceived to either be undeveloped or an exicting future prospect for experimentation. One of the major criticism received was lack of presentation skill and communication of design intent. We were unable to explain our objectives and steps of development taken when to resolve issues and resulting form due to time restraints and lack of preparation. In our presentation, we were much too focused on speaking and neglected to find a cohesive match between that and presentation slides. This mistake encouraged us to develop this skill in our journal instead and focus on a visual approach to explanation instead. Our model was fabricated at a scale of 1:50. In this case, it proved much too large and did not communicate our design objective of structural stability due to its fragile nature and heavy weight. If we were to reduce the scale and refine the materials, we proposed a stronger and much more efficient result. That is something we will have to take into consideration in the future. Materials we used created challenges for us as well. The acrylic rods we used were available from the manufacturer at standard sizes of 3mm and 5mm. Sizes of the balls would be affected heavily; each ball would have to increase in size to avoid the issue of Boolean spilt merging (see page 99). This in turn would increase weight substantially and exert additional pressure on the structure itself. Following the presentation, we decided to focus on development of our Grasshopper definition to create further complexity and recognizable design intent. A question posed by the crit panel prompted us to delve further into the field of structural truss member sizing. Thicknesses of the pipes can be altered according to levels of stress applied to every member. Similar to our previous development, we tested the effects of our compression and tension evaluations on the final form. The pipe thickness shown in the images to the right display the amount of either compression or tension acting on each individual member. Not only does our design now fulfil every aspect of our previous objectives, it amplifies and demonstrates the structural properties of the form in a visual and viewable way. It forms a representation of all that encapsulates structure in a demonstration of design form, concept and a physical sculpture of structural forces.






During presentation, we found ourselves interested in the proposal methods and grasshopper definitions that our classmates had developed. We were fascinated and wondered how each type of approach would look when integrated into our model. The concept above shows a waffle grid structure we applied. Use Divide Surface command to split each surface into individual lines and points. These are then connected to the Move and Flip components in order to create both horizontal and vertical triangles. Join the triangles together as poly-surfaces as strips, forming the grid system structure. To create notches for for assembly purposes, we added a definition where the lines intersect in the Divide surface command. Waffle grid structure is essentially very similar to the concept of space truss system arrangement. Hence, it is a suitable alternative for experimentation to achieve a similar structural result. The definition we explored allows the waffle grid to be applied to any base surface, similar to the result we achieved in space trusses as well. The V input is an important parameter to our individual surfaces and allows a constant feature to span across them. Thus, each strip is connected easily to another.



5.3 CONCLUSION Prior to commencing any work on digital programming, I held little to no understanding towards the concept of technology in design. Since then, I have explored, developed and experimented widely with digital modelling programming, sustained with constant research and practiced definitions. Currently, I now understand parametric modelling to be a set of technologically based mathematical equations of design. Now that I have worked with both 3D parametric digital modelling programs and the traditional 2D method; I find that 3D technology offers a much wider range of benefits in comparison. The Grasshopper interface has a rollback feature (definitions) that shows the sequence of steps taken to create a model. This proved extremely useful in the first stages when learning modelling strategies from existing definitions and moving on to manipulate and create our own. Within the industry, I feel 3D programming provides a highly useful function. The high level of accuracy and general completeness of a design when integrating a definition into the CAD programming reduces engineering time and renders the model suitable for an efficient transfer to manufacturing services. Previously, I have had experience working with Rhino and InDesign. Back then, I did not understand the amazing potential of technology in design. This is due to my lack of understanding and interest. This semester has really taken all of my previous expectations and completely turned my opinions around. My team and I provided one of the research discussion presentations in the first few weeks and what a difference that made. From there, I become intrigued towards digital technology and frankly, quite awed at what many other people and students like me were creating with the same program globally (see Archipelago Parametric Pavilion). I feel quite lucky to have chosen to do the in depth readings so early in the semester. It changed my outlook and gave me inspiration to push myself and develop my design space thinking. I am also lucky to have had the chance to work with my fellow hardworking team mates. We developed a cohesive working relationship and always helped each other out when needed. Each of us had a definite strong point which contributed to the group well in a balanced manner. While developing, I remember the many phone calls we would make to each other in a panic when unable to find solutions to the challenges we were faced with such as exploding Kangaroo simulations, FabLab deadlines and journal submissions. Group meetings were times of lengthy discussions and sharing of technique and skills whether it was journal layout, Grasshopper or Kangaroo definitions, Photoshop and many others. In the end, we succeeded in producing a design that I’m sure all of us are proud of. Our initial weeks into the design were probably the most challenging time we faced. With such a broad field of structure design, we were unable to pinpoint anything to focus on. We were also disheartened when seeing other groups move at a much faster pace with a set goal in mind. In addition, we faced the task of learning and familiarising ourselves with a new tool, Grasshopper and subsequently Lunchbox and Kangaroo as well. However, we found that with intensive research and discussions sessions, much experimentation with a wide range of definitions and analysis, we discovered our niche in space trusses and moved forward. By supporting every single statement and argument made with mathematical proof, academic articles and evidence, we hope to render our proposal as solid and convincing. Design air as a subject has a great future and forms an intrinsic relation with the relevant needs of today’s society. The Wyndham gateway project worked as an effective stimulant, encouraging me to utilise my general imagination and problem solving skills. It pushed me to improve critical thinking and multidimensional problem solving skills. Through exploration and experimentation, I have grown in technology literacy with assistance from my tutors as well as my team. Understanding and working through every component of the project and conducting in depth research in this project has been a challenging experience. Nonetheless, I am inspired and prepared to pursue my interests in the field of parametric design and become the engineer or designer of tomorrow!




Fig. 20. Orrcon Steel. (2013). Circular Hollow Sections. Available: http://www. Last accessed: 10th June 2013. Fig. 21. Pulham Steels. (2011). Circular Hollow Sections. Available: http://pulhamsteels. Last accessed: 10th June 2013. Fig. 22. Hangzhou Steel Pipe Co. Ltd. (2013). Black Round Welded Steel Pipes. Available: Last accessed: 10th June 2013. Fig. 23. Brunobignose. (2011). Flickr: Gian Inflatable Ball. Available: com/photos/brunobignose/5743823066/. Last accessed: 10th June 2013 Fig. 24. CIC Ball Company. (2012). Large Hollow Plastic Balls. Available: http:// Last accessed: 10th June 2013


Design Air Journal FIXED  

Sarah Yeun