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Air Architecture Design Studio Air Sherry Ng Tutor: David Lister



About Me 4

Case For Innovation

Architecture As A Discouse 5 Computational Architecture 10 Parametric Modelling 14 Algorithmic Exploration Conclusion 16 Learning Outcomes 17

Design Approach

Design Focus Case Study 1.0 2.0 Technique Development Prototypes and Proposal Algorithmic Sketches Learning Outcomes & Objectives

Project Proposal

Gateway Project Design Concept Tectonic Elements Final Model Algorithmic Sketches Learning Outcomes &Objectvies References

About Me

My name is Sherry Ng, I am a third year architecture student at the University of Melbourne. I have entered this course both inspired and challenged as an aspiring architect. With limited knowledge and experience in computational design. I have thoroughly enjoyed studying architecture in previous years as subjects such as Visual Communication, Design Studio Earth and Water enabled us to express creatively through drawing and painting. However, as Design Air focuses purely on computational design, I hope to be able to learn some 3D modelling and scripting techniques that would potentially be useful in the future. I have always been interested in Architecture, Art and Design. It is important to acknowlege the role of technology and digital computation that is becoming severely significant in our every lives. The role of computational design not only enables us to generate complex forms but more importantly, technology is changing the perception of society, circulation of space, and our existing environment.

Part A

Expression of Interest Case for Innovation 1. Wyndham is a developing city, a place of growth. It is aspiring to be a point of focus within a broader spatial context. It is aspiring to be a place that portrays it’s own cultural identity within Victoria. As Wyndam city is a place of development and change, it is important to portray it’s development through its physical environment. Wyndham Gatway Project encourages innovation and exploration that will ultimately generate attraction by it’s social context. This suburban area is striving to create it’s own identity and statement within the urban environment.

2. I believe that Wydham needs a space that epitomizes innovation, creation, and a thought provoking sculptural statement. This approach conveys Wyndham’s sense of identity within it’s suburban environment. It will take precedent from Melbourne as the epitome of cultural, social, and economical success in Victoria. This is the aspiration of the city of Wyndham.

3. The Gateway Project offers Wydham City to generate a sense of identity through the use of parametric modelling within its geographical context. Parametric modelling represents a new era, the current age of architectural progression. It epitomizes modernity, innovation and technological advancement.


Architecture Discourse Architecture as a discourse is to explore the possibilities of responsive architecture to enhance positive human interactions. A discourse can be understood as a network tool to communicate, generate, represent and to construct ideas in both the built and social environment. Architecture engages with the public in many layers of interaction, from the physical surrounding to social interactions in their everyday life; it is an instrument in which constructs our identities and differences, to shape how we perceive the world we live in.

Modernism, minimalism, brutalism and deconstructivism generated a discourse which inspired and challenged the architectural movement during different periods of time. However, to introduce architecture as a “new” discourse is to engage architecture with new technology without discarding traditions. Parametric design enables flexibility and versatility to the possibilities of architecture that was previously restricted by traditional design methods. This new form of technology enables architects of today to modify, improve and stimulate new ideas with better productivity within the industry. Architecture not only responds and relates to its surroundings, it also intervenes with other communication systems that is outside of the profession of Architecture.

It is a physical element that is embedded into our natural/built environment; this will inevitably affect human interactions in all levels and more importantly it is a statement and an investment that will remain in the past, present, and future. The brief that was proposed by Wyndham City Council suggests that the Western Gateway should propose new, inspiring and brave ideas, to generate a NEW discourse.” This proposal challenges creative thinkers to be innovative and inventive with their designs with modern technology, it is important to consider the technology that is available to us today to reflect our environment and society. “Architecture is more than designing buildings, it is about designing society and their way of life”

Metropol Parasol 2005-2011

Jurgen Mayer H Architects

The Metropol Parasol (20052011) By Jurgen Mayer H Architects. The structure consists of a waffle-like crown form incorporating a sequence of undulating parasols. This project is similar to Wyndham Gateway Project as it generates architectural discourse and it is experimenting with new design paradigms and technology. This structure has enable the public to generate a discourse around it. It is currently known to be a place of identification for Seville as well as gaining the title of one of the world’s most fascinating cultural destination.

This is an exciting project as it incorporates the organic fluidity that was generated by parametric architecture with the use of natural timber. This space is currently used as a social and cultural hub, a meeting space for public activities to be held. As Jurgen Mayer states “This contemporary landmark defines a unique relationship between the historical and contemporary city. This public realm has been utilized as an archaeological museum, a farmers market, bars, restaurants and panorama terrace. This computational architecture offers a dynamic revelation in the city of Seville.

The structure was constructed in high-performance polyurethane resin, this material has been tested to have a high endurance to high temperate climatic conditions. Jurgen Mayer explored the relationship between spatiality and human relationships. This design is a result of complex geometric shapes that is also perceived as a sculptural piece of art.

The structure is constructed in interlocking timber polyurethane parasols that not only provides shelter to the public space, but it also creates a fascinating pattern from light and shadow. The overall form of the parasol is organic and fluid-like. This contrasts from the structured rigidity of the urbanscape. The form evokes a sense of movement within the landscape; the neutral beige tone of the timber contrasts from its urban monochromatic surroundings.

The Metropol Parasol is an exploration of parametric design incorporation natural materials such as timber, I would like to further experiment and explore with this material in my design as it is a light weight material that will potentially require smaller footings during construction. It will also be cost efficient. Aesthetically, the use of timber/wood evokes a lighter and smoother appearance compared to other materials. This material also reacts quickly to both heating and cooling climate.

The purpose of the Gateway Project is to generate a discourse and attraction to the city of Wyndham. The use of natural wood/ timber constructed with parametric and computation design represents the technological advancement of this suburban town.

Guggenheim seum Bilbao igned by Frank hry is monumental rchitectural culture. mmissioned by the omon R. Guggenheim ndation, Frank was couraged to design mething daring and ovative. His design lar to some of his prior rks was apparent with exterior dominated h curves and his use Digital Project; a mputer-aided design ware developed Gehry Technologies abled him to translate etic forms into reality.

The building was launched in 1997 as part of the revitalisation of the city of Bilbao. It unique design is most fitting for its purpose as a museum of modern and contemporary art and this immediately made it a popular tourist attraction worldwide with its distinctive titanium clad curves and soaring glass atrium. The revitalisation of the city of Bilbao is often associated as having begun with the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.


The building is architecturally well renowned as one of the most important buildings of the 20th century garnering praise like “one of those rare moments when critics, academics, and the general public were all completely united about something” and “the iconic chemistry between the design of building, its image and the public turns out to be rather rare”.

The building was designed with the intent of catching sunlight on its seemingly random curves whilst allowing at the same time for a large naturally lit atrium that allowed patrons to appreciate Bilbao’s estuary and the surrounding hills of the Basque country. Continuing with his passion and favouritism for metal clad curves, Frank incorporated this style in many of his later designs. This style can be classified as being part of the deconstructivism movement.

enheim Museum Bilbao Spain

One of the most heated topics in architectural discourse is the role of computers in the design process. In my opinion, Frank’s early embrace of computational architecture for his designs has paved the way for more design concepts actually seeing fruition. The ability to quickly generate 3 dimensional models allows for a more efficient design process and it could be said that computation allows the architect to be more creative because it is capable of representing not just rectilinear forms, but far more complex geometries with ease.

Guggenheim Museum was one of the first parametric designed buildings of the time. It was the beginning of a new era, it created it’s own identity through the use of computational design. In comparison with the Gateway project, I would like to design a structure that encompasses the sense of monumentality as Frank Gehry has done with his buildings.

The Kuwait International Airport by Foster & Partners is a strong example of computational design. This simple yet innovative form demonstrates the capabilities of new technology in the role of design. The main idea around this structure is revolves around the concept of geometrical symmetry. The architects experimented with different forms of encoded symmetry and integrated the interfaces of the bays at each of the points. The geometric curves were created through the use of T Spines that collaborated together with the symmetry-encoded representation to create a highly complex curvature.

This design concept focuses heavily on the geometry and symmetry to create a sense of balance and harmony towards the overall form. Through computational design, the architects were able to accurately model complex topological issues and provide solutions.

Kuwait International Airport Kuwait 2009

The international airport utilizes current computational programs to recreate a design that was inspired by vernacular architecture in shape and form. The design respects the traditional Kuwait but is open to intervention and innovation to welcome the future. This architectural outcome depicts the possibilities of new computation design without discarding its cultural roots.

It is a reflection of technological advancement in our environment today. Architects have utilize the available programs to improve design methods to complying the needs and demands of society in the 21st century.

The Museo Soumaya was conceived as an iconic structure with two missions: to host one of the largest private art collections in the world, and to reshape an old industrial area of Mexico City. Parametric modelling, laser scanning, and other algorithm techniques are a few methods that was used during this design process. The faรงade of the architectural form of Museo Soumaya is a double-curved surface that represents the concept of the museum as a container for the work, with the size of each floor plate responding to the nature of the collection on that floor.

Structural engineers collaborated with architects to ensure 26 curving columns and horizontal steel rings lay on the design surface. The iconic museum in Mexico City has integrated computational techniques, and 3-D modelling. The Panel Design and Fabrication is composed by hexagonal aluminium panels. Each node in the faรงade structure holds the centre of gravity of a single hexagonal panel and three incoming struts.

There is an evident consistent gap between all of the surface panels. This geometric solution was to stretch each hexagonal panel to maintain the spacing with each panel responding in size and angles to the local geometry of the

Museo Soumaya,

Mexico City, Mexico, 2011

The digital age introduces new architectural discourse towards the environment and fabrication technology. The design process are gradually changing how architects/designers interact and respond to its environment. This is due to the possibilities, complexities and challenges within the role of architecture and its contribution to society. Computational programs such as CAD (Computer Aided Design) , Revit, and Rhinoceros enables architects to be challenged in creating a more innovative, holistic, and thorough design which complies to the demands of society and the environment. It enables trials and experimentation within the architectural practice while enabling them to express their concepts with more variations and possibilities

Computer technology is constantly changing the design processes and approach; this enables the form to be generated more innovatively that is beyond the capacity of human intelligence. The design outcome that is generated through computational programs will be able to be accurately expressed, fabricated while responding to a range of complex issues. Civil Courts, 2009 designed by Zaha Hadid Architects explores and experimented with patterning within a cascade of sub-systerm correlation. The faรงade pattern articulation correlates with the structural system which in turn correlates with both exterior shape and the shape dependent interior voiding. The patterns accentuates apertures and it is also correlating with the furnishing within a space.

Zaha Hadid Architects have used parametric design to create a sophisticated sets of date to respond to the environmental and spatial parameters. The gradual variation of sunlight intensity on a curved surface translates into a gradient transformation of the component formation. It is evident that the form created by parametric figuration enables designers to experiment with surface, form and material possibilities. It enables designers to create more dynamic, complex structures through fabrication and complex geometries. The design process is evidently changing and shifting its focus from traditional form making to a more integrated and interdisciplinary process of design

It is important to acknowledge that societies sense of identity is constantly changing and emerging with the progression of technology. The need of technology in our lives is becoming more evident through population growth. It is the responsibility of designers, architects, and creative thinkers to accommodate the constant change of demands of society. As our built environment reflects the historical layers of past generations, it is also an opportunity for designers to create a stance that is beneficial to all aspects of society. Computational design is a widely accessible tool that should be used in this modern day society in reflecting our digital age, while responding to social needs such as globalisation and population growth.

Parametric Modelling

ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion The Institute for Computation Design (ICD) and the Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE) built the Research Pavilion in Stuttgart University, Germany 2011. The Pavilion was created by computer-generated programs that explores the architectural transfer of biological principles of the sea urchin’s plate skeleton (University of Stuttgart website 2011). This process explores the bionic principles to a range of complex geometries through parametric processes. The structure was constructed in 6.5 millimetres of thin sheets of plywood. This structure was constructed using parametric modelling to its specific dimensions and accuracy; its complex geometries is a series of repeating patterning.

. The ICD/ITKE Research Pavillion 2011 project was designed to aim at integrating the performative capacity of biological structures into architectural design. Wood has been chosen as a material due to its low environmental impact and portability. ICD/ITKE Research Pavillion 2011 was constructed from a range of different sized panels with finger joints that were used to create a number of polygons which interlock at various angles to achieve the final outcome. Parametric modelling enables designers to have more freedom in coming up with complex geometries with a lower production cost due to efficient construction method and efficient use of materials.

This structural form demonstrates that natural forms have significant contribution in architecture. Computation also ensures the accuracy of the outcome and manufactures new forms in the built world. Parametric architecure creates a new platform of designing and enables highly complex geometries to be built in reality. The gateway project is aspiring to generate the same outcome whilst potentially attracting the public to interact and engage with the sculpture.

ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion


In the 21st century, the advancement of technology is achieving more complex architectural outcome is very evident in our lives. Computational programs enable designers to create more innovative designs, complex forms, to reach new potentials and solve more complex problems. Parametric design is one example which enables the program to create more creative geometries and a better utilization of space and form.

This digital age is also creating more opportunities for designers to be creative in their response to the environment. It is important to acknowledge that to adapt to our environment, one more be able to accept change. The change of technological advancement, the change of society’s needs and demands, and the change of the environment natural conditions; computation programs will be able to assisting designers to generate more innovation and creative outcomes to our environment and existing issues. Therefore architects should adapt to these changes to survive in the architectural practice.

In regards to the Wyndham Gateway Project, it is important to consider that this space will be used by everyday users to uses private transportation to and from their destination. This “NEW” discourse will be able to generate an introduction to computational architectural design towards society. It challenges and generates society’s perception of architectural design and discourse. It marks a new decade of technological advancement within the architectural practice, the society and community.

Learning Outcomes

Before starting Bachelor of Environments at the University of Melbourne, my knowledge of Architecture revolved around drawing, sketching and creating models from Visual Communication at Secondary College. I had no knowledge of any computational programmes as we were taught to generate ideas through sketching and researching. I was deeply inspired by the idea that architecture is art but to facilitate users of the space and contributing to society in all levels. Architecture is a reflection of the past, present and future; it is designs which creative thinkers leave behind and will continue to exist for as long as they can.

After completing Case for Innovation, I now have a better understanding of computational designs and programs. The design process much differs from the traditional method but strives for a better outcome within a shorter amount of time. It generates countless of possibilities that is beyond the normal hands-on method of idea generation. Experimenting with grasshopper and Rhinoceros 5 has enabled me to really appreciate the contribution of technology in our environment today. Computation design enables designers to experiment with form, textures, materiality, space with more time efficiency and complex possibilities.

Algorithmic Explorations

After attempting at the online techinical and demonstration videos. Here are some more successful algorithmic explorations done in Grasshopper and Rhino.

Exploration of different points and curves to form the surface. With the use of number slider to increase and decrease the number of points in the form.

Throughout the online exercises I have learnt to utilize different curves and points to create a range of lofted forms. It is much faster to produce three dimensional objects on grasshopper and Rhino. Grasshopper enables designers to alter and modify the lofted curved forms in much more detail and freedom compared to rhino itself.

Patterning algorithm was also explored in the tutorial. The scripts enabled a simple pattern to multiplied over different scripting and algorithms,

The potential of working with algorithm scripts is the ability to revisit previous explorations and iterations. This method is much more efficient to produce and generate concepts for three dimensional models. The data stored enables users to modify and recreate many iterations from the same script. The online tutorial was very helpful in demonstrating the different uses of each tabs, but it is also difficult to comprehend if one is stuck in the midst of the tutorial.


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Studio Air  

Sherry Ng

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