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STUDIO AIR JOURNAL

SIMEON CHUA 2017, SEMESTER 2, FINN

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INTRODUCTION 6 A.0 CONCEPTUALISATION A.1 DESIGN FUTURING 8 A.2 DESIGN COMPUTATION 22 A.3 COMPOSITION/GENERATION 30 A.4 CONCLUSION 38 A.5 LEARNING OUTCOMES 38 A.6 ALGORITHMIC SKETCHES 40 B.0 CRITERIA DESIGN B.1 RESEARCH FIELDS 49 B.2 CASE STUDY: SEROUSSI PAVILION 52 B.3 CASE STUDY: GREEN VOID 66 B.4 CASE STUDY: WOODEN WAVES 76 B.5 TECHNIQUE: DEVELOPMENT 98 B.6 TECHNIQUE: PROTOTYPE 98 B.7 TECHNIQUE: PROPOSAL 130 B.8 LEARNING OBJECTIVES AND OUTCOMES 132 B.9 ALGORITHMIC SKETCHES 134 C.0 DETAILED DESIGN C.1 DESIGN CONCEPT 140 C.2 TECTONIC ELEMENTS & PROTOTYPES 154 C.3 FINAL DETAIL MODEL 172 C.4 LEARNING OBJECTIVES & OUTCOMES 202 C.5 APPENDIX 204

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INTRODUCTION My name is Simeon Chua, and I am currently undertaking my second year of the Bachelor of Environments, with a major in Architecture. I’ve worked on a variety of projects, ranging from architectural films to speculative architecture and small scale residential houses. I also have experience with digital fabrication methods such as lasercutting, CNC and 3D printing. While I can’t claim to know much about computational design, I find the topic fascinating, and am extremely excited to discover its potential and integrate it into my workflow.

Rhinoceros AutoCAD SketchUP Vray Photoshop Illustrator Photography Lasercutting CNC 3D printing

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A.1 DESIGN FUTURING 8


ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion Achim Menges + Jan Knippers

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SPECULATIVE EVERYTHING ANTHONY DUNNE + FIONA RABY

Designers have long played a pivotal role in mankind’s lengthy track through history. From the Roman’s aqueducts to Steve Job’s iPhone, design has shaped how we humans live and operate on a day-to-day basis, but have we become overconfident in our capabilities? How long more can we continue to place blind faith in the ability of design to solve all of our problems? What are the alternatives? These are some of the questions we must ask of ourselves as we enter the dawn of the Anthropocene, an epoch defined by severe human-caused environmental degradation.

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As humans, we were never the biggest, fastest or strongest creatures to roam the Earth, but what defined our success as a species was our innate ability and desire to change, to innovate, to design. It is a part of who we are, and it is not hard to see why we cling hold onto design optimism fervently. It is also perhaps why we seem to be struggling so much with monumental problems and issues such as climate change. We’ve spent far too much time and resources trying to design solutions when maybe we should have been examining our values, beliefs, attitudes and


Across: Smog in China Top: Smog Free Tower Studio Roosegaarde Bottom: Coal Power Plant

behaviors, and sought to rectify the erroneous ones that perpetuate our damaging choices and actions. Dunne and Raby propose an alternative form of design, Speculative Design, one where it serves a catalytic role, enabling people to “open discussion and debate about alternative ways of being, and to inspire and encourage people’s imagination to flow freely.”. Speculative design would require a rethinking of what it means to be a designer, but that might be precisely what we need to make progress.

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CENTRE POMPIDOU-METZ SHIGERU BAN When Shigeru Ban submitted his proposal for the extension to the Centre Pompidou, he was up against illustrious company- Foreign Office Architects, Herzog & de Meuron, Dominique Perrault, just to name a few. The Centre Pompidou, with its original structure by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, required a design that would create an architectural impact similar to the original, and embody the cultural aspirations of the Centre Pompidou. Ban’s winning entry, which features 3 hanging galleries under an undulating woven timber roof, stands as a bold testament to digital design as well as advanced material and construction techniques. The woven timber roof, the result of a 3D manipulation of a hexagonal grid, is especially apt in its context- the hexagon is a symbol of France. The roof, informed by Ban’s earlier work with Frei Otto, and inspired by a woven Chinese hat, serves as the pièce de résistance of a building that has received widespread acclaim from both critics and the public. Ban balances his own design aspirations with his design responsibility to the client, as he himself notes “Many architects make buildings that are hard to use as museums...I wanted to design something that would be a good museum, but also send a strong message.”[1]. In his Centre PompidouMetz, Shigeru Ban reminds us that as architects, our buildings have to be more than just sculpture admired from afar, they have to first and foremost serve a functional, inhabitable purpose.

1. Philip Jodidio, Shigeru Ban, (Cologne: Taschen, 2010), pp. 18-23.

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Paper Temporary Studio Shigeru Ban

In his bid to oversee and control the construction process, Shigeru Ban designed and constructed a temporary studio on the terrace of the original Centre Pompidou by Piano and Rogers in Paris. The studio’s tubular form references Piano and Rogers’ design, but is also described by Ban as also being “the most efficient shape.”[2]. With a structure that consists largely of paper tubes, a material very rarely seen in architecture, the studio speaks to Ban’s design awareness and desire to minimise material and financial wastage. Originally constructed with a comparatively ephemeral nature in mind, the studio has been retained by the Centre Pompidou and stands as one of Ban’s most frequently viewed works.

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2. Philip Jodidio, Shigeru Ban, (Cologne: Taschen, 2010), pp. 18-23.


Cardboard Cathedral Shigeru Ban

As a Pritzker Prize laureate, Shigeru Ban has also devoted considerable amounts of time and resources to disaster relief work. Working pro bono, he designed and constructed a church for the victims of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, providing a replacement for the original cathedral that had been severely damaged[3].Similar to his other disaster relief work, paper tubes are used as a main structural element due to its strength, precision, affordability and ease of fabrication, the latter two being especially relevent as the cost of conventional materials tend to skyrocket after a natural disaster. Ban shows us how architecture, and design in general, can be used to engage with society positively and intelligently.

3. Philip Jodidio, Shigeru Ban, ed. (Cologne: Taschen, 2010), pp. 83.

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DESIGN FUTURING TONY FRY The anthropocentric nature of the vast majority of our industry cannot be denied. In mankind’s crusade for unadulterated progress and advancement, we have neglected to acknowledge and rectify the deeply damaging effects we have had on the natural environment. While it is arguably much too late to completely reverse the adverse effects of our actions, we can still work to mitigate and minimize them. As Fry contends, we should not be looking to completely stem human progress, bur rather alter our design processes to redirect the flow of our advancement. Design that innately accomodates to the finite nature of natural resources and to the increasingly delicate natural environment has to take the forefront. As future architects and designers, we have to embrace this ideology, and accept that we do not stand on a pedestal. Design, and architecture by extension, cannot be a bastion of arrogant superficial aesthetic, but rather a medium for the reimagining of our society and the way we engage the natural environment. Design intelligence serves as one of the essential components of this evolution. Only by analysing, understanding and incorporating data about the built and natural environment around us into our design process can we hope to control the outcome satisfactorily. I suppose Grasshopper presents itself as one of the tools that we can possibly use to render the data and respond to it in the form of design.

Steel Factory

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Pavilion Modules

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ELYTRA FILAMENT PAVILION ACHIM MENGES + MORITZ DORSTELMANN + JAN KNIPPERS + THOMAS AUER The Elytra Filament Pavilion is the result of an investigation and exploration of biomimicry, robot fabrication and material research in the areas of architecture, engineering and construction. The cells, based on the wing structure of an Elytra Beetle, are fabricated from tightly-woven carbon and glass fibres, dipped in a resin and cured in an oven[4]. Up till now, the use of carbon fibre in construction has been extremely limited due to the prohibitive cost of fabricating moulds, and difficulty in use between different projects. Through this pavilion, and a series of other ones he has completed, Achim Menges has explored the feasibility of using carbon fibre as a material in its own right, allowing its inherent qualities define its form rather than emulating an existing material. The structure also contains sensors spread throughout its cells, collecting data about the structure and how it is inhabited by visitors. It then grows in response to this data, for example, providing more cover at areas that are more frequented. The Elytra Filament Pavilion shows how design intelligence can augment a structure, allowing it to respond to its surroundings and serve its function better. 4. Piotr Boruslawski, Design` Boom, (Design Boom, 2016). 5. Jessica Mairs, Carbon Fibre Robotic Production, (Dezeen, 2016).

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Module Fabrication

The cells of the pavilion were fabricated by a Kuka robot that weaved the fibres around a simple metal formwork. After curing in an oven, the cells are slipped off and ready for installation. The heavy use of robotics in the fabrication and construction process reduces the need for skilled labour, minimising overall cost and time required. Robotics also increases the level of precision, something that will also likely improve over time as technology advances. While it is only a matter of time before robotics become more commonplace in the construction industry, there obviously remains a lot of work to be done, especially with the software used to control the robots. That being said, Achim Menges has undoubtedly paved the way for more widespread adoption of advanced digital design and fabrication techniques around the world, and demonstrates both the potential of and need for constant innovation and improvement of current practices. 20

His projects also forebode a worrying future where automation has taken over the roles of humans throughout the process, from design all the way to construction. It is worthwhile considering how this emerging technology can and probably will affect how we function as a society, and how we might have to reinvent ourselves to survive or remain relevant. In this regard, Speculative Design[6] holds tremendous potential for us to foresee and prepare for future issues. Achim Menges’ pavilions highlight the need for cooperation and collaboration between different fields of study. His structures were the result of long term partnerships between teams of architects, engineers and scientists, just to name a few. Each profession holds a different piece of the puzzle that ultimately represents our capability to advance as a species and solve the problems that we face collectively. 6. Jessica Mairs, Carbon Fibre Robotic Production, (Dezeen, 2016). 7. Anthony Dunne & Fiona Raby, Speculative Everything: Design Fiction, and Social Dreaming (MIT Press, 2013) pp. 1-9, 33-45


Pavilion Construction

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A.2 DESIGN COMPUTATIO

MATHEMATICS GALLERY ZAHA HADID ARCHITECTS Zaha Hadid’s Mathematics Gallery is the physical manifestation of computational techniques. Using minimal surfaces to tangibly represent the turbulence field of an aircraft, she has shown how design can respond to the brief intelligently and functionally without compromising on the aesthetic aspects of the structure. The design serves a functional role of dividing and organizing the exhibition space, while also paying homage to mathematics and the mathematicians who have helped to both physically and metaphorically shape the world. 22


ON

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Architecture is irrefutably a practice of constant innovation and evolution. There is a constant endeavor to experiment, to try new materials, new forms, new ways of thinking and at its core, to create. Contemporary computational design techniques stand as one of, if not, the most powerful toolset and medium available to Architects today. It is also impossible to deny the rapid advancement and evolution of contemporary digital design and fabrication methods. As the previously segregated realms of design, fabrication and construction get drawn together by the threads of digital technology, the definition of what is achievable is constantly redefined. These advancements have allowed Architects to not only dream bigger dreams, but also bring these many of these dreams into reality. Zaha Hadid Architects have made full use of the techniques available to them, designing and perhaps most importantly, constructing complex, curvilinear structures that would be nigh impossible to represent and achieve with conventional methods. Many of these designs have had profound, positive effects on both the intended inhabitants and Architectural community at large.

Turbulence Field Visualisation

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THEORIES OF THE DIGITAL IN ARCHITECTURE RIVKA + ROBERT OXMAN As digital design technologies and techniques become increasingly ubiquitous in architecture today, it worth taking a moment to stop and think about how far it has taken us, and where it might take us in the future. Digital design has rapidly transformed the face of architecture since its inception. From AutoCAD to Catia, SketchUp to Grasshopper, advances in the digital realm has allowed architecture to pull away from representation as the “dominant logical and operative mode of formal generation�, and move towards a more functional and performative approach. Parametric algorithms in particular has been one of the major driving forces behind this shift, allowing designers and architects to define a set of parameters that shape the outcome based on the input. This has allowed for the creation of structures that minimize redundancies and whose forms are governed by its requirements. A common example would be cladding systems that have a pattern with varying levels of density cut into them based on how much light the space requires. Digital design has undoubtedly empowered Architects to design and construct much more effectively and intelligently than before, but as the entire process becomes more automated and reliant on the computer, it raises the question of are we Architects laying the foundation for our inevitable redundancy? If or when Architecture and technology evolves to the point where it involves the simple input of information into an algorithm that spits out a finished building, what will be the point of the Architect? How can we reimagine and reinvent ourselves to suit this new world? Perhaps the answer lies with Speculative Design, as proposed by Dunne & Raby. As a practice bound only by the human imagination, it would require a creative and human touch that computers are not yet capable of. Melbourne School of Design John Wardle Architects

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ARCHITECTURE’S NEW MEDIA: PRINCIPLES, THEORIES, AND METHODS OF COMPUTER AIDED DESIGN YEHUDA KALAY Kalay puts forward the notion of design as the process of problem solving. It involves analysing the problem, understanding it, knowing what a better situation would be like, and finding a way of achieving that. It is a form of intelligent behavior that is not exhibited by many other, if any, species on this planet.It then stands to reason that by extension, architecture is at its core a method or process of problem solving that requires a balance and finesse between analytical ability and creativity. The strengths of computers lie squarely within the analytical half of the design process. Kalay suggests that humans and computers have formed a “symbiotic design relationship” where computers provide the processing power needed to analyse the problem and render a solution, while humans guide the flow and direction of information in a creative direction. It would then be in our best interests to understand the dynamics of this symbiotic relationship and see how we can

get the most out of it. This of course then requires us, the architects, to understand what a computer does, how it does it, and potentially, how can we change and improve it. Many of the programs taught to us such as AutoCAD are polished, refined programs that leave little room or potential for meaningful intervention and modification. On this tangent, I would like to look at the feasibility and and potential benefits of learning a basic programming language such as C++ to tie in and augment my use of programs such as Rhinoceros and Grasshopper. Kalay also suggests that these methods and techniques are so frequently used because they have been proven to help Architects successfully solve problems. They allow Architects to direct energy and resources towards successful solutions rather than waste time searching for alternatives. This is by and large true, but I cant help but wonder what the Sagrada Familia would look like if Gaudi had not spent ten years playing with weights and strings.

Mountain Dwellings Bjarke Ingles + Julien De Smedt

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SAGRADA FAMILIA ANTONIO GAUDI Antonio Gaudi was one of the first Architects to use computational techniques to design his buildings. Using a complex system of weights and strings, he was able to generate a model that displayed the ideal curves needed to bear weight and transfer it down to the ground. This was unprecedented and revolutionary at the time, and as the Director of the Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura said at Gaudi’s graduation, “Gentlemen, we are here today either in the presence of a genius or a madman.”[8]. Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia presented a new design methodology and way of thinking for both monumental Architecture and Architecture in general. It stands as a stark contrast to the classical paradigm of a cathedral, in both form and concept. He was a revolutionary limited by his time period, restricted by the design and construction methods available to him. 8. Rory Stott, Spotlight: Antonio Gaudi, (Arch Daily, 2017).

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GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM-BILBAO FRANK GEHRY Frank Gehry stands besides Antonio Gaudi as one of the few Architects who can be said to have truly tested and pushed the boundaries of computational techniques in Architecture. Faced with the challenge of creating a structurally viable doubly curved surface out of thin sheet material, he and his team turned to an Aerospace program, CATIA. Though normally used to model the precise geometry needed for aircraft, CATIA enabled Gehry and his team to both design and construct the the Guggenheim Museum. The Museum is monumental in form and influence, inspiring a whole slew of new, daring projects around the world including the aforementioned Centre Pompidou Metz by Shigeru Ban. It is a testament to the advancement of computational techniques since Gaudi’s time, and shows how computational techniques do not necessarily govern or restrict a building’s form, but rather enables it. 9. Edwin Heathcote, Is the Bilbao effect over?, (Apollo, 2017).

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A.3 COMPOSITION/GENER


RATION

Helios Simeon Chua + Myra Kosen + Haoyi Li

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DIGITAL GROTESQUE II Michael Hansmeyer and Benjamin Dillenburger Digital Grotesque II is an installation piece for the Centre Pompidou’s Imprimer le Monde, roughly translated as “Printing the world”. Digital Grotesque is a demonstration of the tremendous advancement in digital fabrication and construction methods in recent times. As the exhibition’s name would imply, it consists of 3D printed sandstone, at an absurd resolution of 280 μm[10]. It represents two significant milestones in testing the ability and feasibility of using 3D printing technologies to fabricate actual inhabitable structures. The first being the ability to print viable, strong and durable materials such as sandstone, and the second being the ability to print at a high enough resolution to minimize structural redundancies and fabrication error tolerances. The resolution, feasibility and strength of the fabrication process is inherently linked to the design output, as it dictates what forms are buildable, and what forms will stay confined purely in the digital/conceptual realm. As such, a proper demonstration of the capabilities of the advanced 3D printing technology would require a design that stretches people’s notion of what they think is possible, showcasing forms and detail that would not be possible to build with prior technology. Hansmeyer and Dillenburger have used a digital algorithmic process to generate the complex, detailed forms required[11], imparting it with a unique character of its own that stands out in its own right. The algorithm is somewhat paradoxical in the sense that its function is to generate composition. A simple geometric form is inputted into the algorithm that constantly divides, alters and propagates it, resulting in a form that is both familiar and alien. It is demonstrative of the nuanced relationship between composition and generation, calling into question where the distinction between the two lies. It also highlights the intrinsic and symbiotic relationships between the fields of fabrication, construction and design. The professionals in these fields constantly push the boundaries of what is possible in their discipline, and by doing so, challenges the others to innovate and evolve.

10. Evolo, Digital Grotesque II premieres at Centre Pompidou, (Evolo, 2017). 11. Evolo, Digital Grotesque II premieres at Centre Pompidou, (Evolo, 2017).

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ELISABETH MURDOCH HALL ARM + ARUP The Elisabeth Murdoch Hall is a concert hall that has been designed from the outset to maximise the acoustic properties of the space within it. The design tackles this from two directions: the first being insulating the interior from external noises, and the second being manipulating how sound travels and echos in the space within[12]. While the solutions employed for both directions are architecturally significant and interesting, from a generative/ compositional standpoint, only the latter remains relevant. What ARM and ARUP have done is in essence, looked at how the form and detailing of the best classical concert halls enhances its acoustic properties, and how that could be adapted and augmented using contemporary design and construction techniques. By using advanced acoustic analytical and simulation programs such as ARUP’s SoundLab, the architects and engineers were able to generate forms that enhances and facilitates the hall’s function. Its panels serve varying functions such as reflective ledges, sound diffusers, or early reflectors that allow musicians to hear themselves clearly[13]. The Elisabeth Murdoch Hall is similar to Digital Grotesque II in that it questions the distinction between composition and generation, and if generation is developing a new way of understanding and developing composition.

12. Arup, Melbourne Recital Centre, (Arup, 2017). 13. Arup, Melbourne Recital Centre, (Arup, 2017).

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The Salon

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The Melbourne Recital Centre’s other music space, The Salon, looks at another facet of the relationship between composition and generation. Here the score for a song, Grainger’s Free Music No.2 has been used to generate a form that has been carved onto the panels of the space. While admittedly mostly non-performative, it reinforces the idea that composition and generation do not need to be mutually exclusive. By combining the two, it is possible to create a meaningful design that serves its functional role admirably, but without forgoing its aesthetic aspects and alienating people.

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A.4 CONCLUSION As everything becomes more digital, everything also becomes more homogeneous in the sense that it is all just data, intangible information that is stored in 1s and 0s. It will be interesting to see how previously unrelated concepts cross path in this virtual stream, intersecting, interacting and transforming each other, forming evolutions and permutations that would be impossible in an analog sense. Many of the analysed precedents underpin the importance of working closely with both other disciplines and emerging technologies, though whether the final outcome serves a functional or aesthetic approach remains the prerogative of the Architect or designer. I would like to look at using computational techniques to strike a balance between functional and aesthetic, generated and compositional. Function through form and form through function. While the concept is not necessarily innovative in its own right, I would ideally like to look at novel ways of executing it, as opposed to rehashing someone else’s work.

A.5 LEARNING OUTCOME Learning about both the theory and practice of architectural computing has altered the way I consider the design process, and highlighted how computing can refine and augment it. It has allowed me to understand and appreciate the design process behind many computationally-driven structures, the significance of which was previously lost on me. Learning and understanding how Grasshopper, a parametric design software, works has also underlined the inefficiencies or inadequacies in many of the design softwares I have used thus far. It would have allowed me to create different design iterations far easier, in effect exploring a wider range of potential solutions.

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Nine Bridges Country Club Shigeru Ban


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A.6 ALGORITHMIC SKETC

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B.1 RESEARCH FIELDS 48


Mathematics Gallery Zaha Hadid Architects

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STRIPS & FOLDING Strips & Folding involves the use of strips to articulate and accentuate usually curvilinear forms. It is a highly adaptable and diverse field that encompasses a wide span of physically and conceptually different structures, from SHoP Architect’s Botswana Innovation Hub to the ICD/ITKE 2010 Research Pavilion. It can provide the ability to break down complex doubly curved surfaces down into developable surfaces that are far easier to design and fabricate, as demonstrated by the project Archipelago by Chalmers Uni Tech students. 50

Heydar Aliyev Centre Zaha Hadid Architects

Utilizing strips can also add a layer of depth and complexity to an otherwise simple form. Zaha Hadid’s iconic Heydar Aliyev Centre’s concert hall is demonstrative of how strips can be used to to emphasize the base form’s profile, while also providing functional purpose, in this case improving the acoustic properties of the hall.


GEOMETRY Another incredibly diverse field, Geometry involves the manipulation of simple geometry or the rules governing them to create a usually more intricate or elaborate form. This research field covers a myriad of projects, inherently possessing a considerable depth and variability in their forms, arguably to a much greater extent than Strips & Folding.

Bosjes Chapel Steyn Studio

On the other end of the spectrum, projects such as Herzog De Meuron’s Bird’s Nest, and to a greater extent, Michael Hansmeyer’s Digital Grotesque show how geometry can be manipulated to create a form that is not immediately readable or understandable to the viewer.

Simple manipulation or adaptation of Geometry can be found in projects such as Toyo Ito’s Tama Art University and Steyn Studio’s Bosjes Chapel. This broad typology provides a form that is easy to read and understand, and is unlikely to alienate the viewer. 51


B.2 CASE STUDY: SEROUSSI PAVILION 52


Biothing’s Seroussi Pavillion is an open-ended explororation of how Electromagnetic fields can be simulated digitally to generate form. Each cell is dictated by a charge that responds to its adjacent counterpart, producing a field that is then manipulated to grow in the z direction using the derivative of a sine curve. While definitely aesthetically pleasing and conceptually fascinating, this technique produces a form that is quite difficult to rationalize and and fabricate. It does however provoke thought about alternative methods of generating form, and how contextual data and abstract mathematics can be appliedin Architecture.

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Number o Sample

Rate of

Cell Core

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of Fieldline e Points

f Decay

e Radius

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Fig. 1 Mathematics Gallery Zaha Hadid Architects

Number of Divis

Voronoi

Streng Attracto

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f Cell Core sions

Density

gth of or Point

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Working in 2D inherently involves a great degree of speculation on the part of the curator when considering how it might lend itself to a real world application. When choosing which iterations to pursue and evolve further I considered several factors. Firstly, how much potential does it have to be developed further? Secondly, could this further development lead to something fabricatable or would it most likely stay relegated to the digital realm? Thirdly, how aesthetically pleasing was it? Could it stand by itself as a statement or just something beautiful to be admired? Beauty is objectively subjective, however there remains a thread of logic and reason that governs and controls what is largely whim and fancy. I found this figure to be particularly attractive for several reasons. The high level of cell core divisions allowed the form to articulate the shape of each cell to a higher degree. This is further emphasized when the lines coalesce at the edges, forming a border that I found to be quite mesmerizing. I was struck by how much the cells resembled both voronoi forms and the actual cells of a leaf.

Potential Fabrication Plausibility Aesthetic Value

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While I didnt find this form to be particularly aesthetically pleasing, I was fascinated by how the borders that materialized in the previous form appeared in this one as well, albeit articulated in a completely different way. I thought about how each cell resembled a spider web, almost like some kind of strange bastardized version of the spider’s home. This lead me to wonder if this form could be constructed out of a lightweight fibre similar to the spider’s silk, and used to form a lightweight canopy.

Potential Fabrication Plausibility Aesthetic Value Peculiarity

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Graph Manipulation Structural Plausibility Spatial Articulation

Graph Manipulation Structural Plausibility Spatial Articulation

Graph Manipulation Structural Plausibility Spatial Articulation

Graph Manipulation Structural Plausibility Spatial Articulation

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Graph Manipulation Structural Plausibility Spatial Articulation

Graph Manipulation Structural Plausibility Spatial Articulation

The 2D form was then manipulated in the z direction using 1-2 graph mappers. The forms were then chosen based on how well they articulated the spaces beneath, and if they started to hint at either the function or even structural capabilities. 63


I imagine this form to be a pavilion of sorts, where the complex, elaborate structural element serve as the main draw, in a sense similar to Hansmeyer’s Digital Grotesque. It could be an exercise in how digital fabrication could be adapted to a large project, a precursor of what is to come. Design Potential Pecularity Aesthetic Value

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B.3 CASE STUDY: GREEN VOID 66


Green Void by the Laboratory for Visionary Architecture is a temporary installation in the atrium of Sydney Customs House. It is a sophisticated exploration of both Geometry and Strips & Folding, and serves as an excellent showcase of how emerging technology has allowed Architects to simulate physics digitally, and bring the results of this digital exploration to reality. While non-functional, its purpose as an Architectural folly serves to inspire the public, showing them how technology has evolved in a manner that might not be possible in a traditional inhabitable building sense.

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Mesh Divisi

Mesh Divi

Spring Go 68


ions (U & V)

isions (U)

oal Length 69


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Spring Goal Length

Mesh Smoothing

Rationalisation Design Potential

Rationalisation Design Potential

Window Frames

Element Rotation

Rationalisation Design Potential

Rationalisation Design Potential


Sierpienski Triangles Rationalisation Design Potential

Catmull-Clark + Window Frames Rationalisation Design Potential

This form was chosen for further exploration mainly because it was a stark contrast to the forms generated by the algorithm thus far. Is it was possible to rationalize the “mess� generated by these parameters, and is there a way to move the form towards something that could possibly be fabricated? Could these forms be extrapolated to influence the form of a skyscraper, one that was not constrained by the traditional orthogonal paradigm? 71


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Base Form Manipulation Spring Goal Length

Base Form Manipulation Spring Goal Length

Base Form Manipulation Spring Goal Length

Base Form Manipulation Spring Goal Length


Base Form Manipulation Spring Goal Length

How the base shape informing the algorithm could be altered and manipulated to generate new forms using the same parameters? It is hard to imagine this form serving any viable, functional architectural purpose, at least at this point in time. This might change in the future as fabrication and construction techniques advances far enough. Base Form Manipulation Spring Goal Length

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The Space Station of the Future? A simple mesh triangulation, smoothing and thickening algorithm was applied to the chosen form, resulting in this futuristic shape that has “access points�, almost resembling mouths, spread throughout. Design Potential Pecularity Aesthetic Value

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B.4 CASE STUDY: WOODEN WAVES 76


This installation in Buro Happold’s London office by Mamou-Mani Architects in London serves as both an artistic piece and acoustic dampener/diffuser. It uses parametric kerfing as the main technique of articulating the forms required, creating an installation that is both aesthetic and functional. It is not possible to assess the true acoustic properties the installation imbues the office with due to the lack of coverage and proper data available. It should, however, work in theory by breaking the flat surfaces of the office, reducing the degree to which sound waves travels and bounces within the internal space. The ability of kerfing to create mesmerizing, beautiful forms cannot be disputed, and Mamou-Mani Architects have shown how it could be applied on a larger scale. I believe that there still remains much potential within this technique for exploration and development, especially with the joints between the different components.

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The reverse-engineering process began with attempting the most straightforward method of creating diamonds with varying sizes: panelling tools. This generated a form that looked like it could possibly work, but revealed many inadequacies upon closer inspection. Firstly, the size of the diamonds were reliant on the input shape, whereas Wooden Waves had managed to achieve variation while using a standardized base panel. Secondly, the diamonds experienced high levels of deformation, especially along the edges of the form. Thirdly, panelling tools offer very little variation of form at the minute scale, something that would be essential when trying to achieve proper kerfing. 78


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Back to Basics, earlier iterations of the precedent provided insight on how to best approach this task. A grid of points were translated in the Y direction and lines drawn between the two sets of points. While functional, this proved to be a highly restrictive and hard to control method. It also faced issues when attractor points/curves were introduced. 81


Lines were interpolated through the grid of points instead, resulting in a form that could respond much better to attractor points.

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Physical testing and prototypes were absolutely essential in attempting to understand the mechanics and constraints of the kerfing pattern, especially when it had been manipulated by attractor points or otherwise. This iteration’s flexibility was not hindered by the manipulation, possibly because it was mainly constrained to the edges.

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A brief exploration into the possibility of weaving a curve between two sets of points to generate the diamonds. This method faced similar problems to panelling tools, where the shape and size of the diamonds were heavily reliant on the input geometry. Additionally, it was extremely difficult to manipulate the thickness of the web.

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An attractor curve was used instead of an attractor point. This new form presented issues of its own, especially when the scaling was truncated past a certain distance.This was negotiated by translating the points only in the z direction, which resulted in a form that more closely resembled Wooden Waves. 89


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Up to this point, the algorithms used generated only either slits or diamonds, whereas I needed the ability to translate diamonds into slits and vice versa. A point was translated in the x and y axis, in both the positive and negative direction. By interpolating lines on either side from top to bottom, the required diamond-slit-diamond form could be generated by manipulating the degree to which the point was translated in the x direction. This was enhanced further by introducing more points along the path, allowing heightened control of the diamond’s profile. This was a very promising exploration, even with its limitations. At this stage, it was largely confined to an orthogonal grid, and I had to find a way to adapt it to the attractor curve form generated earlier.

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Grid of Points

Attractor Curve

Interpolate Points

Evaluate Curves

Translate Points

Interpolate Diamond Profile

Adjust Values

Adapting the diamond-slit-diamond forms to the curve proved to be an extremely frustrating task. I made the mistake of attempting to create the “ribs” instead of the negatives spaces, i.e. the diamond-slit-diamonds. The input curves were evaluated at uniform distances, generating the diamond-slit-diamond’s center. Instead of translating the point in an orthogonal direction, it was translated in relation to its neighbouring points. The magnitude of the vector was derived from the distance between each input curve, and capped at a certain value to provide a minimum “rib” thickness.

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The algorithm allows for an incredible amount of variation in the diamond’s layout and profile. The number of diamonds can be varied in both the U and V direction. The profile can be altered in a myriad of ways, allowing for the creation of forms with the same overall shape but vastly different physical properties. At this point, it was a matter of adjusting the values to create a diamond-slit-diamond profile similar to the one used for Wooden Waves. 95


Lasercutting allows for a very accurate translation of the design from the virtual into the physical. The resultant form possessed the flexibility that we hoped and expected it to have. It was one thing to see the kerfing in photos, and a whole other thing to be able to hold it in your hands and test it. We were somewhat surprised to see the difference in qualities between the diamonds and the slits, with the former possessing very little flex. This could be manipulated to our advantage in the future, for example in areas where increased stiffness and strength is needed. There remains much work to be done however, and the algorithm still needs some tweaking to match Wooden Waves more closely. For example, the precedent manages to achieve straight boundaries, while this prototype was “deformed� by the attractor curve.

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B.5+6 TECHNIQUE: DEVELOPMENT & PROTOTYPE

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The relationship between diamonds and slits was reversed, concentrating the latter along the edges instead.

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PROTOTYPE A The values of the algorithm were altered to generate forms that would allow for physical qualities of the kerfing pattern to be pushed and tested. In particular, we wanted to see if it was possible to increase the flexibility of the diamonds. By reducing the width of the rib, the diamond profile generated possessed not only considerable flex but could also be stretched and compressed.

Kerfing* Acoustics* Structure* Materiality*

* Values in this section are graded based on the extent to which the parameter was explored, as opposed to a grading of the prototype’s physical attributes.

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PROTOTYPE B The attractor curve was reversed to generate diamonds in the centre instead. The gaps between the tips of each diamond/slit was also reduced in an effort to minimise their visual presence. The diamond’s lesser flexibility and the reduced gap resulted in a form that was weaker but also faced greater levels of stress in the centre. This caused it to snap extremely easily with minimal amounts of force applied.

Black MDF was also investigated as a means of using materiality to work around the lasercutter’s limitations, with the black coating serving to mask the burn marks generated during the fabrication process. Kerfing Acoustics Structure Materiality

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PROTOTYPE C The Primary input curves governing the overall profile of the form were also changed to see how that would affect the patterning. Adjusting the scalar value of the attractor curve yielded forms with highly variable profiles. Fabricating the form provided insight into how the kerf pattern could be more dynamic, with areas of differing transparancies and flexibility spread throughout. It also highlighted the shortcomings of the current algorithm, as the attractor curve deformed the profile to the point where it was hard to

speculate how it might fit into a support structure or alongside other panels. We wanted to provide this level of dynamism while retaining a controllable edge profile.

Kerfing Acoustics Structure Materiality

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Graph mappers were used in place of attractor curves to generate the form. This elimininated distortion to the edge profile, providing a more predictable form that would be easier to account for when designing the joints and connections.

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PROTOTYPE D Clips were attached to the panel to investigate it as a potential means of connection to a neighbouring panel or structural system. At this point, we were still unable to accurately predict how a panel might bend and to what extent. Hence, we had to cut the panel out first, measure how far it could bend, before laying out the receptacles on a model base designed using an algorithm created earlier in the semester. The model base would elevate the panel off the ground, protecting the heads of the clip. 107


The prototype proved to be effective, and I was satisfied with the ability of the clips to hold the kerf panel and withstand the resultant tensional forces. The varying areas of transparancies lent a degree of surprise, and the curves especially emotive.

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The form yielded a few surprises, both good and bad. Firstly, the fringe of the panel protruded outwards in a manner that was quite beauitful. This could be taken advantage of in the future, possibly as a means of connection to a neighbouring panel. This is controlled by the angle at which the diamond/ slit meets the edge of the panel as well as its length. Secondly, while the clips were strong enough to hold the panel, there was a certain level of deformation and strain on the joint that could be observed. This could prove problematic in the future, and we might have to improve the clip’s design, reduce the tension, increase the number of clips or develop another method of attachment. 110

Kerfing Acoustics Structure Materiality


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PROTOTYPE E Testing and attempting to understand how the kerf pattern might work when the input curves were rotated at an angle.

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The resultant form had barely any flex, and was completely unimpressive. We theorized that creating the kerfing using the other set of boundary curves would result in a shape that could reliably bend at an angle. Kerfing Acoustics Structure Materiality

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PROTOTYPE F A series of basic lofted shapes were manipulated to generate a form that would test a few things. We wanted look at the feasibility of using overlapping panels to hide the joint/ connection between panels, something that was made possible by the panels attaching to the structure for support as opposed to each other. We also wanted to test the angled forms from before, and if it was possible to design the 3D shape before fabrication, instead of laser cutting a panel and then letting it dictate its own form. These lofted shapes can be easily unrolled to provide a 2D profile that the kerfing could be applied to. 116


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The first prototype did not work very well as the large proportion of diamonds in the middle severely hampered its flexibility. This problem was solved by inverting the concentration of diamonds and slits, concentrating the former along the edges of each piece. A center block was also added to the clip in an effort to strengthen the connection.

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I was exceptionally happy with this prototype as it had successfully met all of the criteria and parameters we had set out to test. Elements such as the diamonds and the degree to which the fringe protruded were fairly restricted due to the comparatively small size of the model, but this should not be an issue when fully sized panels are used. I found the shadowline between each panel to be particularly attractive, and I would like to investigate how this could be further manipulated to our advantage. In addition, I would like to look at how these panels might sit next to each other, and how the design would change to accommodate that.

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Kerfing Acoustics Structure Materiality


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PROTOTYPE G A parallel exploration of how a complex doubly curved surface could be broken down into developable surfaces that a kerfing pattern could then be applied to. A modified version of the kerfing pattern was used to increase the flexibility of each strip. Whole blocks were cut out in place of a single cut, which dramatically increased the flexibility of each strip, but also increased the fabrication time.

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As these pieces connected to each other instead of a support structure, holes for a butt joint had to be cut along the edge of each strip. Though admittedly not the most elegant solution, we were not sure how many connections we needed to stabilise the form.


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I considered this to be a successful prototype because of how closely it resembled the digital model. I was happy with the ability of the kerf strips to articulate the input geometry, and I believe that there is a lot of potential to be had within this method. This would be especially useful when we eventually try to create more complex surfaces that cannot be articulated with a single panel.

Kerfing Acoustics Structure Materiality

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PROTOTYPE H Inspired by the Dragon Skin Pavilion, we looked at how the kerf panels could possibly be liberated from a support structure. Diamond panels are connected by notches, intersecting and overlapping each other in both x and y directions. While this generated an aesthetically pleasing form, it carried multiple problems of its own that we were not confident we would be able to resolve satisfactorily. Firstly, it was next to impossible to maintain and repair panels if they broke due to the permanent nature of the connections. Secondly, while this freed each individual panel from a direct, separate structure, the ends still had to be held in place by formwork till the ply had assumed its final shape. This combination of maintenance difficulty, high tensility in installation, fragile material and technique creates a volatile recipe for failure that led us to shy away from this technique.

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Dragon Skin Pavilion Edge Laboratory

Kerfing Acoustics Structure Materiality


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B.7 TECHNIQUE: PROPOSAL The brief calls for the design of an acoustic pod to be located within the office of a local Architecture practice. We believe that the pod should not aim to for complete acoustic insulation from the exterior, but rather reduce the ambient sound to a comfortable level for the occupants, while minimize the amount of sound that escapes outwards. We aim to achieve this through the manipulation of form, designing surfaces that redirect or absorb sound to achieve the effects we need. Kerfing will serve as the main mode of articulation of the complex forms required, while also providing an emotive aesthetic experience. In essence, we want to create form through function, and function through form.

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While the use of kerfing for acoustic purposes is not a novel one, it has mainly been relegated to the walls and ceilings, separate from human interaction. We hope to achieve a more in-depth exploration of the technique, developing new forms, techniques and methods of connections. We want to use the lessons learnt to design a space that will be far more inclusive, and that will effect a much deeper and meaningful influence on the people that inhabit it.


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B.8 LEARNING OBJECTIVE Through the course of this subject, I have learnt a great deal about parametric modelling and its strong potential for use within the fields of Architecture, design, fabrication and construction. It has greatly augmented my design process, allowing me to achieve far more complex and nuanced designs that are able to respond to the context effectively, and at a much faster and efficient rate. I am now able to create multiple quick iterations of a design, test the iterations against the brief, and select the ones with the most potential for further development. I also feel far more confident about both my fabrication skills. Exploring lasercutting in such depth has afforded me a greater understanding of both the strengths and limitations of the process, and ways to take advantage of or work around them. Approaching the end of Part B, I feel a much deeper appreciation for the works of many contemporary Architects who have utilised parametric modelling in their design process and pushed the boundaries of what is possible. Shigeru Ban, Achim Menges and Zaha Hadid Architects are just some of the names that come to mind. I can only hope that one day I will have the opportunity to follow in their footsteps.

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Japan Pavilion Shigeru Ban Architects


ES & OUTCOMES

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B.9 ALGORITHMIC SKETCH

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CHES

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C.1 DESIGN CONCEPT


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BRIEF

3620

1719

1 2

1 2

5 1

FFICE The brief calls for the design and construction of an acousRICHMOND LAW TO tic pod within the office space of a Melbourne practice, EMAIN HACHEM. There should be a deliberate use of parametric tools to elaborate material performance, and to exhibit a nuanced architectural effect.

KITC

SHARED PRINTINGS 3 1

OFFICE

150

3708

1234

2 1

5 1

0 1

SH OF

DESIGN INTENT

MEETING ROOM

9

8

7

To provide:

COMMS ROOM

A space with a comfortable level of ambient sound.

2

To provide an atmospheric experience as both an ornamenRECEPTION tal and functional centerpiece. To deliver a viable and buildable design proposal. 5 1 : 100

3

4

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1

6

A place for discussion and brainstorming in private.


LEVEL 1 LEGEND 4 1

0

1504

3 1

1976

0 2

1 2

CHEN

4500

00

5 1

1.

MURALS TO STAIRS

2.

LEATHER LINING TO LIFT

3.

GRAFFITI TO LOBBY

4.

OCCASIONAL CHAIRS

5.

HIGH TABLE WITH STOOLS

6.

SIGNAGE UPGRADE

7.

IMPORVED ACCOUSITICS

8.

TV

9.

UPGRADED LIGHTING

10.

TIMBER SCREEN

11.

PRINTER

12.

PLOTTER

13.

STANDARD FRIDGE

14.

PROFESSIONAL COFFEE MACHINE

15.

SHARED STORAGE

16.

MEETING SPACE

17.

SAMPLE TABLE

18.

DRAWING TABLE

19.

DRAWING REVIEW AREA

20.

SHOWER

21.

UNISEX WC

6 1

HARED FFICE 1100

YIELD EXISTING NUMBER OF SEATS: 16 PROPOSED NUMBER OF SEATS: 42

7 1 8 1

1088

7887

882

9 1

LEVEL 1 LEGEND

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MEMORIES OF THE SEA How much do we know about ambient sound and the effects it has on us, both direct and indirect? How can we explore ambient sound as both a functional and conceptual element within our design? Seashells provide both a visual and acoustic portal to the sea, and the numerous memories and emotions that are invoked along with it. The sound that one hears when a seashell is placed to the ear is the local ambient sound bouncing, echoing and resonating within the shell, transforming whatever enters it into the crashing of the waves, sand crunching under your feet, whisper of the wind.

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This experience is referenced in our design, explored in the deliberate consideration and allowance for ambient sound, as well as the logarithmic spiral, extrapolated from the shape of the seashell. This spiral will be used to inform the overall form of our design.


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FORM GENERATION A portion of the logarithmic spiral was used as the input geometry for the form finding algorithm. The algorithm takes a mapping of the office’s circulation and uses that to deform the input geometry 3 dimensionally. The form is pushed inwards, generating more room for people walking, as well as providing a safety distance between them and the fragile kerf panels. At the same time, a uniform force is projected outwards from within the form, maximising its internal space, and thereby creating a balance between the needs of the office’s inhabitants when inside and outside the acoustic pod.

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TESTING EFFECTS Various portions of the form generated from the circulation algorithm were extracted to test how the kerf panels could be applied and manipulated to generate compelling effects. A combination of graph mappers and attractor points were used to control the size of each panel in both u and v directions, the extent to which they extruded outwards, the direction of sequential overlap and the degree of overlap. These tests suggested that a sequential overlap from bottom to top would yield the most benefits. Top lighting would allow for a strong shadowline below each panel, creating a dramatic effect and serving to mask the vertical joint. Internal lighting could potentially be used to to generate interesting light and shadow effects on both the kerf panels and floor below. Additionally, it would allow for an easier construction sequence, whereby panels are installed from the bottom to the top.

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FINAL FORM PROPOSAL The form recalls the logic and and experiential effects found in seashells, extracting the base concept that governs their form and using that to conceptualize a design that facilitates discussion and creativity by providing a private, functional and comfortable space. The design strikes a balance between internal and external, providing the optimal amount of space for the office’s occupants when both inside and outside the pod. Kerf panels arrayed externally provide a strong atmospheric experience, and articulate forms capable of diffusing sound to a comfortable level.

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FORM

TECTONICS JOINERY

SITE ANALYSIS

CONCEPTUAL FORM

Draw curves around critical zone of pod showing circulation

Place extracted logarithmic curve from cross section of a shell into the site

Move curve upwards and sideways creating the basic profile of a person

Loft curves

Surface trim holes into bottom and top plate

Loft curves

Extrude curve in y-axis 2400mm

Scale 2D surface edge at top and bottom of studs

Attractor surface to point to make circulation impact based form

STRUCTURE Extrude surfaces from area center and distribute via graph mapper

Extract curves intersection between surfaces to find center points of studs

Extrude stud 100mm in vector direction from center point

Extend surface by 7mm at top and bottom

PANELING

Rationalise areas of greatest potential for damage

Arc between stud centers

MATERIAL TESTING Update design

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Loft to make panels

Adjust panel sizes and distribute number of panels per row via graph mapper

Unroll surfaces


t

FABRICATION MATERIALISATION

INSTALLATION

CONSTRUCTION PROCESS

Top and bottom plate

Fragment stud and apply jigsaw connection

Spheres

Trim sphere from 2D studs and kerf panel connection

CNC

Orientate perpendicularly along stud

Lasercut Assemble studs by sandwiching and bolting the right, left and backing studs

Hammer studs into top and bottom plate horizontally

2D studs

Clean kerfed panels

Draw clamp joinery

Orientate structure upright

Left stud

Spray gloss varnish x5 at 20 minute intervals

Mount downlight with velcro

Mount kerfed panels chronologically from bottom to top and bolt

Mount acoustic panels with 50mm horizontal overlap between tiles

Right stud Bolt L-plates between connections in framework

Hide services behind acoustic tiles

Backing stud

Kerf panel connection

Align panel connections to kerfed surfaces

Apply kerf pattern

Kerfed panels with large openings and increased fringing

Kerfed panels with slit openings and less fringing

Rectangle 400x750mm

Etch vertical lines at 10mm centers

Reflect

Test

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C.2 TECTONIC ELEMENTS


S & PROTOTYPES

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MDF 3

Bamboo

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3.0 mm

o 2.8 mm

MATERIAL TESTS We looked at few material alternatives to MDF, assessing them based on both visual aesthetic and physical attributes when kerfing was applied. Bamboo, a material with a crosslaid grain similar to plywood proved to be extremely tough, but is impractical because of its high cost and limited panel size.

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Bamboo 45 degree

Hardwood P

158


o 2.8 mm es rotation

Ply 3.6 mm

It was interesting to see how much more brittle bamboo became when it was not cut along its component layers’ grain. It did however still remain considerably stronger than MDF.

Hardwood ply presented a viable alternative to MDF due to its low cost, high strength, and easy availability in larger dimensions. There was also a wide variety of different timber finishes available, as seen on pages 158-159, that would allow us to definitively control and manipulate the final visual effect of the material finish.

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MATERIAL EFFECTS The selected plywood was then tested with a glossy spray lacquer, with a varying number of coats across the sheet. There was a stark difference between 0 and 1 coats, with the material becoming noticeably darker with a slight sheen to it. Subsequent coats made the material marginally darker, but markedly glossier as the lacquer began to fill in the timber’s grain.

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PROTOTYPE I This prototype explores the use of a parametrically generated “stud and plate� framework system to potentially articulate the form generated by the circulation algorithm. The vertical edges of each panel are co-planar, emphasizing the sense of continuity and flow between each panel. These edges are sandwiched and bolted between two layers, serving to provide reliable structure throughout the form, and minimising unnecessary stress on the kerf panels. The vertical stud members consists of sections connected by a simple jigsaw joint, in an attempt to anticipate and account

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for the need to construct the full scale system from multiple smaller pieces. The kerf pattern algorithm was also improved to allow for a more nuanced manipulation and emphasis of the fringing at the bottom horizontal edge of each panel, fraying outwards to a larger extent in each sequential panel step upwards. Emphasis was also placed on strengthening the flow between each panel, whereby the kerf pattern on each panel possessed a semblence of continuity into the next.


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This prototype also looks at integrating acoustic panels to augment the insulative properties of the system, as well as providing an aesthetic internal layer that hides the structural elements. A basic pattern is cut onto the acoustic panel, providing a physical and conceptual link to the kerf pattern used for the external panels. The pattern cuts through the felt layer of the acoustic panel, freeing the internal foam and allowing the panel to twist and bend. This is then bolted into place on the support studs. While the method of joinery admittedly needs improvement, this prototype mainly serves as a proof of concept for the viability of the cut pattern for affording the acoustic panel a degree of flexibility. Kerfing Acoustics Structure Materiality

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PROTOTYPE J This prototype primarily looks at the feasibility of using the acoustic panels as a form of support for the kerf panels. While it made sense conceptually, physical prototyping revealed a whole slew of issues. Firstly, bolting directly into the edge of the acoustic panel was a simple and bastardized method of attachment that caused the panel to split, this in turn weakened the joints and allowed the screws to slip out. This had to be patched with superglue. Secondly, this connection betweeen kerf and acoustic panel meant that the back of the kerf panel’s edge would be revealed in the interior of the pod, negating one of the acoustic panel’s main function. Finally, reducing the kerf panel down to a singular module devoid of an extraneous support structure presented an exciting conceptual shift, but pragmatically offered no real structural or construction benefit. This would only create more questions and issues for the project that we were not confident we would be able to resolve given the short timeframe of the design phase.

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Kerfing Acoustics Structure Materiality


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PROTOTYPE K This prototype explores the possibility of integrating support for the acoustic panels into the stud structure. Slits are integrated into the stud’s design, acoustic panels are then slid in and held in place by a constant state of compression. This presented similar issues to Prototype J in that it revealed the vertical stud structure, thereby negating the acoustic panels visual function to an extent. Additional, creating these slits in the stud structure reduces its structural capability, which might lead to major issues when made at full scale. Finally, while the slits proved a promising method of attachment for the acoustic panels, it interferes heavily with the holes needed for the kerf panels’ attachment. Further exploration into the materiality of the acoustic panel was also conducted. An alternative, cheaper and easier to acquire glasswool acoustic panel was used, and a hexagonal pattern cut onto it to grant it flexibility. 168

Kerfing Acoustics Structure Materiality


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PROTOTYPE L With the end goal being to fabricate a 2m tall final model, the feasibility of combining smaller elements to comprise the vertical support studs had to be investigated. This prototype uses a similar jigsaw joinery system to prototype I, with the difference being that this was parametrically derived, and CNCed instead of laser cut. An increase in the number of notches also serves to enhance the friction joint, and consequently, the structural capability of the stud as a whole. The change to marine grade ply, coupled with the new fabrication process presented some significant issues. The CNC was used due to the high density of the material, meaning a standard lasercutter was not able to process it properly.

170

However, owing to the fibrous nature of the material, the rotary bit was unable to achieve a satisfactory finish, and struggled heavily with the smaller geometry. The fabrication process caused the material to split and fracture, significantly reducing its structural capability and visual appeal.

Kerfing Acoustics Structure Materiality


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Lasercut 3.6mm Hardwood Ply

Lasercut 7mm Softwood Ply

B

B

B

B

B

Lasercut 7.0mm Acoustic Panel

C.3 FINAL DETAIL MODEL


CNC 6mm Marine Grade Ply

B

B

B

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FABRICATION MANUAL

174


Sandwich the Kerf Panel Backing pieces between the main stud components and bolt them together using M3 nuts and bolts. 175


176


Gently insert the ends of the stud members into the top and bottom plate using a mallet. Reinforce the joint with L-Brackets if required. 177


178


Flex the kerf panels, and insert the edges into the stud members. Attach using M3 nuts and bolts. Start from the bottom panel and move up sequentially. 179


180


Insert the acoustic panels into their receptacle slots on the stud members. 181


182


The completed model. 183


FABRICATION SEQUENCE

The assembled stud members are gently malleted into the top and bottom plates.

184

The kerf panels are cleaned up and loose fragments from the fabrication process removed. They are then sprayed with 4-5 coats of gloss timber lacquer.

The junction between lasercut and CNCed components. Laser cutting allows for faster fabrication, but faces material sheet dimension constraints.


Studs and the corresponding backing pieces are bolted together.

The backing pieces provide extra stability to the studs, and facilitates easier installation of the kerf panels.

Joints between the studs and plates are reinforced with standard L brackets.

L brackets reduce the chance of the studs ripping off the plates due to shear forces.

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The coated kerf panels are inserted and bolted into the completed support structure, starting from the bottom panels and working upwards sequentially.

The kerf panels had to be pre-flexed before installation to identify any points of weakness, and to reduce the chance of the material snapping during installation.

The acoustic panel is cut into smaller pieces that fit into the lasercutter.

The cut panels are then wedged into the receptacles along the back end of the studs.

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Installation got considerably more difficult for the higher panels due to them being harder to access. Extra care had to be taken to not damage the lower panels.

All kerf panels installed.

Similar to the kerf panels, the acoustic panels are flexed before installation.

The completed model.

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C.4 LEARNING OBJECTIVE The project was an opportunity for us to interrogate a brief by considering the process of brief formation in the age of optioneering enabled by digital technologies. Grasshopper, Rhino and digital fabrication allowed a huge amount of experimentation and exploration to occur at a relatively small cost in terms of time, labor and material. This gave us the ability to push and explore our design technique to come up with something truly functional, ornamental and atmospheric. We developed an ability to generate a variety of design possibilities for a given situation by introducing visual programming, algorithmic design and parametric modelling with their intrinsic capacity for extensive design-space exploration. This is seen in our form finding method where paths of circulation were input into a simulation which generated geometry that morphed according to the amount of activity occuring around it. This allowed us to visualize how the structure could look, and to consider potential problems which might arise. Had it not been for digital modelling, these problems would not be brought to our attention until much later on in the design process. We developed skills in various 3D media, specifically in computational geometry, parametric modelling, analytic diagramming and digital fabrication. There are many examples of this throughout our project, but one thing that demonstrates this is the breadth of digital fabrication techniques we delved into, including lasercutting, CNC routers and 3D printing.

We developed the ability to make a case for proposals by practicing critical thinking and encouraging construction of rigorous and persuasive arguments informed by contemporary architectural discourse. Similarly, we developed capabilities for conceptual, technical and design analyses of contemporary architecture projects. This was implemented by taking the messages of the readings in part A and projecting them onto the real life context of projects in order to understand and appreciate the implications of their work. This was also practiced in part B and C where we re-engineered projects in order to deconstruct the technical make up of the built form. A foundation understanding of computational geometry, data structures and types of programming was developed throughout this course. This studio marked the start of the our journey with Grasshopper, developing our understanding of the program to the point where we felt it was almost an extension of our creative expression. A repertoire of computational techniques substantiated by the understanding of their advantages, disadvantages and areas of application has been developed. This studio has given us a wealth of knowledge regarding computational techniques. Furthermore, it has given us insight into how much we have yet to explore, fueling our desire to continue exploring and experimenting with parametric design and fabrication.

An understanding of relationships between architecture and air was also developed throughout this course, through the interrogation of design proposals as physical models. While the atmospheric experience of the acoustic pod was anticipated to an extent, it was never realized until we put it to the test at full scale with the right lighting conditions.

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Wooden Waves Mamou-Mani Architects


ES & OUTCOMES

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Profile for Simeon Chua

Design Studio: Air  

Second Year, Second Semester.

Design Studio: Air  

Second Year, Second Semester.

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