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PREFACE GREETINGS, I am Siok Yee Tan, a third year student majoring Architecture in University of Melbourne. This is my third year being in Melbourne and I would say I have been exposed to different experiences not just in terms of culture and food, but the Architecture too. Melbourne CBD is an art itseld containing different type of arts ranging from musics to graffiti drawings to sculptures to buildings. One of my favourite is the inteiror view of Melbourne Central.

During the first year of the course in Bachelor of Environments, I am exposed to the usage of technologies to aid the designing process. The software namely Rhino in short. Rhino is a 3D programmes which helps the process of designs and explorations. While during the summer, I’m fortunate to intern in an architecture firm backed in Malaysia and managed to pick up another 3D software, SketchUp. In comparison, I personally prefer Rhino over SketchUp as it’s not just user friendly but it came along with more functions for the users to explore the different possibilities. Now, am required to pick up Grasshopper, a parametricrelated software which connected to Rhino. I have not learn any parametric softwares but looked at some work of Grasshopper, it got me really excited as it produce some really nice decent works. It will be my first and challenging experience in exploring the new software.

ARCHITECTURE as DISCOURSE Through decades and centuries, architecture had been evolving into a type of philosphical language. Definitions for it there are plenty, some may agree with it, some may think the other way round. So, is there a specific standard to determine the meaning of architecture? According to William in his article, Exploring Visual Culture, architecture has been defined into 3 types, as Art, as Sign, as an Experience. Architects are somehow similar to sculptors but involving in bigger scale and where humans are able to inhabit the space, building. To be known as Art, it has to posse the value of aesthetic. Looking at Ruskin’s works, they are always decorative and expressive with styles. He was then moved his focus to building facades. Even though, the structures had play a more important role than facades, the aesthetics of it still is the consideration that making it an art, architecture. Architecture has then further involved with providing experiences for the users interface. To conclude William’s writting, it is more to creating architecture due to what the architects want and what the societies’ want. His description for Architecture is more abstract. As for Schumacher’s writing, A New Framework For Architecture, he described architecture as system of communications. With the on-going developed technologies, architectural practices change all the time. Schumacher’s view regarding architecture is more relevant with the current studies in architecture involving the mix use of different media to translate this architectural language. Medias involving, CAD, renderings, photographs of buildings, sketches and drawings. Contrasting with Willaim’s writing, Schumacher is saying that architecture is not just a building but everything that promotes it to the society.

An example that I found it would be interesting to look at is Sagrada Familia, Barcelona by Antonio Gaudi. La Sagrada Familia is an expiatory church, meaning the modal for the construction based purely from the donation of the public. This was a project by the architect Francisco de Paula del Villar. However at the end of 1883, Antonio Gaudi was commissioned to carry on the works till his death in 1926. Till now it has been 131 years and still yet to be completed. It is expected to be finished on the first third of 21st century. The gigantic building sits in the center of Barcelona and is an attraction of tourists every year. This precedent fits the context of William’s writing where architecture as a sign. La Sagrada Familia has been a sign not just the city the country but internationally. Almost everyone know the existence of this building due to the interesting outlook and the time to build it. This building itself is a good representation of an art piece. From the facade to the interior, every faces and corners are carefully crafted, moulded and designed and giving the community element of surprise. Coincide with the idea of John Ruskin, architecture has to be decorative and Gaudi had obviously shown the decorative of his masterpiece not just the facade but the interior as well. `

La Sagrada FamĂ­lia Antoni Gaudi

During that period of time, absence of advance technologies, no machines, no softwares, drawings were hand-drawn, models were physically made, sculptures sculped mannually. In order to build this structure, he had build a hanging chain model to explore the possible arches that could bear the load. It is known as the parabolic and catenary arches. The hanging chain model is a parametric model. In order to test the system that could withstand the load, when 1 part of the string is moved, others will shift accordingly too to form the balance due to the center of gravity. It’s amazaing how it ables to produce a parametric related design without the aid of software whereas now we have Grasshopper to help in our parametric design. As to provide guidlines to the architects who working for him, he built models of 1:10. In contrast to today, 3D printers were used to create the model. With the gigantic structure of this cathedral, it can be a debate whether is it architecture still or have it moved on as engineering? For me, I would say it is an architectural masterpiece. The organic looking of the facade and the decorative expressive interiors had made it not just a piece of art but also a very dominant sign, trademark in the local.

“The expiatory church of La Sagrada Família is made by the people and is mirrored in them. It is a work that is in the hands of God and the will of the people.’’ - Antoni Gaudi.

However in my point of view, architecture do not just restricted to the 3 categories stated by William. I agree with Schumacher that architecture is not just about a building, it is a package of everything. With the ever growing of technologies, buildings that do not accommodate changes will eventually became part of the histories. Society now do not just view the building, the architecture in just 1 preception. Different type of medias help in spreading the architecture of the particular building. I have always love the work of Bjarke and one of his project that I found could be used to support my point of view here is the Beach & Howe Tower. It is a 150m high skyscrapper in the downtown Vancouver, Canada. The interesting twisted form is produced due to the limitation of space on site. As part of it is residential levels, the set back is to prevent overlooking from the motorway next to it.

With the evolving usage of technologies in aid of designing process, the idea of making the facade aesthetic still stays. But due to the availability of technologies, i.e. 3D softwares, it enabled the team to explore the possible outcome of the building without the need of continuous making a new physical model for each options they opt to. Technologies not just time saving but cost saving too. Besides, 3D programes, rendering programes able to give a visual graphic effect too. Through renderings, it will be transmitting the idea of the project to the client and to the public. This saying that architecture as a form of system communication by Schmacher.

Beach & Howe Tower



2 With the aid of 3D softwares, exploration like these had made possible. Not just saving the time and cost, it enables to determine the issues on the site.Besides, these softwares enable the architects to develop more design options and explore with differential.




make designers’ imaginations go beyond.

Technologies had play an important role to enhance the ability of designCOMPUTATIONAL ers to go beyond when a limit is hit. Way before computers and digital tools are made possible for the designers, when a trouble is faced, it is said that designers ARCHITECTURE will use their intuition for analyse and solve the problems. In contrast, com-

puters are capable to analyse the problems with logical approach and capable to receive any new forms of information, however, they are not posses with From the past tillthinking current, as architecture has been constantly and between the creativity humans do.(Yehuda) With the evolving collaboration picking up thecomputers trends. From times itwhere certian ordersfor andmore forms were and the humans, has made possible alternatives be made as required to follow to be known as ‘ A rchitecture’ to the current where sky is the well as problems are identified quicker and fixed. limit to the imagination. In addition, with the emerging technologies, it has make designers’ imaginations go beyond. Technologies had play an important role to enhance the ability of designers to go beyond when a limit is hit. Way before computers and digital tools are made possible for the designers, when a trouble is faced, it is said that designers will use their intuition for analyse and solve the problems. In contrast, computers are capable to analyse the problems with logical approach and capable to receive any new forms of information, however, they are not posses with creativity thinking as humans do.1 With the collaboration between the computers and humans, it has made possible for more alternatives be made as well as problems are identified quicker and fixed. Does the Computer Really Helps? Is it true that computer aided design (CAD) helps the designers and provide them new methods to design their work? These questions have been the basis for discussion for decades with different of views and perspectives provided. In the article by Lawson, he finds that CAD is in some way short in providing creativity. Also, there are 2 respectable architects, Santiago Calatrava and Herman Hertzberger who hold strongly on NOT using CAD as a designing tool. For visual arts, the designers may found their inspiration through the usage of computers however it is not the case for architects. Lawson too, in his article ‘‘Fake & Real Creativiy Using Computer Aided Design’’ described that CAD conspire against creative thoughts and by encouraging ‘fake’ creativity.2

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However, one shall not deny the existence of these systems have contributed much during the limitations of designers. Computing in architectures has proven its importance and becoming a habit for architects especially young architects to use it as desining tools. Besides CAD that been widely discussed, other softwares such as 3D modelling programmes and renderers are part of the computing too. These digital technologies are changing the architectural practives that few were able to anticipate in the past.3 Computing softwares enable designers to go beyond the limited cognitive structures that constraint the designers. Exploration with the aid of computers has maximised the probability of exploring more and computers are able to work around the cognitive limits of humans. I, personally do agree as well that digital technologies do aid the process of design and exploration. Compare to the past where specific orders were required to follow for the period of time, currently any sort of design alterations are able to be produced without the need to be bound to any fixed orders. With the introduction of computation into architectural field, architecture is experiencing a shift from drawing to algorithm as method of capturing and communicating designs.4 Communication is important to ensure the best is produced. In the past, in the midst of the project, there isn’t much interaction between architects and engineers and the others. Currently, with computerization, documentation is made possible and deliverable to different parties and sharing the parallel information instantaeously.5 Not just it eases the communication process, all these technologies are able to store all the past works and traceable again in future. It’s crucial to be able to reuse the past projects as guidance and learn from it.6 During the designing process, it is not just about creating something from the back of your brain, but to be able to look at the other projects as a precedents as an inspiration for the project and learn about what went wrong in that project. Computers are able to provide this ability to trace back the past projects as humans has limitation to recall back the entire project. Learning from the past enables designers to pick up more, just like us as students taking other masterpieces as our precedents to kick start our creativity. Both humans and computers have its pros and cons. In this 21st Century, with proper collaborationg between the both enables to bring architecture to a whole new level where more sophisticated and ‘out-of-box’ ideas are able to be produced. Both have its stand in this society, so either or are not supposed to be fully abandon.

Zmianatematu xM3

Zmianatematu by xm3, a coffee shop located in the centre of Lodz, Poland.A project in year 2011. It located on the most important street of city which was once a symbol of wealth but nost is mainly axis of poor and degenerated area with monumental architecture from before the World War II. Owners of the restaurant looking for a space that could host not just parties, but art-exhibitions too. With a very limited budget, xm3 successfully created a space that able to host the artistic culture. The design work around with connection with the city’s identity. With inspiration from a boat and Boston BanQ restaurant, a blobish form similar to boat’s roof is created as the interior.7 The reason I choose this project as case study due to it reminds me of the BodySpace project I did for Virtual Environments. The designing outcome is somewhat similar to what I have created for the BodySpace project. During the designing and constructing process of my BodySpace project, I worked closely with Rhino. By exploring with Rhino, I have achieved quite a number of designs and discovered an extra Rhino plugin - Rhino Script, which enables me to create my project in the rib form. From exploring the design to the physical buildform of the project, digital technologies have been playing an important role in succeeding it. Despite of providing more design alternatives, it aided the fabrication process too.

Interior 1 of Zmianatematu. Photo courtesy of xm3.

Interior of Boston BANQ Resutaurant. Photo by John Horner.

Screenshot of HeadSpace Project. Photo courtesy Siok Yee Tan.

Physical model of HeadSpace Project. Photo courtesy Siok Yee Tan.

Similarily, xm3 uses digital technologies to help them create this interior too. Rhino and Grasshoppers are the main softwares they used during sectioning and fabritcation process. The design is in rib form as well by using plywood. During prototyping phase, xm3 did some furniture pieces with the same idea as the mock-up for the real structure.8 This project has shown relevant evidences of using digital tools as part of their designing and fabrication process. No doubt that computers can depict design as act of exploring alternatives. Commonly, designers only consider small amount of alternatives due to cognitive limits but with the usage of computers, it enables to provide more in-depth exploration.9 This project has shown that computation has also became necessary to build the project, no just work. Computational designing is evolving day by day, it enables new thinkings.

CONGA ROOM Belzberg Architects

Conga room, a premium Latin-oriented nightclub locating LA LIVE in downtown Los Angeles. The design inspiration came from the desires of client who wanted a ceiling which could the vibrancy and dynamism of Latin culture. Belzberg and his team then utilized the idea of patterning the space with patterns of ‘pedals’ and ‘flowers’; 6 ‘pedals’ made up a ‘flower’. The base patterns were manipulated in order to achieve undulating pattern which moves and flows sinuous to rhythms of space.(Book) Due to issue with the space arrangments, ceiling is the only element left that could be used as spatial organizer and draw the attractions. As the purpose is acting as the event attractor, The panels brought togehter into a stalk forming a 20 feet tall illuminating Tornado that penetrated the dance floor, guiding the patrons up to the space. The space is incorporated with LED lighting system which enables the ceiling to change colour according to the theme and atmosphere.(ArchDaily)

Above: Ceiling of the club made of suspended ‘flower’ panels. Benny Chan Left: The tornado that penetrated through the dance floor and can be lit in different colours. Benny Chan

This project is chosen as during the process of building, it involved digital technologies. The panels were fabricated from a series of Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC)milled and the main material is plywood.(ArchDaily) CNC is a machine whereby controlled by program containing coded alphanumeric data. It ables to control the motions of the workpiece. This system as been in the field for a long time and now has been advanced and able to collaborate with computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM). By connecting CNC with both CAD and CAM has successfully reduced the load of tedious work and becoming much more automated. It managed to save up lots of time.(CNC) CAD and CAM in these recent years have inpacted the architectural practices in constructing complex forms. The use of digital technologies has opened up new possibilities of formal exploration in architecture.(Kolarevic) Using the case study as example, back in the time where no softwares were made possible, all the single panels will have to be hand drawn one by one and precisely to avoid confussion but taking up lots of time. While now with the aided of computer softwares, all the panels can just be generated with a few clicks and save up lots of time.

Top Right: Panels of plywood and Structural ribs by CNC milled technique. (Perspective view; Plan view) Right Dance floor area. Benny Chan

REFERENCES Yehuda E. Kalay, Architecture’s New Media : Principles, Theories, and Methods of Computer-Aided Design (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2004), pp. 5 - 25. 1

Lawson, Bryan, CAD and Creativity: Does The Computer Really Help?, pp. 1 - 5. 2

Kolarevic, Branko, Architecture in the Digital Age: Design and Manufacturing (New York; London: Spon Press, 2003), pp. 3 - 28. 3

Peters, Brady & De Kestelier, Xavier, Computational Works - The Building of Algorithmic Thought, pp. 1 - 142 4

Dr. Stanislav Roudavshi, 02 Introduction To Computing In Architecture, Faculty of Architecture, Building & Planning, University of Melbourne, 2013. 5

Woodbury, Robert F. and Andrew L. Burrow (2006). ‘Whither design space?’, Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing, 20 , 2, pp. 63-82 6

“Zmianatematu / xm3” 13 Sep 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 Mar 2013. <> 7

“Zmianatematu / xm3” 30 Aug 2011. DeZeen. Accessed 27 Mar 2013. <> 8

Woodbury, Robert F. and Andrew L. Burrow (2006). ‘Whither design space?’, Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing, 20 , 2, pp. 63-82 9

PARAMETRIC MODELING Parametricism, a considerably new style that quietly evolving in the architectural field. What is parametric? Before I engaged myself in this subject, all I know is parametric equation, things related to mathematics and I will never associate parametrics to design. However, now parametrics have played a role in designing process too. Parametric modelling, likewise computation involves computers however it involves mathematical formulae. In parametrics, by substituting certain parameters and the whole equation will change accordingly. By changing it again then a new equation will be formed with another outcome. Parametric has been around for centuries and currently has finally found its spot in the architectural field. Parametric design symbolise change and design is change! The world is changing everyday in terms of almost everything which is implemented by we humans, and planning and implementing change is what set us apart from the non-human. Traditionally, paper and pencil are the design medium until technologies are introduced. Parametric modeling also known as constraint modeling is seens as the substitution to pen and paper. It serves a virtual space for designers to present their ideas.(Woodbury) Architectural styles have been changing from time to time, to have an identity during the particular period, to perform its functions, from Gothic to Classical to Deconstructivism to Parametricism. Yes, parametricism has been thought as a style. Parametricism is more into smooth and blob-like espression rather than sharp and angular and it blend in with the surrounding and making the form works with the spatial arrangement. Most important of all is that parametricism is a style require knowledge in using parametric modeling tools to succeed the creation.(Mayer)

But, can architects and designers truly throw away the habit of sketching and doodling on a scrap paper? I doubt so.


ELEPHANT HOUSE Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners, a British-based architecture firm who are also known for their specialist modelling group (SMG) which was formed in 1997, lead by Hugh Whitehead. The group is expertise in complex geometry, parametric design, computer programming and rapid prototyping. They work in the area where require all the digital techniques. and CAD tools and from design till fabrication. Complex arrangements of 3D surfaces are generated using parametric tools and programmed scripts. Therefore, a project by Foster + Partners is choose as case study. (Biblio) Elephant House, located in the Copenhagen Zoo, is designed for a group of Indian elephants which covered with lightweight, glazed domes that enclosure spaces with a strong cisual connection with the sky and changing patterns of daylight. The building is design in a way to suit the habitat of elephants.(ArchDaily) The skylight canopy is formed with a complex geometry in conjunction with digital technologies.


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