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Siok Yee Tan

Sem 1 / 2013

A special thanks to Daniel and Kirilly for the assistance in completing this journal.

STUDIO SIOK YEE TAN 525035 Daniel & Kirilly



02 Introduction 03

Personal Experiences

04 06 09

1.0 Case For Innovation La Sagrada Familia Beach & Howe Tower

13 Computational Architecture 15 Zmianatematu 18 Conga Room 22 24

Parametric Modelling Elephant House


Algorithmic Explorations


Conclusion & Learning Outcomes

I am Siok Yee Tan, a third year student majoring Architecture in University of Melbourne. This is my third year staying 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. As a Malaysian, I have been exposed to different architectural style of different ethnics and influences from different part of the world. With the chance to study in Melbourne, I am able to explore more architectural styles. Besides, I always have a passion in travel and photography, this passions had provided me a wider view in architecture through different perspectives. There are seveal buildings in Melbourne that I truly in love with i.e. Melbourne Central cone-shaped skylights, Collin Street Gothic buildings, Federation Square and a couple more. This city is filled with architectural styles of past to modern or perhaps post-modern that making this city interesting in its own way.

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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.

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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. 1 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. 2

La Sagrada Família 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. 6 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 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. 4 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. 5

Top: La Sagrada Familia front view. ArchDaily. Above: Interior of La Sagrada Familia’s nave. ArchDaily. Left:Side perspective view of La Sagrada Familia.

Top: Ornamentations on La Sagrada Familia.

“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.

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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. 3

I have always love the work of Bjarke Ingels 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. 8

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 BIG

Above: Beach & Howe Tower front view. Photo courtesy of BIG. Right: Green public spaces. Photo courtesy of BIG. Bottom-Right: Aeriel view of the city with Beach & Howe Tower. Photo courtesy of BIG.

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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. 7 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.

Richard Williams, ‘Architecture and Visual Culture’, in Exploring Visual Culture : Definitions, Concepts, Contexts, ed. by Matthew Rampley (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005), pp. 102 - 116. 1

Patrik Schumacher, ‘Introduction : Architecture as Autopoietic System’, in The Autopoiesis of Architecture (Chichester: J. Wiley, 2011), pp. 1 - 28. 2

Basilica De La Sagrada Familia, ‘History’, n.d. Accessed 11 Mar 2013, < http://>







Richard Williams, ‘Architecture and Visual Culture’, in Exploring Visual Culture : Definitions, Concepts, Contexts, ed. by Matthew Rampley (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005), pp. 102 - 116. 4

Richard Williams, ‘Architecture and Visual Culture’, in Exploring Visual Culture : Definitions, Concepts, Contexts, ed. by Matthew Rampley (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005), pp. 102 - 116. 5

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.

This, a project in this 21st Century, no specific forms of architecture is set. Everything that was considered as impossible are possible in building it now. In the context of Beach & Howe Tower, it is built on a very constraint area but yet it is still able to maximise the usage of the land. Besides, in terms of forms, there are no rules that needed to be followed, any forms is acceptable by the society. Contrasting to the period of La Sagrada Familia built, it is in the form of Gothic Architecture. which was the form of ‘‘architecture language’’ in that time. It is obvious that how much the language has evolved in the society, from an order to free form. Looking at Beach & Howe Tower, the form is chosen to suit not just the surrounding but to maximise the land use in the limited piece of land too. Imagine if the tower is in Gothic, it will look very dense and dull in the middle of the busy-paced city which will not be relevant to the context of the land.

Top: Diagram representation of Beach & Howe Tower. Courtesy of BIG.

Math & The Art of MC Escher, ‘The Geometry of Antoni Gaudi’, 15 Aug 2012. Accessed 11 Mar 2013, <> 6

Patrik Schumacher, ‘Introduction : Architecture as Autopoietic System’, in The Autopoiesis of Architecture (Chichester: J. Wiley, 2011), pp. 1 - 28. 7

Furuto , Alison. “Beach and Howe Mixed-Use Tower / BIG” 17 Apr 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 11 Mar 2013. <> 8

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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 Help? 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

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.

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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 From thethinking past till current, architecture hasWith been the constantly evolving and the creativity as humans do.(Yehuda) collaboration between picking up the trends. From the times where certianfororders forms were computers and humans, it has made possible moreand alternatives be made as required to beare known as ‘Architecture’ the current where sky is the welltoasfollow problems identified quicker andtofixed. limit to the imagination. In addition, with the emerging technologies, it has make designers’ imaginations go beyond.

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.

Zmianatematu xM3

Top: Interior 1 of Zmianatematu. Photo courtesy of xm3. Middle: Interior of Boston BANQ Resutaurant. Photo by John Horner. Right-most: Physical model of HeadSpace Project. Photo courtesy Siok Yee Tan. Right: Screenshot of HeadSpace Project. Photo courtesy Siok Yee Tan.

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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 cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s identity. With inspiration from a boat and Boston BanQ restaurant, a blobish form similar to boatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s roof is created as the interior.7

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

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.12 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. 13 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. 14 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)

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

Right Dance floor area. Benny Chan

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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.10 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. 11

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




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

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. <http://> 7

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

Matherwson, Casey C.M, a5 Los Angeles: Architecture, Interiors, Lifestyle, (USA; ORO Editions, 2010), pp. 54 - 61. 10

“The Conga Room / Belzberg Architects” 18 Aug 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 Mar 2013. <> 11

“The Conga Room / Belzberg Architects” 18 Aug 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 Mar 2013. <> 12

Lynch, Mike, ‘What is CNC?’, 2007, CNC Concepts Inc. Accessed 28 Mar 2013, <> 13

Kolarevic, Branko, Architecture in the Digital Age: Design and Manufacturing (New York; London: Spon Press, 2003), pp. 3 - 28. 14

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. 1 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. 2

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But, can architects and designers truly throw away the habit of sketching and doodling on a scrap paper? I doubt so. It has been norm for us to sketch on a paper before we transfer it onto the virtual space to continue the design exploration. For people who are unfamiliar with technologies, they will find it hard and tedious to work it on the computers. Not mentioning, even the expert find it hard to use parametric modelling at times. As parametric modelling have not actually found its stand in the field compare to CAD, there would be miscommunication and misinterpretation among the departments i.e. Architect vs. Engineer, as they are not familiar with parametric modelling file type. Furthermore, when an error occurs, tracking back is required to make the changes. This may be easy when there is only a couple of nodes for a small scale project but not when it is a big scale projects involving hundreds and thousands of nodes. The error might be tiny and unnoticeable as well and thus affecting the productivity and efficiency of the project. 3 However, parametric modelling is not entirely a mistake to be introduced to the architectural field. Imagining a project involving organic shape with complicated joints and connections, parametric modelling could greatly help in this term. Especially when there is repetition of tiny structures, instead of drawing mannually on a paper repeatedly and may not be to scale, parametric modelling tools could help to eliminate this mistake. This can ensure the builders do not interpret the drawing wrongly as the modelling tools able to create the similarscaled structure repeatedly. With parametric modelling tools, it enables the architects to explore more design alternatives instead of thinking inside a box only. This is definitely a plus point for parametric modelling tools.

ELEPHANT HOUSE Foster + Partners

Torus is a mathemathical form which was used in this project’s design process and encoded to a parametric computer model. Torus has a series of planar faces that could be manufactured in convenient way. Repetition of panels able to reduce the cost while it is an arc-based design is able to resolve the complex issue of production. With the aid of digital tools, the design exploration was able to be updated instantaneously and the design could remain fluid till the late design process. The distribution of different panel types and placement of leaf textures on the glazing were aided with computer programming. 7

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. 5 The canopy’s early design concept were tested using physical sketch models and due to the complex geometry, Foster + Partners’ Specialist Modelling Group (SMG) involved with the use of digital tools 3D CAD and torus geometry. Parametric system was written to explore the impossibilities to build it without aid of computers. Exploration of the canopy’s design is carried out wirh 3D Modelling tools with different formmaking approaches i.e. grid shells and test of different materials. 6

Parametric model was created to overcome certain complexity issue of the design through computer program. ‘‘I wrote this computer program while working directly with the design team. Computer programming allows me to create my own digital tools, thus freeing me from the limited palette of commans available in standard CAD packages. Instead of drawing with pen, I sketch with code,” said Brady Peters. 8 Till here, it has shown that it is rather tedious that for a complex design to be completed without the use of computers furthermore parametric modelling. Parametric modelling is useful when comes to complex and detailed designs that need to be altered during the design process. For example the random placement of leaf textures on the glazing, it is relatively easier to have it done with algorithm and computers where code is written than doing it without computational tools where it is near impossible and inefficient. With the help of parametric programs, the design is able to be rationalised due to fabrication constraints. Also, due to the availability of parametric model, different design options are able to be explored to further enhance the space and experience of users. 9 In relation to the Gateway Competition Project, with the different design approach that were given, parametric modelling could really play an important role in this project’s desgin process. Forseeing there would be issues that related to fabrication, plus it made possible to explore more design options that would bring out the best of it. Top: Ceiling/glazing of Elephant House.

Top: Torus parametric models.

Above: Original sketches of the Elephant House.

Middle: Arches of the glazing with te structures.

Left: Leaf textures on the glazing with random placements.

Above: Shadow of the glazing’s structures and the leaf textures.

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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 choosen as case study. 4

Woodbury, Robert (2010). Elements of Parametric Design (London: Routledge) pp. 7-48 1

1-16. 2

Mayer, Adam N (2010), Style and the Pretense of Parametric Architecture, pp.

Davis, Daniel, Lecture 03: Introduction to Parametric Modelling, Faculty of Architecture, Building & Planning, University of Melbourne, 21 Mar 2013. 3


One of the explorations that I found it interesting and could be helpful to me in the Gateway Project would be the Triangulation Algorithms. Octree command is quite a useful one to explore more design possibilities.

Peters, Brady & De Kestelier, Xavier, ‘The Work of Foster and Partnets’, Specialist Modelling Group, pp. 1-4. 4

“In Progress: Elephant House / Foster + Partners” 24 May 2008. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 Mar 2013. <> 5

Peters, Brady, ‘New Elephant House, Copenhagen’, A Case Study of Digital Design Processes. Accessed 28 Mar 2013. < RD_Paper_Copenhagen_Elephant_House.pdf+&hl=en&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESj2cV5 TdMd5WHpJV15T-t4GpdsUrvUHmH-bqobqI84TR05FSADSK5CkLR-n35PudAHcDjF1QMiJ-lsRglVwZkZ_DeXyPQ4z1az97wHxMcgL2Tw-go5pNrKyCtPZXW4HmUsmxD hL&sig=AHIEtbQ8kNmBUdf-FJ0faANHnMcO0Aru6w> 6

“In Progress: Elephant House / Foster + Partners” 24 May 2008. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 Mar 2013. <> 7

“In Progress: Elephant House / Foster + Partners” 24 May 2008. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 Mar 2013. <> 8

Peters, Brady, ‘New Elephant House, Copenhagen’, A Case Study of Digital Design Processes. Accessed 28 Mar 2013. < RD_Paper_Copenhagen_Elephant_House.pdf+&hl=en&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESj2cV5 TdMd5WHpJV15T-t4GpdsUrvUHmH-bqobqI84TR05FSADSK5CkLR-n35PudAHcDjF1QMiJ-lsRglVwZkZ_DeXyPQ4z1az97wHxMcgL2Tw-go5pNrKyCtPZXW4HmUsmxD hL&sig=AHIEtbQ8kNmBUdf-FJ0faANHnMcO0Aru6w> 9

With this as example, on the right, the patterns can be resized with the slider and just the click of mouse. In exchange, if we are using pen and paper for this exploration, tedious repetition is required AND there would not be consistency to each and every pattern. By using the parametric modelling tool, not just consistency but efficiency can be achieved too.

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Acrs can be easily created and at equal distances along the curves. If it’s straight lines then it is possible to have equal distances for the arcs doing mannually but if this is the case, it would be near impossible to do so. The curves can still be altered without the need to redo everything during designing process and continue with idea explorations.


Moving on with arcs, with the connecting of another 2 commands, Flip & Interpolate Curves, NURBS can be produced. It is useful to create joints in between the arcs. Relating to the Elephant House precedent in Copenhagen, the roof structure somehow shows similarity!


By playing around, I added ‘LOFT’ command to create a surface making it more like a roof structure. A surface can be created easily with just a command and can be easily removed too if in the end decided to go on with just the rib structures. However, if doing this in the traditional way, the drawing will need to be drawn again without the cover surface.


Architecture is every where around us in our daily life. Notice it or not, every single building has its own architecture style regardless your approval to call it pretty or ugly. From a simple hut to the skyscrapers, architecture has undergone many periods. Architecture is said to be a piece of art, a sign, an experience but the definition definitely don’t just stop right there. Different individuals have different definitions for the term architecture. Some will only call it a successful piece of architecture when it fulfill the function as it seems; some call it architecture as long as it provide prospect and refuge; some only approve it as architecture when it achieve a particular aesthetic values and the list goes on. With the evolving of architecture field, digital technologies are evolving at the same time too.With the introduction of CAD, rendering programs, 3D modelling tools and parametric modelling tools, these have greatly ease the desgining and drafting process. Due to advancement of digital technologies, projects from the past till now able to be documented and spreaded globally to be known by many. Undoubtly, computations and parametric modellings are able to help out alot in the field of architecture during designing until fabrication. However, it is important to know that the quality of the exploration is directly proportional to the knowledge of using the particular programs too. There is no certain that digital technologies are better than paper and pen or vice versa. Collaboration of all forms are able to produce a better work. Throughout these 4 weeks, I have able to understand more about ‘Architecture’ through critical thinkings on all the issues. Childishly, I have always thinking the more complex the design it is, the better it is in terms of architecture. But, after researching up and down for precedents every week, I realized that even the simplest form of architecture could have different processes and stories behind it. Architecture merely just about design, it involve all the other surroundings too. Besides, in these 4 weeks, I have able to pick up mere skills of parametric modellings. Personally, I am slow in picking up a new software however I know that this software (Grasshopper) would greatly help in future designing explorations, not just limiting in this course but in the future work-field too.

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Another exploration which is pretty easy however I found it could be useful in different projects. It is the Curve commands with the aid of Divisions and Splines commands.


2.1 Design Focus BIOMIMICRY

What is Biomimicry? What is the connection between Biomimicry and Architecture? Can Biomimicry approach enhance humans living environment? How?

In this sectiaon, we are required to form a group of three and together look into a design approach to develop the Wyndham Gateway Design. As we gone through the list of design approaches available for us to choose from and using the projects provided as our basis of choosing, we are into Biomimicry. With Wyndham City is consistently spreaded with greens, we do think that Biomimicry would be a good one to kick-start with.

Biomimicry is not merely imitate from natural forms. Biomimicry is a discipline that studies the nature, not just the forms, but the designs and processes too, in order to solve human problems.1 With the collaboration of Biomimicry and Parametric design, it is opt to form a new discourse which could potentially develop a sophisticated and sustainable to the Wyndham Gateway Project.

Previously while we are in the course ‘Visual Environments’, we were exposed to the use of computer modeling tools to produce an design and we have tried mainly tesselations and sectioning. Thus, we generally agreed that we could try something new as such Biomimicry is chosen. Further through this section, we have discovered a range of interesting outcomes of Biomimicry with Architecture and we have learned what we never think about before. Nature is truly an intresting platform to gain inspiration from. While with the aid of Parametric Modeling Tools, tonnes of possibilities were made possible.

Biomimicry tends to seek sustainable solutions by emulating natures’ patterns and strategies. For example, learning the system of a leaf to produce a solar cell. In the case of architecture, architect who learn the system of a termite mould and incorporate in the building ventilation system.2 With the raising concern and attention towards a sustainable environment, architects have looked into nature for inspiration for building forms as well as the systems. In Biomimicry, nature is being refered to as a Model, Measure and Mentor. Nature is giving a new perspective of learning and creating an innovative, sustainable living environment.3

In Wyndham City, the surrounding is filled with the greens such as wildlife sanctuaries(Point Cook Coastal Park) and attractive natural features (Werribee River). Therefore, we as a group generally agree that the Gateway design should reflect its connection with the natural environment through Biomimicry approach.

‘‘Study nature, Love nature, Stay close to nature. It will never fail you.’’ - Frank Lloyd Wright


‘What is Biomimicry’, 2013 in Biomimicry. Accessed 29 April 2013, Institute<> 2 ‘Biomimicry’, 2013 in Biomimicry 3.8. Accessed 29 April 2013, <> 3 ‘What is Biomimicry’, 2013 in Biomimicry. Accessed 29 April 2013, Institute<>

Project : Canopy

This project has inspired us to look into on how to create a sculpture that could engage the users with it while working along with nature still. Similarily, Canopy uses ‘Fractals’ too where each panels are off the same geometry shape and reiterate, forming a series of non-repeating patterns.

Venue : Toronto Year : 2010 Architect : United Visual Artists

Canopy is a 90-meter long light sculpture, inspired by experience of walking though forest’s dappled light, spanning the front facade of the Maple Leaf Square building in Toronto, Canada. This permanent architectural installation is made of thousands of identical modules, abstract from geometry form of leaves, organised in a non-repeating growth pattern. Canopy employs mass production and precise fabrication to evoke and reflect nature.1

All images courtesy of James Medcraft, United Visual Artists, 2010.

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During the day, apertures in the modules filter natural light to the street below. After dusk, particles of artificial light are born, navigate through the grid and die, their survival determined by regions of energy sweeping across the structure. The result simultaneously recalls the activity of cells within a leaf, leaves in a forest canopy, or a city seen from the air. This project focus on the experiencial of the users. They aim to provide pedestrian sidewalk as the site for the work, create a work that people could immerse themselves within, and almost escape momentarily from the hard environment of the city. 2

‘Canopy’, 2013. Accessed 30 April, <>

Saieh , Nico. “Maple Leaf Square Canopy / United Visual Artists” 15 Oct 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 05 May 2013. <>

All images courtesy of James Medcraft, United Visual Artists, 2010.

Project : Bloomberg Canopy Venue : Tokyo Year : 2011 Architect : Akihisa Hirata

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An outdoor canopy that places within the entrance plazza of the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo and it will become a stage for the museum’s changing exhibitions. The aim of the project is to increase the exposure of art and culture of Japan by allowing young artists and performers hold exhibitions.1 The pavilion is created in reference to the nature - Tree. Tree has the symbolic meaning of shades and shelter for mankinds. The design created panels that pleated in a way to allow maximum sunlight refracting the pavilion’s facade just like how trees spread out to capture the sunlight.2

All images courtesy of Takumi Ota, 2011.

‘‘Trying to create a pavilion that resembled a tree, using the same logic.’’ - Akihisa Hirata

All images courtesy of Takumi Ota, 2011.

Bloomberg Pavilion’s pleated surface is created with simple technique - combinations of isosceles triangles in hyplane structure. Thus, it producing a cotinuous curved, pleated surface. This reflected how the tree branches spread repeatedly in a simple form yet maximise the capture of sunlight. The bends of the facades create reflection basis for the sunlight and directed soft light into the interior.1 This precedent has shown that it is possible to connect fractal to nature to architecture and to the local culture. This is the direction our group trying to achieve by incorporating nature with the culture and of course the architecture with the aid of parametric modeling tools.


2.2 Case Study 1.0 FRACTALS

In many forms of Biomimicry could provide, we have chosen ‘Fractals’ as our main focus for designing the gateway. Fractal is highly related to the mathematical world and we thought that it would be interesting to connect it with architecture and relates it to nature. Without much people knowing, the relationship between Mathemathics and Architecture is age-old. Fractal approach would be an innovative direction towards design and development in architecture. Plus, fractal is also a good approach towards the nature as it is rooted in the principles that govern the geometry of natural form.1 Fractal is a never ending pattern, an infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales. Fractals are created by repeating simple process over and over in an ongoing feedback loop. Fractals are all around us without us paying much attention. Example of nature that shows fractals are mountains, snowflakes, seashells, trees, etc. As for mathemathical related, abstract fractal, there are Sierpinski Triangle, Fibonacci, Mandelbrot Set and others.2 Fractal will be a new language in the architecture world.

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Harris, J, 2012, United States of America, ‘Fractal in Architecture’.

‘What Are Fractals’, 2013. Accessed 30 April 2013, <>

All images courtesy of Takumi Ota, 2011.

As stated earlier, our group has chosen the approach of Fractals to further develope our Gateway Design. Definitiaon and the relationship of Fractals and Architecture have been discussed in the previous section. Whilst, this section will further elaborate on Fractals and how it aids in architecture following by some exploration we did on parametric modeling tools. The rules in nature are unfathomable to humans even though we are able to understant the principles geometry in mathematics. Nature achieved perfection in ways of asymmetricality and non-linearity. In other words, nature is rough. For example, clouds are not perfect spheres. However, fractal geometry has taken the spotlight in presenting humans the opportunity to mathematically explore the kinds of irregularities that exist in nature.1

Several benefits portrayed by Fractals as per below:

(i) Repetition delivers maximum strength using minimum mass. (ii) Large surface area to volume ratio. (ii) Dispense energy waves efficiently i.e. sound waves. (iv) Visually aesthethics 2

Grasshopper Definition for tetrahedral fractal.

We started by exploring with 3-sided geometry by using Grasshopper modeling tool. At this part, the aim is to create the single modular form of fractal-ed element. The process for creating fractal tetrahedral is fairly straight forward where the main idea is about extruding it and trimming. 3D Representations of tetrahedral fractal.

After the tetrahedron is successfully created, we continue to fractal it again at the ‘fractal-ed’ geometry. The process if a repetition of the previous. Then, we attempted ‘Bezier Curve’ too. Interesting intersecting lines are formed. These lines could form a very interesting architectural visual effect.


Our exploration did not stop right there. We continue with trial and error to get more variations of possible fabricable outcomes.


IBM 100, Fractal Geometry, accessed 15 April 2013, < history/ibm100/us/en/icons/fractal/> 2 ‘What Are Fractals’, 2013. Accessed 30 April 2013, <>


Design Variations

SUMMARY Case Study 1.0

Fractal Tetrahedron

Voronoi 3D From the explorations and experimentations of fractals, we see the potential of fractals to create something complex from its simple forms. Fractal geometry can be incorporated into parametric design, perhaps making architecture look more natural and more interesting compared to Euclidean-based architecture. In essence, architecture considered fractal-like if the whole and all other formal elements are derive from one basic idea and, by that, a simple, specific form characterizes the expression of the building. Looking at the snowflakes, it looks complicated, but the origin was just a simple geometry that continuosly reiterate to produce something complex yet beautiful.1 Therefore, our aim is to produce a gateway that would show some depth of complexity in it by starting with a simple form.

Faceted Dome

Bezier Curves

Fibonnacci Fractal Pattern

Turtle Fractal Pattern


IBM 100, Fractal Geometry, accessed 15 April 2013, < history/ibm100/us/en/icons/fractal/>

2.3 Case Study 2.0 MORNING LINE Aranda\Lasch

Project : The Morning Line Venue : Istanbul Year : 2010

From the list of projects provided on LMS, The Morning Line by Aranda\Lasch is what attracted us the most. We decided to reverse engineer this project and wish to develope the Gateway Design through this project.

Architect : Matthew Ritchie, Aranda\Lasch

The Morning Line, a 8 meter high and 20 meter long pavilion, showcases fractile geometry and parametric design. However it is not only about geometry, it’s about expression, a discourse through the lines in space. The lines and drawings are the structure and space.1 It is an infinitely modular construction, built from a single shape namely ‘‘the bit’’ and assembles with each other to create the space. The bit’s shape is derived from a truncated tetrahedron that shrinks or grows and then attaches back onto itself to produce three-dimensional fractals. The Morning Line uses crystals as the learning basis, using the idea of lattices and cells to describe growth, a discourse through modularity.2


Aranda & Lasch 2012, “The Morning Line: Design - Fractile Geometry and Parametric Design,” in ThyssenBornemisza Art Contemporary, accessed 15 April 2013, <> 2 Aranda & Lasch 2013, “The Morning Line: Design - Fractile Geometry and Parametric Design,” <http://www.>

All photos courtesy of Jakob Polacsek,2010

We did not stop our experimentation just right there. We continued to explore and find solution for the seperation of curves and the surfaces. Finally, we manage to discover how to have only the line patterns and surfaces with the patterns. At this stage, the outcome of the design seems appealing to us.

The illustration shows how Morning Line is generally formed through repetition and iteration of the similar geometry and it started from a simple form and gradually transformed into a complex-looking structure. From here, we proceeded by reverse engineer the Morning Line project and trying to recreating it.

Firstly, we created the ‘bits’, which is the tetrahedral which desired to be used throughout. Next, we used ‘mirrot’ command to reiterate the modular bits. The iteration continues until the desired outcome is formed. Then, the patterns on the fractals are created using command ‘Bezier Curves’ also known as ‘Phyton Script’. However an issue occur at the end of the reverse engineering. When we unroll our end product, it does not give the exact outcome as the ‘Morning Line’. At this stage we faced problem in seperating the lines and the surfaces.

The model is a combination of fractal truncated tetrahedron, truncated tetrahedron and bezier curves which is to show the gradual changes of complexity to simplicity. The modularity of it able to bring out the idea of heaviness while the lines are able to bring out the idea of lightness to transmit the idea behind it. The process is as per mentioned previously where the ‘bits’ are mirrored to form the connection. Thanks to the aid of computational and parametric tools, these explorations are made possible.

SUMMARY Case Study 2.0

Morning Line has showcased us how they started form a simple geometry to form something that seems so complex and yet not messy and beautiful. What we manaage to picked up from this project is that it incoporated with the culture. This is one of the aims we tend to achieve and insert in our Wdynham Gateway Project; incorporating the local characteristics and environments while providing the drivers a visual experience.

2.4 Technique Development

Now that we had familiarize ourselves with parametric tools in creating models with fractals, we continued experimentation and research on what other opportunities poses us the design alternatives and inspirations. The biggest challenge would be incorporating the idea of nature with the use of fractals into the final outcome. Through research, we found a few types of fractal approach that serve us as a platform to kick-start with, i.e. Fibonnaci, Turtle and Sierpinski Triangle. Besides the mathemathical approach, we also found some precedents which inspire us, such as Rokko Shidare and Grotto. From Mathemathical approach to Rokko Shidare and to Grotto, they all posses very interesting yet different design outcomes. After gone through the 3 mathemathical approaches, Sierpinski Triangles caught our attention the most. More about Sierpinski Triangles will be discussed later in the next section.

Project : Rokko Shidare Observatory Deck Venue : Tokyo, Japan Year : 2010 Architect : Hiroshi Sambuichi

Rokko Shidare Observatory is located in Kobe, Japan. It is perched on top of Mount Rokko almost a thousand yards above sea level and besides the function of sightseeing the landscape, it serves visitors to witness the nature and its shifting states too. The design of the dome’s frame designed with the image of leaves of a big tree. This pavilion mimic the function of the surrounding vegetations by trapping the snow particles during winter and provided the users an interesting experience of observing it too.1 Here, we can see that, design of a sculpture do not mean just the aesthethic value or the design derived from the nature itself, even the functional value of the sculpture can be incorporated and derived from the nature. Thus, in our design, we are trying to incorporate the surrounding sustainability with the design. In Wyndham City, they are very concern with sustainability. Biomimicry is a good approach it. This precedent inspired us to look into on how to bring out the idea of biomimicry with 2D form.


Sambuici Architects, 2013, “Rokko Shidare Observatory,” in arcspace, accessed 28 April 2013, <>

All photos courtesy of arcspace, 2010

All photos courtesy of arcspace, 2010

Grotto is another project that we found interesting to work on as it looks like replication of particles reiterate infinitely, connecting each other just like DNA. Note that the difference of Grotto and Rokko Shidare is that Grotto is a 3D representation. It gives a more modular and heavier impression.

Project : Grotto Venue : New York Year : 2005 Architect : Aranda\Lasch

______About Grotto__________ It is a landscape installation in a garden to resemblance cave, which was a finalist for the 2005 MoMA/PS1 Young Architects Competition. It is build in way of using 4 expanded-polystyrene boudlers fitting together but never repeat itself twice.1

Between modularity and lightness, we prefer a design which is sleek and light to bring out the idea of biomimicry, something simple yet complex, therefore we prefer to work on our project in the form of 2D rather than 3D. At this stage, we discover the potential of Sierpinski Triangles to be used to aid in our design process. There are also certain benefits in incorporating Sierpinski Triangles into Architecture.


Felix Burrichter, Document No.158 -In The Studio with Aranda\Lasch, accessed on 15 April 2013, <>

‘‘ We do not create the work. I believe we, in fact, are discovers. ’’

- Glenn Murcutt

2.5 Technique: Proposal


Sierpinski Triangle

Sierpinski Triangle is a fractal based on a triangle with four equal triangles inscribed in it. The central triangle is removed and each of the other three treated as the original was, and so on, creating an infinite regression in a finite space.1 The creation of Sierpinski Triangle is rather easy and simple and it is even simpler with the aid of parametric tools. Parametric tools aided in creating the iteration infinitely and increased efficiency.

Definition for Sierpinski Triangle is found on the web however we explore on how to create our own Sierpinski Triangles by using Grassshopper software. Infinite iterations can be made and by controlling the densities and changing other variables, Sierpinski Triangles with different designs can be produced.

The idea of Sierpinski Triangle iterates within a finite space which in turns making the design to maximise the most of it within a limited space. This will contributes to sustainability.

As we wanted to bring the idea of lightness, we decided to created frames of these triangles, We discarded the modularity of triangles as it will need more materials and thus contracdicted our aim of sustainability. However, an issue occur when we think about ways to fabricate our frames. The boundaries were too thin so we need to offset all the lines but due to intersections, manual selections were required to trim off the intersecting lines. 1

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Sierpinski Triangleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, accessed on 27 April 2013, <>

2.6 Technique: Fabrication Due to the thin frames issue, 3D printing of our project was one of our fabrication method, however we changed our mind then. First of all, it isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t that relevant to 3D print our frames since it is so thin and not showing much volumes of it. Secondly, a hands on building of the model would encourage to discover more oppostunities and issues and further explorations. Thus, we decided to send our project to Laser Cutting.

With the current computation technology,efficiency has been made possible. Within 24hours, our laser cut models is ready for us to assemble. Previously when we fabricate the Case Studyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s model, it was done mannualy and thus took up much time and some inconsistency in between. When we gotten the model, we then realized we have miscalculated the thickness of the triangles. The frames were too thin that made it unable to stand on its own and we have to mannualy create some supports for each frames.

All images courtesy of Siok Yee Tan, 2013.

All images courtesy of Siok Yee Tan, 2013.

Due to our miscalculation to the thickness of frames, certain parts were broken when bringing it to studio. At this stage, we consider timber to be used as the construction material. Timber is relatable to nature and it requires lesser energy in production thus increases the sustianability.

2.6 Learning Outcomes

Project : Pratt institute’s graduate architecture & urban design exhibition 2013

‘‘ Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. ’’

Venue : Hazel and Robert H. Siegel Gallery

Year : 2013

- Mahatma Gandhi ‘‘ There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience and that is not learning from experience. ’’

- Archibald Macleish REFLECTION During the interim presentation, with a perspective views out of our group, we then realised we might have taken a wrong approach and we were provided with more insight on how should we go on from there onwards. Summary of feedbacks: a) The design lack of ‘LOVE’. b) The design has not shown the relation to the nature. c) Using fractal as the relation to Biomimicry isn’t strong enough to prove the design is related to the site and the nature. d) Research more on fractal projects that would showcase the ideas of fractals. e) Stronger arguments are required to back our design outcomes.

These feedbacks have given us a direction. We need a more in-depth thinking and restructure our approach on designing the Wyndham Gateway Project in order to achieve the relation with Biomimicry and Fractals. Arguments that strongly show the design could work with the environments are important. Besides that, our Sierpinski Triangles idea wasn’t strong enough to portray the idea behind it, a more dynamic and organic design is required to show the Biomimicry in it. These feedback session has provided our group a great platform to learn from our mistakes. Even though we have not done well, but we learnt from what was wrong and useful critics.

Architect : Michael Szivos & Carrie McKnelly

After the feedbacks on the relevancy of precedents, we further research more precedents that would inspire us on the design and relation to biomimicry. One feedback was that our design is sort of ‘Lifeless’ and ‘Flat’. Then, we found this project. The vivid colours attracted us with the dynamic changes of modularity to frames gave us an idea that we could try to incorporate both 2D and 3D into the design and make it flaw and dynamic.

All images courtesy of Alan Tansey, 2013.

To sum up, our group require to put in more effort in getting more possible design outcomes with the use of fractals even though it is limited. We need to set our thinking out of the box, looking into other perspectives and approaches. One issue is that we are too keen on getting what we want and forgo the potential possibilities. We also trying to achieve and incorporate alot of different thinkings into one design and making us off track of what we should actually focus on.






- Ludwig Mies van der Rohe


Studio Air submission - EOI


Studio Air submission - EOI