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Proceedings of the SCDC Flash Symposium 2018


9 780578 768496


ISBN 978-0-578-76849-6


Architecture Landscape Architectur e Graphic Design



MATERIALITY +COMPUTING Proceedings of the SCDC Flash Symposium 2018


SCDC Director José Pinto Duarte SCDC Advisory Committee Felecia Davis David Goldberg Benay Gürsoy Marc Miller Rodney Allen Trice Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture Kelleann Foster, Director Eliza Pennypacker, Landscape Architecture Department Head Mehrdad Hadighi, Architecture Department Head Open House and Symposium Organization Benay Gürsoy Marc Miller David Goldberg Eduardo Costa José Pinto Duarte SCDC Open House Poster Designs Janejira Kalsmith Administrative Support Jamie Behers Video and Photo David Goldberg Stephanie Swindle Thomas

This Publication Editors Benay Gürsoy Book Design Benay Gürsoy Cover Image Credit Janejira Kalsmith Symposium Participants Georgios Artopoulos Jonathan Keep Alexander Robinson Makai Smith Rodney Allen Trice Open House Exhibiting Instructors Felecia Davis Benay Gürsoy José Pinto Duarte Shadi Nazarian Open House Exhibiting PhD Students Eduardo Costa Vernelle Noel Elena Vazquez Debora Verniz Krystian Kwieciński Mahyar Hadighi Negar Ashrafi Julio Diarte

Web Design scdcflash2018.psu.edu Eduardo Castro e Costa





José Pinto Duarte

Introduction Benay Gürsoy

Symposium Virtual Spaces of Becoming: Using Data Analytics for the Approptiation of Public Space in Historic Cities


Georgios Artopoulos

The Form Is in the Code


Jonathan Keep

Interface for Dry Lake Design


Alexander Robinson

Composites and Digital Fabrication: Opportunities in Architecture


Makai Smith

Tech and Materialism in the Middle of a Polarized World


Rodney Allen Trice

Open House: SCDC-Affiliated Research Projects Quantified Walk


Woven Light


MARSCRETE: Design of 3D-Printable Concrete for Martian Habitat


From Control to Uncertainty in 3D Printing with Clay


Bridging Parametric Design and Craftsmanship


Mass Customization of Ceramic Tableware


The Role of Computation in Reinterpreting the Traditional Craft Practice of Wire-Bending


Understanding the Urban Structure of Informal Settlements


HOPLA Home Planner


Adapting Modern Architecture to a Local Context: A Grammar for Hajjar’s Hybric Domestic Architecture


Toolpath Design for Additive Manufacturing of Concrete


Tapping into Urban Recycling for Housing Alternatives: Developing a Building System with Waste-Corrugated Cardboard and Tooling


Masonry Screen Wall in Paraguay: A Digital Framework for Shape, Performance, and Optimization




Stuckeman Chair in Design Innovation & Director of the Stuckeman Center for Design Computing, Penn State

José P. Duarte is the Stuckeman Chair in Design Innovation and director of the Stuckeman Center for Design Computing at Penn State. He is also a professor of architecture and landscape architecture, and an affiliate professor of architectural engineering and engineering design. After obtaining his doctoral degree from M.I.T., Duarte returned to Portugal where he became dean of the Lisbon School of Architecture. A former president of eCAADe, the European association for education and research in computer-aided design, his research interests are in the use of computation to support contextsensitive design at different scales. One of his areas of research is concerned with the use of digital technologies to design and build customized housing. With this goal in mind, he co-founded the Additive Construction Lab at Penn State, which focuses on the additive manufacturing of architectural structures using concrete. Recently, he co-edited the book Mass Customization and Design Democracy (Routledge, NY, 2019) and co-led the Penn State team that was awarded second place in the finals of the NASA 3D-printed Mars Habitat Challenge.


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The Stuckeman Center for Design Computing (SCDC) was created following an endowment donated by the Stuckeman family with the mission to support the integration of digital technologies in the Stuckeman School at Penn State. The center’s main goal is to be a hub for research in the design computing field, understood from a broad perspective. The focus is not on technology, but on strategically deploying technology to address contemporary societal issues. In this regard, the activity of the Center is linked to the mission of the school and the college; it supports the nurturing of future architects, landscape architects, and graphic designers first by empowering them with cutting-edge computing technology and then by enabling them to contribute to advance such technology. The Center has a strong commitment to contribute to the achievement of social and environmental good and aligns its goals with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The ambition is for SCDC to become a reference for design computing research, both nationally and internationally. Activity is transversal to the four research focus areas around which graduate education and research at the Stuckeman School is organized – Design Computing; Material Matters; Sustainability; and Culture, Society, Space – and seeks collaboration with faculty and students in all of them. Nonetheless, it is more closely articulated with design computing, which examines the impact of emerging digital technologies on the creative processes that shape our built environment. Design computing identifies critical knowledge and advanced skills in the use of digital technologies in architecture, landscape architecture, and graphic design.

Projects can explore contemporary discourse on digital media and design, and investigate how design computing can be productively utilized in sustainable design, interdisciplinary collaboration, and fabrication. Research is organized into the following research thrusts: (1) high-performance built environments; (2) additive manufacturing at construction scale; (3) bio and smart materials; (4) decoding and recoding informal settlements; and (5) smart cities and communities. To support research, the center encompasses the following laboratories: Immersive Environments (IEL), Remote Collaboration (CoLab), Advanced Geometric Modeling (AdGeom), Digital Fabrication (DigiFab), Computational Textiles (SoftLab), Form and Matter (ForMat Lab), and the Additive Construction (AddCon Lab, run jointly with the College of Engineering). The SCDC has several initiatives to improve the dissemination of its work to the academic community, and to society at large. The SCDC Open House is one of them. It is a one-day event designed to communicate the value of the research taking place in the Center through demonstrations, an exhibition, and talks on finished and ongoing projects. It is articulated with the SCDC Flash Symposium, an event that takes place on the same day, with the aim to showcase internally cutting-edge research being developed at other institutions, promoting cross-fertilization and collaboration. This book documents the SCDC Flash Symposium and Open House that took place in 2018.




Assistant Professor of Architecture, Penn State

Benay Gürsoy is an assistant professor at the Stuckeman Center for Design Computing in the Stuckeman School at Penn State. She is also the director of the Form and Matter (ForMat) Lab. Her research and teaching focus on computational making, digital fabrication, craft theory, shape studies, basic design education, and cognitive studies of the design process. She has published and presented her research internationally and received awards in international conferences. From 2010 to 2016, she taught first-year design studios, geometry, and design computing courses at Istanbul Bilgi University as a faculty member in the Department of Architecture. She has instituted undergraduate elective courses including a course on hacking materials and production methods. She has also lectured and taught workshops at several universities in Turkey, including AA Istanbul Visiting Schools. Gürsoy completed her doctoral studies in the Architectural Design Computing program at Istanbul Technical University in 2016. Her Ph.D. thesis focuses on understanding how material manipulation in design can become an integral part of the computational design process. Her dissertation received the Best Ph.D. Dissertation Award from Istanbul Technical University, Graduate School of Science, Engineering, and Technology for the graduating students of 2016.


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This book presents the proceedings of the 2018 Stuckeman Center for Design Computing (SCDC) Flash Symposium and Open House. The event is interdisciplinary in nature and aims to bring together researchers and practitioners from architecture, landscape architecture, graphic design, and visual arts to present their work and their approach to design computation. Computation, as a term, is itself very open-ended. There are various ways to compute in design as we also see through the SCDC Flash Symposium series. This year’s theme to accompany computation is materiality. Over the past couple of decades, there has been an increasing interest in materiality in design, which evoked a shift in the definition of the relationship between design and making, and between designer and maker. The distinct roles attributed to the designer as the information maker and to the maker as the manufacturer of information are now merging: the designer is becoming both the information maker and the manufacturer of information. This shift is fostered through multiple factors. There is an increasing tendency to implement high-tech machinery and digital fabrication tools to research-oriented design practices. Desktop manufacturing, on the other hand, has gained importance through affordable digital fabrication tools. We have started to discuss making along side design in an embodied and enactive model that extends the mental processes into the world of material things. The technological and social developments also instigated an open design and maker culture that educated designers started to acknowledge as the scope of

design knowledge expands in range and to a broader community. Open-source software and hardware – and environments such as Fab Labs, Hackerspaces, and Makerspaces – now enable free flow of knowledge, know-how, and resources. With all of these, making has become more than the mere materialization of information in design, and materiality a design drive. For this year’s symposium, we were fortunate to have five lecturers from different disciplines to present their diverse approaches to computation and materiality in design. They talked about tool making – both physical and digital, incorporating material intelligence to design process, and shared their critical voices about computation in design through works from academia, industry, and from their art studios. Georgios Artopoulos, assistant professor from the Science and Technology in Archaeology Research Center at the Cyprus Institute, contributed with a keynote lecture that was shared by the SCDC Flash Symposium and the lecture series organized by the Department of Architecture within the Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. Artopoulos discussed how the simulation of the physical environment through urban modeling and virtual reality technologies can enhance community participation in planning and user engagement in the management of historic public spaces and built heritage. He presented his ongoing research at the Cyprus Institute through the case of the Paphos Gate at Nicosia - Cyprus, and concluded that the simulation of urban environments in virtual reality “facilitated the exploration of the many ways inhabitants


associate with the history of these places.” Jonathan Keep is an independent ceramic artist from the United Kingdom. He was initially invited to Penn State by the School of Visual Arts at the time of the SCDC Flash Symposium. We extended him an invitation to give a lecture as part of the symposium, to which he kindly agreed and contributed with both a lecture and a workshop that he organized together with Tom Lauerman from the School of Visual Arts. In his lecture, Keep presented his way of working between the digital and the material worlds, exemplifying the tools that he developed and his artworks with 3D-printed clay. Alexander Robinson is an assistant professor in the Landscape Architecture and Urbanism program at the University of Southern California School of Architecture and the principal of the Office of Outdoor Research in Los Angeles, California. Robinson focused his lecture on the custom “Rapid Landscape Prototyping Machine” that his Landscape Morphologies Lab developed, which is a computational robotic tool that models sand and simulates sedimentary assembly and behavior. Discussing how material intelligence informs the design process, Robinson exemplified his work on the digital reconstitution of a dry lake in California. Makai Smith is the former director of digital fabrication for Kreysler & Associates, a custom architectural fiber-reinforced composites manufacturer based in California. Smith kindly agreed to give a lecture on behalf of William Kreysler, the president of Kreysler & Associates, about the company’s work. He exemplified the custom large-scale CNC milling machines that the company developed to fabricate composite panels and structures, and discussed the workflows to fabricate various architectural and sculptural works out of fiber-reinforced composites. Smith is currently the director of product management for MicroStation software at Bentley.


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Rodney Trice is a professor of practice in graphic design at Penn State. His lecture can be considered as a critical stance on the political aspects of technology and the role of graphic design in guiding the masses. In his lecture, Trice also exemplified his design works with ready-made objects. For this book, each lecture has been transcribed using speech recognition software (with the generous help of Marc Miller, assistant professor of landscape architecture in the Stuckeman School). Transcripts are then edited and sent to the lecturers for review. Georgios Artopoulos has chosen to rewrite his section instead of relying on the transcript of his lecture, and Alexander Robinson opted to contribute with an excerpt from his book The Spoils of Dust: Reinventing the Lake that Made Los Angeles. Besides these two lecturers, the sections of the remaining lecturers are spoken words from the 2018 SCDC Flash Symposium. Finally, in the last section of the book, selected research from SCDC-affiliated faculty and students that took part in the Open House are presented. These show the diverse and rich research culture of the center.



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Virtual Urban Spaces of Becoming: Using Data Analytics for the Appropriation of Public Space in Historic Cities

To watch Georgios Artopoulos’ talk on YouTube, please scan the above QR Code.


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GEORGIOS ARTOPOULOS The Cyprus Institute, Cyprus

Georgios Artopoulos, assistant professor in the Science and Technology in Archaeology Research Center at the Cyprus Institute, works on immersive and performative spaces, virtual environments, modelling, and simulation for the study of built heritage and the creative exploration of historical narratives in the context of public open space. Artopoulos holds a Master of Philosophy and a doctorate from the University of Cambridge (UK) with a doctoral award from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Previously he was employed by the Heriot-Watt University (UK,), University of Melbourne, University of Cambridge, and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. Artopoulos has contributed in more than 12 international research programs and received the Best International Short Film Award in Mestre Film Festival, Venice. His work was presented at La Biennale di Venezia, the Royal Institute of British Architects, (London; London Design Festival; Seoul Biennale of Architecture & Urbanism 2017; Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, Chicago; International Symposium on Electronic Art 2006 and 2008; British Council, Brussels; Hong Kong and Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism, and in many art exhibitions. His work has been published in more than 30 peer-reviewed journals and books of architecture and 35 International Conference proceedings and exhibition catalogues.


INTRODUCTION At a time of fractured national and cultural identities; political volatility exacerbated by global economic and political crise; and intensifying migrations of people and consequent hostile tensions and violence, urban environments face unprecedented pressure as the space where multiple (user) identities are expressed and compete for its appropriation (Bevan 2012). Especially in the Eastern Mediterranean region, historic urban space – as the product of cultural activities of the past – is challenged by neglect, rapid development of built environment, climate anomalies, and human conflicts. These tensions jeopardize the quality and success in safeguarding heritage in the region (Calame and Charlesworth 2009). Historic city centers across Europe are important places for the materialization of cultural interactions. They also become the spaces that are challenged by the process of the integration of new inhabitants (moving due to urbanization, migration, etc.). Paolo Baratta, president of La Biennale di Venezia, and Hashim Sarkis, curator of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition, in their description of the vision for the 2020 Venice Biennale, identify current challenges for architecture: “In the context of widening political divides and growing economic inequalities, we call on architects to imagine spaces in which we can generously live together: together as human beings who, despite our increasing individuality, yearn to connect with one another […] across digital and real space; together as emerging communities that demand equity, inclusion and spatial identity; together across political borders to imagine new geographies of association.” (https://www.metalocus.es/en/news/how-willwe-live-together-question-and-will-be-subject2020-venice-biennale). Although there are several peer-reviewed 11

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studies addressing connections between historical sites, identity, and territorial cohesion in contested cities (Gaffikin, Mceldowney, and Sterrett 2010), one notices a lack of research with regards to how new technology can contribute to the field of social sciences and urban studies in terms of future possibilities responding to the challenged cohesion of these communities. Current applications of digital technologies affect urban governance, planning, and management in various ways, e.g., through public participatory approaches augmented by information and communications technology (ICT), big data processing of urban conditions, and spatial interactions including security, spatial appropriation, and emerging methods of urban visualisation, planning, and policy application on historic urban fabric (Van Leeuwen, Jylhä, and Jan Quanjer 2019). More than ever individuals want from their cities to provide them with an environment in which they habitually belong. Historic public spaces can offer these capacities, along with opportunities for learning and social interaction. When this happens, public spaces succeed in becoming an essential part of the everyday life of a city – i.e., part of the network of its communal amenities and common resources. By doing so, built heritage and public spaces contribute to the well-being and quality of life of the citizens. Responding to these challenges, the essay reflects on digital practices of documentation, access, and interaction with localized heritage content (e.g., digital assets) in public spaces that offer opportunities for user-engagement in the management of historic cities. The idea of a technologicallyaugmented public open space is approached in a very positive way by some people and ICT companies, but with scepticism by others. People perceive parks, plazas, squares, etc. as places to enjoy for leisure, sometimes for work, but rarely as spaces that can be designed

to bring together the ‘real’ with the ‘virtual’ (Boyer 1996) and to offer digital interaction for personalized experiences (Smaniotto Costa et al. 2017).

and comprised of large number of contested spaces (characterized by historic palimpsests), than contemporary urban environments.


Built Heritage as a

Building on results and activities of EU-wide research clusters and networks, the essay discusses aspects of the application of digital practices (Atkinson and Willis 2009; Wetzel et al. 2011) in linking virtual surrogates of physical places, scenarios, and narratives with historic spaces in cities. The research pursued by these networks explores how design practices, ICT strategies, and computation add value to heritage spaces. Digital tools and computational methods do so by offering new mediation opportunities to the visitor of an open space, historic place, or archaeological site (Hampton, Livio, and Sessions 2010). The essay proposes that the hybrid condition of physical presence in space and augmented experience of cultural heritage by digital technologies facilitate the generation of new meanings and interpretations of complex cultural interactions embedded in built heritage.

Common Resource of the City

The cognitive process of interpreting data and associated metadata of cultural heritage spaces can transform the relationship of the visitor/user from that of a mere encounter with the site into a closer relationship with it, introducing anchors to localized narratives and individual interpretations of the cultural significance of a site. The central idea of this understanding is that cultural expressions can be experienced based on spatial, temporal, and other contextual conditions (Calabrese 2009). This approach is contextualised in the technological challenges and limitations of data collection methods (De Souza and Frith 2012) in modelling and monitoring historic built environment, which is typically more complex,

In this context, the Digital Practices for the Study of Urban Heritage Working Group of the Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities (DARIAH) European Research Infrastructure Consortium, which leveraged tools and capacities produced by the COST Action TU1306, employs digital practices for staging dialogue about and promoting the cultural value of significant sites and buildings, by means of immersive interactive visualisation for user engagement. Digital tools are used to engage people with heritage ‘from the outside’ (Grosz 2001), aiming to contribute to the decolonization of the cultural heritage practices (Gonzålez-Ruibal 2008; Gould, Rathje, and Schiffer 1981; Haber 2012). Heritage is anything that helps us collectively to better understand the present and think of our future. Co-occupation and co-usage of resources is where digital technologies of interaction and inclusive data management should be invested in order to promote the role of heritage as a driver for the social sustainability of a smart city. This research considers that the value of heritage is assigned in all types of culturally-embedded commons of an urban environment, including squares, parks, sidewalks, riverbanks, buildings, and monuments, along with all these spatial constructions that can be used to influence positively the social cohesion of neighborhoods. This research builds on the premise that built heritage could be embedded/integrated in the contemporary


A key component of the concept is the transformation and diversity of social scenarios and narratives: the creation of a place that is transformed in the locus of multiple events, which connect different communities of cities, local as well as transregional.

life of the local users of a city in such a way that it would offer to them interesting everyday experiences. Historic public spaces can offer these capacities, along with opportunities for learning and social interaction. When this happens, public spaces succeed in becoming an essential part of the everyday life of a city, i.e., part of the network of its communal amenities and common resources. By doing so, built heritage and public spaces contribute to the well-being and quality of life of the citizens. A key component of the concept is the transformation and diversity of social scenarios and narratives: the creation of a place that is transformed in the locus of multiple events which connect different communities of cities, local as well as transregional. Thus this research seeks for a more complex/holistic understanding of the past which will contribute to achieving a more inclusive, multi-faceted vision of the future.

Impact of Techno-Social Urban Phenomena on Historic Cities Rapid urbanization, migration, and economic challenges impact European territories with ever-growing plurality of cultures and identities that must now adapt to a new concept of European citizenship that celebrates multiplicity, diversity, openness, and inclusiveness. A new challenge is emerging from the globalization of digital media, capital investment in real estate, mobility, and ease of accessing information. 13

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European historic cities are challenged by either being transformed into mausoleums/museums or by gentrification as a result of the aggressive ‘overtourism’ (Peeters et al. 2018). Local authorities and the relevant stakeholders start to realize that heritage buildings, monuments, and archaeological sites in urban environments: • when are over-exploited, they threaten the social cohesion of the urban fabric due to overtourism, the impact of networked hospitality businesses on neighbourhoods (such as the phenomenon of the Airbnb), and the consequent gentrification of the surrounding area (Herman 2019; Guttentag 2018); • when are sacredly safeguarded, they challenge the contemporary everyday life of citizens, by turning the historic city into a mausoleum, transforming it into an open air museum. On the contrary, built heritage: • when is not appreciated and safeguarded, it is threatened by rapid urban development that competes with or covers archaeological remains and historical architecture, changing the historically established or emerged links with the urban fabric; while, • when is neglected, it is facing rapid decline due to conflicts and, mostly, people’s indifference that makes its maintenance and conservation unsustainable. The complexity of the above challenge is further

magnified in Europe, as these complex realities impact historic cities which are now facing acute cohesion challenges of physical, socio-political, and cultural division (Figure 1). Within the above fragile conditions of historic built environments, the integration of existing and ‘other’ cultures, migrants, and settlers is arguably making the management of heritage one of the most pressing challenges, Europe is facing in our era.

Figure 1. Unplanned, half-finished structures that were built by necessity after the war of 1974 in the intra-muros historical city of Nicosia are appropriated by migrant communities. (© G. Artopoulos 2018)

The lack of dialogue among the various communities that appropriate the space of the city, as recognized in literature (Wood and Landry 2008: 174), often leads to the establishment of a hegemonic cultural understanding of the urban environment. This is arguably one of the most pressing challenges of Europe, one that necessitates the creation of opportunities for cross-cultural dialogue. In these conditions, we need to explore how we can leverage the capacities of data-driven co-creation methods and the effective, and inclusive, power of spatial narratives and placemaking, to revisit the notion of cultural values and built heritage, in order to change and achieve more sustainable societies that will be founded on cultural dialogue. In this context the research focuses on the development of ICT-enabled user-driven tools and methods for social resilience and inclusion, with an application in heritage and historic cities.

Collecting Feedback About and Understanding of Urban Heritage Manovich (2001: 193) argues that: “in the information age narration and description have changed roles. If traditional cultures provided people with well-defined narratives (myths, religion) and little ‘stand-alone’ information, today we have too much information and too few narratives which can tie it all together.” The idea behind this research is to utilise a framework of spatially- and contextuallyorganized narratives that rely on data, modelling, and simulation in order to analyze and integrate the spatial understanding of city inhabitants and citizens into relevant digital applications (e.g., virtual environments). This effort builds on an immersive simulated environment that offers opportunities to users for interaction with new media in order for them to explore the transformation of heritage sites through the years – from their construction to present day – in consent with the bodily experience of sojourning in surrounding areas of the city. The application of the concept of gamification (Squire 2011; Steinkuehler, Squire, and Barab 2012) in community design and urban planning is an area of design research that is currently attracting significant attention from architects, civic authorities, and policy makers (cf. http:// blockbyblock.org). It is considered that through the use of interactive visualizations of public space, it can enable participation of local communities and help individuals that are typically excluded to raise their voice. In heritage studies, urban planning, 3D modelling, and virtual reality provide new means for involving citizens in the planning process. The process includes codesign activities and involves citizens in decision-making through


a ballot, using 3D-rendered versions of competing designs. Virtual reality devices, such as real-time 3D-rendering headsets and smartphones, have become accessible to a broad audience, increasing their potential utility beyond specialist settings. Thanks to their immersive nature, virtual reality headsets can provide a tool for supporting decision-making processes in heritage urban planning by virtually placing the observer in the context of the design. 3D rendering in such processes has evolved from expert systems to participatory systems, in which the public is given the opportunity to experience the envisioned design through an immersive visualization. Experimental research suggests that virtual reality can increase public participation in such processes and provide a sufficiently realistic experience to make judgements on the quality of the presented content, instead of paying attention to rendering artefacts (Schrom et al. 2018). The Eastern Mediterranean preserves significant examples of cities whose continuous history can be traced all the way back to Prehistory and Antiquity. In particular, the capital of Cyprus, Nicosia, is considered amongst the most contested urban environments having historically-layered pasts and perplexing present-day realities in Europe. Between 2013 and 2014, the part of the moat outside the

Paphos gate was excavated in an effort led by the Cyprus Department of Antiquities and the Municipality of Nicosia not only to preserve the history of the area and the medieval fortifications, but also to develop and reactivate the neighborhood. This was an area forgotten and abandoned during the last couple of decades due to the gradual movement of the commercial and cultural activities away from the old city center to other parts of Nicosia. The rehabilitation of the historic site of the Paphos gate is directed by the Cyprus Department of Antiquities, with the support of the Municipality of Nicosia, and is co-funded by the EU. The aim of the excavation activity was to unearth and promote the historical continuity of the place from the Middle Ages until today as the gate operated without interruption during the Venetian, Ottoman period and the British rule. The monument of the Paphos Gate is constructed from parts and building material in secondary use, which were sourced during medieval times from other nearby constructions and buildings. The site is considered as the locale of a ‘thick’ slice of the palimpsest of the historic city. Its spatial context comprises: the buffer zone running through the site at its thinnest section, like a thread stretched against the medieval walls at the north side of the area; the Holy Cross Catholic Church of Nicosia, with each side of the building being

Figure 2. The moat of the medieval walls is spatially fragmented and occupied by unrelated and temporary uses and structures. The archaeological site of the Paphos Gate is inaccessible and not integrated in the network of public spaces of the city. (© G. Artopoulos 2014)


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Figure 3. Real-time interactive visualisation of the archaeological site of the Paphos gate, which was documented during excavation. (Š Virtual Environments Lab, CyI 2015)

accessible from the respective part of the city on either side of the buffer zone; a United Nations station overlooking the site and also the Kastelliotisa Hall, which was used in the past as a female convent and was originally part of the Lusignan Palace (13th-14th c.); the police headquarters built on top of the gate – an addition that changed completely the structure and form of the Paphos Gate; and the carcass of the Spitfire Coffee Shop, which was popular among the British soldiers, which is standing next to the gate reminiscent of the final years of British rule on the island. The co-existence of all these topoi of historical activity, the historical transformations of their structures, which are eventually recognized as Nicosia patrimony, together with the contemporary activities of the city (e.g., the privately-run tennis court on the moat, next to the archaeological site), arguably create a fragmented experience of the space for its users (Figure 2). To demonstrate the capacities of the presented methodology, historical inquiries, and monuments of cultural heritage of the historic city of Nicosia were explored by engaging selected stakeholders, such as officers of the Municipality of Nicosia, the Department of Antiquities, architects, historians, and others,

in digital reconstructions and navigations of virtual territories. Historical inquiries and monuments of cultural heritage were presented through integrated multi-media technologies: digital reconstructions and navigations of physical and virtual territories. Methods of digital reconstruction involved photorealistic reconstructions of the missing parts of buildings, constructions and artefacts (Figure 3). The users of this virtual environment were presented with two different models of the area, one that visualized its contemporary building context and one that featured the proposed walking platforms the design of which was developed with input and the participation of local stakeholders (Artopoulos, Charalambous, and Wehmeier, 2019).

Use of Data-Driven Tools for Bringing Historic Cities into the Spatial Web Data-driven methodologies have revolutionized city science and the understanding of the complexity of urban infrastructure (Batty 2013a; 2013b; 2009). Distinct from the transformations that the introduction of computation brought about in urban modelling, planning, and


monitoring (e.g., the smart city concept), it experienced wide resistance in the humanities, where computation was largely considered in the context of the application of digital tools for managing collections of physical artifacts (e.g., digital libraries and databases of archived content) (Charalambous and Artopoulos 2018). In the case of built heritage, since their introduction in heritage studies, digital tools were employed in an effort to digitize and document cultural products of human activities (e.g., structures and artefacts). The objectives of these efforts were mainly the: 1. Documentation for scientific purposes, for example, conducting research on construction method, architectural typology, spatial analysis of built structure. 2. Documentation for preservation of the structure – safeguarding heritage at risk posed from human activities, conflicts, and natural phenomena. Lately, researchers started considering how digital technologies can act as catalysts for engaging people with their urban environment and cultures and therefore with urban

commons. Contextualized in this discourse, this research goes beyond the use of digital tools for the documentation of heritage and explores visualization methodologies for the interpretation of spatial data. It does so by means of computer simulations that help to better study the past in order to explore scenarios for the future (i.e., to understand the impact of a proposed intervention to a monument, site, neighborhood), and inform the relevant stakeholders with quantified data that will allow meaningful and prioritised decision making. An exemplar case of this effort is a methodology created to run a series of evaluation sessions, which were conducted in the context of the COST Action TU1306 Training School ‘Hybrid Heritagescapes as Urban Commons in Mediterranean Cities: accessing the deep-rooted spatial interfaces of cities’, Nicosia, 2017 (Artopoulos 2017). For the purpose of the Training School, the research focused on the act of walking, which can function as a parallel performance of past, present, and future times and its stage is the urban landscape; in so doing, users of the city embody a distinctive relationship with their surroundings. When users of a city

Figure 4. Virtual visits of the historic core of Nicosia with the use of VR goggles in the context of the COST Action TU1306 Training School. (© Virtual Environments Lab, CyI 2017)


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Figure 5. Users of the virtual environment of the city are able to activate features and assets during their exploration of the proposed design solution through the use of the HTC Vive® controllers. (© Virtual Environments Lab, CyI 2016)

explore the built environment, places are ‘actualized’, that is, becoming as in Foucault’s concept of heterotopias (cf. Foucault 1967) like nodes in a network, a territory that emerges out of the synthesis of their paths. Addressing the contemporary urban wandererflâneur, the research creates the possibility of a new narrative flow between events and individuals, between the new and the old, as the methodology described hereafter offers a dynamic understanding of the people in space and captures uncertainties in human body movement in the simulated urban fabric. This builds on the premise that as people move in public spaces that are associated with heritage places or historical events, they assume or exercise identities (Peponis, Zimring, and Choi 1990). Drawing on these concepts, the evaluation session was conducted with a group of 23 individuals. As participants of the Training School, they were acquainted with the challenges, pressing needs, and current discourse in the field of urban studies, modelling, heritage studies, and the application of ICT. In addition to this characteristic of

the group, the combination of various ages, disciplines, and expertise, inclusion of both practitioners and academics, as well as the participation of visitors (of European origin) and local inhabitants of the city, provided the necessary plurality of the targeted group to the evaluation tests (Figure 4). These evaluations were conducted as preliminary tests to check the capacity of the tools and the virtual environment platform (that simulated the historic built environment of the city) to convey the experiences pursued by the research. The structure of the evaluation process included the observation of user interaction in the virtual environment and the collection of feedback by means of a questionnaire. Seventy-five percent of the participants of these sessions were familiar with the site and thus were able to understand the spatial correlation of the historic elements of the spatial narratives between the physical and simulated environments. These historic artifacts and parts of the narrative of the place were organized semantically based on the historical period to which they belong, according to the archaeological study, spanning chronologically from the Frankish


Figure 6. Visualization of the bodily movement of two subjects (top and bottom rows, for each subject) ‘virtually’ walking through the site of study (path depicted in blue lines) during the evaluation sessions, without (left column) and with the proposed walking platforms (right column). Red crosses mark the location of archaeological artefacts and elements of the narratives that are associated with the historical palimpsest of the Paphos Gate area. The coloured fans represent the subject’s direction of sight, and the intensity of the hue visualises the duration of observation towards the point of interest. Histograms illustrate walking pace, proximity to points of interest and frequency of stopping. (© Virtual Environments Lab, CyI 2018)


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period to 16th century, Ottoman, British, and the contemporary times. More than 85% of the participants who virtually visited the planned intervention on the archaeological site and walked on the proposed walking platforms considered positive the impact of the proposed design on the accessibility and its connectivity to the surrounding streets (Figure 5).

The results of this process included the adaptation of walking routes and platforms to the archaeological site. The users moved in space using virtual reality hardware; their positions and gaze were tracked at all times (Artopoulos and Charalambous 2018). This capacity of the tools allowed for: a) the observation and visualization of their movement and gaze in the virtual space before

Figure 7. Preliminary results of the ongoing research activity include the creation of Nicosia time machine: current version has the two datasets of 3D models of the buildings from 1951 and 2014 integrated. (Š Virtual Environments Lab, CyI 2016)


and after the introduction of proposed walking platforms, and b) the recording of the points in space that attracted the interest of the users during the walkthrough (by means of points of stasis and their gaze) – especially of those elements that were associated with the historical narratives and archaeological finds of the excavation (Figure 6).

Discussion The goal of the research presented is to better understand the impact that the cultural identities of the built environment in historic cities have on their inhabitants and in their everyday activities. Running a pilot application for the simulation of urban environments that exhibit failures of their social or territorial cohesion, such as in the case of the Paphos Gate in the divided city of Nicosia, facilitated the exploration of the many ways inhabitants associate with the history of these places, while at the same time, it enabled the analysis of movement data for the urban fabric around monuments of cultural heritage. Concluding, the scope of this methodology was to map particular complexities (i.e., social, operational, organizational) of the studied area and to analyse patterns of movement. This mapping enriches a methodology that enables interaction with design variants for the evaluation of proposed urban interventions (Artopoulos, Gregoriou and Ioannou 2018). The next step for the research is to expand its geographic focus and use the methods presented above (i.e., modelling, simulation, and immersive and interactive visualisation) to cover the territory of the historic core of the city in order to enable stakeholders and local authorities to observe and better understand spatial transformations in the urban fabric of a city, and by doing so to offer new ways 21

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of accessing the complex issues involved in urban development (Figure 7). This broader scope is expected to enable the research to contribute to urban planning and public space management processes, and to existing literature (Hayek et al. 2015; Ishida et al. 2017), in the following aspects: • Information: bringing together technologies of immersion with dynamic simulation practices makes it possible to convey different designs that respond to different situations; • Consultation: it extends the opportunity to inform citizens with the possibility to consult them about the project. Proven user engagement potential of immersive and interactive visualization tools will make sociospatial aspects of the design process and urban space management easier to grasp for nondesign professionals, as well as for expressing opinion and criticism; and, • Cooperation: this requires from the process and the employed tools sophisticated interaction capabilities that allow users to easily collaborate with the other stakeholders of the space. Digital tools for real-time visualization and immersion, and interaction with spatialized information, can be very helpful to support questions visually.

Acknowledgements This research was supported in part by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, project Virtual Research Environment for Regional Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Southeast Europe and Eastern Mediterranean VI-SEEM [675121]. This essay draws from research conducted at the Cyprus Institute by G. Artopoulos and N. Bakirtzis with S. Hermon and Panayiotis Charalambous, in collaboration with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (United States) and Colter Wehmeier. The author wants to acknowledge

the close collaboration of the Cyprus Department of Antiquities; in particular, the director M. SolomidouIeronymidou and archaeological officer P. Christophi, as well as, the support of A. Petridou and A. Papadopoulou from the Municipality of Nicosia.

Journal of Environmental Management 10(1): 15–32. •

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Artopoulos, G. (Ed.) (2018). Hybrid Heritagescapes as Urban Commons in Mediterranean Cities: essays on accessing the deep-rooted spatial interfaces of cities, Cyprus, Nicosia: The Cyprus Institute. Artopoulos, G. and Bakirtzis, N. (2016). “Post-Digital Approaches to Mapping Memory, Heritage and Identity in the City.” In Glenda Caldwell (Ed) Digital Futures and the City of Today, UK: Intellect Books: 139-156. Artopoulos, G., and Charalambous, P., (2018). ‘Analysis of Spatio-Temporal Data in Virtual Historic Spaces,’ in International Conference on Artificial Reality and Telexistence Eurographics Symposium on Virtual Environments, edited by Gerd Bruder, Shunsuke Yoshimoto, and Sue Cobb, Eurographics Proceedings, Eurographics Association: ACM Library: 9-12. doi:10.2312/egve.20181308. Artopoulos, G., Charalambous P., and Wehmeier, C., (2019). ‘Immersive Computing and Crowd Simulation Techniques in Modelling Urban Commons: The Case of Nicosia-Cyprus,’ in International Journal of E-Planning Research (IJEPR), Vol 8(1): 35-49 DOI: 10.4018/IJEPR.2019010103 Artopoulos, G., Gregoriou, Ch., Ioannou, Ch., ‘Immersive Design Practices: From Virtual to Real Space and Back. The Case of Reactivating the Paphos Gate’, in the Proceedings of the 4th Biennial of Architectural and Urban Restoration, BRAU4 host of the Itinerant Congress Hidden Cultural Heritage: Under Water, Under Ground and Within Buildings (Italy: CICOP Italia, 2018): 63-72.

Atkinson, R., Willis, P. (2009). Transparent cities: Reshaping the urban experience through interactive video game simulation. City, 13(4): 403-417.

Batty, M. (2013a). Big Data, Smart Cities and City Planning. Dialogues in Human Geography 3(3): 274–279. DOI:10.1177/2043820613513390.

Batty, M. (2013b). The New Science of Cities. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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Kontkanen, J., Kärkkäinen, S., Dillon, P., HartikainenAhia, A., and Åhlberg, M. (2016). ‘Collaborative processes in species identification using an internetbased taxonomic resource’, in International Journal of Science Education, Vol. 38, 1.

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Peeters, Paul, Stefan Gössling, Jeroen Klijs, Claudio Milano, Marina Novelli, Corné Dijkmans, Eke Eijgelaar, Stefan Hartman, Jasper Heslinga, Rami Isaac, Ondrej Mitas, Simone Moretti, Jeroen Nawijn, Bernadett Papp and Albert Postma, (2018). Research for TRAN Committee - Overtourism: impact and possible policy responses, European Parliament Think Tank, http://www.europarl.europa. eu/thinktank/en/document.html?reference=IPOL_ STU(2018)629184, accessed 11 December 2018.

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Schrom-Feiertag, Helmut, Lorenz Florian, Regal, Georg, and Settgast, Volker, (2018). Augmented and Virtual Reality Applied for Innovative, Inclusive and Efficient Participatory Planning’, AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, Vienna.

Smaniotto Costa, C., Martínez, A. B., Álvarez, F.J., Šuklje-Erjavec, I., Menezes, M. & Pallares-Barbera, M. (2017). Digital Tools for Capturing User’s Needs on Urban Open Spaces: Drawing Lessons from Cyberparks Project. In: Oliveira, E. (Ed.) Citizen Empowerment and Innovation in the Data-Rich City, Cham: Springer: 177-193.

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Van Leeuwen, Jos P., Jylhä, Antti, and Jan Quanjer, Arnold (2019). ‘Effectiveness of Virtual Reality in Participatory Urban Planning’, The Hague University of Applied Sciences The Hague, The Netherlands.

Wetzel, R., Blum, L., Feng, F., Oppermann, L. & Straeubig, M. (2011). Tidy City: a locationbased game for city exploration based on usercreated content. Mensch and Computer 2011: überMEDIEN|ÜBERmorgen. Munich, Germany: Universitäts verlag der TU Chemnitz.

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Heritage is anything that helps us collectively to better understand the present and think of our future. Co-occupation and co-usage of resources is where digital technologies of interaction and inclusive data management should be invested in order to promote the role of heritage as a driver for the social sustainability of a smart city.



The Form Is in the Code

To watch Jonathan Keep’s talk on YouTube, please scan the above QR Code.


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JONATHAN KEEP Jonathan Keep is an independent practicing artist potter and a leading exponent of studio-based ceramic 3D printing. His ceramics are recognizable for a strong sculptural quality and emphasis on form. The shapes of his pots are generated in computer code. He has developed this working process out of an interest in the way computer code can mimic natural codes, patterns, and growth structures. A graduate of the Royal College of Art, London, he lives in Suffolk ,UK, and exhibits, lectures, and undertakes artist residencies and workshops internationally. Keep initiated the widely popular â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Make Your Own Ceramic 3D Printerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; project.


Thank you for the introduction, I have been very lucky with my career, but then you make your own luck. On the screen, running during this introduction have been three videos that sum up this presentation. The first is me throwing on the pottery wheel. I am a maker and artist. The right-hand video of plant growth represents the relationship between us humans and nature out there â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the same nature and growth that I believe is within us. And then in the middle, the computer-generated vase animation illustrates how for the last 17/18 years I have made use of digital computation. I have made use of the new and emerging toolsets computers offer to explore this relationship between making and the natural world. I was born in South Africa and the next two slides illustrate how my formative years growing up in this environment established my world view. There were two critical factors. First, cultural difference, as illustrated by this work made by Zulu peoples (Figure 1). I was colonial white, my parents came from Britain in an apartheid South Africa. So absolutely molding 27

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my attitude to art-making is an embarrassment of the colonial imperialism of European culture. I was studying in a white university in South Africa, I was studying European art. Doing a fine art course, your primary choices were to be a painter or a sculptor. So how was I to make sense of this indigenous work that I saw alongside me? This work would be classified as craft within the canons of contemporary Western art and it is my understanding in Britain that so often is seen as a lesser artform than fine art. Culturally, you just cannot start making these differentiations. This is the creative work of this culture; Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m slowing down to make this point because I think we need to be very aware of cultural difference. Culture is inevitably a human construct and there must be respect, understanding, and tolerance of difference. What this did for me is that I was always a more three-dimensional person. Sculpture was the obvious route for me to take but I was interested in pottery. I chose to call myself an artist potter where I consider pottery as a sculptural media, that is absolutely universal. I talk about the language of pots, an art form that

Figure 1. Objects made by Zulu people, South Africa, photos 1982

might not sit highly in the canons of European Western art but I am comfortable knowing that I am working in a creative artform that is universal to almost every culture in the world. This next slide represents the other big early influence. Yes, that is me, aged about eight. The Rhino I am standing next to is not dead, it has been drugged, mobilized, and will have been relocated as part of ‘Save the White Rhino.’ My father was a veterinary surgeon working for a wildlife preservation board out in South Africa so I grew up in an African game reserve. The result of this, not surprising in my view, is to have developed a world view based on evolution and ecology. I had an upbringing that clearly highlighted for me the problems of cultural imperialism and religious dogmatism. Nature, culture, and belief are a constant undercurrent in my creative practice.

These next slides help to explain why I got into using computation in pottery. I am interested in how computer modelling is being used to gain a better understanding of our natural world. This slide represents a morphology of embryos with the name of the animal along the bottom. While each embryo is very similar to begin with over time, they develop into different shapes. This is a form of coding and materialization, isn’t it? So you have a genetic code that forms very similar embryos, but that code is different and you get different forms coming out over time. I am interested in how from apparently simple systems we get complexity. This is a photograph of soap bubbles and here my interest is in the logic of the minimum surface. I really like these things and find them beautiful. I’m guessing you probably do, too. What’s going on that there is this common



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awareness of the beauty of this curve and this surface? My explanation is that our aesthetic appreciation has evolved out of the same system that has created the morphology of embryonic growth and the optimization of the soap bubble surface. Here I am drawing from the work being done in evolutionary psychology. So an appreciation of the nature out there has evolved from the wilderness that is inside us. I lived in the African wilderness, but I’ve come to realize now living in Europe that the same wilderness is inside me and each of us.

Figure 2. Studio, Knodishall, Suffolk, 2016

So as Tom (Lauerman) introduced earlier on, I make my own equipment. This is a photograph of my studio (Figure 2). I hold my hands up, I do enjoy all the techie stuff, but it is the combination with a sensitive use of material, the making process, and whatever content I intend to express within the art work. Tom picked up on something during a workshop yesterday saying how I referred to my large clay 3D printer in my studio as an instrument. Yes, it is a machine and many have spoken about how the 3D printer is just another tool for the creative artist to use. I build these things, I understand them, I code what gets put into them. I’m really interested in music. We do not refer to a piano or a wind instrument as a machine or a tool. I would like to think that the way I use technology is to integrate it into the creative process with 31

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understanding, so it becomes an instrument with which to express myself. As you can see at the top of this slide the date is 1999 (Figure 3). This was the first time I started using computation in my work. I was one of a group of 10 artists who were commissioned to produce a CD-Rom about our artistic practice. Commissioned by Suffolk County Council Library Service, they thought that the way to view this new multimedia content would be on a CD Rom, sitting at a computer in a library. This helps illustrate just how fast these technologies are developing. This was pre-fast internet. It helps put into context just where our rather primitive clay 3D printing might be in a further 18 years time. This was the first time that I started using 3D modelling programs and was fascinated by how you can manipulate threedimensional forms on screen. I found using the multimedia technology really interesting, you could give a heightened experience to your viewers, but it was a different sort of experience. I was very pleased to get back into the reality of my studio and actually get back to the physicality of the material at the end of the project. The brief of the project was not only to produce an artwork for the public to appreciate, but we were also asked to explore the creative possibilities of the technology in relationship to our artistic practice. It was the first time I really started using symmetry, or that I became aware of its aesthetic importance. Working on the pottery wheel with its spinning-mirror symmetry, I had unthinkingly been working with symmetries all the time. It took the CD-Rom project to get me to reflect back on my previous practice. I began to look more at evolutionary psychology and possibly why symmetries are important within our aesthetics. So as I was saying with the soap bubble curve, I’m not talking about it just as a design element, an objective graphic, but I’m interested in how

I would like to think that the way I use technology is to integrate it into the creative process with understanding, so it becomes an instrument with which to express myself.

all human sensibility reacts to these natural phenomena – it’s what the viewer brings to it in a very subjective way. At one level, it is formal and objective, but I am now talking about the subjective connectedness to these natural phenomena. There were three things that this experience of working in virtual reality highlighted for me. Firstly, there is no scale. You can just zoom in and out. It made me think about how in the real

world, we judge scale from our own physical body size. So I started making pots that are called handheld pots. The next scale was around the size of someone’s head, or the size of a pot you might rest in your lap, lap pots. Finally the large scale floor pieces. These are very much related to the viewer’s own full body size. From this experience I became so much more aware of the importance of thinking about scale in my work.

Figure 3. The Language of Pots, CD-ROM project, Suffolk Library Services, 1999


The second realization, which is closely related to the first point, was the importance of physicality and materiality in the things that I make. We are physical beings and we experience and appreciate the world through touch and other senses that are not fulfilled in a virtual world. The third thing was a lack of orientation because there is no gravity. Virtual forms have a weightlessness and what was top and bottom? There was a realization that working in physical materials, they have a weight to them and the viewer has an expectation of what to expect. Most ceramic vessels are quite base-heavy because clay is a heavy material and it has to support itself as it is built up. I rather liked how working in virtual reality you didn’t need a large base and forms could float and spin in this weird space. So you can see how I became conscious of how my objects sat in relation to the surface, to the extent of actually suspending some pieces.And, again, it made me think more about how the viewer relates to and understands an object’s materiality. The next project that explored materiality and computing was a residency in Denmark that led on from the CD-Rom project. I am dyslexic. During my schooling in the 60s and 70s in South Africa, dyslexia was a word that I’d never heard of. Unfortunately it’s not uncommon to pass this onto your children and one of my daughter’s is also dyslexic. It was picked up at her junior school and it was then that I became fully aware of my condition. So my daughter and I worked on dyslexic programs together and one of them was a computer-based typing program to help with spelling. In essence, rather than relying on memory recall – so often the weakness of dyslexics – to come up with the spelling of words, this program trained muscle memory on the keyboard. This experience led me into looking at kinds of intelligences. This is obviously now getting into educational theory 33

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where up to nine different kinds of intelligence have been recognised. We tend to only think of linguistic intelligence and numerical intelligence – reading, writing, and arithmetic. But there’s also musical, bodily-kinesthetic, intra-personal, naturalist, interpersonal, existential, and spatial intelligence. As a maker, my bodily-kinesthetic intelligence is so much better than my linguistic intelligence, or put another way I am possibly a maker because of this. For this Danish residency my proposal was to work on my spatial intelligence – my strength – to visualize in 3D, which is not uncommon in dyslexics. My proposal was to use computer 3D modelling programs to attune my eye to new shapes and forms (Figure 4). In ceramics the making technique tends to influence the form – round wheel-thrown forms, straight-sided slab made forms, or more organic coil-built forms. With 3D modelling software, there is not this restriction and shapes can be changed and manipulated so much easier than in the clay studio. Shapes can be cut and pasted, distorted, flipped in orientation, manipulated numerically; it opened up a whole new vocabulary of forms for me. The premise was to use the software not as a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) tool but as a tool to explore ideas and to take me to places – conceptually – I would not otherwise go to when working in a conventional manner. As with the dyslexia computer program that improved my spelling ability by using my bodilykinesthetic intelligence, rather than linguistic intelligence, I was interested to see how computer software could improve my spatial visualization intelligence and conceptualisation of sculptural form. As time moved on, I was collecting more and more stuff in my computer. I had work that consisted as 3D digital files but not as physical objects. I wanted to get this work out of my computer and into the real world as physical objects. The logic was to use 3D printing.

Figure 4. Software as Visualising tool, Guldagergaard, Denmark, 2002

This was in 2007, before the explosion of fablabs and the hype of tabletop 3D printing. High end, expensive 3D printers existed, but I wanted equipment that I could have in my studio, to stand next to the pottery wheel. A search brought up Professor Adrian Bowyer at Bath University in the UK who was developing the RepRap (self-replicating) 3D printer. I contacted him about the possibility of his DIY machine printing with clay. His reply was that it probably could but to do the development would require a thorough understanding of computer engineering and computer coding. I had neither skill. I did, however, decide it was time to begin to learn computer coding. I found Processing, which is a java-based format developed for creatives to get into computer code. Conceived as an open-source community-based project,

Processing was just what I was looking for. I managed to get myself a drawing residency using code to draw with. My approach has always been to keep the code as simple as possible but, through iteration, to see what complexity can be achieved. This dichotomy of complexity based in simplicity is central to my work. For example in the Double Doodle, or Bug drawings (Figure 5), I code a pixel to wander off across the screen (in the spirit of Paul Klee taking a line for a walk) and after a random distance, it dies and returns to the body of the drawing and then starts again. I then mirror this left and right, a double doodle that is a dyslexic exercise for training left, right brain coordination. Once I say to you that these are nicknamed my bug drawings, you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t see them as anything else but bugs. This gets back


Figure 5. Double Doodle, Bug – digital drawing, 2008

to that objective/subjective thing: at one level they are just random drawings but because of our psychological makeup, we want to make sense of them and we read them as something, bugs. Anyway, I kept watching the Internet in the hopes of finding a ceramic 3D printer that I could use in my studio. Then towards the end of 2010, this appeared on Google searches. In the blue shirt is Dries Verbruggen and over on the far side is Claire Warnier who [together] make up Unfold, a design duo based in Antwerp, Belgium. They were the first to really crack DIY extrusion clay 3D printing. I contacted them, went and visited, and we’ve established a friendship and worked together since then. I copied their system to begin with, that was an Adrian Bowyer kit now available from a startup company in Somerset, UK. Sold for plastic printing, we would buy the flat pack kit and put it together replacing the plastic printhead with a clay filled syringe pressurized from an air compressor. We had the first computer-guided coil building machines. Now to talk a little about the different series of my work. So this is a Sound Surface piece, titled 35

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“Benjamin Britten’s Four Sea Interludes” (Figure 6). I live in the same landscape where the British composer Benjamin Britten did when he was composing his opera Peter Grimes. I’ve taken the four interludes from the opera and put them onto the four vase forms. The vase form is generated as a virtual mesh in computer code, like building a pot in coils of clay, from base to rim. If I run the vase generation in silence, each vase would be the same size and the same shape. So the differentiation you can see is the difference in the quality of the sound affecting the texture of the surface and the circumference of the profile. The slight difference in height is the difference in the length of the interlude. What I find interesting is that Britten is evoking seascape in this music as much as landscape and I would like to think there is something of this character in my vases. Offering visual quality to sound is something I want to explore further. I am interested to see whether there is some visual correlation between human music and animal or bird sounds. In these vases, on the left is the call of a song thrush and the right is a piece of music by Bach. This project needs a lot more work on it and really needs to be a collaboration with somebody who understands the structure of musical.

Figure 6. Sound Surface - Benjamin Britten, Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes, porcelain and glaze, 2014

The Iceberg series are made of unglazed porcelain so you can see the layering of the material (Figure 7). The surface is generated out of Perlin noise that is a mathematical function. Perlin noise is also used to generate landscapes in computer graphics. It is a form of randomness, but the randomness is always in relationship – bracketed – by the randomness that has come just before it. What really intrigues me here is how the Perlin noise is giving me the same surface as the surface of degrading or melting ice, or eroding earth. There is a correlation of the computation pattern and the natural pattern. In the content of the work I’m talking about how we are dealing with our environment, about the potentially of global warming. Then in the material, I’m using porcelain to talk about the translucency of it and ice. In the making process the clay is laid

down in layers like icebergs are layered. So in these pieces, my material, my process, and the computation comes together to reinforce the content of the artistic expression.

Figure 7. Iceberg Field - porcelain, 2012


This morphology of forms has been generated from one relatively simple piece of code using the spherical harmonics function (Figure 8). I code in sliders for each of the eight parameters of the function so when I run the code, I can easily change the shape of the virtual 3D mesh that is generated and save each iteration. These saved 3D files are scaled to real-world dimensions and further processed in other software ready for 3D printing. Once printed, pieces are dried, fired, and glazed in a conventional ceramic manner. So in the slide, start top left and you can see how I’ve evolved the shape going across to the right. I’ve then also evolved the shape coming down top to bottom. And so inevitably on the diagonal you get the complexity that’s happening, particularly down bottom right. At one level, it is a formal experiment but then at another level, I can

Figure 8. Seedbed - porcelain, 2012


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say consider this as an idea and you can start to understand how ideas or you can visualize how ideas generate and spread and become complex. Or, you can think about it as your own life, starting from the simplicity of your early childhood and then the experiences that you pick up through your life. It is not surprising that we develop into these complex beings down the bottom. I tend not to get invited to exhibit my work in ceramic shows, particularly in the UK. This piece I was invited to show at Ars Electronica, a digital arts festival in Linz, Austria. The festival was delighted to have some physical objects rather than screen-based stuff. It’s a bit of a turn about to be shunned by your own community but accepted by others.

Figure 9. Ant series - CONT{R}ACT EARTH, Henan Museum, China, 2016/17

For this series, I was invited to participate in the Chinese Ceramic Biennale at the Henan museum. I have a friend who studies ants in Nottingham and he had got me interested in swarm behaviors and emergent design. My display in the exhibition consisted of three groups of work. First, there were the bug drawings, or in this case they were reworked to become ant drawings. As well as 2D-printed versions, I had a digital screen running of the coded drawing animation. Lower right is a second group of work, or Anthills. These pieces are 50-70 centimeters high and the coloration is as a result of different colored clays being used in the 3D printing. The texture on these is using the Perlin noise again. My Nottingham friend is an architectural engineer and he is studying anthills to

understand how without any one designer an anthill gets built in such a way that the queen ant and the garden where they grow their food is kept at a constant temperature in a hot Indian or South American or African climate. He and others are looking as to how these structures evolve so the ventilation works so well. Their current theory is that an ant randomly goes off and gets a bit of clay or earth and puts it on the edge of the construction that will become the anthill. The heat that is rising out of the ant nest below will pass over that edge and will dry the fresh clay. Other ants will either go off and get some more clay to continue the process or as they move around they test the edge and if the edge is still soft, their instinct is to lift the lump and deposit it somewhere else. So the algorithm for the emergent design is that clay that is in the correct place gets stiffened up by


the rising heat and is left in place. Clay that isn’t in the correct place remains a little bit softer and gets moved in a random fashion to be left in the correct position. It’s all about the process and the system and not a grand plan. As a maker, I think this is really, really interesting. For somebody interested in coding and systems, all the more so. The third series to my ant display is called “Langton’s Ant.” Mr. Langton is a mathematician and theoretician working around game theory and chance. This is the Wikipedia page for this thought experiment. You populate a checkerboard with black and white squares and then you put your ant on it, your virtual ant. If the square is black, your ant turns right and moves forward on to the next square. The square changes to white and so the process continues. The ant turns left on white squares, right on black squares, moving one square forward after the turn and the square just left turns to the opposite color. The experiment is to see what emerges out of this simple set of rules. What is really interesting is you get a chaotic pattern happening (on the left-hand side illustration) but after a period of time, after a number of generations and depending on the seeding of the original checkerboard the ant gets into a never-ending looping pattern (illustrated right). The point is to see what emerges out of very simple chance experiments. So what I did was to get the coding for this normal two-dimensional visualization and coded it up into three dimensions. So if the ant goes back over a square that it has been on before, the visualization grows a block taller. The result being that something called Langton’s Ant by chance, and chance being the point of the exercise, actually grows anthills forms. The video now running offers you a visualization of the process. The Langton Ant series you can see to the left in the exhibition installation. 39

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To finish off, I will show some other projects that I have been involved in that are concerned with this theme of ‘materiality & computing.’ This was a project in collaboration with Dries and Claire of UNFOLD and it was initiated by them. Their premise was to explore the individuality that still remains while using digital tools. Too often machines are considered to be for mass production and that they take out the human element. The point was that it is possible to retain individuality. UNFOLD had this range of digitally-designed ceramic cups, bowls, plates, and a vase. They then shared the 3D files with a group of us who were ceramic 3D printing at the time. The brief was to all use the same files but to allow the character of the individual studio to come through. The different clays, different firing temperatures, different glazes, and our different ceramic 3D-printing equipment all conspired to offer individual works from the same original computer files. For this project, I was invited by the Materials Library of Burg-Halle University, Germany, to run a 3D printing course with self-build 3D printers. The aim was to explore 3D printing with as many different materials as we could, using the basic pressurised extrusion glue gun-type printhead. The top left image illustrates trying to work in wax that was really was problematic. Wax needs to be kept warm to flow through the system. Top right was printing with wood pulp. A master’s student was working on this and she wouldn’t tell us what her wood pulp consisted of as that was her thesis, but she was going to publish it before long anyway! We surmise it was probably just sawdust and PVA and it 3D printed pretty well. Bottom left is an image of cookie dough being printed and then it was baked and we eat the cookies. Bottom right is a snowflake 3D digital file printed in silicon, the stuff a builder would seal around your bath with. Once that goes off, it makes it really nice material. And finally exploring different

Figure 10. Transaction Project - Glass Clay Project, Sweden - Charlie Stern, UNFOLD, 2015

materials in these primitive DIY extrusion 3D printers. If you get invited to build a chocolate 3D printer for a museum in Zurich and to work with a Swiss chocolate company, you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t say no.

need students who are very computer literate. You can see how in these projects, in their different ways computers are offering new ways of working with materials and the design and creation of objects.

These are images from a course that I ran in Denmark. For a week we worked with 3D students from ceramic and glass and with sound art students. There were five groups, each of four or five students, and the objective was to go from sound to 3D and back again as many times as you could during the week. The digital medium became the common format to try and either give three dimensional form to sound or to make sound from a 3D form. This was a really nice project but hard work. The problem is having the computer programs, the digital tools to do a project like this. Then you also

This is a collaboration I have with the scientist Enrico Coen who is an evolutionary botanist. He has a research laboratory in the John Innes Centre at Norwich University in the UK. Enrico works on plant morphology. The images, left represents the work in this field done by Victorian scientist Dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;arcy Thompson. He theorized, like working in Photoshop, how shapes might have been pulled and pushed over time through natural selection to evolve into the variety of shapes we know today, such as in this example of a fish shapes. Enrico had this theory that it was more to do


with directional polarity in each cell. He got a computer programmer to build a program that would mimic his theory of plant growth dependant on each cell and it proves his theory correct. I heard about this on the radio and asked if I could visit his research group to explore this software, but as a creative artist/ sculptor. I am interested to use the system to ‘grow’ new forms. I’ve actually had some of the best conversations about the way material and process affects the final outcome with Enrico, a scientist and not an artist.

positive of the forms, the translucency, and opaqueness of the materials and inside and outside of the objects. You know how I spoke earlier about the language of pots. In these works the language of glaze and clay body remain but now I can control the forms to get a bit of space between glass and clay. This then enables me to play with the light that refracts on passing through the glass to produce patterns on the clay surface. These are traditional pottery forms but made in new ways and exploring new ideas.

What I am highlighting here is how the use of computers and computation becomes a common sort of technique, language to collaborate with other art forms and with the sciences.

So thank you very much and I leave you with this statement -

This last series of slides represent collaborative work I have done with glass making (Figure 10). In the blue shirt is Charlie Stern a glass artist who works in Sweden and who initiated this project. The project was for design duo Unfold, Dries and Claire, myself with clay knowledge and himself, glass to spend a period at Konstfack Art School in Stockholm researching the use of digital techniques with clay and glass. Then we had a period at the Glass Factory Museum in the South Eastern Swedish region of Småland where we did a short batch production of pieces. It is 3D-printed unglazed ceramic with glass blown into it. Teaching in Limoges, France, I have had the opportunity to continue combining clay and glass. For this work, I have picked up on experiments we did in Stockholm but did not continue at the time. I 3D print waste ceramic molds that the glass blower then blows into. By doing this, I can control the shape of the blown glass and then print further ceramic elements so I combine the two materials. I am interested to play with that duality of the negative and


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However difficult all the technical stuff is, the real challenge is to do something significant with it.



Interface for Dry Lake Design

To watch Alexander Robinson’s talk on YouTube, please scan the above QR Code.


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ALEXANDER ROBINSON Alexander Robinson is a landscape architect and design scholar. He is an assistant professor in the Landscape Architecture & Urbanism program at the University of Southern California School of Architecture and principal of the Office of Outdoor Research in Los Angeles, California. His last book, co-authored with Liat Margolis, Living Systems: Innovative Materials and Technologies for Landscape Architecture (Birkhäuser, 2007), is a best-selling treatise on landscapes as material performance systems. His recent design and scholarly research into the design of landscape infrastructures, such as the Los Angeles River and Owens Lake, has been featured in the press, multiple books, and exhibitions. In 2015, he was awarded the American Academy in Rome, Prince Charitable Trust Rome Prize. His upcoming book, The Spoils of Dust: Reinventing the Lake that Made Los Angeles on the Owens Lake will be published in Fall 2018 (AR+D). Robinson received his bachelorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s degree from Swarthmore College and his Master of Landscape Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.


INTRODUCTION Today all new dust controls built at Owens Lake are in some way touched by landscape architecture. For a few people who have worked on the lake for decades, it is a remarkable turn of events, long in coming.1 The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has embarked on its extraordinary Master Project: a landscape architecture-assisted plan to redesign the lake’s more than 40 square miles of dust controls.2 Far beyond just controlling dust, the plan is to significantly reduce water use while sweetening the reduction with increased and more efficient public trust values. This lacustrine “optimization” is just now underway, with a number of projects designed by landscape architects already implemented.3 While foreground elements, such as NUVIS Landscape Architecture’s corten steel-clad Plover Wing Plaza or AHBE’s sculptural bird blinds are unassailably effective – and awardwinning – landscape architecture interventions, I believe there remain substantial questions about how landscape architecture operates and is successful within the greater expanse of the landscape, in the visual and logistical terrain I call the middle ground. Besides NUVIS’s elaborate and semi-performative “Whitecaps” 45

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installations, the work in this “ground” is less apparent and less obviously successful; the results warrant further investigation into the craft of this critical, yet intermediate, terrain that constitutes the bulk of the actual built landscape. Outside the designated “plazas” and “trailheads,” the effective influence of landscape architecture is inconsistent in ways that confound easy explanation. Designs are hindered by a terrain that is both perceptually and operationally complex. Are deficiencies the product of limited discernment or the LADWP’s unwillingness to deviate from economies of dust control? Or is it a problem of design craft and our ability to control these constraints? In some cases, new designs have simply been erased, physically and perceptually, by the harsh dynamics of the lake’s environment. Not only is the LADWP’s proudly playful “Tweet Tweet” geoglyph now gone, but all of its surrounding islands are as well. In some cases, such as cell T-28, a hybrid cell redesigned by landscape architects StudioMLA, large-scale designs have achieved a tangible, if subtle, improvement over the previous conditions. While still framed by the

original linear roads, the large, more curvilinear interior cell divisions and compositions of gravel and water offer a welcome relief from the drama of the lake’s industrial geometry. Its muscular form and use of simple material appear to be more than a mere garnish to the original cells and are also suited to the lake’s harsh weather. Even if the final shape was partially a by-product of some late-in-the-process constraints and revisions, here it is not easy to separate the strands of the lake’s different agendas and practices, nor does one appear to hold court at the cost of the others. While it remains to be seen how well each performs – particularly the water-wise habitat – operational, ecological, and experiential imperatives appear to have coalesced into a synthetic fabric suited for large expanses. While this area and other work done by landscape architects throughout the lake are commendable, for such mild success (at great financial cost) to be remarkable, underscores the need for further inquiry. For most visitors, the hybrid areas (water, gravel, and vegetation mixed together) are unassailable improvements over the previous industrial design, yet it is difficult to know the extent to which these designs have succeeded or failed, particularly when the aesthetic conditions have no precedent and are not well celebrated. Are the new designs extraordinary achievements, in the face of the extraordinary constraints? Given the major fixed elements, such as road geometry and the landscape’s overriding scale and flatness, there is little certainty that revisions will ever be aesthetically exemplary. Were the designs limited by the designer’s imaginative craft or by the innumerable parameters, operations, and existing conditions that limit design? It is perhaps impossible to ever really know, but I believe there are sensible reasons to think that we can, at least, improve our design craft of Owens Lake, without simply expending

more resources. While certain conditions are required for better design (such as self-interest or a mandate to engage landscape architecture), I would claim that the current success or failure of landscape architecture at Owens Lake now hinges on two basic elements of practice, each of which could likely be improved. As espoused throughout this book, the first is knowledge of the lake’s architecture of experience, particularly as it relates to operational considerations and environmental phenomena. Its study should direct design towards interventions that elegantly combine aesthetic impact and operational efficiency. Only with a robust, articulated, and balanced understanding of subjective experience on the lake can landscape architects design, communicate, and advocate for their accommodation amidst the lake’s many other consequential parameters of design. The second is the quality of our design engagement with engineering practices – both ecological and operational – which has often been limited, or even at cross purposes. Landscape architecture, while officially and courteously welcomed, is treated warily by the lake’s managers. For engineers already working within elaborate habitat and dust control requirements, the inclusion of landscape architecture could not but be seen as a source of more operational complexity. With such a formidable existing scope and massive investments in operations, there is little interest in changing basic practices or adding new material systems (which both require special care and associated maintenance resources). The collaboration with landscape architects has therefore largely consisted of dictating the ratios of dust control types (for reduced water use and increased habitat, presumably) and then ensuring that any design or additional


Outside the designated ‘plazas’ and ‘trailheads,’ the effective influence of landscape architecture is inconsistent in ways that confound easy explanation.

features matched and did not further complicate existing operations. Meanwhile, landscape architects were given no special provisions to adapt practices to the peculiar challenges posed by the project. Their job was supposed to be simple: make the landscape more natural, and design within the geographical and operational boundaries both described and implicit. Yet, perversely, the more engineering and ecological conditions are constrained and therefore stifle design (as automatically induced by the scale and multidisciplinary nature of Owens Lake), the more the situation begs for an exceptionally imaginative and technical collaboration. To fashion an effective aesthetic within our most strictly utilitarian (and thus often alienating) landscapes and management structures demand advanced collaborative design work. Infrastructure landscapes, like Owens Lake, are often so radically reinvented by engineering imperatives that normative landscape practices of aesthetic adornment or obfuscation are rarely sufficient. A landscape architect must learn to both strategically accommodate and challenge engineering requirements. He or she must leverage the formal qualities of the existing landscape, engineered and not, while also intimately plumbing an often-arcane engineering solution space for new flexibility or new aesthetic directions. Even with exceptional design investigations, the challenge is further compounded by outcomes that likely stray from popular aesthetics. For example, if Owens Lake can never resemble nature, is the constituent public prepared 47

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for a radical compromise? What constitutes a significant improvement to the current utilitarian design?4 And fundamentally, what, of the landscape, is even reasonably sensible to the public? Success is therefore contingent on a designer’s dual ability to be facile within highly constrained technocratic solution spaces, while also negotiating the limits of the public’s perception and aesthetics for flat, engineered, saline landscapes. The specialized design research project presented in this chapter attempts to address the dual diagnosis of Owens Lake landscape architecture design. It does so with an explicit focus on the middle ground, where the challenges are exemplified, and, I argue, are the most significant and least addressed. Here I experiment with the design craft of this expansive “trunk” of the landscape, where operations and parameters of water, dust, and ecology rule, yet still remain subject to our natural vision and embodied experience. Improvements to the middle ground, the largest, most design-stifled territory, will never be as elaborate as foreground installations, yet by virtue of its scale and scope, they are destined to be more determinative of what the lake ultimately is, to us and to other organisms. To this end, the following Rapid Landscape Prototyping Machine (RLPM) presents an advanced design framework for more rigorous and multivalent “dry” lake design. Perhaps counterintuitively, the machine’s technological features seek to empower subjective and synthetic design within technocratic terrain. The project aspires to a more advanced, imaginative, and open-ended design craft

where it is most constrained and lacking. The research, as described here, consists of two parts: an experimental design interface for Owens Lake and a public outreach exhibit, “Greetings from Owens Lake.” It must be noted that this design research does not propose actual alternative designs to the lake’s dust controls, though some examples are presented. Rather, its primary purpose is to argue for a different approach and problem representation for dry lake design and similarly large and complex landscape infrastructures. Unlike “paper” project proposals for the lake, the work is a practice of integration rather than reinvention; it’s rooted in the collective nature of the lake’s design and embraces the sociopolitical parameters present (if not always recognized). While some might suggest that even designing dry lakes at all is akin to “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic,” I believe my (and others’’) emphasis on a sophisticated synthetic practice can help guide us to more robust, imaginative, and even resilient ends, with implications far exceeding aesthetic improvements.5

INTERFACES: DEFINING HUMAN TECHNOLOGY RELATIONS In recent years, the interface has been recognized as a significant societal agent with a pervasive “spectral” influence on our society and our world.6 Broadly defined, it is the point where two systems meet and interact; a crossroads and exchange between different subjects and logics, commonly human and technological. As emphasized in professional trades with the moniker “User Experience” (UE), the prevalent interface of our time translates the control and output of a technical system into a sensorial and interactive experience. It gives an abstract computational logic an ergonomic handle by which we know and wield it. The interface’s relevance and effect on society (and the built environment) has risen in proportion to advances in computation and communication technology. In the last few decades, both the power of the tools and the sophistication of their interfaces have exponentially increased.






Figure 1. Early conceptual diagram for Owens Lake design interface integrating sand modeling, numerical analysis, and experiential simulation


As an interface arbitrates our relations with critical tools and instruments, it also is a hidden gatekeeper for our relations to the world in general. It implicates us with the technologic assemblies that now condition and control ever-growing portions of society and the built environment. As it becomes an ever more essential tool for human agency, is also becomes an important – if limited – conduit for impressing human sensibilities and cognitions on the world. The conditions of our interfacial interaction increasingly determine how our authorship and “humanity” is manifest (or not) in everything we do or control.7 The design of Owens Lake, like many engineered and technology-reliant systems today, leans on the quality of its interface with various specialized tools and technical representations of the landscape. With major ecological and societal stakes, we invest in specialized modeling to predict critical parameters of performance for each design alternative. Designs are numerically scored and computational tools, such as computational economic analysis, help determine ideal solutions. The process is still guided by a forum of human agents, but any outcome is implicitly affected by our interface with tools that imagine the future lake with a nearly exclusive emphasis on critical, yet highly synoptic parameters of cost, habitat value, and water use. The dominance and breadth of numerical representations in infrastructure design has created a distorted image of the lake, if only by prismatic omission. The common technocratic approach creates a “solution space” largely blind to the inevitable dimensions of subjectivity. It leaves the promiscuous effect and power of human experience and aesthetics perilously unconsidered, unintegrated, and underutilized.8 Values that should be allied with design are made extraneous or secondary, setting them up, by neglect, as 49

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points of conflict. Adherence to these numerical synopses also limits human imagination and insight in the design process; it indulges a fragile determinism and excludes other forms of cognition useful in these unorthodox challenges. By focusing on the interface, we shift how and what we relate to these markers, without disregarding their hegemony and ultimate utility. The composition of the interface, whether recognized or not, mediates between human judgment and our most powerful objective assessments. It can preserve their integrity, but nonetheless influence how they condition our design and decision-making. For example, with an improved, more cognizant interface, critical, yet often reductive parameters – such as water use – can be presented in a more relational and sensorial format. Numerical assessments can engage with carefully composited, rich representations of their implications, including neglected subjective considerations and aesthetic particulars. This emphasis on the interface circumvents the difficulty, if not impossibility, of an idealized solution space, where multiple parameters are numerically commensurable and one ideal answer is economically calculated. Instead, intervention within the interface – the point of contact between humans and technical representations – proposes that human cognition (and perhaps imagination, playfulness, ethics) could be better used as an advanced synthetic arbiter. While certain objective parameters will still control design, I propose that an interface could subtly change their role in authorship, allowing subjective experience and other useful pieces of human cognition to better (and safely) infiltrate and even strengthen the design craft of our most technically advanced landscapes.

representing a prototypical 11-acre area of the lake, serves as a multisensory, multilogic platform for iterative design development and assessment. Sand’s deceptively simple material logic elegantly bounds a process of topographic invention by a precise robotic modeling system. The format is scaled to bridge middle ground perception, granular physics, and studio human and robot ergonomics.

RAPID LANDSCAPE PROTOTYPING MACHINE (RLPM) My experimental interface, the Rapid Landscape Prototyping Machine, proposes a custom interface for the advanced synthetic design of “middle ground” Owens Lake dust controls and of landscape infrastructure morphologies in general. The interface joins disparate practices by their various (often technical) representations in a multivalent design space. The engineer’s planimetric view and operational logics are joined with first-person simulations and nonlinear schema explorations. The interface’s advanced representations of extreme constraints operationally and perceptually create space for an intricate design dialogue, capable of negotiating the subtle innovations and improvements of middle ground design.

After an acceptable topography is sculpted and is 3D laser scanned, a custom interactive software illuminates the sand model with dust control scenarios and analysis, while rendering a simultaneous first-person simulation on a screen. The system places a user inside a hybrid technical and experiential model of the landscape and offers a set of real-time controls to adjust its various parameters, ranging from water use to time of day.

The design process begins with sedimentary modeling. A scaled sand modeling bed,

Immersed within the interface’s hybrid of controls, metrics, and simulations, a user can

6 5

4 1 7 2




75 ”

Rapid Landscape Prototyping Machine for Owens Lake 1. Stäubli TX60L 6-axis robotic arm with tool-changer 2. Tool holster with custom end-of-arm tools 3. Sand modeling bed with vacuum-forming setup 4. Sand model on bed 5. Automation Technology 3D laser scanner with linear actuator 6. Digital projector 7. Sand reservoir 8. 80/20 aluminum cage

Figure 2. Rapid Landscape Prototyping Machine for Owens Lake


precisely search for relations between visceral particulars and technical metrics. Adjusting water use produces sensible effects on the experiential simulations and bar graphs. The diverse representations overlap and interact with complex consequence and effect, making a design terrain textured by the dynamics of parameters and representations of place. The prismatic console induces an open-ended search, unleashing design from the determinism inherent in each kind of representation. It acknowledges the new inclusive “problem” scope of infrastructural ecologies, where design must break out of specialized silos to become broadly associative, but without sacrificing technical precision. The system’s elaborate modeling of site conditions and constraints also induces a kind of precious freedom. Representations of various complex boundary and model conditions allow different kinds of human cognition to drive design explorations. Checked by automated feedback and analysis, playful and nonlinear exploration can become productive. Users can effectively play within the boundaries of an elaborately simulated world and feedbacks to find optimal multivariate solutions. Such specialized engagements may be necessary to find the alloys of science and art that lie on a razor’s edge between the practices and parameters of each.

RLPM ROBOTIC SAND MODELING Graded sand serves as a generative, analytical, and presentational medium for developing new dust control topographies and designs. Coupled with a precise robotic arm, it becomes a convenient and powerful physical computational device for creating topographies tethered to sedimentary logics. The medium mirrors other forms of physical modeling, where complex physical environmental processes and phenomena are simulated (e.g., scaled 51

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hydraulic modeling of rivers), but differs by explicitly modeling an anthropogenic process: it loosely scales site topographic assembly in the studio design environment. The system leverages sand’s intrinsic values as a modeling medium. As evidenced by any visit to the beach, sand elicits an excited and carefree creative impulse. While mastery of sand modeling does not come easy, by robot or by hand, the material welcomes exploration with the gentle consequences of its repeated manipulation. This is an unassuming yet critical improvement over other physical prototyping materials whose combinations of cost, permanence, and character favor presentation over exploratory design. Manipulated exclusively by a robotic arm, sand reveals itself as a delicate and logical material, capable of surprising complexity and detail, with reproducible results. While the system only roughly scale-simulates earth-moving equipment and assembly, its dependency on granular physics induces semianalogous forms. Sand automatically and physically computes relatable efficiencies and logics, such as a balance between “cut” and “fill” or the shape of unreinforced sediments. The extent to which sand’s material logic is embedded and analogous to site, earthmoving equipment is determined by robot arm choreography and its end-of-arm tooling. For instance, while existing topographic conditions are established by subtraction (vacuum robot end-of-arm tool) based on a 3D digital model, new forms are created through a process more analogous to actual site construction, but intentionally less predictive. Sand is sculpted into new forms by leading the robotic rake end-of-arm tool along an algorithmically generated 3D tool path in an abstracted form of bulldozing. Rather than assembling predetermined form (as is common


N 0



4 miles

~0.5 mile

23” / 690’ (1” = 30’)

Figure 3.


Figure 4. The site topography is manipulated into landforms by a simple raking tool following a tool path (seen here projected), mechanically akin to the sedimentary construction processes of earth-moving equipment.

Figure 5. Sample splice of sand bed model iterations. A 50 pound bag of commercial graded sand served the project for multiple years of iterative modeling.


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in site construction and with many prototyping tools), the tool path choreographs a process of sand flow and repose to culminate final forms. These are made exclusively by the negotiation between an elegant tool path (human logistics and intent) and granular physics (sand). Where the analogy of a bulldozer operator is exceeded by robotic movements, scalar sedimentary physics compensates, maintaining the logical value of the forms.

Figure 6. An algorithmically generated 3D raking tool path and the resulting sand island landforms. Not shown are the angles of the rake or additional tool paths for suctioning the “existing” site topography and road.

Sand’s precise and neutral material appearance is also leveraged as a flexible representational and analysis device. Lit in a studio environment, it rewards visual inspection; technical and formal success and failure are made obvious by its delicate materiality. Once it is 3D laser scanned, digital projected renderings from custom software elevate it as a versatile medium for hybrid digital-physical representations and design exploration. Finally, with a simple water spray bottle it is possible to firm up the loose sand sufficiently to vacuum-form a polystyrene mold useful for public engagement, exhibition, and archiving.

RLPM SOFTWARE INTERFACE Custom software complements the robotic modeling system with a digital interface by which to simulate and control additional site and technical parameters. It consolidates many of the prisms – technical and not – by which we know and make Owens Lake today, and it is by observing and controlling their dialectic that we

continue the design process started with sand. The prismatic presentation revises our synoptic allegiances and induces a nonlinear exploration, revealing new experiential and operational alliances. Based on user inputs and digital laser-scans of the sand models, the software can simulate innumerable dust control scenarios, complete with birds, seasonal light conditions, and Owens Valley mountain skylines. Users move through the first-person simulation while also navigating design and environmental parameters whose effects are nearly instantly visible in the experiential view and planimetric projection, digitally illuminating the sand model. Existing engineering design logics and analyses are appropriated by the software and represented in multiple ways, creating a kind of dynamic hybrid of experience and data; a “heads-up display” for advanced landscape architecture design. Dust control water resource and capital costs, using LADWP methods and figures, are calculated and displayed constantly alongside the obvious changes in landscape quality. The LADWP bird habitat suitability model is represented in graphs and by visual populations of birds. The commensurability between our visceral and emotive experience and the critical metrics may remain abstract but it is at least explicit and better informed. Special visual analysis tools also help bridge subjective and objective paradigms. A real-time view shed analysis tool reveals the spatial extent of our perspectival gaze on the planimetric map. Angle of incidence and fore/middle/ background analysis spatially graph qualitative visual effects. The visual analysis tools strive for a more objective, and therefore common, understanding of aesthetic efficiency and effect, to serve as a foundation for pursuing more nuanced, productive, and defensible intersections with operations and ecology.9



First-Person Interface

This view shows the same rendered landscape, but from above in parallel projection. Visual graphs of habitat value, dust control distribution, water use, and capital cost bracket the planimetric vantage. This view is projected either on the original sand model or a polystyrene vacuum-formed mold. In this screenshot, view shed analysis highlights the area visible from the current perspectival vantage and position.

The perspective view couples a first-person visual simulation with a variety of design and analysis tools and controls. The screenshot below shows the advanced in-house interface for design development layered over the simplified controls employed in the public interface (bottom row). The digital interface buttons on the sides complement a physical interface with joystick, panel of buttons, and a knob.

Digital projection renders the sand model with the output of the softwareâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s planimetric view. From left to right: Hybrid dust control scheme, same with viewshed analysis, topographic elevation visualization, sand model without projection, shallow flooding dust control scheme with viewshed and angle of incidence analysis, brine dust control scheme.


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Notes 1. Longtime district employee Billy Cox and district officer Ted Schade have both independently stated they long ago recognized that the Owens Lake dust control project was a project suited for landscape architects. This is evidenced by the district’s ongoing support for landscape architects to study the project, both by Cal Poly in 1994 and by this author at USC, starting in 2011.

9. Higuchi’s analysis of the visual landscape of Japanese temples provides rubrics for more rigorous future visual site design. Tadahiko Higuchi, The Visual and Spatial Structure of Landscapes, trans. Charles Terry (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1983).

2. See chapter 4 in The Spoils of Dust: Reinventing the Lake that Made Los Angeles. 3. In late 2017, not long after a batch of smaller “pilot” hybrid projects were completed in 2016, the LADWP issued a request for proposals to redesign the remainder of the lakebed dust controls. 4. In this article about the new installations, some constituents declare that they have improved upon the existing conditions: “This is my idea of a world-class addition to life in Owens Valley,” said longtime Owens Lake advocate Michael Prather. Louis Sahagun, “Is it an olive branch or ‘crazy’? Owens Valley is skeptical of Angelenos bearing gifts,” Los Angeles Times (25 April 2016), http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-meadv-owens-art-controversy-20160426-story.html 5. For a large-scale application of a highly technical collaborative approach, see Henk Ovink’s “Rebuild by Design” initiative which proposes to solve largescale urban infrastructure problems through a “collaborative research and design approach.” http:// www.rebuildbydesign.org/ Also: Henk Ovink & Jelte Boeijenga, Too Big: Rebuild by Design’s Transformative Response to Climate Change (Rotterdam: NAi010 Publishers, 16 March 2018). 6. Branden Hookway, Interface (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2014). 7. Alexander Robinson, “An interface for instrumental reconciliation” in Innovations in Landscape Architecture, ed. Jonathon R. Anderson and Daniel H. Ortega (London: Routledge, 2016). 8. Brian Davis and Alexander Robinson, “From Solution Space to Interface: 6 Actions for Landscape Infrastructure Design,” in Codify: Parametric and Computational Design in Landscape Architecture, ed. Bradley Cantrell and Adam Mekies (London: Routledge, 2018).


Composites and Digital Fabrication: Opportunities in Architecture

To watch Makai Smith’s talk on YouTube, please scan the above QR Code.


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Makai Smith is director of product management for MicroStation, Bentleyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s flagship software for infrastructure design which is used globally in the building, civil, transportation, plant, and geospatial disciplines. MicroStation also serves as the underlying platform for the majority of Bentleyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s desktop BIM and domain-specific applications. He is responsible for MicroStation strategic direction and the interface between go-to-market execution, development, software quality, professional services, and technical support to deliver a market-driven solution that meets the demands of engineers, design firms, and owner-operators. Smith joined Bentley Systems in 2007 to serve as product manager for Bentley GenerativeComponents, which pioneered the application of associative parametric modeling in architecture, engineering, and construction. In addition to bringing it from the lab into the market, he was also the lead designer of its visual programming language. Prior to joining Bentley, he was director of digital fabrication for Kreysler & Associates, a custom architectural composites manufacturer, where he oversaw the construction and operation of bespoke large-scale milling and laser-scanning used for pattern-making. Smith began his career practicing architecture at Venturi Scott Brown and Associates, holding a Master of Architecture from Arizona State University and a B.S. in Design from the University of Florida. For over a decade, Smith co-organized The Studio and Design Gallery at ACM SIGGRAPH, the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest computer graphics conference, and served as chair in 2009 and 2012. He also coorganized the SmartGeometry Conference, an early catalyst for the exploration of parametric and computational design in architecture.


Composite materials, also known as fiberreinforced plastics (FRP), have made a significant impact in many industries, such as aerospace and manufacturing. Glass fiber composites have found successful applications in things like windmill blades and boats because of their low weight, reasonable cost, ability to form doubly curved shapes, and resistance to corrosive environments, like salt water. There are also high-performance composite materials using carbon fiber reinforcing that are used in sports equipment, like racing sailboats or pole vaults, and in critical engineering applications like high-pressure vessels. Notably missing from the picture are buildings. The opportunity is enormous because buildings are worth more than 4% of U.S. GDP but are notoriously inefficient to construct and operate. Looking at why composites are not more widely adopted in architecture, engineering, and construction can help open possibilities for change. Too frequently, buildings are built the way movies are made. One guy knows a guy, he knows another guy, and soon 300 people are working on a project together who have likely never seen each other before; and when they are done, will likely go away and never work with each other again. It is 59

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a fragmented industry, subject to varying methods of construction by geography and by politics of local jurisdictions. It is also configured to resist change because municipalities and corporations are inherently risk averse. Such organizational dynamics favor entrenched methods, especially where fire codes are concerned. It changes when contractors and code officials become more familiar with composites in construction. If one is required to plead a case to the city and educate stakeholders on every project, getting architectural applications approved goes slowly. The publication of specifications by the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) has helped to reduce friction because the guidelines inform building codes and open markets through increased acceptance. In 2013, global construction ranked last against other sectors for its proportional investment in R&D, as reported by the European Commission. More work needs to be done in basic research and the application of new materials. Broadly, action is needed by such an inefficient industry, which has remained nearly flat while the productivity of all other industrial sectors roughly doubled in the last 25 years, McKinsey


Too frequently, buildings are built the way movies are made. One guy knows a guy, he knows another guy, and soon 300 people are working on a project together who have likely never seen each other before; and when they are done, will likely go away and never work with each other again.




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& Company found. Meanwhile, the product of the industry is itself inefficient: buildings account for almost half of U.S. energy consumption according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Architectural composites can make a larger contribution because they are highly efficient and uniquely suited to solve certain kinds of construction problems. When compared to other materials, composites stand out for their specific strength, a ratio of ultimate strength to material weight. Glass fiber composites are not as stiff as those reinforced with carbon fiber, but they are significantly less expensive. Conversely, steel is stiff but very heavy. A practical and efficient panel can be created by combining the two in a single assembly – a fiberglass composite panel engineered with integral steel stiffeners. Resistance to fire is an important consideration in choosing building materials. Fiberglass composites can be made fire resistant and are approved for use in buildings when designed to the ACMA guidelines, but the lack of familiarity by designers and contractors often leads them to choose glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) instead without fully considering alternatives. For example, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SF MOMA), designed by Snohetta, originally specified the façade to be made of GFRC. Working with Webcor, the general contractor, and Kreysler and Associates, a specialty composites fabricator, they redesigned it to utilize FRP panels instead. The lighter weight, versatility of fabrication, and modularity of composite panels turned out to be a huge advantage. GFRC has a much lower specific strength than FRP, so for the same panel, GFRC is much heavier. It also tends to crack, so a steel backup structure is required. As first conceived, the SF MOMA façade consisted of the weather wall, an air gap, and then a steel sub-structure carrying GFRC panels weighing about 15 pounds per square63

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foot. Since FRP panels are much lighter, in this case less than two pounds per square foot, and more inherently structural, they did not need a backup support structure. Not only was the cost and construction of the backup steel eliminated – a weight savings of about 1 million pounds – but so was the need to carry the extra weight of both the steel sub-structure and the heavy GFRC though the primary building structure. So, when the building was reevaluated using FRP, the result was significant cost savings on both the façade construction and primary structure. The change had other significant knock-on benefits as well. With lighter panels, the tower crane could reach farther, so it did not have to be moved during construction. The savings in weight, coupled with the flexibility of FRP fabrication, also allowed the panels to include the interior wall. Installation of the complete assembly was done in a single, continuous operation, which saved time and reduced interference between trades. The stream-lined installation also lessened demand for layout and staging on the museum’s congested, downtown site. Often it is the systemic effects of using a material which gives rise to its efficiency. In some ways, it is more difficult because it is necessary to design holistically – earlier, and without the preconception of familiar methods – but the upside is huge and so is the need for more efficient construction of high-performance buildings.


Often it is the systemic effects of using a material which gives rise to its efficiency. In some ways, it is more difficult because it is necessary to design holistically.



Tech and Materialism in the Middle of a Polarized World

To watch Rodney Allen Trice’s talk on YouTube, please scan the above QR Code.


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RODNEY ALLEN TRICE Rodney Allen Trice is a 1987 alumnus of the Graphic Design program at Penn State who returned to his alma mater as a faculty member in August 2018. Trice spent the previous 30 years working primarily in the magazine publishing industry in New York where he art directed and contributed on a number of mainstream publications, including Allure, Cosmopolitan, Essence, InStyle, Glamour, People, Seventeen, Teen Beat, US Weekly, and Vibe. More recently, he expanded his media experience by producing TV pitches and developing video and film concepts. Trice also created the visual identity for HIVE, a luxury-brand concept launch for one of the most successful and popular female entertainers in the world. Trice has been the recipient of numerous industry awards, including Society of Publication Designers Merit Awards, Content Council Pearl Awards, and Content Marketing Institute Magnum Opus Awards. He was honored by being named to Time magazine’s The Green Design 100 list. He says that teaching design students at Baruch College, Parsons School of Design, the Fashion Institute of Technology, and within his own studio concept courses has brought him invaluable opportunities for understanding the symbiotic relationship that he believes is essential for teaching visual communication. “This generation has changed what visual communications is through the various platforms they relentlessly use today,” says Trice. “It’s amazing to bring my knowledge to the table along with their engagement and watch the sparks fly.” Currently, Trice is particularly inspired by the evolution of media into delivering more personalized, experience-driven content and has thus begun exploring the realms of virtual and augmented reality.


Okay, it’s really good to be here. I was a little bit surprised by the invitation because I’ve been a graphic designer and art director for 30 years. My material side is on one, my computing side is on another. It’s only been in the last year that I started to play around with mixing the two. So graphic design is changing so rapidly. I think in 10 years graphic design is not going to be a good name for it. I think right now the term graphic design is becoming limiting. We haven’t sprouted antenna or we don’t use telepathic means instead of our eyes, but the tools that we use now, the platforms that are communication skills, go so much further than ever before. As I teach the seniors right now, what I’ve been saying to them is the rules are changing in ways that honestly, I mean being 30 years down this game, I’d like to say that yes, adhere to the rules. But I think even the rules are beginning to change. Some of the principles that we studied as law in graphic design are changing. The other thing is that we need to constantly be adapting. Now isn’t that the name of the game for every 67

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industry, keeping up with the latest technology? That’s not even what I’m talking about. When I say adapting, I mean forecasting where things are going. Yeah, I know I’ve had a bad relationship with technology. A lot of us have because what we’ve known for certain as a promise is that technology is eliminating jobs. It’s not saving publishing. Now are magazines old? I don’t know, maybe we’ve had the best run off them we can. Radio is certainly not what it used to be, but the fear of what technology is bringing is becoming very, very tangible. I mean in the world all around us, we are watching fear and nervousness, anxiousness about a lot of the changes. This election. What happened here in this election? It was definitely a lot of fear and paranoia, but it’s not just here. Brexit in London. Paris and Italy, just had things going on in their elections that felt very similar to what happened here and what happened in Brexit. Now it could be aligned directly to politics, but 60,000 white supremacists march in Poland? Things are getting a little crazy.

...if you are doing graphic design in its true capacity, then you are manipulating. We analyze to an obsession who our audience is and we tweak those elements to get the reaction that we want out of them.

MANIPULATORS? The pitchforks and the torches are coming and people have been kind of manipulated into a frenzy. I’ve tried to explain that to my seniors. Last year I told them that it was a great honor to teach them and I take this responsibility tremendously at their last semester as I send them out into the world to be the professional master manipulators that you’ve been training to be. “Manipulators? Did he say manipulators?” I did. Okay. I know plenty of designers in the industry that just like the color pink or this font or photographer and this particular look and that’s what they do. But if you are doing graphic design in its true capacity, then you are manipulating. We analyze to an obsession who our audience is and we tweak those elements to get the reaction that we want out of them. You guys all know what Citizens United is. I hate to get all political but, but graphic designers have moved into politics and now we’re seeing politics get all kind of jacked regardless of what team you’re on. Blue team, red team. Manipulation has taken this form and those billions of dollars in politics go into advertising, marketing, and graphic designers. It’s what we do. So I’m starting to study some about social mass conditioning. Some that’s intentional. Some that’s not intentional. The NRA, I believe personally though, the IRS sees that as an nonprofit to support gun owners. I’m not against

guns, but I do believe the NRA is part of a PR campaign to keep the American military industrial complex going. It is a form of social mass conditioning. There are some accidental forms of social mass conditioning that I think we will find are principles of social media that have become accidental social manipulations, conditioning in some ways; and honestly, if I wasn’t against all the money in politics, I’d be telling all my students to get into politics. That’s where the money is. Now, in 1987, I went to this school and graduated and the one area that I did not want to get into was magazine publishing. Thirty years later, it was the bulk of my career, but I actually really, really like now that I was in that industry because in this industry, we were hit probably the hardest of all media because the internet. Then we tried engaging social media. We were the media format that was the age-old tradition that started to feel the shift of the world’s relaxation time. We thought the computer was our friend. We watched the computers come into the picture within our industry; we got to watch that evolution. It was kind of a good place to just be immersed in a really diverse arena. About the time that computers entered into magazines, I started building my own furniture. Building furniture out of found materials completely became a separate alter ego by night. I was kind of getting the best of both worlds. There’s something kind of nice about finishing and


completing a physical object, but it was also nice to be working in some collaborative media. When the computer came into the picture for magazines, I could suddenly take on independent projects that I couldn’t before because there was so much upfront costs with type setting and color correcting that had to be managed. Once I got my own computer, I was rolling and never looked back. Oh my God. It was brilliant. Everything about this was brilliant. There was nothing bad about it. Technology was... oh... well... unless you ran one of the big type houses in New York City. We had three or four really big type houses and about the same number of places that did all your color separation. I think I was too young to realize what the death of an industry looked like, but that was the first time I saw it. This was also when I realized that this very same efficiency and accessibility means that the little junior high school punk who has a Mac and scribbled out a little logo for his uncle who’s


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opening a pizzeria, gets the job. They’re all really excited. Oh my gosh. He comes running home from school and says, “My teacher told me about Adobe Creative Cloud and I could, like, get all this software and I could learn and I want to be a graphic designer.” Awesome. That’s great. That should be exciting. Except now that kid can put up a website and though I don’t personally go after those online projects, that junior high school kid is now sort of my competition. Now, how much competition could a junior high school kid be that’s not trained or experienced as me? I could crush him if it’s just about the work, crush him. No question, but there is an area where he crushes me. I know what I need to charge because this is how I make a living and there are standard rates. I probably could pull in about $1,200 till I itemize it and break it down. That junior high school kid, 100 bucks. Let’s go out. I’m going to buy something. You are decimating our industry, kid.

Now, my point is not like, “Oh, technology is bad.” I love it. I’m immersing myself in it. My point is about the adapting, about the anticipating where it’s going. My point is you can’t just keep up with things. When the DOT coms came, we raced around, social media started slamming at us. Oh my God. We were slapping things everywhere and then the tablet versions when they came out; if you haven’t seen a tablet version of a magazine, you should. They’re amazing. They really are amazing. Wired magazine, I recommend! It combines the best of print along with the best of both websites and app interfaces and user ability. They’re really great. They can have embedded music, embedded video. As the magazine industry was starting to spiral down, there was this amazing energy that the tablets were going to save us and they didn’t. The newsstand was our forefront in the marketplace and we did nothing about how we handled the new digital newsstand. We created and we revolutionized our product, but because we didn’t go to the marketplace and figure that out, it’s dying. Now, as we were hammering away, on my found material furniture and lighting. I’m making this stuff, I was hammering away on social media for that and I was watching what I thought was a growing marketplace. Now, so I’m hammering away more, getting a lot more attention. This was all really terrific. It was thrilling. And then this happened. I made the Time magazine Green Design 100. Okay, well if one industry, my day job is dying, my alter ego gig, well let’s rev it up. But the thing I started noticing about this marketplace, and again, the promise of social media, is that small business people can grow and develop anything. Yeah, my press list and my press book were starting to grow at a regular pace, but sales weren’t. Definitely there’s a problem, but what I started to discover was

that in the social media, yes, there are buying and selling spaces if you’re into collectibles. It was great if you are already in a marketplace that revolves around buying and selling, but I was in a marketplace that was only about likeminded people. So I’m basically running around in a circle of DIYers. DIYers are not going to buy my stuff, DIYers are going to be inspired by what I do and they’re going to go do it themselves. So I’m a little bit relentless. And I dug my heels in and I’m not leaving media, but I’ve also realized that this furniture thing that I do is probably a little more viable than continuing on my path. So I decided, okay, we’re already including video into a lot of our photo shoots. So I’m starting to understand the difference between videos on set and still photography on set and how audio plays into that and the requirements needed. So I decided to create a TV pitch. I assemble a team.

BROADCASTING So this TV pilot pitch did everything I could’ve hoped for when I screened it. I landed an agent in New York City and immediately started talking to production companies. It wasn’t until I was inside that industry and starting to look at contracts that I realized the non-scripted television industry was suffering because of technology as well. People were starting to use technology differently and communicate differently and it just made me crazy. How could the magazine industry and non-scripted TV be hurting if in 2018 if we daily consume the same visual information as an average person did 100 years ago in a lifetime? DAILY? How is there any visual medium suffering right now? But It was happening and it was time for a much bigger change. I was kind of determined again, like I dig my heels in and I’m like, absolutely going to figure this out. There is no way that graphic design,


visual communication (whatever we call it in 10 years) there was no way that there was not a very vigorous place moving forward. But I think at this point, I realized it was changing so dramatically that we probably needed to even stop looking at it at the same way. Will there be tons of print and all that stuff? Yes, of course, but that won’t be the forefront of the industry. So in this process of making changes, I had to decided do we stay in New York, do we not? New York City had become a billionaire’s game and real estate and space to expand was becoming difficult. Some of my ideas were becoming much larger, too. I wanted to expand them further. I think I was also starting to get bored with furniture and lighting and so I made the big giant decision of giving up my studio space in Bushwick, Brooklyn, the pulse of the arts community in NYC. Pack it up, reduce my cost, really pull back so I can take a much more objective view at what was really going on. It’s kind of hard when you’re driving 100 miles an hour (not that I know anything about that) but when you’re driving at 100 miles an hour, I mean, you really have to focus. You have to become very myopic. But when you’re driving 25 miles an hour. You can watch the cows next to you and you can watch that house next door and you notice that they painted their door. At 100 miles an hour you don’t see any of that. I knew I needed to pull back and slow way down, so after lengthy discussion – though, I’m still holding my apartment in New York – I moved the studio space to Pittsburgh. I had some family clear out some room. This was a moment that I needed to really explore a little more vigorously. This was a moment where in addition to just building my things and whatever and so I started back and forth between New York and Pittsburgh. There was this relentless craziness and I started talking to my peers in New York and media and then I started connecting, for the first time, to a lot of people in Pittsburgh. It was interesting because nobody in New York wanted to talk about this 71

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dilemna. I can’t say I blame them. My NYC peers are also driving at 100 miles an hour. They’re like, “Shh, quiet.” I can’t shut up and I get it, and you’re in an industry. Everyone’s feeling kind of sour about some of what’s happening. If you’re in magazine publishing, I know you’re enthusiastic, you’re always enthusiastic. I don’t want to hear it, but what was really compelling was when I would connect with people in Pittsburgh, everybody wanted to talk and not just talk about graphic design or whatever, they wanted to talk about forward thinking. So my first meeting in Pittsburgh was the with the resilience team in the mayor’s office. They saw the pilot and then they said they’d like to talk to me because they had felt like they weren’t reaching their community well. It was the very first meeting that I suggested ideas about communicating to their larger city, not using traditional graphic design and even not using social media because when they were describing what was happening, it sounded like the very people that they were not reaching, were not on the social media platforms. Now greater Pittsburgh Arts Council and several other arts organizations met with me. There were two people at the Heinz endowment that met with me. The guy that co-founded the entertainment technology center at Carnegie Mellon met with me and we sat and we talked about some thoughts and ideas. It was like bizarre how many people were talking to me here about very forward thinking. Alpha Lab Gear, I have an open door invitation where I have an office space to work and there’s a lot of people developing products there. Monmade is an organization I’m a part of that is part of Bridgeway Capital, a foundation that looks to build business and build jobs with smaller businesses all over Pittsburgh. And Bridgeway Capital is the first place that I just talked to about my obsession with building a media network. I just had my first meeting with them about how to get it started.

Now the thing that I had also started noticing more with my younger peers now that I was running about 25 miles an hour, is that everybody still had the big screen TVs, but nobody had cable. Most were connecting their laptops to their TV, which meant that they were selecting very particularly. It brought to mind when HBO offered streaming. I knew there was bigger media changes afoot. This is, again, part of that adapting means. Watching bigger signs. These things mean something. I knew when HBO offered streaming meant something. I think sometimes the reason why industries die is we don’t respond to technology the way we need to. Now with my network, initially I thought I want to kind of create a kind of open source if you will, and I want to put this in the hands of creatives of all disciplines and really I was just thinking about that in terms of marketing because that would put really, really great content – like better, more compelling – content on the network. But then I came across this William S. Burroughs quote: “Artists to my mind are the real architects of change, and not the political legislators who implement change after the fact.” And considering how much the human population has been manipulated into this frenzy, I sort of felt like, “Wow, maybe this is a historic moment for humanity where creatives can have a bigger impact to pull humanity a little bit back from the edge. Maybe even just enough that we could talk.” And so based on my Bridgeway Capital meeting, I decided that, let’s begin. Some of the experimentation was on my own but could creative people, could architects, landscape architects, other graphic designers, could you create content without having to become a filmmaker? I don’t know. I mean I’ve certainly had to learn Adobe Premier Pro and and I’m really into this. I mean, I want to build a network so I’m driving in it hard. The jury’s still

out but in the last two weeks, I kind of fell off the wagon with my weekly broadcast and initially I was kicking myself in the ass about it, but now I realize, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. If you with all the fire that wants to build this network, just failed two weeks in a row, creatives are going to do the same thing. Apparently you do have to be a bit too much of a filmmaker and you couldn’t deliver this by yourself for the long haul. So I’m right now scrambling and backing up to see where exactly the snag ups happened and if I can polish it out. I mean, I’m shooting these whole things on an iPhone 7. I got mics for decent sound. I think I boiled my whole equipment cost down to about 300 bucks. And so I started shooting these experiments to see if we could boil this down so a network could be given to artists, to creatives, to anyone who wants to create interesting content and, and it’s now go, “okay, so maybe this is, this is the two weeks that I missed.” So that was those. But it’s, it’s an interesting experiment and trying to figure out why these two weeks kind of fell through is becoming kind of a bit of a challenge. And then there’s other projects where as I’m exploring it, as I’m pushing forward, can I explore what I want to do as I kind of pulled back the pressure to predict? This is another part of the series. This whole helmet reinvention, the first project by series, hopefully a series, that I’m calling archeological finds for the future. This helmet, specifically a piece of survival gear – whether it’s respiration, whether it’s the atmosphere – is blocked out. In Hawaii, you can’t see well, whether it’s communication for all of the above. I hope by showing it as an archeological find, most communicate the idea that if we don’t change our path, if we continue down the road, we’re going, “Yeah, sure, we might come up with gear that helps us survive in it, but for how long until we become extinct before we disappear from the face of the earth


altogether?” And I said, “this is the first piece in a series of pieces I’ve already started collecting the objects I’m going to work with, but I also hope that I can get in here maybe even a pairing of objects or I have the Chanel or Louis Vuitton version or the Apple version that’s all slick and beautiful for the people that have money.” For the have-nots, they have to create these from an old motorcycle helmet and megshift parts held together with duct tape. Because the economic divide uncorrected is a factor, now going forward in the human survival. So the other experiment that I talked about with Bridgeway Capital was the larger broadcasting experiment. And I thought, “Well if we used an inception broadcast model where we got clusters of creatives, whether it’s architects with landscape architects and performers and whatever to work together, and everybody focused all their social media efforts on this one broadcast.” And then we created an awful lot of dots with an awful lot of connective tissue where you could follow what you wanted afterwards that were maybe other content on the network that would maybe work really brilliantly. And so as I was in Pittsburgh bouncing around in Pittsburgh, I started kind of feeling like I want to expand some of the scale of my work. I was noticing an awful lot of these amazing buildings and structures in Pittsburgh that were dead. Now pertaining to social mass conditioning, when you have these kinds of things in the neighborhood, there is definitely a mass conditioning of a city that once was something that’s no longer that. This sparked an idea for projects that create something to developing an energy a community thought, to developing a message or a communication that there is power to regenerate some of these things. There is power to repurpose some of these things. The first one is called the “Angels Project.” I want to take 12 churches in Pittsburgh that have 73

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been closed down. There are plenty of them, churches and schools and I want to scan and program lighting on the inside of the church and also build massive chandelier’s inside. Kind of coordinating all the lighting to work together. For the first time ever, I’m actually bringing some of my more digital computing into structures. I’ve already been in communication with somebody, some people at the Heinz endowment about this project. It’s extremely expensive to do 12 churches, but when you scale it down to one, it just doesn’t seem to have the sort of community impact over the city that 12 do, and I’ve already talked to this company in Pittsburgh that has engineered these very compact wind turbines that they’re using to power a digital light display on a bridge near the convention center in Pittsburgh; and they said that they thought one or two of them should be able to power each one of these churches through the city. So that is gonna take awhile to get to, but now I’m starting to find a place where I can fuse these things together. Now in the interest of getting some of these really rolling, I scaled down some of my ideas. This is called the “Time Machine.” The first sketch here is very like a space capsule because that was the initial spark. Some of my sketches now are using a lot of electronic parts and so when you look straight into it, it will be kind of translucent, but the object will be solid. But the idea was to punch in a particular year and using high-speed

search engines, plus we would need to program curatorial-kind of systems that would only sort out images from a particular year, and if it was possible – and I was just talking to somebody that it might need to be an AI that would learn as it goes along – that we could also make sure that it mixes a bit of good things that have happened and developed along with bad things that have gone down as a kind of demonstration that there is no year that you can go to where it was just euphoric for everyone. And that will be starting to go into construction this summer and I’m hoping with somebody from CMU that I get to start to do some programming with it.

CARRIE FURNACE PROJECT Most recently I just responded to an RFP for

Carrie Furnace. Carrie Furnace is an area, is a landmark status blast furnace in Pittsburgh when Pittsburgh was doing a lot of renovation. They just tore out a lot of their blast furnaces and scrapped it and sold it off. This one grabbed landmark status and the idea was to use these orange helium weather balloons and orange fabric lined with led lights as a kind of a memorial to let the molten metal flow again in this old building and the molten metal is now rising into the sky. The RFP that I responded to, there’s no way they have the money to develop this now, but I do also know, and again, part of the forecasting and adapting and jumping ahead is that I know that they are looking at the possibility of building a museum, a historic museum about the steel industry and about Pittsburgh’s


history there. And boy, would I love this to be part of the inaugural opening of that and on that one, there might be some money to make this happen. Now is any of this graphic design? I don’t know. Do I think some of this is graphic design? Yes. Do I think graphic design is the right word for it? No, I do think there will be a new term for graphic design that will encompass a much larger, a much more experiential kind of design work that still is completely about the core element of what we do, communication.

of you that may not even know, TIME Inc., a Goliath of American publishing, does not exist anymore. It just died, the end of this last year, gone. Was bought up by another one and is gone. Let me tell you, when Prop 8 came down in California, we never ever thought one of the most progressive states in the nation. Bam. Came down and hit us and we never thought we could be sideswiped by those that weren’t into it. And the EPA, same thing. I mean, I’m still, my mouth is hanging open with what has happened here with the EPA.

Now, my peers aren’t exactly thrilled and part of this whole lecture for me because like I said in the beginning, I’m kind of new to this and it’s super exciting. I am very aware that I have an awful lot of people that I’ve worked with for a long time who are not excited and then when we watch all this stuff going on in the world, I think, “Don’t hesitate, don’t hesitate, keep your feet on the accelerator.” But I do think we need to be extremely mindful. This quote, “May the bridges I burn light the way,” as soon as I can find the right font is probably going to be tattooed on me somewhere and probably somewhere where people can see it. You know, I like the aggressiveness, the assertiveness of burning a bridge, but the purpose of this is to light the way forward and I think some of the new technology might indeed burn a bridge that we can’t go back on, but I think to keep ourselves moving forward and to be mindful, to get everybody to pay attention to moving forward, it might not be a bad idea to kind of put an end to some bridges that we can’t go back on.


Now, again, I hope through all this that the whole thing didn’t ring like, “Boy, this man had a bad relationship with technology”. I hope it hasn’t because it’s been bumpy. I’ve just kept my eyes open through the process. I love it. It has evolved in my life in many ways, but I have watched death of industries. TIME Inc., for those 75

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We can be derailed easy. So, as much as you know, I want there to be a mindfulness. I just kind of want to emphasize: Let’s keep our foot on the accelerator. Let’s be excited about where it’s going. Let’s work to adapt. Let’s work to keep a little bit ahead of the curve. Let’s keep industry strong, but let’s find a mindfulness. We used to be able to ignore a lot of these fringe ideas. I bet anybody at the EPA is saying, “Don’t ignore them.” I know the gay community, the LGBT community is absolutely motivated. We are absolutely focused on Prop 8, things like that. We’re not letting this happen again. We were shocked when Prop 8 sideswiped us. We hadn’t been paying attention to these kinds of things sometimes and we can get very, very myopic, very 100 miles an hour and focusing just ahead and we miss so much. I’m just saying keep your foot on the accelerator. Don’t get distracted, but really, really be mindful of all these other people and maybe through this new communication, we can actually reach an awful lot of people and come to a table that we can start to mend some of this wild polarization that we’re experiencing. But I do think to abandoned technology to not boldly go into it would be a terrible mistake. That’s all I have to say.

Let’s keep our foot on the accelerator. Let’s be excited about where it’s going. Let’s work to adapt. Let’s work to keep a little bit ahead of the curve. Let’s keep industry strong, but let’s find a mindfulness.


OPEN HOUSE: SCDC-Affiliated Research Projects


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Quantified Walk Felecia Davis, Conrad Tucker, Delia Dumitrescu, Shokofeh Darbari, Yi Dong, Vernelle A. A. Noel Woven Light Felecia Davis, Jeffrey Brownson, Tim Baird, Stephen Treado, Sadiqua Ansari, Pomi Aschenaki, Diva Avenoor, Niloofar Nikookar, Vernelle A. A. Noel, Siddharth Swaminathan MARSCRETE: Design of 3D-Printable Concrete for Martian Habitat Shadi Nazarian, José Pinto Duarte, Sven Bilén, Aleksandra Radlinska, Ali Memari, Nick Meisel From Control to Uncertainty in 3D Printing with Clay Benay Gürsoy Bridging Parametric Design and Craftsmanship: Materializing the Digital Parametric Brick Wall with Low-Tech Construction Techniques Elena Vazquez, Julio Diarte, Benay Gürsoy Mass Customization of Ceramic Tableware Eduardo Castro e Costa The Role of Computation in Reinterpreting the Traditional Craft Practice of Wire-Bending Vernelle A. A. Noel Understanding the Urban Structure of Informal Settlements Debora Verniz HOPLA Home Planner: Mass Customization of Home Designs Krystian Kwiecinski Adapting Modern Architecture to a Local Context: A Grammar for Hajjar’s Hybrid Domestic Architecture Mahyar Hadighi

Toolpath Design for Additive Manufacturing of Concrete Negar Ashrafi Tapping into Urban Recycling for Housing Alternatives: Developing a Building System with Waste-Corrugated Cardboard and Tooling Julio Diarte

Masonry Screen Walls in Paraguay: Creating a Digital Framework for Shape, Performance, and Optimization Elena Vazquez


Quantified Walk FELECIA DAVIS1, CONRAD TUCKER2, DELIA DUMITRESCU3, SHOKOFEH DARBARI4, YI DONG5, VERNELLE NOEL6 Assistant Professor of Architecture, Penn State Associate Professor of Engineering Design and Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering , Penn State 3 Professor of Textile Design , The Swedish School of Textiles 4 M.S. Student in Architecture, Penn State 5 M.S. Student in the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, Penn State 6 Ph.D. Candidate in Architecture, Penn State 1 2

The project is to fabricate a pair of wearable leggings embedded with sensors, which can help identify a person’s gait or walk. This is useful because if the legging walk identification is accurate enough, they can be used for diagnoses of disease such as Parkinson’s or help athletes or dancers train their bodies based on the position of their limbs. The leggings are industrially-knitted stretch cotton and polyester with integrated knitted conductive circuits, which connect to sensors that can measure the positions of the ankle, knee, and hip of each leg relative to each other, as well as find the geospatial position of the person wearing the leggings. If this can be achieved, then sensor data measuring walking patterns may be done without requiring a Kinecttype sensor, which can measure the patterns of walking in a fixed room or area. Alternatively, the person would not have to strap on six sensors and coordinate them to monitor their walking patterns. Instead, the data can be centralized and collected via wireless transmission from the body of a person who is free to walk anywhere


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they could get a signal from a cell phone. The leggings use flexible, soft circuits integrated into a breathable cotton stretch material of our design that streams live data through a machinelearning algorithm.


Woven Light FELECIA DAVIS1, JEFFREY BROWNSON2, TIM BAIRD3, STEPHEN TREADO4, SADIQUA ANSARI5, POMI ASCHENAKI6, DIVA AVENOOR7, NILOOFAR NIKOOKAR8, VERNELLE NOEL9, SIDDHARTH SWAMINATHAN10 Assistant Professor of Architecture, Penn State Associate Professor of Earth and Mineral Engineering , Penn State 3 Emeritus Professor of Landscape Architecture , Penn State 4 Emeritus Associate Professor of Architectural Engineering , Penn State 5 Master of Landscape Architecture Student in, Penn State 6 B.S. Student in Architectural Engineering, Penn State 7 B.S. Student in Biotechnology, Penn State 8 Master of Architecture Student, Penn State 9 Ph.D. Candidate in Architecture, Penn State 10 M.Arch./M.Eng. Student in Architectural Engineering, Penn State 1 2

The “Woven Light” project is a solar fiber tension structure shade prototype that substitutes polymer fiber optic strands for solar photovoltaic [PV] strands to understand the problems and potential for PV fibers in fabrics. If architects, landscape architects, engineers, and designers can understand what is involved manufacturing with PV fibers, they can begin to address some of the problems encountered when using the fibers in applications such as tension structures made with fabrics, as well as clothing and other fabric-based objects, that can benefit from the collection of energy from sunlight. The first phase of design includes novel approaches to solar gathering tension structure design in three ways: (1) designing for flexible uses or programming in a landscape; (2) designing a parametric, form-active flexible structure to accommodate the manipulation of light; and (3) designing a fabric that


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manipulates light by absorption, reflection, and transmission light. Contributions include a design system that accommodates several configurations using form active compressive components and designs for related textile cut patterns. Contributions at the scale of the fabric include an energy model for the photo voltaic fiber. A second phase of design involves manufacturing a bespoke textile with fiber optic strands to test the manufacturability of our textile design.


MARSCRETE: Design of 3D-Printable Concrete for Martian Habitat

SHADI NAZARIAN1, JOSÉ PINTO DUARTE2, SVEN BILÉN3, ALEKSANDRA RADLINSKA4, ALI MEMARI5, NICK MEISEL6 Associate Professor of Architecture, Penn State Professor of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Penn State 3 Professor of Engineering Design, Penn State 4 Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, Penn State 5 Professor of Architectural Engineering, Penn State 6 Assistant Professor of Engineering Design and Mechanical Engineering, Penn State 1 2

The project’s aim was to develop additive manufacturing technology to 3D print habitats that can withstand harsh conditions using a specially formulated concrete made from recycled and indigenous materials that can be found on Mars, but can also be applicable on Earth. This study attempts to connect three main paths of exploration that the award-winning multidisciplinary team of faculty, staff, and Penn State students pursued in NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge. These include the development of novel concrete formulations, development of autonomous 3D printing processes, and design and development of the overall 3D printing system necessary to print large structures. The main goal of the project is to advance the additive construction technology needed to create sustainable housing on earth and for deep space exploration.


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The production of the geopolymer binder(s) used in the formulation of the concrete designed by the team does not emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, unlike the production of Portland cement (the most common type of cement). Current expertise in 3D printing, also called additive manufacturing, is leveraged to transfer expertise with smaller-scale printers and their associated processes to the large-scale printing of concrete.


From Control to Uncertainty in 3D Printing with Clay BENAY GÜRSOY

Assistant Professor of Architecture, Penn State

Today, making is seemingly integrated to design education and practice through the use of digital fabrication technologies. Digital fabrication protocols have compulsory predetermined instructions before materialization, and so require precise control over the process. The control and accuracy provided by these technologies ease the transition from digital to physical: intricate and complex digital models can be materialized without the necessity of developed hands-on skills. Despite these advantages, however, the use of digital fabrication technologies does not necessarily promote creative discoveries in design and a design process informed by making. Attention is mostly directed to how closely the materialized work resembles its digital master rather than how the ideation process is shaped through the materialization of the digital. On the other hand, tools are never neutral, and always underlie “the whole process of the generation of form” (Pérez-Gomez, 2012, p. 13). Digital fabrication tools incorporate uncertainties and the transition from the digital model to its materialized outcome is in fact never seamless. However perfect the digital


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master is, its materialized outcome always bears imperfections and traces of the fabrication tool. There is still neither a 3D printer that prints surfaces on which the trajectories of its nozzle cannot be traced, nor a CNC milling machine that does not leave the traces of its drill. By way of treating these imperfections as emerging design features, the digital fabrication process can break from the “rather tantamount withdrawal of the producer, in person, from the center to the periphery of the productive process” (Ingold, 2000, p.289). In this research, the aim is to explore how the use of digital fabrication tools can extend beyond the seamless materialization of the digital model and can continuously inform design ideation through emerging material qualities. Exploring the implications of an approach to digital fabrication that is not based on imposed and rigorous formalisms but on unique and contextual ones constitutes the research agenda. Within this framework, the study focuses on a particular case – 3D printing with clay – in exploring the implications of this particular approach to digital fabrication.


Bridging Parametric Design and

Craftsmanship: Materializing the Digital Parametric Brick Wall with Low-Tech Construction Techniques

ELENA VAZQUEZ1, JULIO DIARTE2, BENAY GĂ&#x153;RSOY3 M.S. Student in Architecture, Penn State Ph.D. Candidate in Architecture, Penn State 3 Assistant Professor of Architecture, Penn State 1 2

The use of brick as a building material for masonry construction dates as far back as 7500 B.C., so does the craftsmanship of brick masonry. Today, brick masonry surfaces where units have unique relationships and varying configurations can be easily designed in the computer with the help of parametric design tools, as shown in Figure 1. These complex configurations im- prove designs in several ways: while the overall geometry of brick masonry surfaces affects the structural performance, variations in brick layout patterns and bonds enable varying levels of transparency. Yet, the increasing complexity of brick masonry designs introduces challenges for traditional brick craftsmanship. There has been abundant research realized over the last decade to explore innovative ways to materialize brick masonry designs by using automated fabrication protocols. However, these technologies are still not widely accessible and commonly used on site, especially in developing countries. In these contexts, manual labor and conventional construction methods are still commonly preferred.


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This study aims to bridge digital design with low-tech construction methods and to explore ways to materialize non-standardized brick masonry designs using manual labour. We present a case study where we revisit existing materialization strategies and propose new ones to construct complex masonry surfaces. Comparing and reflecting on the limitations of different techniques, we provide new insights on brick craftsmanship. We conducted the case study in Paraguay where brick masonry has been the primary construction method since the colonial period. Traditional brick masonry construction in Paraguay did not show any significant changes until the last decades; however, recently, there has been an increasing interest in experimental uses of brick in contemporary architecture. A new generation of Paraguayan architects started to creatively reinvent the brick tradition. This research aims to contribute to this exploratory ground by introducing parametric design tools in the modeling of brick masonry walls, and by developing low-tech devices for their construction.


Mass Customization of Ceramic Tableware EDUARDO CASTRO E COSTA

Ph.D. Candidate in Architecture, Penn State

This research is concerned with the mass customization of ceramic tableware. The objective of this research is to allow users to personalize their tableware sets, namely determining the shape of its elements. Mass customization was anticipated as an evolution of mass production by Alvin Toffler (Toffler 1971; Toffler 1984). As a production paradigm, it combines elements of both craft and mass production. As in craft production, it features a high degree of flexibility in its processes; it builds-to-order rather than to plan and it results in high levels of variety and personalization. As in mass production, mass customization generally produces in large quantities, has low unit costs, and may rely on automated production (Pine 1993). In times when consumers become ever more demanding, and differentiation becomes ever more important, a correct implementation of the mass customization paradigm can boost both customer satisfaction and profit (Bernard et al. 2012). Mass customization requires the articulation of design and production systems using new technologies (Duarte 2008). In the mass customization framework being developed, the design system sets the rules for defining the formal and decorative aspects of the tableware, using shape grammars and parametric


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modeling. This system foresees two levels of usage: one by designers, who define a space of possible design solutions, and another by end users who may specify particular tableware sets within the space defined by designers. The production system enables the materialization of the customized designs using digital fabrication technology.


The Role of Computation in Reinterpreting the Traditional Craft Practice of Wire-Bending VERNELLE A. A. NOEL

Ph.D. Candidate in Architecture, Penn State

Wire-bending developed in the 1930s in carnival in Trinidad and Tobago, but it is dying due to the slow rate of transmission of this knowledge, dying practitioners, and growing interest in technology by techno-conscious publics. The Bailey-Derek Grammar is a computational design tool that allows analysis and synthesis, the generation of designs through visual reasoning, calculating, and doing in wire-bending. Here, I present preliminary results from a series of wire-bending workshops with youths and adults who are interested in art, design, and technology in order to evaluate this grammar. The study revealed that the Bailey-Derek Grammar led to: (1) increased levels of interest in wire-bending; (2) increased confidence in design and fabrication decisions; and (3) improved craftsmanship. Artifact and document analyses also indicate the grammarâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ability to document and transmit wire-bending knowledge.


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Understanding the Urban Structure of Informal Settlements: Combining

Techniques of 3D Scan and Shape Grammar DEBORA VERNIZ

Ph.D. Candidate in Architecture, Penn State

The goal of this research is to understand the urban structure of informal settlements to develop a tool for sustainable urban planning. Many people have negative opinions about informal settlements but their inhabitants list several positive aspects: self-constructed spaces reflect the desires and life styles of their residents, take site features into account, and are affordable. This research aims to understand the urban structure of a specific informal settlement used as a case study. It does so by developing new uses for two computational tools that have been used in architecture and urbanism for quite some time: 3D scanning to survey existing structures and shape grammars to describe the bottom up growth of informal settlements. 3D scanning techniques have been widely used in the restoration and conservation of built heritage. However, they also are suitable for collecting spatial data from large,


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complex areas such as those found in informal settlements. Shape grammars were invented more than forty years ago. They provide the theoretical and technical apparatus for developing algorithms that describe design and building processes. Initially they were used in the generative specification of new designs in painting and sculpture and later on they were used to analyze existing designs in other fields like architecture and urban planning. In urban planning, recent research has targeted both generative and analytical grammars. This research aims to use grammars to understand the formal structure of informal settlements by finding compositional rules that describe the generation of their form, define principles for their requalification and, ultimately, develop guidelines for the design of planned, sustainable settlements in similar topographic conditions.

Favela Dona Marta - case study of the research

Images generated through photos to show VR approaches

Identification of pathways, green spaces, public spaces & transportation


HOPLA Home Planner

Mass Customization of Home Designs KRYSTIAN KWIECINSKI

Ph.D. Candidate in Architecture, WAPW; Visiting Researcher, Penn State

The present study is part of the broader research on participatory design and mass customization of house designs (De Almeida, Taborda, Santos, Kwiecinski, & Eloy, 2017; Homenda & KwieciĹ&#x201E;ski, 2016; Kwiecinski, 2015, 2016). Its main objective is to develop a design tool allowing mass-customization of homes with respect of formalized architectural design rules and to analyze participatory design process of non-architect people. A prototype of a design tool, named HOPLA Home Planner, was developed in order to allow mass-customization of design in the area of spatial distribution of house functional programs in the building floor plans. The tool consists of an interactive table allowing user interaction and a digital design system responsible for generating design solutions with respect to formalized architectural design rules. Design rules are formalized with a use of shape grammars and are implemented using noncontextual grammars and parametric design.


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The objective of this study is to provide usersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; feedback on the developed tool and to verify research hypotheses. Hypotheses planned to be tested: 1. Dedicated computer assisted tools can support non-architect people in searching and finding design solutions fulfilling their expectations. 2. Non-architect people are able to solve architectural design tasks with support of dedicated computer assisted design tools. 3. Non-architect people want to mass customize house designs. 4. Non-architect people, in addition to customization of house finishing, would like to customize house layouts.


Adapting Modern Architecture to a

Local Context: A Grammar for Hajjar’s Hybrid Domestic Architecture MAHYAR HADIGHI

Ph.D. Candidate in Architecture, Penn State

The purpose of this study is to analyze Abraham William Hajjar’s single-family houses in State College, Pennsylvania, using shape grammar as a computational design methodology. Hajjar was a member of the architecture faculty at The Pennsylvania State College (now The Pennsylvania State University or, simply, Penn State), a practitioner in State College and an influential figure in the history of architecture in the area. Shape grammar is specifically used to verify and describe influences on Hajjar’s domestic architecture from modern architecture and traditional American architecture. On the basis of this hybridity between modern and traditional architecture in the work of Hajjar, this architectural phenomenon is compared and contrasted with both the modern architecture of the time, as defined by Hitchcock and Johnson


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(1932) and the traditional American architecture in the area. Via computational design methodology, this comparison will provide information to identify and establish the singlefamily architectural language of Hajjar and to verify and describe the hybridity between modern architecture and traditional architecture in his work. The theoretical outcomes of this study answer these central questions in regard to the methodology and the context: Can shape grammars be used to verify and describe the possible hybridity between modern and traditional architecture in Hajjar’s work? And, more broadly, can shape grammars be used to describe architectural hybridity phenomena in general? And, what influence did the social and technological contexts have on the layout of the houses designed by Hajjar?


Toolpath Design

for Additive Manufacturing of Concrete NEGAR ASHRAFI

Ph.D. Candidate in Architecture, Penn State

This study aims to make 3D-printing technology, specifically 3D-printing concrete, more feasible and frequent in the building industry. The main focus of this study is to develop a different method for improving 3D printing (concrete) toolpaths generation. The purpose is to use a “generative design system” that comprises of three subsystems that permit the generation of all of the possible toolpaths and the evaluation and optimization of generated toolpaths. Such development results in generating the best possible toolpath with regards to different design approaches and geometry requirements.


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Tapping into Urban Recycling for Housing

Alternatives: Developing a Building System with Waste-Corrugated Cardboard and Tooling


Ph.D. Candidate in Architecture, Penn State

The purpose of this research is to investigate how to devise a building system to enhance or support the housing needs of low-income communities in developing countries. This research, supported in architectural materials and processes experimentation, is specifically focused on alternative construction materials made of waste corrugated cardboard that can be routinely collected from urban waste systems. The research begins with a comprehensive review of existing scholarship that details the full variety of environmental advantages of cardboard as a building material, the socio-economic implications of cardboard as an unconventional but low-cost material, and cardboardâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s technical capacity to support building requirements. The main focus of the research is exploring new methods and tools for transforming waste corru- gated cardboard into building components, and assessing how


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they can generate a building system governed by low-cost, reusability, ease of construction, safety, and durability. Thus far this research has yielded a set of prototype tools and a series of prototypical housing parts that employ waste corrugated cardboard collected from the Penn State waste stream. Additionally, the research includes the application of computational design tools for optimizing the use of the cardboard elements within the building system and test affordable/ no-cost digital fabrication processes for joining cardboard elements. Finally, the researcher plans to develop a case study in Paraguay to analyze the potential implementation of the system.

developing woodworkhe project nding maries, there y. The fabtuckeman

plying merent types mold was orrugated adhesives. gs or post

the shaft/ e axis and Two peond applies sheet. The pplication oducing a

ements (plywood of 18 mm thick, wooden studs/slats of 50x100 mm) modularity (related to the size of the plywood 1200 x 2400 mm), transportability, and use of standard hardware. Two types of cardboard logs were used in the assembly of this panels: Short-length logs up to 25 cm long, medium and long-length logs more than 100 cm long. The diameter of all the logs used is 15 cm. The short-length logs were used for the reinforcement of floor/ceiling panels, and the medium and long-length logs were used for the reinforcement of wall panels. Additionally, an arch/truss building system was tested using joints made of wood. This truss system could be applied in the construction of roof structures.


The molds form elements of different cross-sections

Small sheets of cardboard are used to make short logs



120 cm 240 cm

240 cm

Logs shorter than 25 cm can be used for reinforcing the core of floor panels and works as an insulation component. The sheating can be made of plywood or similar

Logs longer than 25 cm can be used as infill for wall panels. The blogs are connected using wooden struts and standard adhesives. The frame is made of hardwood and the sheating of plywood.

Logs of different diameter and length can be combined in wall panels and floors

e sheets of waste are use to the proon of short logs

ets of waste se to the prohort logs


E) CONCLUSION In this investigation, the aim was to assess methods and tools for transforming wasted corrugated cardboard sheets collected from the urban waste into potential architectural elements and building components. This study has identified three ways for repurposing the sheets of cardboard. First, by molding and forming using wooden molds; second, by winding using a parallel winding tool; and third, by scoring, cutting and folding. Additionally, the study includes a potential panelized building system using the cardboard logs/posts produced with the parallel winding tool. Despite its exploratory nature, this study offers some insight into the use of waste corrugated cardboard sheets as a resource for producing architectural elements and building components taking into account the homogeneity of the material and its vulnerability to the elements. Further research is being addressed for testing the constructability and durability of the building system in a case study in a real context.

and manthe sheet, gth of the eros/Phyally transapplied to ments are

Forthcoming: Inexpensive 3D Printers can produce cutomized connections quickly and at low-cost


Masonry Screen Walls in Paraguay: Creating a Digital Framework for

Shape, Performance, and Optimization ELENA VAZQUEZ

M.S. Student in Architecture, Penn State

Masonry screen walls are brick enclosures that utilize oblongs and different patterns to create walls that act as screens to provide shade and natural ventilation to buildings. These walls are an affordable and creative way to protect buildings from direct sunlight in locations with hot and humid climates, like Paraguay. Masonry screen walls rely on a widely available material, bricks and deploy low tech construction techniques. While there has been much empirical innovation in the design of this type of brickworks in Paraguay, few studies have assessed their efficiency and established design parameters that can guide more efficient designs. Consequently, this project seeks to develop a digital framework for the design of optimized perforated brick walls used for natural ventilation and shading in Para- guay. The optimization is measured according to their performance as environmental control elements. The performance-driven system sought in this research goes beyond the rigid rationality of function, with a situated awareness that aims to include the particularities of culture, place, and the environment.


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This publication is available in alternative media on request. The University is committed to equal access to programs, facilities, admission, and employment for all persons. It is the policy of the University to maintain an environment free of harassment and free of discrimination against any person because of age, race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, creed, service in the uniformed services (as defined in state and federal law), veteran status, sex, sexual orientation, marital or family status, pregnancy, pregnancy-related conditions, physical or mental disability, gender, perceived gender, gender identity, genetic information, or political ideas. Discriminatory conduct and harassment, as well as sexual misconduct and relationship violence, violates the dignity of individuals, impedes the realization of the Universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s educational mission, and will not be tolerated. Direct all inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policy to Dr. Kenneth Lehrman III, Vice Provost for Affirmative Action, Affirmative Action Office, The Pennsylvania State University, 328 Boucke Building, University Park, PA 16802-5901; Email: kfl2@psu.edu; Tel 814-863-0471. U.Ed. ARC 21-24


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Profile for Penn State Stuckeman School

2018 SCDC Flash Symposium  

2018 SCDC Flash Symposium Proceedings

2018 SCDC Flash Symposium  

2018 SCDC Flash Symposium Proceedings

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