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STUDIO AIR 2013 Tanya Hickey Tutors: Finn Warnock & Tom Morgan


Contents 3 Part A. EOI 1:Case for 4 A.1. Architecture as a 5 A.2. Computational 9 A.3. Parametric 13 A.4. Algorithmic 16 A.5. 17 A.6. Learning 17 Part A: 18 Part B. EOI II: Design 19 B.1. Design 20 B.2. Case Study 24 B.3. Case Study 28 B.4. Technique: 31 B.5. Technique: 32 B.6. Technique 35 B.7. Algorithmic 36 B.8. Learning Objectives and 38 Part B: 41 Part C. PROJECT 43 C.1. Gateway Project: Design 44 C.2. Gateway Project: Tectonic 68 C.3. Gateway Project: Final 74 C.4. Algorithmic 80 C.5. Learning Objectives and 84 Part C: 93






As a third year student of Environments majoring in architecture my introduction to digital based design was in first year in the subject Virtual Environments. Rhinoceros and the Paneling Tools Plug-in were the software employed to investigate complex form and respond to a brief to design a paneled paper model lantern following a defined process-based design protocol.

Above: Final design featured varied sized openings determined by the use of attractor points. Adjustable louvers allowed manual manipulation of light penetration.

With limited digital design experience aside from basic CAD skills, my experience with Rhino was initially challenging yet provided inspiration and results that were beyond what I had considered possible for my skill level from the outset. Exploration in orthographic projection, contouring techniques, digitisation of a 3D model and digital modeling using Paneling Tools drove the design. Left: Fractal Tree theory provided inspiration for the project


The following Case for Innovation will in reference to the Wyndham City Western Gateway Design Project explore Architecture as a suitable Discourse, how innovation in computation would be of merit to the project and Parametric Modeling as a suitable design solution.

Wyndham Gateway key brief points: High exposure location seen by those entering the municipality inbound to the CBD Brief required a ‘exciting, eye-catching installation’, an entry statement, arrival experience To inspire and enrich the municipality The issue of upgrading image is key Reported success of Seeds of Change (2003) and House in the Sky(2001) Possess longevity and encourage ongoing interest and reflection Need to respond to the consideration of scale, impact, high-speed movement, surrounding buildings and topology Must provide significant impact Accessible to wider public Exploration of place-making qualities Focal point of iconic scale and presence Encourage a sense of pride in community

Above: Sculptural installation existing on the freeway in the Wyndham precinct. source:

Propose new, inspiring, brave ideas contributing to ‘new’ discourse


A.1. ARCHITECTURE AS A DISCOURSE Why would architecture be the preferred discourse in favour of alternative visual arts such as sculpture? “architecture needs to be thought of less as a set of special material products and rather more as range of social and professional practices that sometimes, but by no means always, lead to buildings.” Williams, Richard (2005). ‘Architecture and Visual Culture’, in Exploring Visual Culture: Definitions, Concepts, Contexts, ed. By Matthew Rampley (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press), pp. 102-116, p. 108

The built environment is a physical expression of the social, cultural, political, academic, economic, commercial and technological climate. It provides a physical historical dialogue communicating the myriad and complexity of influences and issues relevant to the time and are not simply an exercise in conforming to an architectural ‘style’ as understood in the traditional sense.¹ Schumacher’s unified theory describes the influence of several discourses’ contributing to that of architecture including those from social, political, economic, technological and cultural realms.² This makes architecture inherently complex compared to alternative visual art disciplines that have also been invited to enter the Wyndham Gateway Project.³ Individual artistic expression is not a freedom afforded to the architect as it is to visual arts such as sculpture. The breadth of contributing discourse toward architecture in itself provides significant potential to create new discourse with an architectural entry, a key brief criteria for the Wyndham Project.

6 “Architecture is the most public of the arts”

Architecture has the potential to communicate social and politically relevant issues applicable to the Wyndham municipality, the national community and the global framework through contribution to a broad range of discourse. Through consideration of design approach, the Wyndham Gateway can communicate on a ‘dual’ level. The design could provide an experiential quality to commuters into the Melbourne metropolitan region and also provide discourse for those participating in the autopoietic communications described by Schumacher.4

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

Digital design and computation is on the forefront in the design and architectural worlds. As students we are made aware of innovations in digital design technology and the impact on the architectural world. The skills required to utilise the programs are becoming increasingly specialised as the technologies evolve so rapidly. For this reason, a design for Wyndham Gateway that utilises specialist digital software such as Parametric Design has significant potential to create ‘new’ discourse and generate communication streams. Parametric design communicates positivity, new and brave ideas – a quality Wyndham can display through an architectural gateway in this genre. It communicates on multiple levels whether the observer is aware or otherwise. Impressions of strength, positivity, bravery, vitality and global relevance are implied in the utilisation of specialist software to produce a Parametric Design entry. Given that Wyndham Council’s objective is to give this impression, a Parametric Architectural design should be preferred over alternative visual art options that would not have the same assertive influence. Why is this? On first impression because it is so visible and accessible. It is available to the public to experience in our museums, sports stadiums, airports, universities and freeways. It is possibly less elitist than other art forms as we don’t necessarily need to understand it to appreciate and experience it. It is before us and often available to experience whether it is to enter the museum or drive through it on a freeway. The discourse is possibly less accessible yet the experience is readily accessible.

7 The social influence buildings have demand that architectural design evolves and maintains contribution to the numerous involved discourse’.5 The political desire to communicate through the built form has moulded the environment. An example of this is the Ordos Art and City Museum (2005) by MAD Architects.

source: uploads/2012/02/1330288937-mad-ordos-museumsection-2-copy-1000x706.jpg

“To make architecture is to map the world in some way, to intervene, to signify: it is a political act.” Dutton, Thomas A. and Lian Hurst Mann, eds (1996). Reconstructing Architecture: Critical Discourses and Social Practices (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press), p. 1

Ordos Art & City Museum is a parametric designed lattice structure wrapped in polished aluminium metal louvers. Inspired by Buckminster Fuller’s Manhattan Dome, the museum was commissioned for a largely undeveloped municipality following China’s forging economy.6 The objective was to build a symbolic ‘nucleus’ for the centre of the town characterised by a rigid geometric grid. This nucleus was to symbolise a new community spirit, of the sun rising over the former harsh desert dunes representing a transition from past to future prosperity for the region .7 The digitally warped dome results in a fluid organic form that has been labeled in design circles as ‘blobitecture’ and typifies the ‘blob’ fascination described by Lynn in his article ‘Fold’s, Bodies and Blobs’. 8 The political motivation behind the commission is responsible for the resulting form. The design communicates the aspirations or intent between the municipality, the residents, future residents and multiple global discourses’. The municipality is trying to make an impression of being on the forefront yet respecting the past. There is a dialogue of global standing, optimism, confidence, security….all characteristics to attract new community members and respect for the client. The form is rich in symbolism and reflects cultural values.


Public buildings are a method of communicating with the public. Not only buildings that we occupy or visit however. The Wyndham Project is an opportunity for the expression of social, political and cultural values, of ‘prospects’ that the council wishes to communicate to the world. Commuters will involuntarily be affected by the design and the wider audience through new discourse. Architecture is arguably expected to be great on more levels than other arts such as sculpture for example.9 It is expected to be aesthetically pleasing, provide a spatial experience, be functionally effective, be able to communicate the motivations of the client in this case Wyndham Council, contribute to discourse and be appreciated by the public…all within budget. There is unique complexity in architecture not inherent in other visual arts. This raises the question of what makes architecture successful. RMIT’s Storey Hall, Melbourne (1995) has been the subject of attention, positive and negative. It has contributed to discourse, recognised as architecturally ‘significant’ by the Royal Australian Institute of Architects. It has several respected awards both for the internal and overall design.10 On an academic level, Storey Hall is a success. It communicates sentiments of leadership, bravery, prowess, excitement and confidence through the fractal inspired façade and interior. It also contributed to a new discourse as Wyndham Council aspires to do also with the Gateway Project. Did it serve the task, the social requirement of producing an aesthetically revered building? Williams (2005) describes the disappointment met when a building does not meet all of the criteria expected of architecture.11 Storey Hall is a symbolically rich design yet perhaps has not met the public requirement of a widely understood aesthetic. Can any design meet all of the criteria? Is it a failure if it doesn’t?

Parametric designs contribute to the architectural discourse and create new discourse by generating discussion. Rhinoceros, Grasshopper, Maya and other design software are specialised. Schumacher claims that such programs have formed a new formative architectural ‘style’ that will be recognised in architectural history as following Post-modernism.12 Debates surround these predictions and communications can be found in all media especially Online forums, discussions and blogs. The debates themselves are likely less important than the fact that the debates and discussions exist at all contributing to new discourse. It is this topical nature of digital design, specifically Parametric Design that makes it an ideal design tool for the Wyndham Gateway Project.

RMIT Storey Hall, Melbourne (1995)


The architect works within the parameters of the brief. Digital technology facilitates innovative design within architectural discourse because designs can be explored in depth without the need of a brief and without the need to physically build. The freedom to explore without the restraints of a typical client commission lends potential for revolutionary architectural design. This freedom to design without the restraints of a brief, site conditions and client also lead to revolutionary design during building lulls as evident during war time resulting in the Modernist ‘style’. This opportunity to explore in depth a design concept for the Wyndham Gateway that pushes boundaries with the aid of digital design heightens the likelihood that the design will contribute to new discourse.


A.2. COMPUTATIONAL ARCHITECTURE What is computation? Using the definitions subscribed to by Terzidis (2006) computerization is the digitalisation and storage of preconceived ideas. That is, a digital version of the formerly drafted plans, sections, elevations etc. Computation as distinct from computerization is the use of computers and specialist design software as a tool to aid design.13

AAMI Stadium, COX Architects, Melbourne ( 2010)

source: old_img/melbourne-rectangular-stadium-plan-2.jpg

Each has advantages and disadvantages for the designer. Computerization provides efficient storage, drawing and reproduction that can be readily shared digitally enhancing communication between architects, clients and the related disciplines. This efficiency is translated to design process itself by allowing a more integrated than segregated collaboration during the design stages.14 Engineers, lighting specialists, environmental consultants and the myriad of other professions involved on the design and building industry can provide a ‘collective intelligence’ from the outset of the design.15 Furthermore, the ability to communicate designs virtually provides a degree of spacial experience for the architect and client so that refinement is possible prior to construction. The role of the architect is transformed to incorporate communication management.16

The advantages of computerization extend to time and reproduction efficiencies and make manipulation less labor intensive potentially reducing costs. These efficiencies can also provide opportunities for broader design exploration and innovation increasing the design space.17 Computation as a design tool provides the potential to further increase the design space by exploring complex geometries that would have been too complicated or timeconsuming to reach using traditional drafting methods. Manipulation and refinement to design are less likely to be avoided providing greater opportunity to produce a more innovative design. Such manipulation and tweaking of design models can deliver greater efficiencies on many levels.




AAMI Park (2010) designed by Cox Architecture in conjunction with ARUP is an example of how computation can assist architects to produce a more efficient design through the manipulation of components. The Bio-frame with geodesic dome is inspired by the R. Buckminster Fuller design (1960). The custom built aluminium triangulated frame acts as a combined roof, wall and support and shelters the seated spectator area of the stadium providing uninterrupted views of the field. Each member of the frame performs multiple purposes and maximises efficiency by minimising resources. Digital manipulation of the members provided a solution that uses approximately 50% less resources than the typical cantilevered stadium design.18 The design has contributed to architectural discourse for its efficiencies and iconic appeal and has been awarded for its’ ingenuity.

AAMI Stadium, COX Architects, Melbourne (2010) source: old_img/melbourne-rectangular-stadium.jpg


Subdivided Columns; A New Order, Michael Hansmeyer, (2010) source:

Due to the explicit nature of computational design, there needs to be programming proficiency and a ‘design intention’ to produce effective and considered designs. This sentiment is also reflected by Kalay (2004) in Architectures new Media.19 It has also been suggested that digital design might be considered “fake” creativity, that designs are stumbled upon rather than developed or that the designer’s creativity is restricted by the software itself.20 The opportunities of the software possibly outweigh the negatives by providing a vaster design space and complexity to explore with the potential to ‘amplify’ design concepts.21 Needless to say, proficiency in programming is crucial. An example of computational design exploring geometries that would be too complex to explore

using traditional drafting and design methods is Michael Hansmeyer’s Ornamented Columns (2011) . The columns are inspired by morphogenesis and cell division and are developed using computational algorithms and processes based on the division of 3D geometries. The algorithms are repeated over and over to produce designs that are ‘undrawable’ due to their complexity. The columns are laser cut with layered 1mm card sheets. By folding the geometries 8 times the columns are composed of 5.8 million faces. Needless to say there are too many faces to be drawn on CAD and the designs confirm that computation open up a completely new and previously unimaginable genre of design, that by adjusting parameters to control processes, new geometries can be created.


Computational design is ideal as a tool for the Wyndham Gateway Project as it provides efficiencies that then allow for more in depth in exploration of a greater design space than non-digital and traditional design processes afford.22 A ‘breadth-first’ design process is more feasible using computation whereby more alternatives can be analysed, experimented and manipulated to produce an entry that is innovative and contributes to discourse.23

Subdivided Columns; A New Order, Michael Hansmeyer, (2010) source: htmlold_img/melbourne-rectangular-stadium.jpg



So what is parametric modeling? According to ModeLab a parametric model is the part of a design that relate and change in a coordinated way defined by various parameters and dependencies. Grasshopper as a plug-in to Rhinoceros3D is a node-based programming system that allows the designer to model using algorithms by adjusting multiple finite parameters. The programmer is required to set the parameters with various inputs to reach a desired output making the process an explicit one. The programmer needs to have an idea of where they want to arrive and exploration is possible from there. There are a number of advantages and challenges associated with Parametric Modeling. Parametric modeling provides the designer a degree of automation so that complex geometries and repetition (especially working with large data sets) can be efficiently represented allowing the designer to explore and experiment with a greater number of alternative designs in the same time.24 A breadth-first approach is made further possible.25 As Burry explains in ‘Scripting Cultures” (2011), bespoke design is made more accessible and is possibly the solution to standardisation driven by the need to reduce costs.26 The explorable design space for the Wyndham Project is defined and the final form determined by the chosen software. Digital modeling software and programming language is ever evolving, challenging to learn and demanding to stay a breadth. To use the design tool effectively, the programmer needs to be able to translate a solution to a problem in a way that the computer can understand.27 Larger architectural firms that are on the forefront of such design technologies have dedicated departments specialising in digital and parametric modeling. There poses the question of whether this situation disconnects these programmers from the design process?

At the same time by choosing Parametric Design, As Burry (2011) points out, most designers do not use programming or scripting as part of the design process and instead are reliant on the capabilities of the software and those that designed them to effectively produce their idea. Burry describes them as ‘anonymous collaborators’ and because they are not part of the design process, the user of the software is subject to its’ own limitations. These issues may point to why parametric design has become synonymous with certain characteristics such as ‘blobitecture’ and tend to look similar. Patrick Schumacher (2010) in ‘Let the style wars begin’ even goes to the point of defining principles that should be adhered to in Parametricism to ensure a stylistic consistency. The freedom of the designer is restricted by the limitations and inflexibilities of the software and the available programming or scripting skills. Grasshopper does offer greater control than say Rhinoceros alone due to the scripting controls. The highly specific instructions required to program effectively are both advantageous due to the degree of control afforded the designer and at the same time a disadvantage if the understanding of the language is inadequate. It is in this instance that the risk of code-sharing between those less proficient can result in a lack of innovation and a ‘stylistic’ quality defining Parametric design.28

Sol-O-House, NOX, (2010)

Parametric modeling source:


Given parametric design is on the forefront of design discourse, it is possible that as scripting skills evolve with this generation that the stylistic characteristics associated with the design method will diversify also. This is reliant on designers becoming script specialists or taking on script assistance. While parametric design is predicted to become increasingly significant within the architectural discourse there are also those suggesting that it is a passing novelty. For example, Mayer (2010) suggests that the significant costs of constructing such complex geometries is prohibitive for the mainstream uptake and that aside from the handful of exceptional examples that it will be limited to small scale pavilions and installations.29 Considering that ‘paper architecture’ also contributes toward innovation and design discourse this may not provide a sufficient obstacle to slow the momentum. Likewise, the designs may also outgrow the stylistic restraints heralded by Schumacher if we consider that all design is determined by manipulation of multiple parameters, digital or otherwise.

Above: Lofted version of digital model

The Son-O-House installation by NOX Architects is typical of the scale of many parametric designs. Although fabrication is assisted by digital automation and parametric design enables this materialisation of complex curved surfaces that would be impossible to realise using traditional methods, the scale is usually confined by the construction costs associated. Parametric designs’ very nature of making the complex possible is still restrained by budget and hence the current limitation to small scale projects and building skins (with exception to the Gehry’s of course). The Son-O-House is described as a house of sound where the movements of visitors to the installation are recorded, recomposed and played to future visitors. The form itself reflects the curvature of movement of the buildings visitors. Movements of the visitors were first represented as a collection of paper strips that were then digitised using algorithm into vault form passing and intersecting with each other. The structure is a non-standard geometry while the surface is composed of flat strip panels. The overlapping surface is characteristic of parametric modeling’s organic, dynamic and fluid forms that frequently mimic nature. When using nature as inspiration for design and improved building solutions and efficiencies as in biomimicry, parametric modeling is an ideal tool to replicate forms that occur in nature.


Left: Son-O-House, NOX, The Netherlands, 2004 source: Excerpts/MA.pdf

BMW Welt by Asymptote (2007) Munich, Germany is another example of Parametric modeling being used to create form emulating nature. In the case of BMW Welt the ‘double cone’ geometry is supposed to reflect changes in cloud formation taking the form if a twisted torque structure. The frame is a grid with planar glass cells. Each steel member was specified individually and required precision for construction. A mere eleven columns support the roof and without computation and simulation, the structure would not be possible. The glass paneled facade and roof are unusual in that do not reflect the floor plan of the building as traditional architecture does. On a larger scale than Son-O-House and obviously the pride of BMW, it is expected that the project was considerably more expensive to construct than a non-parametric design and suggests that the ‘luxury’ of such a design is reserved for the privileged minority and not yet available to the mainstream as Schumacher would have us believe. The complex structure is an exhibition of digital and parametric modeling and confirms that the technologies associated with producing such a building is akin to the cars that BMW produces. It is a clear dialogue to BMW’s clientele and competition of their leadership status. It is branding....and it is the type of marketing benefit that Wyndham would also enjoy by choosing Parametric Modeling for their Gateway.


BMW Welt, Asymptote, Munich, Germany (2007) source: welt/architecture.html



The tutorials assisted in further explorations of complex geometries that would not have been possible using Rhino alone. While it is possible to explore and ‘play around’ with various tools, effects and commands it is clear that to script effectively i.e. create on screen an accurately represented preconceived idea, that this requires a specialist skill set. It is understandable that there are criticisms of such software representing ‘fake’ creativity or accidental end product. One can accidentally create a design that looks impressive. The skill is in developing the skills to ‘drive’ the software as opposed to having it drive the design. The new territory that the software provides designers suggests that there may be a novelty value in producing designs (i.e. complex geometries and curvilinear forms) that were previously impossible to conceive using 2D and analogue tools. Through explorations, especially the origami exercise, it became clear that there were multiple methods to reach a desired outcome. Often, far more scripts were used than what was really required as seen in the bottom example.


A parametric architectural design for the Wyndham City Western Gateway Project will meet the objectives of the Wyndham City Council on every level. An architectural design will enable a gateway of iconic scale and presence unmatched by alternative visual arts. The use of computational design specifically parametric design will ensure that an optimal number of design options are explored to arrive at a design that provides an eyecatching and intriguing experience for commuters, conveys a positive and inspiring dialogue for the municipality and generates new discourse over multiple disciples due to the innovative qualities. Innovation will be demonstrated in the design approach by incorporating computation to explore new territories and to arrive at a design that otherwise would not have been preconceived. The end design will reflect this innovation through form via intuitive design decisions amplified by computational exploration. The spatial experience for commuters, the reflection upon the Wyndham municipality and architecture’s relevance to a vast discourse pool will provide stimulus for new discourse.


It is inspiring to research a movement that is current and invites participation as opposed to the more usual historical analysis. The evolution of computational design and digital technology has been relatively rapid meaning that many practices have yet to embrace the technologies that as students we are exploring. Computational theory is overwhelming in its’ specialisation, depth of knowledge required to ‘drive’ it and speed of change. The application potential is promising and to witness the diversification and maturation of the designs that are generated will be of interest. It is frustrating that for a discipline that is design based that it has been relatively slow to adopt the available technologies due to the interests of architectures related disciplines. It is positive to see that the segregation between the disciplines are beginning to dissipate and that architects can begin to work in an integrated and co-operative fashion to explore a broader design space due to digital technology.




1 William, Richard (2005), ‘Architecture and Visual Culture’, in Exploring Visual Culture: Definitions, Concepts, Contexts, ed. by Matthew Rampley, (Edinburgh University Press), pg. 103 2 Patrick Schumacher (2011), “Introduction: Architecture as Autopoietic System”, pg. 4 3 William, Richard (2005), ‘Architecture and Visual Culture’, in Exploring Visual Culture: Definitions, Concepts, Contexts, ed. by Matthew Rampley, (Edinburgh University Press), pg. 104 4 Patrick Schumacher (2011), “Introduction: Architecture as Autopoietic System”, pg. 1 5 William, Richard (2005), ‘Architecture and Visual Culture’, in Exploring Visual Culture: Definitions, Concepts, Contexts, ed. by Matthew Rampley, (Edinburgh University Press), pg. 103 6 id=18003&q=ordos%20art%20and%20city%20museum, accessed 18th March 2013 7 id=18003&q=ordos%20art%20and%20city%20museum, accessed 18th March 2013 8 Lynn, Greg (1998), “WWhy Tectonics is Square and Topology is Groovy”, in Folds, Bodies & Blobs: Collected Essays, ed. by Greg Lynn (Bruxelles: La Lettre volee), pg 169 9 William, Richard (2005), ‘Architecture and Visual Culture’, in Exploring Visual Culture: Definitions, Concepts, Contexts, ed. by Matthew Rampley, (Edinburgh University Press), pg. 103 10, accessed 27th March 2013 11 William, Richard (2005), ‘Architecture and Visual Culture’, in Exploring Visual Culture: Definitions, Concepts, Contexts, ed. by Matthew Rampley, (Edinburgh University Press), pg. 105 12 Patrick Schumacher (2010), “Patrick Schumacher on Parametricism - Let the style wars Begin”, 13 Terzidis, Kostas (2006), Alogorithmic Architecture (Boston, MA: Elsevier), pg. xi (as quoted in Lecture 2 Studio Air, S1, 2013) 14 Kieran, Stephan & James Timberlake (2004), ‘Refabricating Architecture: How Manufacturing Methodologies are Poised to Transform Building Construction’, (New York: McGraw-Hill), pg. 13, 15, 23, (as quoted in Lecture 2 Studio Air, S1, 2013) 15 Kieran, Stephan & James Timberlake (2004), ‘Refabricating Architecture: How Manufacturing Methodologies are Poised to Transform Building Construction’, (New York: McGraw-Hill), pg. 13, 15, 23, (as quoted in Lecture 2 Studio Air, S1, 2013) 16 Kieran, Stephan & James Timberlake (2004), ‘Refabricating Architecture: How Manufacturing Methodologies are Poised to Transform Building Construction’, (New York: McGraw-Hill), pg. 13, 15, 23, (as quoted in Lecture 2 Studio Air, S1, 2013) 17 Woodbury, Robert F and Andrew L. Burrow (2006), “Whither design space”, Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing, 20, 2, pg. 66 18, accessed 18th March 2013 19 Yehuda E Kalay (2004), “Architecture’s new media: Principles, Theories and methods of Computer-Aided Design”, (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press), pg. 3 20 Lawson, Bryan (1999), ‘“Fake’ and ‘Real” Creativity using Computer-aided design: Some Lessons for Herman Hertzberger’, in Proceedings of the 3rd Conference on Creativity and Cognition, ed. by Ernest Edmonds and Linda Candy (New York: ACM Press), pg. 174-179 (as quoted in Lecture 2 Studio Air, S1, 2013) 21 Woodbury, Robert F and Andrew L. Burrow (2006), “Whither design space”, Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing, 20, 2, pg. 68 22 Woodbury, Robert F and Andrew L. Burrow (2006), “Whither design space”, Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing, 20, 2, pg. 66 23 Yehuda E Kalay (2004), “Architecture’s new media: Principles, Theories and methods of Computer-Aided Design”, (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press), pg. 19 24 Burry, Mark (2011), “Scripting Cultures: Rchitectural Design and Programming”, (Chinister Wiley), pg. 8 25 Yehuda E Kalay (2004), “Architecture’s new media: Principles, Theories and methods of Computer-Aided Design”, (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press), pg. 19 26 Burry, Mark (2011), “Scripting Cultures: Rchitectural Design and Programming”, (Chinister Wiley), pg. 9 27 Burry, Mark (2011), “Scripting Cultures: Rchitectural Design and Programming”, (Chinister Wiley), pg. 27 28 Burry, Mark (2011), “Scripting Cultures: Rchitectural Design and Programming”, (Chinister Wiley), pg. 18 29 Mayer, Adam Nathaniel (2010), ‘Style and the Pretense of Parametric Architecture’, (link provided wk 3, Studio Air)






Biomimicry is the practice of looking toward nature for innovative and sustainable design solutions. Nature relies on the capacity to evolve, to adapt to ever changing conditions in order to survive and thrive. Biomimicry’s relevace to architectural design today is in the necessity for designs that adapt and evolve in response to local environments. A design that does not have the capacity to adapt is eventually left ‘relic’ and made redundant. The use of parametric design reflects the adaptability and infinite mutations of natural phenomenon. Wydnham as a municipality is one of the fastest growing in Victoria. It is fitting that a gateway should reflect this growth, adaptability and capacity to respond to the changing environment. Homeostatic shading systems are an example of biomimicry in architectural facade design. The design featured left is a double glazed system for buildings that self regulates the internal temperature through energy-efficient mechanisation modelled on muscle movement.

Above: Homeostatic Facade System, Decker Yeadon, New York, 2011, source:

Whilst this example is evidence that biomimicry provides performative solutions in architectural design, many references toward biomimicry that are less functional and more often superficial. These references are common to facade decorative effects, internal decoration and design as well as architectural installations.


“I am intrigued with the way patterns can emerge when things flow. These patterns are not static objects, they are patterns of behavior – recurring themes in nature.” Ned Kahn

Above: Technorama Facade, Ned Kahn, NC, 2011, source: http://www.

Ned Kahn’s artistic explorations into atmospheric phenomenon are evidence of biomimicry and experiential architectural affects. The interactive and contemplative qualities of Kahn’s work are along the lines of what our group looks to achieve by adopting biomimetic princibles in our gateway design. Effects such as the demonstration of wind turbulance on the Technorama Facade are an example of the new realm of architectural ground provided by the employment of new materials, innovative fabrication processes and digital design. Continually changing conditions are demonstrated effectively and efficiently using programmes such as Grasshopper.


Above: Seroussi Pavilion (Biothing), , Paris, 2007, source:

Seroussi Pavilion also known as ‘Biothing’ is an LMS provided example of parametric biomimetic design. The space can be manipulated to accomodate varying internal accomodation requirements such as exhibition space. The design has been likened by the designers to sound-waves which again allude to the interest of our group to design a gateway for Wyndham that is architecturally fluid - not visually but physically. Biothing appears to grow and withdraw through the control of parameters that adjust angle, size and orientation of ‘electro-magnetic’ field lines eminating from a series of curves. These curves, forces of attraction and repulsion in the Grasshopper algorithm combined with ‘z’ coordinate parameters allow the design to be sitespecific and adapt to the topology.


MORNING LINE explanation matthew ritchie designed with architects aranda\ lasch and arup’s advanced geometry unit commissioned contemporary




The Morning Line is representative of interdiisciplinary intersecting relationships between the arts, technology, architecture, mathematics and science. Internationally acclaimed including by Time Magazine, the pavilion is an open cellular structure based on cosmological theory. The architectural and engineering design is created using parametric design to maximise the structures efficiency. Based on fractal cycles, the pavilion represents the universe in a series of modular components that can be reconfigured to suit different topologies and use. The Morning Line features speakers that sense movement from each visitor and this is translated into a soundscape that is ever evolving and site responsive. These qualities are of interest to our group when considering a design for the Wyndham Gateway Project.

The Morning Line, Aranda Lasch/Matthew Richie source:




The highlighted iterations were considered to most comply with the fitness criteria set. 2B and 2E provided form with least obvious geometric parent and the potential to cast and provide interesting shading on the site. We were trying to avoid the geometric purity of the Seed Cathedral and employ a base form that was less static.


By using both The Morning Line and Biothing the group’s design space was increased and a potential hybrid of the two parent explorations possible. Further exploration into the site and potential for landscape manipulation expands the potential design space further.


Iterations 4A and 4D provided interest for our design due to the resemblence of hair or seaweed being influenced by an external element such as water or airflow. This reference to atmospheric conditions suited the site conditions and our desire to use a hair-like element to a base form. Simulation of air/water flow could be demostrated by adjusting the rotational field charge on Grasshopper.

8E and 11B were also considered worthy of further exploration as they displayed the hair source as protruding from a central point much like seed cathedral without the static cube geometry. These examples suggested an element of movement of the plane and hairs.


Morning Line Iterations Technique 1: Fractal variations of the pyramid were explored Technique 2: Fractals continue to be explored using Tertrahedron geomoetry with various scaling. Technique 3: Dodecahedrons were scaled to various sizes and then piped to create wire framelike structures with internal voids. Complex forms were then created using mirroring to cluster in similar fashion to the original Morning Line design.

Biothing Iterations


Note: all techniques explore 2D curves (1st 2 iterations) and 3D planar and non-planar curves (last 3-4 iterations)

Technique 6: Division of curves minimized as well as number of hairs from field attractor to gain greater definition.

Technique 4: rotation field applied (instead of the latter iterations radial) gives appearance of turbulance (wind or water). Hair length is extended compared to biothing. Graph mapper types vary by iteration effecting line/wave curve formation (ie. Undulating or simple arc or flat line)

Technique 7: increase length of hairs as well as number of hairs radiating from field creating added density. All piped.

Technique 5: Radial (circle) field applied instead of rotation. Number of divisions of the curves are manipulated. Piping applied to last 4 iterations. 1st iteration kept crashing when piping was applied (too many lines?)

Technique 8: Experimentation with curves and shape of field radiation from circle to rectangle. Hair length manipulated. Technique 9: Length of hairs extended, “z� movement increased to create spider like elevation view Technique 10: Hair density and length increased

The matrix exporations indicate that a hybrid of the complex geometric form and the hair-like biothings is feasible especially if the design is site specific. The potential ranges from facade appliactions to installation solutions on one or more of the three sites. The hair like element is potentially a dialogue for the surrounding atmospheric conditions reflecting air movement either naturally generated or by passing vehicles. The hair formation could be applied to a geometry or a plane that is responsive to the topology. The topology may also be modified to enhance the overall effect.



Seed Cathedral provides an example of the direction our group would like to take for the Wyndham Gateway project. The design by Heatherwick Studios for the Shanghai Expo 2010 incorporates biomimicry, parametric computation and the use of 60,000 LED rods to create a halo effect over a cube structure that responds to the environment. The rods are parametrically positioned to most effectively respond to the circulating air movement and external light conditions illuminating the internal space. The multi-award winning pavilion is an example of how architecture can behave as a diologue for the surrounding site and atmospheric conditions. The effect provides and experiential space that invites visitors to interact, explore and contemplate. It is this kind of impact that would suit a design meeting the brief criteria for the Wyndham gateway. Biomimicry’s relevance and interest to the discourse of environment and sustainability further amplify the potential to contribute to broader discourse as does the incorporation of innovative materials and design technology.

Above: UK Pavilion (Seed Cathedral), Heatherwick Studio, Shanghai Expo, 2010, source:

Our group reverse engineered the principles displayed in the Seed Cathedral. Our interest was in using the hair-like effect to reflect the Wyndham atmospheric environment by means of air movement or temperature fluctuations using innovative materials such as NITINOL memory wire or super-elastic wire. Grasshopper issues: inability to create a rounded edge cube. While this could have be done in Rhino and referenced back into Grasshopper, we wanted to have the dimensions of the cube as adjustable parameters. Where to next? The group would like to explore the possiblilty of applying this definition to a surface that is site specific. This could be a plane reflecting the existing topology or a form that generates air movement in addition to that which prevails naturally at the site.


Above: Anemone Installation, Oyler Wu Collaborative, Taiwan, 2011, source:

In the interest of creating a hybrid of the characteristics of Seed cathedral and the fluidity of Biothing, further explorations of a wire or hair surface on an undulating plane that could respond to the site topology was pursued. An undulating triangulated surface plane (using the LUNCHBOX plug-in) featuring regularly spaced hair-like extrusions and possible sail canopy was explored.


B.4. TECHNIQUE: DEVELOPMENT Our group considered that the geometries explored in the Morning Line lacked the resposiveness to the site that we were seeking to maximise and exagerate the effect of air movement on the hair design. ‘Biothing’ presented greater opportunity for site response through the curves and defined parameters. The employment of a plane shaped specifically to generate air movement and act as a frame for the hairs to be attached to was further explored.

The ‘breadth-first’ approach demonstrated in the matrix allows several possibilities to be explored. Cyclical process of manipulating parameters, gaining feedback on that manipulation as well as inspiration is a vital part of the digital design process - software alone cannot participate in this design cycle 1. Our group had strong ideas about incorporating elements such as hairs/wires in our design that responded to the environment reflecting atmospheric movement using phase change materials. Upon feedback and advice from our tutors, exploration of the form that the hairs would be attached to followed. Using FALCON software, air simulations could be observed on various shaped forms. The objective was to arrive at a plane or form that generated additional turbulance to that that would be naturally present on the site. The form chosen created from a series of complex curves in Rhino and then lofted performed as a vortex increasing the air velocity as it entered the larger opening,

Above: Falcon air simulation applied to the proposed form

Simulations were also applied to the site. Using Grasshopper several site iterations (manipulation of the topography) were produced to evaluate the range of turbulance and potential velocity. Broadening of the design space using software such as Falcon and Grasshopper facilitate experimentation, testing and the ability to create more elaborate designs than would otherwise be practical or possible 2.

Above: Falcon air simulation applied to individual site iteration



Frame Exploration A waffle frame modelled on a complex plane was fabricated using cross halving joints and considered useful for further exploration given that the footings could be adjusted depending on the site position that was chosen. It is also possible to mould the topology to create wind tunnels to further effect the hairs and to exagerate turbulance generated by the freeway traffic. The LMS definition for creating the cross halving joints was applied to the waffle frame for fabrication. We found the definition problematic however producing notches on top of the vertical and horizontal waffles instead of one at the top and one at the bottom for effective connection. To resolve the issue the frame was twice baked and the verticals were ‘flipped’ over in Rhino to apply notching to the opposite side. The provided LMS definition for rolling out the surfaces also proved problematic. It could be applied effectively to simple geometries such as a cube yet failed when applied to our complex curvature waffle frame. To reach fabrication the surfaces were eventually unrolled in Rhino instead of Grasshopper.



Form Development The next prototype employed the form determined to provide significant air movement through our simulations on FALCON. Top View

Front View

Side View

Plywood was used to create the first waffle frame yet could not be used due to the lack of flexibility for the second frame prototype which was fabricated from mount board due to the increased curve complexity. It is expected that a steel or flexible frame would be needed for the design plane. Panel Exploration Panels attached to the frame were considered appropriate to add definition to the plane as well as providing a fixing point for the hairs or wire. Triangulation of the surface using LUNCHBOX produced a series of planar components that would ease fabrication and installation. Perforation of the panels has been considered to facilitate air flow from below the surface to the hairs. Alternatively, panels could be slightly offset instead of perforated to facilitate air flow.

34 Addition of Hairs A hair-like addition to the surface was achieved using a similar definition as used to reengineer the Seed Cathedral. Instead of the control point for the extrusion of the lines/hairs being central, two attractor points were used to direct the hairs in different directions. The length of the hairs and strength of the attractor points could be manipulated using sliders.

Top View

Front View

Side View



The ability to adjust the parameters in Grasshopper allows our design to be adapted easily to whichever site location we choose of the three available. The location will be determined in the next stage of the studio and will be one that provides the greatest vantage and atmospheric stimulation for our design. It is feasable that more than one installation could be employed covering multiple sites. Scale will also be addressed in the next design phase. The proposed design provides Wyndham with a gateway that is unique, uses innovative design tools and materials. The proposal responds to the local environment, evolves and provides ongoing interest potential for commuters. The design is relevant to multiple current discourse and has the potential to provide Wyndham with an iconic landmark that can be understood by the broad community.


The image on the right is based on Biothing and employs a rotational charge giving the impression of movement either air or water.

A planar variation of the principles used in Seed Cathedral. Opportunity exists to place the hairs in a patterned rather than regular fashion using a image mapper.

Further exploration of hair-like formation based on phylotaxis patterning. manipulation of length, radius and curvature to hairs may be valuable to the next phase.





Mid-semester presentation feedback; - Consider how the design will change over time, aging process - Consider progression over seasons i.e. wind patterns - How will the design be experienced through placement on the site? - Further consideration of the form required - Possible intersection of design components (including the site) - Explore 3D potential for the wires and a possible patterning effect by their placement on the surface - Suggested that having the wires be moved by wind will be more effective than using the heat memory activation - Principles of BIOMIMICRY should be the focus and less so the waffle structure and wire itself - Explore further the nature of “hair”....the systems, processes and patterns of behaviour inherant in hair - the design, based on the theme of biomimicry should exhibit the ‘rules’ of hair and not simply by means of bio-resemblance - the design should ‘do what hair does’


Areas for further exploration: For Part C our group will endevour to explore the areas suggested by the panel in the mid-semester presentation. These include: - potential aging process of the design either through material aging or physical aging i.e. hair growth - there nay me potential for the hairs to change length and mimic the actual behaviour of hair. - possible seasonal evolution of the design i.e. changing light effects aor colours reflecting the seasons. - site exploration for design placement as well as manipulation of the site to enhance the air flow around the object. - form exploration using Falcon software to enhace air force on hairs. - panel - to have or not to have, perforations, connection otions - exploration of sail attachment to end of wires - focus on mimicing the systems, processes and patterns of behaviour of hair


Learning Objectives of Studio AIR: 1. Interrogating a brief 2. The ability to generate a variety of design possibilities for a given situation throught he use of visual progarmming, algorithmic design and parametric modeling to braoden the design space 3. development of skills in various 3D nedia, specifically computational geometry, parametric modeling, analytic diagramming and digital fabrication 4. development of an understanding of relationaship between architecture and air through interrogation of the design proposal as physical models in atmosphere 5. develope the ability to make a case for proposals through critical thinking and arguement informed by discourse 6. ability to analyse conceptua;, technical and design of contemporary architectural projects 7. develop foundational understandings of computational geometry, data structures and types of programming 8. development of personal repertoire of computational technoques, understand the advantage and disadvantages and possible areas of application

It has been beneficial responding to the Wyndham brief in the learning and exploration thus far of parametric design and using Grasshopper due to the fact that it creates a boundary on an otherwise infinite design space. An infinite design space while on the surface sounds attractive is largely impractical and the designer would need to impose their own criteria or direction to explore efficiently. The fitness criteria was a necessary method of driving the exploration toward an outcome that supported our theme of Biomimicry and the Wyndham Gateway brief. The matrix allowed for the familiarisation of parametric design potentials and the development of several related iterations of a technique that would otherwise be limited by time and other constraints. Our investigations have encouraged the exploration of how architecture can serve the brief criteria and relate itself to multiple themes such as biomimicry, AIR, the gateways site and atmospheric conditions. The reverse engineering excercises were valuable and facilitated the abiltity to think algorithmically, mathematically, logically and objectively. The ability to analyse, break down and problem solve the make-up of a design was heightened. When one begins dreaming in “Grasshopper�, it is suspected that these problem-solving skills may be developing(!). The fabrication of models throughout the design process highlights software weakness’, strengths and drives the design into broader design space. To learn Grasshopper is to learn a new language. The more practice, the greater the understanding and proficiency, the greater the potential outcomes. By adhering to the brief criteria, a response can be made that is relevant to the client, the public and current discourse.




Yehuda E Kalay (2004), “Architecture’s new media: Principles, Theories and methods of Computer-Aided Design”, (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press), pg. 3


Yehuda E Kalay (2004), “Architecture’s new media: Principles, Theories and methods of Computer-Aided Design”, (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press), pg. 3


and the journey continues.......




Following on from the feedback provided for the mid-semester presentation it was the group’s priority to explore biomimical examples of:

- systems (structural and connection) - form - surface treatments & patterning - seasonal response - lighting - site placement and excavation - focus on biomimicry and less so on bio-resemblance

It was also suggested that having the wires moved by wind would be more effective than using the heat memory activation.

Whilst developing a ‘system’ that reflected natural examples was suggested by the panel as a priority, the relevance as opposed to having a design that ‘resembled’ nature was questioned by our group. The Gateway is a visual expression for Wyndham that carries symbolic as well as blah relevance. It is not necessarily important for it to be performative in a biomimetic sense justifying the consideration for a bio-resemblance approach. With this in mind however, our group did pursue explorations into performative systems in an effort that our proposal was both biomimical as well as resembling nature. A deliberate effort was also made to incorprate wind instead of heat to animate the wires based on the panels feedback. Hence, shape memory alloy (SMA) was employed for the final proposal.

It seemed fitting given the theme of the studio ‘AIR’ that a condition specific to the site i.e. wind should be incorporated into the design.



Our group continue to believe that biomimicry provides the ideal technique to apply in our project proposal. Nature provides a showcase of design solutions that are inherantly efficient and responsible, effective, responsive and aesthetically pleasing. Global conditions make the technique relevant to popular as well as to specialist discourse. Emulating nature using biomimicry for the Gateway Project will result in an intriguing and experiential design with iconic potential

responding directly to the brief summarised on page 4 of this journal.


The indicated area on site A was chosen as the ideal position for our gateway providing exposure to both inbound and outbound traffic. There is currently TAC outdoor signage in this position for this very reason - optimal exposure to commuters. It also has relatively flat topography leaving it exposed to prevailing winds and air movement on all sides. This is important for maximum effect on our wire treatment. The reflection of air movement is integral to our design.


ONGOING RESEARCH for one of Australia’s fastest growing municipalities, the city’s mission statement recognises the “role in planning for the future whilst also efficiently managing for today”

Cambri Shape M Loom-H

source: Wyndham City Plan 2011-2015

TED: Michael Pawly 1


3 Given the city’s mission statement our group recognised the value in translating the idea of responsible movement from present to future. This prompted our further research and experimentation in biomimetry and kinetics, in order to have a site and atmospherically responsive design. This ongoing exploration expanded further our design space. Sites such as www. were particularly useful providing design solutions inspired by nature.




idge: Memorary Materials Hyperbolic Yosuke Ushigome: Structured Creature

AskNature: Hooks of the Black Fly AskNature: Shrew Spines


n 6




Turgor Pressure Wyndham Wind Rose




AskNature: Structural Integrity of Skin

Piezoelectric road energy harvester

L'OrĂŠal: Properties of Hair Live Science: Perfluorosulphonic acid ionomer







In developing a technique for the Gateway Project several areas were explored. These included form, patterning, systems, materiality and air movement.


















bird wing

Sand Dune

maple seed


















Box Fish

Kingfisher Beak

Explorations of forms that display aurodynamic efficiencies in nature were selected to model with several iterations of each listed in the above matrix. Each iteration was tested in Falcon to determine those that generated the optimal turbulance (displayed in red).



In our pursuit of a biomimetic system, natural examples of patterning were explored for structural efficiency and effects that may be applied to our design. Exploration of fractals (a personal extension of my Virtual Environments work), The Morning Line and tatrahedrals, chaos theory and coral structures lead us to the discovery of Radiolaria. Radiolaria are amoeboid protozoa found at the ocean depths and have silicious skeletons described as one of the most efficient natural structures for strength and material resource.

Above: Radiolaria

Density 1/

Density 2/

Density 3/

Density 4/

Density 5/

Density 6/

Above: Fractal Geometry and Mathematics

possible pattern/density gradation for surface panels

Highest Den-


Below middle is an example of an abstraction of the radiolaria pattern that was used as an image sampler in Grasshopper in an effort to replicate a weave for the waffle surface.

Above: Radiolaria abstractions

Above: Radiolaria detail

54 Upon analysis and abstraction of the Radiolaria structure, the make-up comprised of two components, a regular grid and a fine netting or web as a layer over the top of the grid. Methods of replicating a weave that resembled radiolaria for over a waffle system were investigated and prototypes were produced by crocheting twine, cotton and wire. A precedent named Crochet Coral Reef was replicated using a hyperbolic crochet technique based on fractal mathematics. This was of interest to our group given the frequent appearance of fractals in nature.

Crochet Pseudosphere cotton

The wire provided a unique tactile quality with flexibility and a certain ordered chaos similar to radiolaria.

Crochet Hyperbolic Plane twine

Crochet wire with transparent polymer

Crochet Hyperbolic Plane wire

Crochet wire with plaster application

Crochet Flat Plane wire

Crochet wire with resin application





Several examples of weaving patterns were found as precendents on the Grasshopper forum. On the opposite page is an example by Giulio Piacentino that we used as a starting point for our Gateway design weave surface. This was applied to our surface and incorporates a custom script component. Further weave explorations are shown on page 80-81.


SYSTEMS Explorations were pursued to find a performative solution for structure, assembly, fabrication and atmospheric response.


MATERIALITY Likewise for structure, fittings and effect.



Site Progression Matrix Site iterations











Explorations of site, orientation, materiality and the addition of fins to our form presented opportunities to manipulate the air movement around the Gateway enhancing the effect on the wire protrusions. Ont he left hand page are examples of site excavation explorations that were applied to Falcon, Our ‘finned’ forms were again applied to Falcon for wind velocity generation potential. The dune form proved to be effective as well as provide a aesthetic geometry to base a waffle grid on.














Base Form 3 curves rebuilt with control points. Curves lofted to create base form.

Extruded Level Rib Selection Same process as above for base surface rib selection with exception that only the extruded ribs are selected.

Attrator points 2 points referenced and used as attractors. A height for rib extrusion was created using data based on the distance between the attractors and a central plane point. The selected ribs extruded in 2 directions. Extrusions joins to base surface ribs. SMA Hair-like Protrusions Lofted surface is divided in U and V directions and populated with points spaced regularly. A centre base point is referenced below the lofted surface as start point for the direction of lines to points on surface. These lines are extended from surface with variable length using slider. Centre referenced point adjusts upon moving the direction of the hair protrusions.





Temporary lighting and crane provided for structure arrival and assembly.




3. SMA

2. mesh

1. steel waffle

CORE CONSTRUCTION ELEMENTS: Three repeated elements applied to the design include the base steel waffle frame with fins, a stainless steel mesh overlay with resin between fins and the SMA ‘hairs’ attached to the mesh.




3. SMA with attachment

SMA loops through mesh


2. wire mesh with resin applied

1. steel waffle

Stockingstitch mesh weave


The waffle prototypes proved that as a structure the design was stable. The tension in the curvature held the form rigid when constructed from both timber and board. The mesh has significant flexibility and behaves as you would expect of a fabric adding to it’s tactile appeal. The application of resin to the mesh once positioned over the waffle support adds to the overall strength and rigidity of the design. The resin assists also in channeling the air flow through the structure to effect the SMA hairs that are threaded through the mesh and secured by the figure 8 clamp. The clamp and SMA are attached after the resin application for ease of serviceability and replacement when the SMA is effected by memory fatigue. SMA is preferred over standard industrial wires to maintain shape of the original setting which otherwise would be compromised by ongoing prevailing winds. The mesh combined with the waffle resembles the appearance of radiolaria and demonstrates strength using minimal resources.



3. SMA

2. mesh

1. steel waffle & fins

surface form


Following feedback the above addition to the overall definition was added to incorporate the wire protrusions into the weave




Above are the FabLab files for our Waffle Structure featuring notches throughout and finned extrusion on the right.




The waffle ribs Laser-cut by FabLab were assembled. The wire mesh was not large enough to cover the constructed form and due to time constraints an alternative was sourced to achieve a similar effect. Orange bag netting provided sufficient flexibility as was sprayed silver. This was attached to the waffle frame by winding wire through the mesh. SMA was then set using a bare flame. Resin was applied to the mesh between the fins and finally the SMA hairs were attached to the mesh.






The definition below demostrates explorations with tutorial assistance for the wire weave/knit. The example shown earlier in this journal by Guilio Piacentino provided a more elegant and simplified definition.



This definition above demostrates explorations trying to replicate a banksia formation that has synergies with the hair-like effect our group was interested in applying.



Jury Feedback ‘Overly-ambitious design given that we did not have access to suitable fabrication machinery to create hairs emerging from the mesh’ ‘Really needed another semester to bring it to fruition’ ‘Inconsistancy of image quality’ ‘Lacking clarity over the effect the memory wire would have’ ‘Suggestion to reflect the true character of the wire (i.e. as a magic trick) instead of using it to mimic a natural phenomenon such as grass moving’ Our objective was to reflect the atmospheric conditions of the site. ‘Questioned the move away from heat responsive wire to the super-elastic’ We wanted an obvious atmospheric response that would be noticed from the vantage and speed of the traffic rather than one that would have slower response time and effect ‘Should have applied to grasshopper the various different shapes that the wire would have been distorted.’ (memory-wire fatigue, replacement, fixing to mesh and not woven into mesh) Using the Kangaroo plug-in would have been useful. ‘Too many elements involved in the final design. Intermediate explorations more interesting than the end result. It would have been better to focus on say, the seasonal distortion to the wires.’ Our group agreed with this feedback ‘Inconsistancy in scales of mesh, hairs and structure.’ This was due to the extensive time required to pipe the mesh - the mesh was enlarged to reduce the time for Grasshopper to apply. This has since been addressed in our post-presentation explorations.


‘Digital representation of mesh did not reflect ‘disturbed system’ of the hand woven mesh ‘so why visualise it digitally at all’? Our group did consider this by experimenting with an image mapper with the radiolaria formation and applying this to a ‘weave’ definition on Grasshopper. The ease of manufacture and replacement of components lead us to abstract the disturbed system so that it could be fabricated using a ‘conveyer belt wire machine’ used for commercial fencing and oil filter bag weaving.


Where to from here? Our group agreed with the panel that our final proposal was over-complicated by including too many elements from our explorations. To streamline the design and eliminate the disjointed nature of the components, it was considered necessary to remove the waffle structure entirely from the final structure and use it purely as formwork for the fabrication process that takes place off-site. The form of the mesh would be set against the formwork and strengthened by the application of resin. The Kangaroo plug-in would be ideal to analyse the strength of the resin and wire minus the waffle structure. The figure 8 clasp would be used to connect the wire panels allowing

for ease of construction, assembly, maintainance and ‘hair’ replacement. Use of heat memory wire such as Nitinol as proposed mid-semester rather than the superelastic SMA would allow a gradual seasonal distortion. Varieties available that have the capacity for up to 4 distinct phase changes would be ideal and manipulation of the metal composition would make it possible for the ‘hairs’ to respond to more subtle temperature changes than typical heat memory wire make-up. It is also worth considering incorporating the heat memory wire into the actual weave to provide a streamlined material without the need for attachments at all.



89 Based on the feedback from the jury the below Grasshopper definition incorporates the memory wire protrusions into the weave itself creating a more streamlined and less disjointed surface. This approach is sympathetic to the structure of radiolaria and the technique of biomimicry chosen by our group for the project proposal.

It was later considered that our early abstractions of the radiolaria patterning may have been clser to the mark than we thought. By sequentially cross-bracing a uniform grid, Dutch researchers ( watch?v=sprAljzfhQs) have produced similar prototypes based on the radiolaria structure that are proving the strength potential that we had first sought for our design.


Learning Objectives of Studio AIR: 1. Interrogating a brief 2. The ability to generate a variety of design possibilities for a given situation throught he use of visual progarmming, algorithmic design and parametric modeling to braoden the design space 3. development of skills in various 3D nedia, specifically computational geometry, parametric modeling, analytic diagramming and digital fabrication 4. development of an understanding of relationaship between architecture and air through interrogation of the design proposal as physical models in atmosphere 5. develope the ability to make a case for proposals through critical thinking and arguement informed by discourse 6. ability to analyse conceptua;, technical and design of contemporary architectural projects 7.develop foundational understandings of computational geometry, data structures and types of programming 8.development of personal repertoire of computational technoques, understand the advantage and disadvantages and possible areas of application


Accurate interpretation of the brief provided the necessary boundaries for our groups explorations using parametric design. Without the brief criteria, the domain digital software provides the designer is infinate and self-imposed boundaries would need to be applied. Digital technology and communications in general have enabled our group to explore, communicate and store our research for the project to a greater extent than if we did not have access to these tools. Use of tools such as Trello ( provided storage for each group members research, contributing files and enabled access for all 24/7. Ease of communication, time efficiencies and the use of parametric design software enabled our design space to be substantially greater than would otherwise be possible. Additional exploration routes and respective iterations were made possible increasing our potential to arrive at an innovative Gateway design meeting the brief criteria. On the other hand however, we were able to explore such a significant amount that our proposal needed to be refined due to the incorporation of too many elements. The tutorials, reverse engineering exercises and Grasshopper Forum were invaluable in the development of three-dimensional media skills.

Problem-solving, the ability to think logically, algorithmically and mathematically were skills developed through the studio. Responding to the Wyndham Gateway brief in Studio AIR has developed an understanding of how specific themes and techniques can be applied to architecture. It has also provided insite into how architecture can be used as a dialogue for the client and how contributing to discourse can have multiple motivations as well as outcomes. Our group’s design intention was to provide Wyndham an iconic Gateway that reflected the progressive character of the municipality. The design has been made possible by the vast exploration and expansive design space using digital and parametric design. I believe that with further refinement, our proposal could be strengthened further using digital design applications and Grasshopper simulation plug-ins such as Kangaroo. While the design space may not necessarily need to be expanded, deeper exploration and streamling of the covered space would be beneficial and readily accessible. Emulating nature through biomimicry provided the opportunity to produce an intriguing and experiential design for the Gateway.


Thanks to my fellow group members Ravi Bessabava and Nic McRoberts.


NOTES Burry, Mark (2011), “Scripting Cultures: Rchitectural Design and Programming”, (Chinister Wiley) Crochet Coral Reef, CrochetReef-HowToHandout, accessed May 17, 2013. Czarnecki, Gina; Tooth Palace;; accessed May 28, 2013. Gizmag, Piezoelectric crystals embedded under freeway,; accessed May 28, 2013. Kieran, Stephan & James Timberlake (2004), ‘Refabricating Architecture: How Manufacturing Methodologies are Poised to Transform Building Construction’, (New York: McGraw-Hill), pg. 13, 15, 23, (as quoted in Lecture 2 Studio Air, S1, 2013), accessed 18th March 2013 Lawson, Bryan (1999), ‘“Fake’ and ‘Real” Creativity using Computer-aided design: Some Lessons for Herman Hertzberger’, in Proceedings of the 3rd Conference on Creativity and Cognition, ed. by Ernest Edmonds and Linda Candy (New York: ACM Press), pg. 174-179 (as quoted in Lecture 2 Studio Air, S1, 2013) Lynn, Greg (1998), “Why Tectonics is Square and Topology is Groovy”, in Folds, Bodies & Blobs: Collected Essays, ed. by Greg Lynn (Bruxelles: La Lettre volee) Mayer, Adam Nathaniel (2010), ‘Style and the Pretense of Parametric Architecture’, (link provided wk 3, Studio Air) Piacentino, Giulio,, accessed May 23, 2013., accessed 27th March 2013 Schlatter,; accessed June 6, 2013. Schlatter,, accessed June 6, 2013. Schumacher, Patrick (2011), “Introduction: Architecture as Autopoietic System” Schumacher, Patrick (2010), “Patrick Schumacher on Parametricism - Let the style wars Begin”, Terzidis, Kostas (2006), Alogorithmic Architecture (Boston, MA: Elsevier), pg. xi (as quoted in Lecture 2 Studio Air, S1, 2013) ThreadcountLab, Venus Flower Basket,, accessed May 18, 2013. William, Richard (2005), ‘Architecture and Visual Culture’, in Exploring Visual Culture: Definitions, Concepts, Contexts, ed. by Matthew Rampley, (Edinburgh University Press) Woodbury, Robert F and Andrew L. Burrow (2006), “Whither design space”, Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing, 20, 2 id=18003&q=ordos%20art%20and%20city%20museum, accessed 18th March 2013 id=18003&q=ordos%20art%20and%20city%20museum, accessed 18th March 2013 Yehuda E Kalay (2004), “Architecture’s new media: Principles, Theories and methods of Computer-Aided Design”, (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press)


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Studio AIR 2013S1

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