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Tho m as Cornelius


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About me digital design experience Architectural discourse precedent project 1. precedent project 2. Computational Architecture Parametric Model Parametric projects in practice 1 Parametric Pojects in Practice 2 Conclusion Learning Outcomes Algorithmic Exploration li st of Reference


ABOUTME My name is Tom Cornelius and I am a third year architecture student within the Melbourne University Bachelor of Environments Undergraduate course I was born and raised in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, completing my education in Melbourne also. I come from a very designer based family, my dad operates a graphic design firm, whilst my mum was a fashion designer and brother initially an industrial designer. Growing up in this environment meant that I was constantly exposed to design, not just the final product but very much the process involved. I have always had an interest in the built environment especially residential design and the way in which people reflect their personalities in their home.

Outside of studies my passions include sports, travel, cars and food. I like to combine these at any chance possible. Through sport I have had the chance to spend extended stays across Europe, getting amongst the different cultures and gaining a wider perception of the world in general. My ambitions are not yet decided, but I am sure I will explore more professions than just architecture itself. For now I am enjoying learning and have found the Architecture Major to be challenging but rewarding, It is a very interesting industry for many reasons and I love its dynamic nature that comes with the ever developing technologies of the world. I would love to one day be known for leaving a mark on the architectural world, whether it be in Australia or abroad.



D i g i ta l d e s i g n experience v i rt u a l e nv i r o n m e nt s Throughout my first two years in the Bachelor of Environments course I have been introduced to and used a number of programs. From the Adobe Suite to AutoCad, Revit and Rhino3D. My experience with each of these varies considerably however. Having used the Adobe creative suite throughout my schooling I would admit that I am most confident with it as a program. I have however used Autocad and Autocad Architecture to generate plans for design proposals and created a wearable piece through 3D modeling in Rhino that was then printed and constructed by hand. I am keen to learn more about all of these programs and am currently completing workshops in all of them through the Visual Communication subject offered at Melbourne University.


This subject was based around the design of a lantern that had to reflect a natural process. It involved an initial design process and a weekly refinement through the assistance of Rhino3D to panel and fabricate a wearable piece. I found this initially quite challenging as the brief for the design had very few limitations and I realised I had never really worked under those circumstances before. I chose to design based on the movement path of our bodies as you moved, including directional and speed change. The skills learnt in regard to the design process, digitization and fabrication of an idea

d e s i g n st u d i o : e a rt h I completed this subject last semester and thoroughly enjoyed my first attempt at designing a building. The brief was to design a museum that acted as a gateway from pre colonisation in Australia to early settlement and beyond. This project allowed me to teach myself AutCad Architecture and utilize the drafting tools to communicate my ideas accurately and effectively. The subject also required model making which definitely improved over time.


a rc h i t e ct u r a l discou rse Architecture is a “conceptual, cultural and intellectual enterprise.” 1 As Peter Eisenman, a well known architect and theorist states. This perception of architecture has slowly developed since the times of Palladio. Whilst it was more commonly perceived prior that architecture was merely the physical forms that line our streets and create the grids of our cities. In reality it is so much more than that. Architects such as Semper and Adolf Loos were amongst few that discussed ‘enclosed spaces’ as the essence and purpose of architecture. 2 The views of these early architects however would be considered somewhat narrow minded by those such as Eisenman. Architecture is much more than an envelope enclosing space. Architecture does have the power to define space but it is the power architecture has to define a space, a city and a culture that makes it much bigger than the physical form. People interact with architecture subconsciously everyday, it dictates how they move, it evokes an emotional response and a critical assessment. When discussing architectural discourse you have to look at these aspects beyond the physical. You have to look at the thought process involved too.

Much of architecture does not even exist in the physical, because many designs never get built. But within these designs are the use of new architectural methods, different ways of thinking about an enclosed space and people will read about or look at those projects never built and provide a critical assessment of their opinion. Architecture is a very public domain, as stated earlier everyone interacts within it on a daily basis, either on purpose or subconsciously they are analysing the architecture around them, I have chosen two precedent projects that clearly and effectively express what is beyond the physical aspect of design. The Holocaust Museum by Peter Eisenman is what I believe to be a perfect example of a greater meaning embedding within physical form. He does this so well in fact that this example of his work is commonly refferred to as an extremely successfull example of architectural work that conveys a meaning and an idea, not just an aesthetic. The museum’s primary purpose is to act as a memorial for the many lives lost.

The function is to express physically what is embedded into the emotions of the population. In contrast my second precedence project is that of the Seattle Central Library, a design by Rem Hoolhaas in colaboration with OEM and LMN. This building is innovative in its creation of civic space and taking a dying art and reviving it into the modern era. Koolhaas much like Eisenman has set a benchmark in the architectural industry in which future projects of similar nature will refer to in hope of emulating such successfull elements. As stated earlier, many architectual deisgns are still purely assessed on their physical, with the vast majority of people ignoring the idea behind a design. My intention as part of a team in creating a proposal for the ‘Windham Gateway’ is to set an architectural standard much like Eisenman and Koolhaas have done in the following cases of precedents. The ultimate goal is to successfully communicate a meaning of growth and to add to the discourse of architecture in a positive light for setting the benchmark for interactive public installations.

Eisenman, Peter, ‘Interview: Peter Eisenman,’26 April 2013, 1. Ungur, Erdem. ‘Space; The undefinable space of Architecture ‘ 2010 2.



p r e c e d e nt P r o j e c t

m e m o r i a l to t h e m u r d e r e d j e ws o f e u r o p e p et e r ei s e n m a n

This space created by Peter Eisenman used minimal form, simplistic, yet completely encapsulates the emotion surrounding the history of Euroep and the holocaust. The memorial has been written about in many different literary journals, some focused on the architectural elements, but many on the representation embedded within. What the majority of these pieces agreed on however is the emotion that is evoked from walking through the stelae. Whilst the memorial space is simplistic in its use of one generic repeated form and dominant use of a singular material, the positioning of the concrete stelae hide the topology beneath it sinks you within the linear pathways. Spatially Eisenmans use of varying sized stelae creates a very enclosed environment that restricts your line of sight, evoking a sense of confusion and distress. What is extremely interesting about the form of the monument is that it is situated within the city centre of Berlin, Germany and because of this Eisenman has not inscribed any messages into the stelae, nor has he included photographic imagery of the historic time. The form instead respectfully addresses the history of Europe, the message is not literal and is therefore, not forced upon those who view it.


Whilst people interact with the space to mourn and remember, many choose to interact with the space in a variety of different ways. Some are seen skipping from stelae to stelae, some sit on them and converse, while others simply walk by it and can do so without being forced to remember the events of the past. Peter Eisenman is well known for his use of computer aided design (CAD) and digital design techniques. Computer aided design has helped Eisenman to achieve the undulating form of the stelea within such a varying topographical site. The same computer aided design methods will assisst my team to make best use of the Windham Gateway’s site topology. As a contribution to the discourse of architecture I believe it is very effective in respectfully embedding a deeper meaning within its form, rather than the use of explicit and literal devices. The design has set an example within the architectural world that will be emulated in many architectural works of the future. I will endeavour to achieve the same implicit representation of meaning within the ‘Windham Gateway’ proposal, conveying a sense of community and growth through dynamic and interactive form.


S E AT T L E C E N T R A L L I B R A R Y Rem Koolhaas | OMA+LMN Rem Koolhaas is commonly known troversy he has caused amongst tural world, almost as much as he is ing designs that come from him and

for the conthe architecfor the amazhis firm OMA.

Koolhaas is a regular contributor to the discourse of achitecture, always sharing his opinions on other designs, movements and theories. He is seen regularly lecturing on the current state and future pathways of architecture. The projects he works on through OMA are regularly discussed within the architectural world and whilst not always for setting the benchmark, there are many examples such as the CCTV Headquarters in Beijing or the Shenzen Stock Exchange that have added to the discourse for there experimentation with counterleavered form and structural innovation. It was his design of the Seattle Central Library that brought him to my attention as I first found my appreciation for architectural design. Seeing pictures like the above throughout the internet made me appreciate his creation of space and angular form. Looking back on the building now as I undertake my studies I have an immense appreciation for what Rem Koolhaas has achieved within this Library.


In a time where the need for a Library and physical literature was losing out to the fast developing digital world, Rem was faced with the challeng of creating a space that brought the library into the 21st century and ensured that its purpose now is as strong as it ever was. Rem was able to achieve this by including so much more than the physical literature that typified previous libraries. Rem effectively created “a civic space for the circulation of knowledge in all media, and an innovative organizing system for an ever-growing physical collection.” 1 He completely changed the library as it was known and answered the problem with a progressive form that advanced the library to accommodate the changing times. What the Seattle Central Library adds to the discourse of architecture most is its interpretation of context and the ideas Rem Koolhaas had to “enhance the cityscape by introducing something new, visually interesting and provocative.” Koolhaas wanted to “make a gesture to distinguish itself from the “generic” office buildings that currently filled the Seattle cityscape and create a new ‘sense of space’ for the people of Seattle to enjoy. 2 It is the way in which people travel just to experience the building as well as its constant use from Seattelites to this day that marks its success.

East facade of the seattle central library showing the angular form and tesselated structure The interior of the spiral section The tesselated steel structure that provides both structural form and aesthetic appeal from inside and out Diagrom expresing the division of spaces within the library

Koolhaas’s logical arrangement of space according to function creates the succesfull civic space where people are encouraged to interact. As they interact they engage with the visually interesting form of the building that capitalises on the Seattle sunlight and views from within. The modernisation of the library by Koolhaas has been replicated in many examples since the Seattle Central Library opened. libraries such as the Biblioteca Espana, Colombia that share the same incorporation of context in design. They standout from there adjacent surroundings and create a sense of space far different to that of the rest of there cities. Like in Seattle the Bibioteca Espana stands for innovation and moderninity that the public can recognise and appreciate.

1. 2. 3. 4.

The site for the gateway within Windham sits adjacent to a freeway, greenlands and generic civic structures. The design for my teams gateway proposal will look to incorporate an innovative and modern form that will ensure it stounds out from its surroundings and creates a sense of space that not only appeals as an attraction to effectively bring people to the site initially, but ensures that they remember Windham as a community.

What Rem Koolhaas, OEM and LMN have achieved in redefining the library and setting the precedent for how to transform spaces into the modern world is something I will strive to achieve with my team in the ‘Windham Gateway’ proposal. I would like to replicate the way that context has been considered within the Seattle Central Library design.

Koolhaas, Rem. ‘Seattle Central Library, USA’ 2004 1. Mattern, Shannon “Just How Public Is the Seattle Public Library?’ Journal of Architectural Education, 2. Blackwell Publishing, 2003



It is no longer necessary to successively refine a singular design, as one can work with many variants in parallel. These variants can be bred and cultivated into entire families of objects. Michael Hansmeyer

C o m p utat i o n a l To lend the words of Kostas Terzidis “computation or computing, as a computer-based design tool, is generally limited.” This same perspective is shared by John H. Frazer who contests that computation is “just a tool and remote from the real business of architecture.”It is perspectives like these that express that computation has its limitations, either due to the designer operating the computational design or the computer aided design (CAD) software having limitations itself. Personally I believe that these statements are highly subjective and would depend immensely on the level of ones knowledge of said programs and willingness and openness to let computational outcomes effect their architectural design ideas. I prefer to use an architect by the name of Michael Hansmeyer’s opinion. Hansmeyer states that in computational design; “parameters control the operations of a timebased, predefined process that is itself transforming or generating geometry. These processes strike a delicate balance between the expected and the unexpected.” As opposed to simply useing the computer as a tool to create a preconceived idea. What Hansmeyer points out is that computation can influence the design due to the geometries it can produce, that as a designer we could not previously conceive in our head. He supports this by stating “design processes are deterministic – so as not to rely on randomness, but not necessarily be entirely predictable. Instead, they have the power to surprise.” This element of surprise is something that designers need to feel free to incorporate into their process, not view it as an accident. The narrow perspectives of Terzidis and Frazer may be due to their inability to let the randomness of the previously inconceivable geometries effect their designs. I also like to adopt Hansmeyers view when he states that “It is no longer necessary to successively refine a singular design, as one can work with many variants in parallel. These variants can be bred and cultivated into entire families of objects by combining and mutating their constituent process parameters.”


When you have the opportunity within your grasp to generate such variants instantaeneously through computation that otherwise would not have been considered, and then choose the elements of each that you like and compile them into one form. How could you not desire this level of control in your design process? Where traditionally it requires exceptional skill, time and effort to generate physical models with the level of variation and control that computation allows, it must be argued that if anything the traditional process is limited. Such limitations for example include the skill of the designer and the fact that their ideas are preconceived. Terzidis states himself that computerization, the “dominant mode of utilising computers today” relies on “processes that are already conceptualized in the designer’s mind are entered, manipulated, or stored on a computer system.”They do not allow the design to be influenced by the computer or computation and are therefore restricted more than those who do embrace computation and its power to create beyond the knowledge of the designer. With the added control benefits of computation “facilitating a range of new spatial, formal, performative and methodological possibilities in architecture,” the question is whether construction has advanced enough to keep up. Issues surround the geometries that are capable of being designed through the use of computation. These geometries can be designed through computation without consideration for the materials and structural process involved to actually make them. It is argued that computation influences “a sculpturally driven design process where the translation of form into buildable components is developed after establishing the form.”To these statements I argue that by useing a traditional delivery process from pre-design to closeout then it may be the case that the materiality and structural consideration comes after the design development. By changing the delivery to an integrated form of delivery, such as that outlined by the American Iinstitute of Architects California Council, materiality and structural consideration is not conceived as an afterthought.


Archi tectu re In the ‘Integrated Project Delivery: A guide’ delivered by the American Institute of Architects in 2007, they explain the integrated process as; “an approach that Integrates people, systems, business structures and practices into a process that collaboratively harnesses the talents and insights of all participants to optimize project results, increase value to the owner, reduce waste, and maximize efficiency through all phasesof design, fabrication, and construction.” The integrated approach achieves this by calling on the expertice of engineers, material developers and the necessary professionals to the initial conceptualization phase. This ensures that designs are both practical and feasable. To give an example of the power an integrated approach becomes when combined with computational design methods. The Modular Bionic Pavillion installment at The University of Stuttgart (shown to the right) expresses how computational design enabled them to achieve a form based on natural geometries. By experimenting with the natural geometries of the sand dollar, a sub species of the sea urchin through computational techniques, the team in Stuttgart were able to derive a structure that could span wide openings and create a space out of as minimal material as possbile. The computational process identified that to mimic the geometries of the sand dollar, the structure would need to be comprised of individual and unique modules that would interlock to create a whole form.

The precision achieved through computational design and mechanized poduction techniques meant that each panel relied on finger joints to connect meaning there is no need for adeheives. As the mechanized production cuts the material according to the dimensions provided by the computational model, the modules are able to connect with exact precision. When the modules are assembled to create the entire structure the loads are transferred within the modules to push the joins together creating an incredibly rigid form. By incorporating an integrated delivery process into the design the university was able to ensure that this technique would work when scaled to a suitable size. Experimentation with materials combined with refinement in the computational design process showed that they were able to create the entire structure from 6.5mm thick plywood. The advantages of having the entire structure created with a sole material are a considerable saving on cost. The precision cerated by the computational design methods and mechanized production also minimize waste. By employing this same approach to the Windham Gateway project not only will costs be minimized but so too will the amount of waste making it environmentally friendly and economically viable. The control provided by computational deisng methods will help my team to generate a design that is influenced by geometries that were previously inconceivable and reflect a modern and innovative concept.

From Left to Right A shot of the image of the Bionic Pavillion showing the perferations within the inner skin . _ A close up of the finger joints that solely connect each panel and module together. _ A view of the Pavillion from above showing the openings and how users may interact with the space. _


Pa r a m et r i c m o d e l l i n g

a type of geometric model whose geometry is a function of a finite set of parameters. Daniel DAvis

Parametric design in essence has existed since the origins of architecture. From the very first time a constraint was placed on a proposal. Something such as a defined site, a budget or even a height are all parameters that effected the design outcome. Parametric modelling in the current sence however varies from the traditional parameters that previously effected the design outcome. With the introduction of computation parametric modelling has given designers the ability to change a parameter within the design process and have an immediate, live outcome reflected in the models form. To paraphrase a lecture given by Daniel Davis, a “researcher speacialising in computational architecture” and prominent blogger on the area of computation and parametrics, the difference between the parametric design of the past and the parametric modelling of the now is that previously you could not change the parameter of the site dmensions, shape or the budget involved and receive an instantaneous outcome of how that effected the form of the design. By altering a finite set of paramaters within a model however you do receive this instantaneous outcome, allowing you to immediately assess the effect of such changes and address them accordingly. Whilst this is considered a major advantage in giving the designer more control over the design process, Davis also identified four key issues with the use of parametric modelling. 1. Front Loading - Weisberg outlines this issue for designers as the need to “carefully plan the design, defining ahead of time which major elements would be dependent upon other elements”This level of planning throughout the design process can have implications, restricting the designers spontaneous additions to their plans.

2. Limiting Major Changes - To paraphrase the teachings of Daniel Davis again, the ability to make major changes in parametric modelling can be extrmeley difficult. Taking Davis’ definition of parametrics as “a type of geometric model whose geometry is a function of a finite set of parameters”, each parameter is composed of a “set of equations that express a set of quantities as explicit functions of a number of independent variables.” If you wish to change the form of elements within the parametric model you often have to define completely different parameters which consist of their own equations, quantities and functions. As Jane Burry states to “remodel completely is also commonplace.” This means that changes are time consuming and therefore can be costly. 3. Re-use and Sharing - Parametric models are extremely difficult to share with someone else, they almost entirely need to be completed by the one person. This is due to the complexity of parametric models. It is a common conception that parametric modelling is hard and there often more than one way to achieve a similar outcome. For this reason having know prior knowledge of the assembly of the model it is very hard to look at a finished assembly and understand what the output may be. 4. Seeing Changes - Due to the complexity of parametric assemblies it is extremely hard to see change within a model. If one set of data out of hundreds if not thousands is slightly changed it is almost completely unrecognisable. Seeing faults in a parametric model is extremely hard for the same reason. Locating the source of faults takes intensive scouring over data scripts.


In Daniel Davis’ teachings of parametric modellings positives and limitations he spoke of Mark Burry, a well written architect and acedemic on the area who also identified that parametric modelling and computation could eliminate the use of pencil sketching seeing the design process becoming completely automated. As programs for parametric modelling are being rapidly developed and more competitors releasing products to the market It is also hard to forecast how long the paremetric modelling of today will be used in architectural design before it is developed further or entirely replaced. Due to the level of difficulty involved in operating the programs Davis states that there is a definite need for education to embrace the use of parametric modelling as early as possible to ensure that they have the skills necessary to enable them to operate the programs to their full potential.

Once the programs are mastered however students will be able to enter practices with an ability to generate forms that otherwise would not be considered. This could essentially change the face of archtiecture and become its own style. I believe that this is a definite possibility for the future direction of architecture. With more designers becoming compitent in using parametric modelling systems, designs can only be enhanced by the addition of the increased control and achievable form. Parametric modelling helps dramatically when it comes to fabrication too. If the designed form is made up of components, the parametric model can be divided or exploded into these components which can then be prooduced at extreme precision through digital fabrication techniques. This minimises waste and helps reduce the costs involved.

Above is a screen capture provided by one of the architects for the Hangzhou Stadium in China showing the complexity in the assembly of a parametric model.



R e s o n a nt C h a m b e r r v t r | A rc h i t e ct s

The Resonant Chamber reasearch project undertaken by architecture firm r v t r is a perfect example of how parametric design has been used in practice. The purpose for the concept was to design a “soundsphere able to adjust its properties in response to changing sonic conditions, altering the sound of a space during performance and creating an instrument at the scale of architecture, flexible enough that it might be capable of being played.� In order to achieve this the firm looked toward rigid origami patterns that could be dynamic in nature to enable a transformation of the acoustic environment. In the far right image on the opposite page you can see how the origami modules can open and close, changing there reverberation or absorption of sounds as they desire. By utilizing parametric modelling tools the team at r v t r were able to simulate panelling layouts that would enable them to achieve optimal sound variations. From the parametric model the team at rvtv were then able to use digital fabrication methods to produce scale models that enabled them to conduct materiality tests and explore the ways in which the modules were going to open and close. By using a parametric model to generate the plans for the design, each module was able to be digitally fabricated with extreme precision. The ability to digitally fabricate at such precision playsa big role in what makes this structure a success. Each perforation is perfectly alligned and each paenl fits together with extreme precision.


Whilst the project is considered a research project and will not be installed for use within any particular theatre, the team did create three scaled sections of the chamber that successfully demonstrate how the structure would work if it were to be installed as it is seen in the rendered depiction on the following page. I believe that the structure is extremely effective in achieving the idea behind the design. Rigid origami is a technique that I will definitely look to incorporate into my design. The ability rigid origami has to be dynamic in its form changing its aesthetic appearance and effectievly being interactive with the user is an extremely appealing quality. This design encapsulates what parametric design has become to the architectural world. The geometries involved in creating the final form of the design are almost unattainable through traditional methods. To achieve the same outcome traditionally would involve significant amounts of time calculating the mathematics behind the geometries and immense precision in fabricating the modules to ensure that each individual section fitted perfectly together. Without the assistance of parametric modelling and computational tools this concept may have only existed in the mind of its creator.

Throught the assistance of pneumatic motors the geometric form opens and closes to provide different acoustic effects.

The image below shows the achievable precision that allows each module within the structure to open and close simultaneously.

A rendered depiction of how the resonant chamber sits within its context. Individual modules are controllable to allow for different acoustic effects, with central modules closed and outer modules open depicted within this image.


Ta i c h u n g M e t r o p o l i t a n Opera House t o y o i t o & a s s o c i at e s The Taichung metropolitan Opera House is currently under construction and is expected to be finished later this year. Toyo Ito the 2013 Pritzker Prize winner is the architect behind the design concept and is well known for his futuristic and innovative forms. The Taichung Metropolitan Opera House is no exception to this. The Opera House contains three main theatres seating 2000, 800 and 200 people respectively as well as a rooftop garden, art plaza, offices and a restaurant. The design relies on vast continuous surfaces that curve in every direction to create an extremely fluid like aesthetic. The design intent is to give Taichung a landmark building to place it on the global map. To achieve this it relies on its complex and innovative form that incorporates the use of new materials, construction techniques and eco strategies. The design effectively takes a cube and punctures holes through it, these holes create the openings in the facade that are used for entrances into cave like tunnels that allow for transition between spaces. The punctured form is intended to reflect a societies diversity, Ito states “that a simple square or cube can’t contain that diversity.” The construction process proved challenging as the ambitious curvature and geometries were not achievable with common techniques. To make the curved form possible the building makes use of technologies created for tunnel building. A ‘shotcrete’ system is implemented in which concrete is sprayed in two layers, one thicker internal layer followed by a thinner spray for a polished finish. The concrete then needs to be cured properly to ensure that there is no shrinkage and that maximum strength is achieved.


Parametric modelling has played a vital role in making the form achievable in generating the geometries of each uniquely curved wall. What parametric modelling allowed Toyo Ito to do is generate plans from the parametric model that would never be achievable with traditional drawing techniques. The complexities of the curves required parametric modelling to map their dimensions and assess load paths that would in turn influence the decisions for the materials required. Smaller scale models could be fabricated to test how the form was going to be constructed. The fact that this building is being constructed is very exciting, I believe that it is opening doors into the future of architecture and what can be achieved in terms of form. It would not have been possible without the help of parametrics, or to be more critical it has been made a reality in far less time with the assistance of parametric modelling as opposed to traditional methods. I will attempt to be innovative and incorporate new materiality discoveries into my design for the ‘Windham Gateway.”With the assistance of parametric modelling tools I hope that I too can achieve a form that pushes the limits of current architectural beliefs.


Clockwise from the top. _ A scale model of the Opera house shows the structure in context along with the facade. _ A scale model of the large curved surfaces shows the many entrances and openings to allow daylight into the structure. _ A screenshot of the parametric model that includes some of the curved interior structure.



By looking at cases of precedents, projects in the area of computation and parametric modelling, and learning about the discourse of architecture I have formulated an argument based on my findings and have generated some ideas in which I would like my teams design to explore for the ‘Windham Gateway Design Project’ By critically assessing two cases of precedents that have contributed to the architectural discourse in different ways, I have identified how to implicitly integrated a broader message within the form of my teams design. I think this will be an important aspect as I endeavor with my team to embed a sense of growth and community to the design. I have also identified the importance of considering the wider context that the structure will belong to. I will attempt to create a sense of place that stands out to the community, encouraging their involvement and interaction with the design, allowing the user to gain something from visiting the site. Through looking at parametric techniques such as rigid origami I have begun conceptualising a plan that will not only be innovative but reflect the things stated above. I hope that by expressing these things within the design I can add Windham and the installation to a new area of architectural discourse as an example of a unique and inspiring way to create a gateway between places.



l e a r n i n g O ut c o m e s

At the beginning of the semester admittadly I had never looked at the discourse surrounding architecture, or if i had I did not have explicit knowledge that I was or an intention to be. I found it quite hard to understand what discourse was, it seemed very ambiguous when spoken about in any literary references to it and when asked to critically assess how examples influenced the discourse of architecture I had no idea where to begin. The more I read and by watching videos of architects speaking about their position on architectural discourse I came to understand that discourse was essentially the elements of architecture that were spoken about or referenced for how well or poorly they achieved certain outcomes. If an architect had set a precident in the industry their works were considered as adding to the discourse of architecture because the effectiveness of its success as discussed by the architects themselves, the public and anyone who wanted too really. Discourse is not just the positives or the successes of architecture either. Something that is done poorly or that has not worked may be discussed for its negatives and be considered an example of what not to do. I understand now that I am only ever so sliightly breaching into the topic but it is something that I will continue to learn more about as I progress in the field.

By engaging in parametric modelling techniques whilst completing this project I beleive my understanding of computation has increased too. I have an extreme level of respect for those who can do parametric modelling well and can only imagine how many hours they spent mastering it. I found it extremely interesting listening to Danel Davis place the concept of parametric modelling and computation in context within a timeline of architectural and global history. His comments regarding the future of parametrics interested me as well. I do not know whether parametric modelling will survive until I am in practice but I understand the importance of moving with the times and engaging in the developing technologies. Through the research I have conducted I recognise that many architects who fail to move with the technologies can find themselves missinterpreting there effectiveness and potentially limiting their capabilites because they choose not progress themselves. I am really interested to see how the knowledge I have gained so far will combine with what is to come over the course of this subject and how that will influence my own design when it comes to the ‘Windham Gateway’ project.

In relation to architectural computing I would consider my knowledge to still be very limited, however considerably more than what I knew before commencing this subject. The differences between computation and computerization is one that I am very interested in and would like to continue learning about.



A lg o r i t h m i c E x p l o r at i o n

In the first three weeks of the semester we have completed weekly tasks that are aimed at introducing us to various skills to do with operating Rhino3d and more importantly the plugin called Grasshopper. As I have had no prior experience with the Grasshopper plugin and only little experience with Rhino3D I will not hesitate to admit that it has been HARD, but as it seems when asked if parametric modelling is easy, the majority if not all architects seem to agree with me. I have faced numerous issues with the weekly tasks to date but the trickiest one is that my version of Grasshopper is the most recent release and the majority of tutorials available to be are conducted with previous versions. This means that often I will try to find a command and it is not there, or certain inputs are no longer needed as well as other things. I will endeavour to keep learning and hopefully improve dramatically through the next phases of the course.



Week 1 I found it easy to create a vase form within architecture, creating curves and lofting between them was not too hard. I then was able to manipulate the control points to change the form of my vase too. When inputting this into rhino and mapping points to a surface however I struggled. Trying hard to generate a patterend vase. I was able to generate a Voronoi and map it to the vase, then change the seeding through number sliders and create more or less connections with less or more points. I really struggled with trying to map a delaunay edge to the lofted surface or other mesh options such as the oc tree. I could complete the online tutorisals exactly as asked I just could not convert that to work with the vase.


Week 2 In week 2 the task was to start with a list of points, create several curves, turn the curves to a surface, convert them back to curves and then back to points. I really struggled again with this, even after watching the tutorials and trying to nut it out with the examples given. I took my curve and converted it to points by dividing it. I then interpelated the curve and connected it to a loft in order to generate a surface. From the surface I converted it back to points. I could not work out how to get it back to curves before changing it to points. I ran in to issues again with certain commands due to my newer version of Grasshopper and tried to nut it out myself but couldn’t do it effectively.


Week 3 The weekly task this week involved patterning the vase by getting them onto a loft. Whilst watching the patterning lists tutorial I attempted to get them straight onto my lofted vase but found it very difficult. I was able to loft to surface, divide the surface and then flatten before connecting to the voronoi. As I did this I then followed the instructions to extrude and cull the surface before connecting it to the voronoi. At this point my voronoi seemed to completely stop working. When I then tried to program the true, true, false, true or variations, the model fell apart completely. I am not sure if I am making simple mistakes or whether much of my issues is due to the updated version of Grasshopper. It is extremely confusing stuff and I am determined to get on top of it however I do feel I am ‘banging my head against the wall’ in some respects.

Case Study 1.0 Voussoir clou d


initial form development

Beginning this exercise proved way harder than it should have been for me. As I battled with my computer to make the grasshopper files work I realised after a while that I had not installed the advanced mesh plug in for grasshopper. With everything working as it should I then set out to explore how the inner workings and connections of various nodes created the end form of the Voussoir Cloud.

The different iterations of my initial exploration with the number sliders is shown to the right. From top to bottom the images show the initial outcome based on the predefined paramaters, by then changing the first slider to maximum I was able to understand that it defines the extension of the walls towards the centrepoint of each quadrilateral. In the final image you can see the outcome that was derived from changing the second slider. This simply changed the depth of each wall, effectively changing the height of the structure.

Immediately I began to play with the first two number sliders. The first of which changed the width of the inner walls whilst the second changed the depth. I experimented with changing these in relation to eachother as well as extending the range to 250 and seeing what kind of effect that had.

My focus then moved down the lines to the addition of kangaroo, a plug in that aims to replicate forces of gravity into the parametric model. This was the first time that I had used this add on and I found it very interesting although it did not seem to have a lot of effect on the design. Maybe this is due to the form of the Voussoir Cloud however as I have seen it do much more impressive things in tutorials.

By changing the unary force on all three of the x, y and z axis and then running kangaroo The parametric model was varied slightly. It seemed to not change much as is visible in the top two outcomes to the right. The biggest thing it seemed to change was the size and shape of each connection to the ground. Once I had played around with this I then went back to the initial two sliders and completed some variations of changing there numeric value and the forces applied by kangaroo. My outcomes for this are shown in the bottom two images to the right.

Playing around with kangaroo seemed to be only providing minimal change to the overall outcome. I then connected the two mesh nodes and experimented with the further two sliders. The first of these sliders was changing the form of the pattern that was applied to the surface of the cloud. The second slider seemed to be changing the amount of panels on the structure. I didn’t really understand what this was doing as when I changed things I could see how they were effecting the rolled out grid of panels, but could not see how it was changing the actual model. I then felt quite limited in what I could actually do and felt as if maybe something was not working properly with my kangaroo plugin. I then proceeded to look at each of the nodes individually and attempt to disect what they did and how they could be changed. I watched a tutorial on reverse engineering the same structure to understand why nodes were placed where they were to give certain outcomes. I then attempted to change a few of the nodes however could not get anything to work. I want to spend more time disecting this structure and understanding how the nodes could be changed for a varied outcome.

C a s e st u d y 2 . 0 i c d | i t k e r e s e a r c h pav i l i o n

F u rt h e r E x p l o r a t i o n From my teams explorations with how the ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion we wanted to look at other potential ways of first designing a module that would then be repeated to create a surface that was doubly curved and intriguing to the eye, and secondly ensure that it could be explored through the construction phase to make it both interactive an innovative whilst being rigid and durable. Our research and explorations on the research pavillion showed to us that their concept was comprised of one modular form that was repeated in unique iterations to follow defined curves in a way that created one dome like surface. My team found this extremely interesting and attempted to simplify the process to achieve a similar outcome. As we do not have a desired form in mind yet we began with a basic surface seen in figure.1 to the right. We then generated our own module to be repeated as the pattern across the surface, Our initial module design was a basic hexagon with an interior hollow section that reflected a scaled down hexagon. We then employed the use of Grasshopper3D to control the dispersion of the module accross the surface, We set the surface and geometries as a parameter and then fed them explored methods found through online tutorials to achieve a desired outcome. We took the surface geometry and divided it into points before adding control elements that enabled us to define how points were on both the U and V planes. This effectively created rows and columns within the surface depending on how many we wanted.





Once we were able to get the geometry of the module to be patterned across the surface we began to look at it from more of a structural perspective and realised that the form we had created would not stand up as the hexagon was not alligned properly and would therefore have many weak points. We chose to then design a second geometry seen in figure.3 that would connect and effectively transfer loads within its form. The outcome can be seen in figure.4. We realised that we had successfully achieved much of what we had set out to do however we felt we would be restricted by patterning method as it only generated patterns based on the one geometry and did no manipulate the geometry according to the curvature of the surface. We chose to then create a new, more dimensional surface and see what would happen. The outcome can be seen in figure.5 where we minimized the amount of modeules used in both axis and immediately we realised that we could then create the surface or structure out of unique iterations of the one geometry. We then began to play around with the number of modules within the surface to confirm that our method would still work and as shown in figure.6 it did. We would like to develop this exploration further and explore trying to incorporate a combination of geometries into the one overall pattern. Our intentions are to combine what we have learnt within this exploration with research conducted in origami patterns to then generate a visually appealing geometry to generate the pattern with. We see this combination of explorations as a crutial element in our development of an interactive and innovative installation that will be iconic of Windham as a community.



Cfi 540063 thomas cornelius pages  

Week 5 - Design Studio Air Update

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