A I JOURNAL
Tho m as Cornelius
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C o m p utat io n a l A rc h i t e ct u r e
Pa r a m et ric M o d e l
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Design Concept form finding Ben Gilbert site and scale refined module introduction of co lour
tectonic elements Tom Wiscombe dragonfly materiality module detail design definition
final model + Design Renders fabrication process model making process model photography design renders
design outcomes and objectives project proposal conclusion project outcomes project objectives
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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 realized 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 AutoCad 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 referred to as an extremely successful 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 collaboration 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 successful elements. As stated earlier, many architectural designs 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 ‘Wyndham 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, www.architectural-review.com 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 E i 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 Europe 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 assist my team to make best use of the Wyndham Gatewayâ€™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 â€˜Wyndham Gatewayâ€™ 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
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Koolhaas is a regular contributor to the discourse of architecture, 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 cantilevered 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 challenge 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 tessellated structure The interior of the spiral section The tessellated steel structure that provides both structural form and aesthetic appeal from inside and out Diagram expressing the division of spaces within the library
Koolhaas’s logical arrangement of space according to function creates the successful civic space where people are encouraged to interact. As they interact they engage with the visually interesting form of the building that capitalizes 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 modernity that the public can recognise and appreciate.
1. 2. 3. 4.
The site for the gateway within Wyndham 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 Wyndham 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 ‘Wyndham 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 oma.eu/projects/2004/seattle-central-library 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 using 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 instantaneously 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 using 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 Institute 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 corroboratively harnesses the talents and insights of all participants to optimize project results, increase value to the owner, reduce waste, and maximize efficiency through all phases of design, fabrication, and construction.” The integrated approach achieves this by calling on the expertise of engineers, material developers and the necessary professionals to the initial conceptualization phase. This ensures that designs are both practical and feasible. 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 possible. 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 Wyndham 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 Pavilion showing the perforations within the inner skin . _ A close up of the finger joints that solely connect each panel and module together. _ A view of the Pavilion 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 sense 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 dimensions, 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 Davisâ€™ 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 research 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 â€œsoundsphere 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.â€? 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 plays a big role in what makes this structure a success. Each perforation is perfectly aligned and each panel 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.
Through 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 ‘Wyndham 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 â€˜Wyndham Gateway Design Projectâ€™ 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 Wyndham 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 admittedly 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 precedent 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 slightly 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 â€˜Wyndham Gatewayâ€™ 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 couldnâ€™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 â€˜banging my head against the wallâ€™ in some respects.
e o i
d e s i g n approach
t e s s e l l at e d a s s e m b l i e s To generate a design focus for the ‘Western Gateway Design Project’ in Wyndham, we first as a team looked to the brief to determine what aspects we felt were most important. Some key terms that we chose to focus on included ‘inspiring and enriching the municipality,’ ‘enhancing the physical environment through the introduction of a visual arts component,’ ‘explore placemaking aspects and qualities’ and ‘have longevity and encourage interest in the western interchange.’ With these key terms in mind we then began to research into different streams and approaches we could potentially explore. Our discovery and research into the 2011 ICD-ITKE Pavilion in Stuttgart immediately gave us an interest in tessellated assemblies and fueled us to research further into architectural precedents regarding its use. We found projects such as the Resonant Chamber by rvtr architects which used rigid origami patterns to create a dynamic sound installation. We then looked at works by Iwamoto Scott and the MoMA/Ps1 which only further reinforced the potential for tessellated assemblies in creating an intriguing aesthetic that we felt would encourage interest. We then wanted to find ways in which we could inspire, enrich, explore place-making and ensure longevity. Research led us to the works of Decoi and the development of their ‘Hyposurface.’ The Hyposurface is a surface tessellated in a triangular pattern. Behind the pattern is pneumatic arms that push the surface outward to generate patterns, waves and words that are intended to evoke a reaction from the viewer. The viewer therefore has an experience as a result of the dynamic movement of the surface. .
This excited us and we wanted to develop the idea of interaction and dynamic structure that would be vital in creating a sense of place with longevity that is both inspiring and enriching to the user. Through some initial brainstorming we thought of ways to converge aspects from each of the precedents looked at in order to create an innovative structure. We felt that in order to do this we needed to make the interaction with the user something in which the user has control over. In the example of the hyposurface, pre programmed functions are displayed and the user simply observes the change in form. We wanted to explore ways to combine this idea with that of the resonant chamber where the structure changes form in response to the users reaction. The reason why we are focusing on this convergence of ideas as a crucial element of our design revolves around our endeavours to create place-making qualities within our installation. We believe that each of the precedents listed achieves a varied degree of place-making as result of the main ideas within them that provide an experience to the user. We therefore believe that in order to create a sense of place we need to create an experience. One that will ensure those who interact with the installation will remember Wyndham, placing it on the map as people share the experience, and desire to interact with the installation. In summary, we intend to utilise tessellated forms to explore rigid origami patterns with the intention of creating a dynamic and interactive project for the Geelong highway gateway from Wyndham to Melbourne. representing Wyndham and acting as the Western Gateway.
The precedents that helped inspire our interest in tessellation and inform our focus in order to achieve a concept worthy of representing Wyndham as the Western Gateway, From left to right: ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion, Resonant Chamber by rvtr architects and the Hyposurface by Decoi.
Case Study 1.0 VOLTaDOM
c a s e st u d y o ut c o m e In my teams exploration of tessellated assemblies we were given access to a ready made parametric model of VoltDom by Skylar Tibbits. The VoltDom is an intriguing installation comprised of tessellated curve geometries. As illustrated in the images in the opposite page, the VoltDom is a series of unique doubly curved parabolic shapes. Within these shapes is a smaller scaled iteration that forms a perforation allowing the user to see through the installation much like windows. The VoltDom relies heavily on parametric modelling to enable the team at Skylar Tibbits to integrate ornamentation into the structure. With the curved geometries connected like a puzzle, the loads are able to be distributed accordingly, allowing the structure to hold form. Although using different geometries, this is a very similar concept to that of the ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion of 2011 that I have included as a precedent earlier in the proposal. The concept requires parametric modelling to complete the complex mathematics involved to ensure the loads will be supported evenly. The precise dimensioning generated by the parametric model allows for the fabrication to then have added precision, ensuring that no pieces of the structure are fabricated incorrectly and therefore effecting the load bearing qualities of the installation. The complexities involved with achieving the form within the VoltDom installation ensured that it would be a very interesting case study. In looking at the parametric modelling for the project we identified that the driving force behind form generation was an algorithmic definition that measures the interaction between two layers of overlapping cones. Where the inner cone meets the external cone a horizontal section is cut, creating an oculus. By iterating these overlapping cones across a plane, the seeding causes them to interact. The interaction sees that the cones protrude into each other, the end result and what gives the VoltDom form is the sections of the cone that are left visible.
Our teams initial exploration with the VoltDom situated around the investigation of separate and conjoining shapes. Matrix A on the following page explores the separation of the conical shapes while Matrix B explores how the cones can be conjoined. This gave us some perspective into the clustering effect of the interactions. We established that the seeding needed to be above the factor of 45 in order to create a pattern with enough density to see the cones begin to touch and interact. In Matrix C we began to explore the connection between cone size and seeding patterns. This identified logically that the bigger the cone size, the lower the seeding needed to be in order for the cones to begin to interact. In Matrix D we explore the variation of the oculus, manipulating its size. In Matrix E we began to explore manipulation of the input geometries. Where previously the effect was given by overlapping two cones on top of each other, be manipulated it to restrict the cone within a cylindrical form. We found this interesting as it changed the sloping nature of the penetrations to create clear-cut vertical penetrations. This also increased the form segmentation but in doing so, we believe created more interesting shapes. In matrix F we experimented with overlapping of the base geometry to generate areas of increased density. The result saw that the cones were now mapped within a much smaller space, resulting in a higher concentration of cones in the centre and a dispersion of cones as they spread to the external boundary. Expressed within the matrix are the lessons we learnt in the ways in which the interaction of shapes varies within the VoltDom project. The most critical aspect of our exploration within this case study is how the project exemplified a built form of non-uniform tessellations. We believe this can help us progress to some exploration of tessellating with origami patterning. The knowledge this case study has given us in identifying that you do not need a conventionally built pattern in order to construct our ideas. We believe this will allow us to explore a new range of innovative design solutions.
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
As the ICD/ITKE played a pivotal role in initially giving us interest in to tessellated assemblies we felt that it would be a perfect project to try and recreate in order to understand how a geometry could be tessellated across a surface. As a team we separated our focus and tried to determine individually how the Research Pavilion had been designed parametrically. Our two different approaches to the design situated around generating the geometry and then trying to project that to a curved surface and the generation of the geometries through the use of mathematical algorithms, then attempting to create perforations at the centre points of the geometry before projecting the outcome to a surface. Both of the approaches returned aspects of positive and negative results, each with their evident benefits and limitations. We identified that the real challenge within trying to recreate this pavilion was in the process that enabled each of the hexagons and heptagons to connect seamlessly so as to enclose the space completely. We believed that if we could recreate the concepts within this project, we would gain the understanding to explore more complex geometries and patterns that we could then make dynamic and incorporate an aspect of user interaction.
Noting the outcomes of both approaches to the reverse engineering of the Research Pavilion we didnâ€™t fully achieve what we set out to. We were able to mimic the geometry used within the project however we were not able to project them to the surface in a seamless pattern. When projected, there were obvious gaps as the geometry projected in columns, each of the columns ran parallel to each other, preventing them from interlocking as they do in the actual pavilion. In our other approach the interlocking aspect was achieved however we could not project the correct geometry to the surface. Between both approaches we achieved elements similar to that of the Research Pavilion, however we could not work out how to combine both approaches in order to complete the task fully. Our experimentation and exploration into creating the pavilion was of great benefit, regardless of the difficulties. The task enabled us to realize that whilst seemingly basic, tessellating geometries on to a curved surface is much harder than it appears. We will endeavour to understand how to properly create the Research Pavilion, as we know that it could be vital in dictating the form of our final design.
Approach 1 As outlined in the previous page, each of the approaches we attempted had positive and negative outcomes with some obvious limitations. We understand that these limitations may be a result of user intelligence. What has restricted us within the task may be resolvable by someone else. Within this approach we attempted to divide a space in to a number of regions. The division of space then gave us a pattern, evident in the second image to the left. With the defined area separated into individual but adjoining regions we then attempted to replicate the perforations within the Research Pavilion by creating circular openings. From there we looked at how we could place the perforations within the defined regions and located the mid points of each region. We then defined the location of each of the perforations by placing one perforation per mid point. Once we had achieved this, we projected the result to a curved surface to see how it would react. The outcome was not ideal however there were a few things to take away from it. We understood that in some regions the approach had worked much better than others. What we had failed to do however was achieve the same geometry used within the Research Pavilion. We could deduce from this task that this is potentially not the right approach when working with tessellated assemblies.
Approach 2 In this approach we set out to create the geometry and the surface separately and then combine them once completed. To begin we made a simple hexagonal pyramid geometry and then manipulated it to generate a flat smaller scaled hexagonal top. In this approach instead of trying to divide a surface in to defined regions, we defined a simple box region that would enclose the hexagonal geometry. We then created a surface that was doubly curved in order to simulate a similar form to that of the Research Pavilion. Once we had our geometry defined within its own region, we then projected the box including the hexagonal geometry. The boxes size changed in order to fit a controlled number of rows and columns as we desired. With this technique we were able to apply the geometry to the surface bearing some resemblance to the Research Pavilion. Again we identified that there are positives and negatives within this approach. Whilst the technique allows the geometry to be projected to the surface, it does not project them in a way that interlocks the hexagonal geometry needed to enclose a space. We believe that this approach has more potential to it, and with some more development we may be able to achieve the interlocking form that gives such appeal to the ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion
i n i t i a l F
f i n di ng
t e c h n i q u e d e v e l o p m e nt 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 exploration with the ITK | ICDE pavilion showed 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 below.
We then generated our own geometry to be repeated as the pattern across the surface, Our initial geometric design was a basic hexagon with an interior hollow section that reflected a scaled down hexagon (seen in figure.2). We then employed the use of Grasshopper3D ,a graphical algorithm editor to control the dispersion of the module across the surface, We set the surface and geometries as a parameter and then fed them into methods we had 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.
t e c h n i q u e d e v e l o p m e nt
Once we were able to get the geometry to be patterned across the surface as individual modules, we began to look at it from more of a structural perspective and realized that the form we had created would not stand up as the hexagon was not aligned 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 think that we had successfully achieved much of what we had set out to do however we felt we would be restricted by the patterning method as it only generated patterns based on the one geometry and did not manipulate the geometry according to the curvature of the surface. We chose to then create a new, more complex surface and see what would happen.
The outcome can be seen in figure.5 where we minimized the amount of modules used in both axis and immediately we realized 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. We see this combination of explorations as a crucial element in our development of an interactive and innovative installation that will be iconic of Wyndham, not only visually appealing but enhance the physical environment around it .
technique d e v e l o p m e nt Once we were able to get the geometry to be patterned across the surface as individual modules, we began to look at it from more of a structural perspective and realized that the form we had created would not stand up as the hexagon was not aligned 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 realized that we had successfully achieved much of what we had set out to do however we felt we would be restricted by the patterning method as it only generated patterns based on the one geometry and did not manipulate the geometry according to the curvature of the surface. We chose to then create a new, more complex surface and see what would happen.
Our findings in our initial technique development gave us some confidence in our ability to generate a custom geometry across a defined surface. We then began to explore different ways in which we could do similar, and progressions from what we had already done. After some research on the internet we found a tutorial from The University of Illinois that explained a way to create alternating pattern generated by the repetition of two separate geometries. We though this could be an interesting way of creating visual appeal within the aesthetics of the design. We began by creating a curved surface that we would then project our geometries on to. Immediately we wanted to progress our previous explorations and create a 3D geometry that extruded out in the vertical direction. Our efforts to achieve this caused us to find a large error in what we were doing. Where we were trying to create our own 3D geometry comprised of a number of smaller geometries, we realized that we could not get the whole geometry to iterate over the surface. This can be seen in the second image to the left. Rather than projecting the entire hexagonal geometry, one simple triangle from within the hexagon was being projected. We then spent time trying to resolve this issue, and to no avail we changed our approach and instead looked to create an interesting geometry comprised of only one solid shape. In the third image to the left you can see the solid shape that we had manipulated. This was a success however we felt we were extremely limited in our potential for customizing the design. We really needed to find a way to group geometries together and then project them on to a surface. Further efforts seen in the bottom image to the left show that again we were unsuccessful in our attempts.
With failures in our attempts to group geometries we generated another potential idea to resolve the issue. The Idea revolved around creating a solid geometry and subtracting from it to create a desired shape. By using a basic hexagonal pyramid, we began to create perforations and openings that could be explored further in order to create an experience for the user within our structure. The image below illustrates our success in projecting this desired geometry on to a surface. We then began to move on from the generation of a geometry and moved towards the creation of an alternating pattern. By rotating the geometry that we had created when then had two iterations that could be projected.
We managed to project these successfully, achieving an alternating pattern. As a team we then discussed whether this would be a viable technique to pursue further. Together we felt that we had almost pushed this concept as far as it could go, and that it was too basic to achieve the ideas we had been imagining. We have learnt from our struggles within this development phase and now endeavour to find a working solution.
p r otot y pi n g | 1 . 0 As the team felt that the parametric form finding had hit a stand still, attempts to find many different solutions was proving difficult. We then wanted to direct our energy to some physical development and actually work out whether our ideas were achievable in construction. We began with a geometry that we had created when attempting to model the concept parametrically and began brainstorming the various ways we could incorporate user interaction within it. Our initial idea was to enable the user to pull a cord that would cause previously closed panels to open. This was a desired outcome as it would change the experience for the user within the installation through the addition of sunlight. It would then also create an experience for the general passerby. As drivers passed the installation, users within the installation pulling the cords would be providing a constant change to the aesthetic of the design on the outside. With users pulling cords one after the other, modules would be both springing to life and retracting depending on their choice.
We knew that the system would have to operate much like a general blind system. The cords would have to be fixed to the panels, which would be hinged at a point and then as the cords from each panel were centralised, the user within could pull them in order to simultaneously open each panel. This is illustrated in the series of images on the opposite page. Where the images on the left show the module in a closed state, the images on the right show the reaction when the user operates the cord. The change in form of the module seen in the bottom two images is a great success for us. We believe that this prototype has helped us understand that our ideas can be put into reality. We would now like to develop these ideas further and explore other ways in which the individual modules can be dynamic and incorporate user interaction.
origami influence t o m o h i r o ta s h i In our pursuit to develop a dynamic installation that relies on user interaction to create an experience, we were led to the ideas of Tomohiro Tashi. Tomohiro Tashi is a leader in the field of rigid origami and the exploration of how origami and the patterns within origami can be incorporated into architectural design. With our first prototype we realized that the movement and dynamic element is limited and somewhat minimal. We began looking at the work of Tashi and in particular the deployable structure he had created, as seen in the two images to the left. We really liked how dynamic the installation was, and more importantly the effect that it gave. As a closed structure the folds were almost as intriguing as when deployed. Whilst we did not want to recreate the deployable nature evident in this project, we did really like how the visually effective the installation was, and how it created an entirely different experience for the user. Tomohiro Tashi has many examples of origami patterns that he has developed, the bottom image to the left is an example of his works. We found the patterns created by origami extremely appealing and interesting, something we wanted to recreate. We then set out to create our own geometry to incorporate in to our installation based on some of the patterns created in other origami works and incorporate the dynamic aspect much like in the deployable concept explained above. We created a hexagonal geometry and began to explore how it could be subdivided into six separate triangular prisms that could then rotate on structural tubing that mirrored the hexagonal form. Our outcome is illustrated on the opposite page in both a closed and open iteration. We believe that this idea has potential in achieving visually appealing aesthetics and creating an intriguing element of dynamism for user interaction. From here we believe we will need to create a prototype to determine if it is a feasible idea for construction.
p r oto t y p i n g 2.0 As parametric modelling enabled us to generate a form that we believed was both visual appealing and had the ability to be dynamic, allowing for user interaction and operation. Whilst parametric modelling is an extremely useful tool generate designs, it does not take in to consideration the restrictions inherit in construction. A series of built prototypes was what we needed to do next in order to realize if our ideas were achievable and feasible. We began by creating sketch models that enabled us to envisage the form of our digitally modelled idea in the flesh. Images of these models can be seen on the opposite page and to the right. We felt that these were very successful as they proved that our design was quite visually appealing. The sketch models replicated in a static nature, both the open and closed form of the design. Being extremely pleased with the aesthetic results we then looked at how to incorporate some dynamism that could be operated by a user. We quickly constructed a hinge system that placed the triangular prisms of the hexagon on a rotating axis. Initially we wanted to see whether this would enable each of the prisms to rotate as if opening. Our opening mechanism worked without having to make any changes, highlighting to us how basic the construction can be to achieve our desired outcome. The successful outcome can be seen in the second image from the top to the right. This only reassures us that tessellated assemblies and the use of an origami pattern will help us to achieve our design focus. We now look to exploring different ways in which the user can open and close the hexagonal modules. Our previous prototype exploration proved that a simple pull-chord system much like in blinds can be an effective way to create the interaction. Some further exploration will help us to determine whether that is the best option or potentially we may combine a series of options to increase the intrigue within the user.
Technique Proposal As we developed our geometry to achieve the desired outcomes and interactions both internally and externally, we then began to look at how our concept could achieve ‘longevity’ in its design. Within the project brief, the Wyndham council proposes that the design will “enhance the physical environment through the introduction of a visual arts component, it will have longevity in its appeal, encouraging ongoing interest in the Western interchange by encouraging further reflection about the installation beyond a first glance.” We believe that the geometry we have designed to integrate in unique iterations throughout the installations surface are not only aesthetically appealing, but achieve this sense of ongoing interest and further reflection. How? With users interacting with the installation as they stop to fill up with petrol on a daily basis, the interaction by the drivers who passerby has the potential to be unique every time. With hundreds of modules panelled across the surface of the installation, the variation in pattern is immense. If you think in terms of rows and columns, with each row including 10 or more dynamic modules, and each column including 40 or more dynamic modules, there are thousands of different patterns that could be displayed. The chance that someone sees the same pattern in this instance is quite rare.
We believe that by doing this, the installation will achieve ongoing interest and longevity as people have unique interactions with every encounter. This will also cause the drivers who observe the installation changing as people play inside to firstly, question to themselves whether the structure was changing and secondly to think ‘that looked different yesterday.’ Through light play and different times of day, those who choose to interact with the installation from inside will most likely never encounter the same shade patterning. Those who interact with the installation, manipulating its form will then be looking out to see whether their changes are still there or not. Driving past children will attempt to identify the modules that they opened or closed, or potentially a pattern they made within the form. If the child regularly uses the freeway, then with each encounter they will continue to look and see if their changes are still evident, and in doing so will observe the changes that have been made or that are currently happening. On the opposite page a small matrix outlines different iterations of form that could be achieved with only 12 hexagons. Over 500 variations are available with these 12 hexagons alone.
Technique Proposal As stated previously, one of our main focuses within this project is to create a sense of place, something that users will remember not only the installation by, but the broader location of Wyndham in which it is situated. We feel that our endeavours to create a dynamic form that incorporate user and driver interaction is quite effective in creating this sense of place. In brainstorming ideas as a team we spoke about what makes a place and places in particular that we think are really effective in achieving â€˜place-makingâ€™ qualities. Our first thought was that all good places are remembered and that if a place is encountered and not remembered then it does not have a good sense of place. We thought about this idea and explored how we could integrate memories to our design. We felt that simply driving past an installation and observing it in its static nature is not enough to evoke a memory and therefore would not achieve a sense of place. We then focused on how we could create an experience that was memorable. A memory that could stay with the user.
We believe that the integration of user interaction within our installation is what is going to achieve the sense of place that we desire. As children, adolescents or adults operate the modules, opening and closing them they get an immediate reaction and fulfillment in influencing the form of the installation. By giving the user the power to manipulate the aesthetics both internally and externally the user can play with the form, creating a design of their own within the modules. We believe that the experience of playing with the form of the installation is what will create memories and ensure that the user forever remembers their experience. Hopefully when the user then encounters the installation again and again, they see that the form is different each time and they remember how at some point in time they were in control of the experience being conveyed to the drivers who passed by. These drivers who pass through the Western Gateway on a regular basis will hopefully have an experience of their own too, as they see the installations pattern changing over time, they will remember how it has looked previously. Our hope is that drivers begin to use the installation as a marker on the way to their destination, checking to see how it has changed between visits.
The illustration on the opposite page express how people will be able to interact with the installation, opening and closing the hexagonal modules allowing for light play as it poors through the openings. Also illustrated in these detail drawings is the reaction externally when the internal user operates the opening system. This is what creates the interaction for the drivers as they pass by.
a lg o r i t h m ic s k etc h i n g
Following the video tutorial closely I was able to understand how to find the average of points on a singular surface and then see how this became an issue when trying to find the average of points divided across numerous surfaces. We then looked at giving each of the points a coordinate that would enable us to manipulate the path in which each of these coordinates were connected. The reason for doing this was to allow us to create a pattern on a surface reflected within the varying connection of points. By dividing the coordinates into rows and columns we could then determine how the connections were made between each, whether to offset the rows, columns or both by varying degree to then see what aesthetic output was created. The output was given in the form of a polyline
which was then generated into a planar surface. Initially I struggled with this as the command was asking for a planarsrf node and I did not have that with my updated version of Grasshopper so I did some quick research and found out that the command had been replaced by a node called a â€˜boundary surfaceâ€™. This enabled me to achieve the desired outcome of the tutorial. Below are the two different patterns generated by manipulated the amount of offset given to the rows and columns of each coordinate.
By creating all that was asked for in the tutorial I then looked to creating my own patterns. I attempted numerous different inputs for both the rows and columns. My outcomes are displayed in the three images above. As you can see the outcomes were not completely successful. It appeared to me that the offset I was generating was confining the pattern between the first and second column and row. I need to look further in to how to ensure the pattern will cover the surface entirely.
After my attempts did not generate the most desired outcomes I became curious as to whether this technique would work on different surfaces. I quickly generated a surface from a few curves and applied the same constraints to the coordinates as given in the tutorials outcomes. I quickly found out that the same connections between coordinates do not work when you change the surface. Below is the surface that I generated and a basic offset of coordinates that worked.
l e a r n i n g o b j e ct i v e s a n d o ut c o m e s M i d - s e m e st e r p r e s e ntat i o n The mid-semester presentation above all else gave us a really good opportunity to pull the reigns in and really understand what we were trying to achieve, Having to present our ideas to a panel of experienced architects made us really refine and discover exactly what was the focus of our team. I think we executed this quite well when conveying our ideas to the critics and were able to convey a well thought out concept. I believe that at the finish of our presentation the critics had a very clear idea of what our focus was on and how we were going to go about achieving this. Although we received a reasonably positive reaction overall, there were still some comments from the critics or ideas that were offered more as advice than criticism. I think that this is really effective as when you work as a team you tend to get a really clear idea between yourselves but a new perspective may identify things that you had previously not considered.
I believe this was the case with us. Many of the questions revolved around how we were going to ensure people would want to use our installation and some ideas of theirs that we could incorporate or at least begin to consider. The critics insight and experience with proposals themselves meant that they could help guide us. One of the critics assured us to have confidence and choose just one idea for incorporating dynamism into the design in order to keep it as simple as possible and prevent us from not being able to achieve the more complex design. Most importantly the critics gave us direction in what we need to now go and refine or develop. Things such as the opening mechanism for the modules, the scale needed to make the dynamism visible to drivers and how we can create intrigue within the design so that people don’t just interact with the installation once and move on.
o b j e ct i v e 5 “Developing the ability to make a case for proposals.” I believe this is something my group did very well. We looked critically at precedent projects and the brief for the project and derived an argument that we could base our design focus on.
I think that the presentation to the guest critics was a perfect example of our ability to generate a persuasive argument that had been formed based on concepts achieved in cases of precedents.
o b j e ct i v e 3 “Developing skills in various three dimensional media” Prior to undertaking this subject my use of parametric modelling tools such as Rhino3D were very limited. I believe that this subject has completely opened my eyes to its potential and with every exercise I am furthering my understanding of the programs, giving me greater control over design outcomes. As a team we relied on parametric modelling to generate a design idea and form. When we felt we were limited by our knowledge of the programs to further the design parametrically,
we decided to be productive in attempting to construct the design as a means to determine if any issues arose that would actually influence what we needed to achieve parametrically. I believe that this was a very good decision for us as we had no idea about how to make a dynamic installation, it was only through experimenting with models and prototypes that we gained more precise direction that we can now look to progress parametrically to further refine our ideas.
o b j e ct i v e 2 “Developing an ability to generate a variety of design possibilities for a given situation.” I believe this is something we have had to deal with as we have not been able to generate one clearly working concept parametrically. The limitations of our knowledge and potentially the complexities of our design intentions
have meant that every time we pursue a different avenue the designs possibilities are altered. I believe that as we are continuing to create a working parametric model through algorithmic design that the possibilities will only change even more.
o b j e ct i v e 1 “Interrogating a brief.” I believe this is something that I struggled with in the first submission of this proposal. I think a failure to fully grasp what was being asked of the brief left me feeling unsure of how to approach the tasks for this proposal. I think that this second section of the proposal has forced me, along with my partner to critically analyze the brief and take from it the elements that we think are most important, that are achievable and that we can focus on when formulating our argument.
This is the first time I have actually encountered a real brief and not a hypothetical. I think it is extremely interesting to see how a real brief differs from the hypothetical briefs I have been made to follow in past subjects. The depth of this brief I think makes it impossible to achieve everything that they are asking, and as a result of this it becomes a matter of achieving selected aspects of the brief and doing them extremely well whilst covering as much as you can.
o b j e ct i v e 7 “Develop foundational understandings of computational geometry, data structures and types of programming.“ This objective is one that I think I should place some emphasis into in coming weeks. I believe that I am acquiring the foundational understandings of computational geometry, data structures and types of programming, however I think in relation to my peers within the class many seem to have a much better understanding.
I think this was reflected in our case studies within this section. I was able to understand the ideas, concepts and general workings of the tasks however exploring them further, taking them into the ‘crazy’ is something that I felt I really struggled with. I hope to use the upcoming break and future weeks to try and let some ‘crazy’ influence my teams design.
P e r s o n a l r e f l e ct io n So far I have really enjoyed the progression through this subject. It has been the most challenging subject I have encountered so far in my university education, but with the challenge comes a great deal of pride when you can achieve what you set out to do. I am really enjoying expanding my knowledge in both parametric design and the overall ability to make a proposal that is being taught to us along the way. The precedents that this subject has made aware to me have really improved my architectural knowledge and I am finding that it is helping a great deal with other subjects. Most importantly this subject has made and kept me very enthused about getting through to the other end and working professionally in the field.
part 3 projec t p r o p o s a l
Our presentation to the critics provided us with feedback on a few areas that were identified as focal points to develop our concept further and better our design, helping us to meet the key areas we had identified from the brief. These main points were to find a form that we liked as soon as possible to then begin exploring how we could incorporate other things in to the design such as colour. Another point from the critics was to consider the scale of the installation, as our concept revolved heavily around the user gaining an interaction from both within the structure and as a passer by travelling to the city on the highway. Scale was very important as, if the installation was too small then the change in form via the opening and closing of modules would not be translated to the driver and our intentions would be missed entirely. The final point by the critics was to choose one opening mechanism for the modules and focus on refining that one mechanism, keeping from trying to over complicate the design unnecessarily.
In the interim presentation our concept seemed to be well received with our ideas supported by the critics. This gave us confidence that we had chosen the correct method in tessellated assemblies and that we were convincing in our argument that tessellated assemblies combined with rigid origami patterning and dynamic interaction were the best choice to meet the brief set by the Wyndham City Council. The critics comments suggested were purely directed at further developing our ideas and there was no identifaction for needing to go back and change our approach drastically. The following section, Part 3 of this expression of interest documents our process of responding to the critics feedback and documentation of model making, both parametrically and physically and the entire process ending in a final product.
form finding In the mid semester presentation my team focused primarily on the generation of a concept. As we were interested in tessellations, it was the geometry that was to be tessellated across a surface that became the majority of the concept. As a team we knew that the form could be almost anything, it was the tessellated geometry and opening system that we wanted to push in convincing the panel of critics that tessellated assemblies was the best approach to take in order to achieve an end result best suited to the brief. Throughout our development of ideas, patterns, and the tessellated geometry itself, we had used a number of different overall forms to give some idea of how it would work. Whilst we knew that these forms were not what we desired as a final form, they taught us many things in regard to the limitations involved. Firstly we understood that the gradient of curves within the form could not be too steep as the tessellated modules would not be able to follow the curvature in an ideal way and therefore the curves could not be represented properly, reducing the visual appeal. We found that this was also an issue because if the modules folded back toward each other, then the opening system was restricted, limiting how much they could open, if at all. Once we had generated a general idea of the module to present to the panel of critics, it was suggested that we needed to keep developing this form further and not just focus on how the form needed to be in order to make the opening module system work, but how it needed to be in order to translate the idea best to the user and the site.
We agreed with the comments of the critics and shifted our focus further towards the user and the site as opposed to the functionality. With this we began to brainstorm as a team, everything that we felt the form needed to reflect to increase the experience for the user. Our list incorporated influences such as scale, site, interior space, external intrigue, user circulation and curvature that enabled the tessellated modules to be opened outward in different directions to add to the visual effect. As the site had one main access point from the petrol station we knew that we had to direct an opening in the same direction, to entice users to come and operate the installation, also allowing them to see other users inside from afar. We also wanted the form to rise and fall as it progressed from end to end, creating openings in the side that would enable circulation of users not only within the installation but enabling them to move outside of it to view how their changes had effected the form. We began experimenting with forms as can be seen by the first two columns of drawings in the opposite page. Our attempt to find something visually intriguing with the limitations we had set ourselves led us to the form third from the bottom. This form immediately attracted both of us within the team and it abided by all of the restrictions we had set. We then felt we should develop the form further.
The two drawings below it show two of the attempts to further the form. We tried to create angular versions, increase the curvature to a reasonable degree, elevate different sections and manipulate the length to width ratio of the form. From these attempts we felt that many of them only detracted from the original form. However the bottom drawing which included minor changes to the middle section of the form really stood out to us. As the design met all of the restrictions we had applied to the form finding process and was visually appealing to us, and others that we asked, we felt it was best to stick with our instinct and use this form. Whilst creating a form as one clean surface was crucial in the initial development, we knew that the form had to still look good when we divided the surface in to a hexagonal grid that would house each of the modules. In doing this we only affirmed our decision on the form further. We then took influence from Ben Gilbert, the founder of Agency of Sculpture who gave a lecture to us throughout the course on effective design and the processes involved in design. The influence of him can be seen in the following page.
The drawing to the left shows the plan and elevation of the chosen form with the hexagonal grid of cells mapped to its surface
BEN GILBERT AGENCY OF SCULPTOR Ben Gilbert came to lecture at the University of Melbourne, providing a showcase of his work and the process that is involved from winning a tender to developing the final sculpture. What we learnt from Ben Gilbert however that stood out to us most was his ideas on sculpting and design in general and how to create something physical that evoked an emotional or figurative response that was specific to the user. In many of Ben Gilberts sculptures sections of the form are left out or appear missing, almost as if unfinished. This however is a very purposeful technique that Ben uses to gain a specific encounter from the user. The intention is that the user can fill in the gaps with their imagination and visualize what is missing without it actually being there. The missing sections and the imagination to fill them in allows the user to construct their own idea of how the design comes together to form a whole. In the example of the Pole Vaulter (above, second from the left) sheet metal has been used to construct the general outline and some elements of the athletes body. Enough material is there so as it is distinctly a pole vaulter. The same has been done with the horse figure (above, far right) where the body of the horse is almost hollow in contrast to some fully enclosed aspects such as the head and legs. As a technique this really appealed to us, and we enjoyed looking at his sculptures and filling in the gaps. We felt that it enhanced our experience with the sculptor and made it more memorable.
Throughout our form finding phase as we began to consider scale and siting for our installation, we realized that a fully enclosed design lost a lot of its visual appeal and intrigue that would catch and hold the attention of users driving by. At the same time we were dealing with some feedback from our mid semester critique that expressed a disconnect between the user inside and the user outside. We had based this interaction purely on a user inside, opening modules that would then be seen from the outside and a unique pattern with each interaction would create the visual appeal and intrigue we desired. When we then evaluated this idea post critique we realized that our idea could be refined further. We wanted the interior user to see what their actions were causing on the exterior too. We also wanted those users passing by to know that the installation was being manipulated by users inside in an attempt to entice them to see for themselves. We then began to remove modules from certain ares of the surface in a pattern that would allow the users to see through the structure making the opening of modules visible from the interior too. We also made the pattern align with the height of average humans so that they could be seen through the open structural elements by the driver. We felt that this added a whole new effect to the design of our installation and increased the interaction between users without detracting from the overall form that we had liked so much. We felt that by exposing the framework we were incorporating the structural elements in to the design and they acted perfectly in a similar way to Ben Gilberts â€˜Brumbyâ€™ project in allowing the user to fill in the missing space themselves..
Lining the bottom of the page is different variations of the designs structural framework. The missing hexagonal cells from each of the drawings identifies where their will be no modules and only structure. Every cell that is visible would house a module within its frame. We began by addressing the issue of scale, as we realized how big our installation needed to be we experimented with the idea that it could potentially be broken up in to four different sections that were separated. We didnâ€™t like this idea as we felt it detracted from the overall effect and appeal, failing to communicate what we had desired. We then returned to the full form and began selecting cells at random that would not house a module. This seemed to be effective but appeared as if the installation was just unfinished and not left bare in those areas on purpose. We then attempted to remove the entire mid section, which would minimise weight as it does elevate off the ground in that area. Again we did not find this too effective. We then explored creating a path for the user inside to follow, an idea that
we felt wasnâ€™t strong enough to actually cause the user to follow the path as intended. We then thought more about how the teachings of Ben Gilbert could enhance the design even further. We realized that we could link his teachings to the feedback from the critics as mentioned earlier. Our focus then was to create a pattern in the framework that would enable the user inside to see the changes on the outside from within the installation, and for the drivers to be able to see through the installation to the users within to further communicate to them that people operate the installation and dictate the form. As two roads run either side we felt that we could balance the pattern within the framework effectively to both roads. Experimentation with this idea led us to the pattern that can be seen below. The cells without the modules are at a height appropriate for the driver to view the users within. We also felt that by removing these modules, the overall form was not effected detrimentally but enhanced further. The curvature of the form is still translated as desired and provides a whole new element to the design.
scale and site At the mid semester presentation we had not progressed our concept to the site and the scale of the installation was a rough idea in our heads. During question time the critics asked whether or not the installation would be visible by the driving users, and they suggested that we spent some time considering the scale of the site and the size of the installation itself in order to determine whether it would be visible. In the following days we decided that to get the best understanding of the site, and therefore a better gauge on a necessary scale we needed to visit the site itself. Our visits led us both to agree that site B had the best potential. Site B is the only site with access and therefore, we really had to use that site or else we would need to change our concept. Site B also offered many other positives however as it had roads that passed it on either side and its position meant that as a driver you could see the site from over a kilometre away. This was appealing to us as we believed that the user driving by needed to see the installation from afar so that when they were close enough to see it in detail, they could absorb the patterning and form in its fullest for as long as possible. Driving along the highway ourselves we timed how long it took from when the installation would enter the drivers view to when they would pass it by. At this stage we did not know the exact scale of our end form so based on our estimation, the installation was in view for between 20 to 30 seconds. We were pleased with this as we felt that it was much longer than that in our own observations, 20 to 30 seconds actually gives you a lot of time to take in your surroundings.
We agreed with the comments of the critics and shifted our focus further towards the user and the site as opposed to the functionality. With this we began to brainstorm as a team, everything that we felt the form needed to reflect to increase the.
We then began looking at the plans and dimensions of Site B. The site is quite like an arrow head, beginning with the narrowest point and opening out in both directions towards the petrol station. In length the site is almost 230 metres and at the widest point it extends for nearly 140 meters. With such a large site it was obvious to us that we could not simply cover it all and therefore siting became very important as we chose where to place our installation. Looking at the arrow head form we thought that mimicing the opening nature of the boundary lines could be effective in leading the users eye to the installation, which would also allow us to position the installation so that it would be visible for the longest amount of time possible. We then began to consider the curvature of the highway and we felt that we needed to map our installation to the same curve so that the drivers interaction would enable them to see the face of the installation as easy as possible. We then walked chose an area that we felt enabled the best visibility in both senses. Capturing the users viewing from as far away as possible and giving them the most amount of time up close to it in order to fully translate the detail we were including in our design. This gave us a 60 metre long area that would open from a point to roughly 20 meters towards the petrol station. The chosen siting is highlighted on the image above. After identifying the area that felt was most effective, we then had to consider the height of our installation as it needed to allow for user movement within, but also be high enough to create visual effect for user driving by. We felt that the height of the structure should increase relatively to the increase in width.
site plan | 1:2000
installation access poin t s
site plan | 1:6000
line of sight installation s i t i n g
refine one dy n a m i c e l e m e n t
In our mid-semester presentation to the critics, we displayed a number of prototype models and drawings that conveyed our explorations in creating a dynamic element within the installation that incorporated user interaction in an attempt to create a sense of place and provide an experience to the user providing them with a memory of Wyndham. As a team we knew that we needed one form that could be tessellated as a module across a surface. By looking at origami patterns we gained an interest in triangulations and hexagonal forms. We began creating patterns incorporating triangular prisms that would rotate around the perimeter hexagon structure and essentially open up to allow light into the installation, provide a window of vision for the users inside and create a changeable visual effect to the users on the outside. Our prototype models were crucial in expressing what could and could not be achieved and the complexities involved with opening systems. In our presentation we proposed an opening system that would be based on the drawings above and the images below. With the proposal of this method we spoke about our intentions to develop this further and attempt to increase the dynamism of the modules by allowing one pulley system to open the module in a number of ways, so as they would not only rotate around the perimeter structure but elements of the prisms would open too, creating a pattern within the shadow and increasing the element of light play.
Our attempts at prototyping this advanced opening mechanism had failed and we realized that more focus and refinement was needed if we were to make it possible. One of the critics made us aware of how challenging the complexities in opening systems could be and asked us whether we felt the added complexity was necessary. When we reconvened as a team after the presentation we discussed how necessary we felt it was and we realized that at 100kmh passing the installation, the added detail would be missed by that user. We then realized that there was potentially other ways to increase the element of light play that would increase user intrigue and add to the experience without adding complexity to the opening system. With this reasoning we then looked at refining the basic opening system expressed in the drawings above and explored how this would combined with the structural elements to create the installation.
introduction of colour At the time of the mid semester presentation, materiality and colour were elements that we had brainstormed but not entirely considered. With our focus being primarily on the opening system we had overlooked where we could incorporate colour. One of the critics suggested that colour could be another way to add effect and create intrigue. We began brainstorming where colour could be introduced to the design, identifying that the tessellated modules themselves needed to add the colour as they were the creator of visual effect in the design. We initially considered painting the external faces of the opening triangulations. This however meant that the colour could only be seen by the users outside of the installation. We then realized that we could potentially colour the interior panels of the triangulations so that only when opened by the interior user could the colour be seen by the external user, creating a connection between the two. We were not satisfied and we felt we could refine this idea further. We then identified a potential way to increase the experience of light play through colour. By creating opening modules we were essentially creating windows to the outside. By opening the windows, light would poor in and depending on how many were opened, the installation would be lit in various directions. We felt that we could then change the colours of the light that poured in by adding a perspex element to the module. Coloured perspex would catch the sunlight when opened and change the hue of the light illuminating the interior in whatever combination of colours we desired, or more importantly the user desired. It was obvious to us that the perspex should be an insert that fit in to the hexagonal structure, below the opening triangular elements. This would mean that the colour would also become an element of effect to the user outside as colours would be revealed by the user inside.
First application of colour to the external faces of each opening triangulation. Colour does not translate to the interior and is somewhat lost when open.
Second application of colour to the interior faces of the opening triangulations. Again fails to translate colour to interior both when closed and open. The idea that colour is only shown when the user opens the module is appealing.
Bringing colour as an element to both internal and external users, a Perspex insert increases light play by allowing light to pour in different colours. Incorporates the idea of colour only being shown when the user opens the module also.
Example of perspex in a variety of different colours to show the potential in using it as an insert to the modules. Perspex makes colour variation possible and helps us to achieve exactly what we had desired.
TOM WISCOMB E | D R AG O N F LY OFFSET MESH STEEL FRAMEWORK Influenced by the ICD|ITKE research Pavilion in Stuttgard of 2011 our team wanted to find a way to include the structural elements into the design effect and remove the need for support pillars and an entirely separate system to enable the structure to stand up.
The Dragonfly project explores a contemporary method of design known as cellularity and contributes to the discourse “as a departure from pure cellularity toward a tectonic based on emerging structural hierarchies within cellular aggregations.”
Tom Wiscombes Dragonfly project we believe allows us to achieve just that. The Dragonfly project creates structure for a non planar form, an issue that we are presented with when trying to represent curvature through tessellated hexagons. The Dragonfly project is comprised of honeycomb, hexagonal patterns and ladder-type patterns that combine to give rigidity. The composition of these patterns is based on the formal and behavioral logics of the dragonfly wing otherwise known as biomimetics as opposed to biomorphics which focus on pure aesthetics or pure engineering.
In creating the Dragonfly Tom Wiscombe in partnership with Buro Happold explored the relation of structure to form. To construct this project they needed to be innovative in engineering and logical in fabrication. The team used “a structural optimization loop, in the search for emergent characteristics that would improve performance and increase heterogeneity in the structure.” This enabled them to determine the strength of the cells and explore different material thicknesses and construction methods that would provide optimal strength in the structure.
Interestingly the final form was a decision of “formal coherence” of cells over outright “structural legibility” and a marriage of the two influences. In fabricating the Dragonfly a parametric model was unfolded into two-dimensional bands that could be automatically distributed onto 4’x8’ aluminium sheet templates that could be “cut and inscribed using CNC milling machines.” The layouts and the outcome of a cut steel sheet can be seen in the images directly below. Each sheet included assembly information and the bands were assembled by a team as seen in the image to the bottom right.
This project gave our team confidence that our framework could be constructed and provided guidance as to how we could fabricate and assemble the structure in bands. A limitation of our knowledge, resources and ability is that we are unable to conduct the same strength testing and evaluate the performance of the structure for optimal strength. This is something that could be conducted given the resources, and would help us to prove the legibility of the design. An advantage of our design is that it is purely comprised of hexagons or honeycomb patterns which provides distinct bands from one side of the structure to the other, which essentially could be unrolled as one and fabricated with steel folding techniques to achieve precise angles. Each band could then be assembled in a similar manner to the Dragonfly.
Honeycomb patterns comprised of joined hexagons are often seen in structural components. Used widely across numerous industries for its relatively high compression and shear properties and very high strength to weight ratio. As seen in the plan view of the structural framework for our design above, there are many hexagons in varying form, with very few being considered regular. As a result of this, there would be distinct areas of weakness and some of obvious strength. We believe that in order for our installation to be structurally sound we need to ensure that the modules that will be placed within the framework are as light as possible to keep the compressive loads at a minimum. Unlike the Dragonfly that is fixed to walls and raised off the ground, our design will be fixed where the cells meet the ground. This should enable the structure to stand as loads are passed through the hexagonal cells evenly and into the ground.
MATE R I A L I T Y As we designed the final form of the installation, we began researching what materials could be used to construct the final design at full scale. We began by looking at our design in a component perspective, identifying that our design was essentially comprised of three elements. The first element being the framework or structure, the hexagonal grid that provides the foundations of the design in which the modules are to be tessellated across. As identified earlier with the example of Tom Wiscombeâ€™s Dragonfly project, we believe that the most effective way to create this framework at full scale is the use of an offset mesh steel system that would see the design divided in to strips that could be delivered to the site and welded together. The Hexagonal form is traditionally exceptional in load bearing and dispersion of loads evenly.
As mentioned in the reference to Tom Wiscombeâ€™s Dragonfly Earlier, the material used for main component, the structural framework will be offset mesh steel. The steel will be 250mm in depth and 25mm in width. As visible in the image below the steel will create the curvature of the form but remain reasonably hidden with the minimal width involved. The depth of the steel is essential as it provides a face for the modules to be attached to. Steel as a material can be manufactured with varying yield strength but typically has very good strength and durability. In the case that the steel is too heavy, as it is a heavy material, alternatives such as aluminium and titanium could be employed. These materials are very strong and much lighter, but also can be much more expensive and should only be used if they need to. To achieve the angles involved in our design we believe that the technique of steel folding via hydraulic folding machines would be essential in taking long strips of steel and folding them to the appropriate angles at extreme precision. This would create the framework in sections that could be transported and assembled on site.
The second element to the design is the module structure. Explored further within the module detail in later pages, the module structure keeps the modules in place and prevents the moving triangular sections from being pulled through and inverting. This element will also be made of steel to match the framework and give added rigidity to the modules whilst the perspex is simply sandwiched by two layers of steel. The module structure acting as the bottom layer also sandwiches a layer of perspex that provides the design with colour. The final element is the module itself, comprised of the opening triangular sections. These sections are made with plywood and incorporate a hinge and pulley system operated by a rope that is connected to each section allowing them to rotate up to 90 degrees when opened.
Perspex is used minimally as it will only be seen where modules fill the steel framework. The perspex provides no structural element and is purely there for visual effect. For this reason, the perspex will be 3mm thick to keep the weight minimal. The perspex will be installed in a gradient of greens and blues across the structure. The Perspex will be a transparent finish to ensure that the users inside can still have a vision of beyond the installation. When light seeps through the perspex it should take the hue of the perspex, allowing for streams of light in varying colour to be bouncing throughout the installation during the day. At night with the help of interior lighting the perspex will do the opposite, as light shines outward through the perspex a stream of coloured light should extend beyond the installation and be visible the drivers as they pass by.
The modules themselves need to very rigid, lightweight and durable. Plywood is a material that we identified would be suitable for use. The plywood would be as thin as possible to minimise weight, ideally 3mm in thickness. Each triangular section of the module is comprised of three joining pieces of plywood to create a prism like form, which will add strength and rigidity. Plywood was also chosen as a preference for its natural timber aesthetic. We feel a lighter shade of plywood is best suited so that it will refract the daily sunlight, providing a lighter look and not detracting from the colour provided by the perspex inserts.
Simple drawing highlighting how the steel offset mesh will appear in a hexagonal grid when assembled on site. The frameworks depth can not be seen in plan view, an advantage of the offset mesh as it becomes a hidden element where the modules are placed, but adds to the visual effect when exposed.
This drawing illustrates the second element of the design being the module structure and perspex inserts. With this drawing you can see the star like framework that will be welded to the extruded face of the steel framework acting as a base for the plywood modules to sit on.
The final element of the design is the modules themselves. This drawing highlights where the modules will sit within the framework and where they will not.
module detail internal components
m odule in plan steel module support
steel bracke t f o r m o d u l e s u p p o
steel structural framework
rope from each triangular panel
hinge for panel opening
The steel framework cell that is tessellated across the entire surface provides a face for the modules to be attached to. Every component of the modules are customised to the exact dimensions of the hexagon so that they fit perfectly within the frameworks boundary.
These Brackets that act as a cap at the bottom of each corner of the module provides extra support for the module to prevent it from falling through when the user pulls on it to open. The brackets are to be made of steel and welded to the overall framework. The components below such as the modules structural base or â€˜starâ€™ and perspex inserts are to sit just above the brackets and fixed for extra strength.
This star like form is to be made of steel, or a lighter alternative such as titanium or aluminium if needed, although avoidable if possible due to added cost. The star acts as a base for the moving triangular sections above it. As a base it allows to the opening sections to sit on it, preventing them from being pulled through by the user as well as transferring the weight of the plywood opening sections back in to the main cell framework.
Perspex is added to the module purely for visual effect. The perspex is to be sandwiched between two layers of the module base show directly above. The perspex is to be of varying colour as desired and has no load bearing or structural significance. Transparent perspex enables light to pass through whilst changing the colour of the light to match that of the perspex.
The rope system is what enables the plywood sections to open. The rope which runs along the top of the plywood then enters above the module support and is directed to a centralised point where it is fed through to bundle the strings making it easier for them to be operated by the user.
module detail Components section
Plywood Opening Sections
Rope Pull Chord
Steel Support Base layer 2 Perspex insert Steel Support Base layer 1 Steel Framework Steel Framework
The above drawing highlights in the components of the module in section. Here you can see how the components are layered. Beginning at the bottom, the the most important component is the overall steel framework providing the frame for the module to be placed within. Above that is the brackets placed at each corner that prevent the perspex and support base from being pulled through by the user, adding additional strength to the module.
This is followed by the first layer of the steel support base layer that sandwiches a layer of transparent perspex with the second support base layer. Above this is the pulley system and opening plywood sections themselves.
The drawing above illustrates a closed module highlighting each of the plywood triangular opening sections meeting flush to create a solid hexagonal appearance. Connected to opening modules is the rope pull cord that enables them to open when operated. Here you can see that they connect at a point almost at the top of the section, with two cords running down the face of the section to its base. These two cords separate further as they meet the base to provide two points of force to help enable the opening sections to rotate vertically.
This simple drawing of a pulley system above shows how the cords will be pulled with minimum friction to enable them to open easier. Without the pulley system the cords rub against the other components and the friction stops them from opening. A pulley system guides the rope through each of the pulleys wheels that turn freely as the user pulls the cord enabling them to open the module with minimal force.
Design d e f i n i t i o n This is the initial phase of the design definition. This section relies on a surface that has been defined by us on purpose as it represents the overall form we want to use. This surface can be seen in figure 1. The surface is then divided in to a grid of joined hexagonal cells that conform to the curvature of the surface. The grid of hexagonal cells is essentially a series of rows and columns. In the image of the definition you can see that we have determined the number of rows and columns as 10 and 44 and the outcome can be seen in figure 2. By changing the number of rows and columns we are simply controlling the dispersion of cells across the surface. The higher the number of rows and columns, the more cells, reducing them in size and vice versa. The decision to control the cells to 44 columns and 10 rows is based on the size of each of the modules when scaled to real life. At this dispersion of cells, each spans a maximum of just over 2 meters and also provides us with the most regular shaped hexagons, which are important for overall strength of structure. We believe that the distortion of cells to map to the curvature of the surface also provides an intriguing and dynamic visual effect that is eye catching and artistic.
The next phase of the definition is to create the opening modules within the desired cells of the overall form. To do this we define which cells are to house opening modules and we take the hexagonal form and create triangular sections by dividing the hexagon in to 6 separate surfaces. Each surface is constructed by making a connection from the corner points to the centre as seen in figure 2. By creating the 6 separate surfaces within each cell, we can then control and simulate how they can open and close as intended. They also provide us with precise dimensions for each surface so that we can fabricate them with minimal allowance to ensure everything fits perfectly when assembled.
This section of the definition is used purely for simulation of module opening. It allows us to select specific cells within the structure and open and close the module to make sure that each opening surface does not overlap or collide which would cause that module to be considered void and not possible to be used as an opening module.
In the two drawings to the left we can see how the selective control can be helpful. Here we have chosen two modules that are next to each other and opened them at individual degrees to determine whether they collide or intersect at any point.
This area of the definition is also used for simulation purposes. This allows us to select a number of cells at random and view them at any degree of opening. This is helpful as it allows us to predict what the installation may look like whilst operating on site. As people are encouraged to interact with the installation, opening and closing modules at will to create their own iteration, there is no expected pattern that users will change the form too. This helps us predict the many random forms that are possible, helping us to determine whether the installation is as effective as we desire at all variations of form. In the two drawings to the left you can see two randomly generated patterns of opened and closed modules.
Design d e f i n i t i o n This area of the definition is the most important as it creates a simulation of the opening and closing of each of the 6 triangulated surfaces within each cells module. By connecting the above definition that provides us with control over each specific module to this area of the definition, we can simulate how well each module opens and closes. This is extremely important due to the non-planar form of the cells, we need to know whether each triangular surface of the module opens perfectly, rotating outward and not crossing and colliding with other sections that would prevent the desired effect from happening and warrant that hexagon as unusable.
Figure.1 illustrates the cells that are to house a module.
Figure 2. illustrates the modules within the given cells in a closed state.
Figure 3. illustrates a cluster of modules opened at varying degrees. This is made possible by the definition above and allows us to analyze the performance of each module as close to real life as possible without having to physically fabricate the installation.
This area of the definition provides the structure for each of cells containing a module. The structure can be seen in the detail drawings of the module. Essentially they are a steel platform that is welded to the interior faces of the hexagonal cell. The platform appears like a star and allows the opening triangular sections to close and rest on itself, transferring the loads of the module back into the main structural framework. This is again a helpful tool for fabrication purposes as it provides us with the exact dimensions of each interior â€˜starâ€™ section that could then be digitally fabricated via a CNC (Computer used Numerical Controlled shaping machine) with extreme precision. The two figures to the left show the cells that have been chosen to house a module and then how the module support structure is positioned only within those cells.
This area of the definition is extremely vital to the overall design. It is responsible for producing the offset mesh steel framework that creates the overall form and allows the modules to be placed within. Here we take the hexagonal cells provided in the first division and extrude them to be 25cm in height, representative of the material that will be used to produce the framework. For fabrication purposes this again provides us with extremely precise dimensions of each band within the framework. The bands can then be unrolled in to a two dimensional form that allows them to be fabricated in steel along with corresponding assembly documentation. In the figure to the left you can see how the honeycomb grid is extruded downward in the vertical direction. The definition above allows us to control how much the framework is to be extruded in order to define the material thickness. This helped us define that steel offset mesh framework would be 250mm in height, if testing highlighted a need for a different height we could easily change that accordingly here.
Fabricat i o n p r o c e s s 1:50 scale model s t r u c t u r a l e l e m ents
In order to fabricate a 1:50 scale model of our installation we had to create a logical fabrication process that would make it efficient and easy to construct. Essentially the fabrication systems used for the scale model are built on and developed further as issues are fixed for the final product. The initial stage in the fabrication of the steel offset mesh framework was to parametrically model the offset mesh to scale.
Once the offset mesh had been modelled parametrically we could then begin to dissect the model in to bands that would help us fabricate the model. We began by dividing the parametric model manually into bands that spanned from one side of the design to the other. This divided each row of hexagonal cells in to a top and a bottom that could then be unrolled in to a two-dimensional band.
The two-dimensional band as seen above then contained lines that marked where the material needed to be folded. Accompanying documentation told us which way to bend at each vertical line and as a result the bands then took on the same form as when divided parametrically in to a top and bottom section.
Once the bands are unrolled in to a two-dimensional form, they can be laid out within sheets so that they can be fabrication by machine. For a scale model, we chose to replicate the steel structure through box board. This allowed us to lay each band out at 1:50 scale within a 600x900mm sheet and have it fabricated via a laser cutter at extreme precision. This removed man hours to manually cut each section out and also reduced the potential for human error.
module element s
A similar process is used to create the modules for the 1:50 scale model. In the 1:50 scale model, we wanted to show the overall form with the modules predominantly closed, except for a select few. As we are displaying most of the modules fixed shut, we again decided to unroll the modules in separate top and bottom sections. The bands of modules could then be fixed straight on to the framework that was already constructed. By folding the band of modules according to assembly documentation determining which direction to fold, they would essentially map exactly to the framework.
In the figure above to the right you can see the result of unrolling the rows of modules in to two-dimensional bands. The bands are then grouped so that when laid out for fabrication they can be identified to a corresponding number and placed onto the framework in a specific order.
With the two-dimensional bands unrolled and grouped into corresponding top and bottom sections, they are then numbered. The numbering system correlates each band to an order of assembly with number 1 being the first band, each subsequent band is to be joined above. To ensure this process is done correctly the model maker refers to a drawing highlighting the cells that are to be filled with a module.
fabrication p r o c e s s 1:5 module detail model
The fabrication of the 1:5 module detail model was a far simpler process than that of the 1:50 scale model. Essentially we based our fabrication off of the detail drawings that we had produced parametrically. This meant that we just needed to fabricate each component individually. Considering it was a 1:5 scale and the modules span roughly 2 meters in real life, the components were quite large which made the process even easier as we did not have to be so careful during assembly.
To fabricate each component we generated a parametric model of a completed module as seen on the opposite page. From there we identified what material each of the components was to be made with in the scale model to represent the materiality of the real life version. We chose to represent the steel of the honeycomb framework with 3mm thick box board and layered it to scale. This provided a rigid boundary, much like the steel would. We then selected 1mm thick box board to represent the steel used in the module base and brackets and used 1mm thick transparent perspex. We then chose ivory Card to represent the timber plywood. We chose the ivory card for its white appearance to distinctly differentiate the materiality of it from the framework. For all card and box board components we used the parametric model to produce scaled two-dimensional layouts that could be sent to fabrication where they would be laser cut with extreme precision. Once the components were cut out we then just had to assemble them according to the detail drawing. These layouts are visible in the drawings below. As many of the components are repeated a number of times within the model, we simply cut multiple copies of the same document.
Model M a k i n g 1 : 5 m o d u le d e ta i l m o d e l
The model making process for the 1:5 module detail model was seemingly quite simple however required adequate craftsmanship from the team to do it justice, casing the process to be quite time consuming. With each of the components fabricated it was only a matter of assembling them in a logical order. We began by constructing any components that required individual assembly before being added to the model as a whole. This included the construction of the steel framework as the perimeter and each of the plywood triangular opening sections that were being represented with ivory card. These can be seen in image number 2 above.
We constructed the module in what was retrospectively an unorthodox manner but at the time seemed necessary to ensure that there were no errors or unaccounted allowances. This meant that we connected each of the opening sections via hinges to the overall framework. To do this with precision, we created a template for the screw holes and used it as a guide to then drill the same holes in each face of the framework for the modules hinges to be places. This can be seen in images 3 and 4. In image 5 you can seethe final result with each of the opening sections accurately placed. The hinges we used were purchased from a hardware store and then screwed in to place. This emulates exactly how we intend the full scale installation would work. The hinges allowed for a very easy opening and closing of the module and, with minimal friction for the rope pulley system would allow the opening process to require minimal pulling force.
Once this had been completed we checked for errors and with confirmation began to install the base for the opening sections that sandwiched the perspex inserts. This process is highlighted in the image to the above right. Within the image you can see where the rope for the pulley system has been fed through the centralised opening within the support base. You can also see how the support base sandwiches the coloured perspex. The triangular brackets visible at each corner illustrate how the support base is locked in to the framework and distributing the load caused by user opening the module back in to the steel framework. As we were creating a cluster of 3 modules, we repeated the process twice, gaining efficiency with each one.
model M a k i n g 1:50 scale model
With each of the bands laser cut and ready for assembly we then had to reverse the process to achieve the same form that we had designed parametrically. If everything was done precisely as it should have then each component should align and fit like a jigsaw to do exactly that. With sheets of the unrolled bands, we began folding the bands in the appropriate directions to re-create the top and bottom sections seen in the following image.
With each of the bands folded according to there top and bottom sections, we then began to assemble the bands in number order. To achieve this we used paperclips to fix each top and bottom section to each other and layer each numbered section until we essentially had the form of the framework.
With the framework assembled via paperclips to determine any errors or inconsistencies we could then approve the form and begin gluing the bands together. To do this we removed the paperclip from the section we were about to glue and once glued replaced the paperclip to allow it to set. We soon realized that the hot glue gun is effectively the same process as spot welding and as the glue was drying immediately we were happy enough with its strength to let it stand alone as we continued to glue each section. With the framework completed we then set about attaching it to a base and the perimeter framework that would push the framework in to the desired form.
The card cutting machine seen in the image to the left became a very good friend of ours during the fabrication and model making process. With access to the Fab Lab at Melbourne University, we had initially intended on having everything cut by them, due to the superior quality and time benefits. As we were preparing our files however, the proposed cutting time from the Fab Lab drew out to 5 business days, which unfortunately was not within our deadline. With the box board framework already submitted it was just the unrolled modules that needed to be fabricated. This meant that we had to find an alternative solution. We then began cutting everything ourselves with this card cutter. The card cutter was quite old and often had a blunt blade so cutting quality was noticeably lower than that produced by the Fab Lab however we had no other solution and persisted to cut. This became an incredibly time consuming process as the machine faulted regularly, but we managed to get the fabrication to a desired quality and moved on to model assembly.
The image to the right shows the process of connecting each band together with paperclips in attempt to create the final form before we glued each connection together. Whilst the box board presented the bands from taking the final form immediately, due to the flexibility of the material, we were able to see that the bands were taking the correct angles of the parametric model that we had printed in plan view to use as a template (visible underneath the connected bands). The second image shows us gluing the connected bands in to the appropriate location. As mentioned earlier this was a very challenging process and was where our issues became prevalent. As we connected each band to its corresponding mark on the perimeter framework and base we could see that the box board was beginning to take the correct form as determined in the parametric model. As we neared the final connections of the model we realized that the box board and its lack of rigidity when folded to create the desired angles meant that the overall honeycomb pattern had skewed according to the material properties. This was an issue that we had not seen in any of our prototyping efforts. Whilst the contours of the parametric model and overall form was evident, each hexagonal cell was not as precise as it needed to be. This meant that each strip of top and bottom module sections would not match that of the honeycomb framework. We could not go back and parametrically account for what had happened so we were unable to digitally fabricate the module section required to match the framework, doing so would also have been a false representation of our design, As the model showed the scale and overall form of our design we concluded that the framework itself would be effective in communicating these elements of the design. Although it was quite devastating not being able to achieve physically what we had design parametrically, we had to remind ourselves that box board is not a true representation of steel, and really no other material other than steel could have provided the same precision with the necessary angles and strength required to create the designed form. We also believe that the 1:50 scale we had chosen was too small to try and achieve such precision and detail. As a team we would love to attempt the model again with the appropriate materials at a necessary scale as we still have full belief that it would work and be extremely effective.
detai l mode l
This image displays every component of the detail model in completed form. The plywood opening sections, connected with the hinges to the overall framework, with the base support and perspex inserted within.
deta i l mode l
One open two closed, this image provides a sense of the exterior view of the installation as individual modules are opened in a random nature, defined by the users within.
d e ta i l model
Our 1:50 scale model proved challenging in many respects but we believe its presentation of our concepts form is displayed beautifully here. The side openings in focus enable the internal users to circulate in and around the installation at ease, seeing how their creations on the inside effect the appearance on the outside.
1 : 50
Each of the hexagonal cells in the model connect to provide the contours changing the height of the structure as it progresses from top to bottom and side to side.
1 : 50
An interior view of the model that highlights how the user can circulate within the installation.
1 : 50
light play at night
T h e e l em e nt o f l i g h t p l ay a c t s t o e n h a n c e t h e u s e r s ex p e r i e n c e with t h e i n s t a l l at i o n . A n a r r ay o f c o l o u r s g r a d i e nt e d a c r o ss the i n s t a l l at i o n e n c o u r a g e s u s e r s t o o p e n m o du l e s r ev e a l i n g t h e c olours t h ey l i k e b e s t , i n d o i n g s o l i g h t t h at p a s s e s t h r o u g h t h e m odules m at c h e s t h e c o l o u r o f t h e p e r s p ex . D u r i n g t h e d ay t h e c o l o u r pours i n t o t h e i n s t a l l at i o n , w h i l s t at n i g h t a r t i fi c i a l l i g h t a l l ow s for the c o l o u r s t o p r ot r u d e fr o m t h e i n s t a l l at i o n t o e n s u r e i t c a n be a d i f f e r e nt ex p e r i e n c e fo r ev e r y p a s ser by.
co l o u r i n p lan the gradient of colou rs from east to west increase the artistic appeal and visual effect of the installation. The colour helps the installation stand out from its surroundings, making it eye catching. The colours are gradiented to ease the eye through the installation as drivers pass by.
Material Layers The three major material componen t s -st e e l - coloured transparent persp e x -plywo o d
Random openings every user creates a new pattern and n e w experience with every module they op e n
w e s tern perspective
al gorithm i c s k e t c h At the very beginning of part 3 of this assignment my team was struggling to parametrically create the module geometry that we intended on tessellating across our desired surface. With help of the tutor we were able to construct the definition below that created an opening module below. As we dissected every element of the definition, even though we understood it, we found it extremely challenging to develop any further, and more importantly to tessellate across a surface. This definition however did provide us with one thing, the reassurance that the concept we had designed by hand, could be made possible in the parametric world too.
The definition focuses on creating a polygon and dividing it into six equilateral triangles that could then be rotated at there base vertically as if they were opening. The definition gave us control to simulate the opening and closing process, and the ability to change the size of the triangular sections, which in turn effected the degree of convexity. On the opposite page you can see the limited outcomes we were able to produce from this definition.
algorithm i c s k e t c h As we constructed our design and before we took influence from Tom Wiscombeâ€™s Dragonfly Project, we felt that the steel structural framework would need to have quite a large offset horizontally, as we imagined some kind of steel I-Beam like material. We began exploring around the internet to find how people had previously converted a mesh in to a representation of steel support structure. These two definitions that we found were from the Grasshopper3d community, a community dedicated to sharing peoples workings and providing help and information for others.
The top definition is a simplified version of the bottom definition and essentially creates rectangles out of each defined curve, creating the appearance of rectangular tubing. The outcome was not as desired as we felt that the definitions were not thoroughly resolved or intended for a design of our nature. As you can see on the opposite page the drawings correlate respectively to the arrangement of the definitions. The top drawing, being a simplified expression seemed to fail as the curves compressed closer together, with a significant number of cells being deformed or broken. With this we then decided to attempt the original definition. The result was far better, almost perfect in fact. We had intended to include this definition in our design however in completing this we were introduced to Tom Wiscombe and a better process for achieving an even better outcome.
pr oject prop o s a l c o n c l u s i o n
With the conclusion of the project proposal comes the conclusion of the subject as a whole. In the beginning of this entire ‘expression of interest document’ I identified precedents that added to the discourse of architecture in specific ways and noted a desire to add to the discourse of architecture in the proposal of my teams final idea. I believe our proposed concept can add to the discourse of architecture. I hope that our concept will set the precedent for freeway installations and encourage others to design installations that are not static in nature, and that encourage user interaction and dynamism to create visual effect and intrigue. I hope people refer to our concept as a successful proposal of how to create user interaction on multiple levels, not only for people physically experiencing the installation on the interior but those that are passively experiencing the installation as they drive by and see the display effected by the user within and again as they see it change over and over in time. In the ‘Design Approach’ module my team identified a few key areas within the brief that we felt were most important and guided our design from then on. These keywords were ‘eye catching,’ ‘place-making,’ ‘visually artistic,’ ‘inspiring and enriching,’ ‘accessible,’ ‘longevity’ and ‘enhancing.’ We believe our concept design is eye catching, and our attempts to site the installation so that it could be eye catching from as far away as possible were successful. We believe that our design is visually artistic enough that it continues to catch the eye of passers by all the way past the site, and to spark conversation lasting beyond.
We also believe that it is eye catching enough that it draws people to it, hopefully pulling people from the service station to physically experience the interactive elements. We believe that the design is artistic enough that it catches the attention of all people, regardless of age, making it accessible to everybody. Everybody can have some sort of experience with the installation, whether they drive past and see it change every day, or one day on the way through they stopped and experienced the installation physically, and remember creating a pattern in the form with others. We believe that the ever changing patterns will create longevity in the design as people witness a change in the pattern over time, hopefully eagerly anticipating the change with every experience. We believe that it enhances the Wyndham community by giving it something to remember it by. As someone who has lived in Melbourne my entire life and travelled regularly to Geelong, I didn’t even know where Wyndham was until I began this project. This installation will prevent that for people like me. I believe I would have remembered Wyndham for the installation and the experience it gave me. Regardless of the experience, whether it be internal or external to the installation, we believe it will enrich the community, not only of Wyndham but of anyone who experiences it by providing a memory of Wyndham. We believe our proposal is successful in achieving all of these things and could be successfully chosen as a potential installation for the site.
learni n g o u t c o m e s
Looking back twelve weeks to the beginning of semester I distinctly remember reading course guide with a concerned and worried face. I was concerned primarily about my health and wellbeing as I the level of commitment sunk in and I was worried about whether I was good enough to come out the other end of the twelve weeks and still have faith in my ability. Twelve weeks on and I am extremely happy to see I am still in one piece and I do think I have managed to deliver the project at a desired standard. This final phase ‘project proposal’ has been a whirlwind if anything. After the mid semester critic Stephen and I realized we had our work cut out for us, and found that when brainstorming ideas we would often ask each other “do you know how to do that?” a question that was always met with an “I can learn how” answer. Having only completed one studio subject before this one I really did not know what to expect as I moved from the most basic of design studios in which I was comfortable and able, to the design studio that had often been toted as the hardest of them all. I’ll happily admit that I was scared, but I always backed myself in at least giving something a go, and making sure that that ‘go’ is the best it could be. I believe I did exactly that and whilst I know I’m currently not looking like the next Daniel Davis or prodigy of the architectural world, I definitely believe that this subject has increased my skill tenfold. Skills in parametric modelling, in learning Grasshopper3D and eventually understanding it, in graphic design and magazine layouts, presentation of ideas and public speaking, selling the teams concepts and communication, working as a team and leadership skills and responding to feedback to name a few. This subject was a definite eye opener, it exposed me to some really intelligent individuals who were kind enough to impart their knowledge on myself. People such as Dave Lyster, Daniel Davis, Ben Gilbert and many others who I was lucky enough to see, and many others that I didn’t see but was introduced to in terms of global architects that I had previously unheard of and individuals who are just creating things that I previously had no idea about that are seriously amazing and help drive me to pursue a career in architecture. Just as important were the people who I learnt off in class, not just the tutor but the students who were going through the same experience as me, who were creating their own amazing projects and helped me achieve what I have. Without having worked within firms much, I felt like the experience of Studio:Air was very close to that of a team of architects working in collaboration on real world projects from start to finish. I found this particularly interesting as when things became challenging, I would think about how much time and effort I had invested already, and let that drive me to a completed project, something that provides me with a great sense of fulfillment regardless of the end result.
Looking more specifically at Part 3 of this subject, I think that the most important learning outcome related to problem resolution, time management and focus. With a lot to complete in the final section of the project, I pulled my first all nighter, and some, and after repeatedly being faced with adversity found that I got better and better at working smarter, and logically to resolve issues and keep on track. Focus was a factor that effected me tremendously with this phase of the project. As things weren’t working for us as a team and our efforts to resolve issues and see progression felt as if we were running up a hill that never ended. It was very easy to lose focus and turn a blind eye. At points it felt like looking at the same definition over and over was only making things worse, and my focus quickly shifted to other subjects. I am really glad that I did persist however, and that I swallowed some pride and approached my tutor even though my efforts to progress from the last time I had seen him did not seem to be much. The help that we received was like a key that unlocked a door and my drive to succeed quickly took over again and things began to flow again. I find it extremely annoying that when your in a struggle nothing seems to work, yet when one thing goes your way, the rest seems to follow. I began to understand Grasshopper3D a lot better, gain clarity in my teams ideas and gained confidence that we could complete this project at a good standard. Unfortunately this didn’t last long as I stupidly let the team down one night, and spent an entire day preparing the wrong parametric components for fabrication that meant we had two completely different sections for the model that in no way could be put together. Working through the night I resolved the issue as it was my mistake and not my teams and was able to get everything back on track is it should have been. As things looked to pick up again, another challenge presented itself as our 1:50 scale model did not behave as expected or as prototyped. At the scale we were completing the model at and the materials we were using proved to be inappropriate we had to make decisions to amend days of work with deadlines looming. This taught me a really crucial lesson, that sometimes when things go wrong, it is best to cut your losses and move on, or in our case shift our focus to where it should have been which was to the other areas required for presentation. It was a sickening feeling not to see things go to plan but as many people have assured me since, it is something that happens in the real world too. On that note I believe this subject has definitely prepared me more than any other for the real world. I have really enjoyed the journey throughout the subject from research to idea generation and the final product, it has been a buzz and I look forward to applying everything that this subject has taught me in the future.
objectiv e r e s p o n s e O B J E C T i v e 1 : i n t e r r o gat i n g a brief by considering the process of b r i e f f o r m at i o n in the age of optioneering I believe that as a team we have very effectively dissected the brief provided and generate some key areas of focus based on what we felt were the most important factors, and area that if could be completed successfully, would ensure that we would be a main contender with our proposal. In reference to optioneering
and the systematic examination of the performance of a design to meet the brief in areas of design method, construction processes and project cost, I believe that we have considered these factors and illustrated our consideration at various points within the design process.
O B J E C T i ve 2 : d e v e l o p i n g ‘a n a bility to generate a variety of design p o s s i b i l i t i e s for a given situation.’ Whilst this objective is primarily focused at section 2 of this expression of interest document, I will reiterate that this was something we were forced to do, as we were unable to create one fully working concept in the beginning. Constant refinement saw our ideas adapt and grow to cater for varying situations.
Every time we pursued a different avenue the designs possibilities were altered. After the mid-semester critic and the feedback to explore and refine the concept we had created, more design possibilities were made aware to us as a result of their feedback. We then went about implementing change to allow for each of these possibilities to be included within the design.
O B J E C T i v e 3 : d e v e l o p i n g ‘s k i l l s in various three dimensional media’ Prior to undertaking this subject my use of parametric modelling tools such as Rhino3D were very limited. I believe that this subject has completely opened my eyes to its potential and with every exercise I was furthering my understanding of the programs, giving me greater control over design outcomes. As a team we relied on parametric modelling to generate a design idea and form. When we felt we were limited by our knowledge of the programs to further the design parametrically, we decided to be productive in attempting to construct the design as a means to determine if any issues arose that would actually influence what we needed to achieve parametrically. As our parametric skills developed however I believe I gained a much better understanding of Rhino3D and Grasshopper3D.
My proficiency with both programs has increased drastically and my knowledge of the programs power and potential has enabled me to use the computer and parametric modelling in particular to achieve things that I previously wouldn’t consider, or even know were able to be done. Our final models that intended on representing our design at scale has increased my skill and understanding of construction by a huge degree. I had previously only created sketch models so to complete detail and site models with this level of intricacy presented a massive challenge. I can say with confidence however that if I were to go back and construct the models again, there are many valuable lessons that I learnt from the process of there construction that would enable me to be more proficient and far more precise.
O BJ E C T i v e 4 : d e v e l o p i n g â€˜an understanding of relationships be t w ee n a r c h i t e c t u r e a n d air through interrogation of design pro p o s a l a s p h ysical models in atmosphere. The interrogation of design proposal as physical models in atmosphere proved to be equally as challenging as creating the concept parametrically. Having embarked on both journeys with little prior experience I believe that the physical modelling process was an intense one. Constructing the models gave me a whole new understanding of design, as construction techniques were defined when we parametrically modelled the concept, we still only had limited knowledge and experience ourselves.
My developed understanding due to the physical modelling process will definitely give me knowledge that will influence my designs in the future. Contractibility is a factor that has not previously been taught in this course, however is clearly just as important as generating the concept in itself.
O B J E C T i v e 5 : d e v e l o p i n g â€˜ t he ability to make a case for proposalsâ€™ I believe the development of our ability to make a case for proposals was best expressed within our presentations. In our first presentation we were very effective in gaining the critics support of our concept. This gave us confidence moving in to the second presentation with a more refined concept, heavily influenced by their feedback.
I believe this entire expression of interest document illustrates how much I have developed in the ability to make a case for proposals. Looking at each section you can clearly see how I have progressed in expressing our concept as a proposal that is effective and suitable to the brief.
O B J E C T i v e 6 : d e v e l o p i n g c a pabilities of conceptual, technical and d e s i g n a n a lys i s o f c o n temporary architectural projects As stated previously, this subject provided me with exposure to an array of contemporary architectural projects, each adding to the discourse of architecture for there innovations. Having heard how my tutor explains the concepts within these projects and similarly my classmates, I believe that I have developed the ability to be
critical in my conceptual, technical and design analysis. I have learnt what to look for in these contemporary projects that makes them innovative, successful or in some cases a failure. I believe I have also acquired the skills to look at the different elements of a concept, such as the technical components and have an understanding of the rational behind there use.
O B J E C T i v e 7 : d e v e l o p f o u ndational understandings of computat i o n a l g e o m e t ry, data sets and types of programming At the beginning of this subject I had no understanding of computational geometry, data sets and types of programming. This are is something that I believe I have improved on drastically, much like everyone else in the subject, as it forces you to understand these things. I believe I can now look at different types of programming
and understand the data within it and how it generates geometry via computation. I have also developed an understanding of where these things are necessary and how they are used most effectively, understanding that they are not applicable to every element of the design concept.
O B J E C T i v e 8 : b e g i n d e v e l o p i ng a personalised repertoire of compu tat i o n a l t e c h n i q u e s s u b s taNtiated by the Understanding of their a dva n tag e s, d i s a dvantages and areas of application At the commencement of this subject I felt that this objective was not achievable as a personalised repertoire takes far longer than 12 weeks. What I have achieved since however has definitely developed a personalised repertoire of computational techniques. Whilst I will not pigeon hole myself to tesselations, I do believe in its effectiveness
but more importantly I now have an understanding of where computation can provide advantages, in proficiency and concept realisation. In contrast I can also understand where computational techniques are at a disadvantage, as we found when creating a design concept, we relied heavily on the prototyping with physical models to gain a better understanding of our ideas. Once we had our understanding, computation was extremely effective in conveying our design to others for the purpose of the proposal.