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AIR Design Studio Student Journal 2012 Semester 2 Tianze Dong 352405

Week 1 Architecture as a Discourse Hi, everyone, my name is Tianze Dong and I’m a third year architecture student. This studio is my second one. One the left is my previous work in Virtual Environments. It is a headpiece made of paper strips. I made a head model to test wether it would fit to my head. and I increased the head model to a certain extent as my hair actually made my head a bit larger. Andthen I could make a headpiece that has the right base shape. Making this paper was my first experience with 3D modelling and turning computer model into a real one. The other software that I am familiar with is autocad. For me it really boost the speed when I am drawing plans and sections, sometimes diagrams. Basically I rely on hand drawing a lot in my previous subjects. It is fundamental but not very efficient. Shifting to computer aided drafting, or design this semester is indeed a challenge for me. To be honest I am a bit sceptical with digital architecture. They certainly look amazing but what is there under the shallow skin?

Hi! I’m Tianze Dong

Edithvale Seaford Wetland Discovery Centre Minifie Van Schaik 2012 Victoria This wetland discovery center is a place for people to observe the surrounding marshes, wild life and learn about the wetlands. The main highlight is the water pattern on the building envolope. The riddles and waves draws connections between the wetland and the discovery centre. The key architecture discourse here is building as a landscape. The exterior building cement cladding gives this building a ‘water skin’. And this abstraction, literally, brings a new ‘water feature’ to its wetland background.

Andrew Maynard Architectvs 2012 Victoria

Hill House

Architecture has been seperating our living space from the land for so long, now is time for a change.

I love it for many reasons. Apart from how it makes the whole house more livable, it encourages its visitors to physically engage with it. The roof area is open is accessible. The grassed sloppy front can be climbed, or simply rest upon. Children can let their toy cars slide down the slope or even they themselves. Compare to most of the other houses, where roof and walls are mainly environmental barriers, the structure components in the Hill House are now entertaining features.

Architecture as landscape. The architecture discourse here is similar to the Edithvale Wetland Discovery Centre, building as a landscape. It push this idea further than the discovery centre. It doesn’t just look like a landscape, but actually work as landscape. For so many years people are improve architecture so that they can screen the undesirable weather conditions, view, and so forth. And this isolation had been around so long that we forgot how wecan live with the landcape. Although in this case, the hill is artificial and it is covered with faux-grass, it brings out a promissing alternative that landscape itself can be developed into architecture. The Hill House is a hill shape extension to an existed house. The occupier is a family with 3 children. After the renovation, the original house reduced to a 3-bedroom dorm for the kids. And this new addition, with the parents’ bedroom upstairs and living areas downstairs, radically changed the function and orientation of the house. The new layout shift the yard from the back to the center of the house. A new long corridor, along one side of the courtyard, connects the new and the old part of the house. According to the architect, Andres, Maynard, the coutyard works as a summer passage way, and the corridor is a winter alternative. Access to the living area, instead of passing through the private spaces, is now passing through the side of the house.

Link to the photos: http://

Week 2. Computing in architecture In the old days, the architects’ image was people sitting by a tilted drafting table, under a desk lamp, with a pencil in one hand, and a ruler in the other. And at the bottom of the table lies set squares, scale rulers, various pens and eraser crumbs. However, nowadays, the image has changed to people who work in front of computers, surrounded by models, photos, and doodles. So, at the end of the day, what are the changes that computer has brought to architecture, and architecture design?

Benefits The strength of computer technology brought this change to the modern office. There are certainly many benefits of using computers in the architectural design process. The most obvious advantage of computer is high efficiency. They are less subject to feelings compare to human workers. They do not get tired, or bored, or distracted by personal affairs. And they are comparatively low cost and takes up less office space. They can store a vast amount of information and can draw connections between them, or perform search in mere seconds. Moreover, computers communicates in a very humanfriendly manner. It presents data in graphic, audio, diagram, or text forms. Therefore it is a great media for designers to express their thoughts. 3D modelling, in particular, makes communication more efficient and allows various structures to be built. Efficiency: The application of computer dramatically improves design efficiency. Apart from the above arguments, it improves efficiency through many other ways. According to Kalay Y.E, during the Renaissance era, architects were trained in painting, drafting and crafting in order to produce scaled drawing and scaled models. Drawings of different elevations were required to visualize the overall design. In contrast, when designing in CAD system, drawing and modelling can be synchornised. The model is design in a 3-dimensional way, and elevations can be simply taken from the model. A considerable amount of time is saved.

It also increases the efficiency of bringing out new design solutions. Parametric design , in particular, improves this efficiency. By simply adjust the parameters, thousands of different forms can be made. Suprisingly, with the advance of technology, computer not only speeds up the design process, but also accelerates construction. For instance, in Hunan, China, a 30 story building were built in 15 days. This prefabricated building had its building parts manufactured in factures. And it had been ‘assembled’ on site. In this case, computer changed the way a building is constructed, and it changed the way people think of architecture. A hotel is analysed into something similar to a Lego model and is built in a similar manner. LGS, light gauge steel, a computer technology that falls into the same category, can analysis building building structure as a steel skeleton and makes construction process a quick process of cutting and connecting beams. Upper: Lower:

Better Communication Communication is another important benefit of Computer. It helps people to convey their ideas to a different person, and it helps designers to understand their own designs. Computer aided modelling allows complex forms to be rationalized and therefore allows them to be built. Take the Klein boutle for example. In a contemporary point of view it is just an interesting bottle. However, without the help of a computer, how can we build something in this topology to a human size? In the age of the Classical, the Renaissance, and even the Baroque, which was known for its fluidity, the fundamental architectural geometries were square, rectangles, circles and ovals. Not just for aesthetics needs, but also for construction purposes. These fundamental shapes are far easier to define compare to curves and irregular shapes.

Computer also brings new forms of architecture presentation. For example, 4-dimensional presentation, or animation, allows architects to simulate building tours and communicate to other people through videos. Compare to conventional plans and elevations in ink and papper, isn’t this a more entertaining, and a clearer way to show a building? In terms of digital drafting and modeling, certain level of ambiguity can be reduced. Models and sketches can be done to a 1:1 scale in computers. Compare to hand drawings and models, which needs to be scale down to fit to a base, computer communicates in a more accurate way. Apart from efficiency improvement and communication advancement, computer is also changing the way how people, builders,architectects and other designers think of architecture. In the last 50 years, as inspired by logics behind computer programs, the diversity of architecture style was growing dramatically. Typical examples are

The Klein Bottle

Topological Architecture

Topological Architecture focus on the connection between interior and exterior space. Architectures that belong to this category usually do not have distinctive boundary between what is inside and what is outside.

The picture above shows the first topological architecture in America, the Liberty Center. It was built by Pratt students in Parksville, 1976. However, it was never completed and end up being demolished. This wire-framed structure has a continuous surface with several openings. It can be categorised into the same topology as the mobius strip. As can be seen in the center of te image, the out side surface cruves in to the inside of the building. This piece can be seen as an interesting experiment of combining topology and architecture. And it expresses the idea of architecture as a transformation from a single surface.

Another example, which is an Australian one, is the 2008 Klein Bottle House (by MCBRIDE CHARLES RYAN Architecture + Interior Design). This project is inspired by the Klein Bottle. The main distinction between the Mobius Strip and the Klein Bottle is that the later one does not have a boundary.

Photo from:

Success and Shortcomings Up: The Klein Bottle House http://www.ignant.e/2011 /12/16/klein-bottle-House/

Down: Transformation in the design process http://www.mcbridecharlesr

The main success here is how they develope architecture structures by transforming, twisting, folding and bending surfaces. The lower left hand side image shows the metamorphosis process in designing this house. The complex skin of the two building give strong visual impacts. Besides, they both shows concerns about connecting the interior environment to the exterior natural environments. However, they are both literal interpretations. And the reason behind this can be trace to the design methodology. If this building is built to a larger scale, such as a 4 storey comercial building, is it still practical? With one entrance, or two, and a single direction circulation through the building, it does not comply with most building codes, and may not provide satisfactory services.

Parametric Modeling Paramatric modeling is now being widely used in today’s architecture. Start as an efficient way of digital modeling, it has changed the way many architects think and design new architectures.

A Critique

Pros The main strengths, such as efficient and generative are already known to many people. Here I will be discussing the benefits of parametric modeling in terms of style. The attractiveness of parametric modeling has gone beyond its origional scope. A giant step forward, it is now more of a style than a designing tool. And as softwares are used globally, the style is destinated to a universal style. Over the years, parametric architectures were built all over the world. From Ghery to Zaha, there is no doube that this style had been widely accepted and appriciated.

A Traditional Japanese tea house

In 2010, students from Tokyo University and Columbia University explored this concept through building parametric tea houses. As can be seen from photos on the right, and in the following page, the results are totally different from the traditional Japanese tea house. Parametric designs do not obey the traditional paradigms, it is radical and it is completely new. This sepration between building design and social-cultural conventions, precisely, is what gives parametric design the power to be an universal style. It is hard for students from Columbia University to understand the culture, symbology behind the traditional tea houses, but they can speak the language of parametri-

Tea house 130008252010 exterior and interior 13531/digital-teahouse-workshop.html

cism. Parametric modeling, as a pop-culture in the achitecture, although it is skin-deep, makes a style easy to understand. And this shallowness of the style, as a benefit of the style, gives it great vitality and potential,

Cons The focus on building skin hs the main disadvantage of parametric designs. Take this design of a Mumbi school building as an example. When form follow function, it could detriment comfort. It can be imagined how the irregular openings in the building skin can difuse natural light in the building. For a school building, it is distractive. This means more artificial lighting is required for this building to function properly. This skin design also blocks the city view around it. The small openigns also comprimise natural ventilation in the building as it covers the windows behind it.

Section 2 Cut case study

Week 4 After researches done on topics relate to computer aided design and parametric design in the last 3 weeks, arametric design now looks different to me. My previous experience with digital tools are mainly possitive as they are very efficient. When it comes to parametric modelling, what I enjoy is the way of thinking. In this way of design, drawing is like developint a set of equations with the computer’s logic, and change the inputs and outputs to test different outcomes.

Cut Case Study 1.0

Case Study 1. FRAC Centre Marc Fornes, 2011

The FRAC centre is an aluminium parvalion developed from minimal surface. In this design, light passes through small openings on the surafce. In my opinion, if we take the surface off a coral, we can get something similar to this structure. This surface is self-support and creates space outside of itself. It has the ability to grow 3 dimensionally and expand into a mega structure.

Case Study 2. San Gennaro North Gate SOFTlab, 2011

Week 5 The Corner Study & Minimal Surface This week, in groups, we studied Minifie Van Schaik’s Corner Study Project. This structure can be categorised as a minimal surface. This topology group is defined by a surface mean curvature of 0. And they can create Similar to the Klein Bottle, this topography does not have clear boundaries of inside and out side. The differentiation between different spaces is rather vague. However, it has its own uniqueness. Most minimal surfaces can be extended infinitely by repeting themselves. And this ability to grow and transform makes it appealing. This week, our group is going to reengineer Minifie Van Schaik’s Corner Study in Grasshopper and investigate how it is made parametrically.

Re-engineering Case Study Model

Step 2 In our second experiment, we started from generating a piece of minimal surface (defined by arcs) in side of a cube. The boundry of this surface, similar to the Enneper’s surface, is based on mathmatical calculations. The concept is evaluating different lines in a cube, and using these evaluation points to create arcs. And then uses these arcs to define the edges of the surface.

Step 1. The Enneper’s surface As minimal surfaces are mathmatically defined, I started from inputing the equation of a simple minimal surface into Grasshopper: x=u y=v z=log (cos (u)/cos(v)) -pi/2 < u,v <pi/2 An error occur when I use -pi/2 to pi/2 as the domain of u and v as points that are outside the surface occured. This problm is solved by culling the first and last value off the list. However, the Enneper’s surface, in our experiments, cannot be transformed into the surface in the Corner Study.

Step 3 Using the result from the second experientment, we generated this ‘minimal surface ball.’ It doesn’t quiet look like the case study, but it is showing us how minimal surface can be jointed together, and that this kind of surface group has the ability to extend infinitely.

Step 4 We still believed that a model similar to the case study can be generated by mirroring the ‘module’ (1.); we’ve made. By testing different mirror axis, we achieved this ‘minimal surface box’. It was a frastrated process as we don’t know what plane to use during the mirroring process as this structure is very complicated. The final outcome (4.) were produced by manually testing different mirror planes. The result in 4 made us feel that we are getting closer and closer to geometry in the case study. And it can act like blocks and form a continuous structure that can span both horizontally and vertically.

Step 5 In this step, we panalised the result from last step in a grid to prepare a wall like structure for the next step. This process freezes my couputer it is so complicated. Each of the boxes contains 984 control points.

Step 6 Finally, we trim the wall like structure with a cylinder and get this product. A model that is closer to the origional is generated by deforming the wall in Rhino.





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