ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN STUDIO:
WILLIAM VARRENTI 392160
ARCHITECTURE AS DISCOURSE When approaching the design of the Wyndam Gateway Project, one that doesn’t have the specific requirements and constraints of an inhabitable building, one must first question why an architectural approach to its design is not only appropriate, but in fact the most suitable solution. To fully express this, it is important to establish architecture not just as a way of producing buildings, but rather as a discourse of academic thought, that has vast ever evolving history. As discussed in Patrik Schumacher’s ‘Introduction: Architecture as Autopoietic System’, the advancement of architecture as a discourse does not exclusively take place within the built architectural realm, and that “The total mass of communications that constitutes this autopoiesis comprises of diverse items”, “buildings/spaces are just one of many types of architectural communications (and) they are privileged within architecture.” It is the advancement of thoughts on design, materials and technologies of architecture across all media that defines its continually evolving discourse, not just the pre existing buildings. It is these widely researched and developed philosophies that will be applied to the gateway design enabling it to be an academically informed and at the forefront of contemporary design.As architecture has evolved over time, many different discourses have developed within it, each with their own driving factor that influence not only architectural design but design in general The most recent and newly emerging discourse within the field of architecture is digital design and fabrication, an area I am personally very engaged with. Digital architecture as a discourse is still in its formative stages and has yet to fully express its design capabilities. It challenges preconceived discourses of architecture, particularly the idea of architecture simply functioning as piece of architectural art. As discussed in Richard Williams ‘Architecture and Visual Culture’, preconceptions of architecture in the past have labeled it as the design of buildings that “exist as discrete objects that have their own integrity regardless of site... expecting them to be permanent and unchanging... expressions of the architectural styles of the time, as well as of their views of their individual creator.” Digital architecture allows works to break from this paradigm, no longer weighed down by the preconceived ideas of architectural form and allows designs to not be confined to expressing purely architectural ideas. It also allows for forms that can be adapted to nontraditional contexts and interact in new and dynamic ways.
My own person work the â€˜Headpieceâ€™ is a prime example of engaging with the architectural discourse through digital architecture in a way that could express architecturally sophisticated form and technique in a nontraditional manner replicating the preconceived notions of built architectural form. The peice drew precedence form bamboo, not just lookign at its structural qualities, but also its visual and even its biological properties. Digital modelling allowed this to be expressed in a nontradtional way, using a lattice like structure, enabling it to act as a strucutral envelope, not requirung any internal structural reinforcement. Another key advantage of this type of design was that I was easily able to fabricate it and test its visual properties within the physical environment, observing its physical and light filtering properties.
The discourse of digital design and fabrication is extremely applicable to the Wyndham Gateway Project, as it allows for a design that combines the integrity of architectural design with the beneficial properties of only achievable through computational methods. The flexibly of adaptable forms suits the nontraditional site of a freeway with its unique qualities of controlled and high-speed viewing approach. The ease of repetitive fabrication allows for multiple iterations of the design to be tested in the physical realm observing how it would react to physical stimuli such as light and movement, both essential factors of the project. The use of design communication not heavily derived from previous architectural styles allows the design to be acceptable to the general populous and allows the communication of ideas exclusive to the municipality of Wyndam itself.
DYNAMIC PATTERN AND OPTICAL ILLUSION
EXPRESSION OF INTEREST ARGUMENT The main objective of our approach is to generate a design solution that evokes a sense of curiosity and uncertainty through a dynamic and interactive installation, which utilizes optical illusion to generate and evoke this desired effect. It is only though through our unique gateway solution that this sense of curiosity can be evoked causing the general public to reflect on their experience and be able to become engaged to develop a greater understanding of Wyndham itself.
To understand the dramatic effects achievable through optical illusion one must first understand why this approach is not only appropriate, but highly effective. As Beau Lotto discussed in his lecture on the nature of optical illusions, â€œOnly through uncertainty is there potential for understanding.â€? It is this quote that perfectly summarises our approach. In order to fully understand something one must first engage at a cognitive level in to comprehend it. Just like the Rubix Cube, it is through the process of trying to make sense of and solve the cube that informs the user how it actually works, something much harder to interpret by simply observing a completed one. The first time one is exposed to an optical illusion, their brain initially perceives it in a way that does not represent its physical reality. This instantly causes the brain to challenge its preconceived notions of how this object should be acting and instantly causes cognitive thought trying to understand how the illusion has achieved this.
This idea is directly applicable to the Wyndham Gateway Project as this implementation of optical illusions becomes an integral way of communicating information that easily conversed within the context, as the users will be traveling at high speeds. The controlled approach of a freeway is also extremely applicable to an optical illusion as the illusion itself can be optimized to these exact viewing angles, allowing a powerful response. The design will able to be filled with enough visual information to express a meaningful communication at a cognitive level whilst being readable enough to be accessible to the general public.
To be able to achieve this balance between volume of information and clarity of its communication we will engage in the use of parametric design. Parametric design allows us to produce and manipulate vast matrices of responses, each of which can be easily fabricated and tested over multiple iterations until the most effective and most appropriate solution is achieved, determined by a set of predefined criteria that apply directly to the gateways context and design goals.
“Overall I found this to be a vital process in understanding how exactly my initial precedence of kinetic optical illusion and my prior experimentation I performed with it, could in fact become an applicable design solution. Although I had always been interested in the field I had some preconceptions that it perhaps wasn’t exactly an “architectural solution” It was upon the reflection of architecture as a visual communication that helped me understand that optical illusion was not only a valid form of visual communication but also an extremely effective one. I can see now that through our previous exploration in grasshopper, parametric design will be vital in giving my illusion design proposals the required level of sophistication and volume of communicative information.”
EXPRESSION OF INTEREST PRECEDENTS In order to be able to fully engage with our overall idea of optical illusion through parametric methods, a concrete understanding of the ‘Op Art’ Movement must first be established. This was explored through thorough research of the movements founder Victor Vasarely. Vasarely’s earlier work, particularly which with two dimensional patterns, was extremely relevant to our current parametric design approach. This approach at the time of the movements establishment however was revolutionary and shocking the average viewer changing their perception of what was visually possible within the two dimensional composition of art. It is this sense of awe that we wish to evoke within our composition hoping to engage our viewers at the same level of interest in a revolutionary approach.
As movement, speed and the controlled viewport are vital to the context of the gateway the precedent of the Zoetrope fits perfectly into the proposed effect wished to be achieved. The quickly moving alternating black and transparent slits are able to create the optical illusion of animated movement. This approach is applicable beyond the small scale children’s toys it is usually utilized in and has in fact been applied to a large scale public work as evident in a piece created for a Sony Bravia commercial, proving its ability for potential utilization within the large scale gateway project. Though our independent research we also determined that this effect could be achieved utilizing two static two-dimensional planes transferring the movement component of the primary plane to the high speed movement of a car within the proposed context. To understand how to control and better predict the resulting movement of illusion we looked more closely at small scale zoetrope examples, concluding that the secondary plane is divided into a set number of frames determining the width of the black strips. This means that between each period of movemtn the transparent slits are showing one segment from the secondary plane, whilst the others are being covered by the primary plane, creating the illusion of fluid linear movement.
The potentials of framed movement brought upon by the controlled approach of a freeway context is a factor that is essential to our design process and thus it was important to explore examples of optical illusion that is exemplified through framed views. Felice Varini, a Swiss illusion artist, uses a restricted viewpoint for his works to create a visual composition of forms and colours that are only viewable from a singular predefined viewpoint. Variniâ€™s pieces created a personalized response for each user, engaging them on a personal level, which in our design can used to make users feel personally engaged with the gateway, encouraging further interaction. It also creates a controlled response, allowing the kinetic notion of our illusion to be controlled, which could be utilized for aesthetic or even safety reasons, stopping drivers from being distracted from the road at certain points along the
To establish an idea of how the proposed design could function in the built context an important precedent to help explore the proposed built outcome are pre-established built parametric planes that express how the calculated proposed built form will function. The Skyrail Project by Matsys is a railing system for an external staircase in San Francisco. Sum-Arch an external digital design consultant helped establish a process defined by constraints that allowed the design development of the timber screen to act efficiently, capturing particular views and creating specifically predefined apertures, determined by calculated parametric rules rather than simple aesthetic. Their effective use of parametric modelling and constant refinement and development is a process that shall be followed in our gateway design process, creating an effective output.
The Officina AU in Shanghai China by Arch Union Architects also has a strong connection to the parametric façade developmental work. This is a prime example of how a precedence could be expressed through our parametric plane. The buildings original context is a silk factory which is used as precedent for its design. AUA utilized an image of silk blowing in the wind and used the parametric means of an image sampler to define the orientation of the blocks according to the level of brightness resulting in a wave effect. This technique expresses the pervious history of the site, something we could utilize in our design, physically expressing facts about Wyndam in a non-literal manner, in an engaging dynamic way.
The Galleria Center City by UNStudios, a shopping center in South Korea, is the most relevant built example of our design approach. The facade creates the illusion of an undulating form across the surface using a planar static form. Like our proposed design this illusion is achieved through a double façade, with skewing vertical elements in specific areas creating the tension of movement. This motif is a direct example of something we wish to achieve in our gateway design, as previously stated, expressing the illusion of relative movement.
“With the argument now clearly defined, I found it to be relatively easy to establish as a group our precedents for all the now clearly defined aspects of our proposed design. The establishment of the precedence also gave me a sense of comfort knowing that our rather abstract concept has ideas grounded in already built and successful outcomes. Looking at Vasarleys work’s also helped me understand how two dimensional grasshopper definitions could be applied in an artistic context, with some of his works even showing elements that could be replicated using image samplers, functions and even piont attracters”
EXPRESSION OF INTEREST CASE STUDY McCORMICK TRIBUNE CAMPUS CENTRE In order to establish how we could use grasshopper, we used various parametrically created elements from the McCormick Tribune Campus Centre by OMA, which is well known for its use of parametric design and reversed engineered them. This wall here acts as an acoustic dampener and has presumably used an image sampler to arrange the panels as a face.
There is a glazing treatment over the honeycomb mesh which restricts the view out of the building whilst influencing the light that enters the building. This manipulation of form, light and view was an important factor in our gatweway design and would be an especially good defintion to understand. It appears to be a hexagonal geometry output that has been alligned to te normal of a curved plane
Michael Rock a graphic designer created a series of icons that ranged in opacity and fill. It appears these have been used as outputs for images sampler of Mies Van Der Roheâ€™s face. This is evident in many aspects of the buiding and is a technique we again could use to epress particular images or forms representing wyndam. Using an images sampler with circular images as outputs we have recreated the output of Mies Van Der Roheâ€™s face.
EXPRESSION OF INTEREST MATRICIES
To establish a set of matricies we used seven inputs and seven associations with basic simple circle outputs. Through this we were able to explore different iterations and patterns that could be used to create a dynamic response. We also explored colour and extrusions as outputs but determined they were irrelevant to what we intend to achieve, From these outcomes we created some genreral criteria that we could use generate responses taht were able to be both dynamic and yet even to read Definitions that we considered particularly relevant were the curve attractor, point attractor and the image sampler as they allowed for the most dynamic outcomes. From these we we picked solutions that had patterns, readable illusions, dynamic movement and basic uclidean shapes. The secondary wall perforation sizes need to relate to the primary wall perforations size. We determined that the overall level of success depends on the dynamism of movement in the design relationship
EXPRESSION OF INTEREST FINAL OUTCOME After unrestricted development of our definitions, and the formation of quite complex patterns, we tried to comply these constraints being placed on us and simplified our designs to an extent which we would be able to successfully manafacture them into perspex models. This was mainly through using smaller sets of rows and columns with euclidean shapes, the only real change in patterning was through the use of attractors to change the radius of the shapes. While doing this we made sure to find a balance between making our designs simple enough to develop and manafacture but never lost sight in trying to finish with outcomes that would be successful in achieveing a dynamic visual experience. After the surfaces were designed in grasshopper we used rhino to send them off for fabrication.The process that followed entailed making Pinkysil moulds using the laser cut perspex as it moulds. We then inverted the pattern again with a resin model which we set flat for 10 minutes before elevating them into the curved jig. This process allowed us to experiment with the 3-dimensionality of our designs and see if a curved surface performed better visually than a two dimensional surface.
EXPRESSION OF INTEREST CONCLUSION Though the testing of the various outcoems we determined that our approach of relative velocity via optical illusion has the potential to create an effective outcome both in the physically aesthetic sense and its abilty to communicate effectively. Through the development of this approach from further implementation of our precedents and further investigation into possible built forms, we will be able to generate a design solution suitable not only to the communicative requiremtns but also the specific site requiemnts. This is an area we have not fully considered yet and is our next step forwarad into developing our current design ideas into completed structually considered built forms.