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Digital Design - Module 01 Semester 1, 2018 Shi Xiaolei

900781 Siavash Malek Studio 18

Week One

Reading: Zeara Polo, A. 2010. Between Ideas and Matters.

According to Zeara-Polo, the diagram does not play a representational role in the design process but provides an organisational and can have a performative quality depending on how it is deployed. Explain how Diagram is different from Signs and Symbols? (100 words Maximum)

Representation is applied when referring to an object by symbols. And signs have a binding relationship between form and concept, which is arbitrary and immaterial. The symbolic and arbitrary representation is not effective; it depends on certain cultural background. However, diagram is a methodology which is not restricted to the environment. It is not representational as symbols and signs but organisational since it is a process of precise defining. Zeara states that “the primary quality of a diagram is its reductive nature�. The result of a diagrammatic practice is determined by external factors. It is not restricted to the origin or the end but to the process. During a diagrammatic practice, additional information is added, which determines the form of it. Therefore, its performative quality depends on its deploy.


Week One

Precedent Analysis


Fig.3 1. Walter Herfst, Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2011 by Peter Zumthor, 2011, Dezeen, https://www. 2. Isometric view of the structure 3. Section of the pavilion 4. Isometric view of the pavilion in ghosted mode


Fig.1 The process of modelling the precedent is simple. I draw the section of the pavilion according to the information provided and then use array command in Rhino to build the whole structure. Then I trim the wall to have the entrance. There are ten entrances in this pavilion which form the main circulation.


Week Two

Reading: Hertzberger H. 2005. The in-between and The Habitable Space Between Things, from Lessons for Students in Architecture. Herzberger discuss how design should not be extreme in its functionality. Use your precedent study to explain how the pavilion allows for an appropriation of use. (100 words Maximum)

The key function of the Serpentine Pavilion by Zumthor is to emphasize the central garden and make people enjoy it. To allow for this function, circulation and thresholds are considered delicately in the design. The pavilion has six entrances in the facade and four interior ones. These entrances form the circulation paths. People enter the pavilion through the facade; however, since the entrances are not arranged in a straight line, what people would see is only walls. They need to walk through the corridor to enter the interior entrance and then get to the central garden. The walls block people’s sight and make them curious about the interior. After they reach the garden, benches circulate the center; therefore, when people sit on the benches, their sights are all on the garden. The garden becomes the focal point. The pavilion also utilizes the comparison between light and shadow to emphasize the garden. The circulating corridor between the facade and the garden is dark. And due to the sloping roof, only the central space is light, which also makes the garden focal point. Threshold is also formed. The dark corridor is the threshold to the garden since when people walk in the corridor, they would feel curious about the interior; therefore, they have already started experiencing the garden.


Week Two


Isometric view of the Serpentine Pavilion- Zumthor (2011) The modelling process of the pavilion is simple since it does not have a complicated structure. In Rhino, I draw one section and then use array command to make its whole structure. This isometric view mainly shows the entrance and the roof slope. I also include the surrounding landscape such as the paths in front of the entrance, the lawn and the main road. For the circulation, people enter the pavilion through one of the six entrances. Then people would go through a dark corridor and there are four inner entrances that lead to the central garden. There are six paths in front of the facade, which I think is the threshold from outside to the pavilion. Since these path is a little higher than the ground and there is a strong comparison between the concrete material and the lawn, people would feel they are experiencing the process of entering the pavilion before they reach the entrance. During the modeling process, I found that the key concept of the pavilion is to make the interior garden a focal point. The sloping roof and the dark corridor are both to make a shadow and light comparison, which also forms the idea of threshold. Threshold is where the experience starts. I think for this precedent, the corridor circulating the pavilion between the facade and the inner garden is the threshold to the garden. Since this corridor is in darkness and walls block people’s sight, people would feel curious about the garden when they are walking through the corridor. Therefore, people have already started their experience.


Week Two Diagrams

Circulation path

Roof slope




Light and Shadow



People have different activities within the circulation space. The corridor that connects the facade and the garden is mainly for walking. The interior space is a garden for people to sit and enjoy themselves. The garden is the focal point within the pavilion.

Threshold is where an experience starts. For this pavilion, I think the dark corridor between the facade and the garden is the threshold. People would feel curious about the garden when they walk through the corridor, which is also a part of experiencing the garden.




Screenshot of developing the model from the structure.

Test of different ways of cutting the model to make a diagram. (To show the light and shadow)

Test of different ways of cutting the model to make a diagram. (To show the circulation paths)

Test of different ways of cutting the model to make a diagram. (To show function/activity)


Appendix Process

The Serpentine Pavilion and the surrounding landscape with shadows.




Diagrams prototyping

Circulation prototype

Visual prototype (The dark grey area is where people’s sight is blocked and the light grey area is the focal point.)


Sitting, chatting Light and Shadow prototype (The central space is always the lightest - Activity prototype (people have different activities in the two circulafocal point.) tion space.)


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Dd module01 journaltemplate