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A.3. Composition/Generation



he Subdivided Columns is a project involving the concept and design of a new column based on subdivision processes.[18] An abstracted doric column is used as an input to begin the subdivision processes. This input conveys significant information of topography and topology in regarding to the form to be generated. With the data input provided, this parametric modelling could be generated through algorithms. Along the process, repetitive actions and changes are being made by exerting controllers such as ratio in order to form a New Order Column. This algorithmic process is not a random process, which means there are rules established in order to be efficient. Effectively, the architect designs a process that produces a column, rather than designs a column itself directly. With the use of different parameters, this process can be repeatedly running to create permutations of columns, which later combined to form a new column.

Unlike traditional design processes, the single subidivison process generates the form at multiple scales: from the overall proportions and curvatures, to smaller local surface formations, down to the formation of a micro-structure. More features would be discovered as getting closer to the form. Algorithms allow the additive method which results in a series of columns that contains both local condition as well as an overall coherency and continuity . In architecture, sometimes, we have to roughly figure what we want at the end of the stage. With the finite input, a planned set of rules could be commanded. At the end, the outcomes would not be exactly the same, after gone through some other possibilities along the algorithmic process.


The complexity of column contrasts with the simplicity of its generative process. At the initial prototype fabrication stage, a full-scale of 2.7meter-column was fabricated form a 2D surface of 1mm sheet to form a 3D model. This is definitely labour intensive, which the overall process only needs few seconds to be produced digitally, but it requires days for this columns to be built in reality. Hence, it would be more efficient to be printed with 3D printing technology, which is less time-consuming for the assembly. Sand-printing technology could overcome the limitations such as small-scale and low material costs. It fabricates elements with high resolution and accuracy in a short period of time, which can fully self-supporting as a solid construction.

There is a paradigm shift in making and fabricating in architecture. Computational design thinking through digital tooling and material manifestation is being practiced recently by designers. From a simple cube, algorithmic practice in grasshopper allows possibilities in converting it into a complex façade as shown in the lecture. By referring to a set of database in regarding to the site context, we can manipulating the changing variables in order to produce various possible outcomes, which later can be traded-off to come out with the final satisfied solution. The idea of micro-scale fabrication is quite unique, which it’s slowly becomes a new trend in the contemporary architecture.

Michael Hansmeyer Computational Architecture, Michael Hansmeyer-Subdivided Columns, <> [accessed 26 MARCH 2014]


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