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PART B EOI 2 : Design approach

B1. Design Focus RTV Headquarters in Zurich by Oliver Dibrova

Our project is going to be a material efficient and light -weight geometric structure. The hardest thing to consider in this project is how we use less material to create an efficient structure with optimal volume. Material use is a very important step to be considered in the design. It determines the efficiency of a building in terms of overall area minimization and its ability to resist any weather condition on the proposed site. Since Wyndham City is in the west of Melbourne City, people will drive through Wyndham when they come to Melbourne. Therefore, Wyndham City project becomes the entrance and the image of Melbourne. The project should be designed with an aesthetic appearance and also provide a contemporary space for the drivers to experience. The project can be designed as a material efficient structure because this type structure can efficiently reduce material use for the building which reduce material cost. Minimal surface is material efficient structure generated by mathematical formula. It is a surface that locally minimizes its area with zero curvature. Minimal surface structure is the assembly of the repetition of small single nurf surfaces into a large continous surface. MInimal surface do not have constraints with the area of the site because of its continous infinite surface. Also, minimal surafce is a sustainable design, reduction of material use will reduce the amount of green house gases. As less material will be used, the weight of the structrue becomes less and thus it is easy for fabrication process. Using minimal surface for structures is a way not only to achieve material efficiency, but also to achieve structural efficiency and overall area minimization.

RTV Headquarters in Zurich by Oliver Dibrova

The RTV Headquarter is constructed with minimal surafce. Its continuous surface creates an organic structure which constructs optimal volume inside the building. Also, Oliver Dibrova created interesting pattern on the roof for skylight. This makes the design more aesthetic and interesting. The interior space of the Wyndham City project can be something similar to this where the structure is organic in form and sunlight can come in through overhead

“Minimal Complexity” project

“A macro-scaled modular cellular pattern emerges through symmetry that is infinitely expandable and open-ended while becoming differentiated at its edges. Ornament functions as a simultaneous expression of the whole and the part working in dynamic equilibrium”

The project “Minimal Complexity” is a good example of material efficient structure designed by Vlad Tenu. This minimal periodic structure is created with the repetition of only 16 different components. The structure is primarily constructed with small panels. These panels are assembled to be both the skin and the main structure which contribute material efficiency and also space efficiency. We should design visual access as well as shelters for sunlight and rain. The skin of the structure should be panelled with interesting pattern. This will create a contemporary space for people and allows communication. Also, we should consider portals of pedestrian, public transport and biking, making the design more viable and aesthetically appealling.

“Minimal Complexity” project by Vlad Tenu


Minimal Complexity, seems to encapsulate the Studio AIR spirit through its highly innovative use of digital design software and its use of the parametric design models utilising a minimal surface to generate complex form. Tenu’s sculpture had a great impact on the architectural discourse from its assembly in 2011. It utilises modular surfaces composed together to create another more complex surface. It then further demonstrates this by iteratively combining these complex surfaces in such a way as to produce an even more complex three-dimensional form which still remains, essentially, a single minimal surface. The actual form has a great deal of similarity to the Gateway Proposal, however, the project has taken this concept one stage further and iteratively combined the form to create one final and ultimately complex three-dimensional form.



As the Minimal Complexity Sculpture had such a profound effect on the architectural discourse from its 2011 construction, it has influenced form of the John McAslan + Partners 2012 redevelopment of King’s Cross Station. This is clear to see upon the visual analysis of the central feature within the terminus of the station. Considering the apparent perceived modernity of the minimal surface conept, it should be acknowledged how commonly occurring, and accepted, the form and surface are within society. As seen with the Entry Paradise Pavillion, the use of lighting provides an aesthetically interesting and visually captivating atmosphere for users.

It’s key to note how visually captivating the forms created utilising a minimal surface basis can be. Consider how these structures are made so efficiently and how aesthetically engaging they are within the environment they sit, it seems like the only appropriate choice for the Western Gateway Project. Wyndham City sought a Freeway Art Project which expressed a strong sense of longevity and innovation. With regards to innovation, the minimal surface has been quite frequently referred to as a precedent to influence modern architectural form. As these visually captivating forms exist on a microscopic form within nature , as well as on a macro scale, it intrigues human curiosity and provides a strange sense of relatability.

Above is Archipelago with the students interacting with the minimal surface structure playfully, as if its seemingly suggesting a playful interaction. Middle is the scale of the Archipelago compared to the human body. It seems to invite users to enter it and be engaged source:

We can see this through the Archipelago Pavillion by Chalmers University of Technology and RĂśhsska Museum of Design1. Although the pavillion itself is constructed from steel laser-cut steel sheets, its form resembles the naturally occuring minimal surface of a tree root. From the form of the Archipelago it can be seen how the efficiencies become apparent through the interdependencies of spatial areas within the minimal surface as shown in bottom right photo. source:

Regarding the minimal surface pavillion, the Entry Paradise Pavillion by LAVA is worth taking a look at. Once again, the designer looked into the microscopic scale in order to find a form for basis. The compostion afterwards, was less simple and had integrated digital design attributes toward the design and form. From this pavillion we can see the continued visual captivation of the minimal surface form and how the non-euclidean geometry involved seems to strongly affect the spatial interaction that the users have with the structure.

Top right is a blue-lit image of the Entry Paradise Pavillion which provides a very different phenomenological experience to the pink-lit image beneath. The concept of colour and lighting can play a big roll on the experience of the user, especially with a structure they cannot touch. pypi_b0608entrypavilion_919.jpg source:

The way in which the Western Gateway proposal seems to interact with the site, and the users of the cars, seeks to provide an interesting and dynamic experience. It may not physical force a particular type of interaction, but it provides an interaction that can be found nowhere else within Australia. This sense of exclusivity definitely expresses the importance of the phenomenological experience provided the minimal surface concept. Further exploring the phenomenological aspects, the lighting can really affect the mood and create a unique atmosphere. For example, the pink lighting illuminates the minimal surface and creates the sensation of bubblegum and having it stick to your boot or pulling it apart and the blue provides an underwater experience with coral and numerous sea critters surrounding. source:

B.2. Case Study 1.0

Exoskeleton Component

• • • • • •

These results are proportionally better than the other outcomes The node value and knuckle value are too high or too low for some outcomes The results can be improved by increasing the size of models so that we can tune the values more accurate The values cannot be tuned too high or too low or the outcomes will either disappear or overlapped Exoskeleton component can create light impact or makes the structure more aesthetic by changing the size of tubes Most of them can be used for decoration of art

I also chose the most successful result from each structure and then use Weaver Bird Frame component to create apertures for the outcome.

Voussoir clound script


Explorations on Voussoir Cloud project

B.3. Case Study 2.0 Tai Chung opera House

The Tai Chung opera House is an innovative project designed by Toyo Ito using the concept of minimal surface. The continous surface of this project contributes overall area minimization and structural efficiency. I was inspired by its interesting structure. I tried to use mesh box method to create structures similar to this project. I used Kangaroo plugin to relax the whole structure making the outcomes more smooth and aesthetic.

Kangaroo plugin and Mesh box method


Minimal Surface plugin and Mirrored method

The mesh box method is not very effective. When we used more boxes for the design, it took a l adding more boxes for the structure. Therefore, we decided to have another method. This metho corner.

long time to relax the outcomes. Also, the form of the mesh box design is boring which is just od can produce many interesting outcomes by changing the values of the sliders at the top left


As we want see more interesting variables, we used minimal surface component and mirror component to create more matrix. Every outcomes look aesthetic no matter what values I put in. Also, each outcome has its own quality. Therefore, we deicded to use this script for our project model.

B.4. Technique: Development

To make sure I am satisfaied with the script we have chosen, I also played with the Green void script.

Green Void method attempt

Also, we tried to replicate the outcomes using Morph tool. We tested the result using an outcome from mesh box method and an outcome from case study 1.0 and compare the them with the structure and connectivity.

Outcome from case study 1.0

Outcome from mesh box method

B.5. Technique: Prototypes



VLAD TENU MINIMAL SURFACE EXPLORATION Through the extruction of each of the mesh edges within the digital model (as shown top left), Tenu was able to create planar elements which would provide structural rigidity and retain the form of the minimal surface throughout his large-scale models3. This collection of work adds to this concept of material efficiency as it demonstrates the structural system employed into the production of a realistically assembled large-scale minimal surface. Of course these paper-prototypes do not express the physical characteristics required within an actual large-scale realisation, however, it is still important to take from Tenu’s prototypes the form retention and the apparent surface to emerge - without the use of surfaces to create it. This material efficiency is something that our model has also explored through physical modelling and it suggests for a reduction in the use of superfluous materials - significantly reducing material wastage. The bottom left image is an actualisation of the use of a simple triangular mesh; which is made into modular pieces and then cut and folded or mechanically fixed4. It exhibits captivating visual properties and the pattern emergence seems to be quite strong - and seemingly intentional. The main focus of this particular exercise was the exploration into the variety of functions such a form can have - ranging from architectural elements to furniture etc. It shows a different aesthetic to the the previous model and seems to express stronger fluidity throughout.

The image shows the King’s Cross Station’s Redeveloped Western Concord. The minimal surface does become apparent


The Western Concourse of the King’s Cross redevelopment is shown expressing the minimal surface concept as it connects the structure towards the ground.

Chandon marquee by PTW Architects2. Of course, the emphasis of the marquee at the time was a “bubbly” theme which was also addressing the key criteria of a ‘light’ feel.

The form generation of minimal surfaces through parametric modelling and digital deign software such as Rhino and Grasshopper have been trending internationally and have been emerging more frequently prior to the redevelopment.

This lightness is something that is explored by the model and it is found through the use of particular materials which possess these intrinsic qualities of ‘lightness’.

Minimal surfaces have been appearing at local Victorian Events, such as the Melbourne Cup of 2005 through the Moët &

The light feel which the Moët & Chandon marquee communicates so clearly is through the evident material efficiencies expressed through the structural form.

`Another concept that the Archipelago explores is the assmebly process involved with the minimal surfaces. source:

The bottm left photo demonstrates the strong functional and practical connection joints required to assemble such an intriquite architectural form. Although bulky and rigid, the joints are well concealed in hard-to-reach places within the pavillion - including the upper exterior of the surface, which seems to resemble an apple core. The top left image further shows the complexity of the geometry involved and how it seems to flow smoothly from one surface to the other, thus creating a smooth minimal surface. This concept of joinery has been dealt with in a slightly more elegant way by The model. source:

This is our group’s first prototype model. We tried to use wire mesh for the whole model because wire mesh has very good flexibility and we are satisfied with the outcome. The pieces are connected with the wire itself. Therefore, the joint section is not easy to see.

This is our group’s second prototype model. This time we used card paper. We created tabs using grasshopper and connected the pieces with those tabs. However, some tabs are exposed outside the model. Therefore, we are going to consider different joint which can be concealed in the model. Also, the joint should be designed to be able to support the whole model.

Joint of “Minimal Complexity”

B.6. Technique Proposal Minimal surfaces are generated through complex algorithmic geometry. Our project and approach explores minimal surface on a basis of repeating the minimal surfaces to generate and composing them in a way that they can be applied to a variety of parameters and still retain the same principle. The structure holds a particular value as it is self supporting and therefore the true design intensions are able to be fully expressed without the use of external supports. This approach allows for an holistic intension to be realised within the final outcome as the gateway expresses the volumetric occupancy in such an aesthetically captivating way, and with the use of such complex geometry, that it can be expressed in an experience for the users to stop and take a look. it came to the groups attention that the geometry could be considered highly simplified in comparison to other minimal surface projects. However, as we considered the scale of the gateway we took into consideration the amount of time that the user would be allowed to experience the architecture and so as a pragmatic approach the outcome seemed to undergo a “complexity diet“ if you will and so explain the final outcome. There were issues with the panel connections and materiality of the project as the conventional joints inhibited many explorative and creative geometries. The group iteratively progressed toward a combination of mesh panels with firm and rigid edges to allow for fixing to occur on a practical sense.

B.7. Algorithmic Sketches

Draw a tectrohedro in Rhino Give name for each line Open grasshopper and create six curve component Each component refers to each single line

Top Back Central Left

Top Left

Top Right Central Right

Central Front

Create mid-points

Create end points

Use line component to connect the mid points and all the points created by “Eval Curve� component

Create end points on the top left curve and top right curve

Use Evaluate curve component to put a point at specific part of the curve. “t “ value is a curve domain parameter. Right click on Evaluate curve component and choose “reparametarize” and then change the domain of the curve to “0 to 1”.

Use Evaluate curve component to set a movable point on every line

InterCurve creates curves connected by three points

A loft surface is created by Minimal surface component

Use Plane 3 Point component to create a plane for each side and these planes are used for mirrorring the the object

Use mirror component to create mirrorred objects

Top right piece (according to the diagram below)

Centre of rotation point

Top left piece (according to the diagram below)

Use “RoT3D” component to deplicate the two top pieces to the bottom along the centre of rotation point

Right click on “C“ value of “Rot3D” and enter “PI”

The centre rotation point is the end point of Central Right curve

PLane 1

PLane 2

Create two plans along x and y aixs

Use z unit component for x value for both planes

• • • •

Use x unit component for y value for plane 1 Mirror the object twice according to the orientatio of the planes

Use Bounding Box tool to union all the pieces

Put the union object into the twister box using Morph tool

Use cross reference component to replicate the pieces


We tried to use three planes to create a tilt


Run the script again and then obtained the most successful portion from the tilt structure

B.8. Learning Objectives and Outcomes

Trim the superfluous part of the model

“Less is more”, we will keep modifying our model by trimming unnecessary parts of the model. After that, we will consider the use of joint for fabrication since joint is a very important component to be installed on the model. Joint is not only used to fix pieces of a structure, it will also effect the appearance of the model if they expose outside the model. Therefore, we will consider how to conceal the joint or use smaller but effective joint for our project. After the research for this project, I have learnt how architects design things with their knowledge and theories. We have to consider the material use beore construction to reduce green house gases. We aim to design sustanable deisgn not only for today’s community, but also for the generation in the future. I have learnt a lot about materialisation (fabrication and assembly). I found that Grasshopper is a strong program which allows architects to create abstract designs. Another powerful function of grasshopper is able to compose our own script for unrolling, creating tabs, and labelling objects. This powerful function helps us to ease the design process. However, I still have difficulty to understand the logic of grasshopper script. It takes time for use to learn. Once we understand the concept of grasshopper, we will have more control of our designs and we will find out mistakes quickly during design process.

REFERENCES Archipelago fig 1.1 Archipelago fig 1.2*XWuDwZicnamlzmK7DkrJ*7ew0NwGz/IMG_3894.JPG Archipelago fig 1.3

Minimal Complexity fig 3.5 Minimal Complexity fig 3.6 Minimal Complexity fig 3.7 Minimal Complexity fig 3.8

Archipelago fig 1.4 - 1.6

Minimal Complexity VLAD TENU early 1 - 2

King’s Cross fig 2.1 Kings-Cross-2-%C2%A9-Hufton-and-Crow.jpg King’s Cross fig 2.2 In_Studio/2012.05.09_kings_cross_station/photos/kings_ cross_21_%C2%A9_phil_adams.jpg King’s Cross fig 2.3 Kings-Cross-22-%C2%A9-Phil-Adams.jpg Minimal Complexity fig 3.1 Minimal Complexity fig 3.2 Minimal Complexity fig 3.3 Minimal Complexity fig 3.4


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