Page 1


“Architecture needs to be thought of less as a set of special material products and rather more as range of social and professional practices that sometimes, but by no means always, lead to buildings.” -Richard Williams, Architecture and Visual Culture

INTRODUCTION Yun Yun Ling (512032) Studio 1(2)

My name is Yun Yun and I am currently in my third year of the Bachelor of Environments (Architecture) degree. I am 20 years old and originally from Kuching, Malaysia. To be honest, digital design in architecture has never been a favourite of mine. I prefer the simplicity and clarity of a design rather than the complex patterns digital technology seems to produce. However, I am open to new ideas and can’t wait to see what this subject has in store.

My first encounter with digital design theory and tools was through the BodySpace project in the subject, Virtual Environments, which I took during my first year. We were required to use Rhino and the panelling tools plug- in as a tool to produce 3d models of our design. The final model was then sent to the fabrication lab to produce our wearable model.

Since then, I have utilized Rhino in of my design studio subjects. Ho ever, I have only used it in the e stages of my design work whe run out of ideas and when I wan send my site plans to the fabricat lab. I still find it quite a challenge transfer my ideas to the compu Besides Rhino, I use AutoCAD drafting and also attempted rend ing with 3ds Max.

n all owearly en I nt to tion e to uter. for der-



There is a growing trend in the

field of architecture where the aim of the architect is to build an ‘’iconic ‘’ building. A building that will supposedly benefit tourism and bring fame to the city it is located in. However, do these sort of buildings have the right intentions or is this trend getting out of control? Iconic architecture is at risk of looking self centred and alienated from the city’s fabric as it tries to stand out and prove a point. Sometimes, we think that designing an ‘’iconic’’ building is tough and only architects with great skills are capable of designing such buildings. However, it is actually the opposite as these buildings usually only deal with one issue, which is, ‘’how to make the building stand out of the crowd of other structures?’’ On the other hand, other issues like space, lighting, urban coherance and etc will be secondary and usually neglected.

Le Cobusier’s famously remarked that “a house is a machine for living in”. This reduces buildings and spaces to something cold and mechanical for human habitation1. It may sound absurd but it is quite true in some literal sense. However, no one would want to think that they are living in an emotionless space. Because of this, we need to rediscover the important aspects of architecture and what we could do to improve it One way we could bring back the goodness of architecture is by going back to basics and to think of the end users of the buildings. Ultimately, bringing back the connection to humans. .

Christopher Hume, Architecture as argument for creating better world, (The Star, 2009) < homes/2009/01/23/architecture_as_argument_for_creating_better_world.html> [accessed 15 March 2013]


EMP, Seattle

An example of a building that (I feel) does not connect to its users is the EMP in Seattle which was designed by Frank Gehry. Many locals have pointed out that the structure ressembles crushed tin cans. With that, it has already failed to connect to the users and passer-bys, aesthetically. The building fails to aid the exhibits and instead creates a bad environment for people to be in with its huge proportion and lack of lighting. (Do not take this as insult to Gehry) Some may argue that it is impossible as architects are usually hired by a corporate body who does not necessarily care about the users when money and fame are involved. However, there have been good examples where a building is able to connect to its users emotionally and physically

This project emerged from the inside out, and the place

Kolumba Museum, Cologne, Germany by Peter Zumthor


such example is Peter Zumthor’s Kolumba Museum. The museum houses a collection of religious art on the site of the ruins of St Kolumba. The choice of organic material and warm colours on its exterior is part of the reason why it is able to join seamlessly with the ruins and the urban context. However, it is in the interior that we can experience Zumthor’s vision. He brilliantly uses light to capture the user’s emotion and creates a sense of serinity in the building. Visitor’s are also able to manouveor around the ruins as part of the musuem’s exhibits. Zumthor adds that he was fully aware of the ‘Bilbao effect’ and designed the Kolomba Museum in counter to it.

“We’ve become used to museums as a marketing strategy for cities where art plays a secondary role,” he commented. “Authorities are interested in architects who create sensational shapes that will attract people for one or two or maybe five or seven years.” “This place is the opposite,” said the Zumthor of the Kolumba. “Here, people still believe in the art as more than just a good investment. They believe in the inner values of art, its ability to make us think and feel, its spiritual values. This project emerged from the inside out, and from the place.”2

Debra Moffit, Kolumba Art Museum, (Architecture Week, 2009) <> [accessed 16 March 2013]

2 jpg

from peter-zumthor-kolumba-museum-cologne.html

By incorporating all these social factors (spiritual, values, emotions etc) into his designs, Zumthor has successfully managed to increase the number of visitors to the museum.This building is solid proof that a ‘’unique’’sensational shape or use of advanced technological materials in a building need not necessary bring fame or benefit a city. The Kolomba museum can be said to be timeless but not necessarily looking back. By visually connecting to its surroundings and its users, the museum has managed to contribute to a broader sense of place. It does not confuse users nor does it intimidate them. It welcomes them to its well-thought spaces and creates the best atmosphere it can for users to appreciate the artworks.

Leca Swimming Pools, Oporto, Portugal

by Alvaro Siza

Almost half a century later, Alvaro Sizaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Leca Swimming Pools is still internationally recognized and admired for its beauty and seamless integration with the sea. The pools were designed for the working class of Oporto, Portugal. Siza disconnects the city and the pools by sinking the main building into the ground. This disconnection is important for users to truly experience the pools and surroundings as the it becomes a barrier in between the busy city and the pools. There is also a magnificent sensory experience as users slowly make their way to the pools. With no views of the ocean yet, users are led through a passage where they are able to hear the sound of the crashing waves of the ocean while the roadway becomes less audible. This is a fantastic lead up to the spectacular view of the pools and ocean that is to come in conjuction with the subtle play of senses he has created.

It is important to note that the ocean is dirty and polluted as it is used as a shipping lane. Hence, the pools were really deisgned to take advantage of the beautiful scenes without having to actually be immerse in the ocean. We are engulfed by mass globalisation and the effects it has on almost every aspect of the world, including architecture. The Leca Swimming Pools prove to defy problems from the result of globalisation and has stood the test of time in terms on aesthetics and durability. It is a building that has a strong connection to its site, culture, context and most importantly, its end users.`nhouse-barcelona-shop-gallery-architecture-lec3a7a-swimming-pools-alvaro-siza-4.jpg


Computers today are used as an agent and tool for most designers. Computers are also known to have contributed in the ‘’Bilbao effect’’ when Frank Gehry utilized it to create the Guggenheim. Since then, computers have been used im almost every aspect of an architectural design process from concept sketches to creating building forms.

However, some debate that these tec

hnologies take away the cre ative element from designers and insists that ma chines would take over the deisgners role. Th is is not the case as there are many benefits of using computers in the architectural desig n process and it will never take over a desig nerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s creativity. As computers require the know ledge, expertise and most importantly, the creativity of its user to churn out problem solvin g designs.

Computers are able to enha nce this creativity and its methods and techniques are able to help in ad dressing site, complex building progra mme and related architectural issues. In this chapter, I would like to focus more on the different side of computational design that is more unfamiliar instead of the futuristic blo bs many of us are so accustomed to in this technological age.

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain by Antonio Gaudi

The use of computers in heritage architectural restoration projects.

People often relate computational designs to be

outrageous but non-ornamental because most computational designs that we are so used to (example: works by Zaha Hadid) have unique and crazy forms but are often just clad in steel and other systems so that it would appear to look futuristic and modern. In the following example, we can see how computers really play an integral role in solving design problems.

‘’By adapting a computer-aided design technique known as parametric design to create designs that are consistent with all of the available historical information on the church, new insights are gained into Gaudi’s own generative system. The results from these investigations are used to specify how the Church is actually being completed, thus making the church itself a statement of Gaudi’s design intent”3

The Sagrada Famila began construction in 1882 and is famously known as the greatest work of Antonio Gaudi. Unfortunately, the chuch is still under costruction for more than a century now as Gaudi’s brilliant mind has been hard to decode. However, there has been a breakthrough with the use of the computer. Research teams have been investigating the church thoroughly through parametric design.

Sagrada Familia, (SIAL RMIT, 2006) < Familia.php> [accessed 22 March 2013] 3

ICD/TKE Research Pavillion 2010, Stuttgart by Stuttgart Univeristy

Material-oriented computational design in architecture

The computer does have some limits. People often argue that the virtual world and the real world cannot be merged as there are so many factors in the real world that cannot be easily programmed into the computer. One such factor is the way certain materials react to environmental and external conditions.

This research pavillion is important as it signifies a new technique where the computational generation of form is influenced by the substantial bahaviour and material feature it possess. This is an incredible feat as material manipulation can be accurately calculated in the virtual world before constrcution commences. This saves much time and materials which are usually used on countless experimentation processes.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Any material construct can be considered as resulting from a system of internal and external pressures and constraints. Its physical form is determined by these pressures. However, in architecture, digital design processes are rarely able to reflect these intricate relations. Whereas in the physical world material form is always inseparably connected to external forceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;&#x2122;4

Achim Menges, ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2010, (Stuttgart University, 2010) <> [accessed 21 March 2013]



oogle â&#x20AC;&#x153;parametric architectureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;&#x2122; and a wide collection of the same looking images pop up. All these images have a lot in common. They all appear to be cool, funky and organic metal-like structures. Being an architecture student who has some knowledge about parametric design, I wondered if parametric design has been reduced to shiny,.

unbuidable-looking structures that looks cool to the public who are unfamiliar with parametic design. As stated in the previous chapter, parametric design has helped in solving design related problems but many people are still clueless about that. In this chapter, I would like to break the stereotype of the image one has of the typical parametrical building. Parametric design can also be found in many other simpler buildings . By using these examples, I would like to ensure others that parametric design in architecture is not always large scale and intimidating. Thus, providing a connection between the users and the building.

Image Source:

Ornamental Columns by Michael Hansmeyer


design offers new ways of controlling form and is being used by many architects to add a ‘’wow’’ factor into their buildings. ‘However, a number of experiential qualities (symbolic and phemenological) has been lost due to this shift to parametricsm. We need to change our perception on parametric design that it is also able to create intricate and detailed designs. Michael Hansmeyer’s columns have proved to be a good example.5

Hansmeyer has managed to create a new language of orders that expresses today’s modern age and culture. He shows a modern way of thinking by reinventing the classical column that we all know into something beautiful and worthy of today. What’s wonderful about this project is the combination of old and modern. I like that Hansmeyer has ignored the notion that avant-garde architecture has to be non-ornamentaland fluid (in terms of parametric design). The extremely detailed column has 6 million faces and is only possible by using parametric technology. The combination of complexity and delicateness resembles works by Gaudi too.

Michael Hansmeyer, Ornamental Columns, < html?screenSize=1&color=1> [accessed 21 March 2013]


AU Office and Exhibition Space, Shanghai by AU Architects Inc

The use of parametric tools in architecture has surely benefited the design and construction process. However, I am worried that it might be abused. Parametric designs often leave users intrigued and mystified. This results in a ‘barrier’between humans and the building. Parametric structures do attract people by its free form and interesting geometries but it stops there. I feel that it is dangerously close to becoming a ‘’one hit wonder’’ where designers are trying too hard to create the next best thing which then results in irrelevency in the design or structure through parametrics. The use of parametric design in surface treatment has resulted in many creative and unique facades.

One good example is the AU Office and Exhibition Space by Archi Union Architects Inc. The main facade for this office is made out of hollow bricks. Through the use of parametric technology, they have managed to create curved walls that echo the “contours and definition of silk undulating in the wind’’. We normally associate concrete as a rough, rigid and dull material. However, once paired up with parametric technology, can create a beautiful expression and even appear delicate. The walls create a new experience for users as light diffuses through it and is also different than the typical office typology.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Achim Menges, ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2010, (Stuttgart University, 2010) <http://www.achimmenges. net/?p=4443> [accessed 21 March 2013]

Christopher Hume, Architecture as argument for creating better world, (The Star, 2009) <http://www.> [accessed 15 March 2013] Debra Moffit, Kolumba Art Museum, (Architecture Week, 2009) <http://www.architectureweek. com/2009/0218/design_4-2.html> [accessed 16 March 2013] Michael Hansmeyer, Ornamental Columns, < html?screenSize=1&color=1> [accessed 21 March 2013] Sagrada Familia, (SIAL RMIT, 2006) <> [accessed 22 March 2013]

2.528 2.528 2.528

radius radius radius radius Radius radius Size of bottom column Size of bottom column Size of bottom column

Size of bottom Sizecolumn of bottom column

Size of bottom column Height of columns Height of columns Height of columns

Height of

Height of columns columns Height of columns Unary Force Unary UnaryForce Force Unary Force Unary Force Unary Force Surface treatment Surface Treatment Surface treatment Surface treatment Surface treatment Surface treatment

Point Attractor

Point Attractor Point Attractor Point Attractor

Point Attractor Point Attractor No. of points

2.528 2.528 0.316 0.316 0.316 0.316 0.316

(Still work in progress)


IwamotoScottâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Voussair Cloud

-4.08 -4.08 -4.08 -4.08 60 60 60 60 60



Part 1 Submission  

Part 1 Submission