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Contents A.0 Introduction A.1 Design Futuring

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A1. 1 Case Study 1.0 A1. 2 Case Study 2.0

A.2 Design Computation


A2. 1 Case Study 3.0 A2. 2 Case Study 4.0

A.3 Composition/Generation


A3. 1 Case Study 5.0 A3. 2 Case Study 6.0

A.4 Conclusion A.5 Learning outcomes A.6 Appendix A.7 Reference

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25 26


A0 INTRODUCTION My name is Yutong, a third year bachelor of environment student majoring in architecture at the University of Melbourne. I have always been interested in graphic design and production design. I believe architecture is the connection between our human beings and the world surrounding us. Most of time in our life, we feel ourselves presence by the environment we see and touch. I appreciate architects as the gifted creators of the space, enviroment and atmosphere. I love Japanese architecture. I appreciate their minimalism form and their inherent order.


Architecture Design Studio: Earth Alien Garden 2018

Digital Design&Fabrication Illusion 2018


A1 DESIGN FUTURING We human beings have reached a critical moment in our existence. As a series of environmental and social-political problems including climate change and population growth enter public consciousness, sustainability becomes an issue that we keep emphasizing nowadays. Our life has been dominated by the advanced technology created by human intelligence. It is apparent that whenever we bring something into being we also destroy something. This relation between creation and destruction is not a problem when a resource is renewable1. However, the speed we use the resource is significantly faster than the resource can be renewed. We realize that we could not treat the

planet simply as an infinite resource and sacrifice the future to sustain the excesses of present. Without sustainability, none of us have a future2. Although the future can not be predicted. It is still important that we think of probable, plausible, possible and preferable future. To secure a desirable future by design, the only way is by changing our values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviour. As a designer, it is important that we change our thinking, then how and what we design3. Also, we need to use critical design method which involve more critical thinking as well as our creativity and imagination to design against the still accelerating defuturing condition of unsustainability.

1. Fry, Tony (2008). Design Futuring: Sustainability, Ethics and New Practice (Oxford: Berg) 2. Fry, Tony (2008). Design Futuring: Sustainability, Ethics and New Practice (Oxford: Berg) 3. Dunne, Anthony & Raby, Fiona (2013) Speculative Everything: Design Fiction, and Social Dreaming (MIT Press)


“Nature alone cannot sustain us: we are too many, we have done too much ecological damage, and we have become too dependent upon the artificial worlds that we have designed, fabricated and occupied.� -Tony Fry


CASE STUDY 1.0 Tailoered Infill Robert Stuart-Smith Studio 2013 The first project I chose to look into is a thesis proposal named Tailored Infill. The program features an urban infill strategy that attempts to densify existing cities in order to address urban population growth1. As the population growth becomes one of the most series social-political problems, this project has wisely maximised the public space, as each element stretching from flat sheet could be considered as a street or corridor, thus generating a new network of public spaces in a more efficient land use method. Another more important aspect is that this project also provides future design a strategy to save the construction material and our limited valuable resource to achieve the sustainability. The main

1.225 | AA DRL | Architecture and Urbanism MArch (DRL) – AA School 2.225 | AA DRL | Architecture and Urbanism MArch (DRL) – AA School


concept of this proposal is creating a material system of tailored flat sheets with cut patterns that can be quickly deployed on site into an inflatable structure2, which means that there is no material removed from the architecture in the construction process. Therefore significantly reduce the construction waste. More resource been saved, less human footprint been made. During the design process, lots of prototypes with super sophisticate patterns were quickly made by digital fabrication driven by digital design method, which is laser cutting polypropylene. Designers was able to test the material behaviour and structural performance much more efficiently.

Fig.1 Prototype 1

Fig.2 Prototype 2

Fig.3 Prototype 3

Fig.4 Proposal Render

Fig.1 Fig.2 Fig.3 Fig.4


CASE STUDY 2.0 Asian Cairns Sustainable megaliths for rural urbanity Vincent Callebaut Architectures, ASRL Paris Shenzhen 2013, China The cities are currently responsible for 75% of the worldwide consumption of energy and they reject 80% of worldwide emissions of CO21. The Contemporary urban model is against the aim of sustainability by consuming large amount of resources and export massive pollution and waste. Therefore it is urgent that a future model of the green, dense and connected cities must be rethought. The second project I chose is the Asian Cairns proposed by Vincent Callebaut Architectures, SARL Paris. The Asian Cairns contains six mixed used towers of which the structures are divided into ovular, blob-like sections that look like rocks smoothed by years in running water2. Each section contains a mixture of office, residential space and little planted farms on the top. The main concept of this project is by repatriating

the countryside and the farming production modes in the heart of the city by the creation of green lungs, farmscrapers in vertical storeys and by the implantation of wind and solar power stations, the production sites of food and energy resources will be thus reintegrated in the heart of the consumption sites3. Each of the farmscrapers act as self-contained ecosystems. The planted farm create water which will be recycled for use within the building. Plants in the vertical forest absorb CO2 and release O2 that improve the city’s air quality. By carefully design the orientation and position of each functional space as well as the density and variety of the plants in the farms, it is possible to produce more energy than that it consumes to achieve the sustainability.

1. ASIAN CAIRNS Project Vincent Callebaut, 2. Are “Farmscrapers” the Future of Sustainable Architecture? 3. ASIAN CAIRNS Project Vincent Callebaut,


Fig.1 Proposal render

Fig.2 Concept diagram

Fig.3 Oval element interior

Fig.1 Fig.2 Fig.3 Fig.4

Fig.4 Oval element plan


A2 DESIGN COMPUTATION Human have the intelligence and creativity while they sometimes make mistakes facing comprehensive problems. Computers are superb analytical engines that never tire while lacking the creative ability. Over the past few years, people kept seeking the method to share information between humans and computers, aiming to allow the developing computational systems to provide varying levels of assistance to human designers. In the past decades, the evolution of the digital technologies in architecture have led to the appearance of several architectural theories. One of the most widely used medium is the parametric design. Parametric design which is a new form of the logic of digital design thinking, focuses on a logic of associative and dependency relationships between objects and their parts-and-whole relationships to create the variation1.

Also, the appearance of new and popularly available software including the NURBS based modelers such as Rhino and the integrated parametric modelers such as Grasshopper provides a new design environment to support the scripting enabled design thinkers and researchers2. As to the material design, digital in architecture also enable designers to model the structures of material systems as tectonic systems. Architects could have more control of the materiality, which in turn renewed a strengthened creative collaborative design relationship between the architect and the structural engineer3. In terms of fabrication design, digital design information can be used in the fabrication process, providing a powerful support for a more efficient prototype making process than traditional fabrication method. Thus extremely narrow the gap between the design and production.

1. Oxman, Rivka and Robert Oxman, eds (2014). Theories of the Digital in Architecture (London; New York: Routledge) 2. Oxman, Rivka and Robert Oxman, eds (2014). Theories of the Digital in Architecture (London; New York: Routledge) 3. Oxman, Rivka and Robert Oxman, eds (2014). Theories of the Digital in Architecture (London; New York: Routledge)


“In synthesizing material culture and technologies within the expanding relationship between the computer and architecture, this phenomenon defines a digital continuum from design to production, from form generation to fabrication design. This new continuity transcends the merely instrumental contributions of the man-machine relationship to praxis and has begun to evolve as a medium that supports a continuous logic o f design thinking and making.� -Rivka Oxman & Robert Oxman


CASE STUDY 3.0 Voltadom Skylar Tibbits 2007 Created by the studio SJET, Voltadom is an installation that fills the space in the hallway between building 56 and 66 of the MIT campus. The structure contains hundreds of vaults which refer from the characteristic constructive way of historic cathedrals. Using parametric design method, designers attempted to find its contemporary equivalent through various assembly and fabrication techniques1. The surface was designed to made from different types of vaults with different sizes of openings, which creates an effect of boundary where the “oculi” become the release of such limit filling the hallway with light and views of the outside2. VoltaDom attempts to expand the notion of the architectural “surface panel,” by intensifying the depth of a doubly-curved vaulted surface, while maintaining relative ease in assembly and fabrication. This is made possible by transforming complex curved vaults to developable strips, one that likens the assembly to that of simply rolling a strip of material3.

Fig.1 Surface model

Fig.1 Surface detail 1

The installations demonstrate how the tools of ‘technology, invention and fantasy can transform the physical environment in thoughtprovoking, breathtaking ways.’4

Fig.1 Surface detail 2

1. Voltadom Installation/Skylar Tibbits+SJET-eVolo|Architecture magazine, 2. Voltadom by Skylar Tibbits|Skylar, 3. Voltadom Installation/Skylar Tibbits+SJET-eVolo|Architecture magazine, 4. FAST Light at MIT|ArchDaily,


Fig.4 View from interior

Fig.5 View from exterior

Fig.7 Offset inside

Fig.6 Internal detail

Fig.8 Offset outside

Fig.9 Rib above

Fig.10 Rib below

Fig.11 Connection 1

Fig.12 Connection 2

Fig.1-6 Fig.7-12


CASE STUDY 4.0 Non Lin/Lin Pavilion Marc Fornes&THEVERYMANY 2011 Designed by Marc Fornes in the New Yorkbased design studio, non lin/lin pavilion is a 1:1 prototype combining elements of biomimetic design installed at the FRAC Center in Orleans, France. The structure of the pavilion looks super organic, similar as the underwater coral species. The prototypes are built forms developed through custom computational protocols. The parameters of these protocols are based on form finding (surface relaxation), form description (composition of developable linear elements), information modelling (re-assembly data), generational hierarchy (distributed networks) and digital fabrication (logistic of production)1. In the designing process, designer custom computational protocols to describe the structure of the pavilion, which is known as descriptive geometry as a model of description

1. nonLin/Lin Pavilion by Marc Fornes & THEVERYMANY|Yatzer, 2. nonLin/Lin Pavilion by Marc Fornes & THEVERYMANY|Yatzer, 3. nonLin/Lin Pavilion by Marc Fornes & THEVERYMANY|Yatzer,


through development2. It requires a tremendous amount of work and research to create each sub-structure with different branches, holes, connections, grounds and more. Without computational tools including Rhino and Rhino nest in this project, there is no way to create such a sophisticate form, achieve the differentiation and figure out the interconnecting method. Another important aspect is that the pavilion also explores the transformation from the network state to the surface condition. The structure reference the “Y” model, leading to challenging issues of morphology as tri-partite models are not illustrative through a single bidirectional surface. – “which is still one of the main medium of representation within the avant-garde architectural repertoire.”3 This problem was further solved by the split method or recombination.

Fig.1 Perspective 1


Fig.2 Perspective 2


A3 COMPOSITION/GENERATION Different from computerization which means that architects use computers to simplify and represent the existing design procedures in their mind, computation features the use of the computer to process information through an understood model which can be expressed as an algorithm1. In other words, computation takes place within the design process and becomes integrate to the design itself2.

get performance feedback from various stage of architectural project, explore new design options and even come to a more accurate method to deal with the encounter between architecture and public3. More importantly, computation also becomes an essential tool in the fabrication and construction process. As Mouzhan Majidi has said: ‘This hasn’t simply transformed what we can design – it’s had a huge impact on how we build.’4

Nowadays, we are moving from an era where architects use software to one where they create software. To make their intension understood by computers, designers have to use the language that computers can understand. The emergency of those supporting software including Grasshopper stimulates the increasingly experimenting with computation in architectural design.

In addition to the huge advantage that computation bring to us, its disadvantage is obvious as well. Concepts coming from computation must be tested in practice through designing and building. The results must be communicated and reflected upon. () As Hugh Whitehead, the former head of the Foster+Partners SMG mentions, “There is the danger that if the celebration of skills is allowed to obscure and divert from the real design objectives, then scripting degenerates to become an isolated craft rather than developing into an integrated art form.’5

There is no doubt that computation has brought huge innovative advantages to the architecture design world. In the process of writing and modifying the algorithm, architects gain more inspiration through the generation of unexpected result. It also enable architects to

1. Peters, Brady. (2013) ‘Computation Works: The Building of Algorithmic Thought’, Architectural Design 2. Peters, Brady. (2013) ‘Computation Works: The Building of Algorithmic Thought’, Architectural Design 3. Peters, Brady. (2013) ‘Computation Works: The Building of Algorithmic Thought’, Architectural Design 4. Peters, Brady. (2013) ‘Computation Works: The Building of Algorithmic Thought’, Architectural Design 5. Peters, Brady. (2013) ‘Computation Works: The Building of Algorithmic Thought’, Architectural Design


When architects have a sufficient understanding of algorithmic concepts, when we no longer need to discuss the digital as something different, then computation can become a true method of design for architecture. -Brady Peters


CASE STUDY 5.0 Elytra Filament Pavilion Team from the University of Stuttgart The Victoria and Albert Museum 2016 “We’re not just looking at a gradual evolution of how things are made,” “It’s a pretty dramatic shift, a kind of fourth industrial revolution.”1 The Elytra Filament Pavilion combines the digital technology and physical fabrication, presenting the growing influence of robotics and computational technology on architecture. The pavilion’s canopy is made up of 40 hexagonal component cells. Each cell was defined by an algorithm and produced using an innovative robotic winding technology developed by the designers, based on years of the research on the fibrous structures of the forewing shells of flying beetles known as elytra2. The structure was made from a new construction material named carbon fiber. To build the cells and supporting columns, the robot wound resin-soaked glass and carbon fibres onto a hexagonal scaffold before hardening3. The robotic was design to harness carbon fibres and give them strength as woven structural components. The final structure could be very strong and extremely light. Fig.1 Robotic fabrication

1. Carbon fibre and robotics are leading fourth industrial revolution, 2. Elytra Filament Pavilion, 3. Elytra Filament Pavilion, 4. Elytra Filament Pavilion|,


Fig.2 Canopy cell detail

Another interesting aspect is that the canopy is equipped with fibre optical sensors that allow for the real time sensing of the forces within the structure4. The way visitors using the pavilion space could be captured by thermal imaging sensors and sending to the computer, which would be helpful to the further research on the performance of the structural system. Fig.1.2 Fig.3

Fig.3 Thermal diagram


CASE STUDY 6.0 Terminal 3 at Bao’an International Airport Shenzhen, China Studio Fuksas 2013 Terminal 3 at Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport is a 1.5km-long tunnel with a roofing profile that varies in height. The concept of this project comes from a fish, the manta ray, which breathes and changes its own shape, undergoes variations and turns into a bird to celebrate the emotion and fantasy of a flight1. The design of this project integrate the computational tool and parametric design method to achieve the organic form.


Fig.1 Exterior perspective

Fig.2 Interior perspective

As the architect describes, the main structure is created by wrapping a honeycomb to form a tube. The whole structure is covered by hexagon with different sizes. A parametric data model controlled the size and slope of the openings, which were adapted to meet the requirements of daylight, solar gain and viewing angles, as well as the aesthetic intentions of the architect2. In the computational process, architects were able to process information of the lighting, ventilation and other key factors influenced by the hexagon patterns. By adjusting parametric date, they could quickly make changes to the design and achieve the desirable outcome.

1. Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport Terminal 3, an organic mission by studio Fuksas|Archute, Fig.1.2




To conclude, the boost digital technology has brought great potential to the architecture design world nowadays. Supported by innovative computational modelling tools including Rhino and Grasshopper, designers were able to integrate the parametric design method to generate highly complex form and geometry as well as solving much more sophisticate design problems wisely and efficiently.

Through the three weeks of case study as well as the computation and algorithmic design experiencing, I started to get a basic understanding of the computational design logic.

More interesting thing is that some designers could even push the boundary to custom their software by using the language that computers could understand. No doubt that man-machine relationship has come to a much closer stage. Therefore in turn significantly narrowing the gap between the design and computation driven fabrication process.


Looking into those highly complex case studies, I was shocked by the power of the computation and its ability to solve sophisticate problems. Also by following the online technical tutorial, I started to play around some basic geometries, which helps me to further understand some basic rules of parametric design rules. I am excited to integrate the design method I have learnt into future study to hopefully generate more reliable and logic design.


Fig.1 Triangulation Algorithms

Fig.3 Creating a Gridshell

Fig.2 Triangulation Algorithms

Fig.4 Curve Intersections



Fry, Tony (2008). Design Futuring: Sustainability, Ethics and New Practice (Oxford: Berg), pp. 1–16 Dunne, Anthony & Raby, Fiona (2013) Speculative Everything: Design Fiction, and Social Dreaming (MIT Press) pp. 1-9, 33-45 Oxman, Rivka and Robert Oxman, eds (2014). Theories of the Digital in Architecture (London; New York: Routledge), pp. 1–10 Kalay, Yehuda E. (2004). Architecture’s New Media: Principles, Theories, and Methods of Computer-Aided Design (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press), pp. 5-25 Issa, Rajaa ‘Essential Mathematics for Computational Design’, Second Edition, Robert McNeel and associates, pp 1 - 42 Peters, Brady. (2013) ‘Computation Works: The Building of Algorithmic Thought’, Architectural Design, 83, 2, pp. 08-15 Definition of ‘Algorithm’ in Wilson, Robert A. and Frank C. Keil, eds (1999). The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences (London: MIT Press), pp. 11, 12 225 | AA DRL | Architecture and Urbanism MArch (DRL) – AA School (accessed 10 August 2018). ASIAN CAIRNS Project Vincent Callebaut, (accessed 10 August 2018). Are “Farmscrapers” the Future of Sustainable Architecture? (accessed 10 August 2018). Voltadom Installation/Skylar Tibbits+SJET-eVolo|Architecture magazine, (accessed 10 August 2018). Voltadom by Skylar Tibbits|Skylar, (accessed 10 August 2018). FAST Light at MIT|ArchDaily, (accessed 10 August 2018). nonLin/Lin Pavilion by Marc Fornes & THEVERYMANY|Yatzer, (accessed 10 August 2018). Carbon fibre and robotics are leading fourth industrial revolution, (accessed 10 August 2018). 26

Elytra Filament Pavilion, (accessed 10 August 2018). Elytra Filament Pavilion|, (accessed 10 August 2018). Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport Terminal 3, an organic mission by studio Fuksas|Archute, (accessed 10 August 2018).




Studio Air - Yutong Wei - Part A  
Studio Air - Yutong Wei - Part A