How can physical and digital prototyping inform the design process?
John Frazer’s “An Evolutionary Architecture” presents a method for producing architecture heavily-centred around using computational means to develop systems for producing form (Frazer, 1995), echoing the “Form Follows Performance” principle. Frazer states, “Architecture is Artificial Life.” If so, does this mean the architectural process is evolutionary? Can the role of the architect be likened to a Creator or a Blind Watchmaker?
Nature has an unlimited amount of time in which to test iterations, collect data and refine subsequent ones. An Architect can work in a similar way, however due to time constraints the power of multi-objective optimisation can be utilised to “profligate prototype” design iterations. As design criteria start to conflict with one another, Divergent Evolution(John Frazer. Computational Design, 2014) occurs. This prompts the designer to judge from a pool of possible designs, each performing well in different ways.
The 3D modelling and simulation tools currently available to the designer aren’t able to provide a true picture of the way the real world acts, particularly relating to environmental factors such as heat and wind flow. Physical prototypes provide a way for designers to test iterations under real-world conditions. Parametric prototypes allow designers to efficiently test multiple iterations (Anderl, Mecke and Klug 2006). When combined with Physical computing platforms, the designer can collect real-world data that can be used to inform decision making and future iterations.
Feedback loops can be created during this design process and it is the role of the designer to break these up using a practice of Design Intuition (Van Schaik, 2015).
The thesis will present a workflow for creating the Artificial Life that Frazer suggests. Environmental and architectural design factors will be used as design criteria driving an Evolution of a re-cladding system for a case study building located in Melbourne. Physical and digital prototypes will be developed simultaneously and feedback loops will be created between the two through real-time data generation, collection and feedback. The role of the designer in making judgement will be detailed in regards to closing potentially infinite feedback loops in the development of a final design solution.
Using this workflow the designer will often be subject to a multitude of data relating to the selection of an iteration and performance of subsequent iterations which can be compounded by occuring Divergent Evolution in the design process.
The designer needs to modulate this ‘mess’ of data in order to be able to make informed decisions about the project. Van Schaik’s sub-practice of Design Through Intuition and Explicit Strategy has been utilised during this thesis to structure the decicion making process.
Explicit Strategy is the establishment of quantifiable design criteria that can be used to evaluate iterations. Statistical operations have been used to develop smarter goals that maximise the computers ability to produce meaningful results. Statistical modulation has also been used on data collected from physical models in order to be greater understood and incorporated into the design process.
Design Intuition is the knowledge and experience a designer uses to refine iterations based on design criteria that aren’t readily made quantifiable. Experiential qualities realting to the quality of light entering a space and how aesthetically pleasing a facade configuration can be are examples of such criteria that was used during this thesis to evaluate iterations.
Frazer, J 1995, Themes VII: An Evolutionary Architecture, AA Publications, London Frazer, J 2014, John Frazer. Computational Design, lecture recording, viewed 19th May 2016, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xd4TiPnwGwE> Anderl, Prof.Dr.-Ing R, Mecke, Dipl.-Ing. K, Klug, Dipl.-Ing, 2006, ‘Advanced Prototyping With Parametric Prototypes’, Digital Enterprise Technology, page 55-64 Van Schaik, J 2015, ‘Bruegelage: Interrogations into nine concurrent creative practices’, RMIT University, Melbourne
Parasity is an urban system utilising a generative approach to create an architecture for a wide variety of different building typologies. Parasity was derived from a precedent analysis of Crater City by Jean-Louis Chanéac whose algorithms helped shape its initial form. Experiments in form were then undertaken with a variety of parametric tools utilised to refine this form and impart sentience so it may begin to grow of its own accord.
Parasity was deployed to an industrial area in Preston, Melbourne. An area that was to be re-zoned in a few years that would inevitably cause the existing buildings and infrastructure to be demolished to make way for housing. This made it the perfect site for testing how Parasity operated with an existing urban environment. Confined to a strip of land around a kilometre long, bordering a major arterial road Parasity was observed to quickly take seed. However this didn’t occur in the way designers originally envisaged. Parasity studied its immediate surroundings, the greater city of Melbourne and Australia. It also interacted with the inhabitants of this site and started to gain an appreciation for their way of life and the work they did. The block in which Parasity was released was home to a number of small automotive repair businesses, each operating out of small workshops on the same block. Parasity encouraged these businesses to get to know one another and helped them understand the benefits to be had from collaborating amongst one another.
Years went by and faced with possible expulsion from their revived area of collaboration, the automotive businesses formed a small collective based around their shared business interests. As their combined venture flourished they began researching into new ways of fixing cars and even creating their own technologies. However there was no space in which to carry out such activities so the ever-present Parasity used the growth processes embedded within it to help create an architecture that representative of their collaboration. It grew around their existing businesses, re-arranging their repair processes to making them more efficient using automative technology where necessary so they could spend as much time pursuing their research while still receiving a steady income. Collaboration and research was the core of this new collective and as such, the core of this new facility was a number of individual spaces for these activities to take place. However representative of the nature of their business, these were all encased in a single membrane, which itself projected a futuristic image for the centres many clients and customers.
During this process of change, Parasity began exploring the entire strip of site, talking with other makers and looking for new opportunities to hone its skills. Parasity helped set up other collectives in the area, mainly based on small-batch manufacturing such as coffee, kitchens or prosthetics. It also conceived a plan that would mitigate the negative effects of rezoning to the area it started to identify as home. The population of the greater city was increasing and space for housing was heavily sought after. Parasity also understood the benefits that new inhabitants would bring to the existing urban fabric so, using its algorithms it designed high density housing that fostered community between inhabitants. Workplaces were also created for these people so that the area could function as a satellite city centre. Green spaces were also grown over the site that was given up from the removal of dilapidated buildings no longer needed which increased the liability of the area.
With making at its core, the site in Preston served as an example of the benefits gained through the intertwinement of manufacturing with living and other professions. What was once dreamed up an experiment in algorithmic growth became a force for urban regeneration which also positively influenced the future of making within Melbourne and broader Australia. With increased economic growth and living standards that follow Parasity turned its efforts elsewhere, looking for new typologies and areas which could benefit from its architecture of collaboration.
Designing for Heat in the Public Domain
To create a more favourable outdoor atmosphere across the year a sun-shading system was designed to allow the more pleasant light or the morning and noon to pass through, however the harsh sun of the afternoon is mostly blocked. The form of this shading sytem responds to the altered landform below and to also channel cooling winds. The angles that the scales are facing has been optimised to block out as much of the hottest sun as possible. This aspect feeds in with the overall system create a unique visual identity for the site and a favourable atmosphere year-round for inhabitants. During heatwaves this shading system will negate a large amount of heat hitting the building which will reduced the increased diurnal temperature reanges experienced.
Onyx - Tectonic Grounds
Innovate or Die!
Innovate or Die! can be seen as a combination of innovation, capitalism and architecture. It is a satire of current trends towards workplace architecture and the corporate hierarchies that use them as curtains to mask their vampiric tendencies from their employees.
Architecture is typically used to create pleasant spaces for people to inhabit. However the scope of the profession is growing to include ‘systems designer’. Innovate or Die! exists in a time where architecture can be used to compell people to love their work over all else. Formal intervention can be used to to generate profits thus reinvigorating the profession as more and more companies recognise its potential.
“Architecture is not about form, but formations of people.” This quote from Marcus Jung can be used to describe how the architeture of Innovate or Die! can compell the abstract concept of Innovation out of people through formal intervention.
The One Liner
This project is an exploration of the engagement of the boundary condition.
Using a single line, the normative condition of the boundary will be challenged.
The single line acts as a system for the creation of spatial constructs aimed at soft divisioning between distinct boundary conditions.
Through a series of predefined points and lines, a spatial sequence is created.
It will enable various interactions to take place and will be a mediating space between the open courtyard and the enclosed controlled space of the adjacent workspace.
Design intent involves the synthesis of two distinct design concepts. The first idea we drew inspiration from was the integrated notion of ‘architectural megastructure’ and ‘organic biological growth’, ideas that heavily influenced Japanese Metabolism and we drew inspiration from. The second concept, which we have coined ‘Inverted Logic’, attempts to achieve the appearance of a reversed tapering (from a smaller ground floor to a larger sky rise), an aesthetic that further enhances the first concept of individual elements ‘growing’ and building upon each other. The integrated concepts of ‘inverted logic’ and ‘metabolist growth’ dictate our skyscrapers overall form, creating smaller leasing depths for the low to mid-rise floorplates relative to those of the high and sky-rise. As a result, developers achieve increased revenue as the cost for renting space on the upper floors is priced higher, and in our case, larger in net lettable area. Once these design concepts were determined, the following project restrictions were implemented: • Maximum building height of 250m [including vanity height] • Net lettable area of 60,000 m2 – 80,000m2 • Floor plates with an envelope length of 36m – 48m • A typical floor plate efficiency of 80% – 90% [with a minimum of 75%] • Leasing depth of 10m – 15m • Floor to floor height of 3.8m – 4.2m • Mechanical floors to service 10 floors above and below their location With these constraints and conceptual direction in place we utilised sketches and 3D modelling software to create a parametric design which fulfilled the project restrictions while achieving our design aesthetic.
Digital Furniture Fabrication
This project involves the exploration of using laser cutting to develop moulds for slip casting. After experimenting with traditional materials used in laser cutting, plasterboard was used as its materiality made it ideal to be used. Different types of moulds were made, some with the ability to have their forms changed through rotation to create a variety of different-shaped casts. 3D printed moulds were created using raw un-infiltrated prints from a Zcorp powder printer which enabled a wide variety of forms to be created. The Zcorps ability to print in colour was also experimented with. These experiments culminated in the production of a large scale slip cast mould that would create a piece that would sit within a table top. Care had to be taken to ensure a clean join between the two mediums and the continued shrinkage of the ceramic object had to be factored into the fabrication of the table top. The final result is a vessel which looks it has been dropped into the top of a side table with the design of the table top rippled to exaggerate this effect.