Author Archives: kozn

Twinmotion Real Time Rendering for Architecture – I found this is quite useful. Ken

Research Topic: Computer Fluid Dynamic Simulation Zun Huai Ken Ko. Digital Visualization II, Spring 2013

Wind design in high rises buildings are particularly important. In a skyscraper, the wind is blowing on the building causing it to sway and twist. (Feblowitz) For certain shapes, the wind can form wakes alternating from side to side. The frequency varies with wind speed but if vortices align to oscillate at the same frequency as the structure’s resonant, huge forces can generate. (Feblowitz) The key goal in skyscraper design is to disrupt the organized wind flow around the building. (Feblowitz) In “Image 1” (Kagalwala), The Burj Khalifa deliberately keeps introducing shape changes with building height so the wind flow pattern can’t organize itself. (Feblowitz) Building at different heights with different vortices shedding at different winds speeds leaves little vortex shedding. (Feblowitz) The model is rotated at all different angles and wind effects inside a wind tunnel visualized using smoke and data is fed into computer models to perform additional analysis. Burj Khalifa wind tunnel testing led to a dramatic design change that the entire building was rotated 120º to reduce wind loading. The buildings shape directs wind gusts towards the turbines increasing wind speeds creating an artificial wind tunnel between the two towers. Other skyscraper projects around the world are beginning to take advantage of wind to save and even generate energy. (Feblowitz)

Another example using computational fluid modeling is the Shanghai Tower in Shanghai, China. In “Image 2,” (SOM) dramatic twisting form of the tower is shaped through study of how wind forces move around the tower. (SOM) Iterative study was possible only with advanced BIM to adjust and update the whole tower shape according to computational fluid modeling and wind tunnel feedback. (SOM) The taper and rotation of the tower was optimized to reduce wind loading on the building facade and to reduce tower structures by 24%, a substantial savings in construction materials and costs. (SOM) Series of wind turbines are able to generate up to 350,000 kWh of electricity per year. (Pham) Another project designed with wind power is the Pearl River Tower in Guangzhou, China illustrated in “Image 3” (Pham), a 309-meter tower with forms sculpted to direct wind into mechanical floors openings, allowing winds to push turbines to generate building energy. (SOM)

Strategies to reduce vortex excitation wind loads are corner softening, setback tapering, cross section shape varying, spoilers or porosity opening. (Irwin) Autodesk Project Vasari includes Ecotect Wind Tunnel simulation allowing designers to simulate and analyze building form performance on wind loads and wind effects. (Autodesk Labs) Introduced in 2012 December, Autodesk Project Falcon is another tool that has the ability to simulate air flow around buildings in a virtual wind tunnel providing results update in instance response by changing specified wind direction and wind speed. (Autodesk Labs) Visualization includes 2D and 3D flow lines, shaded planes, vector plots, and surface pressure shading, velocity, pressure, drag force, and drag coefficient. (Autodesk Labs) Using computational fluid modeling, designers are able to simulate wind effect on the building, and adjust according to the result and to be used as one of the form finding techniques.

Image 1. (Kagalwala)

Image 2. (Pham)

Image 3. (Pham)

Feblowitz, Joshua. “Confusing The Wind: The Burj Khalifa, Mother Nature, and the Modern Skyscraper” 2010. 3/27/13.
Kagalwala, Shabbir. “Burj Khalifa Wind Design”. Dubai-Forever.Com. 2010. 3/27/2013.
Pham, Diane. “INTERVIEW: Gensler’s Chris Chan on the Sustainable Shanghai Tower, Asia’s Tallest Skyscraper”. Inhabitat. 2012. 3/27/2013.
SOM. “Pearl River Tower”. SOM. 2013. 3/27/2013.

Irwin, Peter. “Wind Issues in the Design of Tall Buildings”. Los Angeles Tall Building Structural Design Council. 2010. 3/27/2013.

Autodesk Labs. “Project Vasari”. 2013 3/27/2013.

Autodesk Labs. “Project Falcon”. 2013 3/27/2013.

Fluid Dynamic Simulation

Fluid Dynamic Simulation


Smoke/Fluid as Form Generator with “super extrude” in Maya

Maya: Wind Simulation

Nora Begin, Ken Ko

Project A Phase 2 – Ken Ko, Tim Shouder, Nick Matthews

Niehoff Studio Competition Submission



1) References from, we tune panels to convex and away from walls to help distributing even sound reflections versus to concave and towards the wall, which concentrates sound reflection.
2) Ecotech Analysis shows additional sound refection
rays: shorten (improve) reverberation time
3) Modular Units: Allow existing lights and air to flow
4) Material: 1/4″ Wood


Cosmic Quilt – Reactive Architectural Environment / The Principals

“The project aims to answer the question ‘What if architecture responded to our presence?’ This project is a realization of our ultimate ambition, which is to design spaces and objects that expand upon our understanding of the built realm without abandoning its history. Soon, just as we can sense a space as calm, contemplative or frenetic … space itself will be able to sense our presence and react accordingly.” (Grozdanic)

During New York Design Week in May, 2012, students from the Art Institute of New York exhibited a reactive installation capable of responding to a presence of a visitor. The 8’x16’x12’ system is equipped with 3000 sensors-motors developed The Principals, a Brooklyn based studio.

In parametric and fabrication, a system or network interrelates skin and structure. With a real-time responsive system dynamically reacting to its environment, a building skin and structure can be efficiently applied with various small scale energy harvesting technologies such as wind and solar tracking.

Grozdanic, Lidija. Cosmic Quilt – Reactive Architectural Environment / The Principals.