Author Archives: 02 Matt Lamm

Acoustic Sound Partition 250 words for Frank Russell

Acoustic Control Partitions

Matt Lamm, Phil Riazzi, Keegan Riley, Chris Walker

The purpose of this mobile partition is to control the acoustic qualities in Neihoff studio.  This model is modular and can be repeated and connected to make a serpentine structure.  The ideal height (7’-0”) creates intimate special zones within the large open gallery space while also blocking sunlight from curtain walls.    The form is adapted from choir shells which reflect wanted sound and deflects ambient noise.  Each concave area is meant to be used as a small scale critique space to amplify and reflect the sound of the speaker back to the audience.  The material qualities of the partition have proven to aid in the sound reduction.  The felt pentagon pattern is more revealed in the convex areas where ambient sound would be absorbed.  Alternately, the felt pattern is less revealed in the concave critique areas to be more reflective.  The organic paneling system allows for a strong variation in aperture size.  The final construction is a layered system comprised of the corrugated pentagon system attached to wooden spacers, which are stapled to the curtain-like sound attenuation fabric.  Finally, the layered system is hung from sturdy wooden ribs.  The pin-up space is setback into the structure which creates gaps where more sound can be absorbed or where lights can be installed for a more dramatic presentation.

Rendering Engines for Architectural Vizualization – individual

The research topic my group and I signed up for was architectural rendering engines and programs.  We decided that the most economical and efficient approach to researching this topic was to gain an understanding of the most popular rendering engines and then compare and contrast their capabilities using the most widely used programs available to us.  Maya, 3DS Max, Revit, and Rhino were selected as our programs because they are used commonly in both the school setting and in the work place.  In order to get the best results we created a standard template in Auto CAD that would be used in each of the four programs.  The template evenly spaced a sphere and a cube and added a point light source above.  Finally, standard materials were also selected to minimize any variable interference.

Before going off into the rendering tests, we discussed the application and the usefulness of our project topic.  Throughout my internships, I had to spend a lot of time in Photoshop making other people’s renderings look presentable.  If they had had a better grasp on how to use the rendering engines available to them, then there would not be a need to spend five hours in Photoshop.  The rendering engines have proven to be very capable at producing realistic lighting effects and materials.  All it requires is an understanding of the program’s rendering effects and some pre-rendering setup.  At the end of the day, learning how to maximize your rendering engine will produce more realistic illustrations in less amount of time.

Rhino is a NURB based program commonly used for 3D modeling.  It can be used to create organic shapes that would be very difficult in the other programs.  These surfaces of these shapes would be very difficult to render in Photoshop.  Luckily, Rhino comes with a default rendering engine, although it is very easy to buy and utilize other engines like V-Ray.  The lighting in Rhino is very easy and can be manipulated just like any other object.  Rhino also allows users to add in environment tools.  This ranges from adding a fog, to picking a particular sun location, to inserting different backgrounds so the object isn’t floating in space.  Perhaps the most useful aspect of Rhino rendering is the quick and easy post-rendering tools.  My two favorites include the Gaussian blur for noise reduction and the depth of field for managing the focus of the rendering.  Where other rendering engines require a guess and check approach, which could add unnecessary time to the project, post-rendering adjustments allow for easy correction and efficient renderings.

Revit is perhaps the most widely used BIM program and is also capable of very photorealistic renderings, once you understand how to manipulate the settings.  If you do not have architectural training, however, it is much more difficult to set up your scenes since Revit requires a decent understanding of building construction.  However, this also allows a skilled user to merge a beautiful rendering with a technical construction document.  Because it is mainly used for construction documents, Revit does not easily produce floating light sources unless they are an actual lamp or man-made light source.  Once again, this makes renderings a little more difficult to manage but, in the end, makes for very realistic images.

3DS Max uses Mental Ray as its default rendering engine as opposed to the more popular V-Ray.  V-Ray, while costing additional money to use, is easier to pick learn and produces drawings quicker than Mental Ray  since it does not take into account as many factors while rendering.  However, the longer rendering process that Mental Ray provides allows for very accurate shading capabilities and extremely vibrant materials.

The final program we used was Maya.  While it still produces fantastic renderings, it is mainly used for animations, and therefore, does not come with as many options for rendering.  For example, I have found that Maya does not render triangle masses as cleanly as the other programs.  Also, options like motion blur are not available.  Finally, the actual rendering process takes exponentially longer the more light sources that are added.

After all the research and results I believe the project was a success.  We were able to learn a great deal about the most popular rendering engines, gain a better command over their individual settings and pre-rendering options, and finally, compare and contrast the end results in order to determine which programs were best suited for different rendering styles.

p1_Matt Lamm_02



Sonumbra was designed by Loop.pH as an interactive installation for MoMa.  Eventually, the goal is to distribute them to various locations since they are both aesthetically pleasing and useful to the community.  By day, the “tree” gathers sunlight through photovoltaic cells and provides shade from the sun.  The gathered energy then powers a glowing canopy network.  There have been multiple iterations on the design, including one that’s lighting is reactive to ambient sounds and movement.  The installation can be a single tree or a small forest of interconnected networks that demand interaction from the public.

This installation is interesting because it is able to give back to the community while taking nothing.  It gathers its own energy for the electroluminescent fibers and provides shade as well as a gathering spot and beacon.  In addition, Sonumbra is also an interactive installation that draws the observer in just for standing in its presence.