Author Archives: Alan Alaniz

Concrete Paneling

Skyscraper Models

Showcase Model

A.J. Alaniz Skyscraper from Alan Alaniz on Vimeo.

P3D Model

Augment Model

The coursework of Design Visualization I, II, and III has honestly been some of the most valuable work I have conducted in my academic career. Through the varied assigned projects we have developed a language to present our thoughts both eloquently and efficiently. This skill is no doubt instrumental in our progression as M. Arch 1 students but will definitely be of great use throughout our architectural careers. Thanks to our assignments we have become proficient at using a wide array of computer programs, both two-dimensional and three-dimensional.


After the Design Viz sequence, computer aided modeling has become one of my most useful tools. 3D modeling with both Rhino and Maya has become essential to my workflow and now seem as natural as a sketchpad and pencil. Through our courses we have honed our modeling skills and created a diverse set of projects using Rhino functions as well multiple plug-ins that have introduced us parametricism, rapid prototyping, and various studies in material. Using Rhino and its plug-ins such as Grasshopper, LunchBox, and Weaverbird we have had the opportunity to create complex designs digitally and subsequently built prototypes of our designs, utilizing a variety of materials. Creating a design and building it out was a great experience that illustrated the contrasting nature between real world construction and that of 3D modeling. Every aspect of our work with digital modeling and its constructed counterparts offered us a valuable learning experience.


Alongside the modeling abilities that we have acquired, we have also learned to use presentation tools such as Maya animation and 3DS Max. With these tools we now have the capability to create professional level animations and renderings that also add to our ability to communicate and visualize our ideas. With the diverse techniques that we have learned throughout these programs we now have the opportunity to create and present designs that might have seemed unfathomable at the beginning our M. Arch sequence. During this particular semester the use of these tools has culminated in our use of augmented reality renderings with Augment 3D and P3D. With these two interfaces we were able to present our work in a fashion that combines the modifiable nature of digital modeling with the tactile experience of real world objects.


These augmented reality applications have given us the opportunity to interact with our models in a way that allows us to experience them as close to reality as possible without losing the editable characteristics of digital modeling. The potential that these new modeling techniques afford us can allow us to understand our designs spatially and in a way that could never truly be seen in renderings or scale models. Applications such as Augment can be combined with new technologies such as Oculus glasses, which would effectively transport a user into the digitally modeled space you have created. These new tools are beginning to merge the virtual interface that we have become accustomed to with our tactile world and the products will most likely revolutionize how we understand and experience digital modeling.

Skin Exercise


This exercise gave us the opportunity to explore data driven and performance driven design in the context of a building’s skin. Considering that the skin becomes one of the characteristics of a building that is most readily experienced, this exercise has a significant importance in our building’s overall design. The assignment of my particular group was to use programs such as the Geco plug-in for Grasshopper, Ecotect, Weaverbird, and the Paneling Tools plug-in for Rhino to develop a building envelope that took the solar radiation of our site into consideration. With these methods we constructed a skin by either a grayscale bitmap radiation image or the solar radiation graphs from Cincinnati’s weather (.wea) file. In using both the Paneling Tools/ Bitmap method as well as the Ecotect/Weaverbird method, I found that the control given through the use of the Grasshopper plug-ins developed a better parametric design. Though the Paneling Tools method gave us the freedom to define specific modules to use in relation to the grayscale bitmap the output consistently slowed my computer, making it difficult to conduct any necessary changes to the design. In complete contrast, the Grasshopper script that incorporated Ecotect and Weaverbird made it possible to change nearly every aspect of my design with relatively little issue. At this point, these two approaches off offer two distinct advantages; one being the ability to define your own modules for shading, while the second giving us the freedom to make alterations fluidly. I’m sure with time and a little effort we could develop a Grasshopper script that would allow us the freedom to define our own shading module rather than use Weaverbird apertures. In creating this new script we would be combining the advantages of both methods, creating a building skin script that would surely prove to be useful in our future projects.


I have always been fascinated by parametric design while simultaneously being extremely wary of leaning too heavily on it. Until recently, it never properly fit into my design process; this might have been due to lack of knowledge of the programs involved or simple stubbornness. However, I feel that over the course of this past semester I have found that parametric design fits nicely into the ideation and fleshing out stages of my process. Parametricism gives me the freedom to explore tangents of my original design without much consequence and also allows me the opportunity to build out larger aspects of my design with relatively little effort. The possibilities afforded by parametric design become extremely useful when designing something like a building’s skin. The skin becomes the part of the building that is most affected by external variables, be it views, solar radiation, wind current, or aesthetics. Due to this number of variables tools like Grasshopper become essential in organizing and manipulating the various aspects that make up a building’s design.




Skyscraper Board



P1 p2 p3 p4 p5

E2 (late submission)


Exercise 1