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Project 2

Utilizing Maya and its various capabilities, Project 2 was a visualization of squaring a number and the complexity that results from this process. Starting with the number two, I bisected a square into two parts in both directions, and then divided the square with two diagonals. I then proceeded to apply various affects to this base layer. These affects I carried through consistently with the other two layers, which were studies of divisions into four parts with four diagonals, and sixteen parts with sixteen diagonals.

The overall final form of the screen design was inspired by various organic shapes that transform themselves to be useful, yet appealing means of cladding a building, providing shading, or acting as an interactive art exhibit. The diminishing voids from layer to layer on the final screen work especially well for creating limited lines of sight with a consideration for temperature control combined with the benefits of day lighting.

Project 3

The Lily is the result of parametric and non-linear thinking and design applied to an initial goal. This objective began with the hopes of creating modular pieces that would fit together without any extraneous connections while operating in such a way that the individual pieces would create many different shapes when combined together, depending on the orientation and the number used. This thought was initially inspired by the VLightDeco IQ Puzzle Pendant Jigsaw Lamp (seen below).

Throughout the design process, my parameters became more defined and specific, resulting in a slightly different final product than what I had initially intended. These included tessellation qualities, in order to conserve materials, flat-pack capability, so that the unassembled product could be shipped conservatively and cheaply, and finally, I wanted each individual piece to have a built-in means of connecting to the other pieces so that no glue, tape or other adhesive was necessary. Thus, the only component that would be shipped would be the pieces ready to be assembled, further enhancing the flat-pack capability.

These parameters were directly linked to the final component operating as a performance-based design. Not only did it satisfy all the rules laid down, but it also had an appealing aesthetic quality that could be used by a wide variety of audience members. Furthermore, it is flexible, can take on a varied number of shapes, and can be coordinated so that the user can interchange components depending on the color of the surrounding environment.

Created entirely via sketching and numerous experimentations with scissors and paper, the parametric design process was not carried out in the way many may imagine, but was conducted without computer aided design programs such as Autodesk Maya or Grasshopper for Rhino. Despite the fact that I did not employ technology as we know it, I shared many similarities with those who do utilize computer programs to aid in parametric thinking. Like them, I did not have a clear image of what I wanted my final product to look like – I merely had a set of rules that I was determined to follow. However, rather than tracing my thought process through a Grasshopper script or similar means, the results of my design development where visible in the discarded physical paper models.

Although I was very pleased with the finished result, the means to that end did provide some problems along the way – foremost of which revolved around the constraints of fabrication. Experimenting with paper and scissors was all well and good for the “rough drafts,” as I like to call them, but the transition to a more resilient, long-lasting material proved difficult. The first attempt at this involved laser cutting a thin acrylic in the hopes that it would be strong enough not to wrinkle (as the paper had), but flexible enough that the bends in the material would not cause it to snap. However, after a few attempts at laser cutting, the acrylic proved to be a failure. It did not score without breaking, and attempting to bend the material freehand typically resulted in it snapping and becoming unusable. I also envisioned a final product with multiple color options, rather than the milky white and clear that the acrylic embodied, so I went in search of another solution. I finally landed upon a thick, strong construction paper that came in a variety of colors and would score without breaking. Although this material worked fine for the final product for the time being, if this design were to be mass produced, a much more resilient material would have to be found. The construction paper was great as long as one were careful with it, but overtime, wear and tear would ultimately show.

In the future, I hope not only to improve upon the materiality of the design, but hope to take this idea further to try to come up with variations on volume, shape, and color. To do this, I may have to tweak the parameters to potentially invent an entirely new form, but it would also be interesting to see if I could keep the parameters the same, but come up with an entirely new form that still satisfied all the requirements, reflecting the notion that the Grasshopper plug-in, Galapagos, employs: there are many solutions for the same problem, but not all of them may be the best one. I believe that the Lily is definitely one of these solutions, but I also believe that there are many more, and the best one is still waiting to be found.

The link to the powerpoint presentation about the Lily is listed below.




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The requirements in my millwork class have changed, and thus I have decided to parametrically design something I am more passionate about, rather than something out of necessity.

Similar to the image above, I would like to parametrically design and fabricate a light fixture that is made of tessellated pieces that may or may not vary in size, depending on the overall shape. The shape of a sphere is one that is attractive to me because it is a pure form, but the idea of tessellating the skin of the fixture breaks it up, making it a component-type piece, rather than a volumetric whole.

I would hope to create the tessellating shape and then laser cut it on some flexible, translucent material so that the pieces would allow light to pass through but also prevent glare from penetrating the skin of the fixture. I would also aim for the pieces to be self-connecting, so that no glue or adhesive materials are needed.

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Form and Activity: A Reception Desk

I am taking Millwork as part of my interior design curriculum, and in that class we are required to design a reception desk and then manufacture (using the RPC services) a life-size 24″ x 24″ x 24″ portion of our design.

Combining the assignment from my Millwork class with the final project in this class, I have decided to apply parametric design fundamentals to design a reception desk that responds to human form and to the activities associated with its function. Considering both the receptionist and the person visiting/standing near the desk, the form will begin to respond to these attributes. In addition, the design will reflect the uses necessary of a reception desk, as well as hopefully incorporating innovative solutions to existing dilemmas/difficulties.

Complexity of Cells

The first inspiration for the design of my screen came from the C_Wall by Andrew Kudless and Matsys in 2006. Based on the cellular aggregate structures, this project employs the Voronoi algorithm which adapts to local contingent conditions to facilitate the translation and materialization of information from particle simulations and other point-based data.

I, of course, do not know anything about the Voronoi algorithm, but I thought that the pattern of light reflected on the floor looked cool, so I set about trying to create my own version. Working off of a ratio system, I divided the first screen with two lines, the second with four lines, and the third with sixteen lines, so that each one of the following was the square of the previous.

I then subdivided the screens with corresponding numbers of randomly placed diagonals to create cell-like forms.

From there I extruded each screen, leaving a void in the middle of each “cell”…

and smoothed the edges to identical powers. The result was a screen in which each successive layer has a more complex cell pattern and became less easy to see through.

Below is the way the screens look when compiled atop one another.

The image seen below is a real-life application of a similar version of the screen I designed, but with two layers instead of three. This is the Airspace Tokyo building by Thom Faulders Architecture, built in 2007, in which the skin creates a unique exterior for a four-story family dwelling in Tokyo. Previous to the building’s construction, a residence wrapped in dense vegetation occupied the site. The new design wished to imitate the attributes to the previous plant-enclosed structure by creating a foliage like cover.

Another similar motif (shown below) this time exercised in the third dimension, is the Entry Paradise Pavilion by Chris Bosse and PTW Architects. Designed in 2006, this was inspired by microscopic cell structures, such as foam, sponge, or coral reefs. Using architecture software to simulate the structure and phenomenology of complex naturally evolving systems, the result was the efficient subdivision of three-dimensional space as it would take place in nature, such as the formation of organic cells, mineral crystals, or soap bubbles. The material is flexible and is able to follow the forces of gravity, tension, and growth.

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Broad Museum

Competing with five of the world’s top architects, Diller Scofidio and Renfro won the competition held by Eli Broad for the Broad Musuem. The firm used parametric modeling to design the skin for the nearly 120,000 sqf and $130 million dollar art museum to be built in downtown Los Angeles to house an art collection, as well as archives, offices, and storage.

The design is based on two large rectangular boxes, the bottom of which serves as the parking garage. The upper box, or “vault” contains the spaces for storage, archival, and office purposes for the Broad Art Foundation.

The facade itself (also called “the veil”) uses parametric modeling to optimize the load of the varying precast concrete hexagonal shapes, as well as allowing for the quality of light typical to that of an art museum to filter in without damaging the art inside. The veil is a structural piece in and of itself, allowing for a column-less gallery space, while the four facades of the building will vary in transparency, thickness, and design, all aspects aided by parametric modeling technologies.

The video below gives a brief walkthrough of the approach to the museum, a look at the art gallery, storage and archival areas, and the means of getting between floors, both by use of the stairs, and the escalator.

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