p_3 Molly Wimmel

The objective of my project was to explore the relationship between curved and angular spaces, especially the transition between the two. At first I thought I would achieve this by creating a surface pattern and altering this as I moved across the surface, but I decided my idea would be more effective if I incorporated it into the actual shape of the object, as opposed to just using it as a 2D detail.

I also wanted to incorporate fashion design into my final, so I chose to make a dress. I created four curved and angular shapes in Maya, then lofted between them. From there, I was able to experiment with a lot of shapes based on those four original curves. I then imported my geometry into Rhino, exploded the shape, and used the smash command to flatten all my pieces so that they could be laser cut out of leather.

My final in Maya, before exporting to Rhino.

This project was related with performance based design because I was able to explore a number of shape possibilities. I plan on fabricating this full size and in that case, I would use my original curves as the constants for bust, waist, and hip measurements. These general measurements would control what the general outline of the figure would be, but I would still have some control over what the final outcome was by twisting and rotating the curves.

The major issue I ran into with regard to fabrication was that the leather I used was relatively thin (I had originally chosen it because I needed something thin enough to hand stitch through but that was heavy enough to hold its shape once sewn). Because the leather was thin, it stretched and bubbled significantly as I sewed it. If I was going to manufacture this full scale, I would want to explore other fabrications, as well as ways of using boning or wire as support underneath the exterior shell. If bubbling was unavoidable, I’d want to work more with it to make the bubbling look more purposeful/like an intentional design element.

In conclusion, I think this was a very successful first run at this project. There are definitely still a lot of issues I’d want to work out before making a final, but at this point I think I could adjust the pattern to fit a model and then enlarge it to produce a first muslin. I would also want to make a few other small scale models to experiment with other fabrics and seaming techniques.

It was nice to find a connection between fashion and parametric design. Going into my pre-junior year, I hadn’t been able to use digital pattern making software until this class. Using parametric modeling programs to develop a pattern opens up significant possibilities with respect to silhouette and design. Patterning a garment such as this without digital help would take a lot of unnecessary work and multiple samples. Using parametric design cut out a lot of this and allowed me to focus more on the original silhouette and less on how I was going to go about making a pattern for the garment.

p3_Molly Wimmel_#001

I’d like to use the theme of stained glass that I worked with in p2 for my final project. While looking at photos of stained glass for p2, I came across Frank Lloyd Wright’s stained glass windows. I like the chevron shape he used in a lot of them, as well as the fact that, given the titles of the works, nature was the inspiration. I thought it was interesting how he was able to take natural, curvilinear forms and translate them to a more geometric framework.

The Tree of Life, http://free-stainedglasspatterns.com/2franklloydwrighttreeoflife.html

I found a similar idea in this Art Nouveau window, where some of the triangles are concave while others are convex.


I plan on working in Maya, and beginning with a geometric pattern, possibly one of the patterns from my p2 screens. From there, I’d like to transform my pattern into a more organic form. I’m still not sure what overall form my project will take, but it would involve showing the evolution of the pattern from straight lines to curved forms. I’m looking into using plexiglass or fabric, in which case I would cut all my final pieces with the laser cutter and connect them into whatever overall form my final takes the shape of. I’m also planning on looking into 3d printing, because if I end up creating a tunnel or cylinder and translating my patterns across the surface, a 3d print would probably be the best solution.

p2_Molly Wimmel_#001 physical model

Here are my screens just after laser cutting…

…and assembled:

I’ve been playing around with photographing my model at different times of day, at different angles from the ground. The photo above was shot around 6pm. Below is a shot of the cast shadow around noon with the model being held horizontal to the ground:


For my p2 assignment, I wanted to explore the increasingly complicated hierarchy found in stained glass windows, especially the rose windows found on cathedrals and churches. Rose windows often involve a basic stone framework on either the interior and/or exterior of the building, with the initial window sections created by lead (or a lead substitute) broken up further into smaller sections of colored glass. This can be seen in the image below of the rose window of Notre Dame de Paris:


I began by creating three 14″ x 14″ screens in Maya, differing from one another in their number of horizontal and vertical divisions:

I then used the same pattern of chamfer vertex and poke face on each screen to create a pattern with increasing hierarchy, before using the super extrude script:

I then imported my final screens into Rhino, divided them, and cleaned up the corners and sides to make them easier for the laser to cut:

Below are the final screens as they will appear when stacked on top of one another:

Realistically, these could be used as window screens or as stained glass windows, with the linework forming the initial window framework and the open spaces being filled with glass. I think this could be an interesting way to explore color blending, as the glass pieces from each screen would overlap one another.

p1_Molly Wimmel_#001

The “Gherkin” Building

Formally known as 30 St Mary Axe, the Gherkin is an office building in the main financial district of London. Designed by Foster + Partners, the building was constructed from 2001-2003. Based upon a design of Buckminster Fuller’s from the 1970’s, the Gherkin Building employed parametric modeling to make the building more energy efficient.

The architects were heavily concerned with how the Gherkin would fit into the surrounding landscape, and especially how a building of this size would affect passengers on the sidewalk. Skyscrapers with rectangular shapes (or all flat sides) create turbulence at ground level. Using parametric design, the architects developed a number of curved building shapes, which were then put through digital wind simulations. A similar process occurred with the internal ventilation, allowing heating and cooling costs to be reduced by 40 percent.

Parametric modeling also allowed the architects to experiment with the curvature of the building in relation to sun exposure. The building is wide through the center, narrowing at both the top and the bottom. This allows light to flow through the glass walls into the offices in the middle, while taking up less space at ground level and limiting sun blockage to surrounding buildings.

What is most striking upon first glance is the building’s curved shape. Only one piece of glass in the entire structure (the cap at the top) is curved, all other glass pieces are flat. This made the structure both cheaper and easier to produce. Parametric modeling software was used to transform the building from an overall curved shape to individual flat pieces of glass.

Below is a video of the Gherkin Building design. All of the text is in Italian, but it does a nice job of demonstrating the design process.