Monthly Archives: July 2011

p2_George Faber_#001

p2_Andy McCarthy_#001

As a point of departure for project 2, I decided to base the screen on a recognizable square image with high contrast values.  The first idea that came to me was the iconic silkscreen print of Marilyn Monroe.  Warhol’s rough and variable factory aesthetic derives from multiple iterations.  As a further, more drastic iteration, my final product was not necessarily meant to be understood as a face, let alone Marilyn Monroe.  It was an exploration of the outputs of a few options in Maya.  The screen is not the most eye-catching object, but it’s curious enough for someone to look at for a while, so I think it’s successful in its subtlety.

The idea to use apertures as dark values (or in this case, light) came from Gramazio and Kohler, the architecture duo from the case study in the first assignment.  Another parametric project they designed was a winery facade modeled after the shape of champagne grapes/bubbles.  In my opinion, it looks a bit boring against the dramatic setting, but I’m interested in the idea of using parametric surfaces to signify building type/purpose.

My first step in this experiment was to lay a 40×40 grid over 3 separate 14×14 surfaces.  One of the project parameters was for the screen to comprise three separate surfaces.  Red, green and blue can create all of the colors of light.  The light in this case would be negative (cut) and its absence a positive value (opaque.)  I imported the red, green, and blue channels of the image onto the grids.  The vertices with a majority of one of those channel hues were soft-selected, and then they were extruded upward.  A small 2D asterisk shape was driven by the Y location to increase in size (aperture) as it moved upward to each vertex.  The most colorful areas on each screen became the most transparent.  The driven asterisk also rotated 360 degrees as it moved on the Y axis. The rotated asterisk shape was intended to resemble a twinkle shape.

p3_proposal_mary jo minerich_#001

Hull Design Grasshopper Script

For the final project I propose to design a small watercraft, similar to the ones I described in my p1 post.

Typologically it could be described as the design of an archetypical form with parametrically controlled variations.  More specifically, I first propose to use the capability of the programs we have been learning to adapt the generic form common to these types of boats to specific performance criteria.  For example, the grasshopper script listed above provides a means to adjust the buoyancy, “aerodynamics”, and waterline as functions of the geometry of the boat’s hull.  

Beyond this, I want to investigate the capacity of the structural or functional elements to provide further design/aesthetic value.  By utilizing a translucent fabric for the exterior skin, the structure has the capacity to create patterns visible from the outside.  

 Ming mentioned that in addition to utilizing grasshopper to design the geometry, variations could be generated and assessed using Galapagos.  

In terms of fabrication, I am thinking that the structure could be laser cut and assembled by slotting the pieces together, similar to the “waffle” type structures we have seen.  I think this could offer an advantage over typical boat construction and detailing, in which metal fasteners can risk corrosion or worse, puncturing the skin.  On the other hand, if it is possible to attempt full-scale fabrication, the bed size of the laser cutter and the cost of cutting may have a strong impact on which designs are feasible.

The template for the fabric skin could be pulled from the geometry of the structure and plotted, although it would probably have to be cut and sewn manually.

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,

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.

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.

p3.0_David Friedlander_#001

After giving Project 3 some thought, I developed two potential project ideas: one in the aerospace field and one in the naval field.  Below is a summery of each project idea.

Finite Wing Design

Background:  There are many parameters in a finite 3D wing that can be manipulated to optimize its Lift/Drag (L/D).  These include airfoil (wing cross-section) geometries, planform (“shadow”) geometry, geometric twist, and sweep.  Such complexity yields an endless number of wing configurations

Concept:  I am thinking of using grasshopper to manipulate the wing parameters to come up a subsonic wing design.  The parameters will include all of the above plus their subset parameters, such as span, aspect ratio, and number of ribs.  For simplicity I will assume incompressible flow, which would allow the script to use a numerical lifting line method to calculate the coefficients of lift and drag (and thus L/D).  This information would then be fed to galapagos to find the configuration that yields the highest L/D.


Figure 1: Airfoil/Wing, from “Numerical Lifting Line Theory Applied to Drooped Leading-Edge Wings Below and Above Stall”


Submarine Design

Background:  Submarines come in many shapes and sizes, depending on their purpose.  There are many parameters that dictate the submarine’s overall design, including propulsion system, payload, single/double hull, ballast tank arrangements, and control surfaces.

Concept:  I have been playing around with designing my own “mini” submarine, something around the size of the HL Hunley or “USS” Alligator.  I would design a script in grasshopper that would take in parameters such as number of ballast tanks (and size of each tank), hull geometries, payload, operation time, and propulsion configurations.  Galapagos would then be used to optimize the design to minimize weight.

Figure 2: Drawing of the CSS HL Hunley

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:

p2_Mary Jo Minerich_#001

frank miller lumber_1763

Inspired by Art Nouveau Wallpapers

(more wall papers at
I began with a single non-square grid with a roughly 2:3 ratio between the width and height. I then moved and scaled some of the vertices to get the grid to look more like arrows or triangles in some places. After that I began a series of extrusions and scales that resulted in the two more simple patterns (they are actually almost the same, but one has the extrusion width set larger to make the filagree smaller). I plan to set them at 90 degrees to one another. The final one comes from the previous patterns, with an extra poke face and extrusion.  Finally I “smoothed” them all to make them more organic.  Final screens shown below.

P02_Nicholas Schoeppner_001

Inspiration for my light screen came from a beehive and how I think it would look if it were to be crushed. I took the hexagon cell structure found in a beehive and morphed them into a configuration that one could see as being smashed under a heavy weight.

The way I achieved this was to give all three of my layers the exact same pattern and width using the chamfer vertex tool. I then thought about where the crushing weight would be coming from and transformed the areas of cells that would be affected by such a force. The result is a light screen that started off as a uniform figure but evolved into a seemingly random shape with a crushed cellular structure.

As seen in the three layers of my light screen, the original cell structure was made up of uniform hexagons morphed into the final figure of being crushed under a weight.


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.