p3_Kevin Donovan

Presentation PDF

My Grasshopper Defnition

I began project three with the simple idea of developing a new, dynamic ventilation system. For form, I looked at forms ranging from the natural, such as how the spines of a beaver work, to existing precedents of roof systems like those of world cup stadiums. I took cues from Alienware’s Area 51 Desktop and its active mechanical ventilation and began contemplating how I could improve upon the design in both efficiency and stylistic response.  I eventually recalled an image of a type of steel cladding that consisted of a field of interlocking diamonds, which set the direction for my actual form.

When I initially began building the actual panel that would come to be replicated across my “field,” I did not specifically know which program I would be doing my final version, so to develop exactly wanted it all to look like, I did study iterations of the diamond panel in SketchUp in order to determine the size and proportioning.

I experimented a bit with translating the geometry into Maya, but found it too hard to control from a precision standpoint, so I turned to Grasshopper/Rhino. As my first time working on my own with no real direction in such a fairly unfamiliar program, I began with a simple starting point on the origin (0,0,0). From there I executed a series of movies to build the other points which would create the surfaces. These movements were all controlled in proportion by functions so that regardless of how big the initial length of the panel was, it would maintain its shape and depth. Once I had the points, I created surfaces using the 4-Point Surface command. In order to save myself some time, I only created surfaces for half of the panel and then simply mirrored that half about the YZ axis (I will come back to this soon enough)

The definition for my diamond panel.

The finished diamond panel.

The Grid.
In order to have a surface that could be completely closed off, I had to develop a grid system that allowed my panels to interlock. I started off with a simple surface that I could control the size of, once again, in functionally constrained proportions with incrimentation based off of the panel sizes so that regardless of either the size of the panel or the size of the grid, all would fit and function. To allow the panels to interlock, I culled the number sets coming out of the surface grid and shifted every other row half the width a panel. When my created geometry was applied to the grid, however, I discovered that it would still mirror my panels based on the global ZY axis as opposed to that of each local panel. This was remedied by defining a vertical surface in my panel with already existing points and then using that as the plane of mirror.

The definition for my interlocking grid.

Image Reaction.
The final and possibly most important function of my project is the reaction to “heat,” interpreted in the form of an image file. In order to develop the ventilation of panels, images were imported into the file and inherently overlaid onto whatever the current size of the grid was, with each pixel of the image porting out a value of color value from 0.0 to 1.0. This value was multiplied by a factor of 90 to determine the rotation for each individual panel which grasshopper did a surprisingly great job distributing the values back over the grid. This allowed any panel in a zone with a white, or hot, value to self-adjust as open to ventilate, and vise-versa for any panel sitting on a pixel with a black, or cool, value. The result is a kinetic composition with potential response to a number of conditions such as sun exposure, programmatic light issues, and ventilation necessity.


Finished definition.

My fabricated version.

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