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Seven design variations are applied across 17 custom wooden benches, fabricated by Mark Richey Woodworking.
Sited above a vehicular tunnel and therefore bereft of old growth trees, the Plaza at Harvard University, with its aggregate porcelain paving and curvaceous, sculptural benches, stands in stark visual contrast to the school’s notably shady yard and north campus. Designed by Stoss Landscape Urbanism, the plaza serves as a multi-functional space for staff, students, and the local community. A large part of accomplishing this goal fell to the unique seating solution, a collection of custom-designed, wooden slat benches that aim to increase the function and user comfort of the public space. Some of the benches are meant for lounging with no back and a low seat height, while others are higher with full seat backs. Some twist in the manner of a Victorian tete-a-tete settee, while still others support a touchdown working posture.
Stoss’s design for the benches, sliced like a loaf of bread, was achieved in Rhino with a Grasshopper plugin. The parametric modeling tool was instrumental in defining the benches’ complex geometries. “At every change, the curves meet two general sections so there’s a morphology of that form work,” said Erik Prince, an associate at Stoss who worked on the plaza. “The wooden slats are an incremental radial splay of the overall geometry so every rib has a unique angle to it.” The design team produced a 3D model for each of the 17 benches. Since the benches were manufactured based on information contained in the digital files, a substantial portion of time was spent developing accurate models that could be extrapolated for the fabrication process. Read More
Interested in learning how to build parametric design models using Grasshopper for Rhino3D? DesignX, in conjunction with the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, is offering a workshop on Monday, May 20, 2013 from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM that focuses on fundamental concepts and mechanisms with an emphasis on professional practice. Instructors Ronnie Parsons and Gil Akos will help participants understand pertinent applications of parametric design and will demonstrate how to use Grasshopper in creative practices. Interiors, architects, and anyone seeking to find out what parametric design is and when it is useful can register and attend. The workshop fulfills two AIA CEUs.
We know you’ve seen those sleek parametric designs that are all the rage in cutting-edge architecture, but have you ever wanted to make your own? Venturing into the software zoo of Grasshopper and Rhino can be daunting on your own, and understanding algorithms and computational geometry can sound like Greek to the uninitiated. Luckily, parametric expert Ronnie Parsons of Mode Collective has joined the upcoming facades+PERFORMANCE Conference taking place in New York City next week, April 11 and 12, and will help guide beginners into the exciting world of Parametric Design.
With a focus on fundamental concepts and workflows for creating performance-based design models with the parametric design tool Grasshopper for Rhino3D. Parsons’ Technical Workshop, Introduction to Parametric Design, will guide participants through a series of exercises designed to emphasize the relevant applications of parametric design for professional practice.
Register today for the Introduction to Parametric Design workshop and the facades+PERFORMANCE before space fills up. There are 8 LU AIA CE credits up for grabs, so head on over to the facades+PERFORMANCE homepage for more information.
Intrigued by parametric architecture but don’t know where to begin? Meet Mode Lab, an online network connecting creatives to everything architectural and design related including courses, talks, and workshops that help teach how to use advanced systems like Data Trees, Grasshopper, and Kangaroo. Other courses offer lessons in Organic Modeling to Parametric Pleating to Algorithmic Design. The group just launched their new website, with several upgrades that make taking courses even easier. Courses are now easily sortable by format, subject, or software; a growing community of instructors have joined the Mode Lab team; payment has been streamlines; and work by Mode Lab members is now featured on the site. Mode Lab’s growing online destination is transforming the way designers and architects interact, share, and gain the skills and knowledge to develop innovative ideas.
Beverly Hills-based Poon Design has transformed a Pasadena home’s porch trellis into a modern mathematical marvel. Using a parametric algorithm, architects Anthony Poon and John Kim used translucent acrylic to create a perforated structure composed of water-jet-cut holes. Circles of varying sizes dot the trellis allowing light to softly filter in while still providing ample shade.
“The glowing pattern allows sunlight to stream in alongside constantly changing shadows,” said Poon. The wood frame of the 9-foot structure is supported by galvanized metal poles and covers a 550 square-foot deck made from wood and recycled plastic composite lumber planks. Hexagonal cut-outs pepper the deck reaching out towards the future pool, garden, and guest house. A tree will be planted in the largest opening and align with an aperture above for a truly contemporary look.
The Austrian company Evolute itself began with an evolution: in 2008 a research group on industrial design and geometric modeling at Vienna University of Technology founded a business. The goal? Deploy mathematicians, engineers, and architects to create tools that facilitate the design and optimization of highly complex geometric forms.
In the October 12 workshop “Parametrically Driven Optimization for Freeform Facades” Florin Isvoranu, an architect who now leads Evolute’s outreach efforts, will focus on optimization of complex geometry envelopes for efficient and cost effective fabrication. Working in Rhino 4, EvoluteTools PRO 2.0, and Monkey Script Editor, Isvoranu will move step by step from design to optimization to detailing to generating fabrication information, and how to parametrically link these steps into an integrated workflow. The day-long event is part of Collaboration: The Art and Science of Building Facades, the Chicago edition of The Architect’s Newspaper‘s popular conference taking place October 11-12.
“We’ve always been interested in the tools used in architecture and have always tried to be critical of these tools,” stated the partners of Aranda/Lasch after being named finalists in MoMA PS 1’s Young Architect Program (YAP) in 2005. “At a certain point we began making our own computational tools and realized that we could make structures that organize space and put forth a way to practice architecture.” Fast forward seven years, and Benjamin Aranda and Chris Lasch continue to pioneer new forms through innovative scripting.
On July 27, Chris Lasch will lead Scripted Facades, a special workshop that is part of AN‘s upcoming conference Collaboration: the Art and Science of Building Facades, taking place July 26-27 in San Francisco.
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Part of this year’s Digital Capital Week, the project turns games into donations for a charitable cause.
When Washington, D.C.-area designers Hiroshi Jacobs, Jonathan Grinham, and Kash Bennett were asked to create an installation for Digital Capital Week’s 24-Hour City Project, which seeks to improve urban environments with creative technology, they knew it had to be more than just something to look at. The team created Play It Forward, an interactive, motion-sensing display that donates a small amount of money to charity each time someone plays with it. Unveiled at the technology festival’s closing party at Arena Stage and now part of an exhibit at D.C.’s Project 4 Gallery, the installation demonstrates how advanced parametric design and digital fabrication methods can work together to encourage interaction and promote social change in the process.