New Rhino Plugin, Ay-Karamba!

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Friday, August 16, 2013
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Eigenform_04

Justin Diles’ self-supporting Eigenform wall measures 11 feet in length, 6 1/2 feet in height, and varies in width from 2 inches to 2 feet. (Phil Arnold)

A fellow at the Knowlton School of Architecture expounds on the work of Le Ricolais with a new plugin for Rhino.

For Justin Diles, Ohio State University’s KSA LeFevre fellowship was a fateful progression of past experiences and ongoing professional work. While studying under Cecil Balmond at the University of Pennsylvania, Diles encountered hand-built models that Robert Le Ricolais constructed with his students in the 1960s. “Le Ricolais built models with his students for 20 years,” said Diles, “and one that I found he had built out of tubular steel and loaded to failure. It produced a really beautiful deformation pattern.”

Two years later, Diles was teaching at the University of Applied Arts Vienna in the master class studio of Greg Lynn. While in Austria, he met Clemens Preisinger, a developer who, with support from Klaus Bollinger’s firm Bollinger Grohman Engineers, wrote a new plugin for Rhino called Karamba. The plugin is an architect-friendly, finite, element analysis method that delivers fast, intuitive graphic information, along with the requisite numbers. The plugin would figure heavily in Diles’ fellowship work.

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Fallen Angels Rescued Parametrically

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Friday, July 12, 2013
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Boston Valley Terra Cotta restored four original 20-foot decorative angels in New York. (courtesy Boston Valley Terra Cotta)

Boston Valley Terra Cotta restored four decorative angels from the 23rd floor of a Beaux Arts building in New York. (courtesy Boston Valley Terra Cotta)

Classically trained sculptors breath new life into four 20-foot angels with the help of Rhino.

When Old Structures Engineering engaged Boston Valley Terra Cotta in the restoration of the 1896 vintage Beaux-Arts building at 150 Nassau Street in New York—one of the city’s original steel frame structures—the four decorative angelic figures, or seraphs, that adorned the corners of the uppermost story were in serious decay. “Up close, they were in an appalling state,” said Andrew Evans, engineering project manager. “The biggest issue we had with the angels was understanding what happened with the originals.”

The seraphs were carved from stone by Spanish immigrant Ferdinand Miranda in 1895 and had suffered years of exposure and improper maintenance. By the time the facade was up for rehabilitation, the angels were haphazardly strapped to the building with steel bands and supported with bricks. Their state was such that repairs would not suffice and Boston Valley’s artisans began the task of recreating the 20-foot-tall Amazonian figures.

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The Cartesian Collection: A 17th Century Design Reboot

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Friday, June 28, 2013
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The Cartesian Collection by Alexander Purcell Rodrigues was fabricated from 1/2-inch thick aluminum by the Neal Feay Company. (courtesy Alexander Purcell Rodrigues)

The Cartesian Collection by Alexander Purcell Rodrigues was fabricated from 1/2-inch thick aluminum by the Neal Feay Company. (courtesy Alexander Purcell Rodrigues)

An ambitious designer used Rhino to design and fabricate 20 variations on a chair in four months.

For a designer aiming to streamline the gap between design and manufacturing, parametric modeling tools are a natural solution. LA-based Alexander Purcell Rodrigues found a place to work in just such a way at the Neal Feay Company (NF), a 60-year old fabrication studio in Santa Barbara, California, that is known for its exceptional metalworking. Together, the designer and the fabrication studio created the Cartesian Collection of chairs, aptly named for the analytic geometry that helped facilitate close to 20 design variations on the same aluminum frame in just under four months. “Not only were we pushing the boundaries of aluminum fabrication, the aim was to simultaneously create a lean manufacturing process,” said Rodrigues.

Using Rhino with a Grasshopper plugin, Rodrigues developed a design for a chair that weaves together the simplicity of Western design with the complex ornamentation of traditional Eastern aesthetics. While the lines of the chair are clean and smooth, intricate embellishments on the back traverse multiple planes and angles, all on a shrunken scale. The time savings involved in designing with Rhino allowed the creation of another 19 variations on the theme. Read More

Memory Cloud Taps Tradition At Texas A&M

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Friday, May 24, 2013
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Memory Cloud Texas A&M tradition with an active constellation of animated LEDs.

Memory Cloud embodies Texas A&M tradition with an active matrix of animated LEDs. (Courtesy Metalab)

Re:site and Metalab’s site-specific installation for Texas A&M’s 12th Man Memorial Student Center uses 4,000 networked LEDs to create an animated display that speaks to tradition as well as to the future.

The Corps of Cadets. Kyle Field. The 12th Man. Reveille. Texas A&M has more than a few strong traditions, most of which are centered around and given expression by the university’s football games and its alumni’s illustrious history of military service. At the same time, the school is well known for its robust and forward thinking science and engineering departments. Both of these characteristics factored into the conception for a permanent sculpture to inhabit A&M’s new Memorial Student Center (MSC). Created by art collaborative RE:site and design and fabrication studio Metalab (both located in Houston) the sculpture, titled Memory Cloud, is a chandelier of 4,000 white LEDs that are animated by two distinct feeds: one derived from archival footage of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band, the other from live infrared cameras that monitor people passing through the center’s atrium.

“To interpret tradition visually we thought of moving patterns of people,” said Norman Lee of RE:site. “A&M has a strong marching band. If you remove the specifics of what the band is wearing and focus on the movements, they’re the same from 1900 to now. Once you reduce the figures from archival footage to silhouette patterns, you can’t identify the different points in time. Time and space collapse and bring together the school’s tradition in visual terms.”

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LMN Architects’ Collaborative Sound Cloud

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Friday, May 17, 2013
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LMN Architects designed a high-performing ceiling canopy that unifies the many features of traditional theatrical and acoustic systems. (courtesy LMN Architects)

LMN Architects designed a high-performing ceiling canopy that unifies the many features of traditional theatrical and acoustic systems. (courtesy LMN Architects)

A system of 946 unique panels will produce optimal acoustics and aesthetics at the University of Iowa’s new School of Music.

For a 700-seat concert hall at the new School of Music at the University of Iowa, Seattle-based LMN Architects wanted to design a high-performing ceiling canopy that would unify the many features of traditional theatrical and acoustic systems. The result is a 150-foot-long by 70-foot-wide surface composed of 946 suspended, intricately laced panels that incorporate complex, interdependent, and at times conflicting systems—including lighting, theatrics, speakers, sprinklers, and acoustical functionality—in a unified architectural gesture.

“The system is sculptural for sure, but it had to conceal structural truss work, which was a major cost savings as opposed to building an acoustic container,” said Stephen Van Dyck, a principal at LMN Architects. The design team worked with both parametric digital and physical models to coordinate the structural system with the acoustic, theatrical, audio/visual, lighting, fire, and material elements of the canopy. “From Day One, it was a digital model,” he said. “We needed a smaller physical model to get everyone’s head around making this happen physically. A three-foot room model has a big impact on ability to conceive.” LMN fabricated the scale model, as well as a few full-sized components, on the firm’s 3-axis CNC mill. Read More

Get AIA CES Credits At Designx/Francis Bitoni Workshop.  Get AIA CES Credits At Designx/Francis Bitoni WorkshopJoin us for four days of hands-on digital design and fabrication workshops and at DesignX, hosted by the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, and earn your AIA CES credits! From May 18-21, you can join the industry’s leading experts at the Jacob Javits Center to get your hands dirty with the latest in web-based design apps, parametric design, and interactive modeling services. Stop by Saturday to get the lowdown on 3D printed fabrics from Francis Bitoni, the man behind Dita Von Teese’s miraculously printed gown. Learn how 3D printing is transforming the textile and fashion industries, and get started with the fundamentals of Rhino3D—the world’s leading modeling software. The workshop will cover the basics for creating your design, manipulating geometries, and preparing your textile model for 3D printing. Visit deisgnX.is to reserve your space now, and for more information of the workshops and events.

 

Tiled Topography from e+i studio

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Friday, May 3, 2013
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PiazzaCeramica_06

e+i Studio designed a modular, 50- by 60-foot pavilion surfaced entirely in Italian tile. (courtesy Ceramics of Italy)

e+i studio of New York won a design competition for their concept of a trade show pavilion made entirely from Italian tile.

Crafting a memorable and intimate environment within voluminous convention halls can be a daunting challenge. To establish a meaningful presence in such environs, Ceramics of Italy tapped into the A&D community with a competition in 2012 for unique booth designs to showcase the products of its manufacturers. Piazza Ceramica, designed by e+i Studio and fabricated by A&M Production, won the competition. Its proposal was installed at the Coverings Tile and Stone trade show in 2012 and 2013. Inspired by Italy’s social culture, architects Ian Gordon and Eva Perez de Vega used the idea of a public space to showcase tiles produced in Italy for a bespoke, modular pavilion that houses a multi-function program of a café, information kiosk, and restaurant.

The design utilizes a topographical approach to build up the pavilion’s perimeter with seating and display installed product. “From the beginning, we started to look at the topography in a series of parametric studies to determine the optimal stair/riser ratio to integrate the substructure of the two mounds,” said Perez de Vega. “From there, we wanted color to be an important component to showcase the qualities of the tile to transition smoothly from intense greens to reds to whites.” Read More

A Game of Cat’s Cradle with yo_cy

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Friday, April 19, 2013
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Cast Thicket is the winning submission of the APPLIED: Research through Fabrication competition.

Cast Thicket is the winning submission of the APPLIED: Research through Fabrication competition. (Kevin McClellan)

Kenneth Tracy and Christine Yogiaman of yo_cy applied research from working with concrete to dispel the singular material tendency of digital fabrication.

Out of 68 submissions from 17 countries across four continents, the winning proposal of Tex-Fab’s APPLIED: Research through Fabrication competition at the University of Texas at Arlington came from Kenneth Tracy and Christine Yogiaman of yo_cy, a collaborative design studio that utilizes digital techniques for maximum design effect. Their winning idea is called Cast Thicket, a study in tensile concrete that takes off in variations like a game of Cat’s Cradle.

“The initial idea was to apply our research toward the competition,” said Tracy. The designers used their experience with an Indonesian material called bilik—a soft, woven bamboo mat typically used as a vertical divider—that helped form a fabric, cast concrete wall for a residential project in Southeast Asia. “We wanted to make something from a construction material that is normally very heavy looking [and] invert the stereotype of the carved aesthetics of concrete to create something that is lacy, thin, and delicate.” Read More

Learn Parametric Design From the Pros at Facades+PERFORMANCE On April 11+12

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013
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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.

Pyramid Scheming with Michigan Architecture Students

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Friday, March 29, 2013
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Four truncated pyramidal units make up Stalactites. (Harold-Sprague Solie and Geoffrey Salvatore)

Four truncated pyramidal units made from Bristol board make up Stalactites. (Harold-Sprague Solie and Geoffrey Salvatore)

Two students in the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning designed a textural, horizontal installation with complete transparency.

When Harold-Sprague Solie and Geoffrey Salvatore developed their decorative 12- by 5-foot ceiling installation Stalactites for a graduate course with Tsz Yan Ng at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning, the goal was to produce a design and fabrication process with an accompanying detailed set of documents. “We wanted to take the focus away from just the object at the end and go through a set of drawings to help [the viewer] understand the installation and bring him or her into it,” said Salvatore. He expressed the desire for complete transparency, since architecture tends to conceal the labor details, and explained that this process helps expose some of the hidden logic of the project.

So while the drawings began as aids for viewing and understanding the project, they became useful as Solie and Salvatore went through the design process. “[As we worked] we’d have these drawing to fall back on; to rediscover ideas, to catch mistakes and reveal things we’d have missed,” Solie said. Read More

Aidlin Darling’s Ribbed Canopy

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Friday, March 22, 2013
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Aidlin Darling Design's 46-foot-long canopy evokes plumes of smoke.

A 46-foot-long canopy of painted MDF evokes plumes of smoke in a San Francisco barbecue restaurant. (Matthew Millman Photography)

With the help of Laser Alliance and Chris French Metal, Aidlin Darling Design crafted a hanging ceiling canopy composed of 180 wooden ribs.

Wexler’s refined spin on farm-to-table barbecue in San Francisco’s financial district offers guests an authentically char-grilled dining experience, minus the smoldering cinders. Inspired by its progressive grill menu, local multidisciplinary firm Aidlin Darling Design dreamed up a 46-foot-long billowing ceiling canopy that hovers over the dining room like a plume of smoke. The feature also extends to the exterior, doubling as an awning over the main entrance that beckons passersby.

“The original design, based on an undulating plane of smoke, was designed in both AutoCad and Rhino, [using the] lofting feature that extrapolates geometry between two curves,” said Adrienne Swiatocha, project architect for Aidlin Darling Design. The canopy’s softly curving profiles at the exterior and at the end of the wall were hand-drawn. The architects used Rhino to amplify and adjust these curves throughout the center portion of the canopy. This varying amplitude echoes the way smoke dissipates across a room. “[Then], we sliced the three dimensional plane every few inches to generate a bunch of curved line profiles, and offset it by 5 inches to create a second, curving, thickened line.” Read More

Tietz-Baccon Dials Down The Volume in a Textural Chicago Office

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Friday, March 15, 2013
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The "fin" feature wall measures 10 feet by 160 feet. (Christopher Barrett)

Raw material was juxtaposed against lacquered MDF at the bottom that alternates for textural variation as well as durability. (Christopher Barrett)

Tietz-Baccon fabricated a 7-foot by 23-foot freestanding wall, and a 10-foot by 160-foot decorative wall for Enova’s Chicago offices.

As more and more companies embrace open workspaces that support collaborative and impromptu group work, acoustics are of utmost importance to employee productivity. To craft sound-absorbing feature walls for the Chicago offices of financial firm Enova, Brininstool + Lynch turned to fabrication studio Tietz-Baccon. Their six-person facility in Long Island City, New York, makes bespoke solutions for a variety of design-minded clients who appreciate—and ultimately benefit from—the founders’ architectural background: Erik Tietz and Andrew Baccon met as students at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.

“On the fabrication end, we take nonstandard projects and make them achievable by relying heavily on our digital capabilities,” Baccon said. “Brininstool + Lynch had a concept that was worked out very well and was looking for someone who could execute on a tight budget in a short period of time.” According to Baccon, the architects came to the fabricators with a family of shapes and a way of aggregating them, which was then applied to different materials, helping Tietz-Baccon deliver finished projects very close to the firm’s original requests. “There was good collaborative discussion, and a back-and-forth to tweak and bring the concept to realization. They didn’t have to compromise their idea that much.”

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