Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Parametric Play

Modernists of the last century esteemed the idea that building components had predictable uses, and so they designed these components as static objects which meet intended needs. In the sixties, however, theorists such as Nicholas Negroponte and Charles Eastman recognized that designers could not accurately predict the range of future uses a space would serve, and thus could not properly provide for programmatic variation. Such theorists lead the way in investigating responsive architecture.
Today’s intensification of social and urban change, combined with the renewed concern for sustainability, amplifies the demand for responsive architecture. Advances in ubiquitous computing have made it possible to animate buildings in response to changing program or environmental conditions. The architect can now play the role of a catalyst for a design which evolves. Designers have begun using generative components, not only as form-finding instruments, but as actuated building systems.
This project is conceived to illustrate the form-finding potential of parametric models, as well as their potential to adapt to changing data. The tower-like form can change in height, width, rotation, and number of floors. Any number of additional programmatic variables can conceivably be added to the model. 
The skin of this project is composed of generative components, all of which are defined by a common algorithm. The algorithm determines the normal vector of each component, and produces a dot product from each normal vector and the solar angle (vector).  Base on the value of this product, apertures open or close to control light intake, similar to the movement of a pupil. While architectural day-lighting is much more complicated than what this system addresses, the model illustrates the ease by which designers can solve complicated issues through the use of generative components.


Jean said...

You mention that Architects, in this scenario, play the role of "catalyst for a design". If Architects become not the sole designers, but merely facilitators for design, what does that mean for the profession?

Thomas said...

That is a good question which deserves attention. Look out for a post on the subject shortly.