Thursday, February 25, 2010

Actuated Tensegrity Module

In my thesis work, I am developing a complete actuated building enclousre. The screenshots above shows the current version, developed entirely in grasshopper. An actuated class one tensegrity structure is sandwhiched between two layers of actuated canvas screens, which unroll based on the position of the sun. The outermost layer is a canvas mullion system designed to protect the actuated componets within. More image to come....

Monday, February 15, 2010

Generative Mistakes

Recently I was writing a Grasshopper definition to create a pattern of rectangles arranged in a gravitational field around a curve. During my work, I accidently mis-ordered the lists of rectangles, and lofted surfaces between them (almost killing my computer). The result was not a blob or chaotic mess however, but something which had both variation in scale, as well as clearly defined solid and void space. I rendered some images of it, as a testament to the ability of parametrics to generate interesting forms even when we do not intend to. Similar to natural creations, these forms seem random, yet were developed through a predictable process.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Future of Beauty

I ran across this six part documentary video by British philosopher Roger Scruton. In it, he outlines the importance of beauty throughout history, what has become of it, and how we can return to it. His premise is that beauty is a quality which embodies the human desire to rise above the mundane, towards the divine. Scruton blames architects for the current lack of beauty in our environment, claiming that modern architecture has abandoned beauty and replaced it with utility.There are many references throughout the documentary to the beautiful architecture of past eras (Baroque, Renaissance, Rococo, etc), and it is clear the Scruton believes that architecture can be redeemed through a return to such ornamentation.

While I agree with his basic premise, I disagree that we should regurgitate the architecture of the past. I believe that the future of beauty lies in technology. It is true that a lot of Modern architecture leaves much to be desired, but contemporary avante garde designers are allowing beauty to once again drive their projects. Whereas Modernist architects like Mies sought simplified forms and closed logical systems, these designers seek beauty (not utility) through variety, repetition, scale, and composition.