Posts tagged with "parametric design":

Play It Forward: A Temporary Interactive Installation

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.
  • Fabricators Hiroshi Jacobs, Jonathan Grinham, Kash Bennett, Jasmina Lopez, Sam Mrozinski, Alana Thurmond, Chris Weimann
  • Designers Hiroshi Jacobs, Jonathan Grinham, Kash Bennett
  • Location Washington, D.C.
  • Status Complete
  • Materials White polyethylene on MDF, Arduino microcontroller, photoelectric sensors, LEDs
  • Process Parametric design, digital fabrication, custom interactive sensor-driven technology
Once the design trio won 24-Hour's $1,000 grant to design their project, they had only a month to create it. Budget and time aside, the project's main challenge was modeling the entire interactive system by hand. “We had to integrate a number of systems into the fabrication,” said Jacobs. “It's the surface itself, the connections between units, and also the connections from the individual units to the structure. It's a little different from a project where you have one material and one connection system.” The piece was fabricated with the help of fabrication equipment and students from the School of Architecture and Planning at The Catholic University of America. Its exterior of white polyethylene was chosen for cost, and the project's units were sized so that two could be CNC-cut from a single 11-by-17-inch sheet. But the installation's exterior, a white, wavelike form that lights up in red, belies its complicated innards: 432 hardware connections, 72 photoelectric sensors, 288 LEDs, and more than 1,000 feet of electrical wiring, all assembled to create a new form of social interaction. Sensors located across the piece allow installation visitors to play a simple game in which LEDs provide visual feedback. For the initial presentation, each game resulted in between $1 and $4 being donated to KaBOOM!, a charity that builds playgrounds in needy neighborhoods. The piece generates a digital readout of how much money has been donated, while players are prompted to share their experience via social networks. This physical-digital interaction is made possible with an Arduino microcontroller working in conjunction with the sensors and LEDs. The designers describe the system in a project statement:
As the game is played, the microcontroller transmits game data via processing to an internet data hosting website called Pachube, which in turn is accessed by a custom-developed website that displayed statistics about the most-recent game. Players access the website on their smart phones by scanning an individualized QR code that is displayed on an Apple iPad near the installation.
For the next two weeks, the piece will be installed at Project 4 as part of an exhibition related to digital fabrication that will also include some of Catholic University's work for the Solar Decathlon. The designers see Play It Forward as part of a larger goal to influence architecture. “The most interesting thing to us is not any one of those individual technologies, but using them together,” said Jacobs. “I think this could happen on a bigger scale in a more permanent way.”

Trahan’s Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Museum

Cast stone and steel become the medium for collaboration at Trahan Architects’ newest project.

Trahan Architects’ Louisiana State Sports Hall Of Fame and Regional History Museum was designed with northern Louisiana’s geography in mind. Located in Natchitoches, the oldest settlement in the Louisiana Purchase, the 28,000-square-foot building overlooks Cane River Lake at the boundary of the Red River Valley. While the museum’s exterior will be clad in a skin of cypress planks, a nod to the area’s timber-rich building stock, the interior spaces will be formed by a skin of more than 1,000 cast stone panels resembling land shaped by eons of moving water. As the panels begin to be installed, AN went behind the scenes to learn how the project is taking shape.
  • Fabricators/consultants CASE Inc. (BIM manager and fabrication technology consultant), Method Design (geometry and steel detailing consultant), David Kufferman PE (specialty steel consultant), Advanced Cast Stone (cast stone fabrication)
  • Architect Trahan Architects
  • Location Natchitoches, Louisiana
  • Status Estimated July 2012 completion
  • Materials Cast stone, steel
  • Process Geometric resolution, structural analysis, steel detailing, BIM
Creating the building has been a largely collaborative effort. Texas-based Advanced Cast Stone will fabricate the stone panels, but the team involved in realizing the design also includes specialty steel consultant David Kufferman, steel geometry and detailing consultant Method Design, and Case, the firm providing the project’s fabrication modeling, BIM management, and technology consultation. Using Trahan’s 3-D documents, Case developed a set of customized automation procedures to create a final 3-D model with all of the stone panels, each with its own geometry. “If there’s not repetition with the panel typology, there can be repetition with the process of creating the files themselves and not necessarily the geometry,” said Case partner Ruben Suare. The firm’s software-agnostic approach allowed them to build the proper interface with a range of tools across ten different software packages. These models were used for structural analysis and coordination of all building systems, as well as for outputting shop tickets for use during fabrication. “This is an ideal situation for us because we are managing all 3-D information across the process,” said Case partner Federico Negro. They also created a clash-detection matrix to show where thickened panels would conflict with the project’s structural steel framework, to which the panels will be attached with embedded connections. Method Design served as a consultant to the engineer and stone fabricator to resolve these issues. “We basically had to develop tools to manage the tools,” said Method partner Reese Campbell, who previously worked with Negro at SHoP Architects. In all, Method designed 30 connection types for 1,150 panels, each with between 6 and 15 connections (each panel may attach with three to four connection types). Installation of the cast stone skin has begun and is scheduled for completion in the spring of next year, with an anticipated museum opening in the summer. Panels range in dimension from 2 by 2 feet to more than 15 feet square—the largest piece, to be installed on the atrium’s second floor, will weigh nearly 3 tons. Because panels are stacked in an offset-brick pattern, they must be installed in a specific order. “Not only is the finish of the piece important, its alignment with its neighbors and the grouting is important,” said Negro. “It’s a piece of sculpture.”