Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) associate Neil Katz describes his approach to crafting facades as involving a “computational design” methodology. In computational design, the architect generates solutions to a particular problem by first defining a set of rules and criteria for the model. Though the many tools Katz uses during this process include intangibles like “a desire to explore as many valid options as possible” and his office’s collaborative environment, in many instances he also performs literal computation—specifically, parametric modeling. Katz will moderate a panel on “Creating Complex Facades with Parametric Control” at next month’s Facades+ Chicago symposium. On day two of the conference, he and SOM colleague Joel Putnam will lead a dialog workshop on “New Techniques in Parametric Design." Parametric modeling can be the means to several ends, explained Katz. First, it can be used to explore a building’s massing, taking into account constraints like program, site, climate, context, and the overarching design concept. When applied to facade panelization, meanwhile, parametric control works with a different set of rules, including the relative flatness of the facade or the desire for regularity or other panel properties. Finally, observed Katz, “analysis and simulation, and visualization of the results, is also part of the parametric process—and can be a parametric process in its own right.” Katz’s affinity for parametric design is in part an outgrowth of his interest in programming. “Even in school, but especially when I started working at SOM, this ability became a natural part of creating models, and performing many of the tasks I was given,” he said. During the 1980s, as a design student enrolled in computer science courses, he was an anomaly. But that may be changing. “For many years, engineers [also had to have] some expertise at programming to do their work,” said Katz. “That’s becoming true for architects as well. I would say that most architecture students are now interested in acquiring and using this skill.” He has observed a similar shift among his fellow architects at SOM. “More and more, my colleagues are building their own models, and my contribution is helping to develop a strategy to make the model as powerful and flexible as possible,” said Katz. Like Katz, his co-panelists are working to solve some of the challenges inherent to parametric design, including the time it takes to perform the various analyses. Tristan d’Estrée Sterk, of Formsolver and ORAMBRA, is “currently developing a tool (Formsolver) which will allow architects to easily optimize a building’s form and material use as little energy as necessary,” said Katz. Matthew Shaxted will also join the conversation. Parallel.Works, the firm he co-founded, gives AEC industry professionals access to the computing power necessary to perform many of the analyses described above. “Parallel.Works does not create new tools, as Formsolver does, but allows people to use existing tools in a more powerful way,” observed Katz. Thornton Tomasetti vice president Hauke Jungjohann is the third member of the panel. A specialist in parametric modeling, form optimization, and digital information transfer, Jungjohann leads the Facade Engineering practice for the firm’s East U.S. Region. Hear from Katz, d’Estrée Sterk, Shaxted, Jungjohann, and other leaders in the field of building envelope design and fabrication November 5-6 at Facades+ Chicago. Learn more and register today by visiting the Facades+ website.
Posts tagged with "parametric modeling":
On September 12, New York–based practice Marc Fornes/Theverymany broke ground on its largest project to date, the Chrysalis Amphitheater project. The parametric structure's fluid form is intended to define a public space and live performance venue for outdoor gigs and shows. https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=3&v=cAphf_W4kYE With its classic Marc Fornes aesthetic of scale-like parts forming a larger mass, the transitional space has a form resembling a Taxodium distichum (the Swamp Cypress tree commonly grows in eastern U.S. marshland). The enormous roots create a multifunctional space with the back of the stage being available for children's performances and other openings facilitating the loading and unloading of goods for the performances. Located in Meriwether Park, Columbia, MD, the project currently has a budget of $3.1 million and is set for completion in 2016. The scheme's versatility is aided by the use of various arched openings and a grand proscenium framing the stage. Inside its scaly skin, a system of lightweight aluminum supports, itself with an organic organizational system, holds up the amphitheater shell. The undulating curves and pleated forms contribute to the structural integrity of the design, allowing it to support a substantial light rig above the stage which will serve the performance spaces. While the scheme almost feels like a temporary installation, like many of the designer's projects before, the Chrysalis is embedded firmly into a concrete foundation. Outside of events and concerts, the structure can be used as a shelter from rain and provide shading during the summer. When the stage is not in use, the space's wooden decking is easily adaptable as a destination for social gatherings and public interaction. Seating arrangements and the layout of the arches frame views across the city, creating a calm environment that dramatically contrasts to its alter-ego as a gig venue. Marc Fornes/Theveryman said that Chrysalis' distinct shape is achieved via mesh inflation, a form-finding process. As can be seen in the video below, the structure is almost stretched from its anchoring base points on the ground which are also the nodes of the arches, thus allowing it to look as if some parts are billowing in the wind. These anchor points are also carefully spaced around the trees in the immediate vicinity, which appears to give its woody surroundings a mark of respect. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSRAKL9laH8 Finally, the complex structure has been colored in hues of bright green as a reaction to its setting in the park. The luminosity and brightness of these tones however, separate it from its natural environment, allowing it to stand out notifying passers by of its presence.
Piggybacking off the axiom that sex sells and anything Beyoncé-related has the potential to break the Internet, Australian architecture firm Elenberg Fraser has nabbed planning approval for a “Beyoncé tower” inspired by the superstar’s hourglass form. The Premiere Tower in Melbourne features an undulating shape that swells in and out at various points – purportedly a concession to “structural efficiency” in response to climate, wind, and “the limitations of the site.” To develop the unique form, the architects used parametric modeling, a type of responsive, computer-guided design where users can program in site-specific data so that the design corrects itself proportional to site constraints. “This project is the culmination of our significant research. The complex form – a vertical cantilever – is actually the most effective way to redistribute the building’s mass, giving best results in terms of structural dispersion, frequency oscillation and wind requirements,” Elenberg Fraser insists in a statement. More specifically, the 68-story structure is inspired by the dancers in Queen B’s music video, Ghost, released separately from her single ‘Haunted’ off her 2013 self-titled album. In it, naked dancers attempt to escape from cocoons of stretchy white fabric that adhere to their svelte figures, creating – if one were to really push it – amorphous towers of curve and sinew. Jokes have abounded over the Internet about the appealing possibility of living in Beyoncé's famous posterior. “For those more on the art than science side, we will reveal that the form does pay homage to something more aesthetic. We’re going to trust that you’ve seen the music video for Beyoncé’s Ghost,” say the architects. Located at 134 Spencer Street at the west end of Melbourne’s central business district, the tower will contain 660 apartments and 160 hotel rooms. The entire structure will be mounted on a stepped podium to be occupied by retail tenants. Public house the Savoy Tavern, which reopened in 2014 after being derelict for nearly 20 years, will be demolished to make way for the tower. Presently, the entire precinct will be replanned, with the goal of respecting its heritage buildings. “The whole precinct is designed with a more long-term view to urban design, creating a self-sustaining development,” says Elenberg Fraser. Construction for the $350 million project is estimated at 40 months, with no completion date yet announced. Meanwhile, controversy has ensued over the building’s potential to overshadow nearby Batman Park and the north bank of the Yarra River. The skyscraper, whose “spiraling curves recall the twists and turns of a woman dancing in black cloth,” joins the dubious leagues of MAD’s curvaceous, twisting skyscrapers in Mississauga, Canada, dubbed the “Marilyn Monroe towers” by local residents. The Chinese firm insists that the design arose as an “organic” antithesis to the boxy typology of urban buildings. With backup dancers becoming the architectural inspiration du jour, perhaps we can next expect a building modeled after Katy Perry’s Left Shark, AKA the Super Bowl Halftime Shark, which recently spawned a lookalike iPhone case designed by Perry herself.