Posts tagged with "Synthesis Design + Architecture":
Los Angeles–based Synthesis Design + Architecture (SDA) recently completed work on a 1,100-square-foot sheath for the IBM Watson Experience Center immersion room in San Francisco. The interpretive wrapper—fabricated by Arktura in Los Angeles and executed in conjunction with an overall interior design by Gensler’s San Francisco office—is designed to express data visualizations generated by IBM Watson’s computing powers while also concealing the 350-square-foot sales space from view.
For the project, the design team interpreted and translated data maps depicting the volume of digital sales on mobile devices between 2013 and 2015 in order to derive an expressive moiré-patterned cocoon made out of dual-layered, curvilinear CNC-milled aluminum plates. The plates, backed by bright white lights, can be read by Watson Center docents in order to express a so-called “data narrative” in which Big Data—data sets so complex or vast that conventional data processing can’t process them—plays the titular role charting the growing influence of mobile-based sales.
Describing the project, Alvin Huang, principal at SDA, said, “The kinetic moiré effect that is produced as visitors move around the immersion room breathes some life into the static pattern, which speaks to the fact that data is live and constantly changing—even though the installation itself is static.” IBM Watson Experience Center 505 Howard Street San Francisco Tel: (800) 426-4968 Architects: Synthesis Design + Architecture; Gensler
How Synthesis Design + Architecture and Formlabs crafted this year’s Best of Design Awards Grand Prize
At this year’s Best of Design Awards, winners were selected from 27 categories and each will take home a bespoke AN awards 3-D-printed trophy designed by Los Angeles studio Synthesis Design + Architecture (SDA) and fabricated by Somerville, Massachusetts–based printers Formlabs.
Founder and design principal of SDA and an assistant professor at the USC School of Architecture, Alvin Huang and his team settled on a final design after initially drafting up more than 20 ideas.
“We wanted to create an intricate, detailed form—something that would be impossible to do without a 3-D printer,” Huang said. To produce the design, Formlabs used transparent resin to reveal the design’s inner complexities. As part of his design process, Huang devised numerous iterations. “Parametric modeling makes everything smoother,” continued Huang.
The original design intent explored three-dimensional line drawings using modeling software such as Rhino and Grasshopper. However, after a number of tests, Huang ruled out this technique because of the laborious quantities of support material that were required to print. Instead, he employed a process that explored the variable scaling and extrusion of 2-D text to create a cloud of 3-D forms.
“It was important due to the time constraints that we revise the design of the trophy to match the constraints of the printing process of the machine. The change in direction allowed us to drastically reduce the amount of waste material printed (in the form of support structure) as well as the printing and post-production time,” Huang said.
The technique capitalized on the vertical movement of the material through the 3-D printer, enabling the detailed, intricate geometries of the individual letters to collectively form the trophy. The variable parameters that drove the model were the height of the extrusions, the scaling of the letters, and the density of the underlying matrix.
Huang was also pleased to work with Formlabs, which will be producing the physical award. The studio’s high-resolution 3-D printers made Huang’s design, in his words, “easy to achieve” and “smoothed out the processing of the designs.”
Zach Frew of Formlabs said, “We wanted to push the limits of 3-D printing with Synthesis’s design. This means that we started with the highest level of complexity and iterated downward—evaluating any changes needed in the design after each print. 3-D printing allowed us to rapidly develop prototypes and progress towards the final design.”
Frew continued, explaining that Formlabs’ high-resolution printers allowed Huang creative freedom. “Traditional manufacturing techniques are restricted in the level of complexity and detail they can achieve. Older subtractive technologies like CNC tooling are unable to resolve intricate details or create complex internal structures.”
“Because 3-D printing is an additive technology that produces one layer at a time with precision, more complex geometries can be created,” he said. “Synthesis’s design takes advantage of this. The Form 2 [printer] offers a very high level of detail and precision that makes relational designs easier and more reliable to produce. The machine typically produces parts with less than 200 microns of deviation from the original model. This means that designers can be confident that their models will function and relate as designed. SLA printed parts are also much easier to sand and post-process so modifications can quickly be made.”
Despite its prowess in the niche field, Formlabs prints more than just trophies. “3-D printing excels at creating rapid prototypes and visualizations,” added Frew. “Architects are able to produce scale models of their designs and ensure that each of the parts interact as desired. Printing tangible models that previously only existed within design software is an invaluable tool for helping architects to evaluate and iterate on their designs.”
The facade and roof serve as a the graphic identity for the 20,000 sq. ft. building while acting as a veil which reveals and conceals views.The Groove provides an extension to CentralWorld, the third largest mall in the world. At 6,000,000 sq. ft., the mall is comprised of three towers: an office tower, a lifestyle tower (including a gym, dentist and doctors offices, schools, etc.), and a hotel tower. The main shopping center includes four department stores and a convention center. Sited at an existing entry plaza to the office tower, which feeds an underground parking garage, the project came to Synthesis’ office with several structural design constraints. The weight of the addition was limited, causing the design team to incorporate a specific steel frame with a grid coordinated to the bay spacing of the parking garage immediately below grade. Alvin Huang, Founder and Design Principal of Synthesis Design, says this helped save time at the start of the design process. At 20,000 sq. ft., the project, jokes Huang, is “the punctuation on the paragraph.” The design team approached the project with a concept aimed at providing an intermediary space – an “intimate atmosphere” – within Bangkok’s predominant shopping district. Their strategy was to depart from a traditional single monolithic building (more of the same), developing instead an indoor/outdoor atrium space to link a series of buildings inspired by the Bangkok "soi" (Thai for side-streets) for their comfortable café-like pedestrian atmosphere. The building envelope of the Groove peels open to organically reveal openings rather than incorporating typical punched openings. An aluminum composite panel rainscreen system incorporates gradient patterning and integrated lighting to produce an exterior that is “intense, active, and slick” according to Huang. “The skin replicates the intensity of a specular effect of continually pulsating lights along Ponchet Road.” A warm interior spills out to the exterior via CNC-milled timber soffits, whose geometry peels outward, overlapping openings as a sort of exaggerated detailing found in an airplane window trim. The rainscreen panels were CNC milled by a local fabricator who utilized geometry from Huang’s office to produce a custom perforation pattern. “We didn’t want the architecture and the identity to be two different things,” says Huang. “The signage appears and disappears – a gradient that pulses and draws your eye toward openings.” Huang says as an office, Synthesis is generally interested in the relationship between the digital and the hand made. “We are highly digital in our design process. but in Thailand, most construction components are hand made and ultimately assembled by a labor force of limited experience, requiring simplification, not complexity.” Synthesis’ design office focuses on "digital craft" with a body of work that is driven by the relationship between fabrication and the act of making as part of the design process, says Huang. “What we are not interested in is designing, and then figuring out how you are going to make it.” The Groove is one of 37 projects currently nominated for "Building of the Year 2015," a poll open to the public through the end of January, 2016.