Alessandra Fleck – Looking Outwards – 03

For this entry I wanted to look at an architect that takes parametric design methodology into high detail in her architectural designs as well as interpretive work. The Parametric Space Exhibition brought together by Zaha Hadid Architects and motion designers, Wahlberg. These ceiling embedded mechanisms move both physically and with their illuminance patterns according to the movement of those entering the exhibit. The information of those moving through the exhibit are taken from two laser scanners in the room. This information is then translated into parabolic motion in large cylinders driving the motion of the ceiling membrane which also corresponds to the RGB light reaction to the different heights and movements of the cylinders. The light is emitted in particle form, implying a sort of mesh to point grid algorithm that transcribes a motion, project it onto a mesh grid, then maps points onto key intersecting regions.

(The image above shows how the different mechanisms in the ceiling react in light to the visitor.)

The software and algorithms utilized in the project are not entirely specified. However, I believe it is a combination of grasshopper script mapped onto a 3D parabolic generated model in Rhino.

(The RGB particle light show is mapped onto the membrane of the ceiling.)

For more information:

Parametric Space by Zaha Hadid Architects

LookingOutwards-03 Sophia Kim-Sec C

One of Sean Ahlquist’s doctoral works that used Java based framework showing mutli-layer membrane systems.

This piece is one of many pieces in Sean Ahlqiust’s “Textile Morphologies.” Sean Ahlqiust did the scientific research while there were many collaborators for the design of the project, using Javascript and 3D printing. Among all the different computational fabrication projects, this one stuck out to me the most because it fuses design, science, and coding. I like this one specifically in the “Textile Morphologies” because it reminded me of the DNA molecules I learned in high school. I thought this piece focused on creating a relationship between all viewers and biology by showing wires connecting these “membranes” together. Using all his scientific research, Ahlqiust was able to approach all people with different skills/knowledge.


Textile Morphologies

Robert Oh-LookingOutwards-03

Caption: “Awesome 3D Printed Flexible Shoes” – RCLifeOn

I believe that one of the coolest and most interesting machines that utilizes computational digital fabrication is the 3D-printer. I personally have a 3D printer in my house, and playing around with it is incredible fun. My dad and I were able to create numerous little trinkets, ranging from door handles to fidget spinners.

And so, what intrigued me most about this project is how practical 3D printing has become. In this project, YouTuber RCLifeOn has 3D printer his own pair of colorful shoes! I admire the fact that 3D printing may be able to replace ever having to buy certain products again!

As for the algorithm, I know that there is a certain software that 3D printers use in order to print these objects out (you have to model the object in the software). In the video, the YouTuber claims to have used 3 different types of materials for the shoes: TPU, FilaFlex and NinjaFlex. I believe the creator’s colorful and creative imagination was able to bring this cool concept into life (who would’ve thought of 3D printing shoes?).

This only leads me to wonder, what other useful daily life items will we be able to 3D print in the near future?

Mimi Jiao Looking Outwards 3

Andrew Kudless’ installation in FRAC Centre, Orleans, France. Created in 2013. Made of fiber-reinforced thin-shell precast concrete panels mounted on a steel frame

Andrew Kudless, a designer and professor as well as the founder of the design firm Matsys, has created many generative physical and digital works. His creative interest lies in the manipulation of form, growth, and behavior in materials and their intertwining qualities of all of them in a system. This interest is clearly shown in his work P_Wall (2013), created first using software generated designs in Grasshopper, Rhino, and Kangaroo, and then translated into physical form through using a thin-shell concrete fabrication process that consisted in the use of fabric-cast plaster patterns and rubber molds. The initial form of this piece is what attracted me instantly. The design appeals to me on an intuitive and emotional level – the smooth curves tell me to get closer to it. It pulls me in and makes me want to touch it and bury my body in it. The irregularity in form is perfected through slight variations and inconsistencies throughout the installation while maintaining the core structure throughout. It begins to take me to somewhere familiar, and brings me to think of trees, or some other type of organic form. I admire his work because he is able to evoke the sense of familiarity and comfort in forms while using materials and fabrication methods that are typically not associated with such feelings. One thing that I would like to see more of is P_Wall (2013) in real time. I think this piece would be interesting as a time-based installation, where we can see people in the space interacting with the piece. It would be interesting to see how his exploration of form affects others from an emotional standpoint. Would people be like me and walk up to the work to touch and experience it? How and what aspects of the form appeal to people and what parts repels people? For me, I would definitely interact with this piece if it was presented in my life. It would be great to experience the physical qualities of something generated by computers; it is the coming together of digital and physical environments.

Looking Outwards 3 Liz Maday

One of Benjamin Dillenburger’s Rocailles. Rocaille refers to an architectural style with elaborate ornamentation.

The works that I chose to look at were Rocailles created by the architect Benjamin Dillenburger. These pieces inspire me because of how its complexity and precision alludes to the fact that it was produced through digital fabrication, while still reminding me of a design that could be found in nature. The shape of these structures seem reminiscent of shells, or ocean waves. The curves have a softness about them, but after looking at close ups, you can see the sharp, clean cut edges that form the whole.

I also like how these structures look like architectural designs that could be realized in larger form, although the structure itself doesn’t seem to serve any particular purpose. I see this as the artist’s way of integrating architectural design with expressive art.


Daniel Teague – Looking Outward 03

From “Towards Resiliency of Post-Soviet City Networks”
From “Towards Resiliency of Post-Soviet City Networks”

Name of Creator: Dana Cupkova

Project: Advanced Synthesis Option Studios? (Didn’t seem entirely clear if this was the name of the project or the program certain projects fell under)

I clicked on this because of the interesting picture it had and its description, the latter of which is in the captions of both of the embedded pictures, and the former of which is the second embedded picture. The description the project page provided was interesting, talking about our need to change our approach towards design, architecture, and the environment as it becomes increasingly clear that humanity is having a major, and often negative, impact on the Earth’s biosphere. The project is supposed to help students test and practice new ideas and methods in this context.

However, while this was incredibly interesting, it failed to provide links to and clear, obvious examples of the works of students who have participated in this project. Indeed, my confusion with whether this is an actual project or just a program was due to said failure, especially as it was clear there are works by previous students.

That said, the algorithms involved in any of the works in this project obviously included some connection to the environment in which the works would take place, and it was clear the author (or possibly director) had a great interest in the interaction between civilization and the world around it.

Note: While it was clear this project was at least a few years old, with references to at least 2015 and 2016, there was no clear statement of when the project was started.

Rjpark – Looking Outwards 03

Photo of 3D printed sculpture of Obama’s speech

Gilles Azzaro’s 3D printed sound sculptures are works of art that honor the things he finds important in life like his friend’s baby’s first cry or Neil Armstrong speaking about walking on the moon. In this specific project, Azzaro created a sculpture of sound waves from Obama’s speech, The Next Industrial Revolution. In order to do this, it took 2 printers and 200+ hours as well as an installation of a green light that follows the sound waves as the speech is told. You can tell through the green light that the creator cared not only about the visual or auditory aspect of the project but also about the connection between the two. In fact, I admire that addition (green light) to the project the most. It’s already fascinating enough to try creating a visual representation of sound but it’s even more fascinating to connect an audience’s auditory and visual sense with something as simple as a green light running across the sculpture for the audience’s eyes to follow. I find the attention to this small but important detail really admirable and innovative. This 3D printing project serves not only as a piece of beautiful artwork but also as a testament to important historical and worldly events.

3D Printing Project

Gilles Azzaro

Yingying Yan LookingOutwards-03

Axon of the building, showing how it responded to the context.

Zaha Hadid is the first female winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. She is also one of my favorite architects. She is known for using the computer and making parametric designs. Galaxy Soho, in Beijing, is one of the most representative projects by Zaha Hadid.

Closer view of the flow of the form.

The design is responsive to the Rings, or the site context. I am most admire about the fact that Zaha was able to control every single curve of the building, and resulted in a piece of art that similar to a Chinese courtyard. The building is used as the office and retail space. It is basically four continuous, flowing volume. I could not find any related algorithm, but I know that Grasshopper is a software that can make building’s like that. It really shows me how powerful computer is these days.

Floor plan of the building, showing how it is one flowing volume.

Tanvi Harkare – Looking Outwards – 03

One of the projects discussing computational digital fabrication is part of the MAAD program at CMU. In addition to fabrication, the program consists of architectural robotics and ecological thinking. There are multiple different studios that you can choose from in this program, but the one that interests me the most deals with experimentation with new and different materials that explore contemporary design techniques. The design process starts with using some type of algorithm to create a parametric design. Next, this can be translated into either a physical model or a 2D drawing. Some digital fabrication tools that are helpful to completing projects include 3D modeling software, robotic arms, laser cutting machines, and a CNC router. 

A 3D model created using computational design software

As an architecture undergraduate student at CMU, I’m interested in any future paths I might be able to take. The importance of computational fabrication is increasing greatly in architecture schools; we are taught computational fabrication as early as the second year of the undergraduate program. For example, we had to create an object using fiberglass and resin that was designed using a computational program called Grasshopper, which works through the 3D modeling software Rhino. 

An example of Rhino 3D modeling software and a Grasshopper script



This work was created by David Bowen over a course of a few days which involved a drone running ArduPilot software; it hovered 30 meters above Lake Superior and captured still images of the water’s surface. The surface ripples changed every time the weather was different and Bowen captured these images and converted them into three-dimensional displacement maps. The information was carved with a CNC router into a series of transparent acrylic cylinders.

David Bowen was influenced by the relationship between natural and mechanical systems: he had other projects that related to this topic. His previous project, Underwater, was a large scale, real-time installation that captured the surface of waves through hundreds of servo-motors. I believe he was inspired by the topic and his previous works that made him continue his research and thus create another work. Through his projects, he wanted to “provide an immersive mechanical perspective of a natural, dynamic and ageless phenomenon.”

In my previous Looking Outwards assignments, I researched a couple that were similar to this topic. I am very fascinated by the idea of nature coming together with technology to create beautiful pieces. It was very intriguing that he used clear acrylic to cut this out because it displays the delicacy of the water through the material: it captures the beauty of nature in a man made work. However, he only made 5 of these cylinders and I wish he made a room filled with them to display the vast scale of a ocean/lake. Overall, I am very interested in CNC routers because I am an art student and I am working as a monitor to help out with students to use CMU’s CNC router in Doherty Hall. I’ve actually created works with the machine before and will keep working to create more meaningful art!