Monthly Archives: July 2011

Computational Architecture//Michael Hansmeyer

Well, its been a while since the last time a saw something that amazing/impressive.
The images following are from the work of Michael Hansmeyer-(Michael Hansmeyer is an architect and programmer who explores the use of algorithms and computation to generate architectural form. He is currently based in the CAAD group at ETH’s architecture department in Zurich. He holds an MBA degree from Insead Fontainebleau as well as a Master of Architecture degree from Columbia University. He previously worked with McKinsey & Company, J.P. Morgan, and at Herzog & de Meuron architects.)

A small text description about his approach//

What method, what system, does an architect use to design a building? How are programmatic needs and context – with their degrees of freedom and constraints – translated into architectural design?

Regardless of their complexity, the tasks and decisions involved can be formalized as an algorithm. As such, algorithms provide a framework for articulating and defining both input data and procedures. This formalization can promote structure and coherency, while systemically maintaining full traceability of all input.

In recent years, algorithms in architecture have been able to transcend their role as frameworks of formalization and abstraction. This has been made possible in a large part by the integration of scripting languages into CAD programs. Algorithms’ output can now be directly visualized, and through digital fabrication methods this output can be built.

This opens up a new role for algorithms as a design tool. As such, they provide the benefits of depth and breadth. On the one hand, their computational power can address processes with a scale and complexity that precludes a manual approach. On the other hand, algorithms can generate endless permutations of a scheme. A slight tweaking of either the input or the process leads to an instant adaptation of output. When combined with an evaluative function, they can be used to recursively optimize output on both a functional and aesthetic level.

Yet beyond this, a computational approach to architecture enables the generation of the previously unseen. Forms that can longer be conceived of through traditional methods become possible. New realms open up.

The projects presented seek to explore algorithms and computation as a generative design tool, and to merge these with existing design processes to produce a new architectural form.

A full-scale, 2.7-meter high variant of the columns is fabricated as a layered model using 1mm sheet. Each sheet is individually cut using a mill or laser. Sheets are stacked and held together by poles that run through a common core.

The calculation of the cutting path for each sheet takes place in several steps. First, the six million faces of the 3D model are intersected with a plane representing the sheet. This step generates a series of individual line segments that are tested for self-intersection and subsequently combined to form polygons. Next, a polygon-in-polygon test deletes interior polygons. A series of filters then ensures that convex polygons with peninsulas maintain a mininimum isthmus width. In a final step, an interior offset is calculated with the aim of hollowing out the slice to reduce weight.

While the mean diameter of the column is 50cm, the circumference as measured by the cutting path can reach up to 8 meters due to jaggedness and frequent reversals of curvature. The initial prototype uses 1mm grey board. Tests using ABS, wood, as well as metal are under way.

further images/infos pay a visit to his website (+)

Pig City//by MRDV

I suppose most of you are familiar with the work of MRDV; refreshing our memory with some of their great projects is always a good way to appreciate or feel sad about up-to date proposals for similar problems. *dont miss the video at the end of the post!

“In 2000, pork was the most consumed form of meat at 80 billion kg per year. Recent animal diseases such as Swine Fever and Foot and Mouth disease are raising serious questions about pork production and consumption. It is evident that the current pork industry cannot proceed in the same way without causing many casualties.

Two opposing reactions can be imagined. Either we change our consumption pattern and become instant vegetarians or we change the production methods and demand biological farming. 
Let us assume that we remain pork-eaters. Do we then have enough space for biological pig farming?

With a production of 16,5 million tons of pork, The Netherlands is the chief exporter of pork within the European Union.  In 1999, 15.2 million pigs and 15.5 million humans officially inhabited The Netherlands. One pig needs an area of 664 m2, including current food processing: composed of 50% intensive grain production and 50% industrial by-products.

In the case of organic farming, pigs would be fed with 100% grain, leading to a required 130% more field surface due to the reduced grain production. This would cause a demand of 1726 m2 per pig, including the organic food processing. This would mean that there would be only 774 m2 per person left for other activities. In other words, 75 % of the Netherlands would be dedicated to pigs.
Can we combine organic farming with a further concentration of the production-activities so that there will be enough space for other activities? Is it possible to compact all the pig production within concentrated farms, therefore avoiding unnecessary transportation and distribution, and thereby reducing the spread of diseases? Can we through concentrated farming, create the economical critical mass to allow for a communal slaughterhouse, a self-sufficient fertiliser recycler and a central food core, so as to solve the various problems found in the pig-industry?”



Venice CityVision Competition//Results

Venice CityVision results just came out few hours ago. You can check out the winners and honorable mentions here (+); some of them are super interesting and some potentially great ambitious failures.
From my point of view I would just like to present you the project I enjoyed more from the finalist’s list.Simple gesture, no theoretical bullshit to backup two images and well presented. Well played by H7T3D1 team!


text submitted by the team:

“Undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man” Luigi Barzini, writing in The New York Times Venice has been known as the “city of Water”, “City of Bridges”, The Floating City” and “City of Canals” Basic Condition Sinking of Venice | Venice is now sinking. Some scientists prognosticate that Venice will whole disappear under the water, for about 100 years. Eurodisney | Venice is regarded as a “living Museum” and its residents have become a “spectacle” of tourism. This fact may very well be the cause of residential decline. Also, the competition for foreigners to buy homes in Venice has made prices rise so highly that numerous inhabitants are forced to move to more affordable area of Veneto and Italy.

Key Principle

Coral Rings | The general form of a kind of coral, Brain Coral, is adopted to make Venice as a coral=like city. Small island will be enclosed by small rings of coral to form a small community. These rings are able to protect Venice from flooding arrack. Glass tunnels | The so-called name of Venice, “City of Bridge”, will not be destroyed as bridges will be protected by glass tubes. Pier Underwater | The problems of inaccessibility in Venice will be improved by wider canals and will be eased by incorporating transport underwater. “pier underwater” will be a side product of this new type of transport which takes great advantage of the increasing water level. Residential Hubs | In the future city planning, some coral rings will be mainly served for inhabitation. This is beneficial to define living cluster in a more unified and private sector. Also, the coral rings will provide plenty of residential units. Glass Coral Rings | The coral rings are made of glass. It becomes an eye-catching one as blooming city life of Venice can be seen through the coral rings.Green Skyline |  A piece of green yard will be formed on the roof of the buildings if some group of buildings are old enough and have to be rebuilt. When Fish is in a labyrinth| The existing problems of orientation will be regarded as a uniqueness of Venice


Typical Rings | It is the basic idea to resolve the immersible threat in Venice. It aims to preserve the existing group of building. Inhabitable Rings | Plenty of flats is provided in the rings. It signifies the unification of residential clusters and weakens the effect of “living in museum”. Green Rings | In dealing with lack of public space, a piece of green yard will be formed on the roof of buildings. Iconic Rings | It is made of glass which enable people to see-through city lift inside and canal life outside rings.

The Ruins of Detroit//by Yves Marchand

“At the end of the XIXth Century, mankind was about to fulfill an old dream. The idea of a fast and autonomous means of displacement was slowly becoming a reality for engineers all over the world. Thanks to its ideal location on the Great Lakes Basin, the city of Detroit was about to generate its own industrial revolution. Visionary engineers and entrepreneurs flocked to its borders.

In 1913, up-and-coming car manufacturer Henry Ford perfected the first large-scale assembly line. Within few years, Detroit was about to become the world capital of automobile and the cradle of modern mass-production. For the first time of history, affluence was within the reach of the mass of people. Monumental skyscrapers and fancy neighborhoods put the city’s wealth on display. Detroit became the dazzling beacon of the American Dream. Thousands of migrants came to find a job. By the 50’s, its population rose to almost 2 million people. Detroit became the 4th largest city in the United States.

The automobile moved people faster and farther. Roads, freeways and parking lots forever reshaped the landscape. At the beginning of the 50’s, plants were relocated in Detroit’s periphery. The white middle-class began to leave the inner city and settled in new mass-produced suburban towns. Highways frayed the urban fabric. Deindustrialization and segregation increased. In 1967, social tensions exploded into one of the most violent urban riots in American history. The population exodus accelerated and whole neighborhoods began to vanish. Outdated downtown buildings emptied. Within fifty years Detroit lost more than half of its population.

Detroit, industrial capital of the XXth Century, played a fundamental role shaping the modern world. The logic that created the city also destroyed it. Nowadays, unlike anywhere else, the city’s ruins are not isolated details in the urban environment. They have become a natural component of the landscape. Detroit presents all archetypal buildings of an American city in a state of mummification. Its splendid decaying monuments are, no less than the Pyramids of Egypt, the Coliseum of Rome, or the Acropolis in Athens, remnants of the passing of a great Empire.

This work is thus the result of a five-year collaboration started in 2005.”

Ruins are the visible symbols and landmarks of our societies 
and their changes, small pieces of history in suspension.
The state of ruin is essentially a temporary situation that happens at 
some point, the volatile result of change of era and the fall of empires.
This fragility, the time elapsed but even so running fast, lead us to watch them one very last time : 
being dismayed, or admire, making us wondering about the permanence of things.
Photography appeared to us as a modest way 
to keep a little bit of this ephemeral state.

credits/ Marchand & Meffre (+)
yo/ (+)

Raumlabor//Big Crunch

The last 3-4 weeks; since I saw them lecturing in Paris, I have been a great follower and fan of Raumlabor‘s work. I have previously blogged about them (+), however the “big crunch” project is so inspiring for me; in so many ways, that could not resist posting it here//short,quick and visual for a sunday afternoon.enjoyyy

“….the core of the Big Crunch consists of a tubular metal frame that has been wrapped in strips of wood lattice. Various debris are hung from this foundation, and the center of the mound features a small room with openings at both ends. The materials are layered to create a sense of direction and movement that flows from the entrance to the direction of the theater.

Taking discarded items from civilization and combining them in a frenetic mound is a provocative statement — Raumlaborberlin sees it as “a gathering place and forum for conflict and discussions.” Like the eye of a storm, the frenzied chaos is haunting. The structure seems to have been assembled by another force – one that has left behind a trail of debris composed of items that society no longer deems valuable. Whether visitors are amused by the work or other emotions arise, we hope they are up-to-date on their tetanus shots.”

Discussion//How Big Africa Really Is???

Once again the importance of visualizing data is celebrated by this map!

It’s about 11.7 million square miles, which is really big—big enough to fit the United States, China, India, Japan, and much of Europe within its borders. And that’s precisely what Kai Krause did with this inventive map, “The True Size of Africa”, which he describes as his contribution to “the fight against rampant Immappacy.

What is immappacy? Krause explains:

“…In addition to the well known social issues of illiteracy and innumeracy, there also should be such a concept as “immappacy,” meaning insufficient geographical knowledge. 

A survey of random American schoolkids let them guess the population and land area of their country. Not entirely unexpected, but still rather unsettling, the majority chose “1-2 billion” and “largest in the world,” respectively.

Even with Asian and European college students, geographical estimates were often off by factors of 2-3. This is partly due to the highly distored nature of the predominantly used mapping projections (such as Mercator). 

A particularly extreme example is the worldwide misjudgment of the true size of Africa. This single image tries to embody the massive scale, which is larger than the USA, China, India, Japan, and all of Europe … combined!”

*see original size of the map (+)

*credits/ good (+)

Mosquitoes//by Ken Kaplan & Ted Krueger

Digging in the archives of Lebbeus Woods’ blog (+), I found an article back from May 2010, which in my opinion has to be shared for every architecture fan, student, critic etc. Take a loot at the Mosquitoes!

“….In the annals of the architecture avant-garde, the team of Ken Kaplan and Ted Krueger—K/K R&D—occupies a truly unique place. Never before or since have satrire and humor been deployed to confront such serious architectural issues. The social criticism of Swift and the moral parables of Kafka live on in their writings and constructions, but also concepts such as the analog and renegade cities, which speak both to the mission of contemporary design and today’s spontaneous expansion of traditional urban centers. Their use of the machine is both a critique of functionalism and a call for hands-on invention that transcends corporate goals and limits. For Kaplan and Krueger, paradox and contradiction confound existing institutions of power, but at the same time are political opportunities for the rest of us. Their work is more relevant than ever.” 


*get Pamphlet Architecture 14 online from amazon (+)