March 31 2011

Catching Up to the Parametric Revolution: Generating Forms and Graphics in Architecture

Last time, I discussed how architectural processes are being redefined with new methods such as producing conceptual sketches in generative graphics programs.  This should not be a surprise to most designers, as writing code is becoming an essential part of architectural practice. 

  • Parametricism

In the past few years architect Patrik Schumacher has lectured worldwide to discuss parametricism as a architectural style marking this time period.  While his strong beliefs have caused a lot of debate, few can deny that parametric equations have become an almost tangible material in building design today.

Using code in architecture is important because it creates a relationship and network in the design. Just as we are all connected through our access to the internet and social networks, the spaces of buildings can network when they come from the same scripts.

Recently, however, I realized than an architect’s designs do not have to be as complex as Zaha Hadid’s in order to use generated forms and graphics in a meaningful way.

  • Learning Parametricism

Over the past semester I have been attempting to catch up to the parametric revolution by starting to improve my modeling skills with scripting in Python and Grasshopper for Rhinoceros 3d, which has given depth to my current project and made its production easier.

However, up until now most of my training in scripting has been in the Java-based open source program, ProcessingWhile the parametric forms seen in many of the most popular designs today are constructed with complicated scripts and patterns by masters of programming languages, it has become easy for architects to be able to effortlessly express their ideas.

  • Processing and Technology Today

Quickly prototyping and visualizing abstract concepts is one of the luxuries of technology.  Processing does not require a powerful computer to generate compelling graphics so it can be operated on tools as common as an iPad or smartphone.

Not only is the language easy to learn, forms can also be generated instantly, ranging from the simple to extremely complex. Many would not use this method for later stages in production, but generating these graphics in 2d or 3d is useful for experimentation on the run, and these environments are easy to simulate and render if models need to be presented quickly.

Most tasks in life can be done remotely, why not the conceptual stage of architectural design?

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 31st, 2011 at 8:16 pm and is filed under Architecture. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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