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Saturday, September 3, 2016

A Building About Mixing, Shaped By Mixing

By: Shawn Gaebel
Course: ARCH 8251 - Graduate Design Studio 1
Instructors: Gayla Lindt and Andrew Lucia

For GD1 studio we were tasked with designing a building for the Institute for Figuring, a combined studio/living space/gallery for a resident mathematician, and artist. Initially, I was interested with the site’s place within the competition between various neighborhoods and how those borders have changed over time. Specifically mapping the historic boundaries of Prospect Park, the industrial corridor, and property geared towards the University of Minnesota, generated a field of vectors that comprised a visually-compelling image.

While the site exploration was not as fruitful, I carried the process of specifically mapping changes in boundaries as vectors over to an exploration of how the artist and mathematician spaces might mix. A compelling way to explore this was to look at how two inks might mix. I set up an admittedly clumsy, though curiously effective, light studio in my kitchen and set the camera to take pictures every second, making sure to record at least 15 seconds of material even when the colors became too muddled. I repeated this process, changing a few variables along the way including the container shape, temperature of the water, and the number of ink pigments released into the water. From here it was a matter of finding a way to quantify the forces of mixing and representing them graphically.


To do this I used the “Image Trace” function in Adobe Illustrator to convert the images into vector objects which then could be exported to Rhino and put into a Grasshopper tool that generated the boundary changes as vectors. The Rhino script segmented each curve into the same number of segments and then connecting like-numbered segments, creating a field of vectors. As these fields were generated and layered on top of each other, certain densities emerged within the image, showing greater movement and defining certain spaces that could then be read in the vector field.  
Vector Studies

The next step was to use these vector fields as a basis for form-making and strategic planning. Much as a seer would read someone’s future in a wad of tea leaves, I traced over the twisting lines over and over again until forms began to rise out of the paper. These forms, while somewhat amorphous, shaped the planar and sectional qualities of my final proposal: a building about mixing, shaped by mixing.

Site Boundaries

The many digital tools used in this process helped to not only systematically capture more ephemeral images, but also analyze them and visualize this analysis in a compelling way. This visualization, while beautiful in itself, served as raw fuel for various form-making exercises that were invaluable to the visualization and creation of complex planar and sectional forms used in the final proposal.

Spatial Proposition - Plan

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Figuring Form: An Investigation Into Designing With Spline Geometry

By: Adam Voth 
Course: ARCH 8251 - Graduate Design Studio 1
Instructors: Gayla Lindt and Andrew Lucia

My project for the Fall ’15 studio involved the collection of geometric information from the site in and employing the data to figure the building proposal. The client was The Institute For Figuring, a live/work studio in Prospect Park, Minneapolis dedicated to the point at which art and science intersect. I was intrigued by their mission statement, specifically the curiosity that the Institute possesses regarding their exploration of geometries in a manner that is both beautiful and surprising.

Site Context

I set out with an investigation of the site was through the lens of geometric information. My building proposition developed from my curiosity of both visible and invisible geometric information, particularly the set of relationships embedded within the spline curve. Each curve is bound by a frame and set of control points.

Spline Properties

The use of Rhino allowed me the liberty to designate control points that were prevalent within the site, which allowed me the ability to create the spline curve. From there, I was able to apply employ the use of Grasshopper to cull the tangential and perpendicular information embedded within the curve. My intent for this project was that the mission of the Institute For Figuring would physically manifest itself within the Prospect Park neighborhood.

Spline Information

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Concrete as Liquid Stone: An Exploration of Ruled Surface Geometries

By: Dustin Schipper
Course: ARCH 5521 - Material Investigations: Concrete
Instructor: Sharon Roe
Project Team: Travis Herr, Cara Prosser, Dustin Schipper

This project was part of coursework for the Concrete Studio Module taught within the school of architecture.  This course was primarily comprise of a half semester hands on material investigation conducted in small groups with a focus on the tectonic qualities of concrete.  Our group set out to explore the idea that concrete is liquid stone frozen in time.  As a source of inspiration for sophisticated architectural applications of stone, we chose Gaudi’s work on La Sagrada Familia.

Gaudi’s later work focused heavily on the use of ruled surface geometries, so that his forms could be mathematically described, rather than exist in his mind alone.  In the first two weeks of our investigation we created physical and digital models to further our understanding of ruled surfaces.  Using Grasshopper and Rhino, digital models of several common ruled surfaces were created.  

Common Ruled Surfaces

Also modeled were two common geometries from La Sagrada Familia which we were interested in investigating further; the body of the columns from the main naive, and the hyperboloid windows on the facade.

Sagrada Familia Window and Column Geometry

As we moved forward from the computer based modeling processes, it became clear that it would be critical to embrace the flow of concrete to capture the tectonic qualities we were interested in.  While the fabric formwork used in our casting process always began as pure ruled surfaces, the hydrostatic force of the concrete would manipulate these initial shapes into a form that captured the liquid quality inherent in a poured material.

Final Column and Formwork Inspired by Ruled Surfaces