November 23 Lecture – Parametric Design
Sam Conrad Joyce giving a talk labeled “Serious fun”. Regular engineers could design a super structure beam by beam. That is serious. By letting a software do that work while you work with something more inspiring. That combination is serious fun. Sam Conrad investigated computer animated load bearing in real life in a workshop with architects and engineers, who were asked to design and optimize various structures. Working intensively for four days they tested the structures in a lab in Bath.
In the University of Bath, Paul Shepherd, teaching Digital Architectonic Masters, points out the importance of a close relation between the architects and engineers during the design process by working on a parametric model. Frei Ottos design for the Deutshe Bahn is one example of work by Paul Shepherd. The understanding achieved by using physical models is huge. Problem is when the model is shown to the engineers … they brought a robot arm to the physical model to register all points .. 14957 points. Then they were turned into surface measures forming a model. The digital model could then give information about the stresses, not only the shape.
Chris Williams visualized the mathematics behind curved shapes. The diagrammatic representation of a underground map. Also presenting software simulating the characteristics of soap film as a tool in the design process. Such as Madeleine and Eyenet.
Lars Hesselgren, among other things, founded the SmartGeometryGroup, shared knowledge about abstraction in architecture. Stressing the fact of the great mass of fields that are included in the work of architectural design, covering the whole range from abstraction to reality in all possible levels.
Since all sorts of parametric designs appear on supposed behaviors of certain structures and materials, the question was rised regarding the possibility of a verifying system. It seem important to measure the predicted consequences such as temperatures, wind behavior, strains etc. Paul Bath explains there are political difficulties about actually going back to a building and measure because of a immediate loss of trust from the client. The role played by a software will be labour saving. Still, the question was raised from the audience weather architects and engineers should be worried about the clients need of expertise since a software seems to offer you all the hard work. Luckily our experts reassured us that the future will need architects and engineers since the essence of the occupation is the handling of all tools including parametric software systems. One conclusive prediction could be that good person management skills will be valued amongst both architects and engineers in the future.