PET_LAB

open source design research laboratory

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PARAsite @ USC

February 8th, 2010 · lecture, teaching

USC School of Architecture just announced the launch of PARAsite. This blog has been set up as a forum for debate about recent developments within the USC School of Architecture in the area of parametric and algorithmic design. PARAsite also serves as a repository of records of past events, such as the Intensive Fields conference held on 12 December 2009. Full video documentation of this conference is now available at http://arch-pubs.usc.edu/parasite/intensive-fields/video-archive/.

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complex morphologies_final reviews usc 091213

February 4th, 2010 · teaching

megan magraw, nathaniel rather, david saunders; swarm formations

megan magraw, nathaniel rather, david saunders; swarm formations

Roland Snooks directed the algorithmic design seminar, Complex Morphologies, in Fall in conjunction with Roland Wahlroos-Ritter. The seminar explored methodologies that engage complex and non-linear systems to generate emergent formations. Recursive and self-organizing techniques were developed that are capable of generating complex forms of order.

In addition to developing algorithmic techniques the seminar operated as a critical introduction to algorithmic architecture. The exploration concentrated on how architectural form, organization and character can emerge from the operation of complex self-organizing systems. This research interrogated how architectural intention operates at a local level and through the interaction of low level rules systemic geometries emerge. The seminar introduced a set of algorithmic design techniques that students expanded on in the development of a coherent generative design methodology and subsequent project.

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sameer kashyap lecture @ usc 100120

January 20th, 2010 · lecture

gehry technologies: mass customization; parametrics & automation

gehry technologies: mass customization; parametrics & automation

Sameer Kashyap from Gehry Technologies will give a lecture titled ‘Mass Customization; Parametrics and Automation’ at USC tonight. Sameer is one of the most brilliant minds a Gehry Technologies and director for Gehry Technologies Los Angeles Services Group. His work is largely unpublished, mostly due to proprietary reasons, so this is a rare opportunity to to see some unseen work presented. He joined Gehry Technologies in 2004 and has led numerous consulting engagements, working with architects, engineers and builders to improve project performance. His expertise is in the coordination and execution of complex projects using Integrated Project Delivery processes and Virtual Design and Construction methods. Sameer uses process and technology to design project delivery systems, with a focus on interpreting design intent into design execution through automation, generative detailing and optimization.

Prior to joining Gehry Technologies, he has practiced in London, Boston and New Delhi. He has also served as visiting faculty at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). Kashyap holds a Master of Science Degree in Design and Computation from MIT, and a Masters in Architecture from Sushant School of Art and Architecture.

Location: Gin D. Wong, FAIA Conference Center, Harris Hall
Time: 6:00 PM

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4A city operations_final reviews @ SCI-Arc 091218

December 18th, 2009 · teaching

Pt(cloud) [AS] City*: A Generative Habitat Cluster For Mumbai

Heyu Lu; Pt cloud AS City*: A Generative Habitat Cluster For Mumbai

The studio started with an – impressively thorough – precedence study of skyscrapers in diagrams, drawings and 3d prints. And then developed -through research of Seoul, Jakarta and Mumbai – critical concepts for skyscrapers in super-dense settings. The final review took an interesting twist, when it couldn’t be no longer ignored that this wasn’t the final review since the designs will be submitted to eVolo 2010 Skyscraper Competition. Quickly Devyn Weiser and I started to argued intensely about the importance of renderings vs. drawings and diagrams to convey narrative and content. Let’s hope that some of the concept driven but still formally provocative schemes will make it into the final round of the competition. Good luck!

Here is an excerpt of the studio brief: The premise of this studio is that cities and buildings are largely shaped by a dynamic flow of interrelated cultural, social, political and economic forces. During the course of the term, students test the nature of possible interfaces between architecture and its various settings within the contemporary city. This studio focuses on the development of a single project and the investigations are structured in such a way that theoretical assumptions are tested and developed as an integral part of the building design process. …
In essence, each [student] will be asked, through [their] research, to establish a critical urban disposition for the work. In some ways the deck is stacked. The ‘project’, a skyscraper, is the benefi ciary of a rich history, somehow beholden to its type and yet forever promised to the new. Architectural developments in conceptualization and actualization, advanced computational models and stronger lighter materials allow us to imagine and re-imagine tallness in architecture. The act of building a sky-scraper is, by its sheer scale, an urban act and yet recent iterations of this type seem completely detached from contextual issues. This act for each of you will play out in one of three Eastern / Far Eastern settings we are characterizing provisionally as super-dense. We consider these settings impossible to ignore. So, we will explore the problem of tallness in the superdense. On the other hand, these are mere conditions not criteria; Project and not argument. The establishment of the criteria or ‘positioning’ of the work will require research, valuation and implementation. In short it will require each and every student to make an argument positioning the work within the given urban setting and the contemporary architectural discourse.

Critics were: Dana Bauer, Laurel Broughton, Dora Epstein Jones, Heather Flood, Chris Genik, Hunter Knight, Rob Ley, Dwayne Oyler, David Ross, Marcos Sanchez, Patrick Tighe, Scott Uriu, Roland Wahlroos-Ritter, Devyn Weiser & Volkan Alkanoglu, Darin Johnstone, Emily White

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parametric design_final reviews @ usc 091215

December 15th, 2009 · teaching

feng cheng o'connor, soft foam sketch model

feng cheng o'connor, soft foam sketch model

Continuing todays review marathon, the students of David Gerber’s and Roland Wahlroos-Ritter’s Parametric Design I seminar presented their final work today at USC. The seminar was structured in two parts. The first part was dedicated to Case Studies. The students were asked to research, analyze and develop a parametric design strategy for building CATIA models of given case study projects. In the second part the students were asked to undertake a design study. The subject of the study was the experimental design of a ‘breathing’ wall for a storefront on Flower Street in Los Angeles. The study was taken from an initial sketch model, to the development of a parametric strategy and finally a fully fabricated physical prototype in scale 1:5.

The process of developing and fabricating the designs was revealing for the students as well as for the instructors. The limitations of software, in particular CATIA became quickly apparent in the second step, while developing a parametric modeling strategy for designs that were initially articulated as sketch models in soft foam. Material manipulations that were easily executed with soft foam, turned out to be hard, if not some times impossible to translate into CATIA. Thus prompting the first leaps into the further evolution of the designs. Fabrication posed the second critical threshold, with the seminar struggling to negotiate between the limitations of fabrications and material behavior. Ultimately, the success of the seminar was less measured in terms of successful prototypes, but rather in the gain of knowledge from systemic failures.

As a rare treat we had the pleasure of having Alvin Huang, a director of Amanda Levete Architects London on the review panel.

Critics were: Alvin Huang, Greg Otto & David Gerber, Roland Wahlroos-Ritter

Visit the studio’s wiki page or gallery for more information.

Jinyang Song; physical prototype, scale 1:5

Jinyang Song; physical prototype, scale 1:5

final review 091215, from left to right: alvin huang, joe flynn

final review 091215, from left to right: alvin huang, joe flynn

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field urbanism_final review @ usc 091215

December 15th, 2009 · teaching

shenzhen towers, set within plinths scripted according to a sand-dune logic to optimize ventilation in the often humid climate of Shenzhen

shenzhen towers, set within plinths scripted according to a sand-dune logic to optimize ventilation in the often humid climate of Shenzhen

The students of the field urbanism studio lead by Neil Leach and Nick Pisca presented their work today at usc. Here is an excerpt of Neil’s studio description: ‘This project sought to evaluate an existing proposal for a CBD in Houhai, Shenzhen, and develop an alternative, improved version. The project took one semester and was undertaken by a team of postgraduate students from the School of Architecture at the University of Southern California on behalf of the Shenzhen Planning Department.

The approach adopted was to see the city as an adaptive, dynamic entity operating largely through bottom-up processes, in opposition to most traditional approaches that understand the city in terms of a top-down static model. In order to capture the dynamic operations of the city a series of custom made parametric tools was developed scripted in Maya Embedded Language (MEL).’
The four group projects concentrated on performative issues, rather than formal issues which was liberating to see. In general the review triggered an intense and interesting discussion. And it was a tremendous pleasure to final meet the legendary Ralph Knowles at review!

Critics were: Alvin Huang, Ralph Knowles, Greg Otto, Roland Snooks, Paul Tang, Roland Wahlroos-Ritter and Eui-Sung Yi & Neil Leach and Nick Pisca

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non-linear aggregations_final reviews @ usc 091215

December 15th, 2009 · teaching

feng cheng o’connor, interior view of structural system generated by swarm algorithms

feng cheng o’connor, interior view of structural system generated by swarm algorithms

The students of the non-linear aggregations studio presented their explorations into algorithmic design techniques to a panel of guest critics today at usc. The undergraduate studio lead by Roland Wahlroos-Ritter is a design research studio investigating algorithmic design techniques with an emphasis on space, form and complex morphologies. Techniques of non-linear algorithms are tested through the development of complex component systems for the J.S. Bach Institute. The fictitious institute is loosely based on the notion of complexity in Bach’s compositions and its potential multi-disciplinary research.

The studio broke new ground by introducing rhino script and 3d printing to an undergraduate studio at usc. Although the studio was well received by the critics, it can be considered only partially successful. The ambition of the studio to tackle algorithmic design, to develop a critical narrative and to present a comprehensive building design proved to be overwhelming for most students. As a result the most successful projects in the review were those, like Feng Cheng O’Connor’s, that boldly ignored the broader ambition of the project brief and investigated the primary agenda – algorithmic design – in full depth.

Critics were: Kim Coleman, John Enright, Darin Johnstone, Neil Leach, Erik Mar Nick Pisca, Roland Snooks, Warren Techentin, Emily White & Roland Wahlroos-Ritter

Visit the studio’s wiki page or gallery for more information.

Michael Sun, animation of building structure based on a generative spider web algorithm:

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iPod iPod version (4.8 MB)

Final review 091215, critics from left to right are: Erik Mar, Warren Techentin, Darin Johnstone, Roland Snooks, Nick Pisca, Neil Leach, John Enright

Final review 091215, critics from left to right are: Erik Mar, Warren Techentin, Darin Johnstone, Roland Snooks, Nick Pisca, Neil Leach, John Enright

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(n)certainties (biotopes) 4.0_final review @ usc

December 14th, 2009 · teaching

ncertaintiesposter

After a semester of intense work the students of Marc Fornes’, Stephan Henrich’s and Francois Roche’s (n)certainties studio presented their final work today at usc.
The studio opened a new territory for usc by venturing deeply into a speculative realm of materiality, technology and ultimately architecture. Subversively leaving the bounds of what at usc is called a ‘comprehensive building design’, the studio allowed for the in depth investigation of designs schemes on the level of proto architecture. Forays into materials and conceptual designs of robots provided the pre text for developing liberating narratives for speculations on architectural fictions. These were developed and presented through highly suggestive drawings, that on the one hand where indulging and seductively beautiful; and on the other as Cedric Prize would say became ‘an integral part of the architecture they portray rather than a cypher for thoughts translated elsewhere, and by other means.’

Critics were: Volkan Alkanoglu, Benjamin Ball, David Gerber, Alvin Huang, Neil Leach, David C. Martin, Casey Reas, Roland Snooks, Roland Wahlroos-Ritter & Marc Fornes, Stephan Henrich, Francois Roche

Here is a brief studio outline
The studio is targeted by the hypothesis of transforming the ’social contract’, confronted to the mass media culture biotope and to define the morphologies of (n)certainties (biotopes) 4.0. (n)certainties (biotopes) 4.0 is an unknown urbanism fragment described by the following text. The research is to define the shape, the social organization, even the smelling of this unpredictable and polymorph city including machinism design and protocols.

Rumours
I’ve heard about something called (n)certainties (biotopes) 4.0 that builds up only through multiple, heterogeneous and contradictory scenarios, something that rejects even the idea of a possible prediction about its form of growth or future typology.
Something shapeless grafted onto existing tissue, something that needs no vanishing point to justify itself but instead welcomes a quivering existence immersed in a real-time vibratory state, here and now.
Tangled, intertwined, it seems to be a city, or rather a fragment of a city.
Its inhabitants are immunized because they are both vectors and protectors of this complexity.
The multiplicity of its interwoven experiences and forms is matched by the apparent simplicity of its mechanisms.
The urban form no longer depends on the arbitrary decisions or control over its emergence exercised by a few, but rather the ensemble of its individual contingencies. It simultaneously subsumes premises, consequences and the ensemble of induced perturbations, in a ceaseless interaction. Its laws are consubstantial with the place itself, with no work of memory.
Many different stimuli have contributed to the emergence of (n)certainties (biotopes) 4.0 and they are continually reloaded. Its existence is inextricably linked to the end of the grand narratives, the objective recognition of climatic changes, a suspicion of all morality (even ecological), the vibration of social phenomena and the urgent need to renew the democratic mechanisms. Fiction is its reality principle: What you have before your eyes conforms to the truth of the urban condition of (n)certainties (biotopes) 4.0.
What moral law or social contract could extract us from this reality, prevent us from living there or protect us from it? No, the neighborhood protocol of (n)certainties (biotopes) 4.0 cannot cancel the risk of being in this world. The inhabitants draw sustenance from the present, with no time lag. The form of the territorial structure draws its sustenance directly from the present time.
(n)certainties (biotopes) 4.0 also arises from anguishes and anxieties. It’s not a shelter against threats or an insulated, isolated place, but remains open to all transactions. It is a zone of emancipation, produced so that we can keep the origins of its founding act eternally alive, so that we can always live with and re-experience that beginning.
Made of invaginations and knotted geometries, life forms are embedded within it. Its growth is artificial and synthetic, owing nothing to chaos and the formlessness of nature. It is based on very real processes that generate the raw materials and operating modes of its evolution.
The public sphere is everywhere, like a pulsating organism driven by postulates that are mutually contradictory and nonetheless true. The rumours and scenarios that carry the seeds of its future mutations negotiate with the vibratory time of new territories.
It is impossible to name all the elements (n)certainties (biotopes) 4.0 comprises or perceive it in its totality, because it belongs to the many, the multitude. Only fragments can be extracted from it.
The world is terrifying when it’s intelligible, when it clings to some semblance of predictability, when it seeks to preserve a false coherence. In (n)certainties (biotopes) 4.0 it is what is not there that defines it, that guarantees its readability, its social and territorial fragility and its indetermination.

605_Roche_Lin_RN_1
yikai lin & kyung-il chung, bending bamboo

qisu_finalmesh
qi su & shenyuan guo; topological silk stretching

qisu_detail
qi su & shenyuan guo; topological silk stretching detail

(n)certainties final review 091214

(n)certainties final review 091214, Critics from left to right: Marc Fornes, ?, Roland Snooks, Behrokh Khoshnevis, Neil Leach, David C. Martin and Roland Wahlroos-Ritter.

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Intensive Fields @ USC_091212

November 25th, 2009 · lecture

LOS ANGELES | USC | INTENSIVE FIELDS | 12 December 2009

Intensive Fields: New Parametric Techniques for Urbanism
Conference, Taper Hall 101, University of Southern California

Last minute note from the organizers:
Due to the unprecedented interest in the conference, we understand that the venue has now changed to a larger auditorium, Taper Hall 101, and that a few more tickets have become available.”

For some time now, digital technologies have had a substantial impact on architectural design. From the use of standard drafting packages to the more experimental use of generative design tools. But how might these digital technologies – and parametric design tools in particular – help us to design cities?

The conference brings together USC Professors Francois Roche, Marc Fornes, Roland Snooks, Qingyun Ma, Neil Leach, Roland Ritter and Anne Balsamo alongside other leading experts from the world of digital technologies, cultural theory and urban design, including Patrik Schumacher, Manuel DeLanda, Tom Kovac, Marcos Novak, Benjamin Bratton, Hernan Diaz Alonso, Elena Manferdini, Ingalill Wahlross-Ritter, Casey Reas and Greg Lynn.

USC_idnws_card_15c

USC_idnws_card_15d

[Entrance is free on registration: http://arch-pubs.usc.edu/INTENSIVEFIELDS/]

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(n)certainties (biotopes) 4.0_mid term review @ usc

November 12th, 2009 · teaching

yikai_re-7
Project ‘Bamboo’ by Yikai Lin and Kyung-il Chung.

The students of Francois Roche’s, Mark Fornes’ and Stephan Heinrich’s (n)certainties studio presented their mid term work at USC yesterday. Here is an excerpt of the studio brief:

The studio is targeted by the hypothesis of transforming the ’social contract’, confronted to the mass media culture biotope and to define the morphologies of (n)certainties (biotopes) 4.0. (n)certainties (biotopes) 4.0 is an unknown urbanism fragment described by the following text. The research is to define the shape, the social organization, even the smelling of this unpredictable and polymorph city including machinism design and protocols.

Rumours
I’ve heard about something called (n)certainties (biotopes) 4.0 that builds up only through multiple, heterogeneous and contradictory scenarios, something that rejects even the idea of a possible prediction about its form of growth or future typology.
Something shapeless grafted onto existing tissue, something that needs no vanishing point to justify itself but instead welcomes a quivering existence immersed in a real-time vibratory state, here and now.
Tangled, intertwined, it seems to be a city, or rather a fragment of a city.
Its inhabitants are immunized because they are both vectors and protectors of this complexity.
The multiplicity of its interwoven experiences and forms is matched by the apparent simplicity of its mechanisms.
The urban form no longer depends on the arbitrary decisions or control over its emergence exercised by a few, but rather the ensemble of its individual contingencies. It simultaneously subsumes premises, consequences and the ensemble of induced perturbations, in a ceaseless interaction. Its laws are consubstantial with the place itself, with no work of memory.
Many different stimuli have contributed to the emergence of (n)certainties (biotopes) 4.0 and they are continually reloaded. Its existence is inextricably linked to the end of the grand narratives, the objective recognition of climatic changes, a suspicion of all morality (even ecological), the vibration of social phenomena and the urgent need to renew the democratic mechanisms. Fiction is its reality principle: What you have before your eyes conforms to the truth of the urban condition of (n)certainties (biotopes) 4.0.
What moral law or social contract could extract us from this reality, prevent us from living there or protect us from it? No, the neighborhood protocol of (n)certainties (biotopes) 4.0 cannot cancel the risk of being in this world. The inhabitants draw sustenance from the present, with no time lag. The form of the territorial structure draws its sustenance directly from the present time.
(n)certainties (biotopes) 4.0 also arises from anguishes and anxieties. It’s not a shelter against threats or an insulated, isolated place, but remains open to all transactions. It is a zone of emancipation, produced so that we can keep the origins of its founding act eternally alive, so that we can always live with and re-experience that beginning.
Made of invaginations and knotted geometries, life forms are embedded within it. Its growth is artificial and synthetic, owing nothing to chaos and the formlessness of nature. It is based on very real processes that generate the raw materials and operating modes of its evolution.
The public sphere is everywhere, like a pulsating organism driven by postulates that are mutually contradictory and nonetheless true. The rumours and scenarios that carry the seeds of its future mutations negotiate with the vibratory time of new territories.
It is impossible to name all the elements (n)certainties (biotopes) 4.0 comprises or perceive it in its totality, because it belongs to the many, the multitude. Only fragments can be extracted from it.
The world is terrifying when it’s intelligible, when it clings to some semblance of predictability, when it seeks to preserve a false coherence. In (n)certainties (biotopes) 4.0 it is what is not there that defines it, that guarantees its readability, its social and territorial fragility and its indetermination.

The proficiently presented work triggered repeatedly the question of the grand narrative behind the choice of materials, the protocol driving robotic operations and resultant spatial qualities. In a post-review conversation Mark Fornes saw this as an indicator that the work simply as form, material and spatial composition was not strong enough yet. Raising the question whether the seductive beauty of material, space and form can supersede the grand narrative and – in a reverse process of negotiating protocols – invite titillating speculations?

Critics were: Volkan Alkanoglu, Anne Balsamo, Qingyun Ma, Neil Leach, Roland Wahlroos-Ritter, Sha Xin Wei & Marc Fornes, Stephan Henrich (at distance), Francois Roche

shuang xu

IMG_1403

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