Friday, April 1, 2016

Parametric Design

By: Kristina Shrestha

In my last blog post, I wrote about the introduction of parametric design. Here I am enjoying my spring break and my brain never stops thinking about my project in thesis. I have spent endless nights thinking how I will start to design these awesome pattern in my project.
 I analyzed many buildings to know how parametric design works. The building designed by Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid, Frank O Gehry to name a few. As I started to explore the infinite design of parametric system it took me back to nature. Parametric design follows the natural pattern of plants and animal morphological element which can be converted to tectonic practices. Nature has been the grading factor for design of the building or design of the structure. Architects like Louis Sullivan, Mies van der Rohe, Lazlo Mohdy Nagy, Sir Patric Geddes to name a few were influenced by writings of Gothe (Metamorphosis of plants, 1790) E.S. Russel (Form and Function, 1916) and R H France (Plants as Inventors, 1920) [1]. Many people have misconception that parametric system of design is done by computers but it is not true. It is the imagination of the architecture where computers helps to simulate the design as the architect has imagined. Computer is a tool which helps an architect to bring his imagination to reality.
The parametric system of thinking was in existence before the development of computers. When Alan Turing developed mathematical models to shape biological pattern in 1952, morphology was considered scientific. After the development of fractals in 1982, computer emerged as a tool for simulation of biological patterns and forms. Many architects tried to design prototype and models of the parametric design but the models lacked precision. It got very difficult to analyze the structure of these parametric design therefore it was difficult for architects to construct buildings with the help of parametric system.
German Architect Frei Otto, started to make light tensile structure. He had served as tent architect during his two years captivity in France during the war. After the war, in 1948, he enrolled to study architecture in Technical University of Berlin. His architecture was very different than the traditional architecture of heavy columns and beams. His architecture consisted of lightweight structure which are open to nature, low-cost and some of his structure were temporary as well [2]. He was experimenting with the different types of tensile structure. Even today, we can see the influence of Frei Otto’s architecture in the buildings of Zaha Hadid, Frank o Gehry, Norman Foster to name a few. Here are the examples of parametric system designed by Frei Otto.
Japan Paper Pavilion, Expo 2000 in Hannover, Germany [3]
 1967 International and Universal Exposition in Montreal, Canada [3]

Roof for the Multihalle (multipurpose hall) in Mannheim, Germany [3]

Roof for the 1972 Munich Olympic Stadium [3]


1. accessed on Wednesday, March 16, 2016 at 1:20 pm
2. accessed on Wednesday, March 16, 2016 at 1:30 pm

3. accessed on Wednesday, March 16, 2016 at 1:52 

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