Posts Tagged ‘exercises’

x5: perforated facade vs. panels

Work in progress poster dating from the 1/4/2010:

pdf version

Glass panel wrapping

(X3)_Piraeus “crystallized light house”

Here is a study of different posibility to play with cristalized glass… The first image is showing the basic examples of layered patern. the second and the third one is randomly generated but i would like to explore and go more in that direction.

Concept for cristalized glass:

  • From a “close” point of view: The crystallized windows allow to reflect the city on the ground.The exta part that isn’t  related to the city context (above 10 floors) seems shrinked because of the reflection = Dialogue to the ground and the surrounding building
  • From a “middle” point of view: The crystallized windows disintegrates the hight of the building. The reflection of the sky and the water makes a analogy to the wider context = Dialogue with the environment.
  • From “far” away: The crystallized windows reflect the light. The distortion and the effect it makes, creat a significative object and start to be a land mark (not only because of the size of the building but also because of the caracteristic = No dialogue, the tower become an exception = The “crystillized light house”

Concerning the windows and the direction of the facet, we could easily imagine that the material could change depending on the angle of it. The facade could then be a a multy fonctional layer of protection: solar protection, solar panels, reflecting;opaque;transparant glass etc.

Concept for the structure:

As a basic idea, I was looking at some structure that would strengthen the concept of the “middle” point of view (disintegrated facade) by changing the size of the structure. This idea is directly responding to the “descente des forces” which could reduce the cost in material. Also, it allows to change slightly the size of the window frame…

- Renzo Piano website – Flickr image Centre Culturel Tjibaou

X3 _ Perforated Info Tower


The Info Tower helps new arriving tourists and locals to find an indication to the ferry and its departure time, to get the weather of tomorrow, the local time and date, events in Piraeus and Athens… and in the same time offering some advertisement space might cover a part of the investment in the tower.

It’s the new emblem of contemporary, metropolitan Piraeus/ Athens, right at the entrance to the city and stands in a strong contrast to its omni-present classical greek architecture.

The info panels can also function as sun – and noise block. By placing them shifted over the edge of a slab, it can create some shadow and by inclining the lower panels,they can block street noise.

Design Strategy:

First extrude the panels, depending on their placement on the facade; then create ‘cuts’ because of an exceptional interior space, which needs more direct light and views; then increase some panels, which occupy a marketing strategical place on the facade. Like edges, the center at the top and the bottom…

Analyse of strategical placement on the Piraeus Tower

Grasshopper Algorhythm:

1. Panel extrusion increases throughout the height

2. Definition of 3 heights of certain importance

3. Panel extrusion increases to those heights

4. Definition of some important points for views…

5. Lower the panels within a certain distance to such a point

–> depending on the distance to this point

6. Definition of a strategic placement of the info panels

–> Increases the height of the closest panels

Rhino and Grasshopper Model

I mostly compared the z-coordinate of a point to a certain height

and then analysed the distance to the height

if the z-coordinate is lower than the height, then it should do a certain panel… and so on…

I did the openings in the same way, by analysing the distance to such a point

Last Sketch:

After this analyse of the perforation of the info panels, I think to focuss more on the placement and the importance of the info panels is more important and should define the overall image of the tower.

The perforation of those panels, because of a need of more light and direct views should be secondary.

As indicated in the lower sketch: At important areas on the tower, the panels should be larger and the distance to the neighboring panels should be larger as well, so the important panel stands out of the homogenous panel mix.

Also the lower panels should be inclined and smaller, because of legibility factors and to block noise, as mentioned above.

X3_Crystal facade

Inspired by the Spertus Institute facade, I would like to give Piraeus tower a light and reflective facade.

“The breakthrough for the Spertus facade came in the form of a Y-shaped mullion, the curved face of which accommodates the complex geometry of the faceted wall by allowing attached brackets to rotate freely along the horizontal plane. To achieve the vertical changes in plane, almost a third of the 227 aluminum mullions, which are lined up parallel to each other along the jagged floor-slab edges, were either sloped outwards towards the street, or back away from it.”

( Architectural Record,

Process: perforated Info Tower

Strategic placements of information panels on Piraeus tower from the different points of views on the tower.

Different panels with individual functions (sun block, info panel, noise block, windows) or one multi – performance panel system…

Some research sketches:

- sequence of different functions panels

- the panels can be superimposed

1. Sun protection panels: same height and same disposition for each floor

2. Info panels: expand vertically during the height of the tower, because of visibility constraints

3. One can define important points on the facade, where bigger openings are wanted, because of an exceptional

inside space or an imposant view -> info panels lowered or maybe pixellated or shifted

4. On marketing strategically important locations on the facade like the top and the bottom of the tower, the corners…

-> the info panels expand as well

I tried to model the two first sketches in grasshopper. The expanding info panels and 3 important apertures in the facade. Next step would be to adapt the strategical areas on the facade.

There might be an easier way, than what I’m trying to do in my grasshopper file. Maybe someone could have a look….

rhino file

grasshopper file

x2_Spertus Institute

Oriented on the East side, the facade of the Spertus Institute is completely covered with glass.

The particularity of the facade is that there is some kind of extrusion in relation with plans which make more privacy for users.

The facade is composed with several layers. First one, the structural elements. Second, the panels of glass with sash. Third, which can maybe be combined with the panels of glass, some tops which make the extrusion of the facade.

In comparison with the Piraeus tower, I think that this kind of facade can not work. With the warm weather in summer, it might probably be very difficult to be in these so luminous and warm spaces.


The following analysis is directly linked to the precedent exercice. The over all idea is to show how the facade of the trutec building was build and to extract some components that I could use for the project of the Piraeus tower.

The structure of the Trutec Building is  conventional . Pilars, slabs and facade. All the effort was made on the secondary structure. The complexity of the kaleidoscopic effect of the fragmented glass is actualy complitly optimized. All the glass was prefabricated and only 1o panes where necessary to create this effect.

GH definition

The logic and the optimization of the construction of the Trutec Building is something that I would like to keep for the Piraeus Tower project. The way it was made and the result it gives is a succes.

In term of the shape of the glass, i don’t think that i will work with it. But the idea that there is something happening on the upper part of the tower (difragmentation of the glass) might reinforce this idea of singularity that i would like to give to my project(Esquisse analysis).

Small comparison:

Piraeus Tower:

  1. Latitude: 37°58′N / Longitude: 23°43′E
  2. Location on the site: Next to the port of Piraeus.
  3. Uses: offices

Trutec building:

  1. Latitude: 37°35′N / Longitude: 127°03′E
  2. Location on the site: Industrial zone
  3. Uses: offices

x2_random facade pattern

This second exercice is a direct continuation of the previous one.

The facade made out of random positioned glas pannels is only a exterior layer that loosly wraps the building. The interior facade and actual water barrier is recessed by approximately 2.5 meters and is entirely glazed. Projecting slabs, linking the exterior “screen” with the interior facade, become balconies. The building structure is a metal frame construction with large oval cased columns and a grid of horizontal beams.  The columns are on the inside of the interior facade on the northern facade, on the southern facade however, they are located between the 2 facade layers perforating the balconies.

image source

In the parametric model, all facade elements have been converted into volumes. In addition I introduced randomized colors for the glas panels. Also I added a function to the GET PANELS script that avoids endless loops and the program crashes related to it.
The interior facade is parametricaly designed as well. All geametry is first created (mainly by extrusion of plane surfaces) and then multiply copied to it’s position according to the dimension and rhythm of the facade. The rhythms interior facade and the exterior screen are directly linked: The rhythm of the interior windows matches the rhythm of the metal bars holding up the colored panels and there’s a colum every seventh window.

Screenshots of the parametric model:

Overvier of the grashopper canvas:

The core of the gh code: The creation of the randomized pattern

The two functions written in VB.NET:

Detail plan and section extracted from the parametric model:

Influence on the Piraeus project

The doubling of the facade creates a space in between with specific qualities:  An exterior space, exposed to fresh air, but at the same time partly  protected from wind and strong sunlight. Such spaces might be interesting for the Piraeus Tower: Loggias with view on the port and the city, where the air can circulate freely due to the gaps between the enveloping glas pannels. An ideal place to spend some hours in the shade waiting for your ship to embark.
Starting from these loggias where the glas panels are brought on out of functional need, they might spread over the facade of the tower like lichen over a stone.

x2_CCTV from OMA

To fully understand the following post you can read the last one which introduces the main ideas. X1_CCTVfrom OMA
As a source I used the book CCTV by OMA, A+U, 2005

The main structure of the CCTV is a continuous grid of diagonal steel beams – called structural diagrid – which cover the whole building. Where the loads are too big, the diagrid is doubled or even quadrubled. In addition to this structure there is a orthogonal structure which consists of vertical load-bearing columns and horizontal perimeter edge beams. These two grids penetrate the concrete slab in a certain distance from the façade. The diagrid is repeated on the outside where it holds the windows in place – this is actually what we see from the outside.

Taking the interpretation from the last exercice as base, I created a parametrical 3D model in Grasshopper which generates an abstraction of what the CCTV is.
As you move the z- or x-spacing in the model, the diagrid changes its proportions. The width and thickness of both diagrid and reinforcement can be set up individually. Until now the vertical columns and the perimeter edge beam are not really adjustable with parameters but the slabs change their position regarding the z-spacing – one z-spacing contains three floors.
The two intersecting planes generate automatically plan and section and they can be moved either along the z or the x axis. These line drawings are moved out of the 3D model and create a composite drawing with elevation, plan and section as you can see below. Next to this drawing a series of axonometric projections shows the simplified layering of the model.

make2D from baked GH-model

klick on the giff file showing the different layers

download Rhino file
download GH code

To get into the third dimension taking the last GH-file was not really possible, so I started the definition from scratch. The new definition doesn’t build up a line grid in the beginning but it creates a series of rhombi which then are offseted and extruded into volumes. The functions for the attractors remain basically the same but the reinforcement is again a new definition creating another rhombus around each influenced point.
The parametrical model so far is vertical, but I think it won’t be very tricky to move this onto an inclined plane and using its u/v coordinates to define the volumes. Another problem to solve is the overlapping from reinforcement and structure. I tried several ways to avoid it but all of them faild, one is still desactivated in the GH file.
I was also thinking about using this kind of rhombi to apply on whatever surface inspired from David Fanos tutorial. But his base elements stay 2-dimensional and always just share an edge instead of a surface when it would be 3D (offseted).

overview of the GH canvas with explanations

close-up_main structure is generated

close-up_attractors are being set up

close-up_reinforcementis generated around influenced points

close-up_slab and orthogonal grid are generaded

close-up_plan and section are generated