Posts Tagged ‘facade’

Research on effects and inspirations

Daniel Rozen: Wooden mirror

Playing with the brighness of the material depending of the exposition to the light.

Daniel Rozin

Wooden mirror Video

Anish Kapoor Reflection work

C-Curve – Anish Kapoor – Corner Contraflow from Dominic Alves on Vimeo.

Deformation of the reflection.

ID-LAB Interactive Mirror

Interactive mirror

Interactive facade

Interactive facade at interactive

Marilena Skavara – Adaptive Fa[ca]de

The video is really inspiring for the effect i want to create: click here

attractor geometry

To understand better, how my attractor geometry works I’ve produced some images and schemata explaining the different parts of the GH-algorithm.

As I take the existing structure as starting point I introduced its geometry into Grasshopper. The two distinct volumes are drawn separately, as this improves the variability for the further use. Each box is explodet in its six faces which then are subdivided with sliders in both vertical and horizontal direction. The lowest points of the tower volume are eliminated for a smoother deformable skin on the transition from the tower to the plinth. After the subdivisions, all the points are merged together and organized in a way that they can be moved afterwards.

The next step consists in moving the points where they are attracted by an attractor. There are three possible attractor geometries: points, curves and surfaces. For the deformable skin I only used the first two of them, which I’ll explaine here. (A surface as attractor would act the same way as the curves do.)
The moving part is done entirely in a short VB-script. All attractor points are directly put into this component, the curves go first through a curve closest points component and all closest points farther away than the influence radius are culled with a pattern. In addition to all these points there are 5 more inputs: influence radius and force for curve and points and the pointgrid from above. First the curve changes the point grid and then the point geometries refine the deformation.

The influence radius determines which points from the starting point grid are attracted and the force how strong they are moved towards the attractor. Actually the force works as a sort of dumper for the whole attraction.

This VB-script I applied several times, as much as there are urban hotspots. After all deformation happened, the points are taken as curve controlpoints. The organizing of the point collection before moving them allows to have curves going more or less horizontal around the volumes. Of course there are as many curves as there are vertical subdivisions in the beginning – both together from the plinth and the tower (minus the lowest as mentioned above). These curves are again organized in a certain way and then lofted to the final deformed skin.
The following illustrations visualize the different deformations and how they are produced.






A short overview of the whole GH-canvas

So far the application of a structural solution is produced in a seperate script. But i think it would be better to include this step as well in the deformation part.

Midterm_Rippling Waves facade


Mid-term Review “Pixelated Lighthouse”

Pixilated lighthouse

The height of the Piraeus Tower is unique within the Athenian landscape and offers particular opportunities which, thus far, have not been realized.
The Piraeus tower is divided into three parts:
The base extends to the plot lines and maintains the contextual street edge / The next 7 floors correspond to the predominant height of the surrounding buildings. / The last 11 floors are visible from many distant vantage points and have the potential to produce a strong iconic image for the tower and Piraeus.
With this in mind, the Pixilated Lighthouse brings these three parts together in one cohesive composition. Base + Adjacency + Icon = Pixilated Lighthouse.
The aim of this proposal is to significantly affect the aspect of the Piraeus tower with a small effort. The means by which this is accomplished is a reflective facade. Considering the influence that the tower has on its environment, it is essential to integrate the Piraeus Tower with its surroundings.

Design Strategies


Pixelated Lighthouse is a direct response to the reading of the tower and its immediate site. Reflection is a robust strategy that can: humanize the tower at a close point of view, dissolve the tower’s mass at
the middle point of view and generate a symbol from far away. To control those different configurations, a parametric code is written in Grasshopper (click here). This code takes in considerations the context, the size, the views and  the height of the building.

From a “close” point of view: The windows reflect the city and the building onto the surroundings. The upper portions that are not related to the context seem diminished due to the reflection. Dialogue to the city. From a “middle” point of view: The windows disintegrate the height of the building. The reflection of the sky and the water makes an analogy to the wider context. Dialogue to the environment. From “far” away: The pixilated windows reflect light. The distortion and its effects create a signifying object that becomes a landmark. The “Pixilated lighthouse” Piraeus tower.
To permit reflection at different angles the glass can be rotated on two axes. Four conditions exist with this system. 1) Planar: the windows are flush and operable. This condition exists on the overall facade depending on the need of ventilation. 2) Rotation on X axis: Reflection of the sky or the ground in verticality. 3) Rotation on the Z axis: produces reflections that are not perpendicular to the facade. 4) The rotation is applied on both axes: This configuration addresses a specific object from a certain point of view and thus produces a contextualizing effect that does not occur on the existing facade. The Pixilated lighthouse proposal keeps the rhythm and the size of the existing structure and uses it to define the size of the glazing. The windows then are rotated on different angles allowing to reflect the surrounding on it.

Overall layout:

deformable skin


At the port of Piraeus this tower rises on a very prominent site with a vital surrounding. To resolve the problem of the sleeping giant, this project proposal suggests a deformable skin which creates interactions on different levels between the Piraeus Tower and its context.
Taking the current structure as starting point, surrounding urban hotspots attract parts of the façade to reconfigure. These occurring deformations provoke synergies with the surrounding which allow new happenings and revaluate the whole area.
At Dimosthenous and Lykourgou Street the skin stretches to provide a roof for the market and its lively atmosphere penetrates the ground floor of the new Piraeus Tower. On the other side at Akti Poseidoneos Street the skin allows building a pedestrian bridge across the busy road and creates a stronger relation to the waterfront and the port.
Above the plinth the skin grows upward approximately following the existing structure. Only where the new stairway climbs up, the skin deforms itself to enclose and hold it. At the top the deformation detaches again from the existing structure, pointing on one side towards the Acropolis to focus a dramatic view, while on the other side it provides a panorama across the port. These two deformations can be seen from outside as pointing towards the Acropolis and on the other as a welcoming gesture towards the sea. These deformations at the top interact on a bigger and more visual scale than the lower ones and enhance the tower’s status in a larger city context.
The duality of interior and exterior value underlines the fact, that the building is alive with and without occupied indoor space and interacts on several levels with its context.
The overall project is designed and drawn in a parametric way to allow changes very easily. Attractions can be changed or even added and the written design engine updates the project dynamically.

version PDF


The skeletal structure consists of a triangulation of the skin which is realized in circular steel tubes and assembled with spherical joints, each of which connects six tubes. The spherical geometry of the joints allows the assembly of different angles in which the tubes meet each other.
The structure is connected to the existing concrete whenever no deformation occurs. Cantilevered parts are self-supporting and limited by their structural properties.
The deformable skin starts its life as a new appearance at the port of Piraeus whose tubular steel structure interacts with its surrounding. The facets are empty or faced with aluminum frames holding different infill panels which can also be changed over time.
Starting with DuPont’s ETFE membranes, while the tower is still unoccupied, they can cover or mark certain parts of the tower. This includes for instance providing natural light and protection to the stairs and the passage to the port or backlit elements which can light the surrounding during the night. Solar panels will be installed to profit from the enormous available surface and produce cheap and clean energy for a green future.
As Piraeus Tower’s value increases and it starts to be occupied more and more the façade continues to change. Office and administrative spaces will need more light, restaurants and lookout points desire to have nice views from the top and the infill panels will change to glazing in DuPont SentryGlas Interlayer to provide the best performance for the tenants.

the GH definitions are split in two parts, because in one it wouldn’t be possible to work in. The first definition allows to deforme the the existing structure of the Piraeus Tower.

GH canvas for creating the deformable skin

rhino screen shot of the deformable skin

The second definition applies a tubular structure to the deformable skin from the first GH definition.

GH canvas for the tubular structure

rhino screen shot of the structure

An overview of all the files can be found in the following gallery:

transition between panels / panel repartition WIP

Smooth transition between panels:

14 possible panel types:

The PANELS DLA script within the GH definition calculates which type to use for each panel position.

Facade tectonics:

Panel repartition:
The normal double glazed window is the most efficient window in terms of producing the best ventilation effect. This type dominates in the southern facades. The few balconies that there are are positioned with additional constraints in the VB script so they stay closer together and the DLA algorithm linking them produces a distinctive ‘drawing’ that gives the tower in iconic appearance. On the northern facades the number of balconies is considerably higher and produces, in combination with the safety stairs, a more homogeneous, texture-like repartition of the panels.
The panels wrapping the plinth are less coupled to the facade and adapt to the surrounding like a curtain.

linking the layers


Facade in prefabricated concrete elements:
- 2 layers of concrete (5cm each) with insulation in between hold together by reinforcement
- Attached to the slabs with a metal juncture: one part screwed onto the slab, the other part cast in the concrete element and then clipped to the first part

Two layers of glazing:
-Interior glazing: actual weather barrier, can be opened
-Exterior glazing: glass pane mounted with a gap between the pane and the concrete
-The exterior layer reflects a important part of the sunlight and serves as sun protection.
-The increase of temperature between the two layers of glazing produces an natural ventilation effect.

Glass panels:
-The exterior glazing can become larger and be placed on the exterior of the concrete facade forming a grid of panels.
-These panels can take a distance to the facade that allows a balcony in between.
-The panels are fixed 4-armed with metal beams attached to the slab and reinforced with a DuPont Sentryglass interlayer to increase their performance.

-The panels might change their materiality: Opaque elements as sun protection or photo voltaic panels.


The openings in the concrete facade are still placed by an algorithm that chooses a random position and one of four sizes for each window. The higher the floor, the more probable to get a large opening. These random  openings however stay in a rigid grid. This grid allows a compatibility with the layer of  glass panels, that sticks to the same grid. The algorithm also defines the location of balconies (at the moment the balcony positions correspond to first defined windows of type L). These balconies are used as starting points for the DLA algorithm that defines the placement of the glass panels.There are 3 types of panels: panels close to the concrete facade, panels distant enough to wrap a balcony and a third type in between. The panels that were first created by the algorithm are the most distant to the concrete facade. The spreading panels produce a distinctive image linking the different balconies.

Furthermore I added two new options to the VB function:
-You can choose if the algorithm works in 8 or in 4 directions (if panels the touch each other only at a corner are considered neighbors)
-Number of neighbors needed to stop the panel from moving (1 or 2)

These options allow to get a denser repartition of the panels with less branches.

GH screenshot

GH canvas

gh definition
vb code for perforated facade
vb code for panels

Glass panel wrapping

research on attractor geometry and possible forms

Seeking for solutions for my project I tried to look for different possibilities for several aspects of my current state.

  • different attractor geometries using a GH definition -> what happens if the attractor would be a line, curve or even a surface and not only a point as it has been so far?
  • different sizes of the facetting -> larger triangles would need another (smaller) structure for filling up the surfaces, but smaller facetting might need a supporting structure. Both possibilities would be possible, but they need different kinds of detailing and would give a different appereance of the tower
  • analyzing some possible forms I can produce, using the current GH definition

In general I’m inclined to go for the smaller facetting because it gives a smoother appereance and consists in only one structure all over the facade instead of having a main structure and then a kind of filling structure. To avoid a supporting structure for the small facettes, I’ll try to “touch” the existing structure as often as required.
The different attractor geometries – I analysed in a seperate GH file – have to be developed to be used within my project. Concerning the final overall form of the facade, I think I leave this at this point for a while and come back to it, when I know more precisely what I want and for which reasons.

Eyelids tower Engine