Posts Tagged ‘pattern’

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

cs_gecko_scaled skin


(C)2007 Matthijs Rouw /
(C)2007 Matthijs Rouw /

- some biological facts:
www.wikipedia.deGeckos are reptiles , exactly they’re belonging to the order of ‘Squamata’ which means ‘scaled reptile’ (snakes and lizards).
That means they have  horny scales or shields. One family of this suborders, named ‘Scleroglossa’ are the Geckos,  besides worm lizards, skinks and snakes.

Geckos are a quite old and long existing species. There are more than 500 different types. Geckos are very versatile and adaptable. That’s why they are spread all over the entire world, which leads to this incredible richness of different species, their skin colors and patterns.

Most of them are nocturnal, which could be seen by the form of their eyes and pupils. read more.

- Let’s have a closer look to the structure of the scaley pattern skin:

different scale,  rhythm and appearance is remarkable. For a first and simple parametrization for a transfer to grasshopper, I was working with a simple grid.

the idea was to create a pattern which allows because of the variing gometry to imply several different usages, for exemple: collecting and reflecting sunlight:

- in the context of project:

- build references:

Galerie Bischofberger
Uetikon am See, Zürich, Schweiz, 2008
Baier Bischofberger GmbH, Zürich


Schulhaus Steinmürli,
Dietikorn, Schweiz, 2006
Enzmann & Fischer, Zürich


Eyelids tower

The proposal is meant to be a demonstration of the possibilities of designing with data and parameters (The eyelids façade reacts to parameters such as sun radiation, view, to the existing structure and to the chosen material: DuPont Corian), with a given material, it’s inherent properties (translucency, continuity, smoothness), production dimension (3600×980x8mm), and capacity of transformation (thermoforming, milling, led insertion).

‘Corian® super-surfaces’ feature wall by amanda levete architects

x4: windows, glass panels

To analyze  the joints and junctures of the facade of the Forum 3 building by Diener & Diener I marked the key elements in section and plan. (source)

Worth mentioning is that the carrying structure starts on the ground floor at the inside of the weather barrier and switches on the first level to the outside. Where the bearing columns are on the outside the loads of the horizontal beams have to go through the facade . This demands a joint that is resistant, waterproof and thermally insulated. A reduction of columns the ground level demands larger beam in the ceiling. These larger beams however don’t have to perforate the weather barrier thanks to the shifting of the windows.
The metal bars that hold the glass panels are suspended from the top of the steel structure and invisibly anchored in the concrete foundation below the ground. Metal clamps fixed at the edge of each slab hold them in place.

In the plan a problem due to the corner geometry appears: The vertical metal bars of the exterior facade are not equidistant anymore. Other than that the building corner is very simple and reduced.

Piraeus facade detail drawing:

The perforated facade layer does not have to be load carrying because it is directly attached to the skeleton. It can be cast in insulating concrete which is less resistant but more insulating thermally than normal concrete. The glass panels are attached at big vertical bars. These pars are attached to the concrete facade from time to time, for example through balconies. The floor of the baconies as wella s the railings are made in glass to maintain a high degree of transparency and lightness.

Up to now, the rhythms of the perforated facade and the glass panel screen were completely independent. If the balconies take a structural role, these two rhythms have to be related somehow to guarantee a big enough number of joints.

Layers of controlled random II

The multi layered facade system with scattered balconies between the layer of glass panels and and the perforated concrete facade creates a very unusual spatial condition. The facade not only a spatial limit but a space itself.  The absence of balconies immediately below or above allows the perception of the vertical dimensions of the tower. The glass panels protect the balconies from direct wind and replace the railings.

The panels fulfill different tasks depending on the orientation of the facade. Southward they offer sun protection, to the east and to the west they protect balconies that are oriented towards the port or the Acropolis, on the northern facade the panels might wrap the security stair.


overview of GH canvas

The panels are now wrapping the plinth as well. Furthermore I applied an improved version of  the VB component that deals with four different window sizes on the tower.

GH definition
VB component for the perforated facade

Here and there the glass panels on the plinth reach the ground, in that way they build a semipermeable skin around the base of the tower and ‘ground’ the whole building. The ground floor is, apart from these panels, completely open and may become a covered extension of the market whose relation to the surrounding is defined by the positioning of the glass panels.

The layer of panels doesn’t have to be strictly vertical. If it is interpreted as a strongly perforated skin that wraps the whole building it becomes a roof like structure for the terrace on the plinth of the tower.

DLA: pattern becomes structure

I modified the 3D DLA VB component in order to get a list of lines between each new point and it’s neighbour. The starting poins lies on the xy-plane. Every new point is positionned one level higher in z-direction than his neighbouring point, once it has found one. That means every branch is growing upwards.

Animation of the growth

GH definition
VB component

(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: Layers of controlled random

For the  facade for the Piraeus Tower I’m applying the parametrisations developped during the precedent exercices and the case study to approach some of the ideas that emerged in the esquisse.

The facade consists in three layers:
- The existing skeleton of the tower
- A perforated facade
- A third layer of glass panels

In the perforated facade, the positions of the openings are generated by an algorhythm based on random choice of coordinates, similar to the code for the random panel pattern in the precedent exercices. Yet there are two different window sizes. The window locations are only partially random due to the avoiding of of overlapping openings. The choice of the size for each window isn’t purely random neither, the higher the floor, the bigger are the chances to get a large window.  The number of large windows increases that way to the top, where you have the best view on the port and the city. The metal bars of the Diener & Diener building are replaced, so to speak,  by the slabs of the skleton structure of the tower; the pattern rotates by 90°. The openings don’t respect the existing structure, that’s why here and there a part of the concrete skeleton appears.

The base of the tower is treated differently. As the base should become more open to its surrounding, but no large windows are needed for panoramic views, a facade with windows in a regular interval guarantees the highest degree of opening possible  inside the constraints set by the window width  and the minimal lateral distance between two windows defined for the tower as a whole.

For the glass panels I used another algorhythm based on random positions: The so called diffusion-limited aggregation (DLA) also used to simulate the growth of lichen. This algorhythm creates a specific pattern of panels. It starts with a single panel, whose position has to be defined. Each new panel is moving randomly in a given field (in this case the facade) and joins the already existing panels if it gets close enough.  So the panels might start at a point where they are needed for their function (wind shelter or  sun protection) and spread over the facade.

Grasshopper screenshot

The Grasshopper canvas


Definition of the perforated facade for one of the 4 sides of the tower. The other three facades are generated in the same way, then mover and/or rotated. code for the random openings

Definition of the glass panels for one of the 4 sides of the tower. The other three facades are generated in the same way, then mover and/or rotated. code for the panels

Definition of the facade of the base

The Grasshopper file can be found here, there’s  a light version of the definition as well: no boolean, no extrusions , no solids; much faster to play around with.

Changing parameters:

Constant window width (170cm); varying number of windows:  50, 100, 170, 203

Constant number of windows (150); varying window width: 80, 130, 170, 200cm

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.