Design Computation Workshops

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2018.03.09: Immersive VR tools in the design process

Précis: Visual Communication at Heatherwick Studio is exploring new ways of visualising architectural projects by implementing new immersive technology from the beginning until the end of the design process. We are implementing VR sketching in the concept stage of the projects, reviving traditional hand sketching by adding third dimension to it in Virtual 3D space. This brings back the artistic craft currently missing in the computer modelling environment.

In later stages of the project, they are using game engines to visualise the space, light, materials and the overall experience in VR as parallel to conventional 3d modelling/rendering tools.

On a second experiment, we have started using medical CT scanning to capture internal spaces of our conceptual models and bring it into 3d and especially to test these spaces in VR. This allows us to see small scale models in 1:1 using VR headsets.


About: Ondrej Tichy is currently Head of Visual Communication at Heatherwick Studio, developing a strategic vision for how studio project represents and communicates the uniqueness of each design intent to its highest level, while taking into account the purpose and audience of communication, the appropriate tools, as well as the cultural and political contexts that influence project success.

Ondrej is also leading a superstructure package on Pier 55 project, which is a 2.7-acre public park and performance space on Manhattan’s lower west. The superstructure is made of 132 concrete precast pots and the whole park is placed on the 375 piles on the River Hudson.

Since joining Heatherwick Studio in 2012, Ondrej was working on Al Fayah Park in Abu Dhabi, where he was leading 40 000m2 sprayed concrete superstructure and Zeitz MOCAA which is a contemporary museum of modern art in Cape Town.  

Prior to working Heatherwick Studio, he gained experience working with BIG in Copenhagen, where he was involved on several major project most notably public park Superkilen, which was rewarded with a 2013 AIA Honor, shortlisted for Design of the Year by the Design Museum in London as well as for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture.

Ondrej continues to lecture at universities and conferences on the application of virtual reality tools in the architectural practice.



2018.02.09: Dynamic Relaxation in Revit using Dynamo & Python

Précis: On our first presentation of 2018, specialist Boleslaw Musierowicz discusses the implementation Dynamic Relaxation techniques within Revit using Dynamo and Python. The method is briefly reviewed and fully described.

The intention is to demonstrate possible directions for further development of Revit as an early design tool in conjunction with computational physics. The presenter investigates what can be done to improve Revit’s concept design potential by making the modelling process more intuitive and flexible, shedding some light on some of the software’s limitations in relation to computational tools.


About: Boleslaw Musierowicz is a computational specialist with an extensive knowledge in fields of complex geometry, modelling and BIM. He is involved in developing scripts and add-ins used in projects by some of the best architectural practices in the world. Combining programming skills with architectural background, he currently works for Foster+Partners, as a part of BIM Management Group where he supports BIM implementation in many challenging projects.



2017.07.04:  A computational method for interactive 3D design and rationalization of surfaces via auxetic materials 

Précis: Dr. Bailin Deng presentes a computational method for interactive 3D design and rationalization of surfaces via auxetic materials, i.e., flat flexible material that can stretch uniformly up to a certain extent. A key motivation for studying such material is that one can approximate doubly-curved surfaces (such as the sphere) using only flat pieces, making it attractive for fabrication. Dr. Bailin Deng has physically realize surfaces by introducing cuts into approximately inextensible material such as sheet metal, plastic, or leather. The cutting pattern is modeled as a regular triangular linkage that yields hexagonal openings of spatially-varying radius when stretched. In the same way that isometry is fundamental to modelling developable surfaces, his research leverage conformal geometry to understand auxetic design.


About: Dr. Bailin Deng is a lecturer in the School of Computer Science and Informatics, and a member of the Visual Computing Research Group. He works on digital design tools and shape optimization techniques that facilitate manufacturing, with applications such as freeform architectural design and digital fabrication. More information can be found on my personal webpage.