Morphogenetic Paths between Geometrical Traces and Fabrication Issues: Geometrical Analysis and Digital Form Studies

Morphogenetic Paths between Geometrical Traces and Fabrication Issues: Geometrical Analysis and Digital Form Studies

Domenico D'Uva (Politecnico di Milano, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0029-2.ch034
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The growing population of buildings in contemporary cities has pushed the search for innovative and recognizable architectures to unpredictable peaks, where the sole aim is to emerge from the skylines. The first and most intuitive way to reach this aspiration is an increase in complexity of shapes. Understanding how the complexity is reached is an aim worth to be explored, through the analysis of the geometry. The complexity of geometry is such to require specific tools to be properly studied and used. The aim of this work is the understanding of the parametric morphogenesis, meant as the process of form creation, of the 30 St. Mary Axe in London, by Norman Foster. In this sample, the shape characterization is analyzed, not as a complexity showing off in itself, but as a perceived result of a synergy between environmental, structural and functional issues through its geometrical analysis.
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The exploration of the reasons and the ways to express complexity is a theme of interest that architects face continuously when they relate with built environment. The starting sense of amazement produced by the perception of the esthetic features of interesting buildings is something all designers feel and want to reproduce in their work. This effect is mainly produced by exterior components of the architecture, but it is important to go beyond external appearances to really comprehend the mechanism that rule the form of the building. This method has the aim of spoil and understand the complexity in architecture. It has been analyzed and developed by professor Rolando, who applied it through the years within the courses of representation in the faculty of Architecture in Politecnico di Milano.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Shape Driver: Special architectural elements that drive the shape toward desired configurations.

Lunchbox: Plugin for Grasshopper, capable of paneling.

Katabatic (Wind): From the Greek word katabatikos meaning “to flow downhill”, is the technical name for a drainage wind, a wind that carries high density air from a higher elevation down a slope under the force of gravity. Katabatic winds can rush down elevated slopes at high speed.

Mesh (Polygon): In computing, it is a digital method for generation and representation of surface, usually based on triangle or quadrangular faces.

Morphogenesis: “Beginning of the shape” is the biological process that causes an organism to develop its shape; when it is applied in architecture, morphogenesis is referred to the creation process of the perceived image of the building.

Grasshopper: Plugin for Rhinoceros, capable of generative design.

Rhinoceros: Nurbs modeler used for advanced representation of any kind of forms.

NURBS: Short for Non-uniform rational B-spline. Digital method for generation and representation of curves and surface based on mathematical model shape.

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