Volumes of Light | HT 2016

Course Coordinator: John Stack Ross

Instructors: Gediminas Kirdeikis, Liina Pikk, Nestor Campos, Tomas Ramstrand

Chillida (Arup), Mount TindayaMount Tindaya, Eduardo Chillida (Arup)

Course Schedule

Overall Course PDF

Note: You should work in groups of 2 or 3 for the workshop.

Task 1: “Site”

site: 1. the spatial location of an actual or planned structure or set of structures, 2. a space of ground occupied or to be occupied by a building.

1A: Select a geographic site location for your project and create a site surface (NURBS) in Rhino using day 1 tutorials (export from SketchUp, import to Rhino). Your selected site location can be anywhere and should be between 2500m2  – 10000m2 (land area). Please check the scale of your site in Rhino using the dimension tools and make sure your file units are set to meters.

2A: Create a topographic map of your selected site using the Rhino command “contour” (the contour interval should be set at an distance that suits the scale and elevation change of your site).

Objectives: To become familiar with basic surface modeling techniques through modeling and modifying geographic site locations.

Task 2: “Volume and Texture”

volume: the quantity of three-dimensional space enclosed by some closed boundary.

texture: 1. the visual and especially tactile quality of a surface. 2. the characteristic physical structure given to a material, an object, etc., by the size, shape, arrangement, and proportions of its parts.

Select one or two of the artists / architects listed below. Using the work as inspiration for designing with landscape, volume, and texture develop a site strategy and design for a pavilion on your selected site.

Artists / Architects

Use the above as initial design inspiration. Investigate ways in which volumes and forms can be integrated into the landscape and the way light will enter the spaces. How can orientation, light and shadow inform surfaces, shapes, and openings in your model? How can textures / patterns at different scales further enhance your designs? Explore and develop interesting modeling techniques discovered using Rhino.


  • Your pavilion must clearly define an interior condition that is large enough for a person to enter.
  • You may scale your design to be as large as you would like, but you should know the approximate area / dimensions of your project.

Objectives: To become familiar with intermediate surface and solid modeling techniques for exterior and interior shapes / volumes.

Task 3: “Light”

Select 1 exterior view and 1 interior view of your final design to render using V-Ray for Rhino and SketchUp. Explore options with different materials, camera exposure, light intensity / size and correction controls in the V-Ray frame buffer.

Objectives: To become familiar with basic rendering techniques in V-Ray.

Final Presentation Materials

Note: All final work to be handed in as a single PDF file for each group. The work will be projected and reviewed Tuesday October 18. Please use appropriate PDF settings for line work / drawings to be digitally projected. Renderings should be at a resolution appropriate for projecting.

Previous student work samples

Basic Rhino command list

A3 Templates

Software Links

Windows for Mac Users