Arkitekturens Kreativa Verktyg | HT 2017

Course Director: John Stack Ross
Co-Instructor / Lecturer: Gediminas Kirdeikis

Workshop 1 | Modulating Light (31.08 – 28.09)


Erwin Hauer – Continua

“Light hitting the screen from the front accentuates the continuous, meandering linear patterns that traverse it apparently infinitely, much like the continuo in baroque music. When the light comes from behind, it articulates the individual spaces contained within the wall. Suffused with luminescence, these normally unnoticed interior voids come to our attention for the first time, revealing wonderful, unfamiliar characteristics.” – Erwin Hauer

Note: You may work individually or in groups of 2 for Workshop 1

Task 1: Module

module: 1. one of a set of parts that can be connected or combined to build or complete something. 2. the dimensions of a structural component, used as a unit of measurement or standard for determining the proportions of the rest of the construction. 3. a standardized, often interchangeable component of a system or construction that is designed for easy assembly or flexible use.

1A: Physical Model – Finding precedent in Erwin Hauer’s modular designs, construct a physical model that is developed within a 15cm cubic frame / bounding box.


  • Use material that investigates surface continuity in either compression or tension (e.g., casting or stretching fabric).
  • Investigate simple geometric connections between edges, corners, and mid‑points.
  • Investigate relationships between symmetry and asymmetry.

Photographs of physical / handmade models due by 17:00 September 6th. Please email photographs – john.ross@arkitektur.lth.se

1B: Digital Model – Digitally model and fabricate (3D print) your model from Task 1A. You can model an exact version of your physical model or a variation that explores further modeling techniques discovered when working digitally. You may adjust the scale of your model for 3D printing, but it should be no smaller than a 5cm cubic bounding box and no larger than a 7.5cm cubic bounding box.

Note: 3D prints of your base modules will be reviewed in class on 14/09 and 21/09.

Further Surface Examples / Inspiration

Task 2: Tessellation

Task 2 will introduce modeling techniques in the graphical algorithm editor Grasshopper for investigating surface tessellation as it applies to subdivision and component population. The models developed in Task 1 will be used as modules / components for populating surfaces.

Task 3: Modulation

modulate: 1.exert a modifying or controlling influence on. 2. change from one form or condition into another.

Task 3 will investigate 2 variants of your base module from Task 1. Techniques in the graphical algorithm editor Grasshopper will be introduced for varying and modulating surface population.

Final Model: A final model of your modulation study will be 3D printed using the SLS printer in IKDC 3D printing lab.

  • If working individually, your model should be no larger than 750 cm3 (bounding box)
  • If working in a group of 2, your model should be no larger than 1500 cm3 (bounding box)

Workshop 1 Final Review – September 28th (13:00 – 17:00)

1. PDF digital slideshow (should include the content below)

  • Development of base component
  • 2 variations of base component
  • Tessellation / Modulation study (highlight key principles in your model (e.g., UV subdivisions, attractor types and weights, etc.)
  • Photographs of model (capture different details + qualities of light)

2. All models

  • Handmade
  • 3D prints (studies and final)

3. Optional materials

  • Screen captures of Grasshopper files
  • Animations


Workshop 2 | Morphing Aggregations (19.10 – 23.11)

Fountain by Greg Lynn

Greek philosopher Leucippus together with his student Democritus were the first ones to develop the theory of atomism – the idea that everything is made of imperishable and indivisible elements called atoms. This theory easily translates from the fields of natural sciences to a manmade field of architecture. Any larger architectural entity, such as a city can be dismantled into a predefined number of bricks, bolts, beams, columns, etc. These elements could be read as the atoms of the city.

If we were to draw this parallel even further we would have to acknowledge that since ancient greece the theory of atomism has evolved (or rather – grown) and now we know that atoms are actually made out of protons and neutrons, which are made of quarks held together with gluons and a change of behaviour in any of these particles would change the behaviour of the atom itself. So in turn – the most basic architectural elements can also be read as an ecosystem of smaller “things”, amongst which we will be focusing on materiality and the geometrical potential of their aggregated systems.

The idea of a brick within a building, within a block, within a city becomes rather interesting when looked at from a relation based point of view. In this model a pseudo-hierarchical mereological schemata can be drawn where any architectural entity is a “whole” and a “part” simultaneously. A brick and a city can be read as the extremes of this schemata – a brick can only be a part of a bigger system, but does not contain a system within itself thus it can not be read as a whole, while from this perspective a distinct city is a whole of its elements, but does not belong to any bigger architectural entity as a part.

By implementing this schemata into a parametric model we will be pre-defining part to part, part to whole and whole to whole relations and analyzing how these relations affect the behavior of a final architectural (in the broadest sense) system – the aggregate.

Note: The projects will be carried out by 2-3 person teams.

  • Week 1 (10.19-10.26): Design two topologically equivalent 3-dimensional modules, that would have some space-filling qualities. Aggregate them by using Fox plugin to test their tiling behavior. Document each test by baking the aggregated assembly and saving it as a separate file. 

Example of 2 modules.

Example of aggregation tests of 2 modules

  • Week 2 (10.26-11.02): Design a “supermesh” bridging both modules. Use the supermesh as a module for aggregation experiments. Analyze and document the transitional behavior of the whole structure by transforming the supermesh between the 2 topological extremes.

A supermesh is a mesh which contains enough vertex/edge/face information to be transformed into 2 or more topological extremes without adding additional or removing vertices.

Example of a supermesh fitting both Element A and Element B

  • Week 3 (11.02-11.09):  By using GRay plugin render out a video showing the aggregation morphing between its topological extremes. Choose a module instance which you find most interesting – use the chosen module as a bounding box to design the final element. Place special attention towards joinery.

Example of an animation

Example of a detailed element with its aggregate

Example of a visualization of the aggregate

  • Week 4 + 5 (11.16-11.23): Fabrication of final physical models, producing graphics, schematics, etc.

Workshop 2 Final Review – November 23rd (13:00 – 17:00)

Final Model:

  • Each group is expected to produce a final aggregate model with at least 70 elements.
  • The size of the model is not predefined but should not be less than 1m³.
  • The material of the model is not predefined – groups should choose the material during first 2 weeks of the workshop.
  • The manufacturing technique is not predefined – groups should choose the manufacturing technique together with the material.

Supplementary material for Workshop 2:

General Course References

Course Software

Additional Grasshopper Tutorials

3D Printing

LTH Computer Support

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