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SIMPLIFIED COMPLEXITY BY GIANCARLO DI MARCO
The learning landscape for Rhino users is often through disorganized discussion boards and scattered online videos. This book was a valuable resource for uncovering the fundamental principles which guide the design operations within Rhino. A comprehensive approach towards grasping the essence of NURBS geometry and the nature of constructing curves.
The most notable benefits of handling the software with more foundational knowledge were twofold. For one, modeling errors and undesirable features are given greater clarity. Secondly, this awareness of how basic tools function promotes a cleaner and more proper modeling process —It's no longer sufficient to only generate a surface but now it must also display simplified isocurve topology.
The book is both well-organized and incredibly thorough. Starting with the introductory concepts which underlie curve and surface generation, it then ventures into the demands of production-level modeling. Easily comprehendible but also advanced in its teachings, simplified complexity is a resource that is meant to be revisited.
ALGORITHMS-AIDED DESIGN BY ARTURO TEDESCHI
I’ve kept this book on me at all times for an entire year when I first received it, and every project since has drawn influence from one of its pages. The range of content is not only incredibly extensive but also manages to uphold a thoughtful interconnection between chapters. It's evident that Arturo values systematic development and foundational emphasis over the training of individual tools.
I often refer to AAD as the 'bible of grasshopper' and it is without a doubt an indispensable resource for anyone interested in the software. When I began reading the book, I had essentially no experience with Grasshopper yet the chapters seamlessly flow from the very basics of data management and simple transformations all the way to the highly advanced techniques of digital simulations, evolutive structures, and environmental analysis. It truly touches upon such a large array of essential design methods within Grasshopper in an impressively approachable and inviting manner —Constantly pairing technical ability with practical and insightful commentary.
With the ease of forming and manipulating highly complex structures with today’s parametric systems, it’s easy to lose sight of a design’s intention and practicality. Perhaps Arturo's greatest contribution in this book is actually the urgency placed on purposeful design amid the improvement of algorithmic practices.
BIOMIMICRY IN ARCHITECTURE BY MICHAEL PAWLYN
Efficiency in construction, sustainable materials, zero-waste systems, management of harsh environments, the persistent issues we confront in design have often long been tackled by nature first. It would be rash to claim that nature’s solutions are perfect, but what is undeniable is their advantage of time. Evolutions of attempted refinement and optimization through every conceivable condition. At the heart of biomimicry is a synthesis of the best of what nature has produced with the best of what humans can devise. Beyond aesthetics, resemblance, and even direct copies, biomimicry is more a translation of biology’s functional adaptations to human-suited designs. Our relationship with design has gone from one of conquest, to preservation, and now towards harmonious coexistence.
The improvement of buildings and products have mostly fixated on simply mitigating negatives. Their construction is left as an unchanging, conclusive form. Is it possible to construct an approach that is positive and regenerative? To create a seemingly living, evolving structure? A cohesive system that is capable of self-repair, re-assembly, and adaptivity?
Following the mantra of “materials are expensive, shape is cheap,” we are positioned better than ever before to devise truly responsive systems. With generative tools, structure is no longer a rigid production of cuts and molds. It is a form morphed from data and performance constraints. With the power of computation, structure is no longer a stagnant object but a reactive assembly that transforms with an environment. With parametric approaches, structure is no longer final. It now holds traceable and alterable history. With greater structural control comes expanded functionality. Age-old material now finds newfound utility and exhibition.
In this book, Michael Pawlyn shares an enormous amount of interesting case studies and natural phenomena. This alone would be sufficient for an enticing read. It’s the constructive reflection of what advances need to be made, the connectivity between topics, and a real belief in possibility that makes ‘Biomimicry in Architecture’ more of a revisited resource than just a passing read.
CONVERGENCE BY ROSS LOVEGROVE
A still of fluid motion. A snapshot of progressional mutation. Tracing the entire evolution of an object, Ross Lovegrove then frames a moment in time for it to exist. Just as the morphology of an organism evolves with its surroundings, he allows his model to grow within a specified environment of constraints, tensions, and resources.
Lovegrove's work is a pairing of both reduction and growth. Primitive shapes are diluted to a minimal framework of mechanical integrity. Form sprouts along the interactions of material, structure, and function. The final design manages to present itself as futuristic yet also primal. Advanced technology gives hand to organic contours and biological textures.
Just as Sartre urges individual action to reflect a universal conception of attitude for all of mankind, Lovegrove's designs seem less as standalone objects and more so an interconnected directive for a larger design imperative. To build entities that emerge from latest practices but complement the natural world. To find a convergence of art, technology, science, and nature.
MASTER BUILDERS BY PETER BLAKE
Mastery of structure, form, and space.
Le Cobusier envisioned the city as a whole as architecture, where buildings were 'divorced from the ground' by stilts to open up public circulation and 'raised up against the sky' with gardens on the roof and patios.
Mies Van de Rohe challenged the notion of 'form follows function' with an approach of 'universal building'. A building that could outlive its original function, retaining a level of flexibility in its utility that would fight against the rapid obsolescence that most creations face in the modern world.
Frank Lloyd Wright strayed from the image of buildings towering above nature, the glorification of man's machines. Instead of conventional verticality, his dominant line of work was horizontal, down-to-earth architecture.
But just as interesting to me are their personal moments away from the office, the human behind the work.
Corbu explored ideas through painting, developing a modular system of proportions that he showed to Einstein who thought it made 'the bad difficult and the good easy.' He was undeniably gifted but was a terrible collaborator. He lost many commission opportunities and partnerships due to his controversial behavior.
Mies was appointed as the director of the Bauhaus school but by 1933 the program faced pressure from the Nazis who considered the designs 'degenerate', and 'un-German'. He arranged a meeting with a Nazi leader and convinced him to allow the school to continue. Right after the interview, Mies wrote a letter stating that now that they had permission to continue, he would close the Bauhaus himself, believing that it cannot continue to exist in this atmosphere.
Wright had a disdain for other architects, refusing to join the American Institute of Architects and getting into a fist fight with a colleague during his early career at Sullivan's firm. He had a habit of being short of cash, leading him to secretly work on a number of private houses, during his time at the firm which led to his firing. Wright easily had the most tumultuous life of the three, particularly in regards to his familial life and affairs.
R. BUCKMINSTER FULLER PATTERN-THINKING BY DANIEL LOPEZ-PEREZ
Fuller's design methodology can be viewed as an interrogation of 'universe forms', using geometry as a lens through which to interpret the behavior of natural systems.
The spirit of his work is less concerned with the final image of structure than it is with the guiding principles that lead to their creation. Points, lines, panels, and volumes, Fuller begins with fundamental elements and extrapolates each of their conceivable transfigurations. Surveying the manipulation of primitive shapes through their arrangement, translation, rotation and division.
What is sought after is not a static, physical object but rather a general framework that can systematically dissect the structural forms of our universe. An approach where patterns and concepts are mutually embedded within and embodied by each other.
While Fuller's body of work and philosophies extend well beyond the construction of patterns, his principled approach to structure remains applicable to all fields of design.
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