Parametric Design

While diving into programming by discovering Processing we are questioning our design languages as well. Yesterday Pia gave us a brief introduction to parametric design, its roots and research. Although it has gained speed in architecture in the last decade parametric designs logic and base go back to 60’s. At first glance, without any insight, its ground seems to be only into formal explorations and generation of novel geometries. Apparently it enables such innovations, however the benefits and perspectives it provide are far beyond this and it is considered a part of a wider pursuit. 

I guess this lecture opened a new window to the team by providing a better understanding to parametric design that currently compasses architecture visually and even verbally. This, so to say, accelerating dominance of parametric design may obstruct to comprehend its foundation and principles most of the time. During the lecture Pia referred to many significant works containing projects, books and essays that I will be sharing here as well.

M3 Takes Off

Workshop 2 with Frederic was the official end of 2012 at MAS LA, and 2013 just began with an introduction of Module 3 that is tutoring by Pia Fricker and George Munkel from teaching team. M3 focuses on programming language and takes open source Processing as a tool that has been developed by MIT Media Lab in the past decade. Processing enables creating visuals depending on certain parameters, and it is not a common device in landscape architecture at all. In the following 5 weeks we will be in pursuit of the possible intersections of these two.

In parallel to M3 we also started working on final synthesis. This week the first meeting will take place too. For final synthesis that will be the diploma project of MAS LA we are totally free to choose any subject and tool.

W2 Design Input

Right after M2 had ended we had another 3 days workshop, this time with Frédéric Rossano. This was the first event until now that we considered, discussed and assessed the site from a designer point of view. Frédéric didn’t know the valley before so his questions and unprejudiced aspect led everyone into a pre-design phase where creating a holistic stance matters the most. In M2 every team analyzed different dimensions of the site that were exchanged at the end. Therefore design input workshop was an opportunity to step back from these facts without overlooking them.

Yet design ideas were like the inevitable outcome at the end of the 3 days, meaning that there wasn’t an urge by the schedule, rather was there an encouragement that came out as a result of multi-directional tutoring of Frédéric. After all, the 3 days were filled with history, games, design and movies. And the idea of landscape was at the air!


M2 Ends

Modul 2 ended on Wednesday with the final presentations. I should say that the past five weeks was full of discrete emotions. We came across new software, plugins, even another vocabulary. This was a great challenge for everyone who already has certain design language and accustomed design methodology. This is why we learned a lot.

Another breakthrough was about how we convey the filtered information while presenting. We had to present everything within a video that should not last longer than 5 minute, without us speaking. We led the video talk. This way we could have a chance to talk about the site itself, analysis techniques, opportunities of software and innovative presentation techniques.

Thanks to James Melsom who inspired and enlightened us throughout the module with his presentations and wide range of knowledge.

Towards the End of M2

Exercise II of Modul II was presented on Friday. We have shared the various outcomes of Grasshopper while discussing the possibilities of the plugin. We have been divided into teams that each one is focusing on a specific landscape theme. 6 teams consisting of 2 have analyzed the water network, vegetation, movement network, territorial scale, terrain, historical development and built structures of Erstfeld.

Friday was the kick off the final exercise too, and the assignment is on December 12th. The teams of the mentioned themes will be proceeding the analysis widening their presentation with video and motion graphics.

Grasshopper Workshop

MAS LA Life goes on! Modul 2 covers not only the site visit and visualization of the area but also two workshops of Grasshopper for parametric design and Vray for rendering. Yesterday we had an introduction of Grasshopper by James. It is a plugin for modeling generative forms and runs within the Rhino.

It provides a wide perspective in terms of generating algorithmic forms therefore has became quite popular in the past couple of years especially in parametric design. And we, in MAS LA, are searching for the possibilities within the landscape architecture.


Collage and Think

After the site trip on Monday we had 4 days to rethink the observations and insights. The overall project area was relatively large therefore during the visit we were splitted into two groups that each of them also had an inner division. Therefore everyone could surveyed different parts of the site and collected particular data. On Friday we could exchange these personal experience and discuss the features and landscape characteristic from different point of view while presenting the site collages prepared with own material and so detection.

Site Visit

Differently from the M1, at M2 we will be working on a given site which is determined as Erstfeld, a small town of Canton Uri, 1,5 hour distance from Zurich. Besides its unique geographical characteristic, the settlement is known to be the center of Alp transit -Gotthard Railway. Gotthard Railway is the Swiss trans-alpine railway line from Immensee to Chiasso, and on the border with Italy. Erstfeld situates on this route, and comprises one of the information centers of this infrastructure project. Currently another tunnel project construction is prevailing on the site as well.

This site is chosen not only for the M2 but also for the final synthesis project of the MAS LA program. Yesterday we, together with James and Ilmar, had the first site visit. As soon as we arrived a cloudy sky hiding the enormous verticality encountered us. It was the afternoon when we happened to conceive the real scale of mountain range.


M2 Starts

After 1 week break subsequent to the eye opening workshop we are back to the track again. M2 that will last for 5 weeks started today with the intriguing introduction by James Melsom. In this module we are going to practice landscape visualization, using the new tools we have been learning.

Terra Nova by Lebbeus Woods

Here are some sample from James’ presentation relating to the visualization with a broad content ranging from historical mapping to ground breaking sketches of Lebbeus Woods.

1 Minute Landscape Painting

We are heading to the end of the workshop 1. On Monday our tutor Suzanne introduced us video editing as well as Final Cut software. As soon as we got the guideline of editing we began processing the collected records in Einsiedeln. We all are quite excited with editing although (or since) this is our very first time. The goal is to make a 1 minute landscape painting.

On Friday 7 teams will present the 1 Minute Landscape Painting videos together with the self-portraits taken in Einsiedeln to the MAS LA team, and also invited critic Axel Hütte. Hütte is a well known German photographer whose work focuses on landscape and nature. Here is some information and sample of his works.