Archive for 8/26/07 - 9/2/07

Voronoi Study, part_03: algorithmic body

Tuesday, August 28, 2007 § 3

In my previous post concerning voronoi diagrams I presented an example where I used program requirements in order to define the initial set of points that will be used in order to create the final voronoi diagram (the problem of deciding on the initial set of points is, I think, one of the most interesting in relation to voronoi diagrams). However, as I wrote before, I find far more intriguing the idea of using an algorithm that can simulate a process of growth for that scope (lets call it a 'growing algorithm'). Therefore I continued my research in that direction by employing a cellular automaton script (same one I used on the space_sound project). So I developed a process, or 'recipe' that can be described by the following steps:
a. a 2d cellular automaton script is executed, with a random or pre-defined initial configuration of cells.
b. every generation of the ca is stacked on top of the previous ones creating this way a 'progression' of active cells.
c. the centers of the active ca cells are used in order to generate the voronoi diagram. The limit of that diagram is defined by the limits of the outer active cells of each generation of the ca.
d. the edges of the voronoi cells are used as the structural system.
e. a smoothed version of the voronoi cells is used in order to define enclosed space.

The above described process is employed in the design of a specific project displayed here (a transportation node + shopping mall downtown St. Louis). For the needs of this project an extra element is added to those of the structure and the enclosed space: a transparent skin wrapped around the composition. Fibercarbon for the structure and ETFE pillows for the skin are proposed as materials.

I think that, independently from the final result, the most interesting part of the project lies in the initial process described in the beginning. A 'growing algorithm' that will help us understand architecture as a growing organism that almost have a life of its own. An idea by no means new (look for example the metabolists or the 'urbican fever' - or fever in urbicand, whichever is the translation in english) but which becomes far more easy to work with through the computer.
More things are to follow on that subject... hopefully...
more information here