Parametric Design Seminar
Summer 2015 + Fall 2015
Georgia Institute of Technology
“The structure of this theory of the building envelope has been based on the hypothesis that the political possibilities of the envelope are primarily related to its dimensions, and that every dimensional type can trigger specific technological, social and political effects. Admittedly, the dimensions of the envelope are not usually left for the architect to decide and are usually associated with the type of project, the site constraints and the client’s requirements.”
Alejandro Zaera-Polo, The Politics of the Envelope: A Political Critique of Materialism, 2008
This course will investigate contemporary methods and technologies for the design of building envelopes. The research on envelopes will be tackled from two different avenues using digital modeling/scripting tools. On one side students will be introduced to various tessellation systems that subdivide surface areas into tiles (whole to parts). On the other side, dynamic tiling and component systems will be considered to develop systems of adjacency and performative agency (parts to whole). This investigation will be carried with various exercises that will help students develop their own envelope assemblies. These systems will be tested on four types of envelopes to test their applicability and discuss their technological, social and political effects.
The class will use advanced modeling, scripting and parametric tools towards the study of Alejandro Zaera Polo’s theory of the envelopes. Students will study historic and contemporary precedents to develop an understanding of building envelope types and construction techniques. The class will mainly operate over parametric modeling platforms in Rhino to help students develop custom tools for their research and design of new envelope systems. The goal of the class is to build digital skills, engage with pattern making techniques, re-define the applicability of envelope materials and develop a comprehensive understanding of parametric modeling.