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procedural pavilions

procedural pavilions

This is a case-study in generating objects procedurally for pavilion designs. The process involves creating a set of instructions for manipulating geometry in space. In this case, a series of rotations and transformations are carried out initially on a base primitive shape. The primitive is rotated, mirrored, reflected, stretched, arrayed, and combined in various different ways. This set of modifications accumulate over time to create a final fractal-like form. And given enough variables to control, this allows for a system to generate an infinite number of forms that are similar yet different upon closer inspection. Additional work is done by hand in order to create a more handcrafted approach that addresses the quality and uniqueness of the selected designs.

Design, research, and prototyping with LuxMea, including Ryan Cook, Steven Avis. Prototypes printed on Formlabs Form 2, Markforged Mark Two, Stratasys Connex3 Objet 260, and HP Jet Fusion 580. 2019. LuxMea: Jean Yang, Edward Broeders, Ryan Cook, Steven Avis, Vahid Esraghi, Xiao Su.

One critique of procedural generation is that it results in a term called “procedural oatmeal” where it becomes difficult to meaningfully differentiate the final variations which have been generated. This is mostly a quantity over quality problem where the amount of content can be seen as wide as an ocean but as deep as a puddle.

Issues of procedural oatmeal were addressed in the later stage workflows for the pavilions. For the particular pavilion showcased below, procedural generation is only used as the starting off point. Once the form was generated, the legs and other features of the design were further massaged and sculpted by hand to add a unique final touch to the overall design. Using a larger set of control variables also helped to ensure that the final design did not suffer as much from the negatives of procedural generation.

Color and materiality were also explored procedurally. In the below example, color is used to create a dizzying fractal-like effect. The overall pattern of color in the later stages of this design is dependant on how the original object or base primitive is colored and textured at the start.