Tag: architecture

Zaha Hadid’s Ingenious Designs

Zaha Hadid’s Ingenious Designs

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

 

 

Zaha Hadid’s Ingenious Designs

Zaha Hadid was one of the most brilliant minds in architectural design.  Her work has been classified as Deconstructivism which is visually characterized as chaotic and unpredictable structures, often using non-rectilinear shapes which appear to distort and dislocate elements of the architecture.  Known as “the Queen of the Curve”, her work was described as having the highly expressive, sweeping fluid forms of multiple perspective points and fragmented geometry that evoke the chaos and flux of modern life.  Although she was often praised as the world’s top female architect, her work also attracted criticism.  She was among a group of architects who rejected their styles and classifications, as well as not ever coming to a worldly understandable, relative, conformed and unified definition over their own “different” designs of their own minds creation.  From being labeled as “making Doric temple forms out of plywood” to “unconventional buildings that seem to defy the logic of construction”, the unanimous verdict of critics is that Deconstructivism is a purely formal exercise with little social significance.  And yes, unfortunately for the Deconstructivists, I am one of THOSE critics that oppose you.  And why would I or anybody in their rightful mind side with different ideologies and a movement or style that is not in the mind or the time of anybody else’s except the creator’s, and therefore is different and not sane?  And yet, as we have seen with many despised reigning movements in the past several decades, the term had stuck and has come to embrace a general trend within contemporary architecture.  Ironically, it seems that the general consensus of everyone, including architects which once had been Deconstructivism’s ardent adherents are saying to shield their ridiculous embarrassment from the opposing masses, “We didn’t do it because we liked it.  We did it because we hated it.”  And of course, that’s all you need to say….and of course, it worked.

So, why would I, who stands with the opposing team, write a blog about Zaha Hadid and her Ingenious Designs?  Well, for one, I do like concrete, and concrete structures, and for some absurd reason, I think they are fun and urban.  And urban to me means culture and a sense of hope and public belonging.  This is unfortunately the reality that we live in, where we have to do with the nothing that we are given in life.  And in the irony of it all, these empirical things that are necessary evils are something to see and wander around in.  And some of the sights are nice too!  And so, I am going to give Zaha credit for actually creating some interesting, chaotic, unstable architecture that now disgusts people.  And many of her designs take up huge amounts of land too!  I just wish her and other Deconstructivist structures had more surprises for a style of architecture that rejects the past and presents no clear values as replacements and which often pursues strategies that are intentionally aggressive to human senses.  But who knows, maybe one day when the world is filled up with these “We didn’t do because we liked it.  We did it because we hated it” structures, there will be change along the lines of “We didn’t do it because we hated it.  We did it because we REALLY liked it.”, or “We didn’t do it because we liked it.  We did it because we REALLY hated it.”  Of course, what is REALLY liked or REALLY hated is still up to the discretion of the creator of a necessary style of architecture that may be more or less along the lines of something that rejects the past and presents no clear values as replacements and which often pursues strategies that are intentionally aggressive to human senses and more.

With that said, I would like to discuss Zaha Hadid’s Issam Fares Institute Building at the American University at Beirut.  The Issam Fares Institute for public policy and international affairs’ (IFI), designed by Zaha Hadid architects, was completed at the American University of Beirut as part of an on-going campus redevelopment.  Begun in 2006 and completed in 2014, Hadid’s award-winning concrete and glass building makes a bold statement with its prominent 21-meter, two-story-tall cantilever, which creates a covered courtyard and reduces the footprint of the building to avoid blocking circulation routes.  The elevated walkways carry pedestrians through the branches of huge Cypress and Ficus trees, many of which significantly predate the building at 120 to 180 years old the facility immediately serves the school’s students and administrators, but on a larger scale is a hub for local, regional, and international academics, researchers, and politicians.  The IFI comprises a rigorous educational program that the design of this building seeks to facilitate.  It aims to harness, develop, and initiate research of the Arab world, in order to enhance and broaden debate on public policy and international relations.  This is a new set of photographs by Lebanese architectural photographer Bahaa Ghoussainy which show the building in active use, pairing daytime scenes of visitors relaxing on benches or walking across pathways with dramatic evening views that highlight the glowing slanted windows.  In all of the photos, the exaggerated diagonal elements of Hadid’s design give the building a feeling of motion, as if Ghoussainy captured a glimpse of it speeding through the frame.  The landscaped surroundings contrast the neutral concrete of the building’s elevations with splashes of green, further highlighting the singular design.  With its monumental form, swept diagonal lines and elevated concrete walkways, the Issam Fares Institute building at the American University of Beirut by Zaha Hadid Architects emphasizes movement, evoking the speed of contemporary life as it presides over a connecting system of pedestrian walkways.

 

Revit Architecture

Revit Architecture

Saturday, February 25, 2017 | By | Add a Comment

RKO backlot main hotel views

RKO backlot main hotel views (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Revit Architecture

Those of us who know anything about BIM or Building Information Modeling know how much of an oh-so-joyous happy dandy fun time Revit Architecture can be.  With its tendencies for the user to have to be highly accurate in the development of a structure without having the ability to adjust measurements manually, Revit can be an extremely time consuming and often excruciatingly painstaking program to design fully developed construction in.

Rendering can be a whole other monster to deal with in itself.  Any project with a significant amount of At the school where I learned my Revit skills, we have wonderful 2 core processor Dell desktops which pretty much are good for doing a percentage of the floor plan work and unless you have several hours to spare, then forget about rendering big projects.  Especially if animation or 3DS Max plug-ins are used, then you should really expect to be spending a significantly lengthy amount of time rendering your projects.

Of course, now we have cloud-based rendering with the experimental plug-in dubbed Project Neon, located on Autodesk Labs which is in the beta phases and allows for the user to render their images through their Autodesk account instead of locally through their own computers.  But rendering a project is still very time consuming and the use of your Autodesk account is not always available (at such places like certain schools).  It is because of the complexity of the program and the time it takes to create each individual aspect of the entire program that the program in its entirety is not always taken advantage of in the workplace.

Just imagine the incredible and beautifully polished 3D designs that could be showcased during potential project bids in any given circumstance if the software were to develop with simplified convenience in mind.  Nevertheless, Revit still is a remarkable program and it is improving dramatically by the year.  I hope to see the day when rooms are created and developed with much simpler methods and randomly generated components and furniture are brought into the program.  These improvements, including the ability to freely manipulate measurements would make Revit an excellent program to use regularly in the workplace.

Revit Families for Beginners

Revit Families for Beginners

Sunday, January 29, 2017 | By | Add a Comment

Revit Families for Beginners

Many fresh Revit technicians or architects who go through Revit training spend quite a lot of time in understanding the concepts behind developing BIM families.  Understanding the concepts and analyzing the role of Revit families in a particular project is very important.  Creating Revit content or families is vital for every BIM project, regardless of project size or complexity.

How to get there, is the question?  Let us talk about the concept and give beginners an idea of this essential part of BIM.

Revit family and content creation, is considered extremely important in the field of BIM.  Companies aim to develop families in order the maintain a seamless work flow within projects.  What are Revit families and why are they so important?

Basic Overview :
As discussed earlier, families constitute of elements with similar parameters which are the building blocks of a revit model.  Revit families can be simple or parametric in nature.  Parametric families are extremely important and sought after widely owing to its multiple advantages.  Families can be created from scratch depending on building requirements and later modified according to right project environment.

Types of Families:
Revit families can be categorized under Architectural , Structural, HVAC Electrical, Fire protection and Plumbing families.  Ceilings, doors, windows, furniture, fixtures, walls, curtain walls, etc., fall under Architectural Revit families.  Pipes, faucets, tubs, pots, toilets fall under Plumbing category while air diffusers and conduits are developed under HVAC and Electrical categories respectively.  You cannot modify or change the categories available within the Revit software but you can add types of families required.

There can be numerous variants within same family types.  These variants can have different dimensions, material specifications and parameters that differentiate each family variant from another one.  For example a kitchen faucet can have 3 variants, one can be small with a steel finish,  another can be a bit large with a porcelain finish, and one can be an oval shape with a tile finish.  Key concern is the parameter that is used and the values given to them.  The key point to note is that these four variations have the same set of parameters; however, the value of those parameters varies.  Parametric Revit families can be used within any project environment.

Changing or adding parameters is a tricky part.  All Revit modelers need to identify the difference between modifying parameters of family groups and individual families.

Trees and Plants in Design

Trees and Plants in Design

Saturday, October 1, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

English: Evergreen and deciduous trees in Beth...

English: Evergreen and deciduous trees in Bethlehem Township, NJ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Trees and Plants in Design

So, it has been some time since I have posted and I sincerely apologize to my readers regarding my absence.  I have been busy with a new job and finishing my education to obtain my bachelor’s degree in Project Management and Administration, which has taken up most of my time as a result of training and being on the road or working on final projects which has been extremely time consuming.  I have also had a number of problems with accessing my website, as well as transferring my website to a new domain name.  So, basically, I have had very little free time for the past several months to do anything but other essential life things.  On top of everything else, I have had a lengthy internet disconnection and I have had to replace my router, so I have had many complications.  My apologies to my avid blog readers for any inconvenience I have caused.

Today, I would like to begin writing on a topic that is relevant to Revit, and I would like to discuss trees and plants.  Adding trees and plants is an important part of the design process of Revit, as most architecture usually has surrounding landscaping.  For most of us who have used Revit, then you know that there are pre-generated families that come with the program, as well as downloadable familiies from various other Revit related websites.

But in architectural design, it is important to understand what trees and plants are able to survive in the climate zone and area in which they are planted.  Sun exposure and the amount of moisture the plant needs must also be taken into consideration in regards to the location where the plant or tree will be planted as well as the system of irrigation that will be used to water the plant and trees.

Trees come in different shapes and sizes.  There are several types of trees or tree species in the world that make part of our ecosystem that acts as a habitat for over 140,000 animal species and other micro-organisms.  Trees are divided into two categories namely deciduous and coniferous trees as can be seen in the following discussion.

Deciduous trees are sometimes referred to as broadleaf trees because of their leaves.  They have larger and wider leaves as compared to those of coniferous trees.  They spread out as they grow and they have rounded shapes as compared to conifers.  Deciduous trees tend to drop their leaves during autumn.  This is because the larger the size of the leaf the greater the surface area for photosynthesis and as such the leaf can not certain weather conditions. Most of these trees are hardwood trees.  These trees are predominantly grown for their highly valued timber.

Coniferous trees are also known as evergreen trees. This is because the leaves of these trees remain green throughout the year and they only drop the old leaves. On top of that these trees grow upwards and have a triangular shape.  These trees have long pointed needle like and flat scaled leaves.  Coniferous trees do not lose their leaves annually and they are evergreen.  These trees are strong and resistant to different climatic conditions.  Most of these types of trees are softwood trees.  Unlike the deciduous trees, conifers are not in very high demand but that does not mean that they are useful for their timber.

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Revit Sheets

Revit Sheets

Saturday, June 18, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

Revit Sheets

I wanted to take a little bit of time to talk about Revit sheet layouts and printing parameters involved with sheets in Revit vs. sheet is AutoCAD.  The examples above are a architectural exercise building I have been working on in Revit 2015.  What I like about Revit sheet layouts and printing is that the creation and setup of title blocks in Revit is simple and easy, as long as you have pre-existing title block templates already created in your files.  But like all Autodesk programs, there are default title blocks already created for the user to choose from, which are downloaded with the program on installation.  If you are unable to find the title block templates in your files, then you might want to take a look at the Autodesk website for additional files or read through the forums and support guides for information about the missing files.

So, in order to create a new sheet, all you have to do is right click on the Sheets tab in the project browser located on the left side of the screen and then select New Sheet from the available selections, and you get a New Sheet dialog box which asks you to select the title block or title block size, or load a new one into the project.  Once you have created the new sheet, then all you have to do to populate the sheet is to drag and drop the views or schedules from the project browser onto the sheet.  With the predefined title blocks in Revit, there is no wondering if the title block dimensions and parameters are correct for the scale of printing you wish to do in Revit.  Revit also has a Sheet Composition panel under the View menu, which allows you to add a placement grid to your sheet viewports, and a matchline function which allows you to split lengthy views into sections in order to place them on to the sheets without having an undesirable viewing scale for the architectural model on the sheet.

When scaling a plan or model in the sheet title block viewport, you want to make sure that the dimensions and features of the plan or model are visible on the printed sheet for presentation.  As you can see with the examples above, I was using an A or letter sized 8.5″ x 11″ title block for an E sized 30″ x 42″ project, so the dimensions and features are extremely small for the sheet layouts.  I found that at this size, it was better to print out the floor plan layouts without any title block, which allowed me to scale up the model and made the dimensions and features more discernible in the printed outcomes.  When creating sheets for schedules and general notes, I found that it is often better to create multiple sheets for different schedules and tables/charts.  When you add all of the schedules and tables/charts to one single sheet; depending on how many schedules and tables/charts you have, it often makes the sheet extremely cluttered with a mess of schedules or tables/charts and in order to fit all of the schedules or tables/charts onto the sheet, you often have to scale them down which can make them indiscernible and your sheet look very unprofessional.

3D Printed Architecture

3D Printed Architecture

Monday, June 13, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

3D Printed Architecture

3D printed architecture is quickly becoming a viable method of construction in the near future.  Teams of architects in London and Amsterdam are competing to produce the first habitable printed structure, using technology that could transform the way buildings are made.  Though they all have the same objective, the teams are investigating very different materials and fabrication methods.

Existing 3D printers are only able to produce homogeneous materials that have the same properties throughout. But graded materials would be useful for printing architectural elements such as beams or façades that mimic bone, which is hard on the outside but spongy on the inside.  But gradients are hard to produce with the current generation of 3D printers, which rely on armatures or gantries that can only move on three axes such as back and forward, side to side, and up and down, and which must lay down material in layers, one atop the other.  They also require complex support structures to be printed at the same time to prevent the printed objects collapsing under their own weight.

In traditional 3D printing, the gantry size poses an obvious limitation for the designer who wishes to print in larger scales and achieve structural and material complexity.  Research is being done in investigating ways of printing with additional axes of movement, by replacing the gantry with a six-axis robotic arm.  This will allow “free-form” printing at a larger scale and without the need for support structures.

Today’s material limitations can be overcome by printing with responsive materials.  Gantry limitations can be overcome by printing with multiple interactive robot-printers.  Process limitations can be overcome by moving from layering to weaving in 3D space, using a robotic arm.  Robotic arms can be used to print in traditional materials, such as plastic, concrete or composites, or employed to weave or knit three-dimensional fibre structures.  Researchers are also exploring how the high-performance fibres excreted by silkworms and spiders could be produced artificially.  In the future, buildings may be constructed by swarms of tiny robots that use a combination of printing and weaving techniques, called “swarm” construction.