December 17, 2010

GSD 2319 Final

The following are renders from my final project for Chris Hoxie's Immersive Environments elective at the GSD.

I modeled Herman Hertzberger's Centraal Beheer Office building in Apeldoorn, NL.  I was interested in the building for both its material qualities (glass block + CMU's + precast concrete beams), and its relationship to my thesis research into corporate environments.

Completed in 1974, the Structuralist office is composed as a multilevel matrix of platforms that provide working space for a small group of employees.  The project fits into a lineage of post-war architectural research into the relationship between working spaces, technology and lifestyle.  Hertzberger's developed as a response to both the 1950s Taylorist open office plans and the Burolandschaft projects of the 1960s.

The geometry was modeled in Rhino,  texturing and lighting was done in 3dStudio with Vray, and post-production used Photoshop.  Below are some process shots that demonstrate some of the iterations of lighting, texturing and camera placement.  The full sized textures that I created are also available to download at the bottom:

October 17, 2010

GSD Halloween Party

Last week the Student Forum held a contest for the Halloween poster, and of the group of pan-GSD entrants mine was voted the winner.

The concept was to create a "parametric zombie". Most of the GSD halloween posters feature some inside joke related to design culture or Gund Hall itself. I wanted to jokingly refer to the often nightmare-ish projects that often result from the indiscriminate use of tools like grasshopper.  The Voronoi (until recently the coolest parametric geometry around) is used to both abstract the figure of the skull while evoking spider webs and fractured bone.

The poster was made using grasshopper's image sampler + an image of a skull. The image's luminosity was used as a boolean mask on a background grid of 2D points. Where the image was black, the corresponding point in the base grid was deleted. The next step was to jitter the points in the XY plane, and filter out more points randomly to create some differentiation. Lastly, the remaining points were plugged into the Voronoi component and offset slightly. The rest of the line/fill/text work was done through illustrator.

*Download the grasshopper definition here.

I had also played with varying the colors based on the area of the voronoi cells and then shuffling the results around to create a more playful composition. I stuck with the black/white poster - which hopefully will prove easier for Student Forum to print with consistency (and save on ink + $).

Creative Commons License
Voronoi Image Generator by Matt Storus is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

September 15, 2010


After a great summer working with KVA MATx in Boston, its back to the GSD for my thesis preparation term. I am taking three classes this term, pursuing an independent study, and preparing research for my thesis (which will be executed + presented next term).

My courses include:
  • Immersive Environments with Chris Hoxie, where we will be developing films through advanced rendering techniques.
  • Computational Design with Panagiotis Michalatos, where we will be working with a mix of custom software and commercial tools (grasshopper, rhinoscript, C++) to generate, describe and analyze geometry from structural and cost perspectives.

My independent study focuses on developing interactive modes of architectural representation through the use of mixed-reality interfaces and multiplayer video game environments.  I am working with my classmate Greg Tran on developing this line of research, and in preparing an exhibition at the GSD tentatively scheduled for early February 2011.  As the research develops I will post links to our work.  For now, check out some of Greg's animation and mixed-reality experiments on his Vimeo page.

Lastly, my design thesis will be exploring the changing nature of work in an increasingly virtual economy, and will speculate on  the role that architecture may play in that future.  Crowdsourcing, "serious games", mobile computing, aging populations, the growth of the Generation Y workplace demographic, the so-called post-geographic workforce, and the future of the corporation (as economic, social and political unit) are touchstones for my research.  Expect to see more soon.

July 4, 2010

secret music

This summer Ive been secretly having fun with FL Studio making short songs/beats.

Since Im working with the demo of FL Studio, I cannot save and reopen each project. Therefore Ive been cranking out the songs in one sitting (usually <40 minutes). Ive noticed that as a result of working on these songs (as modest as they are), I am listening to music in a totally different way, and with a much greater appreciation/awareness of their structure/components/effects/etc.

Below is what Ive done so far. The videos are pretty minimal at the moment, and are mostly also ways to experiment (and have fun).
My youtube channel and CBC Radio 3 Page will be updated with new tracks as soon as I make them.

*Headphones Recommended*

April 23, 2010

1313: More Primitives

April 21, 2010

1313: Primitives

April 12, 2010

2408: Inorganic Assemblies: Print Screen

Unfiltered screenshots from current work-in-progress for Marc Fornes' Inorganic Assemblies Rhinoscripting/Fabrication seminar.

A surface is recursively populated with cubes, the network connections between cubes is mapped, and those lines become the framework for the final "table".

April 8, 2010

6421: Digital Craft

I am taking a class at the GSD this term titled Digital Craft, taught by Veronika Schmidt. The aim of the class is to construct an installation in the GSD using a combination of digital fabrication techniques and hand "craft" techniques.

My group (including Greg Tran, Victor Lorenzo and Kelly Provot) is planning an installation on the balconies/fire exit stairs on the north side of Gund Hall (pictured below).

Our project uses the tie-holes in the concrete wall as an infrastructure to support the growth of artificial "ivy" made with generic Schedule 40 PVC pipe and custom fabricated joints. We hope to populate the empty tie holes with various types of joints, and "grow" the piping across the wall.

The installation explores ideas about the relationship between generic and custom construction components, while also aiming to "soften" the shear concrete face of the wall, using a material palette that imitates the internal structural/hvac elements of the GSD.

Connect-the-dots strategies for "ivy" growth:

The support concept is to fabricate custom joints that will friction-fit inside the existing tie-holes, and be able to support a number of PVC pipes. The negative mold for the joint will be 3D printed with the Polyjet, and multiple copies will be produced by pouring a rubber casting material into that mold.

Possible growth patterns:

Views from the 5th floor level:

Joint testing on-site:

Heat bending pvc tubes by (mis)using the shop vacuform machine:

On site single module mockup:

Next steps: fabricate several mock-ups of the mold to test for its capacity to carry the weight of the PVC. Based on the time it takes to cast a single mold, we can determine (given the short amount of time left) how many tie holes we will be able to populate.

Also - test out glow-in-the-dark spray paint on the pvc. During the day, the pipes will appear as solid white elements contrasting against the concrete wall. At night, they will begin to glow and create an interwoven illumination pattern.