subota, 15. rujna 2012.

Michael Hansmeyer - organsko-filigranske građevine

Suludo kompleksni arhitektonski oblici, stupovi sastavljeni od 16 milijuna različitih faseta. Oponašajući biološke obrasce Michael Hansmeyer upotrebljava Pixarove algoritme da bi stvorio dorske stupove napravljene od 2700, milimetar debelih, laserski rezanih kartonskih slojeva. 
Rađanje filigranskih građevina - neboderi će biti poput niske ogrlica, a zidovi poput čipke. I izgledat će kao da su živi (ili izvanzemaljski apstraktni).

Michael Hansmeyer creates ornate 2.7m-tall columns from thousands of 1mm-thin cardboard layers. The main image, however, was taken inside the stacked offcuts left over from the laser-cutting stage of producing one of his columns.

Hansmeyer, based in Zurich, starts by designing a digital Doric column using a subdivision process -- he divides a facet by four and repeats until a curved surface is rendered. The digital column is sliced into 2,700 layers, and each is laser-cut from sheets of cardboard that are then stacked.

The result is an ornate column whose leftovers form an equally beautiful inverse. "I'd like to explore casting the negatives, but it's difficult," says the computational architect. "The printers that go up to the scale of two to three metres don't have very high resolution. I look forward to the 3D printer that can print these forms." - Dan Smith

Hansmeyerova web stranica ovdje

Hansmeyer na Vimeu

Slika od 1 gigapixela


Subdivision: Ornamented Columns

This project involves the conception and design of a new column order based on subdivision processes. It explores how subdivision can define and embellish this column order with an elaborate system of ornament.
The first 2.7-meter prototype is constructed as a layered model of 1mm cardboard sheet. Further columns of milled 1mm ABS plastic layers were exhibited at the 2011 Gwangju Design Biennale.

Columns 3

Columns 4

Columns 5

Columns 6

Columns 8

Columns 12

Columns 16
Columns 17

Subdivision: Platonic Solids

How can a purely operations-based geometric process can generate complex form? This project begins with the most primitive forms, the platonic solids, and repeatedly employs a single operation – the division of a form’s faces into smaller faces – until forms of an astounding complexity are produced.

Platonic Solids 2

Platonic Solids 3

Platonic Solids 4

Platonic Solids 5

Platonic Solids 6

Platonic Solids 7

Subdivision: Initial Pavilion Studies

Initial studies of subdivision processes applied to generate architectural pavilions. Each of the pavilions is based on two interlinked cubic frames and is produced through a single, constant process. Only the process parameters are allowed to vary.

Pavilion 1

Pavilion 2

Pavilion 3

Pavilion 4

Pavilion 5

Pavilion 6

Pavilion 7

Pavilion 8

Voxels / Cellular Automata

This project continues the exploration of a procedural approach to generating architectural form. Rather than work with surfaces as in the subdivision experiments, this project uses volumetric cells - voxels - as its basic geometry. Two broad algorithms to control the interaction between voxels are explored: cellular automata similar to the game of life, and reaction-diffusion processes.

Reaction-diffusion 1
Reaction-diffusion 6

Reaction-diffusion 8


In the late 1960's, the biologist Aristid Lindenmayer proposed a string-rewriting algorithm that can model the morphology of simplified plants and other organisms with an astounding ease. This theory is now known as L-Systems. This project considers how this algorithm can open up possibilities in the field of architecture.

L-Systems 5

L-Systems 6

Hansmeyer’s process involves creating an algorithm to design the structure of the Doric column. In the case of the Gwangju Design Biennale installation, none of the four columns share a single surface or motif in common. Yet, when grouped together, they clearly work as a cohesive grouping because of their material and their shared fabrication process. The design for each 9 ft column is subdivided into 2,700 horizontal layers, which are then cut into ABS plastic by a CNC machine. These layers are hollowed out and stacked and held in place with a dual iron and wood core.
The Sixth Order installation draws on Hansmeyer’s work from earlier this year, which involved a very similar process, but was carried out with cardboard. By working with ABS plastic, Hansmeyer could achieve a higher cutting resolution, which gave hima smoother and less jagged surface, resulting in a effect more like carved ice than carved wood. For the installation, there are actually only four columns on display, but a series of mirrors gives the effect that there are actually 16, allowing visitors to appreciate every side.
The meat of Hansmeyer’s work is more than just creating amazing sculptures with advanced techniques. His work could really change the way we design and build structures. At the intersection of math and materials is increased efficiency in terms of resources, strength, and any number of qualities we hope to achieve. The key to sturdier, more earth resistant structures could lie in creating the right algorithms. We could also maximize structural integrity while minimizing material use. In essence, Hansmeyer is laying the foundation for a whole new way to think about materials, architecture, and construction. -

So how does one go about fabricating a form with 16 million facets? Well, the first method you might think of is 3D printing, but according to Hansmeyer, his “computational architecture” is actually so complex that most 3D printers would run away with their tails between their legs at seeing it. So Hansmeyer decided to take a different approach – one that might seem elementary, but is actually pretty ingenious when you think about it – slicing his model into thousands of cross sections, laser cutting each one of these out of cardboard and stacking them one on top of the other.
While the model as a whole is insanely detailed, each one of the cross sections (see the image above) is actually quite simple, and Hansmeyer realized he could output them on cardboard using laser cutters. Believe it or not, it only took about 15 hours for the machines (three in total working in parallel overnight) to cut out all of the slices. “This would have literally taken months of 3D printing at considerable expense,” Hansmeyer told FastcoDesign. “Our method of fabrication also makes the column very easy to transport: just unstack the slices,” says Hansmeyer. Oh, and did we mention the materials only cost $1500 – imagine how much 3D printing would have run.
Looking at the prototype, it’s hard to believe that it’s a real-life physical form. But it is and Hansmeyer even wants to experiment on using his method with more robust materials in order to start building real structures with his “computational architecture.” In terms of eco-friendliness, the cardboard forms would be easy to recycle or be made of recycled materials and according to Hansmeyer, don’t even require glue. “You just slip the slices over the cores and it all holds together,” he says. -

The World’s Most Complex Architecture: Cardboard Columns With 16 Million Facets
When people mistake photographs of your physical prototypes for computer renderings, you know you've achieved something amazing. That's exactly what happened when Michael Hansmeyer showed off his "computational architecture" column, created by iterating a subdivision algorithm over and over again and then fabricating it out of cardboard.
Hansmeyer's column stands nine feet tall, weighs about 2000 pounds, and is made out of 2700 1mm-thin slices of cardboard stacked on top of wooden cores. It contains somewhere between 8 and 16 million polygonal faces -- too complex for even a 3D printer to handle, according to Hansmeyer. "Every 3D printing facility we spoke to turned us down," he tells Co.Design. "Typically those machines can't process more than 500,000 faces -- the computer memory required to process the data grows nonlinearly, and it also gets tripped up on the self-intersecting faces of the column."
But Hansmeyer's prototype is very real -- in fact, it can even support weight, and the designer wants to experiment with more robust materials so that he can actually start building real structures with his "computational" architectural forms. So how did Hansmeyer actually get this thing out of his computer and into the real world? Take a look at this slideshow to find out.- John Pavlus

Interview with Michael Hansmeyer
by Lawrence Lek

Every project made with a computer expresses a relationship between aesthetics and technology. The historical progress of technology works in two dimensions – it allows us to view novel inventions through the lens of existing archetypes, while simultaneously reinvigorating existing art forms with new aesthetic possibilities. It is no accident that the term architecture is used by computer programmers to describe the hierarchical, rule-based logic of code, a world in which the grammar and syntax of a programming language must be obeyed. Most of the time, the inner workings of the computer are explained by analogous artefacts drawn from our pre-digital world; the monitor is a solid wall of projected light, the touchscreen is a pen of infinite ink, and silicon-based memory is an extension of our own mind. Despite its superficial similarity to the past, the speed and accuracy of the computer has opened up the expressive potential of the fine arts, especially in the realm of geometry.

Michael Hansmeyer describes himself as a computational Architect, using processes and methods grounded in the virtual realm to invent new forms of architecture. He takes the algorithm – a set of mathematical procedures – and applies it to three-dimensional shapes in order to expand the vocabulary of inhabitable space. Where programmers appropriate the language of design, Hansmeyer takes the techniques of computing and applies them to architecture. For his ‘Sixth Order’ project, he uses a Greek column as his starting point, continuously dividing and recombining its geometric lines, resulting in a column that is both uncannily familiar and appealingly alien. In addition to questioning the how and why of this new aesthetic, the explicit use of the algorithmic process raises issues about the limitations of technological creativity.
By pushing the limits of the hardware and software hardware they use, architects and artists investigating digital media are more prone to their computer crashing than most. No matter how fast a program runs, any computer-based process is prone to the crash, a sudden abrupt halt in an invisible, abstract mechanism. The crash is the trickster version of the Deus ex Machina, preventing users from doing what was intended, and telling them that they have pushed the system too far. The paradox of using computers creatively is that the absolute deterministic certainty of commands always carries with them the possibility of unexpected, unjustified and unexplained failure.
In an ideal physical world, the rules of the Roman Architect and theorist Vitruvius hold true – that a built structure must exhibit the qualities of firmitas, utilitas, venustas – it must be solid, functional, and beautiful. The transition between that Apollonian Classicism and the creative chaos that technology brings is how the plastic arts progress – with one eye to the crystalline past and one eye to the undifferentiated future. Although it is usually difficult to dramatize the struggle between human and machine, we are fortunate in that the product of Hansmeyer’s labour is a body of work that we can see, experience, and inhabit.

QThe White Review — You describe yourself as an architect and programmer – what is the essential difference between how mathematicians and programmers use algorithms and abstract formulae as the basis of their system?

AMichael Hansmeyer — I’m not a mathematician, but my understanding is that the difference between an algorithm and pure mathematics is that algorithm has many different steps – and often the same step is repeated again and again. Each of these iterations evaluates something and the result goes into the next operation. But in mathematics, a geometric shape may be pre-determined by a formula. It’s fundamentally different – you don’t have this feedback loop, this succession of step after step.

QThe White Review — So within this feedback loop, where does your role come in?

AMichael Hansmeyer — The algorithms that I use rely on me, as the Architect, to evaluate the forms that are being produced. Questions arise such as, are you judging the forms for interest, for beauty, for surprise? It’s difficult for me to evaluate them, and to teach computers to do so has been impossible. So, the role of the Architect is still very much there. In a sense, the forms are deterministic, and there’s no randomness – the same process will produce the same form time and time again. But at the same time the geometry is not entirely predictable; because there are so many different surfaces, and so many different factors involved that it gets very difficult to think ahead, about what happens to all twenty million polygons.

Often you create something, put it away, and return to work on later. The interesting thing about the algorithm is that you don’t just work on one shape, but on an entire family of shapes. You get variants and permutations, like ‘children’, for lack of a better word. You can say, I like this part of this child, and that part of that child, and combine them again. The Architect is like the orchestrator of these processes.

QThe White Review — I’m reminded of experimental musicians such as Brian Eno and Robert Fripp, who would use loops of tape to record, repeat and modify fragments of sound. With this method, there is the possibility of an infinite loop, where it just goes back and forth without reaching anywhere. Or it reaches a homeostasis, an equilibrium where the loop itself fades away…

AMichael Hansmeyer — Or a third possibility, where you run out of memory, which is what happens with most of my processes.

QThe White Review — So that’s the actual limit state – one of memory?

AMichael Hansmeyer — Usually that’s the limit – you either produce a form which is too big, or too dense to be displayed. Sometimes you have to break the form down into different parts, process them separately, and stitch it together afterwards.

QThe White Review — Whenever you are testing the limits of these tools, you tend to run into problems of crashing, and are able to use that constructively. That’s quite unlike the needs of a computer game, where you want the simulation of smoothness, virtual reality, a continuous animation. Where does your loop end?

AMichael Hansmeyer — Well, using the idea of the loop is partially correct because my process does repeat. But it shouldn’t be spoken of as just a loop, rather it is a series of five to ten iterations; with my process there’s a definite end point. Then it’s over.

QThe White Review — I’m particularly interested in how you appropriated a Greek column, which exists in the language of architecture as both a historical form and structural object. Since the column is already subdivided into base, column and capital, can you describe how your own process of division relates to these proportions?

AMichael Hansmeyer — The reason for using a column was exactly that – I wanted to use an archetype that expressed the zeitgeist of a particular period in architecture. Another reason I used a Doric column is that I wanted the input shape to be comparable with the end result. If I had started with a pyramid, it probably wouldn’t have produced a column. So, the division into a capital, base, and middle provided some important information to begin with. In antiquity, the rules of the Doric prescribed how these components are arranged, their proportions, and how much ornamentation there is in each one. However, the rules of my new column are purely on the level of the process. It’s not like a classical system, where you can work out the parts of each element based on a rule of proportion. Here, the question is how the different iterations of an algorithm relate to each other.

QThe White Review — Would you say that if you had started from a pyramid, or some other simplified platonic solid, you would have gotten a triangular form? Or have you reached the point where you can predict the end result based on a radically different beginning?

AMichael Hansmeyer — Although it is possible to create a column from a cube, it’s more useful to start with something that is closely related to the final output. That said, the process is so malleable that you can produce anything from anything. That is a slight exaggeration, but it really depends on how much you want to customize the process. You can either arbitrarily set the proportions on a piece by piece basis, or you can establish one simple rule for everything. For example, you could set a single rule that says: the amount that each surface is divided and folded is based upon its surface area.

QThe White Review — The method of subdivision is fascinating because it’s a mathematical process that goes back to Euclid. He would investigate, using simple projection and division, how to get a pentagon from a hexagon, or how to inscribe a circle within a square. He would proceed from self-evident axioms to derive a kind of absolute truth, drawn out in space.

AMichael Hansmeyer — Sometimes, I use the metaphor of origami to explain my process, where a set of procedures and folds takes you from a flattened square to a recognizable shape, like a swan. However, in the virtual world, it’s more like a Euclidean operation, and you free yourself from the physical constraints of origami. In fact, the virtual world also frees you from Euclid, who was only about with how you draw forms within a particular system of constraints. By bringing geometry into the computer, you free yourself completely from these as well; surfaces can intersect, stretch, shrink, and so on. All this wouldn’t be possible if you were still in the physical world.

QThe White Review — I find this a lot with my own work, which is the result of an intuitive analogue procedure, where I make a set of modules and shapes that are assembled together into a larger installation. But I’m still constrained by the properties of physical materials. When I’ve started using new fabrication techniques like 3D printing, all of a sudden there are certain rules of geometry that can be broken – temporarily – but which then have to be maintained to produce a solid object.

AMichael Hansmeyer — That’s exactly what I face – some ideas really catch up with you when you try to materialise them. All this freedom you just had in the virtual world suddenly becomes problematic.

QThe White Review — I love the idea of virtual surfaces that intersect – that there is a set of points in space where two things exist simultaneously. In terms of Newtonian physics, it simply isn’t possible for two bodies to coexist at the same point; but in the virtual world, that point of zero volume is not a problem. In fact it is the natural state of things, where the world and everything within is a singularity.
Going back to the columns, can you describe how you exhibited these columns in the Gwangju Biennale? A group of them was arranged like a mini temple, surrounding a raised rectangular floor. Quite often I see projects exhibited in isolation – it’s good to see them creating a collective space.

AMichael Hansmeyer — The wish, going back to architecture, was to make an immersive space. Initially I wanted to create a room full of columns but ultimately the budget wasn’t there. The simplest way that we could create a complete environment turned out to be the use of mirrors. Since the columns are designed to look different from the front and the back, their mirrored form makes it appear that you are looking at more than one column. Almost by default, we ended up at this temple-like formation by virtue of having two mirrors, positioned squarely in the room. The installation was called the ‘Sixth Order’ – I hesitated for a long time, but then suddenly I felt comfortable with it.

QThe White Review — Were you hesitating because it was sacrilegious to add to the Classical orders?

AMichael Hansmeyer — Not exactly, more because I was torn whether these were something entirely new, or something that was related to what came before…

QThe White Review — …Or derivative?

AMichael Hansmeyer — Yes, in a way they are derivative, because they play also with proportions in the same way as the old orders. Also, the classical column orders are very similar to each other. But I’m simply ignoring many of the rules that went into the old orders, so I’m not sure if I’m quite doing them justice.

QThe White Review — What difficulties have you found when moving from the digital world to the physical one? Has this allowed you to experiment, or are you trying to find the most accurate way to fabricate your digital models?

AMichael Hansmeyer — I hesitated for a long time to fabricate them, because I didn’t think I would be able to reproduce them faithfully. Obviously there is the problem with the huge amount of information, with millions of surfaces that you can’t even load into the computer without making it crash. On the other hand, something else daunting is what you mentioned before – because you have had so much freedom with virtual geometry, you have to go back and reconstruct things again. With fabrication, suddenly all these practical considerations come into it – we didn’t want pieces breaking off so we had to re-draw the edges, we had to hollow it out, or it would be too heavy.

QThe White Review — You mentioned that there is a whole different inner world to these forms. Are you using your techniques to generate interior spaces as well?

AMichael Hansmeyer — The project I’m currently working on in Taiwan is a cupola, or dome, around three metres in diameter. It has exterior and interior, an actual thickness. With the columns I was thinking purely in terms of surface, and with the cupola I’m thinking in terms of volume – two surfaces, inner and outer, that don’t intersect. In future, a third step could perhaps result of a more complex relationship between surface and interior.

QThe White Review — You briefly mentioned the idea of the zeitgeist; are there other aesthetic ideas that you find more easily expressed in German rather than in English?

AMichael Hansmeyer — Actually, I find a much larger contrast between Europe and Japan. In Europe we’re afraid to speak of words like beauty – it’s almost a taboo, especially in Switzerland. We just came back from a workshop in Japan, and that was very much in their brief – to create something beautiful, something sensual. If you’d say ‘create something sensual’ here, they’d say, are you insane? Although in Europe, beauty is always implicit. It’s just not explicit, but is something that has to be talked around.

QThe White Review — It seems that during periods when beauty itself was an explicit ambition in a particular art form – that’s when it starts to go really over the top, like with Mannerism or Rococo. When Aesthetics is the only thing, it loses its power, because it becomes isolated from how life is lived, or the means of production of a particular time. In the Japanese way, beauty arises through a process, not as an external quality.

AMichael Hansmeyer — Before I visited Japan, I had seen some pictures of buildings that I was sure were designed through an algorithmic process on the computer. But it turned out that not a single one was! At the same time, they went about the design process so methodically – with steps they followed again and again and again, just like an algorithm. They didn’t need to bring it into the computer, because it just came from their way of working, and resulted in the buildings looking the way they do.

QThe White Review — I’m reminded of an observation about architecture school in Japan. For their final project, students would start off with an incredibly simple object – like boxes or sticks. And all they would do, for the whole year, would be to stack boxes or to bind sticks together. But by the end they’d have some of the most amazing creations! In Europe there’s all these currents you feel you should integrate – different cultural, socio-economic factors that can determine how complex your work becomes. But in Japan it’s the opposite – an additive, intuitive approach – and at the end, you can have something that stands out.

AMichael Hansmeyer — I was at Kazuo Sejima’s office Architect of the 2010 Serpentine Pavilion and the New Museum in New York] and I saw hundreds of models, all a foot square, all of the same museum. The team of ten people was successively evolving these models, working both in parallel and sequentially. Details of some early models were accepted and fixed, while other details were further mutated and refined over many steps. It reminded me of my own process, except my assistants are inside the computer!

QThe White Review — Reflecting on how work is produced today, how do you see your own practice evolving in the next few years?

AMichael Hansmeyer — Needless to say, it’s a struggle, because producing these models the way I would like to is very labour intensive. It’s just much more difficult to make a column with millions of angled surfaces than a single straight column! Part of my work is about super-specificity and ultra-high resolution, and that is inherently costly. Sure, we could produce it in a low-cost country but then you have to supervise it. Or you can make it in Switzerland, but that’s super expensive.

QThe White Review — It seems that fabricating your columns has a lot in common with a jeweler working on the hundreds of facets on a diamond, which is a totally different method of production than the industrialised parts that are usually used in architecture. And that necessarily takes more time.

AMichael Hansmeyer — Yes, but if you look at the inside of a Rococo church, that must have taken fifty workers ten years to build. I feel that with these digital tools, we are actually very fast, but still much slower than with mass production. Where do I see it going? At the moment, I’m trying to do what is feasible, and to do what I can to move to the scale of an immersive environment. So every project is a step towards that.


Architectural RecordWiredCNNSpiegelFrankfurter Allgemeine Zeitungde / design exchangeNew Scientist,  GEO,  The Independent,  Hochparterre,  Concepts & Tendances,  Bait Venoy,  Domus 国际中文版Frame MagMonopol,  Ology,  El-Beit (Al Ahram),  Greenhome,  Helsingin Sanomat,  Hospodářské noviny,   Gazetta,  Etapes,  About:Blank,  Vogue Living,  Corriere della Sera,  Ling / Vueling城市建筑 Urbanism and ArchitectureArchithese

Michael Hansmeyer

What method, what system, does an architect use to design a building? How are programmatic needs and context – with their degrees of freedom and constraints – translated into architectural design?
Regardless of their complexity, the tasks and decisions involved can be formalized as an algorithm. As such, algorithms provide a framework for articulating and defining both input data and procedures. This formalization can promote structure and coherency, while systemically maintaining full traceability of all input.
In recent years, algorithms in architecture have been able to transcend their role as frameworks of formalization and abstraction. This has been made possible in a large part by the integration of scripting languages into CAD programs. Algorithms’ output can now be directly visualized, and through digital fabrication methods this output can be built.
This opens up a new role for algorithms as a design tool. As such, they provide the benefits of depth and breadth. On the one hand, their computational power can address processes with a scale and complexity that precludes a manual approach. On the other hand, algorithms can generate endless permutations of a scheme. A slight tweaking of either the input or the process leads to an instant adaptation of output. When combined with an evaluative function, they can be used to recursively optimize output on both a functional and aesthetic level.
Yet beyond this, a computational approach to architecture enables the generation of the previously unseen. Forms that can longer be conceived of through traditional methods become possible. New realms open up.The projects presented seek to explore algorithms and computation as a generative design tool, and to merge these with existing design processes to produce a new architectural form

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