Michael Hansmeyer
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Voxel-based Geometries: Cellular Automata

In contrast to reaction diffusion systems, cellular automata are relatively easy to control. A cell only contains a single parameter describing its state, as opposed to several values representing its chemical concentrations. The production rules are limited to the combination of states of the cell's neighborhood.

In 3-dimensional space, this neighborhood can be understood as either six, eighteen or twenty-six cells. Rules can be formulated to maintain symmetry along all three axes, or to give the system a directionality. Initial states can be activated cells, as well as vectors of cells, fields, etc.

As in 2-dimensional versions, many of the systems exhibit an oscillating behavior. Certain systems fade into noise, some reach a very homogenous state, while others disappear altogether. Emerging configurations can be visualized as hulls using a marching cubes algorithm.

The resulting structures exhibit and astounding variety of features. Yet one thing that they have in common is that they only function at a single global scale. There are no regional variations in the dimensions of the structure or in the level of detail. As such, their application in architecture appears better suited to generating components of a structure rather than the structure itself.

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Five pavilions generated using cellular automata