Subdivided Pavilions   (2005)

Initial 2D and 3D subdivision studies

In recent years, much of the discussion in the field of algorithmic architecture and generative design has focused on agent-based models and what is more generally termed as complex systems. While there is no doubt that complex systems can produce intriguing results, the aim of this project is to use a very simple process to generate heterogenous, complex output. A simple process has the advantage of more control; its output is easier to predict and can therefore be more easily refined through subsequent parameter adjustments.

This project begins the exploration of 3-dimensional subdivision processes. These processes have traditionally been used in computer graphics to generate smooth forms. By modifying these algorithms to include additional weights, one can generate forms with entirely different attributes. The processes can determine not only the form's curvature, but can also generate the form's structure and affect its surface attributes.

This project formalizes modifications to these processes, and it applies them to generate a series of architectural pavilions. Each of the pavilions is based on two interlinked cubic frames, similar to a tesseract. The generative process for each of tha pavilions is identical, only its parameters - specifically its division weights - are allowed to change.

Initial subdivision tests are based on two-dimensional processes. Several types of subdivision masks are tested, some of which are based on the work of William Floyd. These masks divide each quad into three, four, or six further quads. Quads are note necessarily contiguous.

In each case, the number of parameters is limited to between three and six division weights that determine the placement of the quads' vertices. The values of these weights is held constant throughout multiple subdivision iterations. There is no use of conditional or boolean logic, nor are random numbers used. The processes thus remain entirely deterministic.

The figures on the right show a linear interpolation between two sets of weights. Effectively the final iteration of a form is drawn hundreds of times using transparent strokes as the weights shift from one value to another. It is astounding to see that these extremely simple processes can produce such a large variety of forms.

Subdivided tiles

Launch the complete 2005 presentation:
Subdivided Tiles (requires Flash)