parametric panelization of constructible surfaces

With my doctoral student, Tsung-hsien Wang


To explore parametric constructive strategies to achieve a more aesthetic, attractive, fabrication-friendly structures when developing freeform architectural designs


Parametric Framework: To go beyond current limitations in isoparametric analyses by developing a framework in which procedures for segmenting freeform surfaces with discrete constructible components can be encapsulated.

Boundary Optimization: To explore irregular boundary conditions at given surfaces so that propagation of the pattern-based panel components can be effectively re-designed and other design intentions, for instance, panel patterns, size, or panelization direction can be effectively re-examined.

basic problem

Given a freeform surface trimmed/cut for various purposes

Required to produce architecture — skin/frame/joint geometrically to create panels based on a mesh element, such as a triangle, quadrilateral etc

step 1 – boundary driven quad mesh generation

Packing direction based on x- and y-axes.
As the complexity of the boundary grows—that is, with more trimmed boundaries—the number of irregular mesh elements such as triangles or non-uniform clusters increases.

The tensor field is organized as a 3-dimensional lattice to define local packing size and direction.

Partial boundary

Complete boundary

Intermediate mesh generation from the tensor field

Quad-dominant bubble mesh generation for both a partially selected and complete boundary conditions.

step 2 – parametric panelization

Example of an L-system based procedural approach — inspired by a Santiago Calatrava design

Reconstruction rule
Fenestration rule
Offset rule

Freeform surface

Tessellated surface

Parametric variations
Lighting simulation plotted on a monochrome scale from black to white and applied to the tessellated surface to determine opening sizes

Post design analysis
Fabrication component analysis
step 2 – interwoven panels
Inspired by Erwin Hauer designs
Interwoven patterns can be created by trim and transformation of a basic mesh element
examples of quad- and hexagon-based interwoven patterns
design patterns

We were inspired in our work by Rob Woodbury’s work on design patterns,, which provides the parametric modeling community with well-crafted examples of reusable code. The work of Woodbury and his researchers is based in Bentley’s Generative Component®. We have carried out a similar exercise based in Rhino and Grasshopper: Design patterns are also examined in my course on parametric modeling,

Goal seeking pattern
3D recursion pattern
ramesh krishnamurti, tsung-hsien wang © January 2011