INDETERMINATE SYSTEMS

Experimental Software, 2011

Collaborators: Hiroshi Jacobs

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Renewed interest in the problem of patterning within architecture in the last decade has been facilitated by new methods of digital production. These methods of design have given the pattern a fresh sense of legitimacy as quasi-scientific, since they can result from systematic operations and are recently being driven by environmental or structural factors. However, given the complexity of and knowledge necessary for computational pattern generation, this shift has been limited to relatively few computer-savvy designers. The introduction of visual scripting tools has helped to expand the user base of pattern generation tools to some extent, but more can be done to make digitally-assisted patterns accessible to a larger number of designers, as well as introduce real-world constraints into pattern definitions. The primary purpose of this thesis is to envision a scenario for accomplishing these goals.

Most of the research for this thesis was accomplished through an experimental project to create a new kind of patterning tool as a plugin to an existing design software package. The main goal of the patterning tool was to provide an interface for sketch-like pattern generation within an associative modeling environment, which presented challenges due to the natural conflict between associative modeling and the variable topologies of patterns. The plugin was designed to work with Autodesk Revit for several reasons noted in this document and was successful in achieving the following:

1. Fast, easy, and interactive generation of topologically variable patterns with no scripting knowledge.
2. Integration of contextual building data into the pattern generation.
3. Integration of construction and fabrication constraints into the pattern generation.
4. A robust patterning tool for Revit, which is currently very restricted in this area.

The working plugin that has been created is intended to be an exploration of the possibilities created through the definition of an associative modeling environment for patterning, along with a library of pattern generating object.