Parametric Design: Expo Line Terminal in Santa Monica

Precedent_Santa Caterina Market |  Enric Miralles Benedetta Tagliabue (EMBT)

The MTA’s Exposition light rail line will extend to Santa Monica in 2015 and the agency intends to build a maintenance facility near the terminus, and has recently completed negotiations for land on Olympic Boulevard. With this context, the design problem was a Light Rail Maintenance Facility with a paint booth, a maintenance area with trenches, three heavy hoist bays and shop areas as program requirements. The project aimed to integrate structure, surface and building form, with the extensive application of steel plate welding technique


The process started by looking into two-dimensional line patterns and developing a three-dimensional tile out of it.  Each line from the pattern was given a specific “depth” when they behave structurally in the tile, some taking up tensile stress, the others for compression. Two types of tiles are developed, one from line work of a cable net ,the others from a double layered grid (space frame).


All the surfaces of the tiles are resolved into two dimensional surfaces, modeled with card board and glued, which correspond to water-jet steel plate cutting and welding techniques in actual construction realm.


It soon became an exercise of populating the two different type of tiles onto a manipulated roof grid, which is based on the arrangement of the programs underneath and the size of grids change gradually according to the natural illumination needed. The roof has an undulating profile and the overall topography can be understood as nine adjacent but structurally independent surfaces, behaving alternatively as space frame and cable net structures.


Steel plate welded columns with stiffeners receive loads from the roof tiles and transmit to the ground , and they are placed with considerations of the tributary areas of the roof.


The roof has another layer of glazing clad, and the four sides are enclosed by glass walls independent from the major steel structure.

plan lines-no roof pattern [Converted]

red mark roof plan


Iterative Design: Bent Space

Precedent_Eames Leg Splint

Choose your corner, pick away at it carefully, intensely and to the best of your ability and that way you might change the world.

–Charles Eames

This project started with the case study of the Eames Leg Splint and proceeded as a pursuit of rigorously modular order in a carefully plannedspace designed by Richard Meyer. The formal and plastic properties of the Leg Splint Sculpture were investigated, because the sculpture was is a cut-out which bears minimum bending stress, it serves as a control piece on the curvature and opening of the web piece. A “clean up” process took place, which reduce the piece to its minimal and most operable unit.



Then aggregation methodology and connection were then experimented under the 4‘by10’ plywood size limit. When it was placed on the site, the gridded box of Meyer was divided by his  6‘by6’ invisible planned cubes, into chambers based on circulation, which is the two perpendicular access between the four sides of the site , and also the spins and turns that people make in the cafeteria. The piece starts from one corner of the box, and bifurcate as much as they can. One of the four modules are picked as the piece grow, according to the assigned nature of the particular chamber.


The drawing is a combined axometric and machine assembly representation: the axometric shows how the aggregation behave in different chambers and the machine assembly drawing is exploded according to the aggregation and proposed construction order. It explains the layering order and how the curvature and its control points of the formwork is translated to the plywood sheets.


Reverse Engineering: a Medusa

Precedent_Medusa (scyphomedusae) Drawings

This is a Machine Assembly Drawing of a ridge of a designed object developed from Medusa’s jelly fish drawings. The fabrication of this doubly-curved creature was not resolved as merely an egg-crate nor stacked contours, but sub-divided as chambers with endoskeleton and exoskeleton, expressed and supported by scales, skin, vertebrae and tentacles. All these elements are essentially developable and readily produced on the laser-bed.

It extends from a two-dimension representation to posing a challenge on the seriousness on the construction norms of blob-like objects.

J-final drawing [Converted]

Analysis: Eames LCW

Reference_Eames Lounge Chair Wood

Each of the undulating parts of the chair was understood as generated from a set of boundary and surface curves with minimum control points, which exerts an invisible weight and effective control over the double curved surfaces. This set of economical curves extends from dimensioning the one to one furniture to modeling the quarter scale miniature, it was utilized to generate the formwork and experimented with the grain of birch veneer. When the curves of the desired geometry was confronted with the curves from the of material nature, the target geometry was challenged and the veneer tended to crack or leave flaws. Mechanical and air pressure were constantly tested on the formwork and options of scores or grains on veneer, until a satisfactory level of manipulation on the outcome could be achieved.

axon to AI 04nov2010 [Converted]

Behavioral Study: Material Simulation

This project is in pursuit of rigorously modular but wild order.
Each module is folded from a plane of identical size, different diagonals and cut lines give rise to a set of 12 individually oriented units.They are rigid and crystal-like, yet display a completely disordered manner, like a liquid. The orientation in which the friction joints operate is the only restriction on the continuation of the sequence.
The set is classified into three categories, according to how they tend to orient the sequence as it grows. And a site of 18”x18”18”, divided into regions that restrict the choice between categories is put into play and 12 “shoots” sprout from the flat soil in which the “seeds” emerge. Within each category, a module is picked according to a certain probability, when a sequence hits the boundary walls or one another, a module from another category is picked and it mutates. The shoots grow, entangle and wilt. The aggregation thus becomes particular in all senses under the field condition induced, and the system defies a pre-figured or stabilized result.
It can not be more ordered, nor chaotic.