Representational Research at the University of Virginia School of Architecture

From Fields to Landform.

The next exercise is an extension of prior studies where the logic of the folded paper was extended to become a larger field, however, now you will be working with actual site information including topography, surface and subsurface conditions, solar orientation, and tree cover.  Site information will be in the form of a Rhino base model that interprets information in multiple ways allowing choices relative to your groups intentions. Starting with this base data you will generate Grasshopper definitions that propose a structure for the ground that will accommodate interventions such that the found ground and the new structure work together to explain the logic of each in relationship to one another. Consider analysis of given information but also the inference of systems such as water flow, ground composition, circulation patterns, etc.

Each group should open the Rhino file to see the nature of the information. Begin with sketches diagramming possible systems and flows as well as transformations and disturbances possible in Grasshopper. Use print outs from Rhino to sketch ideas about structure in various views. (plan, section, etc.) From your analysis of the landform you should propose some simple interventions that extend this or perhaps counter what you have discovered.  The types of interventions would be simple places for human occupation that interact with the site through a formal relationship between figure and field.


This will be the exercise that you will develop much further during the second day of the Graphic Workshop Advance (this to be understood in terms of the rejected term retreat). In order for Andrew Payne to be of the greatest assistance, each group will prepare a written statement of your intentions that includes how you wish to understand the site conditions and then the structure of your intervention.  Included within this would be scanned diagrams of the desired outcome including a diagram of how you might accomplish this in Grasshopper.  This short one page piece will be forward to Andrew so he will have some advanced sense of how to assist.

Some tips about referencing geometry from Rhino to GH:
– You must open the supporting Rhino file along with the GH definition that references it.
– Use the objects under the ‘GEOMETRY’ layer in the Rhino model.
– Pay attention to the way lists of geometry (points, surfaces, lines, etc) are organized using a ‘list item’ component and integer slider.
-The way you select the geometry to reference from Rhino to GH affects the way the list is organized. As a general rule, selecting all at once, or one by one, is a good idea.

Please post your statement (including sketches) as a pdf under the “GH Workshop Statements” by Monday, September 21, 2009 at 12 pm.
You should upload the pdf to and insert it into a post titled “Your name’s workshop statement.”
Please post your definitions and good, descriptive views as well as process sketches under your team’s category by next class.

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