[RvsR] Parametric Design+Fabrication Workshop @ [ARC] University of Nicosia, Cyprus

The workshop will be held at the [ARC] University of Nicosia, Cyprus from the 29th of November – 3rd of December. Alongside  the workshop, there will be a series of lectures (Monday the 29th and Wednesday the 1st) followed by a round-table debate/discussion (Friday the 3rd), the students presentation and a reception.

Famagusta – Rebuilding No Man’s Land, Parametric Urbanism Workshop, 22 Mar. – 12 Apr. 2010

We would like to highlight a workshop which is currently taking place at the University of Cyprus (UCY) in Nicosia. Eight teams from four academic institutions, Architectural Association (AA) School of Architecture ‐ DRL, Dessau Institute of Architecture (DIA), DELFT University of Technology – The Why Factory and the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), are participating in the workshop, which aims in addressing a series of issues related to the re-habitation of Famagusta.  During the 3 weeks of the workshop, students from each University are asked to apply latest technology and advanced digital design tools (parametric software) and fabrication methods to propose an amount of differentiated urban design proposals. Land properties, circulation and future growth are some of the quantifiable parameters under discussion which the participants will attempt to address in relation to unquantifiable factors such as society and collective memory.

The event is expected to offer a new perspective on the case of Famagusta as it is substantially different from previous work related to the issue. Earlier studies have been preoccupied with strategic organisation and technical details and they were mainly focused in resolving issues related to the first days of returning to the city. Although, such plans are indeed of high priority, what seems to be lacking is a vision for the future of the city and a decision making mechanism which would allow the participation of the former inhabitants of Famagusta.

For More Information @: http://www.nomanslandproject.com/

Workshop Outcome (NTUA):

NTUA Team 01:

Coordinator: Dimitris Papalexopoulos | Tutors: Michail Georgiou, Angela Kouveli, Yannis Orfanos, Dimitris Papadopoulos | Team Members: Kimon Antonelos, Electra Kontoroupi, Eleni-Alkisti Victoratou, Christina Voutou, George Rossides

RECorder builds up on a broad imaginary of returning to Famagusta that consists of numberless personal fantasies and intentions for the city’s future. Instead of proposing a top-down model with predefined relations and urban hierarchies, the project investigates a bottom-up design where the whole is formed by local rules that interact and retroact with their inevitable external boundaries. We start by setting the basis for a public negotiation of the emerging conflicts before the point zero of the city’s re-inhabitation. A website locates each user’s desire on a virtual model of Famagusta and adjusts the system accordingly, applying a set of cellular automaton rules that produce different virtual images of the city. The parametric system allows perceiving change as a programmatic condition, to create a machine of becoming that potentializes the relationship between the city and its inhabitants and balances between the common and the personal desire. When Famagusta is finally returned to its inhabitants this virtual collective intelligence space is materialized and dispersed into the city fabric providing a network of physical monads [commons] that foster an open dialogue on the settlement of the urban space.

NTUA01/03 Famagusta WorkshopNTUA01/04 Famagusta WorkshopNTUA01/05 Famagusta Workshop

NTUA Team 02:

Coordinator: Dimitris Papalexopoulos | Tutors: Michail Georgiou, Angela Kouveli, Yannis Orfanos, Dimitris Papadopoulos | Team Members: Kimon Antonelos, Electra Kontoroupi, Eleni-Alkisti Victoratou, Christina Voutou, George Rossides

F.I.N.G.E.R.S. approach to the revival of Famagusta is based on the idea of green public spaces injected into the city’s sprawled urban fabric. Some of the waterfront buildings that are beyond repair will give way to public space, creating origin points for the transformation of the city. The shadow these buildings cast on the beach, a symbol of Famagusta, will be translated into light platforms re-connecting the sea with the city. From there, green fingers will emerge, energizing unused spaces and reviving highly damaged constructions while creating a network of significant historical reference points in Famagusta The proposal aims at creating the right prerequisites for the city to respond to the booming growth expected in the future, but still continue to offer a high quality of life to its former and prospect inhabitants.

NTUA02/02 Famagusta Workshop NTUA02/03 Famagusta Workshop

Digital Design Tools, designing with the SUN in mind

Being in Cyprus this summer, I was commissioned to renovate the house of my cousin in Emba, Paphos.


You can spot the plot on Google Earth (34°48’19.41″N, 32°25’59.57″E). I have to highlight that the weather gets extremely hot in Cyprus, especially in the summer with daytime temperatures reaching 40 °C. Being on the island during this period you quickly realize that the pace of life gets much slower than any other time of the year. Everybody wears sunglasses, air-conditioning units operate nonstop and between 11:00 ? 16:00 almost nobody (except tourists) walks on the streets. In Cyprus, as in any other place, one designs according to certain weather conditions. Sun is undoubtedly the prevailing environmental parameter and the designer needs to take it seriously into account if he/she wishes to design ?comfortable? spaces.

The above project has sparked some ideas which I would like to discuss here and hopefully start a productive ?dialogue? among people contributing to this blog. This session will discuss digital design tools

When the project started, I tried to perform some basic solar analysis, to understand orientation and shadows. A digital tool that I usually employ for this cause is Google SketchUp as it has a very simple and user friendly interface. To start the solar analysis, I first located the plot in Google Earth and then Georeferenced it in SketchUp where I built a very fast massing model of the existing house.


In this way I was able to get the exact Global Position, North Angle and Terrain in SketchUp. I had to perform some extra work as there is a TimeZone bug which was giving me UTC + 3 instead of UTC +2 for the specific plot resulting in incorrect sunset and sunrise times. This was solved thanks to a plug-in script which actually allowed the change of several other parameters related to location  including  the Time Zone.


During this process, I started considering the next phase; synthesis. I began investigating the possibility of linking the work-in-progress 3d model to the sun?s motion. I could possibly use the sun to generate a surface of the building or even sculpt the whole envelope of the house.  That?s not something new and other people have done similar work and progressed the idea much more. I already know that D. Papadopoulos   has written a script in Processing for louvers. I also know that M. Tsigkari   has dealt with Sun Paths in GC during the Adaptive Architecture and Computation Master?s and I have also seen a nice work that links environment and form again on processing by V. Tzenu . P. Fereos  has also designed a Voronoi shading device for a competition in Cyprus which varies in depth in order to provide adequate shading for the interior of the building.

By googgling the subject, I came across a link which explains how you can build a Sun Path in Generative Components (GC) by exporting specific time-location values  from Ecotect. This could actually result in a very interesting design tool if the user manages to figure out how to creatively link the sun path to the form. The result would obviously depend on what the user tries to achieve and what are his/her constraints.  We can therefore imagine an outcome that varies accordingly, depending on project requirements and designers creativity.


In my case, and due to time limitations I have only managed to import the values for the specific plot in Cyprus and subsequently have only used the sun path as a real time sun position reference in GC. My future intention is to focus on the east wall which in the new plans covers a zone of bathrooms, WC and a walk-in wardrobe. This utility zone functions as a heat barrier between the exterior and the sleeping-living areas of the house and its outer surface is constrained by the amount and type of light that needs to penetrate it. It is therefore a good opportunity to test the above concept by parametrically linking the Sun Path to the Surface.

1 [Desktop Resolution]

2 [Desktop Resolution]

The above example has demonstrated a digital workflow for a single quantifiable parameter; the sun?s position and the resulting shadows. Even though, solar analysis was performed at a very basic level, the information obtained (visual and solar data) was enough to initiate the synthetic process of design. The point here is that digital tools as such, produce a large amount of information, faster, accurately and in such format that can be seamlessly transformed into form.

Undoubtedly, architects are presented with a large number of such parameters, observable or underlying, in every project. Some of them are quantifiable some of them are not. Some are by definition more important than others, like for example the structural parameter. Some are further analysed and developed into definitive design decisions, whereas some are just neglected. The question is which of those parameters are miscalculated just because we do not possess the adequate tools or processes to asses them and transform them into creative design decisions?


Welcome to ParametricDesign.Net web space. This site was created as a means to provide communication of ideas among people working with parametric, generative and interactive architecture.

The list of contributors is slowly growing, most of us are somehow connected to Bartlett, UCL, and met in creative environment that London provides, although many of us live somewhere else already. This site is helping to keep the link, and streams the creative energy through.

Parametric design as a title may be wide enough for some, yet limiting for others, hence the subtitle – generative architecture, which in my feeling is a complimentary thing to the latter.  Some people might argue, but if we look closely at fabrication processes of complex shapes or solids, even in most complex, multi-layered structures,  in most cases they wouldn’t be possible without breaking down the problem into set of input parameters, and resolving it locally. Let’s take following example :


The structure shown above is generative, build with the use of self-organizing particle system acting locally, exchanging information about the forces between the nodes. But when looking at the connections, it becomes clear that there is a need for a resolved nodal point, which is a perfect application for parametric component.



Complimentary ? Or totally separate ? I would say that one informs the other, and it can happen both ways. To illustrate the opposite approach, we could utilize parametrically modelled simple, doubly curved surface, that is a ‘playground’ for cellular automata, or another particle system. Generative built on top of parametric.

Regardless of the point I am making, I hope this is a good start in the discussion, which will evolve over months and years, and bring new horizons to these both subjects. You will see theoretical investigations, sample projects, or speculative experiments with forms, topologies and 3d space in general – all as short bursts of inspiration.

Stay tuned !

parametricdesign.net team.