Parametric Urbanism

CAD 4 @ GUtech 2010 - present In their last regular CAD semester students are introduced to parametric modeling. They elaborate protocols and definitions that can handle design relevant parameters and yield 3D geometries. Student evaluate the resulting shapes and re-interpreted them as architectural or urban forms. A special focus is laid upon the production of variations and repetitions. Once students master parametric design from scratch they use building information modeling software. Again, they work and update a digital model that can be enriched with information to produce technical drawing set, a rendering or a fabrication file.
Parametric modelling is first tested on generic geometries
Then applied to architectural objects
A parametric urban model with dynamic plot lines, floor area ratio and streets
related: 

Powers of ten

GIS mapping Oman in various scales / CAD 3 @ GUtech 2010 - present In their 3rd semester students work on a larger GIS database survey of the coastal urbanisation of Oman. Based on Eames' ideas of the power of ten, each student works on a quadrant at the level of the neighborhood, the city and the region. The data is added to the database, that reaches better and better resolution through the student contribution. The GIS database contains areal imagery, census data, 3D information. Students are encouraged to extract layer axonometric models from the database to visualise the complex urban interaction of the built environment, the topography, hydrology and environment.

Additive vs Subtractive

modeling space / CAD 2 @ GUtech 2010- present The 2nd CAD seminar builds upon the drafting skills elaborated in CAD 1. This seminar engages students into constantly shifting from 2D forms of representation, such as plans, sections, elevations and perspectives to 3D models and back. The 3D model is produced through addition of elements (tectonic) or subtraction from a volume (stereolithic). Various scales demand different conventions of drawing. Student gain proficiency in modeling, drafting and layout of their designs and often re-work their studio assignment.

Islamic Patterns

Islamic Patterns / CAD 1 @ GUtech 2010 - present The 1st CAD seminar introduces students to fundamental concepts of geometry and scale. Students start with analysing Islamic patterns. These traditional patterns are based on circles, squares and hexagons and can be found in many islamic ornaments throughout Oman. They entail basic vectorial transformations, such as translation, rotation, reflection and scale. While re-drawing the patterns in CAD, the students start to re-interpret the pattern in their drawing. Students resolve linear intersections and treat the drawing like an architectural drawing. Later the 2D CAD drawing is interpreted in 3D using extrusion and rotation. This process requires the addition of information. Students are then asked to re-introduce a scale and to read their shapes against a possible programs.

Parametric Urban Design Model / Qurm

Within the research project, we developed tools and methods to map these environmental, cultural and programmatic parameters into a cohesive urban design mechanism. This mechanism can be adapted and applied to any site in Oman or the Gulf region from the scale of a few houses to larger mixed use developments.

Urban Oman Research

The research project “Towards Sustainable Patterns of Urbanization” founded by The Research Council Oman (TRC) has lead to various collaborations with other international academic institutions. As co-investigator on the project in Oman, I have been coordinating these exchanges and channeling them into significant contributions to the larger research project while providing the students with academic frame-work, access and exposure.

ISU, Braunschweig

Aurel von Richthofen speaks on the topic of Urbanisation Patterns at the Gulf of Arabia. Guest lecture at the Institute for Sustainable Urbanism [ISU] in Braunschweig, Dec. 2012, lecture in German.