Phoenix Center | Beijing, China

Architects: BIAD UFO

Instructor: Prof. Wei Yan

Content: Building Mass

 Skin Modeling with Grasshopper

Curvature Analysis

Kangaroo shape transformation

Skin Patterns Generation with LunchBox, VB Script & Voronoi 

Academic work | ARCH 655 Studio | Winter 2014


This project is for the Arch 655 Parametric Modeling in Design class of Texas A&M University. I used Grasshopper to create building mass and skin of the Phoenix International Media Center and different algorithms and scripting methods to generate building skin patterns for it.

The modelling concept is based on Mobius Band which can be created by taking a paper strip and giving it a half twist and then joining the ends together to form a loop. Modelling process as following:

1. Createacircleasbased curve and use Prep Frames to make 20 equally spaced, perpendicular ellipses along the curve.
2. Make a copy of the first ellipse then use List Item, Pi, Range and Rotate to rotate these 20 ellipses along the curve gradually.

3. Merge those 21 ellipses and use Loft to get the mass surface
4. Use Divide Curve to divide each rotated ellipse and get equal spaced points on those ellipses.
5. Use Shift List and Flip Matrix to offset points and swape columns to rows. Use Interpolate to create outer skin curves from all those points.
6. Use the same process to get the inner skin curves. The only difference is to give a -X Expression of Shift List to make the curves go to the opposite direction. 
7.  Use Pipe to get the thickness.


For part 2, I tried different methods to create skin patterns for the building mass which include Panels tool from Lunchbox, VB Script and Voronoi to compare the advantages and disadvantages of each method. To simplify the calculation process, I used the Torous Surface in Lunchbox to be the base surface and added different skin pattern panels on it.


Panels Tool: Simply input the base surface, add number sliders to control how detailed the pattern is, give a perpendicular vector and finally extrude it to generate the skin pattern.

VB Script: A bit complicated, but still good and useful. Also, it can be developed into a responsive honeycomb system which is able to adapt to a local existing context and to different performance requirements.

Voronoi: Unfold the surface and create the Voronoi inflat plane or use 3D Voronoi and intersect it with the box to get the surface pattern. These two methods work for generating Voronoi skin pattern on curving building mass but not that efficient. Also, it is hard to modify the control points and pattern scale.