An Evolution in Design Trends
In the 1990s, as natural sciences and mathematics flourished, new geometric forms like Lobachevsky, Fractal, Tobology, and others emerged. Simultaneously, advancements in information technology revolutionized the way we approach design. Consequently, the traditional relationship between form and function was no longer sufficient. Today, both form and function are in a constant state of improvement. Ideas and techniques in projects are no exception. The relationship between form and function has become more flexible and adaptable. It is within this context that a new architectural trend, known as Parametric Architecture, has emerged, with the renowned architect Zaha Hadid at its forefront.
The Flexibility of Parametric Architecture
Parametric architecture is characterized by its departure from static objects. Design objects, whether buildings or cities, are no longer bound by a rigid relationship between form and function. Instead, a single factor, called a parameter, controls and flexibly shapes the design. Parameters dictate properties like quantity, magnitude, height, and distance, transforming the geometric values in the surface or space. As different parameters are introduced, the architectural form evolves, adapting to function, aesthetics, and mood while seamlessly integrating with the surrounding landscape. The constituent units, or cells, typically consist of simple geometric shapes such as triangles, circles, squares, honeycombs, or grids.
Pioneers of Parametric Architecture
Antoni Gaudí can be considered the precursor of parametric architecture. His early work already exhibited organic forms and a keen consideration for natural light. However, it was not until the advent of computer-aided design (CAD) software that architects fully embraced parametric architecture in their buildings. Zaha Hadid, in particular, played a pivotal role in pioneering and applying parametric design to most of her projects.
Architecture of the Taichung City Cultural Center – Real Impressive and attractive with the application of Parametric Architecture.
The Advantages of Parametric Architecture
Parametric architecture emerged as a response to the crisis of the post-Modern Architecture period. It critically assesses modern architecture and seeks to provide a new direction that better reflects society. Flexibility and adaptability are paramount in parametric architecture. It enables the creation of complex yet perfect shapes that are both elegant and practical. The design process hinges on defining initial parameters, with non-Euclidean geometry or topological mathematics serving as the theoretical and structural foundation for these intricate parametric models.
The Role of Technology in Parametric Design
Parametric design relies heavily on computer modeling. Architects now engage with separate 3D engines instead of traditional hand-drawn sketches. Contemporary mathematics and coding are utilized extensively, transforming every object into a reusable “Module” or “Pattern” which can be shared and built upon. As architects delve into parametric design, they must acquire new skills and tools to support their creative endeavors. Notably, Rhino and Revit stand as the most flexible and favored software for architects and architecture students interested in Parametric Architecture.
The Changing Role of Architects
Parametric design has revolutionized the role of architects. As the design process becomes entirely computer-modeled, architects transition from an active to a passive position. The quest for random architectural forms now relies on computer-generated models, opening up new possibilities for unique and captivating designs. However, architects should not be mistaken for becoming overly reliant on computers. They still retain the ability to actively create parametric models based on their own ideas, even without computer-generated suggestions.
Embracing the Global Trend
Below, we showcase ten exceptional projects that exemplify the application of Parametric Architecture. Each project demonstrates the power and versatility of this design approach, providing a clear and inspiring vision of this global architectural trend.
The Walt Disney Concert Hall, designed by Frank O.Gehrt and Associates in Los Angeles, USA, is one of the most sophisticated concert halls in the world. It showcases the beauty of metal panel curves and precise handling and design.
BMW Welt building designed by COOP HIMMELB (L) AU, Munich, Germany. This project features a structure consisting of torque, covered entirely by transparent glass, providing a stunning view of the Olympia Park landscape.
Beijing National Stadium designed by Herzog & de Meuron, Beijing, China. Inspired by cultural traditions, the iconic “bird’s nest” structure has a simple underlying structure with an intricate outer shape. The interlocking bars merge into a grid, symbolizing the harmony of yin and yang.
Burnham Pavilion designed by UNStudio, Chicago, USA.
Blobwall designed by Greg Lynn. It is a system of more than 500 robot-shaped blob units, each in ten different shades made from impact-resistant recycled polymer material.
Son – O – House designed by NOX, Son in Breugel, the Netherlands. It is not merely a house but a masterpiece of art that reflects the movement and habits of its inhabitants. The sound system within Son-O-House generates continuous sound patterns using motion sensors that interact with visitors. The building’s surface acts as a dome, merging on different scales.
Gunagzhou Drama designed by Zaha Hadid, Guangzhou, China. This project combines cultural traditions with a modern structural approach, creating a captivating conversation with the developing city.
Yas Hotel designed by Asymptote, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The mesh curves of the hotel’s cover are integrated with the lighting system, resulting in an irresistible glowing effect. This project highlights the development of optical systems and new techniques in professional lighting. Ecological quality and sustainability are key considerations.
Kaohsiung Port and Service Center designed by Reiser Umemoto, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan. This award-winning project features undulating horizontal structures separated vertically by public functions. The building surface mimics a bird’s nest, spanning a flyover to maximize functional space.
Beijing Aquatics Center designed by PTV Architects, Beijing, China. Inspired by Chinese tradition, the building’s exterior structure is repetitive and sustainable. The result is a simple regular shape with a complex geometry.
To learn more about Parametric Architecture and its diverse applications, check out Caravansarai’s informative website on Caravansarai.