The envelope strategy creates a continuous gradient from the deep brise-soliel (on the south side of Le Corbusier's Carpenter Center) to the flat curtain wall (on the North Wall of the Carpenter Center). All elements of the envelope are produced by the same grasshopper script (a kind of DNA) but they change radically based on the surface geometry they are applied to, and also based on the direction of the sun.
In a highly speculative studio coordinated by Ingeborg Rocker, I worked with my studio instructor Cameron Wu to explore the potential of parametric modeling while continuously situating my work within the discourse of architecture’s history and theory.
The resilient tower takes as its starting point the orthogonal extruded Modernist tower, where each floor plate reproduces the datum, allowing for a heterogeneous program to exist behind a homogenous façade. In the resilient tower, too, each piece of rigid program—program that requires specific dimensions and a horizontal datum for functionality—is pinned to a specific floor plate, and onto a specific X,Y location on that floor plate.
The prototypical frame is then deformed, perhaps due to an irregular site or perhaps because the tower is required to provide specific views. The bottom and top floor plates are adjusted to fit these exterior parameters and all the intermediate floor plates follow suit to preserve continuity from top to bottom. The boxes of rigid program remain fixed to their allocated floor plate and to their X,Y location on that floor plate. No matter how the floor plates deform, the floor of the boxes always remains horizontal to facilitate functionality. The walls, however, adjust to always be normal to the floor plate of the tower. This produces a composition as tight and functional as a Modernist tower, but one in which every single volume of program is unique, and is organized with respect to surrounding pieces of program in a swarm-like formation. In moments of compression, certain programmatic volumes will intersect. At many instances, the heterogeneity of the program is accentuated on the façade instead of being suppressed.
Structure is also considered in terms of parametric design. The tower has compressive structure at the façade, but is also anchored in place by tension cables. I imagine a future urbanism in which the structure is overdesigned to provide structural redundancy. In such a system, buildings might be tied to one another to provide the kind of mutual support that allows, for example, trees in a forest to resist strong winds.
The floor plate is almost eradicated. It hosts more malleable program such as the open-plan gym and café, but mostly it’s only function remains that of providing circulation and, in some cases where the slope is steep enough, vertical circulation. The whole tower thus becomes an undulating armature with a swarm of embedded programmatic volumes, volumes that register as irregularities on the façade, but in a way that conforms to a larger, more complex system of order that is also perceptible in the whole.
For more information on the Resilient Tower, see "Portfolio - Spring 2011" at waqasjawaid.com.