Demolish Westminster

We are at a difficult, perhaps pivotal point in political history and recent events have brought to light there is a strong desire for reform and restructure of the future, that considers globalisation, new media (social etc.) and this generations lack of interest in politics.

This has specifically lead me to a project that explores what a new typology for government buildings could be. The premise for the project is that the present Palace of Westminster and houses of Parliament require £4bn of renovation and refurbishment, of a complex that is no longer fit for purpose – both spatially and the way that politics may function in the future.

For design I will be using the present site of the houses of parliament for my project, however using this moment as an opportunity for complete redesign of the houses of parliament. This provides both a clear project programme and more importantly to speculate on what this architecture may be.

My first steps have been to analyse the architecture of the existing building and produce some renderings of some of the details and areas which might offer me some insight into the next steps to take.

These images are a speculation on the Palace and politics in this currently being no more before building an idea of what it could be.

Future Representation- Creating Final Output.

I chose to do do 3 renders for my final output. I used a combination of Sketchup, Revit and Photoshop. My representation shows the Palace of Westminster under a wrap of scaffolding and partly demolished with the house of commons suspended between a complex lattice support structure. 

Screengrab of original sketchup model
Screengrab of original Sketchup model

I built the palace facade, remaining Palace and scaffold wrap and supports in Sketchup. Once these were complete i created the lattice support structure in Revit by creating a solid mesh and curtain wall family for the steel lattice.

I then exported this as a DWG and imported it into my Sketchup model. Once this was done i exported the images to JPEG format and begun to work on them in Photoshop.

I added background, context and fog lighting in photoshop to create a interesting set of final images showing the first idea of a what a new parliament could look like in the future.

Future Representation Week 5- Rhino, Grasshopper

In this session we learned how to use grasshopper, which is a plug in for Rhino. It allows you to create parametric curves and 3D shapes by creating a circuit diagram for each of the commands.

To open grasshopper you open up Rhino and type Grasshopper into the command line, this will then open up the programme where you can begin to work.

You place points in Rhino and assign them to a PT in grasshopper. This is how you begin to build your ‘circuits’

Setting points starting the circuit.
Setting points starting the circuit.

We built some complex surfaces very quickly and easily using grasshopper.  Once you have the points you pull out the different commands connecting each circuit to each command. You can also add sliders which allows you to change the numbers up and down to suit how you want to divide your surface.

Modifying the circuits for to edit the surface.
Modifying the circuits for to edit the surface.

Much like Rhino i could see how Grasshopper would be useful but i don’t think i would gain any benefit in using it as i do not really find parametric architecture very useful or interesting.

Future Representation Week 4- Rhino

In this session we learned the basics of Rhino 3D modelling software. On of the big advantages of Rhino is it can interact with most other 3D software. IT is used by most major practices in the industry.

Most 3D modelling is based on a polygon based MESH. This creates models with a poor surface quality and is far less accurate.

Rhino is based on NURBS which has its origins in product design and the car industry. Based on the Bezier curve it stands for Non Uniform Rational B-Splines.


Polygon vs NURBS
Polygon vs NURBS diagram.

Once we had been taken through how Rhino Generally works we learned about the interface of the workspace and the basic tools such as the Gumball which can be used to move and navigate items around the model.

The interface and layout is very similar to Autocad with object properties and drawing layers that can be switched on and off. After this we learned about C planes. These are the planes on which you draw in. and can be adjusted via each view to allow you to work quickly and accurately

Once we had learned about the basic interface we set about learning how to create surfaces from curves and how to project openings into curved surfaces using projection.

I really enjoyed learning the basics of Rhino and think i could pick it up very quickly, however i am not really into parametric architecture so i don’t think it would be a software i would get much benefit out of.

Future Representation Week 3- GIS

I really enjoyed this session. Learned a lot of things i wish i had knew at the start of Undergraduate, let alone post graduate.

GIS stands for Geographic Information Systems. This is a mapping tool not just in the traditional sense but everything from demographics of an area to the exact size and type of the buildings and land on it.

The output of this lesson was to show us how to download and use the correct type of maps from Digimaps online and to create interesting graphical maps from the information in the software.

The first step was to access and download some information of the Isle of Dogs and Greenwich Peninsula from the Digimap mapping software. We chose the OS Terrain 5DTM for download.

Once these were ready for download we then imported them into ARCScene and begun the process of manipulating them to give us different graphical outputs.

I found this process very useful as you could create a lot of beautiful maps and site analysis diagrams with very little effort.

I continued to do this creating more abstract graphics by adjusting the height of the contours and buildings on the site.

Isle of Dogs exaggerated
Isle of Dogs topography exaggerated

Once i had played round with the topography in ARCScene some more i begun to look into creating more conventional graphical maps.

This could be done by applying different filters and and colours to each different element in the map. This is the data that was embedded in it from the original GIS download.

The final output was a 2D graphical map of the Isle of Dogs and a 3D aerial shot. Overall i found  the software ARCScene very useful as gives you so many options to manipulate the data and produce some great graphics.