Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Rhinoceros in the Room

There is a Rhinoceros in the room. And a Grasshopper. And two vizslas.

The vizslas are being quiet.

No. I take that back.

They were being quiet, until I got up to remind the female vizsla (Miss Scarlett) that her sheep toy is an inside toy, and she cannot take it outside. Her half-brother (Butler) decided to try to distract me while his sister made her getaway, but failed. He is now trying repeatedly to climb into my lap.

He's a 50 lbs. lap-dog.

I am currently dog/house-sitting for my sister and her husband while they take my niece on her first real vacation. It's kind of strange, having this big old house to myself, but also enjoyable. It's a nice break from my own little apartment.

What about the Rhinoceros and the Grasshopper? you ask.

Well, they're both in my computer, which doesn't look like a Rhino could squeeze in, but it's possible, trust me.

Rhinoceros is actually a 3-D digital modeling program. I used it for the first time about 5 years ago, during my last semester of undergraduate study. In all, prior to this semester, I had approximately 2 weeks of experience with it. I eventually gave up on it and used AutoCAD, instead.

This time around, I have to use Rhino, because I have to use a sub-program/plug-in called Grasshopper that goes with it.

Neither of them are easy to learn, but I'm getting there. It's a heck of a gear switch, going from a program like Revit, which essentially does everything for you, to having to write algorithms of a sort for Grasshopper.

My new professors are devotees of parametric architecture: architecture that responds to its context in mathematical ways, in other words. It's the sort of architecture promulgated by the likes of Zaha Hadid and COOP HIMMELB(L)AU.

Until I began my Master's work, I frankly didn't understand parametric (aka generative) architecture. The professors I had in my undergrad days were all die-hard modernists. They were obsessed with Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe. I admire both of these architects (except for Le C's city planning ideas: those were just bat-s*** insane).

Now that I understand more of the theory behind parametric design, I have a greater appreciation for it and a greater desire to continue studying it.

Time to see if my model has finished generating, yet. (Let's say a little prayer, shall we?)

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