Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Hand & CAD - The Wireframe Years - 4

1990… CAD was in its infancy. Three dimensional modeling of buildings was difficult, but impressive in its results. Wireframe perspective views were regenerated and printed fairly quickly. Hidden line regeneration and printing however, was very slow. It was especially slow on complex buildings.

 In June, desperate for work, I got a call from Rafael Viñoly Associates. They wanted me to work overtime in their offices for two months on the development phase renderings for the Tokyo International Forum (Forum competition blog post). As it happened, the work was more like a continual design development sketch job. I worked with a handful of young architects who were familiar with CAD. I did modeling, generally coordinated the CAD work, and also sketched views to review with Mr. Viñoly. 

The Tokyo International Forum was a very complex building. The hide line process was very slow. It was so slow that we had to model and select views during the day, and run hidden line printing overnight, and even then the process took too long. The final line drawings shown here are the result of multiple renderings which were cut together by hand and photographed to make the final layout.

The images below show the progression of the design and view for each rendering. Each view is taken in turn, with the images shown chronologically; usually starting with a freehand sketch, followed by wireframe views, a value study and a final line drawing. Because of schedule problems the final presentation in all cases was left as a detailed line drawing. I will comment on other aspects as they come up.

Since the Tokyo International Forum was to be built in the center of a dense urban area, the north side of the building was the only side where you could see the entire building at once. This early view led to the decision to increase the height of the Glass Hall (red revision).

Because of the density of the CAD lines, this quick line sketch was needed to produce…

… this pastel study for a night view.

The final line drawing was not dramatic, but presented lots of detail.

The view from the west was limited by the surrounding buildings…   Because the surrounding buildings were adjacent to the west façade of the Forum, I was limited to…

a close-up entry shot…
or a view down the street.

Since the modeling of this view was so simple, I focused on shade and shadow.

Values were explored in some detail…

But in the end we stayed with a line drawing.

The Forum has a street level plaza separating the Glass Hall from the square blocks housing the auditorium and various theater spaces. I explored the plaza from both the north…

And the south…

With pastel and CAD.

The view from the south was eventually chosen.

It was explored in fascinating shade and shadow…

But again, the line drawing approach was the final.

The Glass Hall was the jewel in the entire design for the Forum. It was also impossible to visualize without CAD modeling. My preliminary sketch was a poor approximation of this view from the Conference Bar.

The best views that we found didn’t seem worth the trouble…
So this view was dropped, although I made a quick pastel study (above) for the fun of it.

The next view of the Glass Hall was from a ramp suspended from the glass wall. My sketch was not particularly promising, but…

The various views were quite dynamic.

The wireframe was getting very dense with lines even after hiding lines. To make the view understandable I drew a simplified line sketch over the preferred view (original was 8.5” x 11”).

I then created a value study over the line drawing using pastels.

I studied the complex shade and shadow on a larger print.

The large line drawing used for the presentation.

Most people experiencing the Glass Hall would enter at ground level, so that view was essential. My first sketch suggested a conventional view, looking horizontally from the far end of the hall so as to see as much of the whole space without creating a distortion in perspective.

After exploring the hall thoroughly in this way it was decided that it might be best to explore the space unconventionally. By looking up instead of across we would see more of the sky bridges and glass roof.

  The resulting views were really exciting, and we quickly chose a view.

 I simplified it into a line sketch…

And worked out a value study.

I have to admit that the final line drawing is probably more powerful than a complete color rendering would have been. Unfortunately, I don't have a high resolution image of this view.

The Glass Hall can be experienced from the Exhibition Hall, so a view from there was proposed.

The relationship between the flat conventional space of the exhibition area and the Glass Hall was hard to evaluate…

So I defined the edge of the exhibition ceiling by hand.

 A simplified line drawing was worked over the CAD view…

 And pastel was used to explore the view.

A more detailed study of the shade and shadow followed.

The finished line drawing.

Another view of the Exhibition Hall from deeper in the space was needed. However, we wanted to catch a glimpse of the curving Glass Hall.

The model here was simpler, and we could use the hide line command to explore the relation to the Glass Hall.

A simplified line sketch added scale and context…

And value was quickly developed.

The final; not so dramatic.

The theaters and auditorium were also being designed while the model was being made. The sketch above is of the “A” auditorium, seating about 5000. I started with a viewpoint looking from the lower seating area.

The seats had to be made in both a simple form and a complex one so as to show the detailed form in the foreground seats, while not slowing down the hide line process with too much detail in the background seats.

We eventually decided to make this rendering a view from the balcony to emphasize the huge space.

A simplified line sketch…

Led to a value study.

The final line rendering

An additional view of the “A” auditorium was taken from the stage.

A nearly symmetrical view was chosen.

A simple line sketch eliminated the black blobs created by the distant seats.

A dramatic value study looked promising…

But we only had time for the line drawing.

There were a few other drawings in the presentation, but they are less interesting in terms of the CAD aspects that I want to show here. perhaps later when entourage is the topic.

I realize that all of the above is mere history, and probably holds no interest for young illustrators. But I find it a fascinating view into the transition from hand drawn architecture and the current world of CAD.

Note: I have been busy rearranging my life during the last few months, and thus the dearth of posts. I hope to do better in the future.