RMIT students and design studio leaders have taken part in an intensive digital fabrication studio in Beijing, investigating architecture and sound.
The group of 42 Australian and Chinese students investigated how architecture impacts the sonic environment, by exploring sound simulation and using physical experimentation as a means to evaluate and develop designs for the fabrication of full-scale prototypes.
To help the team better understand how digital fabrication workflow impacts the design of architecture in Beijing, the group went on a tour of several inner city locations.
The group enjoyed an in-depth tour of the spectacular Phoenix TV studio, guided by a member of the Phoenix design team. They also toured Zaha Hadid Architects’ (ZHA) recent designed developments of Wanjing Soho and Galaxy Soho with Satoshi Ohashi and Yang Jinwen from ZHA’s Beijing office.
Associate Professor Jane Burry, Director of RMIT’s Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory (SIAL) and program manager MDIT, said the students were “inspired to develop ambitious conceptual designs for public installations”.
“In each case, the concepts were tested, refined and demonstrated through physical and digital prototyping.”
“All concepts were shaped in the knowledge that the students would be constructing at least a section at full scale,” Burry said.
The students’ designs included:
- a cloud roof and a rocking kinetic wall for outdoor music venues
- musical instruments, played by the subway train
- an occupiable musical instrument for the blind
- a whispering wall
- sculptural and kinetic acoustic walls and ceilings.
RMIT and Tsinghua studio leaders provided input on parametric and generative design, kinetic architecture, acoustic simulation and the history of digital architecture in China.
These insights were complemented by lectures from visiting practitioners, including Arthur van der Harten from Acoustic Distinctions, who introduced students to the immense potential of his software (Pachyderm) and gave them other insights on acoustic design and simulation.
John van de Water (NEXT Architects, Beijing) and Martijn de Geus (Architect) showed their own architectural work in the city, providing further insight to design and building in contemporary Beijing.
The two-week Digital Fabrication studio and study tour coincided with Beijing Design Week 2015.
RMIT leaders: Jane Burry, PhD candidate Pantea Alambeigi (RMIT), Hugo Mulder (ARUP + ITU, Copenhagen)
Tsinghua leaders: Professors Xu Weiguo and Huang Weixin, PhD candidates Lu Shuai and Zhang Pengyu
Story: Scott Knight