Modern technology has revolutionised the way architects work. In the past, architects were required to construct all the different types of drawings manually whereas now, with the advancement of technology, architects can speed up this process with the help of technological tools. 

Software such as AutoCAD, Revit, Sketch Up, Rhinoceros 3D and Grasshopper 3D. With such computer technology, architects can now stimulate complex patterns seen in nature into one that fits well in buildings. With the use of parametric equations and algorithmic computational thinking, the architecture of the now and future is revolutionised. 

Even though Parametric Architecture may be considered as something new, it has come to exist since the late 20th and early 21st century. Here are 5 architecture examples that embraced the use of parametric design and computational thinking.

Walt Disney Concert Hall | Parametric Architecture

Walt Disney Concert Hall by Frank Gehry is considered to be a geometrical complex building with parametric features. Gehry is well known for his bizarre ways of making architectural models by using torn scraps of paper and simply gluing or taping them in place. He even uses apples and Perrier bottles when making such models. 

However, when it came to Walt Disney Concert Hall, Gehry needed more than just 2D drawings and the typical architectural models he did. This building is one of the first few parametrically designed buildings and with the combination of Gehry’s typical techniques on top of computer modelling, this sophisticated concert hall features an intriguing lopsided façade of balance. 

With acoustic sound being one of the main focuses of the concert hall, Gehry together with Minoru Nagata, an acoustic engineer created a 1:10 scale model and made changes to it to ensure maximum acoustic potential. Parametric design assisted in elevating the overall acoustic clarity of the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

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Parametric Architecture-Walt Disney Concert Hall ©Gehry Partners, LLP
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Walt Disney Concert Hall © Gehry Partners, LLP

Museo Soumaya

Fernando Romero is the architect behind Museo Soumaya. It took FREE Fernando Romero 4 years of development and integration of complex systems and natural laws to have the building look like it is today. Museo Soumaya is located in an intricate location that sits in between the old and the new. 

This museum sits to be a transition building that stands to create a seamless conversion of the two differing areas. This avant-garde morphology has created a new paradigm in Mexico. On top of that, it too represents parametric power in a building. The exterior of the building seems odd at first with its lack of windows or openings. 

However, the building features a flat roof that absorbs daylight that helps to light the interior of the museum during the day. The building houses an auditorium for 350 people, a library, offices, a multi-purpose gathering lounge and a restaurant. In terms of structure, 28 curved steel columns of varying diameters are used to hold up the shell of the building. 

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Museo Soumaya ©Rafael Gamo
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Construction of the Museo Soumaya Architect Fernando Romero. Mexico City

Guangzhou Opera House | Parametric Architecture

It is no surprise to know that Zaha Hadid Architects would have delved and experimented with parametric design. Ultimately, the dynamic shapes of her firm’s design can be better achieved with the help of computer-aided tools. Guangzhou Opera House by Zaha Hadid Architects is the largest and most complex building of her that is of primarily computer-generated designs. 

In particular, the faceted structural skin of the building uses parametric design and traditional methods. The structural skin is covered with triangular glass tiles and white and black granite. The overall form, composition and structure of the building required advanced computational thinking and technology. 

The two main software that was used is Rhino for the crystalline form of the building and Maya for the more complex and flowy surfaces of the auditorium’s interior spaces. Logarithms through spines, NURBS and particles organised by codes and scripts of computational means helped to achieve the final organic form of Guangzhou Opera House.

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Guangzhou Opera ©Scarbor Siu
Guangzhou Opera ©Chijui Yeh

Beijing National Stadium 

Beijing National Stadium or otherwise known as the Bird’s Nest Stadium by Herzog & de Meuron was initially used for the Olympics but now serves to be an international tourist attraction due to its aesthetically pleasing and sustainable architecture. 

At first glance, the structural members used seem random, however, they are all well thought through and integrated very carefully and accurately. Computational means and programmatic processes were needed to achieve such complex geometry and web-like structure. The structure of the stadium was manipulated through computer-aided tools to achieve what the architects want before it is made in real life. 

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Beijing National Stadium, The Bird’s Nest ©Hong Jiang

AAMI Park Stadium | Parametric Architecture

AAMI Park Stadium or otherwise known as Melbourne Rectangular Stadium by Cox Architects. AAMI Park Stadium features a cutting-edge ‘bioframe’ design with a geodesic dome. This specific design shades the seating areas of the stadium but at the same time allows natural daylight to enter for the pitch. This design also gives AAMI Park Stadium its iconic visual identity. 

Parametric modelling was used to create the roof structure of this stadium. Different geometric configurations were first tested to optimise the structural form before coming to the final design which we can see today. The parametric model was also passed over to the shop detailing and fabrication team to ensure that the final stadium stays true to what was made parametrically. 

Parametric Architecture-AAMI Park Stadium ©AAMI Park
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Parametric Architecture-AAMI Park Stadium ©AAMI Park

Currently an architecture student in National University of Singapore (NUS), she wishes to eventually live in a van, swims with whales and delve into different works of arts. An avid learner who strives to be of an all-rounded individual, she too is a lover of words, psychology, and human experiences.