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Generative Algorithms as Design Tool in the Transformative Urbanism of Bandung

Generative Algorithms as Design Tool in the Transformative Urbanism of Bandung

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Published by Hafiz Amirrol
Research Paper for Architecture, Culture and Development Studies, Institut Teknologi Bandung, 2010
Research Paper for Architecture, Culture and Development Studies, Institut Teknologi Bandung, 2010

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Published by: Hafiz Amirrol on Oct 24, 2010
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In the era of transformative urbanism thatneeds a new totalizing concept in generating goodvalues in the life practices of its inhabitants,alternative design approaches are needed to respond tothese phenomena. This is due to the fact that thesephenomena and conditions will be transformed intopossibilities that would affect Bandung’s builtenvironment and its values of good life practices inthe future. A more flexible and reflexive approach indesigning the city (macro) and its architecture (micro)are new demands that must be responded by thoseinvolved in the practice of the built environment.Generative algorithms tools made possible byparametric technology are seen as one of the manypossibility that would help to generate alternativedesign approaches in responding to this issue. Thecomplex variables of cultural and daily life practicesof the inhabitants of a specific place were used asinputs for the metric parameters used in the generativealgorithms tool. This paper is to delineate new designapproaches and techniques that are hoped maycontribute positively in responding the complextransformative conditions of Bandung.
By conductingresearch and analysis on the phenomena of urbantransformation, the objective of this paper is to provide a visionary thinking through best practicesapproaches and methods on how to intervene the city.
Furthermore, the flexibility and capability of thegenerative algorithms tool is deemed viable for furtherdesign explorations and also acts as a liberator againsthomogeneity for future architectural and urban designworks.
generative algorithms, urban transformation, parametric design, Bandung, cultural studies
The phenomena of urban transformation thatBandung is experiencing are something that needscomprehensive analysis and understanding. This isdue to the fact that these phenomena and conditions
Hafiz Amirrol, 25209022, h.amirrol@gmailChichi Asda Artha, 25209035, chichi_asda@yahoo.co.id
will be transformed into possibilities that would affectBandung’s built environment and its whole futuredevelopment. The topic is crucial in developing a totalunderstanding of the city with all of its conditions,since these conditions of the city will also conditionthe whole living environment, and also representhuman’s achievement per excellence (Rossi, 1984).What Bandung is experiencing today is arepresentation and manifestation of the collective willof the people that inhabit it, and currently, the imageis not a good one. This paper is hoped to produce better analysis and understanding in helping torecognize conditions and transformations of the cityinto better practices.The advancement of computational tools inthe process of designing architecture and urbanismhas been crucial in the development of the builtenvironment. For the past fifteen years, parametricand generative methods of design, often incorporatingexplicit computer programming, represent a workingmethod based more on procedures than geometricforms have led the practice of architectural and urbandesign into a more critical ways of approaching designissues and problems (Hanna and Turner, 2006).Parametric design in the context of the urbancondition allows a more holistic and scientificapproach towards the understanding of the urbanfabric, morphologies, typologies, and the formation of many other urban components based on multiplevariables of the context.
The current conception of the city has beendominated by the deterministic approach of city planning and its growth, which include rationalist, planned and functionally driven approaches. Theseideas of scientific planning have ignored other elements that are similarly important; humanisticvalues, happiness, fun, spirituality and so on. It isthrough this collaborative method of the paper,qualitative and experiential natures of the city are to be addressed in seeking approaches in making a citymore pleasurable. Subjective notions of habitation andoccupying the city can be best addressed through
Generative Algorithms as a Design Tool in the TransformativeUrbanism of Bandung
Hafiz Amirrol & Chichi Asda Artha
AR6141Arsitektur Budaya dan Pembangunan
 Program Studi Arsitektur, Institut Teknologi Bandung 
speculative research in order to understand the cityfrom a more holistic, user-oriented perspective.This paper will try to move away from themodernist and rationalist legislative planning anddesign methods in suggesting particular transformation and augmentation phenomena of theurban landscapes. It is within this concept that thearguments will suggest that the issue of the late-capitalist city is not simply to do with the material, thefunctional and the acqusitional aspects of the city, butcontemporary urbanisms should also be concernedwith the experiential and qualitative aspects of the cityusers, which include their daily life and cultural practices as design data and guidelines (Lim, 2001).By studying organizations and observing therelations and behavior of patterns emerging fromusers’ interactions, systematic approaches will beintroduced in developing spatial and strategic designsthat respond to, activate and enrich the complexity of these conditions. Through these conditions that are to be encoded through the use of generative algorithmsand speculative computational tools through changesin design practices, it is hoped that the research will be able to propose valid new logics that underliesvalue systems that are not prescriptive and reductive, but is driven with the performance of the city.The practice of urbanism in the city of Bandung, which was the product of the 19
and 20
 century urbanism were facilitated by forms of technological development, driven by industrial production and were designed heavily based on thezoning and land use distribution of the city use. Withthe declining quality and condition of Bandung’s cityarea, it is important to re-address the whole idea of needs in sustaining the transformation process of thecity (Suganda, 2002). While not ignoring the programmatic aspects of the city, what the methods of this paper try to articulate is the effect of suchtransformations on inhabitation that project needs increating a responsive urban discourse in creating anew conception of new forms of symbolic values, new‘interface’ replacing the machinic capitalist city, andthe requirements of a much greater levels of self-sufficiency and autonomy.These ideas are seen as an alternative methodin suggesting the urban condition in addressing and promote values and forms of social organization thatare liberating and celebratory. By shifting the perspective in the research and design approaches, the paper will focus on social-cultural practices rather than the conception of the formalist and functionalisturbanism. This will allow ‘other’ approach informulating complex design process of the urbanthrough parametricism (Schumacher, 2009). Similar to the conventional design process, the parametricdesign logic is based on two variables; (1) inputs of data and site conditions, and (2) processing variablesas frameworks and logical procedures that will beused in forming the design.
The development of the computer as a designtool has revolutionized the design practices of the built environment, including architecture and urbandesign. Currently, the role of the Computer AidedDesign (CAD) is an integral part in the process of design initiation and development. Evolutionaryalgorithms today are able to combine software programming scripting with architectural designlogics to produce software with a very broad parametric capability in assisting the process of designing. This advancement of digital tools allow thedesigner/ architect to act as the ‘master processor’ based on his own aesthetical and design logic, whilethe computer functions as the intelligent assistant inhelping to solve complex design problems at manystages, parametrically (Chevrier and Perrin, 2009).Built within the
framework, thedigital tool used in this study is
, anassociative modeling software that enables theconstruction of a parametric model at a range of different interfaces, from purely graphic through to anentirely code based designs, thus allowing themanipulation of such non-geometric, algorithmicrelationships as described above (Khabazi, 2010).Algorithm is the formulation of measures to solve problems that are commonly used in variousdisciplines, including architecture and design, thus actas a processual problem-solving tool that can form thearrangement of spatial relationships and syntax,circulation, ventilation, lighting, shading and so on(Figure 1). The composition of these variables is thealgorithmic rules or constraints that are to be used indevising the logic of design articulation anddirections.
Figure 1: The
associative modeling algorithm(source: Asda, 2010).
Parametric design exploration is also a realtime based tool that allows designers to obtain avariety of alternative designs by just altering thevariables and processor inputs (Figure 2). Thisflexibility in generating design studies helped as avery effective design tool for urban studies and
analysis, especially when the design involvedcomplex condition such as in the context of Bandung.In the process of urban design, many elements areinterconnected, and are mutually attractive andexclusive. In this case, the parameter of the culturaland daily practices can be simulated by defining theseelements with the use of architectural design standardsin forming points (vertex) and lines (vectors).However, the main challenge here is how to define parameters that are not measurable such as social andcultural practices? The solution to this problem is toestablish an equation in the form of standardarchitectural design frameworks so that these valuescan be used as input variables for the parametricsystem.
Figure 2: Parametric design alternatives produced in real-time byaltering design variables (source: Schumacher, 2009).
Since the interest of this paper is to analyzethe unstable and transforming cultural practices andsocial values of Bandung, strategic research methodsare selected in forming the structure of the studies.Multi variables conditions (spatial, programmatic,social, culture, politics, economic, as well as thehistorical particularities of the city) are the focuses of the study, and will be used to devised ways of developing an appropriate architectural language,design methods and methods for drawing andrepresenting consequent strategic and spatialinterventions incorporating all pertinent and directelements, before producing the design simulation proposal to support the arguments (Figure 3).
Figure 3: Design process cycle (source: Amirrol, 2010)
The design method will be operated withindesigned strategic operations. The first approach is tochoose or identify and existing urban condition withinthe central or peripheral areas of Bandung that can beanything from a current development strategy to anyform of current events that directly influence the city.1.
Devise methods for immersing in the chosenurban condition.2.
Devise ways of understanding the structure of the urban condition.3.
Identify variables that make up and influencethe urban condition.4.
Investigate the relationship between the urbancondition and the city’s fabric.5.
Choose a moment within the urban conditionand formulate an understanding of therelationship between physical and social-cultural structures.6.
Develop strategies for creating interactiverelationships between physical and social-cultural structures.7.
Devise appropriate methods of representationand communication.8.
Define the perimeter and analyze the structureof this urban territory.9.
Investigate the variables that make up thisurban territory.10.
Investigate different ways of transforming itinto a potential territory of action for an urbanhub.11.
Devise appropriate methods of representationand communication.12.
Prepare preliminary proposals for a direct hubat the architectural scale and an urban hub atthe urban scale.At the urban scale, the research will focus ona territory that relates to the chosen urban condition,defining its perimeter, analyze its structure andtransform it into a potential urban hub by designingspatial and strategic interventions.1.
Explore the potential of the designed directhub as an urban component and explore itsrelationship to rule-based urban systems.2.
Reassess the territory of action as a potentialurban hub.3.
Identify and make use of relevant agents andinitiatives.4.
Define and design the direct role of the urbanhub by producing design simulations andother strategic representations of the idea.5.
Define the relationship between the proposalfor the urban hub and the city's infrastructure,fabric and rule-based systems.6.
Speculate on the interrelationship between thethree hubs: the situation, the direct hub andthe urban hub.7.
Finalize the strategy for the urban hub, model

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