surface operations






Procedures are the transformation of idiosyncratic processes into iterative ones.

Our focus for this exploration of procedures in design will be on surfaces, both architectural and landscape architectural Understanding both surface domains as the byproduct of formation processes (both human and nonhuman) links the two within a shared generative framework.  

The first part of this semester will examine both types of surfaces through this shared framework using computational design and fabrication methodologies. These procedural fundamentals will be used to address more traditional questions of composition, form, organization, and response in the design of architectural and landscape architectural spaces.



All assignments are due @ 1:00 pm on the date specified in both digital and physical formats. 



Individual file naming convention: 



Group file naming convention:



The assignments for this chapter have a set of standardized formats and constraints. When completing each assignment use the appropriate templates and begin by building off of assignment tutorials. Below is a list of requirements for all assignments. Additional requirements may be stated in assignment descriptions.

1.  All graphic production must utilize the provided 20" x 20" Illustrator template. 

2. All models must be completed using the assigned materials, methods and dimensions.

3. All work must be submitted in both physical and digital formats.




In the chapter "Procedures", we will explore both land and building surfaces through a series of assignments that engage the analysis, manipulation, formation and articulation of surfaces as procedural operations. These procedural operations will then be output as models and graphics and text.



Our first assignment is to better understand the role of procedures in design, especially computational and processes-focused design practices. We will begin with chapter 01 of Form + Code In Design, Art and Architecture.  

Reas, Casey and Chandler McWilliams , LUST. "What is Code" in  Form + Code In Design, Art, and Architecture. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2010, 10 - 25.


Due | 01.19.2018


1 Term Defined (text)

1 Condition Described (text)



1. Read "What Is Code"

2. Discuss reading with your assignment partner. Decide two things: 1 Term from the reading that you will provide a definition for; and 1 Condition (in the state of design/architecture/art) that the reading establishes, discusses or alludes to.

3. Record each of these in this Google Doc. Once a group has submitted a term or condition it is off-limits.



For this assignment we will define rationalization as the process of abstracting (through reduction and regularization) an idiosyncratic or irregular artifact into a procedural logic.

Following Tutorial 01, create a series of land formations using a set of constructed plan images and the Grasshopper script user variables. 

For this assignment you will need to use: Rhino | Grasshopper | Grasshopper plugins: WeaverBird, Human, & Mesh+ | Illustrator | InDesign



Due :

Initial Files and 2D Prints: Mon. 01. 22 (use Illustrator Template)

Final Submission: Wed. 01. 24 (use Illustrator & InDesign Templates)



9 Isometric Drawings - 1 Print

Files: (Rhino + Grasshopper); Illustrator


1.  Start Select 3 of the following:













2. Create a workflow for each that includes a constructed 2D image, a clear evaluation criteria, and a purposeful set of script variable settings. For each Landform selected create 3 variation, saving each as separate files and variable states.

3. Document each variation, using a isometric drawing. Each drawing should differentialte the following:

Surface Outline

Section Lines and/or Surface Faces.


Feature Call out

4. Play close attention to lineweight (thickness); linetype (continuous, dotted, dashed, etc); and line color (grayscale). Use the Illustrator template provided to assign these characteristics and to expand on them.

5. Arrange all 9 images on our studio InDesign Template. Title, Name and Caption. Save. Print.




Building off of assignment 01 we will look at the difference between global and local manipulations as well as adding thickness and structure. 


Due :

Diagrams & Partnerships : Friday 01. 26. 18

Initial Files and 2D Prints: Mon. 01. 29. 18 (use Illustrator Template)

Final Submission: Wed. 01. 31. 18 (use Illustrator & InDesign Templates)


Final Submission:

2: Diagrams ( 1 of yours, 1 of your partners)

9: Isometric Drawings - 1 : 20"x20"Print

1: 3D print (submitted)

Files: (Rhino + Grasshopper); Illustrator (20" x 20" print)


1.  Start by selecting a single land form from A01. In writing define this land forms characteristics and how those characteristics are being generated by you.

2. Convert these characteristics and their corresponding operations into an annotated diagram.

-The diagram should explain how characteristics are formed.

- The diagram should be both concise and clear.

-Don't add any information that is not relevant to the land form-to-operation relationship.

3. Select a landform and diagram from a classmate. This is you partner for this assignment.

- Discuss with them the diagram and make sure you understand how it was created.

- Work with them to clarify the diagram graphically.

4. Using tutorial 02 as a starting point, develop a new land form series in which your land-forming operation defines a new global morphology, and your partner's operational diagram describes it's local morphology.

5. Create a 3 x 3 matrix of morphological variants, where the X axis defines global variations, and the Y axis defines local variations. 

6. As with A01 place the matrix inside the illustrator template provided. Make sure that the graphic language of these drawings matches and/or improves upon the language established in A01.

7. Select one Modified landform from your Matric to 3D print using the Dimesions Printer. The print must fit within a 5" x 5" x 5" cube, but does not have to fill the cube in the Z axis.



Using assignment 02 as a starting point, we will examine the articulation and architecturalization of gestural surfaces and the spaces they generate. This assignment will focus on creating spaces between surfaces and on structuring those surfaces and their connections using a series of methods.


Due :

Graphics : Friday 02. 09. 18

Model : Monday 02. 12. 18


Final Submission:

1 Model

1 Print (20" x 20") 2 Diagrams + Graphic Documentation of Model

Files: (Rhino + Grasshopper); Illustrator


1.  Start by creating 2 new generative diagrams that  explain what surfaces you will create/use for this assignment. These diagrams should build off the graphic language you have developed from A02, but refine and clarify that language, adding annotation or directions as needed.


- In assignment 02, you made descriptive diagrams, ones that explain your method of generating a landform surface. In this step, you will reverse that procedure, by first making a diagram that guides you in creating a new surface.

- What is the relationship between these two surfaces? Which surface defines the "top" of your next model; which defines a "bottom"? Or is orientation an aspect of the model that is important? If not, why not?

- Is one architectural and another landscape architectural?  Is their a fundamental difference between these two types or categories of surfaces, if so what is it, and how do you incorporate that difference into a diagram? If not why not?

- How do you imagine these two surfaces connecting? Does their connection emerge from one surface, or does it emerge from both?

2. Using the diagrams from step 1, create two surfaces, save the setting and images you used to create them. Bake the geometry.

3. Using Tutorial 03 as a starting point, design a space using 2 or more surfaces.

- This space should be volumetric, and a combination of solid and void.

- This space should be articulated and structure in a specific and purposeful way. 

- The model should use two material structures: Monolithic, Stereotomic, Technonic, etc.

4. Consider how you will output this digital model. Two forms of output are required.

Graphic Documentation : 20" x 20"

- Use the graphic language you have established in A01 & A02

- Incorporate the diagrams from step 1.

- Consider the answers to questions in step one - how does your graphic documentation reveal or communicate the answers to these questions?

Physical Construction : 5" x 5" x 5"

- The model should be made in at least two parts.

- The model should use at least two modes of structuring methods: Monolithic, Stereotomic, Technonic, etc.

- The model can use more than one fabrication technique: Laser-cutting, CNC milling, 3D printing, etc.

- The model should at least use two materials.