Digital Architecture Research Alliance
Digital Architecture Research Alliance

Through The Looking Glass

This research initially addressed the question: ‘how can conventional architectural practices be augmented by procedural computational design techniques, to further explore the impacts of opportunity and ideation on architectural design?’ As a result of refinement, it came around to focus on asking ‘how can the application of  procedural generation design techniques augment the ideation of architectural massing for early stage design?’ It identifies how procedural techniques can be used in the process of ideating architecture and aims to investigate how procedural generation offers an alternative methodology to the production of architecture in early design stages. It explores, through computational design, the limitations and constraints that occur in the process of mastering design orientated procedural techniques. It subsequently develops, through computational design, an understanding of how procedural techniques can be applied to the early stage design of architecture. Finally, through architectural design, it examines how procedural design techniques can be partnered with specific architectural conditions such as site, function, and form, in order to augment the architectural ideation process.


This thesis questions, what characteristics constitute architecture and how can a design based body of research push the boundaries to question standard convention of architecture? My research proposes that there is a lost opportunity in conventional architecture design when the limitation of two-dimensional images cannot fully convey the reality of space. Conventionally architecture is viewed as static and unchanging however, this research disagrees with this proposition and explores the opportunity for there to be an immersive experience throughout the design stage. This research project asks how can we bridge the gap between the architecture created in the physical world versus the virtual?

Scaled physical modeling is traditionally the key visual representation of architectural design. However, people often can’t fully understand the intricacies of a scaled model. Through my research, I explore how VR technology could provide solutions to let people experience the materiality and craft of a real-life model. Restrictions in perception of scale, materiality and circulation hinder the thorough understanding of experience in space.

There is an opportunity to collaborate and merge the experience of physical modeling in the digital realm. By using handcrafted physical models, my work brings the imperfection of real life into the digital realm. Allowing the materiality from the real world to ground the project with the familiarity that only real space can induce.

Papercraft and modeling by card are the chosen material and method of constructing these real-life scaled models. Photogrammetry is used as a process to translate these physical “objects” into digital mesh. The physical and virtual world can work together harmoniously to create interesting results. The material properties of physical models are highlighted but have the advantage of being able to be easily manipulated (scale, multiply, move etc) in the digital realm. By using VR in order to explore these created environments allows the users to grasp the full nature of the materials and craftsmanship of physical models in a 1:1 scale. This hybrid way of designing celebrates the benefits and advantage of both the physical and virtual world and is a start to bridge the gap between them

Through The Looking Glass

Kimberly Moh - 2017

Axonometric view of scene 4. The yellow line indicates the pathway the bunny follows

Axonometric view of scene 4. The yellow line indicates the pathway the bunny follows

This research initially addressed the question: ‘how can conventional architectural practices be augmented by procedural computational design techniques, to further explore the impacts of opportunity and ideation on architectural design?’ As a result of refinement, it came around to focus on asking ‘how can the application of  procedural generation design techniques augment the ideation of architectural massing for early stage design?’ It identifies how procedural techniques can be used in the process of ideating architecture and aims to investigate how procedural generation offers an alternative methodology to the production of architecture in early design stages. It explores, through computational design, the limitations and constraints that occur in the process of mastering design orientated procedural techniques. It subsequently develops, through computational design, an understanding of how procedural techniques can be applied to the early stage design of architecture. Finally, through architectural design, it examines how procedural design techniques can be partnered with specific architectural conditions such as site, function, and form, in order to augment the architectural ideation process.

This thesis questions, what characteristics constitute architecture and how can a design based body of research push the boundaries to question standard convention of architecture? My research proposes that there is a lost opportunity in conventional architecture design when the limitation of two-dimensional images cannot fully convey the reality of space. Conventionally architecture is viewed as static and unchanging however, this research disagrees with this proposition and explores the opportunity for there to be an immersive experience throughout the design stage. This research project asks how can we bridge the gap between the architecture created in the physical world versus the virtual?

Scaled physical modeling is traditionally the key visual representation of architectural design. However, people often can’t fully understand the intricacies of a scaled model. Through my research, I explore how VR technology could provide solutions to let people experience the materiality and craft of a real-life model. Restrictions in perception of scale, materiality and circulation hinder the thorough understanding of experience in space.

There is an opportunity to collaborate and merge the experience of physical modeling in the digital realm. By using handcrafted physical models, my work brings the imperfection of real life into the digital realm. Allowing the materiality from the real world to ground the project with the familiarity that only real space can induce.

Papercraft and modeling by card are the chosen material and method of constructing these real-life scaled models. Photogrammetry is used as a process to translate these physical “objects” into digital mesh. The physical and virtual world can work together harmoniously to create interesting results. The material properties of physical models are highlighted but have the advantage of being able to be easily manipulated (scale, multiply, move etc) in the digital realm. By using VR in order to explore these created environments allows the users to grasp the full nature of the materials and craftsmanship of physical models in a 1:1 scale. This hybrid way of designing celebrates the benefits and advantage of both the physical and virtual world and is a start to bridge the gap between them.

Axonometric view of scene 3

Axonometric view of scene 3

Axonometric view of Scene 5

Axonometric view of Scene 5