This project is a physical simulation that will provide possible solutions to a specific design.
“Whether it be the sweeping eagle in his flight, or the open apple-blossom, the toiling work-horse, the blithe swan, the branching oak, the winding stream at its base, the drifting clouds, over all the coursing sun, form ever follows function, and this is the law. Where function does not change, form does not change. The granite rocks, the ever-brooding hills, remain for ages; the lightning lives, comes into shape, and dies, in a twinkling. It is the pervading law of all things organic and inorganic, of all things physical and metaphysical, of all things human and all things superhuman, of all true manifestations of the head, of the heart, of the soul, that the life is recognizable in its expression, that form ever follows function. This is the law”
1896, Louis Sullivan
Shape follows functionality is the law. In order to achieve that I find myself many times iterating through different possibilities. The first one usually based on some the information I have but it is mainly a calculated guess. I try one approach then another, one idea to solve a problem then another. This is always a very long process. This project is about taking this so called guess basing it on a better platform. With an computed process of simplified evolution process in which the better versions of the design (which are the iterations that came closer to the goal that was set) are the ones that will continue and “live” while the less appropriate designs, the ones that are far from the goal, simply cease to exist. With some degree of mutation (to achieve new designs) I want to obtain a system that will give as a start a reference to follow and later maybe a model to imitate.
The idea came when I was sketching a “Sun armor” made of solar panels that require a shape that will allow as much sun arriving in a perpendicular manner. I realize that I could define the goal mathematically and define the main environmental influences to allow a system that will evolve and create a design that might be surprising.
The thought of computed design might be difficult for us, especially as the concept of “design” is associated with beauty. But as Louis Sullivan wrote “form follow function” that is the law, and so we can take advantage of the computer capabilities to create a tool that can iterate much faster and much accurate then we could ever iterate to achieve a direction that then can be manipulated and change by man. Karl Sims in his “Artificial life in computer animation” showed how creatures made of rectangles can evolve and change through this computed evolution process, that might have little to do with the physical world, but surely created unexpected behaviors.
The Sun armor itself is a separate project which looks to humanize energy using a physical armor in a street performance. For more about this projects follow this link.