What are the principal advantages of creating a conceptual design model using masses before diving into the detailed design and building element modeling?
Masses are much easier to manipulate than a series of walls, floors, roofs, and other components. Masses are more flexible and help designers understand and test larger concepts before getting stuck in the manipulation of hundreds and thousands of other components and smaller details in the design.
Should all buildings be modeled first using conceptual masses?
Conceptual mass models are best for very large projects with many repeated features floor by floor. A small house may be complex but it is not very large nor does it often have repeated design elements as one tries to fit in all the necessities in the much smaller square footage. Conceptual masses in the case of a small house may hinder the design by adding unnecessary steps to changes one may wish to make in elements such as the facade or overall form. Conceptual masses are thus appropriate for things such as multistory buildings for which speed of design would be hindered by designing floor by floor and component by component but inappropriate for cases in which a conceptual mass based design takes away efficiency and ease of the design process.
Can you think of any examples of a real building around the world that most likely was created by exploring the form using conceptual mass models?
How would you abstract the essential form of these famous buildings using conceptual mass elements that you can create in Revit?
- One World Trade Center: https://www.archdaily.com/795277/one-world-trade-center-som
- This appears to be a cube with a long rectangle stacked on top. That long rectangle had 4 sloping faces shaved off, and so I would use either an inverted pyramid or a sloped rectangular prism to make those voids in the main rectangle
- CMG Headquarters: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CMG_Headquarters#/media/File:China_Central_Television_Headquarters_2.jpg
- I would use two rectangular prisms: one thin and seemingly floating and one much larger tower underneath that one. Then I would put a connecter mass- maybe another rectangular prism in between them that would be hidden from view from the ground level looking up
- Twisting torso: https://www.archdaily.com/771471/santiago-calatravas-turning-torso-wins-ctbuhs-10-year-award
- I would take a regular rectangular prism and move the top four points by rotating them the same number of degrees in one direction to create the compound curves
- Apple campus: https://www.archdaily.com/804970/apple-campus-2-held-to-fantastical-standard-of-detail-new-report-reveals
- I would create one flat disk form then make a void in the center with a smaller flat disk form. Or I would create one section of the ring building and rotate it around an axis
- Salesforce tower: https://www.archdaily.com/889519/salesforce-tower-pelli-clarke-pelli-architects
- I would create a stack of 3 - 5 rings and loft through all of them to create the oblong shape. Similar to 4, I could also create the radial facade section and rotate it around an axis (if the building is round/evenly wide on all sides)