In his words:
A video demonstrating automated design and model construction using Excel and Maya.
Buildable volumes are set out on an excel grid as ‘1’ and void as ‘0’. The first level being the area within the site boundary. Each subsequent level of volumes is a product of the one beneath it, defined through a cellular automation relationship. This process allows form and total volume to be controlled precisely for large numbers of units.
This information is then fed into maya. Each volume is evaluated to determine its position within the model, the condition of its neighbors, its surrounding density etc. These conditions define what type of programme is built in that volume based on a set of rules collected from the thesis research into care provision.
A bespoke model is then produced, to the specific care requirments of the demographic and within the specific constraints of the site, that adheres precisely to the programmatic relationships required by the modern care community.
“This thesis explores solutions to our care deficiency, elderly mobility issues, community fragmentation and our attitudes towards the elderly,” says Joe Haire, whose project proposes a network of gigantic cellular clusters to house Huddersfield’s 22,000 pensioners.
A “utopian solution to the later stages of life,” the project comes out of the “Re_Map” design-by-research unit, taught by Richard Brook, which explores urban socio-political conditions using data and computational analysis.
In order to generate the clustered form – which is strongly reminiscent of Constant’s New Babylon – Haire developed a code that would distribute form, programme and services to the specification of the required demographic of the community and within the constraints of the site.
Haire’s vertical cluster for 6,000 pensioners in Huddersfield “takes 10 seconds to calculate and design”.
Using Excel, each level of the model is defined as a product of the one beneath through cellular automation, while a code written in Maya then evaluates each volume to determine its programmatic typology within the overall scheme. “Each community of 6,000 people takes roughly 10 seconds to calculate and design,” says Haire.
The judges were as frightened as they were compelled.
“There was enough megalomania in this project to sustain a whole architectural career,” remarked Charlotte Skene Catling, while Catherine Ince saw it as a critical warning.
“His dark, provocative take on the pressing issue of aging populations offers an ominous view of what might happen if we don’t address our attitude to the elderly,” she said.
“It is boldly tackling urgent contemporary problems head on, from our aging population, to prefabrication and what to do with ailing northern towns,” agreed Dominic Cullinan.