Page T1.1 . 04 May 2005                     
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    QUIZ

    Modeling the Swiss Re Tower

    by Foster and Partners

    The design for the Swiss Re Tower by Foster and Partners draws on advances in digital technologies to develop ideas that we first explored in the Climatroffice design with Buckminster Fuller in the early 1970s.

    That project envisioned office space enclosed within a free-form glass skin to create a building with its own microclimate. At the time, its complex, double-curved geometry would have been difficult to build. Thirty years later, digital technologies facilitate the design and construction of buildings such as Swiss Re in a fraction of the time it would have taken in the 1970s.

    Parametric modeling, originally developed in the aerospace and automotive industries for designing complex curved forms, had a fundamental role in the design of the tower.

    The parametric 3D computer modeling process works like a conventional numerical spreadsheet. By storing the relationships between the various features of the design and treating these relationships like mathematical equations, it allows any element of the model to be changed and automatically regenerates the model in much the same way that a spreadsheet automatically recalculates any numerical changes.   >>>

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    The Swiss Re Tower by Foster and Partners.
    Photo: Nigel Young/ Foster and Partners

    ArchWeek Image

    Parametric nodes of the tower's computer model.
    Image: Foster and Partners

     

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