Voronoi diagram in architecture
Nowadays architects, more often than it was before, look at the branches of science like mathematics, biology or physics for inspiration and for tips on how to solve problems they are trying to tackle. In this post I would like to write a few words about idea taken from mathematics and applied to architecture design. To be more specific – about the Voronoi diagram.
The Voronoi diagram is a way of division/decomposition of space. It was created by Georgy Voronoi, who was an Ukrainian mathematician. He studied in Saint Petersburg an was a professor at Warsaw University. His doctoral advisor was A. Markov, and his students were B Delaunay, W Sierpiński. Works of all three of them strongly influenced a movement of computational approach to architectural design.
Pictures below show how to draw Voronoi diagram using any CAD software or pen and paper. For start you need set of points on the plain. First step is to draw a line connecting adjacent points. Second step is to draw a perpendicular line to the one you just drew in the midpoint of it. Last step is to connect lines, drawn in the second step, into a network.
Click on image to see the animation.
There are many diferent possible approaches to write an algorithm to draw the Voronoi Diagram. Here is very interesting example of it by Alasdair Turner:
Voronoi diagram is being used so often by architects because it produces very organic looking patterns. It is also useful for space planning. For example for comparing areas covered by different hospitals, or shops, etc. With Voronoi diagram one can easily determine where is the nearest shop or hospital. Urban planners can study if certain area needs a new hospital.
There are some examples of Voronoi diagrams- like patterns above from nature: leaf, wing of dragonfly and piece of omelet my girlfriend cooked last week. Pictures shows that Voronoi patterns are ubiquitous in nature, in it’s live forms as well as in matter building up physical world.
Good example of use Voronoi diagram in architecture design is a project of redevelopment of Glorieta Juan Carlos I Mula. Architects from Esc-studio used it to create a pattern on the surface of the square.
In Alibaba Headquarters in Hangzhou architect slightly alliterated the pattern of Voronoi diagram to create stunning shadings for elevations and courtyard.
There are numerous of other examples out there, but I am going to stop here and leave you to explore it.