Smart Cloud of Points as Digital Media and Tools for Building Envelope Design

Nir Eyal
Ph.D + M.Sc.Thesis (direct track), 2005


To achieve digital thinking, we must first understand the digital media and speak its native language. The development of digital design tools, ranging from the digital napkin to the widespread CAD applications encourages the imitation of analog thinking processes in design. Building digital scale-models (known as BIM – Building Information Model) may allow the automatic extraction of design documents or even the fabrication of a physical model, but prove to be time consuming and expensive when the design changes along the process. Hence grows the drive to develop new digital design tools. Abandoning the scale-model concept in favor of an abstract representation led us to start our research with the basic element of CAD – the point. Any object can be described and measured as a cloud of points in space. This research examines the potential usage of cloud of points as design media.

In this research we discuss the potential of the point entity and a point-cloud as a media for design. We present a Smart Cloud of Points model concept (SmCP), which proposes the extension of the point-cloud model with a fourth dimension. This forth dimension is represented as a numeric pointer to generative algorithms and provides a parametric interface for the regeneration and alteration of the extended point-cloud model. We annotate the proposed model as (x,y,z)*i. Documenting the point-cloud generation process in a second layer matrix called GDNA (Geometric DNA) and using the pointer coordinate allows the regeneration and assessment of various design alternatives, based on different geometries but resulting from a common and simple regenerative process.