Blog : Twisted Architecture
I didn’t set out to tie knots in Norman Foster’s Hearst Tower or wrinkle his Gherkin, but I got carried away. It’s one of the occupational hazards of working with Mathematica. It started with an innocent experiment in lofting, a technique also known as “skinning” that originated in boat-building. I wanted to explore some three-dimensional forms, and a basic lofting function seemed like a quick ticket to results. I dashed off the function Loft, which takes a stack of three-dimensional contours and covers it with a skin of polygons. Loft uses Mathematica‘s GraphicsComplex primitive to factor out the geometries of the polygons from their topologies. I tried out Loft by embedding it in a Manipulate, and was happily on my way discovering some interesting new forms. Even this trivial parameterization of a scaled and twisted half-sphere yields an amazing variety of forms, each of which suggests interesting avenues to explore. I wondered how convincingly I could model the Gherkin in Mathematica.