Personal project inspired by Iya Turabelidze’s “Puce Apartment”. I decided to reconstruct one of the spaces originally photographed by Mikhail Loskutov as a material/light study. No 3rd party assets were used· everything was modeled in Rhino 3D and rendered using V-Ray. For more information on the original work, please refer to: http://leibal.com/interiors/luc/.
The open arms of the Absorbent Sand Storm Skyscraper
The Absorbent Sand Storm Skyscraper project consists of 25 towers on the Dubai coastline, whose design idea to deal with the sand storm in Dubai has turned their form into an open embrace to absorb dust particles.
The United Arab Emirates often suffers from sandstorms that are much more intense than what is shared in photos and videos. These storms reduce visibility to below 500 meters and disrupt transportation and airlines and often occur during the summer or at the beginning of spring when rising temperatures cause strong winds. Therefore, it is expected that with the increase in global temperature, the intensity of storms will also increase.
Besides all of these challenges, we believe that architecture is an infinite art; sometimes it moves on a horizontal surface and forms a wide space or sometimes it rises from the ground and creates skyscrapers. Architecture can be a monument or a multi-hectare complex with different functions. In each of these cases, what is ultimately important is the efficiency of the answer given to one issue. The method of designing a building provides the opportunity so that when an accident occurs, instead of being destroyed, it can withstand without bearing additional pressure and even change critical conditions for its benefit.
Designing skyscrapers is one of the most popular types of architecture in Dubai. So, we set ourselves the challenge of providing a suitable solution to the sandstorm in Dubai through the integration of creativity and technology. According to the location of the Absorbent Sand Storm Skyscraper, and the high possibility of storms, extensive studies were done regarding this phenomenon, before starting to design.
How to deal with sandstorms has formed the main concept, and the final design will be an answer to how to control this issue and make positive use of it. The glass structure slowly rises from the ground and covers the facilities that form the main part of the skyscraper, and the whole design process is inspired by its function.
Pre-design studies showed that soil particles are electrically charged. Therefore, the main structure of the towers consists of two deep cavities to absorb soil particles. Sand particles enter the cavities and are attracted to the smart panels inside the holes, which open to a certain extent according to the intensity of the storm. Then to ensure that all particles are neutralized, all their electric charge is taken during two stages. Due to the larger diameter of the soil particles at a lower height, the lower cavity has a larger opening.
In a sustainable approach, the installation of sand batteries in the tower’s facilities is considered, which can store energy for several months, and this energy will be used even in other buildings in the region. Only one skyscraper is not enough to control sandstorms. So, we have predicted the presence of 25 towers on our site, which will overlap and improve the function of each other. Our ultimate goal is to create a multi-functional area centered on scientific research, and each tower will be dedicated to a specific function. The considered zoning will include residential use and research institutes for physics, aerospace, technology, biology, and medicine.
At the end
In the design of the Absorbent Sand Storm Skyscraper, the creative integration of structure, and facilities, along with a sustainable approach, will lead to the formation of an area that, in addition to improving the weather conditions of Dubai, has a vital role in reducing energy consumption and will become a place for gathering those interested in scientific research.
I envision a groundbreaking startup that leverages the Metaverse to empower architects and investors in the realm of Smart Cities. In 2023 and 2024, I’m committed to realizing this vision.
My goal is to create a Virtual platform, utilizing Unreal Engine SDK, to assess the energy efficiency of physical structures.
This innovative platform will be open source, allowing architects and designers worldwide to integrate their data and upload 3D models for evaluation.
This initiative serves as a bridge between the tangible world and the boundless potential of the Metaverse.
It’s a visionary endeavor poised to revolutionize the architecture and sustainability sectors.
If you’re a developer with hands on the Unreal Engine and you envision something similar in the realism of smart cities feel free to contact me.
The Project will run on a crowdfund, there’s no seed capital at the moment.
The project begins with the possibility that the loop’s unlimited connections can solve the physical distance at the campus site. The loop dismantles and decentralizes the density and the hierarchy of the facilities of this complex. It eliminates and replaces rigidity and regularity with flexibility and buoyancy. Based on the above-mentioned concept, the proposed campus design is possible by eliminating the conventional and predetermined relationships between project programs and their connections through a sustainable transportation system with advanced technology as well as active and constant connectivity. The goal of this project is to create a decentralized communication order. It removes and transcends the usual topographical, geographical, traditional, and social constraints of the site for designing a campus program, thus offering a new perspective and a communication method to enhance spatial capabilities for scientific social groups and professional developments.
This is a personal project that I used to test the capability of Enscape and create a portfolio piece. I work as an Architect and usually have very limited time for any architectural visualisations so I often have to make this part of designing the building in Revit. Enscape works well as I can constantly refine the scene and see the updates in real-time. I try to achieve everything in scene as there’s nothing worse than spending a lot of time in Photoshop and the client changing the angle last minute (guaranteed to happen).
I was inspired by the image MIT Day Versus Night by Alex Hogrefe that can be found here:
I created a quick concept image to test ideas and framing for the scene. I quite liked the image, but without a theme pulling it together it still felt quite empty and aimless.
I try to use Enscape’s base library of assets to generate scenes as much as I can, I find they’re of a great quality especially at a distance from the camera and it allows me to keep my workflow in Revit checking the results in the real-time renderer. Creating a narrative by making the assets interact with each other or the architecture is key. In my company most architects will just scatter these everywhere and it actually takes you out of the scene when the people look unnatural.
Rain, puddles and good fog aren’t really available in Enscape like in Lumion. This article called “Cyberpunk in Enscape by Lasse Herbo Madsen” on the Enscape blog inspired me to try something new and try to create that wet weather look we often have in the UK. A link is provided here: https://eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fblog.enscape3d.com%2Fenscape-users-render-cyberpunk-2077&data=05%7C01%7Cadam.brennan%40bdp.com%7C9287e2fc39014939021408db16a7ca7f%7C40f4096c6d404821a38016520cde7af3%7C0%7C0%7C638128682134210180%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000%7C%7C%7C&sdata=%2FRDTp%2BvxVmGvjyyrhF9UNOCt5IuUO54pjw1%2Fkao3AFo%3D&reserved=0
I edited and combined some assets to create my own seamless textures for raindrops splashing on the ground and fog. These were then applied to multiple planes in front of the camera and staggered to achieve an equivalent to the volumetric effect possible in other software.
Another great discovery from Herbo Madsen was using Quixel Mixer to generate a seamless texture that reduces the usual repetition that often makes the CGI obvious. I’ve since experimented with this more and it’s a really useful tool and free to use! I used it to generate a large scale texture for the playground without obvious repetitions and a reflection mask for the puddles.
I used Rhino & Grasshopper to generate the perforated texture of forest scene for the facade from an image. It’s quite a simple process that can be found on YouTube. A short piece of code uses an image sampler on a monochrome image to set the radius of the circles from the pixel’s brightness value. Ideally I like to use this as modelled geometry, but it can generate a high poly count, so I opted to create a transparency (cut-out) mask instead.
I tried a number of different lighting setups on a white material override, it’s a good way to test the colour cast of the lighting and really focus on the shadows in the scene. I opted for an early morning autumn light with part cloudy skies to soften the light, it made sense for the school scene.
I was really pleased with the image straight out of Enscape, putting the work into the model pays off. The only photoshopping I ended up doing was the autumn leaves framing the scene. Enscape does a bad job of a shallow depth of field look and so the bokeh of the leaves in the foreground came out quite poor quality. I always try to minimise photoshop work.
There was a lot more I could have done to this image. I was still learning Quixel Mixer and would have liked to apply it to the bricks specifically as I find they often look like “brick wallpaper”. Chamfering some of the edges would have reduced that sharp edged look that doesn’t really happen in reality and gives away the CGI. The interior could have done with more work to add details behind the glass, it was a bit rushed. On the note of glass Enscape is lacking a reflection pass so it would have been good to render the camera view 180 degrees to get the reflection and photoshop it in. I often make a alternative glass material to use as a Material ID when photoshopping (it doesn’t render glass).
I hope this was interesting and helpful. Thank you for reading if you got to this point, I’m glad I could contribute something back to this blog. Please let me know if you have any questions!
Usually, I can’t post much of our work because they are primarily private competitions, but this one is already done and under construction. It is a new Institutional building for Sierra College Rocklin Campus.
As usual, with very tight deadlines, Architect sends us their REVIT model, and we transfer them into 3D Max to fix, adjust and enhance details. This project maintains the existing traditional architecture of the original campus, but it also adds new elements and high-performance building design.