Villa Savoye parameterised version 02

Villa Savoye – Parameterised

Villa Savoye- the iconic modernist building has been given the parametric treatment.

As a fun exercise I recreated Villa Savoye inside grasshopper and parameterised a bunch of it’s elements.

It shows the potential for parametric design as a design tool. Many parameters are linked by code so that when one item is moved, it has consequences on any other connected geometry. An example is the base cylinder is limited in its width by the width and/or length of the building, this way it is forced to a maximum size so it is never larger than the building itself.

I rendered a few of these up. The one from the video above is the first on the left. What is interesting is that you can clearly see the language of the original design even in these extreme versions of same building.

Villa Savoy times five

Villa Savoy times five


Here is video I made of the actual building when i visited it a few years ago. I walked around the 360 degrees holding the camera in my hand, It was very bumpy so I used After Effects to ‘straighten’ it out. You can see how the frame jumps around which shows how much effect the straightening had on the video.  For photographers it’s also a pretty good example of how lens distortion is more pronounced at the edges of a frame.

They had a cool exhibition inside by Vitra. It was the first time they had allowed contemporary furniture to be displayed inside.  It created a quite amazing juxtaposition, between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’. This was particularly salient considering how futuristic the design was when it was built in 1920’s, old futuristic vs. new futuristic…


To illustrate how ground breaking the design was, please compare this image of a 1927 Voison C11 that some car geeks believe may be the car that the turning circle was modelled on .


Villa Savoye And Voison C11

Villa Savoye And Voison C11


A  contemporary version of this home, could be the Chanel Art Pavillion. I saw it in Hong Kong in about 2008 and was pretty much blown away.  What was also cool about this building, was that it was pre-fabricated and installed from a container and then packed up and shipped around the world.

It was designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, and coincidentally (or not) is a parametric building. It is equally paradigm shifting as it uses the potential of parametric modelling to dramatically push the boundaries of form. The building is basically a portable tent, it had a stretched pvc roof and fibreglass panels that clipped together to create the walls. The parametric software would have been used to create the shape and spaces of the building, and then probably used to facilitate fabrication and assembly of all the unique parts. While this building is undeniably striking and i’ll say pretty awesome, it unfortunately creates a parametric ‘style’. Parametric design is more than just a style and the association that architects now have with parametric design is as a exotic form generator rather than a design, documentation and construction tool.

I took a another one of my videos walking around it, although i haven’t straightened it.


I also have some photos, unfortunately the large security guards psyched me out of taking secret photos of the interior. It was an impressive building.

Chanel pavilion in Hong Kong

Chanel pavilion in Hong Kong




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