Cecil Avenue Masterplan Paving Pattern: Design Assist with PLACE Laboratory / by Daniel Giuffre

Scope: Design assist, computatational design, shop drawings, visualisation

If/LAB were engaged by PLACE Laboratory in a Design Assist role to develop up and detail paving patterns for their Cecil Avenue Masterplan.

The masterplan proposal includes a unique and eloquent paving pattern that spans approximately 380m along Cecil Ave, from Albany Hwy to beyond Pattie Street. The design intent by PLACE Laboratory was to emulate the effect of water or tides, similar to the way the ocean’s tides interacts with the shore.

Concept Image.

Concept Image.

We were provided with the overall surface pattern masterplan, a paving sample drawing and pattern details that identified the paving mixes for each zone.

By using computational design tools such as Grasshopper, we were able to extrapolate the information provided to visualise the paving pattern across the entire masterplan. This enabled the designers at PLACE Laboratory to tweak the patterns, by moving the curves that define each of the paving ‘zones’. In addition to refining the overall paving pattern across the site, the custom tool allowed for fine tuning of the paving distributions, with a live feed of quantities for each paving type.

Sketch to Code: Digital Drawing

An interesting challenge was liaising with the designer, to get inside their mind and try to understand what they are thinking, in order to translate their design intuition, into a series of rules that could be coded.

In our initial briefing meeting with PLACE Laboratory, the designer instructed us to distribute the selected paving types randomly. Upon meeting again at the next design review, we quickly worked out that the way they ‘sketched’ out the paving distribution was not entirely random.

‘Although what you think you are doing is random, there is a good chance subconsciously you are applying rules and logic to each and every line you draw.’

When you ask the machine to do something random, it is truly random, when yourself as a designer tries to do something random, random your intuition takes over subconsciously, applying some form of logic to your design.

Deliverables: Output

As part of our deliverables, we were asked to deliver detail layout plans and quantities for Lighting Brick, who are contracted to install the pavers. The grasshopper code allowed for the nominated gap between pavers, with each and every single paver constructed – proving us with an accurate and automated material takeoffs, which would otherwise have been guesswork.

 A suite of drawing and layout tools developed in-house was used to automate the production of the drawings, which consisted of 32 detail plans at 1:50 on A1 Sheets. These drawings will then be used by Lightning Bricks for install.

Paving Quantities: Live update from digital sketch

Paving Quantities: Live update from digital sketch



In addition to assisting PLACE Laboratory in design, and providing the shop drawings for install, the detailed 3D model was used to produce accurate visualisations of the final pattern distribution to share with the clients and stakeholders.