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Adam Heller
Adam Heller
Adam Heller is a arch buff with his hands into everything from design to music. Check this blog regularly for the latest and greatest Architectural feats.

Berlin Apartments – Digital Advanced Design through Collaborative Manufacturing

February 2nd, 2011 by Adam Heller

The ‘fns berlin apartments’ was the design of an interior renovation for two apartments  in Berlin, 2007-2010. The basic diagram for the Berlin project is a web of networks of spaces that allows architectural ramifications, or inhabitative ramifications.


  • Architect: reinhardtjung
  • Location: Berlin
  • Project year completed: 2010
  • Software: AutoCAD
  • Hardware: Rhino database
  • Modeling: 3D Rhino model

The office of reinhardtjung designed this network diagram similar to elastic rubber bands, and translated those boundaries into a diagram that becomes parametric by use. The diagram delivers the lines of space: the lines become the index for the spatial flow, for the three-dimensional points in space that need to connect (in different materials, by different builders) as a final result of design. It establishes zones of ambiguous demarcations where boundaries float into one another. Instead of following the classic modernist path of one function per space, in which objects are neatly aligned at the wall surface, this design ‘compacts’ functions into spatial objects. These objects are situated at the nodes of network lines, and disguised within a white-in white. The objects can be considered hybrids between space and funct on, hybrids build from two species that shift between indexes. The compacted objects are the key players of programmatic zones that are formulated in different material areas in order to ensure the function of the whole (material composites that form a group). Combinations in the objects vary between servicing (shower), secrecy (bathroom), storage and divisional (the pivot door) functions that are temporal, activated on demand, yet hidden in the layers of the network.


reinhardtjung designed the fns apartments based on the concept of an extended parametric diagram. AutoCAD data delivered through a general survey and cross-referenced with the existing building data were fed into a Rhino database that became the design communication platform. Meredith argues that parametric are not forms but relationships between forms, further suggesting that ‘if the parametric is a technique for the holistic control and manipulation of design objects at all scales from part to whole, the algorithmic is a method of generation, producing complex forms and structures based on simple component rules’ [mere]. In the case of fns apartments, the 3D Rhino model allowed a continuous changing and rearranging of lines and objects according to the objects underlying component rules, that is, the strategic principal lines following space diagonals, and the nodal points of intersection.


Referring to the analog model of elastic rubber band simulating the expansions and contractions of spatial objects and zones, the rhino model again started off as multiple design variations, which were rendered for the client and for builder collaboration. Yet the Rhino data had to be further translated in a different manner for the construction process, for neither algorithmic nor parametric design diagrams deliver the final communication for what the builder should build. Because these objects were formulated as spatial nodes, they were not easily communicated as 2D draft construction drawings (section and plan). Furthermore, the renderings acknowledged by the client disguised their assembly of components belonging to different trades. For that reason, reinhardtjung returned to ‘raw’ Rhino data of the project, establishing the principal points of line and intersection as relational reference points (set with builders wire directly on the building site). These points then became the reference for the non-rendered wire frame data (screenshot) that showed where which lines and materials connected (wood to glass to tiles to epoxy to brick wall to colour), and were deployed as construction guide. The screenshots were used as a three-dimensional description of at the construction site for easy measurement, collaboration and assembly process (affecting interior constructions, carpentry, electricity, tiling, etc). The Rhino wire frame also defined the relationships between juxtaposing planes or spatial sequences, which could not have been described otherwise (object photographs inefficient due to wide angles). Rhino data were furthermore forwarded to selected trades (furniture and interior design partners) that worked directly within the given lines of the Rhino file, detailing and filling in according to their expertise and manufacturing affordances.


In this case, the digital advanced software data worked in a complex series: from rendering to construction detailing, from site measurements to relational points produced by collaboration datas. In that sense, the ‘raw’ 3d data (non-rendered Rhino file) defined the ground on which design and communications on design were delivered, and controlled by the architect.


In that sense, the fns departments develop also a new method for understanding and rethinking design through advanced digital techniques.

Categories: Autocad, Residential, Rhino

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