Natural History Museum, Shanghai


The much anticipated Shanghai Natural History Museum, designed by Perkins+Will’s Global Design Director Ralph Johnson, has opened in Shanghai. The 44,517 square meter (479,180 square foot) museum offers visitors the opportunity to explore the natural world through the display of more than 10,000 artifacts from all seven continents. The building includes exhibit spaces, a 4D theater, an outdoor exhibit garden, and a 30-meter tall atrium that welcomes visitors with an abundance of natural light filtered through a striking glass wall inspired by the cellular structure of plants and animals. (Arch Daily)
The building shape is inspired by nautilus shell, the purest geometric forms found in nature. The curves structure in the atrium exterior is a randomly shaped grid facade which could be parametrically defined by a random curtain panel system.

Project 1: Parametric BIM

Modeling Process:

The Envelope system of randomly shaped screens were chosen to be parametric:

As we can see the building can be easily divided into two parts: 1| The envelope sloping system and 2| the mass built up in the back. The parametric connection between the mass and the envelope is developed in such a way that with changing height and width of building, the envelope system along with the green sloping roof would change accordingly as needed.

Envelope System:
The most challenging part of developing the envelope system was to create the randomly shaped geometry that would flex with the green. The slope of flexing geometry was developed by adding adaptive lines using the adaptive points geometry and then creating the form out of it. These can be seen in the images below. These Forms were adaptive to change with building height and width.

The envelope was to be developed in three layers as we can see in the image #1 below. Revit does not have any randomly shaped built in pattern. Hence editing the hexagon pattern and adding layers to it was the best solution to this facade. The challenging thing was to have these layers adapt to changing u-v ratios with the initial hexagon geometry. This was achieved by making the new added forms adaptive with the existing form

We can see in the images below that the envelope system and slopes change with change in width of the building.

These envelopes can be changed to form different density facades.

Final renderings:

#Exterior View.

#Interior View

Process Movie: 

Project 2: Parametric Modeling in Dynamo

I have opted to have project 1 as my base model for controlling parameters through Dynamo.

1. Change in mass parameters through Dynamo.

As we saw earlier in project 1 I have parametrically controlled the mass for the screening. Here I use Dynamo to control the Building width and Building height parameters. Below are the nodes used for that.

2. Change in parameters of the hexagon screen

Here in the second part I have tried to change the side parameters of the hexagon surface created to make a more random and dense pattern. Below are the nodes used for that.

3. Color override using Dynamo

In the third part I used an image to overlay the divided surface facade to have a more interesting and colorful look to the model. Below are the nodes used for that.

This would give us an image like one shown below.

    #Exterior View.

Process Movie: