Non-Linear Parametric Workshop 11 – “Scale Fail: Pavilion to Product”

Courtesy of

This was an unprecedented year for Tsinghua University’s Non-Linear Parametric Workshop with close to 200 students attending.  Students of the Advanced Design Unit taught by Daniel Gillen, with assistance by Andrew Haas investigated parametric software, thought processes and strategy with a specific focus on versioning.

The tutors’ sequenced information provided to students to encourage a scientific level of variable testing and analysis.  The nine-day workshop was organized into three parts, beginning with abstract versioning, followed by a pavilion, and concluding with a product.

Courtesy of Daniel Gillen

The design brief tasked students with designing a spatial intervention within the bounds of an existing courtyard house.  Negotiation of existing site conditions and versioning application were primary considerations. The Pavilion was a way for students to apply techniques learned through software training in a site context while limiting programmatic requirements.

Courtesy of Daniel Gillen

­­Upon completion of the ‘pavilion’, students were challenged to adapt their design to the human body, in the form of a product.  The change of scale and site forced students to modify parameters associated with the pavilion, reinforcing the understanding of adaptability and versioning, inherent in parametric design.

Courtesy of Daniel Gillen

In place of doors, windows, and columns, the human body’s hands, limbs, and surface provided students with a different tectonic landscape to investigate.  Retaining the core genetics or genotypic traits of the pavilion design while modifying the program, site, morphology, and scale, created limitless versions of products.

More information:

Cite: Portilla, Daniel. "Non-Linear Parametric Workshop 11 – “Scale Fail: Pavilion to Product”" 22 Jul 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 18 Apr 2015. <>