Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Parametric atmospheres: An investigation of light, material and mass as the generator for design atmosphere

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posted on 2021-11-14, 08:31 authored by McFetridge, Matthew

Parametric design today is largely embedded within a traditional trajectory. Current use largely sees the role of computers in the design studio operate at a low level, fulfilling no more sophisticated tasks than which was formerly achieved by hand. What motivation there is for parametric design tools seems to be largely inspired by a visual aesthetic. Manipulating relationships between architectural elements to design atmosphere is a long established physical process. By utilising the computer to accurately simulate spatial qualities, I propose the genesis of something more novel. The quantification of atmosphere within a digital toolset allows the designer to accurately control light, material and mass through complex networks of parametric relationships. Simulating and researching architectural atmosphere from architects Peter Zumthor and Tadao Ando allows this thesis to demonstrate a methodology for accurately simulating architectural atmosphere through the generation of geometry in Grasshopper and simulation of real site specific lighting data in 3ds Max. This thesis presents a methodology for how digital parametric design techniques enable greater flexibility and control in designing atmospheric architecture.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970112 Expanding Knowledge in Built Environment and Design

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


Moloney, Jules; Moleta, Tane