They also use red-dyed wool or cord, braiding Fushun Map it in and making patterns out of the way the plaits join. Paramon’s twenty plaits were Fushun Map joined at descending levels down her back making a V-shape until only two fat braids remained. They ended together with a silver brooch and a black yak’s wool tassel. The most elaborately decorated hairstyle that I’d seen was a cape of plaits evenly attached to a wide strip of embroidered material with all manner of silver chains, medallions, buttons and coral beads. For convenience while working the braids are tucked into the back of the girl’s waistband. Someone with a great many usually gathers them together on to a loop of stone or jade.
More recently, computer aided design methods have been brought to bear on the issue of urban design. Generative digital algorithms and scripting evolve masterplans in minutes that would otherwise take centuries. However, these methods are barely tested in practice and still reside predominantly in architecture schools. An example is the Architectural Association’s graduate Design Research Lab’s three year investigation of Parametric Urbanism from 2006-8 (www.aaschool.ac.uk/aadrl) where the author contributed to the teaching – some project illustrations are shown in Figure 2.
Without extensive built environment examples to assess, there is little evidence as yet that computational methods for urban design have an advantage over more traditional approaches, although it is possible that the two might be leveraged most effectively in combination. Such a duality of method was used on the 180 hectare, One North Masterplan for Singapore’s Jurong Town Corporation, led by Zaha Hadid Architects. Part of this work involved the creation of a Masterplanning Toolbox by the author. This was an early-stage computational tool for design-led teams to assist in the synthesis and evaluation of multimodal complexities (Barker 2011). This plan was for a phased development for the period 2001-21, so it will be some time before success can be evaluated. The plan for One North, a creative mixed-use hub in the university district of Singapore, is shown in Figure 3.
Figure 2: Parametric urban design methods, examples from the Architectural Association’s graduate Design Research Lab’s three-year investigation of Parametric Urbanism. Image: AA-DRL 2008.
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