showcase: Simple Browser Based Architectural WYSIWUG

interactive physical design

Simple Browser Based Architectural WYSIWUG

Simple Browser Based Architectural WYSIWUG

A Geometric Greenhouse

The design for this five-side greenhouse came to me one rainy November afternoon as I was tarping an Ecchium in preparation for the first frost of the winter. My reasoning went something like this:

  • a larger number of corners make for a more efficient use of surface material and less heat loss (less surface per enclosed volume)
  • sticks are almost for free in our garden, but surface material is not
  • bricks are boring, and it would be so much cooler to have something with more than four sides (preferably a prime number)

Without much planning, I then built something out of five posts, a whole pile of 2x2's, a small fortune of ground sheet, and whole lot of tuck tape. During that process, I gained the following insights:

  • there are so many bricks in this world because the math of their construction is so much easier
  • you can assemble a prime-sided wonky-angled structure like this without having done the math, but the odds of it looking anything like you had envisioned are small
  • skin on lips sticks to tuck tape better than it sticks to our own body

I decided to a) write some code and b) to be more careful with the tuck tape next time.

First Version: Java Applet

This first Java Applet uses Java2D to show a profile and plan view of the structure. The user can choose the number of sides, roof and side wall angles, the base/vent/max diameters, and height using sliders.

plan view
Plan View of Structure

profile view
Profile View of Structure

The Applet also shows the two types of plane surfaces needed to cover its outside, the intent being that the structure will be built from precision cut Polycarbonate or Plexiglass.

leaf dimensions
Surface Dimensions

Having written the applet, I then then realized how ridiculously expensive the structure would be.

Second Version

Some day soon, the next version will be written in JavaScript running on an HTML5 canvas (ok, CoffeeScript actually because life is short). It will assume construction from bent sticks (bamboo?) and cost effective PVC or PE sheets and also address the most basic and practical construction issues.

Stay tuned.