Head Above Water


Image Credit:  Daniel Shearing

As part of the London Design Festival, Ramboll has collaborated with Steuart Padwick to create a 9m-high CLT head on London’s South Bank. The idea of “Head Above Water” is to raise awareness for mental health and encourage people to express how they are feeling. When we heard about this great opportunity we could not wait to get involved and help however we could.

End Image Credit:  Daniel Shearing

In order to realise this project in the short timescale, a digital workflow was required. This two-part work flow ensured we were able to create models for CFD analysis and for fabrication. This was a nice example of a project where parametric design could be used to facilitate fast iterative design to ensure a solution was achieved.

The overall head geometry had been moulded in clay by Steuart in his London studio. The clay head was 3d-scanned to generate a mesh which we could use as a base for our parametric model. The heavy model meant reducing the mesh was paramount (at least during the design iteration phase) to be able to instantly see the implication of changing a parameter. By creating cutting planes, the distance of which could be controlled by sliders, we were able to create the slab and wall outlines, which we could extrude to create slab and wall solids. This model could then be sent to CFD analysis to understand the forces that would be exerted on the existing pier due to the wind.

The creation of a fabrication model in Revit was the next workflow to develop. Rather than transfer the geometry from Rhino through to Revit it was faster for us to step away from Grasshopper and move into dynamo to create a similar script/graph. Once the geometry was settled we were able to update all the parameters, and use the non-reduced mesh, to create the fabrication model in Revit.

This project was the accumulation of work by many parties. It was a fantastic job to work on, and our congratulations must go to the whole team. Find out more about Ramboll’s involvement here.