Minifie van Schaik Architects
MvS Architects

Research project for RMIT DRI

Cloudnets, a research project by Paul Minifie, is an examination of the fundamental forces that shape cities. The premise of Cloudnets is that cities are driven by a desire for connectivity.

The richness of urban life derives from exchanging with as many other people as possible.

Cloudnets supposes there are two physical constraints to this desire to be everywhere at once. The first is the time it takes to go somewhere. The second is physical and spatial – it costs more to build higher buildings where people can be closer to one another.

Our simple city-like system, the Cloudnet, builds itself. Each addition to the cloudnet chooses where to build, only by balancing the desire to travel quickly to a possible destination, against the relative cost of building higher..

The cloudnet is modelled by the relational structure of a graph. A plane is understood as being covered by randomly placed, but equally distributed spatial locations – nodes. The connections between each node and its immediate neighbours are called edges. Nodes have a weight which represents their height. Edges have a weight which represents their length.

In cloudnets, a node is inhabited by acquiring a weight, but higher weights come at higher cost representing costs associated with vertical transport, additional structure etc.

Funded by MvS and RMIT University.