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Parametric Permanent – Stuttgarter Fernsehturm Tattoo

I started my second internship in Stuttgart on April 1st two years ago, and since then I have had a glance of the Stuttgart TV-tower practically every day on my way to the office.

The Stuttgarter Fernsehturm is one of my favourite structures, and holds a very special place in my structural-engineer-heart. So, now when I’m off to new adventures after two years and seven months in Stuttgart, I chose to stick it permanently on my skin. What better way would there be for me to do it, if not with the help of a parametric script?

Parametric script for Stuttgarter Fernsehturm tattoo

Parametric script for Stuttgarter Fernsehturm tattoo

What I really like about parametric design is that it allows you to not make up your mind. For someone like me, who’s curious about most things and likes to explore all options parametric design can sometimes be extremely fulfilling, but at the same also a little bit like a curse. Sometimes, having too many parameters and options can keep you from making important decisions and moving forward.

In most design situations you will at some point face the dreaded design freeze. The variable parameters defined up until that point will be fixed, and you simply have to deal with whatever consequences it may bring.

But sometimes, that design freeze can be a little bit like liberation. It allows you to take a step back and look at what you have achieved. A little bit like a surrender to a higher power. You no longer are in charge of the controls, you can only follow the new path ahead of you.

Not so unlike real life, maybe?

In some way I have reached a design freeze moment in my life. I have come to a point where I feel content with fixing some parameters. After all, a design freeze is only a way to enter a new design phase or a whole new project. After two years and seven months in Stuttgart it’s time for me to enter into the next design phase of my life.

Stuttgart was the place where I for the first time was truly on my own. In some ways I have built a strong personal foundation during the past two years, I have learned to stand tall on my own, stand against the wind and to aim for the sky. Kind of like the Stuttgarter Fernsehturm.

It’s cheesy I know, but if it weren’t for the Stuttgarter Fernsehturm I never would’ve come to Stuttgart in the first place. The engineers of Stuttgart dared to push the boundaries and paved a path for younger engineers to follow, and it was these engineers that inspired me to go to Stuttgart.

So what could fit better than making my own Parametric Permanent Fernsehturm Tattoo and stick it on my back before I leave? Lebensbeweis.

Stuttgarter Fernsehturm Parametric Script from HannaIsabella on Vimeo.

As per usual I whipped up a quick and rough script in Rhino/Grasshopper based on some images of the Fernsehturm, and I defined a number of parameters to define the height width, height of each floor and so on… But then I figured, what does it matter if I spend time finding the perfect parameters, there’s no such thing. So I exported an image, did some very rough and dirty Photoshop work and printed it on paper and went to a tattoo studio.

“Here you go, put this on my back, bitte. Danke schön!” Und, das war’s.

In the end the tattoo artist had to change it, so it turns out I wasn’t in charge of the parameters anyway. I’m fine with that, if there’s something I’ve learned during my time in Germany it’s to let go, and let life take me along for the ride, and enjoy it as much as I can.

Tchüss und Aufwiedersehen Stuggi, bis nächstes mal!

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