A Melting Permanence: The Impact of Climate Change Through Algorithmic Geometry w/ C#

by Harvard Graduate School of Design

A melting permanence is the attempt to illustrate a major consequence of climate change - sea level rise - as a collection of geometric surfaces interacting with each other.

Our student computational design team, comprised of GSD students Jennifer Horowitz ’22, Marius Oneta ’23, and Quoc Dang ’23, applied what we had learned in terms of algorithmic geometry during the semester in Professor Castillo’s Computational Design class to explore the concept of permanence/transience with C# in RhinocerosCommon (Rhino) software through the creation of unique Grasshopper components within the Rhino software platform.Our final submission for the course, titled A Melting Permanence, displays all three stages of the cyclical relationship between the tenuous interaction of man and nature as a consequence of man-made pollutants and global warming.

Our project attempted to achieve a form of generative artistry through code titled, “A Melting Permanence”, consisting of an animated seasonal synthesis using paramedic design to display the impacts of climate change. We combined sound to the animation for a realistic depiction of the causal phenomenon we wished to express through our project.

As temperatures rise, glaciers melt. Turning into water, they flow down through valleys and cities and eventually make the sea level rise and endanger big cities on low-lying shore lines. Glaciers - the former epitomes of permanence - become transient as they turn into something fluid; so do ironically the very concrete buildings that partially caused the glaciers to melt as they get washed away.

Our animation is a technical arrangement of the previously mentioned actants (glaciers and buildings) along a spiral-like surface which has a top and a bottom and by its continuity emphasizes on the interconnections between the two actants. The arrangement of buildings and glaciers works a probability distribution where buildings are more likely to populate the bottom of...


Silver in Mix Media/Moving Image for Social Change 2022, Student

Silver in Digital Art for Social Change 2022, Student

Created by:

Lead Designer

Jennifer Horowitz

University or Design School

Harvard Graduate School of Design

Profile Website

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Project Website

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This project was created as a project for an assignment in Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) course GSD 6338: Computational Design.

Design Team

Harvard Graduate School of Design students: Jennifer Horowitz '22, Marius Oneta '23 (ETH Exchange), and Quoc Dang '23


Individual Credits

student/creator of project, Harvard GSD: Jennifer Horowitz
student/creator of project, Harvard GSD: Quoc Dang
student/creator of project, Harvard GSD: Marius Oneta