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Of Tau Design and Architectural Practices
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Old 15 Oct 2005, 03:07   #1 (permalink)
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Default Of Tau Design and Architectural Practices

Good afternoon everyone.

I have long wanted to build a full size Tau city for my 40K terrain collection. I've looked long and hard, and rarely found anything that particularly satisfies me. Kotrins epic city has been the first that really 'fit' in my mind. On warseer, when he showed it, I commented on the lack of windows, and his reply was that they used picture screens (or something to that effect).

Anyway, what I was wanting here, was to have a discussion about what the Tau do when they design a building, what they can do that we can't due to our lack of technological expertise and so on. I dont really want it to be terribly related to modeling, except as an end result. What sort of styles we would see, what effects they would have, both on form and function of the buildings.

I figured I start with the lack of windows that seems to be so prevalent. Without the need (or desire?) to have external windows, I think they will be structurally more sound, and the outside walls themselves can contain all the plumbing and heating, allowing for wide open internal spaces, quite airy and climate comtroled. Essentially, no windows will mean that the climate settings are easier to keep constant, and so probably quite close to T'au's climate.

Outer walls can be thinker, more solid, and they therefore retain the smooth lines and uncluttered appearance that we associate with Tau.

What sorts of internal architechure are we likely to see? How do they get from floor to floor? Are stairs still the most common, or some sort of maglev elevator?

I'd love people to post concet sketches, and with that in mind, here is a site (not mine) thats loaded with concepts, the person has included Devilfish models among all the other mecha/futuristic stuff.

http://classic-space.com/concept/
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Old 15 Oct 2005, 15:15   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Of Tau Design and Architectural Practices

Yeah, the insides you describe sound right.

One thing I've found that looks really good for half-buried Tau generators is the plastic packaging for fluorescent light bulbs. If you get a pack of 2 bulbs, you get 4 generators! With 6 bulbs, you get 12 generators!

Not to mention the energy bills you save on
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Old 15 Oct 2005, 23:55   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Of Tau Design and Architectural Practices

The packaging that hard drives come in is really amazing for smooth-lined technological scenery. I've got a project on the drawing board right now using packaging material from a Seagate HD and I'll put up pictures when it's done.

As for brainstorming Tau scenery, I think if you're going to try to be really serious and true to fluff, it's important to think about pre-technological Tau architecture. The Tau are a very young race, and while they have the technology to make their buildings and vehicles look pretty much any way they like while still retaining functionality, they choose to have them look a certain way. Why is that? I submit that whatever stylism is present in their architecture will owe much to what their buildings and architecture looked like pre-technology--when form was still dependent on function. Given the myriad ways in which it is practical and efficient to build, say, a generator, the actual design will owe much to the origins of the Tau--how they did things in the beginning. Since the different Tau castes are the descendants of distinctly different societies that came together well down their evolutionary path, you may see subtle stylistic differences between contemporary Tau buildings designed to serve the needs of one caste or another.

Also important will be the unique nature of Tau society--the Greater Good. In all the descriptions I have read of Tau architecture, one theme has always been present: conformity. This doesn't mean that all buildings look the same, but it does mean that they do not attempt to outdo each other in grandiosity or pomposity. A building is as high as deemed necessary for its function, and while there will be markings and stylistic details, they exist to provide meaningful and practical distinctions rather than to proclaim "this is what I am and it is great".

Some possible starting points to think about.
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Old 16 Oct 2005, 01:15   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Of Tau Design and Architectural Practices

Excellent post Catsy

Though I'm not entirely sure I agree about there being different styles between the castes, I tend to see it more that the Fio do all the design and construction, and it tends to be conform to whats been done. I agree that everyting must fit together, and must have a reason.

Given what we know of T'au (not much?), can we decide what the ealy buildings looked like? Probably dome shaped mud/dung and grass huts? As they became more advanced, and more to the point, united for the Tau'va, the styling became similar/standardised. Communication was open, and all members of the Fio worked together and collaborated.

Looking at the pictures in the back of the book, I wonder at the buildings purposes. Many of them seem to have a kind of flanged mushroom thing at the top, is this a throwback to early buildings and some kind of shade system? T'au is hot and arid primarily, is it not? It is there for a reason, any better ideas? Seems to me that throwbacks like that should have been eliminated if they are no linger serving a purpose.

The Building with the 4 'spires' arching out of the top, what are they for? There must be a reason. Do they contain some sort of imaging technology? Is it a repair bay, and mecha repair arms come out of them?
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Old 16 Oct 2005, 01:52   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Of Tau Design and Architectural Practices

In specifying the caste using the building, I imagine the Fio would build towards;

Por would have something grandeous, for special functions, with multi-racial access and very impressive docking/arrival facilities. Terraces, gardens etc (vista view decks...)

Fio themselves would have heavy set, very functional (but with style) structures. Repair bays, manufacturing and yard facilities.

Kor would be pseudo airports with grav generators etc, unique living quarters.

Shas? Heavy, modular with all the functions of a military base. However I feel their weaponary would not be on show until you attacked. Pop up turrets anyone ? Large bays, battle domes...

The Aun?, towers, majestic spires. All the hallmarks of faith and hope, central position.

With themes like these in mind, you can really start nutting out building that suit the caste. Mind you, in a city, each building is placed in a Feng Shui 'meant to be location', and compliments it's neighbours and the surrounds (observed in KillTeam novel).

~ Tael.

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Old 16 Oct 2005, 02:25   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Of Tau Design and Architectural Practices

Yeah, Tau sure are the tricky ones for Terrain. I would imagine buildings that are designed to flow with wind and storms, rather than stand against them. Kind of like those towers in Malaysia, with pendulums inside. The funny thing is, for a race like the Tau, I would imagine many of their building would be under the ground. Maybe many of the battles you fight could be over cities... just subterranean ones .
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Old 16 Oct 2005, 02:55   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Of Tau Design and Architectural Practices

For 'official' buildings I certainly agree. Are the castes segregated in their homes? I have no doubt that Fire caste will sleep in a barracks, (probably with rooms for couples?), the Kor probably also have specialised arrangements, and I imangine the Ethereals are much the same, so you may as well keep the Fio and the Por separate as well.

What proportions of a caste would make up a city? Call it an averge city. Probably 1-5% Aun, 10-20% Shas, 5-15% Kor, 20-35% Por and 30-50% Fio? On a table top that might translate to a small Ethereal Shrine, A largeish Kor planetside retreat, several factories and shops, and a barracks.

El Tael:

Fio: Perhaps very very open plan, and lots of large doors? Easily adaptable to the current need. Self contained power supply.

Shas: I certainly agree about popup weaponry, very thick walls, firing slits (or sections of the wall that are intended to retract for that function). Communication arrays.

Por: Ramps are pretty much equal opportunity entrances, though curving and smooth. A landing pad beside or integrated with the building. Well, their central building anyway, not every clothing store will have a landing pad

Aun: I like to think of the Aun buildngs being not representative of them, but of the Tau in general. In my mind I see 5 sided buildings, one for each caste, forming the whole.

Kor: Airlocks? Specific enviroments? I imagine a spaceship or station is a very sterile environment, and thus Kor who are planetside are probably more susceptable to illness? Its probably easily treatable, but I think even easier to have the environment controlled. Bubble shaped? NullG Dome?


Speaking of shops, and slightly off topic, do Tau use money, or is contribution to the Tau'va their 'currency'. Which is to say, if you are working in teh job you have been given, you are provided for?

The codex mentions Geodesic Domes, http://images.google.com/images?q=ge...tart=0&start=0 why are these specifically used?
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Old 16 Oct 2005, 13:44   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Of Tau Design and Architectural Practices

Geodesic domes are among the most stable and energy-efficient structure that can be efficiently built. They would appeal to Tau sensibility.

Quote:
Though I'm not entirely sure I agree about there being different styles between the castes, I tend to see it more that the Fio do all the design and construction, and it tends to be conform to whats been done.
Each caste has different needs, however. The stylistic differences wouldn't only be a matter of tradition, they would be practical as well.

Sidenote: am I the only person who gets the impression that the Tau are not innately inclined to forego individuality in the service of the Greater Good, but rather it is something towards which they aspire as a human does their religious faith, and only succeed at better than comparable human societies due to the binding influence of the Ethereals?

Money: I could see a system similar to the utopian society in The Fifth Sacred Thing, where money as such does not really exist, but rather people are compensated for the work they do with work-hours based on a formula involving the calories that went into their work, its danger, and how critical or skilled the work is. These chits could be exchanged for services or such, if only as proof that they are contributing to their place in Tau society.

Ultimately, though, I just don't see Tau retaining money at all. Oh, they would understand it--they likely used it, or at the very least a sophisticated barter system, when they were separate societies, and fluff suggests they still trade with other races. But they would probably regard it as an outdated concept that does not serve the Greater Good. After all, what's the point? No one who wants to work cannot, and no one who works lacks a place to sleep, or food to eat. Everyone works in their hereditary caste. The infirm would be taken care of. There would be no place for advertising or a free market.

Agreed on the subject of Tau buildings flowing with the terrain and weather instead of fighting against it.
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Old 30 Oct 2005, 14:26   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Of Tau Design and Architectural Practices

I think the story on page 54 and 55 of the Tau codex gives a good idee about Tau architecture, and yes they do use windows. If you look carefully at the drawing in the backround you will see two huge shafts going underground. This could be entrances for aircrafts and / or spaceships and / or airing ducts for immens underground citys. Also i don't think they have the tendensy to make individual seperat buildings. But rather, by bridges, walkways and maglev tubes, interconnected groups of buildings. The reason? It's stucturaly more sound. http://hexdome.com/essays/vertical_fallacy/index.php I think that if we want to come up with a good Tau'y architecture we have to think with the same credo as them, namely "The one constant in the universe is change. The wise adapte" Witch means that there buildings will look different depending on the type of planetary environment.

The social structures of the Tau on the other hand. The novel "firewarrior" gives a number of insites into there social live. Apparently they don't marry or live as couples, at most they live together as some sort of appointed roomy system, i guess to improve cooperation. There reproduction is don by some sort of agency that moniters genetic compatebillety. And temporarely puts two persons together. The Tau do keep track of there childeren and kids know ho there parents are. The roomy system might be based on relation as well as on education. Kids might be put in with one of there parents, an uncle, aunt or cousin or older brother or sister to teache and guide them and prevent amouros relations to form.

-Fire Cast: I think there quarters are spartan, only the essentials and few decorations like the exeptionall medal chest, war trophy or old gear. And the group area is a training space for example.

-Air Cast: This one will be tricky. Think 3D, very low gravity environment flying dudes.

-Water Cast: Lots of quest quarters and very comfortable.(And constantly being redecorated to suit the quest ;D)

-Earth Cast: Very tacky, lost of stuff laying around being worked on and tinckerd with. (Think 40K hobbyist club rooms :)

-Ethereal Cast: Mmmh.....Zen!?

I wonder if the upcomming Tau codex will give us some more insight in Tau daily live.
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Old 03 Nov 2005, 09:56   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Of Tau Design and Architectural Practices

Quote:
I think the story on page 54 and 55 of the Tau codex gives a good idee about Tau architecture, and yes they do use windows. If you look carefully at the drawing in the backround you will see two huge shafts going underground.
I believe those shafts are underground hangers for Devilfish and Hammerheads. If you look in the white dwarf where the Tau city was in then they had a devilfish rising out of the shaft. I plan on doing something similar with my spaceport when I build it.
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