Magnetic Architecture Phase 1 Book

Page 1

Magnetic Architecture 1


Magnetic Architecture

Institut d’Arquitectura Avançada de Catalunya - Pujades 102 baixos, Poble Nou, 08005 Barcelona - tel. (+34) 93 320 95 20 - fax (+34) 93 300 43 33 3



Ackowledgements The experience of participating in the Digital Tectonics studio has been truly overwhelming. There have been various phases in our research – some filled with energy and others where we were stuck and didn’t know what to do next. Throughout the entire process, there have been various people that have been associated with this project who we would like to acknowledge and to whom we want to express our gratitude. They are: Jordi – He always encouraged us to think about scale and material improvements. He also insisted that we should never forget about the structural implications of what we are doing. This really helped us and it shaped our research. He took upon the cause of procuring iron filings as his own and kept supplying us with our primary material when we had none. We would especially like to thank his father for going out of his way to source this material. Jordi also supported our project relentlessly once he understood that we could do great things with it. A big thank you to him for all of this. Miquel – He was like a constant and silent partner to us – more like a friend. Always overseeing the goings on, always speculating, making notes. His help for the planning and design and procurement of parts of our material deposition nozzle was extremely conducive to us even attempting this system. He also had some good advice for us from time to time and was always happy to help when we required the machines in the fablab – be it laser cutting or finding tools. We really appreciate his help. Guillem – He has always taken a special interest in our project. He has worked very closely with us, lending support for various computational processes. He has always been proactive in offering us spare parts – be it motors, wires or arduino boards. He has played an important role in the development of the electromagnetic device which we used to produce our final models, and for all this we would like to offer our appreciation. Santiago Martin Laguna – Initially we thought that Santi would be providing us with intense computational and software support. His involvement was much more than that – it was theoretical, analytical and even philosophical at times. He never hesitated to be a ‘nerd’ (as he says) for us and send us grasshopper definitions that would have taken us days to come up with. He has also been instrumental in providing us with some basic knowledge of optimization which has had a subconscious effect on our project. He has also been extremely encouraging and forthcoming. We would like to offer our sincerest gratitude to him.


Santiago Martin Gonzalez – It was because of a workshop on artificial computer vision conducted by him that we became empowered with the knowledge needed to develop the incremental system of material computation using a webcam based setup. We want to thank him for showing us the way to do it. Form X – They have been extremely forthcoming in lending their expertise on resin and plastic based materials which have formed a pivotal part of our final material composition. They took into consideration the fact that we were students on a particular research mission and they always took time out from their busy schedules (often ignoring other customers to do the same) to advise us on which of their products would work better for us. We appreciate their involvement in our material evolution process. Marta – Last but not the least, a huge thank you for Marta, who not only supported and encouraged our project from day one but also criticized it and made us see its downsides. She lent her expertise of Digital Tectonics to direct us to develop in a way that the project made complete sense to us – we never ever doubted it. She labelled it a 4D project and showed as much fascination for the forms we could create using the magnetic process as we did. She played a pivotal role in making us realize that there was more to our project than generating g-codes for predefined trajectories. She encouraged us to think of the role of the architect in a system such as ours. She has been extremely influential in taking the project to where it is as of now. We really appreciate her guidance.


Table of Contents

Profiles Thesis Statement Abstract on Magnetic Architecture Notes on Magnetism Basic Material: balls bearings/iron filings/ magnetite Understanding Material Properties. Building Methods Material Mixtures Design Parameters Manual Experiments Deposition Experiments CNC and Nozzles Mini 5-axis device 3D Network Simulation Where are we going?

Sensing Electromagnets Gravity Grasshopper: behavior simulations Material Deposition Nozzle Material Research. Magnetic Device Artificial Vision and Incremental Computing. Rules 6-axis Universal Robot, increasing scale and complexity. Final Model Conclusions Magnetic Intelligence

Angel Fernando Lara Moreira A mexican architect, Angel is an example of what the modern creative mind should be like. Born and raised in Mexico he studied architecture at UNAM (latinamerica’s best college) where he graduated in 2011. He quickly pursued his masters studies at IAAC where he was able to explore one of his longtime “likings” digital and machinic control in regards to architecture. Raised in a scientific environment, his curious mind has allowed him to deal with creative matters such as writing and designing in a different way. Surely destined to greatness, Magnetic Architecture is proof of that.

Akhil Kapadia Akhil is an architect who has lived, loved, studied and worked in Mumbai. He left his birthplace to see the world and explore its variations and beauty. He is interested in understanding how things work and how we can use our understanding of complex things to bring simplicity and change. Through his collaboration with Magnetic Architecture, Akhil hopes to be able to show a way to change - to be smarter, more efficient, and discover a new breed of aesthetics and design possibilities.


Whilst guiding students as a part of the faculty for first year bachelor of architecture students at a prominent university in Mumbai, he realized that there was a lot more to learn - a lot more beyond the realm of mediocrity under which the architectural scenario of today operates. Apart from Architecture, Akhil is also interested in literary arts, photography and speech & drama - he has authored several poems and prose, some of which have been published on various prominent blogs and local Indian newspapers. Akhil hopes to travel, learn and work away from home for a little while longer before he returns to his birthplace to begin a new architectural journey - hopefully of his own.

Gabriel Bello Díaz Gabriel began his education at Wentworth Institue of Technology in Boston with a focus on architectural engineering. Through frelancing for several years he evolved into an atmospheric designer who focused on human reaction to spaces. He also has currated his own and other artist exhibitions and is currently involed with several film projects all focusing on some form of architectural studies. Today, along with researching a lauguage for matrial in architecture he is also attempting to link neurological data directly with architectural spaces through a wireless system.

Alexander Dubor Alexandre is an architect from paris looking for more multidisciplinarity in the reflexion of our built environement. From early stage of education, he was looking at architecture as an interesting way of mixing science with art. Going further in the study´s he was able to develop project as ingeneer and architect


Thesis statement To investigate a line of architectural possibilities arising out of the assembly of a certain mixture of materials within a magnetic field that solidifies and has the possibility of forming complex three dimensional networks either self incrementally or by way of predefined trajectories; to question the role of the architect within such a system and to extract its implications and applications in terms of the architectural design & construction scenario today.

Abstract The search for the perfect material that would serve as a ‘magnetic material’ drove the initial phase of research of this project. This magnetic material had to be cheap, easily and globally available, easy to make, easy to deposit and had to solidify quickly after being deposited within the magnetic field. Half of this mixture comprised of iron filings, which we mixed with different materials and studied the results for stability, drying time and ability to arrange along the magnetic field. Once this material was concocted, different experiments were conducted to study its behavioural characteristics when deposited between neodymium magnets of opposite poles. Different parameters were discovered like breaking points, maximum distance between magnets for material formation, whether twisting assisted material formation, whether it was better to form a link between the magnets by gradually increasing the distance between the poles, etc. These results gave rise to more complex experiments where different apparatus were designed to to aid in the understanding of replicating the singular element formed between two magnets into a continuous ruled surface, a two dimensional network and a three dimensional network. What followed was the factoring in of layers of constraints and limitations that each additional process would bring. Alongside this, various computer simulations were used to further understand the parameters for material formation and breaking. There were decisions about the fact that the property of self assembly of the material and its unpredictable nature should be exploited. Exploration of the possibilities of the material incrementally computing itself into a structural network to discover what the material ‘really wanted to be’ led us to the realm of using artificial vision as a tool for gauging how certain rules should be applied based on visual information. Alongside this, an electromagnetic device which served as an attachment to the CNC system machine was developed. That this could additively print predefined trajectories was also taken into consideration.



Notes on magnetism Each magnet has two poles, at which the attractive force seems greatest – North and South (The poles are so named because, under the influence of the earth’s magnetism, a bar-shaped magnet free to rotate will turn so that one pole points northward and the other southward.) When a magnet is cut into two or more pieces, each piece becomes a new magnet. Like poles repel; unlike poles attract. Magnets do not have to come into contact to repel or attract each other because magnetism acts at a distance. The area in which the effect of a magnet can be detected is called its magnetic field. The field is strongest near the magnet; it weakens as the distance from the magnet increases. A magnetic field is usually pictured as a series of lines, called lines of force, extending from the N pole of a magnet to an S pole, either at the other end of the same magnet or in a nearby magnet. Magnets attract objects made from iron, steel, cobalt, or certain other materials. In the presence of a magnet, an object made from such magnetic materials will itself become a magnet (magnetic induction). Measurements with extremely accurate instruments show that all materials have some reaction to a magnetic field. The materials usually referred to as nonmagnetic, such as copper and water, are either paramagnetic (showing a slight tendency to line up parallel to the lines of force of a field) or diamagnetic (showing a slight tendency to line up at right angles to the lines of force). Magnetic materials, properly called ferromagnetic, have a strong tendency to line up parallel to the lines of force. Iron filings, our chief material, are highly ferromagnetic. Theory on which magnetism is based: The effects of magnetism have been known and used for centuries. Yet scientists still do not know exactly what magnetism is. The theory of magnetism that follows is based on one proposed by a French physicist, Pierre Weiss, in the early 20th century. “Every magnetic substance contains domains, groups of molecules that act as magnets. Before a substance is magnetized, these domains are arranged randomly, so that the magnetism of one is cancelled by the magnetism of another. When the substance is brought within a magnetic field, the domains line up parallel to the lines of force, with all the N poles facing in the same direction.” When the magnetic field is removed, the like poles tend to repel each other. In a substance that is easily magnetized, the domains turn easily, and will return to random ordering. In a substance that is difficult to magnetize, the domains will not have enough force to disarrange themselves and the substance will remain magnetized. In modern versions of this theory, the magnetism of the domains is attributed to the spin of electrons.



Ball bearings While playing with the iron filings and studying the different forms that could we could manipulate them into within the magnetic field, we also started questioning what it would be like if each particle was of a certain regular form – a sphere perhaps? This is when we decided to source some tiny ball bearings which we thought would create some exciting possibilities. We played with these and found that they could very easily be moulded within the magnetic field to give striking forms with very little effort. The aesthetic created was also completely different from that of the filings – it was much finer but also a little peculiar. We decided not to work with this material as the cost involved for procuring these was extremely high, hence unaffordable. If cost were not a criteria and we could procure this material in large quantities, it could have lent a completely different design research angle to our project.

Iron Filings Iron filings are very small pieces of iron that look like a light powder. They are very often used in science demonstrations to show the direction of a magnetic field. Since iron is a ferromagnetic material, a magnetic field induces each particle to become a tiny bar magnet. The south pole of each particle then attracts the north poles of its neighbors, and this process repeated over a wide area creates chains of filings parallel to the direction of the magnetic field. Iron Filings are used in many places including schools where they test the reaction of the filings to magnets. Filings are mostly a byproduct of the grinding, filing, or milling of finished iron products, so their history largely tracks the development of iron. For the most part, they have been a waste product. Iron filings have some utility as a component in primitive gun-powders. In such a fine powdered form, iron can burn, due to its increased surface area. In modern electronics, some transformers have iron powder cores.



Magnetite and the beach collection process Magnetite: It is a ferromagnetic mineral with chemical formula Fe3O4 and the most magnetic natural mineral on earth. This is actually how ancient people first noticed the property of magnetism. Magnetite is sometimes found in large quantities in beach sand, specially black sand beaches (mineral sands or iron sands), such as in California and the West coast of New Zealand. Magnetite is carried to the beach via rivers from erosion and is concentrated via waves and currents. Barcelona’s beaches are not considered to be black sand beaches. Still it is easy to find considerable amounts of magnetite within its sand. Using magnets, tubes and bags, it is fairly easy to go through vast amounts of sand to collect magnetite. In a secondary process, magnetite was crushed to smaller particles since size is very important in the way particles behave when within the magnetic fields.



Understanding Material Properties (Catalogue)

In an attempt to understand the self-assembly processes of the material (iron filings) we developed a series of photographic records showing the different ways in which material assembles depending on a number of factors: number of magnets, position and material deposition. Starting from simple single element structures to networks. The following catalogue exemplifies the basic range of structural forms that can be obtained using magnets.

Single deposition Using four magnets and just a pinch of filings we can appreciate the simplest formation that we can achieve, the filings arrange themselves in spiky patterns according to the magnetic field.

Side deposition By depositing the material from a perpendicular angle to that of the magnetic axis we obtain a different shape and organization of material, this goes to prove that material depositions does play a role in shape formation.

Hanging Column This sample clearly exemplifies the way the material arranges itself according to the magnetic field, hence more material at the pole forming a crown and less material where the magnetic field is weakened because of distance.


45 Degree column Again material deposition affects the shape of the final element; here by continuously adding the material sideways we created a 45º column.

Thin column Placing attracting magnets in opposite poles gives rise to column formation. Here the amount of material deposited pushes de limit of the minimum quantity necessary to achieve a column.

Broad Column Increasing the amount of material deposited allows for a certain range of thickness between the elements.

Split column Using a stick you can modify the natural column formation to create different types of substructures like the split column.


Increasing the gap Using a stick you can further modify the natural column formation to create different types of substructures like the split column.

Asymmetric column Changing the magnetic settings to have more magnets on one side and less on the other is evidence of the material’s capacities to self assemble depending on its magnetic context.

Ubeam Changing the parameters from a top-down magnetic framework, by placing two attracting magnets alongside each other shows that besides the magnetic forces at work in the system, gravity has its own role in shaping the material. Ubeam2: The amount of material that is introduced into the magnetic field has a direct proportion in the role gravity plays in the formation process. Playing with these parameters allowed us to obtain different shapes and understand more the roles of both magnetism and gravity.


V connection Using up to three magnets in a triangle setting a “V” connection is achieved, the material will not form the triangle since magnet 1 and magnet 3 are repelling one another

Interconnections By increasing the number of magnets in a given setup, the number of interconnected elements increases, however getting a “closed” geometry is impossible due to the magnets inherent characteristics of attraction and repulsion.


Column Simulation In an attempt to understand the way particles behave when inside a magnetic field, a simulation done with processing was developed to understand how a single column was formed (comparing it with our experimental observations) and then adding more magnets in different locations to figure out the initial extent of our project.

Magnetic field without the influece of any metal particles- A simple arrangement of two magnets attracting each other in the same axis.

Column being formed by adding particles perpendicular to the magnetic field. A slight distorition of the field and the movment of particles is evident.

Column formed, in a very similar way to our empirical experiments. With crown formation at the poles and a thinner connection at the center.


Connection Simulation This simulation attempted to understand the different types of connectiosn possible when increasing the amount of magnets in field. and how do particles arrange when there are several positive and negative charges incluencing a certain space.

Magnetic field formed by three magnets we see that there are repelling and attractive forces in different axes.

When metal particles are added inside the magnetic field the interaction between positive and negative forces becomes more evident.

Central pole becomes bigger due the influece of the adjacent magnetic forces. Instead of a triangle we see a “V” formation.


Building Methods

Method1.- With the material already placed inside the plastic container magnets come in play trying to shape the material into a small column or beam. This method proved to be complicated and messy, since most of the material would adhere itself to the container with its walls not allowing the filings to move properly towards the magnets and create the structures. (bottom) Method 2.- Magnets are already fixed in position around the plastic containers, then a mixture of filings and different binding agents is added into the magnetic field immediately taking its form. Best method out of the three. Different types of mixtures behave similarly in terms of structural capacities and drying times, but if the mixture is dense enough the form creates immediately and is quite stable.( top right) Method 3.- With magnets fixed around the small containers filings are put into the magnetic field, once the form is generated we then added the binding agent directly into the preformed structure. This method doesn’t seem the way to go, since by adding the binding agent directly onto the preformed filings structure doesn’t seem to be an efficient way of solidifying the material, it merely coats one of the sides and most of it drops to the ground. (bottom right)



Material Mixtures (Catalogue)

In order to solidify the shapes we had observed before by using just filings, we needed to find a proper binding agent that could solidify quickly. We experimented with three different methods to manipulate both the material and obtain a solid structure. For each experimented we used either small plastic boxes or plastic tubes of 3 cms in diameter.

Iron filings + Adhesive spray (Success) An interesting and easy way to create prototypes, the sprayed filings keep their form, and although not strong enough structurally, it allows to do rapid tests on different shapes.

Iron Filings + Plaster (Fail) Mixture works but is very brittle. Too viscous(heavy) to be attracted by magnets. Iron filings get too exposed and structural capacities are greatly diminished.

Iron Filings + White Glue (Fail) Although the mixture works, the structure created is very delicate and the glue seems to have rusted the filings.


Iron Filings + White glue + Cement + Water (Success) A brittle mixture, an agent that works better than glue in protecting the filings from rusting is needed.

Iron Filings + Pumice + White Glue (Fail) There is a lack of cohesiveness throughout the mixture, thus making the column very brittle and fragile.

Iron Filings + Pumice + White Glue (Fail) A very brittle mixture. Broke when box was opened.There seems to be a lack of cohesion between materials.


Iron Filings + Paint + Liquid Latex. (Success) This mixture is structurally stable and yet quite flexible it is a very interesing mixture that could be used when some degree of elasticity is needed in the building process.

Iron Filings + Paint + Liquid Latex + Plaster (Success) A very interesting mixture; paint and liquid latex mix properly and create a nice coating for the filings that is both structural and flexible. Proper viscosity of this mixtures allows the filings to stay as a part of the mixture, while the plaster gives it structural capacities.

Iron Filings + Paint (Fail) Mixture lacks viscosity; paint is too liquid to properly contain the filings, which start flying out of the material as soon as they get near a magnetic field. Solidification process takes a long time and there are no structural capacities.

Iron Filings + Clay (Success) A surface attempt; by embedding a good amount of iron filings in with the clay, we were able to create a small surface, and interesting development which proves the variability of design parameters using magnets and different kinds of magnetic material.


Iron Filings + Cement + Water + Liquid Latex + Paint (Success) Best mixture so far. (Check chart for adequate proportions) Affordable and easy to mix, this mixture had special interest in the liquid latex component which allowed to determine the flexibility of the structure from a range of absolute rigidity to fairly flexible. Perfect for single elements (columns) yet when trying to connect one or more elements it becomes fairly brittle.


Design Parameters

Minimal distance results in clump like formation.

Increasing distance = stub like formation.

Further increasing distance causes slender column like formation

Max distance could cause breakage of material continuity.

Minimal material deposition may not result in a continuous link of material.

Increasing volume of material deposited to create a link between poles.

Increasing volume of material deposited to strengthen link.

Increasing volume of material deposited to control form and thickness.

Opposing weak equal distribution of magnetic force.

Opposing powerful equal distribution of magnetic force.

Similar magnetic poles causing repulsion.

Opposing unequal distribution of magnetic force.


Natural Voids Connecting a certain arrangement of several magnets of different intensities together with teh ferrousmixture gives rise to the connectiosn formed along the magnetic fields as well as natrual voides where th field is too weak to hold the material.

Spacing of Magnets Varying the spacing of the magnets gives rise to different onfigurations of material density. The closer the spacing, the denser the material formation; increasing teh space gives rise to sparse material formations.

Shape of formwork. The shape formwork used for material formatiosn can be altered according to teh desire exterior surface geomtry. This gives rise to the possibility of adding form related functions to the resulting structures.

Shape and path of magnet shield. Apart from using a continous formwork it is possible to use the shield of the magnet itself as the formwork and its path now determines the form of the resulting structure.


Manual experiments Early experimentation with extrusion and deposition processes proved to be quite rich in terms of understanding the material and the way it behaved when in proximity of the magnetic field. Some of our main conclusions through this series of manual tests were as follows: _Extruding the material with a syringe like system does not work due to the compressing force clogging the small opening at the end. _Spinning while depositing the material helps the column forming process gain height and structural strength. _The solidification process of our mixtures is an exothermic reaction, hence the use of heatguns or blowdryers helps material solidify quickly and in a uniform way. _“Spoon-feeding” the material, letting the magnetic field take it out directly from its container seems to be the proper way to add any mixture. _The viscosity of any mixture is a “key” factor when depositing material. Too thin it falls to the ground. Too thick the magnetic field is not strong enough to “grab” it.





Fragmented 3d network experiment Our first try was to create a multicomponent system using numerous small magnets. A structure composed of many parts that when connected would give sense and structure to the whole. For this we created 10 8cms by 8cms by 8cms acrylic boxes placing several magnets on different faces and joining them both vertically and horizontally. What this setup allowed us to do was to create a 3d network in parts. The magnets were positioned inbetween the walls of 2 consecutive boxes in all different directions. The walls were greased and the material was deposited. The result was a discontinuous structure that, when solidified, could be arranged together and stuck with adhesive or by adding more material and creating butt joints. This experiment helped us to realize that it would be much better if we had a continuous incremental system instead of a fragmented system of construction like this one. Though if one were to contemplate on a prefabricated setup, this could work. The main disadvantage proved to be the number of magnets required. This encouraged us to start thinking of a system that perhaps would employ just two magnets which could preferably be switched on and off.

Depositon Experiments Aim: To understand the distance of the structure formed by iron filings from magnetic poles in a horizontal axis between two (or more) neodymium magnets in a given setup under controlled deposition conditions. Apparatus: Clear acrylic cube of 125mm x 125mm X 125mm open on two sides with a movable scaled ruler with deposition holes for a straw to deposit the material. Neodymium magnets fixed on two opposite sides of the cube. Materials: Iron filings. Procedure: Start depositing unit volumes of filings one at a time starting at the plane of existence of one magnet. Study the formation of clusters of iron filings in each unit incremental deposition. Stop when failure occurs when the filings are no longer attracted to the existing structure and start to fall. Record the point of failure. Repeat from the other side for the other magnet. Keep adding magnets in subsequent repetitions of the same experiment. Observations & Inferences: There is a certain deposition discipline that needs to be maintained whilst deciding the distance of deposition with respect to the magnetic pole. The further away the deposition distance from the magnetic pole, the weaker the magnetic attractive forces between the iron particles. There is a maximum deposition distance with respect to the magnetic poles after which the filings will fail to stick to the structure formed. There is a certain maximum distance to be maintained between two magnetic poles of unit value for the deposited iron filings to form a continuous structure from one pole to the other.



Material Deposition CNC Attempting to achieve “building scale” the problem of components and material deposition had to be analyzed and solved. How is it that we can achieve to build a structure in one to one? What is the role of magnetic positioning and their strength? How do we control the material to place it in the magnetic field?

New machine Electromagnets Machinic Control



Extrusion Nozzle A radically different approach to digitally controlling the material. In this case magnets are fixed in a certain position creating stable magnetic fields in which the material must be deposited. Manual tests using syringes quickly showed us the possible range of problems to be expected from this sort of process. By forcing the material out of a small opening, the iron filings compressed rapidly blocking the outlet. This proved to be a fundamental issue in the development of this and further nozzles. Further manual tests showed us that the magnetic field created is in fact so strong, that if the opening was big enough the material would naturally swoop towards it and arrange itself accordingly. Digital control proved to be extremely valuable to us to control the exact distance from the magnetic fields and the speed at which the material was to be deposited. For this we developed an extrusion nozzle that was based on our previous observations. A syringe of 30mm diameter with same diameter opening was to be the container of our cement-liquid latex-paint-iron filings-water mixture. To help the process of the material being extruded by the sheer forces of our previously fixed magnetic field, a pushing device inside the tube, attached to a motor that in turn was digitally controlled by a small computer chip (Arduino) was implemented; effectively allowing us to control the amount of material to be pushed out of our nozzle when inside the magnetic field. Aim: To understand the distance of the structure formed by iron filings from magnetic poles in a horizontal axis between two (or more) neodymium magnets in a given setup under controlled deposition conditions. Apparatus: Clear acrylic cube of 125mm x 125mm X 125mm open on two sides with a movable scaled ruler with deposition holes for a straw to deposit the material. Neodymium magnets fixed on two opposite sides of the cube. Procedure: Start depositing unit volumes of filings one at a time starting at the plane of existence of one magnet. Study the formation of clusters of iron filings in each unit incremental deposition. Stop when failure occurs when the filings are no longer attracted to the existing structure and start to fall. Record the point of failure. Repeat from the other side for the other magnet. Keep adding magnets in subsequent repetitions of the same experiment. Observations & Inferences: There is a certain deposition discipline that needs to be maintained whilst deciding the distance of deposition with respect to the magnetic pole. The further away the deposition distance from the magnetic pole, the weaker the magnetic attractive forces between the iron particles. There is a maximum deposition distance with respect to the magnetic poles after which the filings will fail to stick to the structure formed. There is a certain maximum distance to be maintained between two magnetic poles of unit value for the deposited iron filings to form a continuous structure from one pole to the other.



Magnetic Nozzle An attempt on controlling the material through the interaction of dynamic magnetic forces. Treating both material and magnet as separate entities the sudden clash between the two made us realize that the material behaves very differently when introduced in a static magnetic field compared to a moving one. Material was placed in a small tray with some magnets attached to the back of it. A series of magnets were then connected to the Shop-Bot in a very simple fashion, thus creating a big magnet that could move in 3 axes across the surface of the material. 1.- Using a very simple G-code (SHOW) we tried to extrude a simple 10cm column (concrete mixture). 2.- Placing magnets in a squared array at the back o the tray, the magnetic nozzle would then swoop down to each of them, then up then to the center of the square trying to create a series of four 8cms elements that would connect at the center.



Wax Nozzle Aim: The aim of this experiment was to use a phase changing material along with the iron filings to investigate if a continuous surface could be built whilst continuously moving the magnets and depositing the molten wax mixture at the same time. Apparatus: The setup involved two vertical transparent acrylic plates fixed to a horizontal plane surface with neodymium magnets on either outer side of each acrylic plate. Procedure: The procedure involved melting industrial grade wax, mixing iron filings into it when molten, and pouring as much of the mixture as was possible whilst moving the magnets together in a random trajectory. Observations & Inferences: The material would solidify too quickly before we could manage to deposit enough of it to form any surface of consequence. The material was extremely difficult to work with and handle. The whole process was very messy. There was a considerable amount of wastage of material. It was difficult to co-ordinate manually the movement of the magnets with the deposition of the material. The surface formed was not as continuous and regular as expected. A decision was made to recreate this experiment in the shopbot to see if digital control of the magnets would add some regularity to the surface.



Mini 5 axis device Due to the axes limitation of our machines (mainly ShopBot) we created our own manual “robotic” arm. This allowed us many more axes of freedom and was a kind of a manual simulation of what we would be able to do if we were to work with the actual KUKA robot. Here the distance between the magnets was made adjustable. Building a complex 3d network with this simple manual device worked leaps and bounds in terms of freeing the mind and expanding the limits within which we would operate. It also allowed us to move away from the idea of using a fixed framework and experience first hand a new acquired movement freedom.





3D Network Simulation In order to move forward into the realms of a more structrual system a 3d network type of structure was required. As such, a simulation was needed to understand the range of possibilities available when distribuitng magnets in space and place our magnetic mixutre.



Where are we going? In a search for buidling scale we made a conceptual exercise of visualizing the type of structures we could build and the applications of said structure in a defined period of time using our building system. According to different time periods, density of the structure, number of people working on site and number of universal robots available we developed sketches that served as a first attempt to deal with issues of architectural scale and program.


Club archway


Medium density



Time Material Required Built Surface Robotic Steps Energy (W/h) Material Costs

1 day (24 hrs) 168kgs 6.36 sqm 360 15,308 259.56 euros


Beach pavillion


Medium density



Time Material Required Built Surface Robotic Steps Energy (W/h) Material Costs

1 week (168 hrs) 1178 kgs 4,451 sqm 2,520 107,158 1,816.92 euros

Time Material Required Built Surface Robotic Steps Energy (W/h) Material Costs

1 month(168 hrs) 5,040 kgs 190.76 sqm 10,800 5459.240 7,786.80 euros

Urban bridges



Medium density



Railway crossing


Medium density



Time Material Required Built Surface Robotic Steps Energy (W/h) Material Costs

1 year (8,760 hrs) 61,320 kgs 2,320.85 sqm 131,400 5,587,420 94,739.40 euros

Time Material Required Built Surface Robotic Steps Energy (W/h) Material Costs

10 year (87,600 hrs) 613,200 kgs 23,208.5 sqm 1,314,000 55,874,200 947,394.0 euros

Moon Colony


Medium density




Sensing magnetic fields

stroke(10,20,255); line(xPos, height/2, xPos, height - yPos);

Our process depends on the magnetic field and our ability to control it. One of our first problems was to estimate the location and power of this invisible force. Our choice was to use a cheap hall effect sensor, commonly used in industries to measure distances in automated processes by combining the sensor with a magnet on the object to be sensed. Connecting the sensor to the arduino board permitted us to graph the magnetic field of our magnets and electromagnets. Following is the code used by arduino to send the value of the sensor (from 0 to 1024) through a serial communication. On the right is the code to analyse the signal value and output it on an adapted chart whilst not forgetting to adapt the sensitivity value to the one of the sensor being used.

void setup() { // initialize the serial communication: Serial.begin(9600); } void loop() { // send the value of analog input 0: Serial.println(analogRead(A0)); // wait a bit for the analog-to-digital converter // to stabilize after the last reading: delay(2); } import processing.serial.*; Serial myPort; // The serial port int xPos = 50; // horizontal position of the graph float yPos = 0; // vertical position of the graph float sensitivity = 2.5; //in mV/G or V/kG float graphScale = 2.5; //1= graphing value from 0 to 1024 boolean record = false; int recordEndTime = 0; //in milliseconds if int recordTime = 3; //in s void setup () { // set the window size: size(1900, 900); // List all the available serial ports println(Serial.list()); myPort = new Serial(this, Serial.list()[0], 9600); myPort.bufferUntil(‘\n’); // set inital background: background(0); } void draw () { if (record == true && (recordEndTime>millis() || recordEndTime==0)) { if(yPos>height/2) stroke(255,10,20); else


// at the edge of the screen, go back to the beginning: if (xPos >= width) { xPos = 50; background(0,0,0); } else { // increment the horizontal position: xPos++; }

for (int i=0; i<10; i++){ stroke(100); line(50,height/10*i,width,height/10*i); for (int j=1; j<10; j++){ stroke(30); line(50,height/10*i+height/100*j,width,height/10*i+hei ght/100*j); } text(round((5-i)*sensitivity/graphScale*500) + “G”, 0, height/10*i); } stroke(255); line(50,height/2,width,height/2); } void serialEvent (Serial myPort) { // get the ASCII string: String inString = myPort.readStringUntil(‘\n’); if (inString != null) { // trim off any whitespace: inString = trim(inString); // convert to an int and map to the screen height: float inByte = float(inString); inByte= (inByte-512)*graphScale+512; yPos = map(inByte, 0, 1023, 0, height); //yPos = yPos*graphScale-height/graphScale; // draw the line: }

} void keyPressed() { if (key == ‘ ‘){ if(record==true) record=false; else{ record=true; recordEndTime =0; } } if (key == ENTER || key == RETURN) { record=true; recordEndTime=millis()+recordTime*1000; } }

Electromagnets We were using neodymium magnets for our initial experiments, but we were largely limited by the size of the connections we could make. The strength of the neodymium magnets decreases with distance, whilst “normal” ceramic magnets are comparatively weaker at the poles but stronger than neodymium magnets away from the poles. We also needed the ability to control the power of the magnets through time, and we needed to especially have the option to turn off the magnetic force whilst moving to the next position. This led us to the decision to use electromagnets. At the first attempt, we used industrial electromagnets but unfortunately they are designed for maximising the strength at a very close distance and were thus unsuitable for our experiments. We therefore made our own analysis of electromagnets and used the hall effect sensor previously described. The conclusion of our analysis led us to construct a long iron core with a large base (also of iron) wired with copper wire AWG 18 (7mm diameter). The final electromagnet has been made of an iron core of 1kg, 20cm radius X 10cm high; and 1Kg of copper wire creating a core of approximately 1800 turns. This electromagnet is able to hold 0.8 Amp in continuous use and upto 1.6 Amp in part time use (as we did in our experiments). The resistance of the coil is 15 Ohm, so we used a power supply of 24V, 3.2A for our experiments.



Gravity One of the main characteristics of magnetic architecture is that it, in a way, defies the laws of gravity. Magnetic force takes precedence to gravitational force and aids in the creation of structures along the magnetic lines of force. Gravity, however, does play an extremely important role in the formation of connections between magnets. Through our research we have made certain observations regarding this. They are as follows: • While attempting to make a material connection between two magnets aligned along a horizontal axis, the effect of gravity causes the material align itself along the lower magnetic lines of force thus appearing as a ‘sag’ in the connection. • There is a relation between the amount of sagging observed and the distance between the two horizontal magnets. They are directly proportional. Beyond a certain distance (125 mm with our current electromagnets) the connection fails to form as the magnetic force is too weak in the centre to hold any particles of the material. • There is also a relation between the effect of gravity and the inclination of the axis of the magnets with respect to the horizontal plane. They are directly proportional as well. The more vertical the connection, the less gravity affects it. The sagging clearly defines the aesthetic of every horizontal or inclined connection. Thus in a structure which is a 3d network of connections (such as one of our final models), there is a play of gravitational and magnetic force and it can be easily deciphered which connections have been made vertically and which horizontally just from the aesthetic. It is as if the two forces were at war; one winning over the other depending on the verticality or horizontality of the connection. The sagging of horizontal connections can be constructively used to form a foundation of sorts on which the entire structural network could rest.



Grasshopper A different approach to understanding the way material behaves in a magnetic field. Instead of simulation the particles (iron filings or magnetite obtained from black sand) this simulation focused more on the range to which the particles where able to connect to one another. Numerical values obtained from previous material deposition experiments allowed us to develop a simulation in which the movement of the magnets and the distance between them allowed us to understand in very basic visual terms if the connection between columns was being formed or not by adding material. It also allowed us to understand the use of electromagnets and their power changing qualities and the ways in which this affected column formation at different sizes and distance settings.



Material deposition nozzle In order to digitally control the extrusion of our magnetic mixture, a two way depositing system had to be created. Since the main material consists of a fast drying plastic resin the complexity of the nozzle rallied on the fact that both parts needed to be mixed properly and in equal amounts in order for the resin to solidify properly and within time. Extrusion and solidification inside of the pipes represented the main issues to solve. As such, a system was developed that consisted of three plastic tubes, (one for each part of the resin plus an extra tube full of water to clean the system after each use). The plastic resin was mixed with filings and thickening agents, whilst the catalyst was left alone. Both were inside 30cms long acrylic tubes that were communicating with each other through pipes at the bottom, each with its own air pressure valve at the top. The water tube was to be implemented at a later stage in the development process, but it would have connected in a similar way to both tubes, ensuring that no material was able to solidify inside the pipes and clog the system. Why didn’t it work? In principle it seemed like a good idea to develop such a system based on air pressure. However we experienced some problems while trying to extrude the filing/plastic/thickening mixture. The filings were getting compressed by the air pressure, effectively generating non homogenous mixture and clogging the system. This part was more or less solved with the introduction of bigger diameter pipes. The second and most important issue was the mixing of the plastic resin with the catalyst. Extruding equal amounts of catalyst and plastic mixture proved to be a problem of its own, seeing that both liquids had different densities and hence needed different air pressures. Separate valves took care of this problem. However both components need to be mixed thoroughly in order to work. Even with the use of a mixing screw at the end of the system it was impossible to get both components to mix properly. Possible solutions. The deposition nozzle which was much simpler and had just a clear acrylic disposable tube (about 20 mm dia.) in which the completed mixture would be deposited and pushed out using a pushing device.


pressurecontrol control pressure

AIR AIR compressor compressor on/offvalve valve on/off

mmair airtube tube 44mm


H2 0


transparentpvc pvc tube transparent cylinder

on/offvalve valve on/off

mmtube tube 1010mm “Y”connector connector ‘y’ “L”connector connector ‘L’ mixing mixing screw screw




material material connection connection

- SMOOTH-ONSolution SOLUTION A A.-A Smooth-On (plastic) B- SMOOTH-ON SOLUTION B (CATALYST) B.- Smooth-On Solution (catalyst)


Material Research One of the best properties of Magnetic Architecture is its material versatility. Our system enables us to use almost any material in the magnetic field, as long as iron filings, or magnetite is part of the mix. Proof of this is our own material evolution during the development of the project. Concrete, cement, polyester, latex, plastic, wax, clay and resins are only some of the many materials that can be used alone or in combination to make Magnetic Architecture move forward in the building industry. A material that can solidify quickly and able to withstand both compression and tension forces is needed for the development of big scale projects. Hopefully our system of building complex networks and surfaces can develop in more intense material research alongside experts that could help develop the project in a way in which architecture can be built using recycled waste metal and durable light materials. (down to the left concrete latex mixture, down to the right clay mixture) (Right page; top left styrofoam balls mixture, top right wax mixture, middle left polyester mixture, middle right concrete mixture)


Plastic Resin A two component material (resin + catalyst) SmoothCast 325 is a fast drying resin with a certain degree of structural resistance. With and approximate drying time of five minutes for halfway solidification and twenty minutes for whole strength, this material mixes well with the iron filings and is light enough to minimize the effect of gravity when inside of the magnetic field and of the overall structure once it is dry. Two equal parts of plastic resin and catalyst need to be mixed with a certain amount of filings, cement (thickening agent) and magnetite to achieve the optimum viscosity and increase the distance in which the material can be deposited.


Magnetic device (increasing the axis) During our first experiment hacking the CNC machine, we encountered a dramatic limitation on the positioning of these columns. Due to shield orientation, we were able to construct along one axis, with only one type of connection. The idea of this device was to have the minimum parameters to control, (and implement) but at the same time affording maximum liberty of creativity. We wanted a device able to print material connections, independently, and in any position. The device is designed such that it is compatible with both a 3 axis machine, (CNC machine) or a 6 axis machine (universal robot). On this device, the distance between the electromagnets can be changed (thus enabling different sizes of material connections) a deposition nozzle was also intended to move inbetween to create the connections. An electro-valve would permit us to control precisely the amount of material deposited, thereby resulting in control of different thicknesses of connections. Shields have been positioned to protect the electromagnet from the material connections. The possibility to incline these shields in 2 directions and change their overall shaped will allow us to have more accurate connections and extra design parameters. Therefore before going to a 6-axis machine and in order to experiment the full possibility of a network of columns, we decided to add a 4th axis of liberty, i.e. rotation along the Zaxis. This extension was designed to support a weight of up to 20kgs and provide spinning by means of a small stepper motor (2.3



Arduino Control Using an arduino board, we were able to digitally control various parameters in our magnetic device. Both the motor for spinning our device, and the motor that enabled the magnets to close or seperate where controlled using a very simple code. The on/off of the electromagnets and the power supplied to them was also controlled digitally from the computer. This sort of control allowed us to comunicate from computer, to object to machine almost instantly, thus reinforcing a feedback loop that sped up our manufactoruing process and allowed us to understand machinic behaviour.



Disposable system nozzle Conception: Due to the failure of the initial material deposition system it was decided that another simpler system should be devised to deposit the material. The intention to do so was based on the fact that we still needed a tube movable along the axis of the magnets to consistently deposit the material. Working: This nozzle comprised of 2 main parts - the disposable transparent plastic tube (20 mm diameter) which acted as the main shaft into which the fully prepared material would be fed and its cage - which afforded strength to the tube and ensured its connectivity to the device. Originally it was envisioned that an arduino controlled open and close fixture would regulate the release or stoppage of material from the tube but this idea was quickly discarded due to lack of time and complication issues. We used a piece which was a stick fixed with a rubber plug at one end to shove the material down the tube once deposited. Problems: The material, being already mixed with the catalyst, solidified along the walls of the plastic tube, which had to be changed every 3-4 deposits. Stringent washing norms had to be followed after every material deposit. This was time consuming and labour intensive. There were issues with connecting this nozzle to the device (due to missing axes) and the whole process became manual. The original intention was to have this system completely automated but time and material constraints made this extremely difficult. Conclusions: The messy and tedious nature of the process surrounding this nozzle forced us to go back to what we knew best - feeding the material with a spoon. We found this to be the best way to manually deposit the material and also concluded that there was little or no impact on the formation of the connections due to change in the method of deposition.



Shield design When ensuring connection within the structure, the design of the shield attached to the electromagnet becomes primordial. The shape influences the amount of material that can be accumulated at the poles, as well as the angles in which you can connect to diffrent columns. Colision is also a critical factor in shield design. So far, we have designed two shields (images to the right). The spherical shield allows for a wide range of connections while the flat one is great for surfaces. However shield design does not stop there and we have developed a series of sketches to present future options in shield design. Arguably the best shield would be a flexible one, able to morph according to the structure being built.



Artificial Vision Incremental Computing



Incremental Computing Within the context of a self-organizing material system such as ours, towards the last phase of the project, certain questions were presented regarding how exactly this nature of the material was being exploited to maximize the potential outcome of form and design possibilities. We had already shown that theoretically (and experimentally) we could design and construct any complex surface or 3d network (using a setup similar to the mini manual kuka setup) with the magnetic mixture but somehow this was not the only line of research that was to take its course. This process did not take into account the fact that the material was actually self-computing, unpredictable and self-aligning within its magnetic setup. We were presented with a challenge – how could we, as architects, define the environment within which the material could compute itself – where each connection determined what the next one would be? How could we make a system like this work - one which was almost impossible to simulate due to the ad-hoc nature of arrangement of particles within the magnetic field? After deep contemplation and application of logical thinking we came up with a set of rules that a system such as above should incorporate in order to have a chance of working. The rules are as follows:

Rules After understanding the typologies of forms and connections that would be possible, the focus was shifted to creating 3 dimensional networks and two dimensional surfaces using the magnetic methodology. The realization that we would be able to build complex three dimensional networks using predefined trajectories encouraged us to start investigating a system that was set up such that the self assembling material computes the structure to be built depending on the external form of each element. Getting live feedback through our artificial vision components the information obtained was to be transformed into rules of proportion, direction, stability and growth related to the micro scale( single element) and the macro scale(whole structure). This idea of incremental computing allowed us to fully exploit the material’s primordial capacity of self assembly withing a magnetic field and posed the question; if the material assembles itself, then why not have a structural system that builds itself? The rules developed to code such behaviour where derived from basic parameters outputed by the single element (Crown formation, material used, length, structureal capabilities?) and overall parameters (macro scale) such as: beginning and end settings, time, total material in stock, paths and structural capabilities).


3d Network Define the starting and ending points A and B. Define wether tehstart and end points are dots, line or planes. Assess wether it is necesarry to define additional points between A and B. Define wether they are anchored or free santindg. Define how much load the structure need to withstand. (selfweight or additional loads).

Define the minimum and maximum (range) distance between magnets for the formation of a single element of the structure. The length of a singular elementent is inversely proportional to the structural density. Density of the structure is brought about by: maximum number of connections, minimium angle of ratation and, maximum thcikness of elemtns and maximum material volume.


In order to implement some of the rules we’ve previously discussed it was imperative that we had some sort of live input from the material that was being deposited. Artificial vision seemed to be the answer to this problem. By installing a camera that looked directly into the area in which printing was taking place, the camera was able to take pictures in real time and hence give us feedback to generate a code that was incremental, depending at all times from the information gathered by the camera, and making small changes in the overall structure.

Surface Each element of the surface must touch or be connected to the next one at both its crowns. If the distance between the crowns is beyond a certain distance “x” then a connecting structure will need to be built between them using one magnet

Define the maximum and minimum distance (range) between the centers of susequent elements. Thi is directly proportional to the density of the structure and the amount of material deposited.


Artificial Vision In order to implement some of the rules we’ve previously discussed the need for live feedback from our structure was of uttermost importance. As such we’ve incorporateda camera into our nozzle in such a way that we can read and record our structures as their going. This way, the incremental computing part is solved by a continuos loop in which the camera reads the material already deposited, the computer acts upon it, material is deposited and then it is read again.


Establish a set distance between two points (A n B) In this example: Point A = 0,0,0 Point B = 0, -100,0 These points represent the position of each electromagnet. Point A1 (0, 0, 0)

Point B1 (0, -100, 0)

-Create points withing the area of the built connection. From that we can create a mesh whose tpography is directly linked to teh silhuette. We then proceed to extract this points that have a certain Z value. These points will give us a numerical density at the material. Seperate the points of the built connection into two areas (A n B)

Point A1

Point B1 Area B

Because the next connection has to be attached to the previous one created, the first decision process to be testes will be which magnet stays behind to establish that connection. So we need to compare the amount of pointts in Area A vs Area B

Area A

The red line represents the first connection we will test. The blue lines represent all the possibilites for the next connection to happen. The purple lines represent the total number of possibilites of the third connection. In this example, we can see that to get from one end to the other, three connections is the minimum. Here the points are organized in 10% increments.


Final Sketch



6 axis Universal Robot Increasing Scale and Complexity



Predefined Trajectories Apart from the incremental way of constructing within a particular space there is also another line of research that we pursued – this one was to do with modelling a predefined form in a virtual environment, be it a surface or 3d network or a combination of both, and then generating a KUKA simulation via g-code to see exactly how this predefined trajectory would be constructed. This system is envisioned to be something which has much more precision and regularity of outcome. The sample geometry choosen to experiment this approach was a cantilever surface of 1meter long. From the surface, we generated (via grasshoper) a 3D network folowing the overall shape. The line are then interpreted by a python script that create an ordered Gcode (taking in account positioning and collision). A same process have been used to generate a gcode for the interior of surface, using circles.... However, in a completely automated setup there are a number of factors that will greatly influence the g-code that would drive the construction using the KUKA robot + customized electromagnetic device attachment + material deposition system. Some of them are as follows: • Size of the device and accessibility • Collision considerations • Material mixture time • Material deposition technique • Material setting time • Consideration of time the electromagnets can be on due to overheating • Column formation failure considerations import rhinoscriptsyntax as rs from sandforming import * from Line_class import * security_offset=400 krl = KrlScript(“MA_kukaTOPLINES”, offset = (0,0,0)) linesPath = rs.GetObjects(“Pick the lines”, 4, True) arrPlanes = [] for i in range(len(linesPath)): krl.add_str(“;Line n.”+str(i)) #Comment in GCode line = Line(linesPath[i]) plane = rs.PlaneFromFrame(line.midPoint, line.tangent, [0,0,1]) plane = rs.RotatePlane(plane, 270, plane.XAxis) arrPlanes.append(plane) plane = rs.MovePlane(plane,plane.Origin+plane.ZAxis*security_offset) krl.move(plane) #safe position plane = rs.MovePlane(plane,plane.Origin-plane.ZAxis*security_offset) krl.move(plane) #in position #krl.set_anout(10,line.length) #output distance krl.add_str(“;Distance : “+ str(line.length-100)) #wait movement and seting tool krl.add_str(“HALT”) #wait movement and seting tool plane = rs.MovePlane(plane,plane.Origin+plane.ZAxis*security_offset) krl.move(plane) #back to safe position


import rhinoscriptsyntax as rs class Line(object): def __init__(self,crv): self.crv = crv self.midPoint = rs.CurveMidPoint(crv) self.orient = rs.VectorUnitize(self.midPoint) param = rs.CurveClosestPoint(self.crv,self.midPoint) self.tangent = rs.CurveTangent(self.crv,param) self.length = rs.CurveLength(self.crv) if __name__==”__main__”: crv = rs.GetObject() c = Line(crv) print c.tangent






Surface/dome Since the beginning of the research, we had always been using two magnets that were apart from each other to make material connections between them. Once we had a fast-setting material mixture of considerable strength, it became possible to use the weaker magnetite in this mixture instead of iron filings. Also, it became possible to use a mould (separator between the magnet and the material) to create a continuous surface using just one magnet. With reference to the diagram below, the methodology of creating, for example, a curved surface using a domical mould is relatively simple. It involves fixing the magnet at the desired starting point and incrementally moving it such that there is an overlap between every subsequent material deposition and its previous one. This way one can create either networks or surfaces of a predetermined nature. The dome shaped sample is a result of this process.




Final Model Logics being followed for construction of final model (in no specific order of importance):

_ Continuity of surface formed by domical shields

_ Limitations of accessibility with the electromagnetic device (collision avoidance)

_ Movement and control pattern of KUKA robot - ease of positioning

_ Structural considerations - supports, ties, strengthening

_ Maintaining centre of gravity (avoidance of toppling)

_ Achieving a certain height

_ Size of the connections (horizontal & vertical)





Future process Back to our original idea of material recollection, we envision a not so distant futre in which the whole extent of the industrial world will be at our hands. This means using the magnetic cranes already set up in junkyards all over the world to help us collect metal waste either directly from the junkyard or from black sand beaches. Whether it is grinding or filtering from sand, the magnetic material could then be mixed with with the chosen material for solidification and structure, and then deposited through a nozzle quite similar to the one we built.


Two paths = One cycle PATH 1: Material: Our process started with the material investigation. We always started with iron filings or magnetite. These materials could be found naturally or through a recycled process. Essentially we concluded that there were so many mixtures that worked with our process that it was the time of solidification that really narrowed down our investigation. A liquid plastic compound ended being our final choice. Research: Obtain the exact location of deposits of both recycled iron and magnetite. Enhance the collection process. Magnetite can surely be gathered and filtered a lot more efficiently than we have achieved. Material Behavior: Material behavior is just the simple understanding of the decided mixture’s viscosity, time of solidification and structural capacity of the final formation. Viscosity is important during the deposition phase; less viscous material tends to be difficult to manage when placing the material in the field and too viscous material makes the nozzle controlling the material easy to clog and malfunction. The time of solidification depends not only on the exact material’s ingredients but also on the environmental temperature. Clay, plastic, and concrete can all be used in our process but each have their own solidification problems. The intengrity of the final formation depends on the ratio of iron filings to magnetite. The filings tend to make very sharp spikes at the end of each formation where as the magnetite tends to be more dull. Research: Is there a way to manipulate material to perform a certain way and to adjust to our optimum conditions? In the initial phase, concrete and plastic seemed to work very well together. What about the spike formation, can they come into use? Shields / Connections: The design of the shields was one of the first obstacles in achieving flexibility within the additive description of our process. In order to make certain connections, the design of the shield had to be very specific. Some shields however could make more than one connection. Research: This research is never ending, always introducing new ways of connecting geometries. Even current connections, shapes, and physics equations can be overlapped into creating new designs for the shape between the electromagnet and the material itself. Artificial Vision: Because our material was expressing an end form that could not be computed, we simplified the understanding of the magnetic field to scan the formation of the material after being deposited with artificial vision. We created laws for so that when a certain kind of formation occurred the next movement knew how to connect to the last and how to proceed forward. artificial vision was just a glimpse of what we want to achieve at the micro scale.


Research: Artificial vision itself needs to jump into 3D scanning first. Then a search for other possible sensorial devices and laws connected to decision making for the robotic step by step movement designed for each sensor is required.

Final Form: The final form is a combination of paths set by these laws towards a predefined ending point. Problem was that we were missing the consideration of the final product and the consideration of the program of architecture. We realized we have been analyzing from the micro to obtain a final result in macro scale, so we had to change our starting points. PATH 2: Predetermined Form / Spatial Parameters: Within an existing site constraint and necessity for certain spaces we can give building basic “blobs” of spatial constraints that exist in every architectural project. Form Analysis: In order to optimize our building processes, we inteded the use of software which could allow us to determine where to deposit the material and the amounts and viscosity of said material needed. Research: To develop a program in which we can input all of the spatial constraints, enviromental, material and structural so that we can fully optimize our building process. Material: Depending on the program or environmente different kinds of material will be needed. Analyzing material will provide us with the densities best suited for this job. Shields / Connections: Assuring the process that the correct molds are created for those connections to hapen and develop a path to sequentialize the order of formation. Final Form: The missing link here is that the material has a certain expression that this process is not listening to. When there is a predetermined formation position it is not guaranteed that the deposition will act at 100%. For instance, if the predetermined angle for the next connection is 60 degrees there might not be enough material deposited at the origin of rotation, there might only be enough for a 45 degree angle maximum therefore during construction this process will fail without notice, however these connections must be achieved.


Theory The Theory can we introduce artificial vision and sensorial input into PATH 2 or introduce Form analysis into PATH 1? Having both paths coexisting in one is only a matter of intense coding. When complete, we will have a system in which the micro analysis of materiality and movement and the macro analysis of structure and environmental conditions can be considered simultaneously. This can be a true multi scalar approach to design. We can now adjust the slider of scale within parameters such as : shape, geometry, shields, material and robotic movement, and within design fitnesses such as : program, structure, environment, cost and time. Magnetic architecture is so relevant to this theory that we allow for the most flexibility with the additive process that we are able to move in certain angels and positions that most if not every cannot achieve. Not only because of the 6 axis rotation we have, but also because the force of the magnetic field tends to ignore and play with gravity giving us a great advantage when put into use. At this point the role of the designer is simple, there are two spectrums of design. The first is creating and developing laws within artificial sensors for logic on incremental movement. The second is organizing specific spatial constraints ( where can we build and were can we not build). At the end of the magnetic architectural research we hope to achieve magnetic intelligence. Magnetic intelligence exists when the cycle becomes complete but there is no set path anymore, where we can have any starting point and jump around. Essential it would be its unique program with its unique robot, turning Magnetic Architecture into Magnetic Intelligence.