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INTRODUCTION Opened in 2001, the Eden Project, designed by architect Nicholas Grimshaw, is located in the United Kingdom. The complex is composed of a number of geodesic domes that house plant species from around the world, each dome recreating a natural biome. The domes are made out of hundreds of hexagons plus a few pentagons that connect the whole construction. The biomes are constructed from a tubular steel space-frame (hextri-hex) with mostly hexagonal external cladding panels made from the thermoplastic ETFE. The structure is completely self-supporting, with no internal supports, and takes the form of a geodesic structure. The panels vary in size up to 9 meters across, with the largest at the top of the structure.

STEPS TO GENERATE MODEL STEP 1: Generation of bubble form

STEP 2: Generation of hexagonal cell form

STEP 3: Generation of hexagonal frame structure

ARGUMENTATION FOR SELECTED PROGRAMS In order to generate the Eden Project, I will rely on three programs. Firstly, I must use Solid Edge because it was my assigned program to begin the semester with. Solid Edge is useful because I can import .JPEG files and sketch over them to generate my model. I will then import the model into Sketchup and utilize the Soap Skin and Bubble plugin to generate the model. This tool is perfectly suited to generate the bubble structure of the Eden Project. Finally, I will import the Sketchup model into Rhino and generate a Grasshopper script that will produce the hexagonal structure of the Eden Project.

STEP 1: GENERATION OF BUBBLE FORM The first step in creating the bubble form was drawing the outline of the shapes. This was achieved in Solid Edge. The base image was first imported into Solid Edge. Then the sketch operation was Selected to draw the outline.

IMPORT INTO SKETCHUP This data was then imported into Sketchup to take advantage of the Soap Skin and Bubble plugin which allows users to create and modify tensile structures. Moreover, it allows for the generation of a curved surface. In the case of the Eden Project, the Soap Skin and Bubble plugin is perfectly suited to the generation of this model.

IMPORT THE MODEL INTO RHINO The model is imported into Rhino as a mesh. In order to apply the hexagonal component, the model must be rebuilt as a surface. With this script, the mesh is transformed into a surface.

STEP 2: GENERATION OF HEXAGONAL CELL FORM The generation of a geodesic sphere was accomplished by finding a Grasshopper script online. In Step 3, the geodesic sphere script is slightly modified to generate the desired result.

STEP 3: GENERATION OF HEXAGONAL FRAME STRUCTURE The geodesic sphere script is slightly modified by adding a pipe element to the end of the script. By its addition, the desired hexagonal structural form is generated.

FINAL BUBBLE STRUCTURE The final look of the bubble clusters in Rhino.


HOW COULD THE EDEN PROJECT DESIGN IMPROVE With the advent of advanced scripting, the look of the Eden Project could be modified to respond to different external stimuli. For example, you could create a surface similar to the Eden Project and bring the model into Ecotect and analyze incident solar radiation throughout the day and seasons. You then will obtain values which can be put into the script. In this way, you would have created a new surface: the size of the openings would be generated by the incident solar radiation value on that face though out the day.

CONCLUSION The generation of the Eden Project was able to be intelligently generated through the use of the carefully chosen software. The program with the biggest influence was the Sketchup Soap Skin and Bubble plugin. The Soap Skin and Bubble plugin allowed me complete control over the data I was able to input to generate the model as well as offer a real time generation of the model which allowed instant feedback which made the design process more fluid and time efficient.

APPENDIX Geodesic sphere script Eden Project main page Eden Project

Generating the Eden Project using Solid Edge, Sketchup and Rhino Grasshopper