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Swarm intelligence in urban scale

Developing the projet using nonlinear design methodologies that operate through multi-agent algorithms. Focusing on the swarming intelligence of termites and ants and their collective decentralized control and self-organization.

Master in Advanced Architecture 2012-2013

Adaptive bridge Emergent Territories RS1

Hulda J贸nsd贸ttir Mehran Davari Dolatabadi


Master in Advanced Architecture 2012-2013

Adaptive Bridge Emergent territories rs1

STUDENTS Hulda J贸nsd贸ttir Mehran Davari Dolatabadi

FACULTY Hernan Diaz Alonso Willy Muller Maite Bravo


INDEX Swarm intelligence 1

Excavated City

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Termites and swarming 2

Adaptive Bridge

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Ants and swarming Aggregation Site Experimenting with component Swarming on site Reaching further with components Structural skin Plans and sections Project images 3

Physical modeling

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Experimenting with materials

Eventual References

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Swarm Intelligence

Swarm intelligence research deals with natural and artificial systems composed of many individuals that are coordinated using decentralized control and self-organization. Swarm intelligence is not an attempt to mimic nature but to explore the generative potential of swarm logic. This is a project to embrace complexity and to develop non-linear design that operates through multi-agent algorithms, generating an emergent architecture. In particular, it focuses on the collective behaviors that result from the local interactions of the individuals with each other and with their environment. Examples of systems studied in this field are for example colonies of ants and termites. In our research we are precisely focusing on those two natural creatures.

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01 - Excavated City

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Ants and termites and their excellent construction capabilities are far more complex and efficient than anything that we could ever find in the current state of manufacturing. Ants and termites are both examples of swarm intelligence but they behave differently. Termites use their behaviour to make a structure whereas ants use themselves to design a methodology to make a structure. See pictures 1A and 1B. While researching about those creatures we discovered the rules of this complex and efficient decentralized control and self-organization. Could these rules be extracted, analysed and with the correct material and technology, be applied by humans in new territories? This bottom-up approach of research explores the application of agent- based methodologies to path finding for form making.

1A

1B

1A. Bridge structure made by ants. 1B. Termite tower, excavation.

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01 - Excavated City

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Excavated City

Cube

Interior view 01 Agents

Agents behaviour

Interior view 02

Termites and swarming Behaviour application

The main idea of this project was to design with swarm intelligence in an urban scale in the city of Barcelona. After studying swarming in nature we chose termites‘ behaviour for this project. Termites are the only creatures that have this system of creating structure with their behaviour. Looking closer at the termite architecture, we notice that they make towers, both on the ground and underground. We extracted this behaviour and we use it to act as a formal concept. Creating space with the existing context without adding on top of the city. In this project we achieved our forms with the process shown in picture 01, a diagram showing the interaction between a finite space (cube) and the swarming behaviour of agents. And it shows the iterations of this development.

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Form development

Interior view 03

02 01. Form development, swarming in a finite space. 02. Form behaviour of a finite space according to time.

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Our ambition was to question the hierarchies that operate within the design process as well as those that are defined within the resultant buildings. Consequently multi-agent systems help to develop and negotiate between sets of conflicting desires relating to program, form and structure. This solution of the sequential nature of architectural design began to generate complexity and a set of intensive formal affects.

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04 03 / 04. Final images, Excavated City.

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Adaptive Bridge

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Ants and swarming

Looking closer at ants and their swarm intelligence. Their collective behavior of decentralized, self organized system. Resulting from the local interactions of the individuals with each other and with their environment. This behaviour of the ants allows them to solve their problems by aggregation. This system allows the ants to have an hierarchy and roles for each ant within their community. When heading out for food collecting the Pathfinders find the shortest and best path to take. They find obstacles on the route. Another set of ants come to fix the problem, fill the holes or build a bridge over the gaps so the food collectors can reach the maximum efficiency.

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3A Looking closer at ANTS and their swarm intelligence. Their collective behavior of decentralized, self organized system.

See these living bridges, how some ants are sacrificed for the others. Scientists say that the ants, building the bridge with their bodies, suffer a lot when the other ants pass across, but they endure and resist like a real bridge. The ants are chosen with care in the appropriate sizes to sacrifice in building the bridge resulting in a clear benefit for the society as a whole. They experiment several times before building the bridge, they must find the good size and the strength that can bear the ants on the back.

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Again they try to stretch and are supported by another ant underneath them. This process continues until they almost touch the other side. By that time another ant, or group of ants, will be waiting at the other side to hold and welcome them.

3B

3C

3E 3E. One ant stretches out as much as possible and if it cannot hold or touch the other side another ant climbs over the top.

Long span structure

3F 3F. They link together by biting each others legs and antennas using their mandibles and claws.

3D

3B. The building process takes about 2 or 3 minutes. Foundations: The Weaver ants mass together as they begin their stretch across the chasm, displaying a remarkable team effort to make it back to the nest. 3C. Full stretch: The ants make contact with the other side of the gap. 3D. Strong bridge that only brakes up when disturbed by strong external forces. Shortcut: The bridge is complete, leaving other members of the colony to cross carrying food, nest materials or even smaller ants.

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01 01. Different interconnections (joints), between the ants, creating a structure cabable to hold strong against external forces. IaaC MAA_01

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Aggregation Looking at assembly methods and what system we are to use for our project development, aggregation and self assembly seemed to be the most relevant ones. These two methods are similar in behaviour but are driven by different rules.

Aggregation rules: - Infinite state - No centralized control - Dynamic balanzing - Redundant

Whereas the self assembly system has slightly different rules. Comparing these tvo methods, aggregation seems more relavant for our research. Network of growth

Self Assembly rules: - Decode Assembly Sequence - Programmability of parts - Energy for Actuation - Unredundant

Percentage of Aggregation

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02 02. Designing a bridge according to external forces

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03. This diagram represents the urban swarming, the aggregation of ants (components) acording to time and its needs, showing the Percentage of Aggregation (POA).

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Site

| Bes贸s River | Barcelona | Spain |

The project is situated in and around the Bes贸s River in Barcelona. The river flows along Barcelona metropolitan area, connecting the Catalan Sea and the Mediteranian Sea. The river can have extreme discrepancies in flow due to the Mediterranean climate. The river divides the site into two parts, one being the residential area and the other internal divided by the national highway into the industrial and the agricultural areas. The topography of the site creates a valley with the river forming natural boundaries which govern the activity and form of development at the site.

05 05. Zooming in, showing different views on site.

04 04. Map of a part of Barcelona, indicating site area.

06 06. Important attraction nodes on site.

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The site divides into three different caracteristics, where 31% of which is residents, 29% industry and 40% mountains and nature. All of these characteristics are isolated from one another. The site offers possibilities but its main problem is the lack of accessibility, both for public transport, cars, bicycles and pedestrians. In order to pass from one side of the river to the other, one might have to travel for up to an hour to reach one‘s destination, even though the river measures only 25m, in diameter. By ameliorating this problem of accessibility the site in the suburbs of Barcelona city will regain its potentials.

07 07. Characteristics on site.

08 08. Problem on site | Shortest path from point A to point B? |

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Experimenting with components First approach to design a component for the aggregation. Developing different formations, trying to reach maximum capacities. Starting with a wooden 2D component, which was interesting for its assembly but from there we generated a multisurface component with a higher performance for its higher complexity. Still we developed it further and generated a variation of components. All in the same family but with different value of density. Resulting in a proposal for a structure.

10 10. Physical model assembly, 1st approach. Formation of aggregation with one repetitive component.

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09. Physical model assembly, according to Percentage of Aggregation (POA).

11. Physical model assembly, 1st approach to reach a component. 2D component, material: wood 4 mm.

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2nd approach, generated a 3D multisurface component to increase the performance. Formation of aggregation still with one repetitive component.

3rd approach. Developing the component further 3D multisurface component, generated in grasshopper to reach variation in density. Resulting in starshape component in various scales and thickness as well as material density.This component has very high performance in aggregation for its capacities to accroach one to the other with its arms.

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14 14. 3rd approach. Assembled component resulting in a structure.

13 12. Results of 2nd approach 13. Generating components

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Component development and different formations

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17. Structure lines

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16 15. Generating component 16. Schematic section of aggregated structure.

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Swarming on site

Commercial offices

Parking Centre espeleol贸gic Agriculture land

We found the important nodes on site for starting points. We use processing as a tool of design to connect these nodes together, creating a network of connection according to the swarm behaviour (cohesion alignment and separation). Using the river as an attraction point for this system. Allowing the starting points to create a network of lines resultin in a system that can continue infinitely.

Parking Traffic junction Factory

Jail

Educational institute & public transport

Consequently we have a system that works according to time and external forces for the urban scale.

N

Club recreation

18 18. Important NODES on site, the starting points of the Pathfinders. 99% POA

10% POA

99% POA

30% POA 50% POA

30% POA

50% POA

50% POA

30% POA

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POA = Percentage of aggregation

19. Pathfinders on site, finding the optimal path. 70% POA

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20 20. Swarming in time from the attraction points to an infinite state.

21 21. Structure formation according to time.

Tehcnically, applying this system to the exact map of Barcelona and connecting the processing map to Grashopper with the help of Ghowl we manage to record the trace of agents in to the city and use this trace for creating a structure acording to the informations recived from the city. (see picture 20) With a symple rule of triangulation, in grasshopper, on the traces we got from processing we achived a triangulated structure that also works acording to time and external forces. (picture 21) And this structure becomes the basement to get closer towards the component. This triangulatet structure allowes us to apply surface on it to genarate a system containing the nodes (starting points) resaulting in a complex continous surface. 22 22. Surface development 34

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Reaching further with the component

An objective was to get a component from the structure so that they function paralel as one system, which means with changes in the structure the components change. With our system we needed to achive a variation of components that could change according to the structure. Consequently we tried to experiment with different components, digitally and physically, looking for the best solution and the best component that we can extend to the whole structure to get one structure with unlimited variation of components with a simple rule of triangulation. (picture 23) As shown in this diagram all the components have very compact and closed structure which is not sufficient for the city and the complex structure and therefore was not our desire so we developed it further to reach for a component with different proportions. More surface and less density. (picture 24)

23 23. Variation of formation of component, increasing complexity. Measured in perentage of aggregation (POA).

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24. Formation of final component according to the triangulated srtucture. Steps 2, 12, 18, 24, 32 & 38.

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Cell

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System

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25 25. Cells, Different variations from the triangulated structure

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26 26. System, Different variations from the triangulated structure

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Structural skin

The structural skin is a membrane covering the project in various places, in order to create “bubbles� in interior volumes. This skin is a transparent membrane that covers the gaps in the structure according to the density of flows. More density of flow = more skin = more volume

28 28. Structural diagram of the skin structure on one formation of single coponent.

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29 29. Renders of one formation of a single component. 27. Map of skin structure densification on site.

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Plans and sections

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30 30. Master plan

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31. Mapping mobillity and connectivity on site.

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A selected part of the master plan and zooming in to the detailed plan of one single component. 32

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32. Section of a selected area where the structure is passing over the Bes贸s River 33. Zoom-in to see more details of one part of the section

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Final Image 01

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Final Image 02

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Final Image 03

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Physical Modeling

Physical modeling

Experimenting with materials

While developing the component we started a paralell process of experimentations with possible materials and material behaviour. First atempt was to make a structure with wire and hemp, applying wax on it, trying to reach a certen thickness around the structure. Secont atempt we made a more complex structure, wraping it with hemp where as we found out that the hemp absorbs the wax better than the wire. Applying wax on this structure gave us a structural mess. While studying wax we did another experiment, poring liquid wax into water. We wanted to see if we could get a formation, resaulting in a component. We also got some interesting resaults. Picture 01 01 56

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Second Experiment

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Physical Modeling

Third Experiment

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REFERENCES Special thanks to : Louis E. Fraguada Elmira Shirvani

SWARM INTELLIGENCE ARCHITECTURES OF MULTI-AGENT SYSTEMS

AD Magazine, Emergence - Morphogenetic

Niel Leach, Roland Snooks 2010

2004

AD Magazine - Material

Self assembly Lab

Computation, March - April 2012

Design Strategies

Skylar Tibbits 2012

www. sjet.us www.selfassembly.net

AD Magazine Digital Cities

Edited by Niel Leach july-august 2009

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Improved.ro Dimitrie A. Stefanescu 2012

www.improved.ro

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valldaura S elf S ufficient Lab

www.iaac.net

fablabbcn.org

www.valldaura.net

Accredited by:

www.upc.edu

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Master in Advanced Architecture 2012-2013 Emergent Territories