Brief A: Natural Systems
Brief A Summary
Brief B: Structure is the Tool
Monument To The ThirdInternational
5 Point Star
Triangle 1 Torsion
Triangle 2 Torsion
Brief B Summary
Brief A: Natural Systems The result of millions of years of evolution, nature could hold the key to unlocking potential solutions within the construction industry. As such, this brief centralises on investigations into the wonders of nature an their inherent structural and design principles. To refine and enhance our remit of exploration we worked in pairs. Each drawing 4 cards, one for the typology (Invertebrates & Reptiles), structural system (Lattice & Branching), purpose (Material Weight, minimum & Environment, heat) and materiality (Wood & Concrete). The forthcoming body of work documents our explorations and analysis before completing in a final piece which adheres to these principles.
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Invertebrates Coccolithophorids â&#x20AC;&#x153;A single-celled marine algae, distinguished from other phytoplankton by an external covering of calcite scales, or coccoliths.â&#x20AC;?
A polyp skeleton is constructed of a corrallite wall and vertical plates radiating from the centre (septo-costae). 1. Septo-costae (which become thickened within the wall) 2. Coenosteum (which forms a sponge-like structure)
4. Sterome (which form a non-porous layer within the wall)
5. Epitheca (which forms a thin non-porous layer on the outside of the wall)
Salps are tunicates (organisms enclosed in a tunic, with openings at each end). They pump water through their bodies, feeding and moving at the same time. Communicating through electrical signals, they can either live alone or in communities.
3. Synapticulae (which are horizontal rods forming a lattice between the septocostae)
They create light by mixing the pigment luciferin with luciferase, the enzyme that makes it glow.
Fungiacyathids are solitary, free and exclusively azooxanthellate. Whilst formed on a flat but slightly concave base, they are always unattached, resting on soft substrates.
A large portion (thought to be between 80-90%) of the deep-dwelling animals are bioluminous.
Gridshell structure within the mesoglea
Dendronephthya hemprichi is part of the Azooxanthellate genus and are heterotrophic organisms, requiring external organic compounds to survive.
These images depict the construction of a sea urchin spine. Made from single-crystal calcite, the intricate morphology of the structure provides not only strength and stiffness but its permeations allow it to form an overall lightweight structure.
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EuplectellaAspergillum The Euplectella Aspergillum, or more commonly known, Venus Flower Basket, is a Genus of glass sponges. Their multilayered skeletal frame provides a fascinating insight into the evolution of over time, adapting to altering conditions and needs. The frame itself can be broken into three layers: The Square Lattice A network of non-planar spicules who form the innermost skeletal frame of the The Diagonal Lattice Set at approximately 45 degrees from the square lattice, this system adds angled supports to prevent bending, shear and torsional loads. The Ridge System Attached to the diagonal lattice structure, the ridges enable the sponge to resist both torsion and ovalisation failures. Whilst growing, the sponge was occupied largely by shrimps, however once it reached its full growing potential the voronoi cover started to form to close the sponge.
Key Square Lattice Diagonal Lattice Ridge System Ridge triangulation panels
RattleSnake The form of the internal elements of the rattlesnake tail was studied. The first experiment was done with plasticto study the formation of the layers of the tail. The elegant over-locking of the layers of keratin forms the tail, which creates a hollow internal structure. The structure allows the rattlesnake to warn of any form of danger when threatened to create awareness of its presence. The several layers create a ‘rattling’ sound if the rattlesnake wiggles it’s tail. The different layers also allows upwards and downwards motion of the rattle.
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The Crocodiles and Lizards from the Reptile type share a similar number of characteristics, mainly being their skeletal structure, with the long spine which connects their body from tail to skull.
The Crotalus Atrox more commonly known as the Rattlesnake, carries a very distance feature: its rattle. The rattle is formed in many layers of Keratin, which is shed every time the snake sheds its skin.
Another typology is the shark skin which is formed of interlocking and over-locking teeth. Each â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;teethâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; folds and forms an over-locking pattern. The forms were studied in a series of models using paper, and put together to experiment on the formation of the pattern and how the structure can be understood to create a structural typology.
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A graptolite was a colony of interdependent nearly identical individuals (Zooids) connected by common tissue. Sharing a common skeleton, the Zooids would individually tailor their pods in order to generate the largest gain in mineral absorption. This makes for a highly individual and ever evolving structure. Although individual, commonalities and general forms can be derived from the existing fossils with tessellating pods (as seen opposite).
Tetragraptus 10mm scale Lower Ordovician
Leptograptus Upper Ordovician
The extreme rate of evolution within the graptolites life span gave way to a wide variety of forms, each tailored to maximising the mineral intake of the Zooid. The most structurally effective evolution was that of the Spirograptus. Its minimalist net-like framework helped to not only reduce weight and prevent sinking but it also helped with the harvesting efficiency. Like most graptolites, the colonial skeleton was made from a scleroprotein.
Connections to other graptolites
To understand the structure of the graptolite and how it was formed I designed a 3d system in grasshopper, allowing me to adjust and control the form and potentially performance of the extinct species.
Anchor to ground?...
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Helix point range
Culled Helix points to generate graptolite form
Planes at normal to curve (location for zooid housing)
Graptolite form - linear
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3DPrints An Inherent spring in both models suggests a lack in compression strength but was probably formed to encourage its movement through the water
Makerbot Graptolite model with support structure left on
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L-Systems Through a closer inspection into the construction of the Graptolites, it was noted that the Zooids reproduce through A-Sexual reproduction. Each constructing its own Fusilli ring before dividing in two and allowing the other Zooid to branch off and do the same. This continual evolution defined the skeleton forms discussed earlier.
Turtle Directions F move forward at distance L(Step Length) and draw a line f move forward at distance L(Step Length) without drawing a line + turn left A(Default Angle) degrees - turn right A(Default Angle) degrees \ roll left A(Default Angle) degrees / roll right A(Default Angle) degrees ^ pitch up A(Default Angle) degrees & pitch down A(Default Angle) degrees | turn around 180 degrees J insert point at this position “ multiply current length by dL(Length Scale) ! multiply current thickness by dT(Thickness Scale) [ start a branch(push turtle state) ] end a branch(pop turtle state) A/B/C/D.. placeholders, used to nest other symbols
In order to try and replicate this system through the computer and generate new forms based on the similar principles, I set about grasping the plugin ‘Rabbit’ for Grasshopper which allows you to recreate natural fractal and branching methods through a series of programmatic routes.
Letters of an L-Systems string can be interpreted as turtle graphic commands, that is to say the movement and transition of the lines corresponds to the commands and letters of a string resulting in a visualisation of the ‘turtles’ path.
Functions within the program do not restrain you to two dimensional movements but they also allow the branching over a full three dimensional rotation. Which when converted from their linear state, can produce varied and precise geometries. Using T-Splines for grasshopper I am able to convert the lines generated in l-system to a solid 3D object
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GraptoliteFramework The Graptolites form of creation, made by the zooids with two half-rings to create a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;criss-cross pattern. The pattern was first investigated by recreating the structure as full solids with the pattern on the left. Furthermore, sections of the pattern were removed to create the same structure but with less material.
ForestDesign We took to plasticine to arrange and develop models to manipulate a basic form and arrangement for a forest of the branches. The attachment of one branch to the next produces a number of structurally efficient combinations.
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TailoringJoinery In order to develop a clean join between branches (zooid housing) we looked at a tailoring as it allows for a fluid passage to branch from one to the other. Middle Right: Traditional Sleeve pattern detail Although this experiment for the joinery was not successful, as it did not achieve the desired connection, being attached only to one component. A quick test model done by removing two components of the tubes showed that a much more simple approach of omission may be a successful way of creating the desired joint.
SingleSurfaceWall To try and develop a structurally integral double curved surface from a single sheet we looked to kerfing. However, rather than using thin cuts to facilitate a curvature, we used larger perforations to test for the lowest required volume of material.
Two different curves cut into top and bottom sheets to mould the sheet into its form.
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Additionally to the wall models, we applied the same rigour to a number of cylindrical tests, experimenting in materiality, density and orientation. We extrapolated the outline of the structural membrane of the graptolite to generate the perforations and find the optimum lightweight, rigid and structurally integral form.
Polypropylene - easily bendable, however, buckled easily
StructuralTesting Extrapolating the outline of the structural membrane of the graptolite we perforated a number of plywood sheets to find the optimum lightweight, bendable and structurally integral form.
no distribution of load
diagonal load distribution
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Further testing using plywood was carried out as we looked t find the optimum combination of material thickness and perforations.
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Branching and L-Systems
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Structure is the Tool
Brief B: Structure is the Tool Having analysed existing structures and designs in nature, this next brief was targeted at identifying structural systems within existing built architectural forms. Assigned Carlo Mollino â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;s furniture I further explored the capabilities and opportunities of forming plywood, before proposing a self supporting single surface helical structure. While reminiscent of the Graptolite form it was developed through an aspiration to refine Vladimir Tatlinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Monument to the Third International, my second architectural precedent.
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CarloMollino Carlo Mollinoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s interests saw him take a mathematical approach to design. Studying skiing techniques and the subsequent marks left in the snow, he turned the sport into physical discussion of barycentres, distribution of weight, balanced movement and angles to the snow. He saw it as examples of fluid arabesque in nature and practiced aerial acrobatics for the same reason. The forthcoming pages identify specific items of furniture designed by Mollino, noting his processes and methods. Attributing models accompany the drawings as I look to learn from and adopt his principles. Below: Progressional development into the structure of his furniture. Minimising the material to create a refined, elegant and efficient piece.
Low table in sculpted and polished natural wood. Commissioned by J Singer.
Above: Low table with rotated top and shelf in thick veined marble, with three metal supports held in the centre by knotted ties. Opposite: Sketch illustrating aeroplane acrobatics Below: Low table made from a continuous piece of plywood
The truss-like form resulting from the looped plywood increases the compression strength. This is further enhanced by connecting the glass to the edge of the plywood, rather than the face where it is more likely to deform.
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Desk Desk in continuous curved plywood with a trestle structure, central drawer and a shaped tempered glass top. Originally designed for the Casa Editrice Lattes publishing house in 1951, a single piece was produced for the Istituto di Cooperazione Sanitaria c.1952.
2 Most deformation
3 Least deformation
Single sheet form testing
SkeletalTable Table with curved and polished natural maple plywood structure, brushed brass joints and a top in tempered glass. c1950 Mechanism for holding the glass table top influenced and inspired by the human vertebrae and bone structure.
Table with a structure composed of a single continuous piece of polished natural maple plywood. Produced for the Casa Editrice Lattes publishing house in 1951. The compression of the glass is equalised by the inherent nature of the plywood to â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;unrollâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, producing a balanced solution.
Mollino sketch showing potential flat sheet
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FabricationProccess Singer & Sons commissioned. Low table made from a single sheet of plywood and formed using the mould and counter mould in the Apelli & Varesio workshop. c1950. While the previous method of kerfing facilitated a bend without changing the materials state, this method required soaking or steaming to make the plywood workable.
LightweightStructure Prototype low table composed of a single continuous piece of curved and polished natural maple plywood with a top and shelf in shaped tempered glass attached to the base. c.1950 Bottom image: Variations of Mollinoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tables
Again, the truss system is employed as a minimal surface and is tested in the formwork.
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Single Sheet Manipulation
Movement as a generator for the aesthetic
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VladimirTatlin The Monument to the Third International Inspired by Paris’s Eiffel Tower and Athanasius Kircher’s seventeenth-century representation of the Tower of Babel, Tatlin designed this monument to mark the end of the Russian Revolution. Unfortunately never built, the design served as a symbol for utopian thought and, through its proposed use of iron, steel and glass, stood as an inspiration for modern architecture. This study explores Tatlin’s design and its envisioned purpose and structural mechanisms.
A: In the form of a cube, moves on its axis at the speed of one revolution a year and is intended for legislative purposes. Here may be held conferences of the International, meetings of international congresses and other broadly legislative meetings.... B: In the form of a pyramid, rotates on its axis at the speed of one full revolution a month and is intended for executive functions (the Executive Committee of the International, the secretariat and other administrative and executive bodies). C: Rotating at a speed of one revolution a day, is intended to be a resource centre for the following facilities: an information office; a newspaper; the publication of proclamations, brochures and manifestos.
Plan view of the perimeter circles
Direction of outer spiral rings
An arch is used to evenly distribute the load of the supporting structure for the spirals.
Simple truss system used for the spiral support structure
MonumentToTheThirdInternational Each of the geometric elements (halls) remain within the perimeter of the base (as can be seen opposite) and are supported by a large sloping strut. Additionally, the strut provided rigidity for the spirals, counteracting their spring like tendency to compress. It connects with each of the spirals twice and with each of the halls.
Centralised axes for A, B & C halls thinner, lightweight structure to the top
load transferred through the vertical members of the strut and then along the diagonal members to the base Horizontal bracing from the main spiral to support structure helps to prevent compression of the springs
thicker, heavier structure to the bottom
Online image of model
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To test whether it would be possible to remove the strut employed by Tatlin in the Monument to the Third International, I made a number of models, extrapolating the prominent spirals and then applying a single sheet to bridge the two.
ShellLace The design studio leaders, Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu have spent a number of years testing and exploring the possibilities of a structural technique they have coined â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Shell Laceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. Deconstructing the underlying principles of shells and their gained strength from an optimisation of curvilinear geometry, Shell Lace Structure proposes five main processes for construction; curvature, corrugation, distortion, stiffening and perforations. The results of these techniques sees flat sheet geometry turned into three dimensional, lightweight yet structural forms.
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The script below has been designed to take a single surface and increase its structural integrity through corrugation and diagonal bracing. It is the anticipation that it will provide a similar purpose to the truss system identified in Tatlinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Tower, but through its inter-connectivity, will negate the need for the strut.
Horizontal lines kept the circular form, however it lay flat as there were no supporting vertical members
The verticality of the connections make it unrollable and as such acted like and unsupported single surface.
Although more of a twist and a steeper angle on the connections, it still tended to react like a flat surface
I applied the script previously made for the curved wall to the surface constructed from the spirals of Tatlinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Tower. Each of the tests showed strength and solidarity in one direction, however, they did not support themselves.
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IntersectingTests With each of the tests identifying structural strength in a specific direction, I believe that by combining them to create the faceted and cross-corregated surface as shown in the included diagrams, it would work as a self supported system. However, the multitude of material needed for this would not help to devise an efficient solution so my forthcoming tests will focus of a torsion member and monocoque structure. Right: Combined plan Below: Combined elevation
To test for a variety of forms and shapes to create a self supporting torsion spiral I developed a couple of grasshopper3d scripts. The first (below) shows a simple flow of one shape along the mid-point curve extrapolated from the surface previously associated to Tatlinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s spirals. The purpose of this test was to experiment with varying shapes and thicknessâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s to determine a buildable form.
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3 2 1
Solid form generation
multiple corrugations derived from the previous single surface explorations of Tatlinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Monument
3 Offset for perforation locations
Distance point to determine perforation size
4 Perforation locations
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Solid form generation
An attempt to refine the construction to just three surfaces whilst still performing as a self supporting structure
3 Offset for perforation locations
4 Perforation locations
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Solid form generation
Refinement so as to have the structure â&#x20AC;&#x2122;growâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; from the ground, negating the need for the initial vertical direction as shown in 5point and Triangular1
3 Offset for perforation locations
4 Perforation locations
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These analytical drawings demonstrate the structural properties of a simple torsion structure and then also the helix structure previously made. Two loads are applied, gravity and wind in order to show the structural forces at play and how, through tension and compression members in weaving this can be resolved.
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CurvatureAnalysis As the monocoque structure peaks, the triangle shrinks to account for the weight distribution. As a result the curvature tightens, providing a more stable and rigid form. While harder to construct it is more likely to reduce form deformation over time.
The point at which the panels meet forms an awkward junction. By refining the spline where they meet a far more subtle could be achieved and make manufacturing easier
In trying to achieve a smooth connection with the ground, one that morphs from the landscape, I have rather forced the connection. This shows in the curvature analysis as the material is under much more stress. This will of course impact largely on the distribution of forces and connection to foundations.
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