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  • InformedForm: Articulated Tensions

    InformedForm — Articulated Tensions
    calgary CANADA

    The 5th annual Dale Taylor Visiting Seminar at the University of Calgary Faculty of Environmental Design was led by Visiting Lecturer Alvin Huang (USC/Synthesis Design + Architecture) and Assistant Professor Jason S. Johnson (U. Calgary/Minus Architecture). This intensive 4 day design/fabricate/build workshop explored digital form-finding techniques to produce a series of scaled architectural prototypes for freestanding pavilion structures.

    Two student teams each developed a proposal through dynamic mesh-relaxation processes to simulate the formation of a tensioned membrane structure. A series of mesh panelization protocols were used to test various structural patterns which were materialized as rigid tessellated skin assemblies. Finally, protocols for automating the unrolling, naming, and nesting of components for cutting were implemented.

    InformedForm is an ongoing research initiative that explores the relevance of form as a product of discovery by exploring the reciprocity between form (geometry), force (performance), matter (organization), and craft (fabrication). It extends the design research legacies of analogue form-finding in the works of Frei Otto, Antonio Gaudi, Heinz Isler, and Felix Candela by exploring digital and analogue techniques for discovering form through variable material and geometric organizations and force simulations, while simultaneously considering the design opportunities being afforded by advances in computation and fabrication technologies.

    Design Statements///
    [Inside]Out is a constructed geometry that flips both in and out on itself. As precedents, the Sudanese Mobius Band and Klein Bottle are both unique in the way that they are a non-orientable surface. To a certain degree, [Inside] Out utilizes this characteristic in that the surface orientation is ambiguous. Regardless of its orientation to the viewer, no specific surface can be defined as the ‘inside’ or ‘outside’. Costa’s minimal surface is a surface of finite topology, formed through the puncturing of a compact surface. [Inside] Out was developed through Costa’s method of puncturing voids whereby the surface is connected to the overall form. This technique of puncturing not only adds interest to the design, but also structural integrity as a result of a network of tensioned pipes.

    Minimal surfaces are surfaces are locally minimized in area; when surfaces become minimized, however, they are subject to a physical and structural constraint. Using Rhinoceros 3D and Grasshopper, a computational process was developed that approximates dynamic mesh relaxation to find these minimal surfaces. [Inside] Out is a formation of this dynamic mesh relaxation: the result is a structurally operational surface constrained by interior forces.

    Relaxed Structural Tessellation (ReST) explores the potential of altering the conceptions of rigid linear architectural compositions through the use of structural form-finding and mesh relaxation. ReST responds to typical architectural assemblies and the relationships of walls, floors and beams, surfaces typically planar and assembled orthogonally to one another. ReST bridges connections between existing elements while dramatically altering the perception of space and forcing participants to engage and question typical architectural archetypes.

    ReST relies on simple primitives to create connections between architectural elements which are deformed through a series of computational procedures. The primitives are allowed to deform and relax looking for increased structural efficiencies and material economies.

    The assembly strategy relied on 1500 unique CNC milled components fastened into meta-structural cells. These cells when combined in sequence allowed for the final geometry to emerge through the assembly process. The cells were precisely cut to deform relative to the curvature and to allow for emergent specular effects giving a variety of compelling lighting conditions.

    Program: Gallery Installation
    Client: University of Calgary Faculty of Environmental Design
    Location: Kasian Gallery, Calgary, Canada

    Credits///

    Faculty: Alvin Huang (USC/Synthesis Design + Architecture), Jason S. Johnson (U.Calgary/Minus
    Architecture)
    “[Inside]Out” by Sol Aasland, Xiaoyin Liu, Kurtis Nishiyama, Jason Sedar, Mike Ting, Donny Wolcott, Liyan Wong.

    “ReST: Relaxed Structural Tessellation” by Andrew Dejneka, Will Frank, Matthew Parker, Larissa Peter, Neal Philpsen, Bin Tian, Maricris Ussher.

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