The Smart Geometry conference involves a 4-day workshop and then 2 days of talks. This year, the workshop held at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia integrated digital manufacturing with the theme of working prototypes – an unprecedented move in the history of Smart Geometry. The results were quite amazing, clusters of students, architects, engineers and mathematicians working towards innovative design methods and construction techniques.
I was in the Deep Surfaces cluster with Achim Menges and Sean Alqhuist which explored the design and construction of an intricate multi-layered tensioned fabric structure. The workflow was divided into multiple areas…
Topology Design and Form Finding Simulations
Using Rhino we constructed the space and explored various anchor points. In doing so, we could determine topological features of the structure such as the introduction of holes. The data could then be transferred into Processing to run form-finding simulations which would then output information to setout the calculated pretensioned cable net and the geometry for each fabric element.
Cable Net Construction
The output provided a map for how to construct the cable net. Basically we had to fix the net at specific points to ensure that when we attach the fabric, it will be pretensioned correctly. We then drilled the anchor points into the appropriate locations in the wall and floor and pretensioned the net, awaiting the fabric elements.
Fabric Unfolding and Constructing
The unfolding of the doubly surface fabric elements proved to be the most challenging component. This was tackled in Generative Components and we came across issues regarding the elasticity of the material and correct methodology for unfolding such complicated forms. The technique involved splittling each element in half, and unrolling them taking into account angle and length of curvatures multiplied with a stretching factor. After unfolding the panels, we were able to cut them out from fabric and stitch them together using sewing machines. They were then ready to be connected to the outer cable net.
Finally after many sleepless nights (we finished at 7am on our final day), we were able to tension the fabric into its final form for the Smart Geometry Reception.