Traditional thinking in architecture and engineering alike is to understand the built environment as static, unaffected by changes in their environment. Buildings are designed for permanence and thought as stable and unchanging.
Tower explores the idea of a moving arch, a resilient structure that adapts under environmental changes.
Tower is a the result of an interdisciplinary research collaboration betweenCentre for Information Technology and Architecture (CITA) at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation in Copenhagen (Denmark), the Department for Structural Design and Technology (KET), University of Arts Berlin (Germany), Fibrenamics, Universidade do Minh, Guimarães (Portugal), Essener Labor für Leichte Flächentragwerke, Universität Duisburg-Essen (Germany) and the Portuguese textile company AFF a. ferreira & filhos, sa, Caldas de Vizela.
A TOWER – The resilience Tower Typology
The concept of resilience is chosen as a primary design driver in the project. Resilience is understood here as the ability to recover from or adjust to change or external stimuli. Specifically this implies being able to withstand not just self weight but live loads such as wind. The design strategy here where to develop “soft structures” where resilience was defined as the ability of a material to absorb energy when it is deformed elastically, and release that energy upon unloading. This design requirement points towards a focus on potential applicability to industry and practice.
The architectural typology of the tower was chosen as the design case with the aim of building a 6-10 meter tall demonstrator in the spring of 2015.
The ability to design for and with material performance is a core resource for design innovation closely tied to material optimization. The project introduces three scales of design engagement by which to examine material performance: the structure, the element and the material.
Tower questions the tools for integrating information across the expanded digital design chain, the project asks how to support feedback between different scales of design engagement moving from material design, across design, simulation and analysis to specification and fabrication.
Designing at three scales
MACRO: At the “macro” scale the architectural typology of a form active tower presents challenges outside of common applications of form finding such as shells and membranes which may be form found using known and tested principles such as catenary networks and minimal surfaces.
MESO: On the “meso” scale the project explores the potential of Bending Active Tensile Membrane structures as a strategy for satisfying the goals described on the macro scale. Specifically these may be defined as bending active linear members constrained by a tension active membrane resulting in a stiff hybrid structure with a high degree of resilience..
MICRO: At the “micro” scale the project introduces bespoke elastic knit as the tensile membrane – specially fabricated from high tenacity polyester yarn and programmed to the tower and its performance – and fibre-reinforced polymer rod as the slender bending members which are constrained by the membrane.
The fabric is knitted using knit Piquet Lacoste a less elastic a more isotropic knit. The membranes are produced on a double bed knitting machine which allows the creating of channels and pocket to steer the rots position, and wholes for tension/lines and stitching the membranes together.
Photographer Anders Ingvartsen
GRP materials by Fibrolux GmbH