The sub-project Multi-Scale Modelling (scale of the material) investigates how multi-scalar modelling can be used to understand complex feedback loops between different levels of material organisation. The project takes point of departure in fibre reinforced composites and examines how three levels of modelling: the material, the element and the overall structure can be interfaced and calibrated for use in an architectural design environment. The project employs computational strategies from material science to develop dynamic feedback mechanisms for inter-scalar design control.
Traditional thinking in architecture and engineering alike is to understand the built environment as static. Build structures resist changes in the environment through stiffness. ‘Hybrid Tower’ asks, what an architecture could be, that is soft and gives in to forces in a controlled yet way. An architecture that embraces the idea of resilience and adaptation.
‘Hybrid Tower’ is an integrated hybrid structure – made from only two components: Bend GFRP rods and custom-made CNC knit. The unique combination of these two materials creates a very light and yet stiff structure, which balances wind and other external forces through an interdependent combination of compression and tension elements. The structure is extremely light and easy to assemble, but yet strong enough to withstand a 3 month outdoor installation on the world cultural heritage side of the central square of Guimaraes/Portugal: Largo do Toural.
The tower was developed in an interdisciplinary collaboration between architects (CITA, Copenhagen) , structural- and textile-engineers (KET, Berlin, Fibrenamics, Guimaraes), material testing specialists (Duisburger…..) and the knitting company AFF (A. Ferreira & Filhos). Together they developed materials and design and fabrication processes, which allowed using knit as structural element in a previously unprecedented scale. The collaboration opens new avenues for textile as building material.
A Bridge Too Far takes point of departure in the process of robotic incremental sheet metal forming. The research prototypes and tests methods for multi-scale modeling, for the purpose of informing other scales of design with the material implications of this fabrication process, and demonstrates their application to support bi-directional information flows in the design of a panelised, thin skinned metal structure.
Stressed Skins explores how very thin, easily bent metal sheet can become a strong but lightweight structure. Architects use thin metal sheets as cladding panels to provide integrated enclosure, structure and form. Because loads vary over such a building system, performance requirements vary, and customized load-adapted panel designs could mean significant efficiencies of material use and possible reductions for supporting structural systems.
This project develops workflows and methods to support customised design and fabrication using Incremental Sheet Forming (ISF). These include the prediction of changes in material properties such as thinning and work hardening, the automated generation of load adapted rigidisation geometries, the prediction of overall structural behavior, and the automated generation of fabrication information. A specific concern is the development of adaptive mesh-based methods as a means to communicate information about design, material properties and performance across scales.
Basic Material research into integrating material behaviour
The installation Transmissive Assemblies concentrates upon two qualities that are particular to fibre reinforced composites: translucency in a structural element, and the ability to gain stiffness locally through forming and folding. Taking point of departure from preceding architectural experiments focused upon these qualities – exemplified by Renzo Piano’s Mobile Sulphur Extraction Facility (1965) – the project asks how a modern composite sandwich might be designed to modulate the transmission of light in a controlled manner through strategic material variation.