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Project log

Michel Schmeck
added a research item
Knitted fabrics have unique characteristics compared to conventional architectural membranes. Conventional architectural membranes are composite materials consisting of woven or non-woven textiles and layers of coating. Characteristics of membrane behaviour are a high tensile strength, no bending resistance and a certain shear stiffness. Their resistance against environmental impact is derived from a form found shape with double curvature and prestress keeping the system under tension in all conditions. When combined to a hybrid system with an actively bent GFRP rod, the membrane stabilizes the rod, as the rod tensions the membrane. The doubly curved surface is usually subdivided into developable pieces and sewn together. Knitted fabrics are very flexible and have a high elasticity allowing for complex shapes and double curvature without the need of cutting them in special patterns. CNC-driven knitting-processes allow for integration of channels, pockets and structural details, potentially reducing the effort in further processing.
Filipa MBF Monteiro
added a research item
Extending recent work on Form Active Hybrid Structures of Active Bend and CNC knitted (Computer Numerical Control) tensile members we present a set of innovations in design and manufacturing, which together allow to build structural systems, that morph across multiple structural states. While state of the art tools and fabrications methods in textile hybrid structures provide architects and engineers with means to adopt the geometry of a chosen textile system to the requirements of a given site, constraints in design thinking, tools and manufacturing however still limit the ability to change the spatial and structural qualities and expressions within a textile object. The potentials of our developments to create new spatial expressions and atmospheres in textiles structures are demonstrated and evaluated through the large-scale installation Isoropia designed and built for the Danish Pavillion in the 2018 Venice Architectural Biennale.
Christoph Gengnagel
added a research item
The paper presents the idea that multiple layers of auxetic structures can be combined to achieve synergetic effects relating to aesthetic and/or structural performance. We describe a novel approach of using auxetic structures to produce a wide range of doubly-curved target shapes with full control over the porosity, shape and distribution of the resultant polygonal openings at the end of the forming process. Our method of polygonal patterning makes it possible to control the transient aperture of the cutouts for the purpose of aesthetic and structural optimization (e.g. for application as bespoke steel reinforcement for composite materials with complex geometries or in consumer products with particular aesthetic and curvature requirements). We take Evans' [1] fundamental investigations on auxetic structures as a starting point. On a macroscopic scale, auxetic behavior is obtained by making cuts in sheet materials or textiles according to a specific regular pattern. When stretched, this allows for lateral as well as spatial deformation as described by Konaković [2]. We have previously built on this to develop what we call irregular auxetic structures and shown their inherent ability to precisely describe the surface of arbitrary given double-curved surfaces [3]. We have now developed a digital process that not only calculates the corresponding 2D auxetic structures for a given surface, but also makes it possible to control the resulting 3D surface (pattern) and 3D structure (porosity, following the course of forces) of these spatially deformed, layered auxetic structures. Each of the corresponding layers is produced by inserting the calculated cuts and/or openings into flat sheet material (steel, textile). The flat layers are then pressed into the desired shape using a mold to build the required structure, and fixed together by using either resin (for textiles) or concrete (for steel). Hence our process also lays the ground for a new application of auxetic structures in molding processes. This paper details the computational methods developed to facilitate this novel class of auxetic structures and presents initial findings on the mechanical behavior of physical prototypes.
Christoph Gengnagel
added a research item
Digital design methods impact architectural structures. To contribute new impulses to Computational Design, we are focusing on a central obstacle in current digital design for architects and structural engineers , namely the suboptimal transformation of embodied three-dimensional imagination and knowledge of the designer into the digital work environment. Through a synthesis of findings from the fields of cognitive sciences, informatics and design sciences we propose a concept that deals with the question of how to integrate forms of embodied knowledge into digital design applications for architects and engineers. Using Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR) technologies, as well as a full-body tracking system, we want to present a new way of modeling and perceiving digitally shaped models with this case study. A prototypical application makes it possible to experience the designers' body movements in virtual space. In comparison with digitally modeled objects differentiated insights about the users design decisions are gained. The use of the body to model space will show that (1) the advanced technologies of digital modeling can be used for a complex multi-sensory experience of space and the body itself, and (2) show how digital design applications can be enhanced by returning to an anthropomorphic scale. Our general approach is to identify exemplary ways out of a potential crisis in architecture and engineering related to the actual state of Computational Design, while expanding it into the field of Computational Creativity.
Christoph Gengnagel
added a research item
Form-finding processes are an integral part of structural design. Because of their limitations, the classic approaches to finding a form – such as hanging models and the soap-film analogy – play only a minor role. The various possibilities of digital experimentation in the context of structural optimisation create new options for the designer generating forms, while enabling control over a wide variety of parameters. A complete mapping of the mechanical properties of a structure in a continuum mechanics model is possible but so are simplified modelling strategies which take into account only the most important properties of the structure, such as iteratively approximating to a solution via representations of kinematic states. Form finding is thus an extremely complex process, determined both by the freely selected parameters and by design decisions.
Christoph Gengnagel
added a research item
The contribution illustrating some of the actual structural engineering challenges encountered in the planning and construction process of the new Merck Innovation Center in Darmstadt, Germany. The project features large areas of exposed concrete, including free-form curved concrete stairs, as well as a large span two-way composite floor system. The focus is placed on the floor system and the connecting stair structures, documenting the process from the initial analysis and design to the final construction.
Christoph Gengnagel
added 2 research items
The current paper discusses the role of multi-scale modelling within the context of design and structural analysis. Depending on the level of detail, a design model may retain, lose or enhance key information. The term multi-scale refers to the breakdown of a design and analysis task into multiple levels of detail and the transfer of this information between models. Focusing on the influence that different models have on the analysed performance of the structure, the paper will discuss the advantages and trade-offs of coupling multiple levels of abstraction in terms of design and structure. To illustrate the concept of multi-scale modelling, the prototype of a bridge structure that was realised making use of this information transfer between models will be presented. The prototype primarily takes advantage of the geometric and material stiffening effect of incremental metal forming. The local features of the formed panels guarantee a proper load transfer between the elements, otherwise impossible to achieve in the planar, underfomed state of the aluminium panels. In terms of structural analysis, each successive level of detail dramatically increases the computational effort required to assess the performance of the structure. By adopting the multi-scale modelling approach, the level of model refinement can be adapted to the requirements of the analysis and therefore relieve the simulation complexity especially in the early stages of design.
The contribution focuses on some of the structural engineering challenges encountered in the planning and construction process of the new Merck Innovation Center in Darmstadt, Germany. The project features large areas of exposed concrete, including free-form curved concrete stairs, as well as a large span two-way composite floor system. The focus is placed on the floor system and the connecting stair structures, documenting the process from the initial analysis and design to the final construction.
Christoph Gengnagel
added a research item
In this paper we present a computerized design method which could ultimately serve to greatly simplify the production of free form reinforced concrete components. Using any desired doubly-curved shape as a starting point, we developed a digital workflow in which the spatial information of the shape is processed in such a way that it can be represented in a two-dimensional pattern. This pattern is materialized as an auxetic structure, i.e. a structure with negative transverse stretching or negative Poisson’s ratio (Evans and Alderson in Adv Mater 12(9):617–628, 2000). On a macroscopic scale, auxetic behaviour is obtained by making cuts in sheet materials according to a specific regular pattern. These cuts allow the material to act as a kinematic linkage so that it can be stretched up to a certain point according to the incision pattern (Grima in J Mater Sci 41:3193–3196, 2006, J Mater Sci 43(17):5962–5971, 2008). Our innovative approach is based on the creation of auxetic structures with locally varying maximum extensibilities. By varying the form of the incisions, we introduce local variations in the stretching potential of the structure. Our focus resides on the fully-stretched structure: when all individual facets are maximally stretched, the auxetic structure results in one specific spatial shape. Based on this approach, we have created an iterative simulation process that allows us to easily identify the auxetic structure best approximating an arbitrary given surface (i.e. the target shape). Our algorithm makes it possible to transfer topological and topographical information of a given shape directly onto a specific two dimensional pattern. The expanded auxetic structure forms a matrix resembling the desired shape as closely as possible. Material specific information of the shape is further embedded in the auxetic structure by implementing an FE-analysis into the algorithm. We have thus laid the digital groundwork to produce out of this matrix, in combination with shotcrete, the desired building components as a next step.
Christoph Gengnagel
added a research item
This book aims at finding some answers to the questions: What is the influence of humans in controlling CAD and how much is human in control of its surroundings? How far does our reach as humans really go? Do the complex algorithms that we use for city planning nowadays live up to their expectations and do they offer enough quality? How much data do we have and can we control? Are today’s inventions reversing the humanly controlled algorithms into a space where humans are controlled by the algorithms? Are processing power, robots for the digital environment and construction in particular not only there to rediscover what we already knew and know or do they really bring us further into the fields of constructing and architecture? The chapter authors were invited speakers at the 6th Symposium "Design Modelling Symposium: Humanizing Digital Reality", which took place in Ensa-Versailles, France from 16 - 20 September 2017.
Christoph Gengnagel
added a research item
This paper will discuss the role of simulation in extended architectural design modelling. As a framing paper, the aim is to present and discuss the role of integrated design simulation and feedback between design and simulation in a series of projects under the Complex Modelling framework. Complex Modelling examining how methods from the parallel disciplines engineering and computer science can broaden our practices and transfer central information modelling concepts and tools. With special focus on new hybrid structural morphologies and material fabrication, we ask how to integrate material performance, engage with high degrees of interdependency and allow the emergence of design agency and feedback between the multiple scales of architectural construction. This paper presents examples for integrated design simulation from a series of projects including Lace Wall, A Bridge Too Far and Inflated Restraint developed for the research exhibition Complex Modelling, Meldahls Smedie Gallery, Copenhagen in 2016. Where the direct project aims and outcomes have been reported elsewhere, the aim for this paper is to discuss overarching strategies for working with design integrated simulation.
Christoph Gengnagel
added a research item
The research presented in this paper is a consideration of the development of the discipline of architecture in terms of the emergence of digital design tools and the integration into the academic discourse and teaching. The paper focuses on three intellectual models or in this case three initial design strategies as a base for a comprehensive model for teaching and criticism.
Christoph Gengnagel
added a research item
Advances in computational techniques allow for the integration of simulation in the initial design phase of architecture. This approach extends the range of the architectural intent to performative aspects of the overall structure and its elements. However, this also changes the process of design from the primacy of geometrical concerns to the negotiation between encoded parameters. Material behavior was the focus of the research project that led to the Dermoid 1:1 demonstrator build in Copenhagen. Dermoid was a 1:1 prototype, plywood structure that explored how the induced flex of plywood meets structural loads. The integration of simulation tools into the digital design and fabrication process allows producing bespoke members. Contrary to the ease of the concept its realization needed in depth collaboration between engineers, architects and the use of a wide range of customized computational tools. The project challenge today's protocols in design and production and emphasizes the importance of feedback channels in more holistic design and building practice.
Christoph Gengnagel
added 2 research items
The project is the result of an interdisciplinary research collaboration between CITA, KET and Fibrenamics exploring the design of integrated hybrid structures employing bending active elements and tensile membranes with bespoke material properties and detailing. Hybrid structures are defined here as combining two or more structural concepts and materials together to create a stronger whole. The paper presents the methods used and developed for design, simulation, evaluation and production, as well as the challenges and obstacles to overcome to build a complex hybrid tower structure in an outside context.
This paper presents the research project Hybrid Tower, an interdisciplinary collaboration between CITA - Centre for IT and Architecture, KET - Department for Structural Design and Technology, Fibrenamics, Universidade do Minho Guimarães, AFF a. ferreira & filhos, sa, Caldas de Vizela, Portugal and Essener Labor für Leichte Flächentragwerke, Universität Duisburg-Essen. Hybrid Tower is a hybrid structural system combining bending active compression members and tensile members for architectural design. The paper presents two central investigations: (1) the creation of new design methods that embed predictions about the inherent interdependency and material dependent performance of the hybrid structure and (2) the inter-scalar design strategies for specification and fabrication. The first investigation focuses on the design pipelines developed between the implementation of realtime physics and constraint solvers and more rigorous Finite Element methods supporting respectively design analysis and form finding and performance evaluation and verification. The second investigation describes the inter-scalar feedback loops between design at the macro scale (overall structural behaviour), meso scale (membrane reinforcement strategy) and micro scale (design of bespoke textile membrane). The paper concludes with a post construction analysis. Comparing structural and environmental data, the predicted and the actual performance of tower are evaluated and discussed.
Christoph Gengnagel
added a research item
Recent advances in computation allow for the integration of design and simulation of highly interrelated systems, such as hybrids of structural membranes and bending active elements. The engaged complexities of forces and logistics can be mediated through the development of materials with project specific properties and detailing. CNC knitting with high tenacity yarn enables this practice and offers an alternative to current woven membranes. The design and fabrication of an 8m high fabric tower through an interdisciplinary team of architects, structural and textile engineers, allowed to investigate means to design, specify, make and test CNC knit as material for hybrid structures in architectural scale. This paper shares the developed process, identifies challenges, potentials and future work.
Christoph Gengnagel
added a research item
As part of a joint research project between the Centre for Information Technology and Architecture (CITA) and te Department for Structural Design and Technology (KET), a one week student workshop was organised at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (KADK) in Copenhagen. This paper outlines the teaching methods applied to reach maximum insight from student interaction, despite the unfamiliarity the students had with the research matter: physical and numeric form-finding for lightweight hybrid structures. Hybrid structures are defined here as combining different components of low stiffness together to create an enhanced system of high stiffness.
Christoph Gengnagel
added a research item
Membrane architecture uses currently off the shelf materials and produces the shapes and details through cutting and laborsome joining of textile patterns. This paper discusses investigations into an alternative material practice - knit - which engages bespoke membrane materials. A practice which allows for customised and graded material properties, the direct fabrication of shaped patterns and the integration of detailing directly into the membrane material. Based on two demonstrators built as hybrids of bespoke CNC knit and bending active GFRP rods this paper discusses the affordances and procedures, which this new practice of digital fabrication of membrane material requires. The central focus is set on the interaction between the involved disciplines and the emerging iterative process of design, material specification, prototyping, evaluation, (re-)design and (re-)specification. We discuss how design and engineering practices change, when material properties move from given and constant into the area of design and gradient.