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Prototyping Biomimetic Structures for Architecture

Prototyping Biomimetic Structures for Architecture
Tobias Schwinn, Riccardo La Magna, Steffen Reichert, Frederic Waimer, Jan Knippers and Achim Menges i
Technology has always been a catalyst for design innovation in architecture. One example
of technical advancement that still has a profound impact on architectural design today is
the introduction of structural analysis in the second half of the 19th century. Since then,
almost all architectural structures are based on the paradigm of calculability. This has lead
to a certain set of construction typologies that are still predominant today, even though the
the development of its geometry and the calculation of internal forces or other functionalities.
It has its own boundary conditions and limitations that allow for solutions only within a
structural concerns. The introduction of computational design and digital fabrication offers
the technical means to break through these barriers, which raises the question about
a rigorous and systematic design strategy that allows the strategic exploration of new
systems beyond existing typologies (Knippers 2013).ii
Architects and master-builders have been using nature as a source of inspiration long
before the terms bionics or biomimetics were introduced, because structures in nature
are fundamentally different from any architectural or technical system. Not ruled by the
systems assembled from basic components that make up structures featuring multiple
have been used only to a very limited extent in architecture and building construction. While
there have been a considerable number of attempts to transfer characteristics from natural
to architectural systems in the twentieth century, they were profoundly limited by structural
calculability and the dominant constraints of serial production. With the recent advances
in design computation, structural simulation and robotic fabrication the boundary between
the underlying logics of ‘natural’ and ‘man-made’ structures can be rethought anew.
Given the rapidly changing and fundamentally different, post-industrial technological
present current research into the structural, architectural, and tectonic opportunities of
activating the performative capacities of biological structures within the architectural design
domain. The integrative and concurrent investigation of biomimetic design strategies,
3.8 Prototyping Biomimetic Structure for Architecture
advanced digital simulation, and new modes of robotic fabrication converge in the design
of novel material systems that are subsequently evaluated with regards to their spatial
and structural capacities. The two research pavilions therefore not only demonstrate the
capacities of the respective material systems in full-scale but also the new opportunities
that can arise from prototyping new means and methods of contemporary architectural
production processes.
Case Study 1: Finger-Joint Plate Structure
Biomimetic design methodologies can be categorized by applying either a technological
pull or a biological push (Knippers & Speck 2012).iii While the former strategy approaches
nature looking for answers to technological questions, the latter is a bottom-up and open-
ended investigation of biological features, which, when abstracted, has the potential to
question existing technical solutions. The biomimetic design process that unfolded in this
meaningfully explore the ever-expanding possibilities provided by computer numerically
controlled (CNC) machinery in timber plate fabrication. The analysis of biological role
an integrative design and robotic fabrication process. The research aimed at integrating
the mechanical features of biological plate structures into architectural design and at
successively testing the spatial and structural properties of the newly developed material
system in a full-scale prototype. Researchers and students at the University of Stuttgart
developed the project in collaboration with biologists and palaeontologists at the Universities
of Tubingen and Freiburg, and completed the prototype in the summer of 2011.
3.8 Prototyping Biomimetic Structure for Architecture
Robotic Fabrication of Finger Jointed Timber Plates
Finger joints are a common type of joinery in traditional woodworking and valued for
      
iv During the
industrialization period, a relatively crude mechanisation of formerly sophisticated manual
eventually also computer numerical controlled (CNC) routers were generally limited to the
such as 6- and more axis industrial robots and their associated kinematic freedom,
encouraged the development of a new robotic fabrication process as part of this research
at various angles (Krieg et al. 2011).v
3.8 Prototyping Biomimetic Structure for Architecture
Fig 3.8.2 Left: Manual fabrication of dovetail joints (J.
Baumgartner). Right: Finger joints are traditionally used as corner
joints to connect planar elements (Encyclopaedia of Wood Joints).
Finger joints are a hinged connection type that performs extremely well under shear
forces, however only accommodates limited normal forces and no bending moments.
The overall plate arrangement utilized in the presented pavilion design therefore had to be
been conducted to verify the joint’s strength as well as to acquire empirical data to inform
geometric freedom provided by the 7-axis robotic fabrication process in combination with
the design freedom and even allows the design of non-load optimized structures. The
focus was set on the development of a modular structure, which, similar to its biological
role model, allows a high degree of adaptability and performance due to the differentiation
of its geometric components.
3.8 Prototyping Biomimetic Structure for Architecture
Fig 3.8.3 Seven-axis robotic fabrication facility the University of
Biomimetic Design Principles and Transfer
During the analysis of biological role models with regards to structural plate behaviour,
the morphology of the sand dollar, a subspecies of the sea urchins Echinoidea, became of
particular interest and provided the basic morphological principles for the prototype that
was successively realised. The shell of the sea urchin is composed of a modular system of
1979).vi The plates of the sand dollar’s skeleton are organised following an overall geometric
principle according to which a maximum of three plates meet at one point. By following this
simple principle, any pure plate structure (i.e. systems composed of just plates and hinges
along the edges of connection) will be inherently stable, whereas any variation from this
arrangement pattern will result in a deformable and kinematic structure similar to origami
(Wester 2002).vii
3.8 Prototyping Biomimetic Structure for Architecture
Fig 3.8.4 Microscopic view of a plate edge showing the calcite
and tension forces in the structure.
From a mechanical point of view, thanks to this arrangement the plates are stabilised by
resisting internal forces that lie in the plate itself. Each face of a pure plate structure carries
plate forces only, i.e. plates must not rely on carrying bending moments and torsion for their
own stability. On the other hand, the lines of support enable the transmission of normal and
shear forces but no bending moments between the joints. This property allows the sea
urchins to grow without interfering with the transfer of stabilising forces, as the direction of
growth will be perpendicular to the shear lines, hence perpendicular to the direction of the
stabilising shear forces (Knippers et al. 2012).viii
The structural morphology of the sand dollar can therefore serve as a role model for
modular shell structures of prefabricated components. Finger jointing is introduced as
a technological equivalent for the sand dollar’s plate joints providing similar structural
characteristics. Following the analysis of the sand dollar, the morphology of its plate
structure was translated into the design of a material system. Three plate edges always
meet together at just one point, enabling the transmission of normal and shear forces
but no bending moments between the joints, thus resulting in a bending bearing but yet
deformable structure. As the plates are mainly subjected to in-plane forces, the degree
of utilization of the material’s strength is maximized, guaranteeing an optimal structural
and tension forces in the structure.
3.8 Prototyping Biomimetic Structure for Architecture
Besides constructional and organizational principles, hierarchy is also a fundamental
property of biological structures. This principle was translated into the built prototype
  
bolt connection joins the cells together, facilitating the assembly and disassembly of the
prototype. Due to the arrangement of the bolts in the cells and the material characteristic
of plywood and its low stiffness, a transfer of bending moments between the cells could be
minimised by creating a hinged connection. Within each hierarchical level only three plates
- respectively three edges – meet at one point, therefore assuring bending-free edges for
both levels.
Digital and Robotic Prototyping
  
computational design framework as part of a generative rule set that informs the
parametric model, in addition to structural analysis and robotic fabrication (Menges 2011).
ix     
of the complex geometry constitutes a driver of the digital information model. The rules
           
structures, in turn, inform the local morphology of the case study, i.e. the relation between
      
By mathematically describing and algorithmically translating this dependency, it can be
directly integrated and activated within the computational design framework.
The large amount of unique building elements requires a generative approach to robotic
The aim therefore was to implement a strategy for automating the generation of the robotic
machine code directly from the parametric design model, thereby eliminating intermediate
software environments (Brell-Cokcan & Braumann 2010).xi 
paths for the fabrication of each plate are a function of the angles between the plate and
its neighbouring plates, which, depending on the angle can yield different structural and
15 to 165 degrees – a constraint that feeds directly back as a fabrication parameter into
the generative rule set (Schwinn et al. 2012).xii
3.8 Prototyping Biomimetic Structure for Architecture
3.8 Prototyping Biomimetic Structure for Architecture
plate’s outline with the tool shaft thereby ensuring co-planarity with the adjacent plate;
second, mitring a start and end segment of each edge with the tool axis aligned to the
bi-sector between the normal vectors of the adjacent plates resulting in the characteristic
            
fabrication sequence, where the plate’s edges are indented normal to the adjacent plate’s
Custom programmed routines are used to automatically generate these tool paths as
ordered point clouds for each edge of each of the case study’s 855 individual plates. The
Cartesian coordinates of the target points and tool vectors can then be extracted and
translated into machine code and ultimately into instructions for the control of the seven-
model is usually treated as a separate entity, in this custom process the fabrication data
model is tightly integrated into the geometry and design model (Menges & Schwinn 2012).
Fig 3.8.8 Top: Geometric relation between tool and work piece.
Bottom: Finger joint fabrication steps.
Fig 3.8.9 Fabrication data model of the automatically generated
tool paths.
The custom integrative approach to fabrication programming is instrumental for the
of the plates on the university’s robotic fabrication system, the plates were combined into
modules and weatherproofed in the controlled environment of the workshop, before being
assembled on site.
          
the design process can open up new performative design approaches. The analysis of
their transfer into generative and geometric rules formed the basis for the development
of a computational design tool integrating the sea urchin’s biomimetic principles, the
architectural and structural requirements and the fabrication constraints. Unlike traditional
lightweight construction, which can often only be applied to load optimized shapes, these
principles can be applied to any custom geometry. The ultra lightweight potential of this
approach is evident as the pavilion, despite its considerable size, could be built exclusively
out of extremely thin 6.5 mm sheets of plywood and therefore primarily needed anchoring
to the ground to resist wind suction loads. Plate action in today’s buildings is more or less
limited to the resisting of horizontal forces. The research pavilion showed how this principle
can be successfully implemented in a complex and expressive spatial system and how it
is possible to create an extremely light but at the same time very stiff supporting structure
only by the optimal arrangement of its constitutive elements.
3.8 Prototyping Biomimetic Structure for Architecture
Besides, the 3-plate principle indicated new opportunities for the optimization of free-
form structures independently of the materiality (Waimer et al. 2013).xiv This fundamental
principle offers a powerful tool to investigate a wide range of structural morphologies by
simple equilibrium assumptions. Finally, the research pavilion offered the opportunity to
investigate methods of modular bionic construction using freeform geometry with different
geometric characteristics while developing two distinct spatial entities: one large interior
area with a porous inner layer and a big opening, facing the public square between the
University’s buildings, and a smaller space enveloped between the two layers that exhibits
the constructive logic of the double layer shell.
Fig 3.8.10 Aerial view of the built full-scale prototype.
3.8 Prototyping Biomimetic Structure for Architecture
Fig 3.8.11 Interior view showing the two main spaces. The double-
layer structure responds to both structural and architectural
Case Study 2: Fibre Composite Structure
The second case study, completed in the fall of 2012, is another example of an
interdisciplinary collaboration between architects and engineers of the University of
Stuttgart, and biologists of the University of Tubingen. In contrast to the biomimetic design
             
project is characterized by a biological push, that is performative principles of structural
     
design methodology resulted in an ultra lightweight, high-performing structure yielding new
architectural opportunities.
Biomimetic Design Principles and Transfer
Especially the exoskeletons cuticula of arthropods, such as the American lobster homerus
americanus, represent an interesting example since they evolved strong and lightweight
structural shells. Differentiation within the material in combination with geometric
differentiation allows the biological system to adjust its local properties to integrate different
tasks in a functionally graded material using the same material constituents (Fabritius et al.
2011).xv The cuticula varies its structural behaviour continuously between anisotropic and
of very pronounced arrangements: 1, for predicted loads in similar directions, unidirectional
3.8 Prototyping Biomimetic Structure for Architecture
3.8 Prototyping Biomimetic Structure for Architecture
(found e.g. along the legs of arthropods); 2, for wide areas with unpredicted forces that
        
a highly adaptable and functionally integrated structure.
In architecture functionality is still mainly achieved through addition of functionally discrete
design local material properties with the aim of producing functionally integrative, super
lightweight structural parts.
The concept of the presented pavilion explores the idea of a robotically fabricated full-scale
principles within the pavilion’s material design. The global design was developed as a
continuous and seamless shell with a pentagonal footprint and incorporating three open
sides functioning as entrances in addition to two closed sides. Such different architectural
               
transparency expresses the overall lightness of the structure.
            
helicoidal arrangement found in the cuticula of arthropods whereas the dark and thicker
Directing the loads from the roof to the ground, the overall material thickness as well as
              
Fig 3.8.13 Microscopic view of the exoskeleton (cuticula) of the
American lobster.
FRP Material System
based materials are suitable for moulding and shaping methods that enable the relatively
simple production of components with complex shapes. This offers great design freedom
but also at the same time risks of improper applications, as in architecture an appropriate
with polymers, one of the major challenges is to choose the right solution from the vast
components represent new and demanding responsibilities for architects and engineers
(Knippers et al. 2010). xvi   
     
these two materials are compared to steel or aluminium the advantages become clear. The
polymer matrix. A fracture in a laminate is generally caused by cracks in the matrix, which
in turn are caused by the maximum admissible strain in the polymer being exceeded.
Using a polymer with a high maximum permissible strain therefore increases the strength
of the entire composite component.
3.8 Prototyping Biomimetic Structure for Architecture
3.8 Prototyping Biomimetic Structure for Architecture
Fig 3.8.14 Stress-strain curves of FRPs and conventional
lightweight materials.
The classical winding technique is typically used in the manufacturing of pipes, vessels,
tanks, and other rotationally symmetrical hollow components. The advantages of this method
composite wrapping, pretensioned rovings are wound around a rotating mandrel. The
  
series, reusable mandrels made from steel or aluminium are used depending on the batch
size and the geometry of the component. To ease de-moulding, mandrels are often slightly
conical in shape, or made from folding segments.
was adapted for robotic fabrication. The robotic winding process and the technological
              
calibrated to guarantee a continuous production. It was crucial to guarantee a constant
         
properties of the laminate as mentioned before, but also on the reliability of the process.
investigated by robotically wrapping 1:5 prototypes in the laboratory. The choice of the
resin system was dictated by the long manufacturing process, which required a resin with
high viscosity and pot life. Additionally, the resin system must have a low cure temperature
in order to allow the heat treatment for the given conditions. Parallel to that, unidirectional
laminate specimens were wrapped to determine through mechanical tests the material
properties, which were subsequently implemented in the FEA model.
3.8 Prototyping Biomimetic Structure for Architecture
winding prototype
Digital and Physical Prototyping
The design and robotic implementation of biologically inspired, high-performing, and
         
engineering, and architecture into one integrative computational design methodology. The
the structural system, along with scripted routines for the evaluation and optimization of
the local (material) and global (geometrical) stiffness of the system. Digital simulation of
  
and fabrication planning process. The biologically, materially and robotically informed
digital design and implementation suggests a new methodology of process prototyping
One of the initial goals was set on the fabrication of a seamless, continuously differentiated
 
winding process. The mechanical and architectural properties of the laminate are based
to a large extent on the interplay between winding support and winding logic. The winding
   
           becomes the
interface between design, analysis and fabrication through the algorithmic description of
             
            
winding sequence and the number of layers in the laminate. The syntax also serves as
input for the parametric generation of the robot tool paths, integrated simulation of the
robot kinematics and automated machine code generation. Initial physical models were
3.8 Prototyping Biomimetic Structure for Architecture
used to explore architectural features such as openings, closed surfaces, and the various
      
quality of the bonding is a function of the pressure between the layers.
     
logic (syntax).
         
3.8 Prototyping Biomimetic Structure for Architecture
The fabrication of complex geometries produced in FRP typically requires moulds
or custom formwork. The materially and time intensive subtractive fabrication of these
moulds is usually offset by high production runs. Consequently, an application of FRP in
architecture poses the inherent problem that it either requires moulds on an architectural
scale or many unique moulds for a potentially single use (Fischer 2012).xvii Minimizing the
mould requirement was therefore another central concern throughout the project and at the
            
winding process the industrial robot continuously lays resin-saturated glass and carbon
of negative Gaussian curvature as it naturally produces hyperbolic paraboloid geometry
consisting of straight lines.
A dedicated construction tent was set up on site to control the environment for the
3-component resin system and the 7–axis robotic fabrication setup consisting of a 6-axis
industrial robot installed on a two-meter high pedestal with a turntable as seventh external
axis. The continuous circular movement of the turntable maintained a constant feed of
  
calibrate the machine code, which was directly generated from the parametric design
and orientation of a rotationally symmetrical tool as in the example of robotic milling of the
placement end-effector and the orientation of the turntable.
Fig 3.8.18 Close-up view of the composite structure displaying
the directionality of the different layers and the inherent double-
curved surface geometry that results from the custom fabrication
3.8 Prototyping Biomimetic Structure for Architecture
Fig 3.8.19 Robotic fabrication of the full-scale prototype showing
The process described in this paper made it possible to produce a structure spanning
8.0 meters in diameter and reaching 3.5 meters in height by continuously winding more
 
order to achieve sound mechanical properties and to reduce the brittleness of the material.
Following the tempering process, the temporary steel frame could be safely disassembled
        
          
material design and robotic fabrication was made possible by the highly integrated
framework developed for the current project. The data exchange loop between designers,
engineers and fabrication experts enabled the creation of an integral work environment in
    
top-down approaches.
For instance, the possibility of retrieving in thorough detail fundamental parameters for the
assessment of the mechanical response, offered a powerful means to actively design the
structural components by drawing fundamental decisions on the thickness of the lay-up
of architectural aspects and mechanical feedback enables the planning and fabrication of
highly customised components that completely meet the structural requirements of the
project, allowing for an optimisation of shape and geometry along with the local material
properties of the element itself. This is evident as the semi-transparent skin of the pavilion
weighs less than 320kg despite its considerable size and span, whilst still revealing the
Fig 3.8.20 Aerial view of the built full-scale prototype showing the
different structural zones.
Fig 3.8.21 The lighting accentuates the directionality of the
different layers and highlights the different functional zones of the
3.8 Prototyping Biomimetic Structure for Architecture
In both case studies, the concurrent integration of the biomimetic principles extrapolated
from the analysis of a biological role model the morphology of the sand dollar’s plate
   
 
winding - within a robust computational design framework enabled a high degree of
structural performance and new opportunities in architecture. The synthesis of biology and
technology in architecture allows both the exploration of a new repertoire of architectural
The research presented above indicates that today, computational design, simulation and
digital fabrication processes open up new possibilities for approaching the transfer of
design principles from nature to architecture, as the technical requirements for doing so
can be met much more convincingly than even a very few years ago. It also shows that new
constructional systems provide for novel ways of reconciling structural and architectural
demands, offering novel tectonic qualities and spatial experiences while remaining very
for architects and engineers is more relevant today than ever before.
            
collaboration with the Plant Biomechanics Group in Freiburg (Professor Thomas Speck and
Dr. Olga Speck) and the Paleontology of Invertebrates Group (Professor James Nebelsick)
at the University of Tubingen. The research has been partly funded through a grant by
the European Regional Development Fund administered by the Department for food and
regional affairs as part of the “Cluster Forst und Holz” initiative of the state of Baden-
Wurttemberg (
The biological research of the second case study has been conducted in collaboration
with the Evolutionary Biology of Invertebrates (Prof. Oliver Betz) and the Paleontology
of Invertebrates Groups (Professor James Nebelsick) at the University of Tubingen.
The project was partly funded by the Competence Network Biomimectics (http://www.
3.8 Prototyping Biomimetic Structure for Architecture
         
Computational Design ICD and Riccardo La Magna, Frédéric Waimer and Jan Knippers: University of Stuttgart, Institute of
Building Structures and Structural Design – ITKE.
ii Jan Knippers, From model thinking to process design, Architectural Design, 83(2), 2013, pp. 72-77.
iii Jan Knippers and Thomas Speck, Design and construction principles in nature and architecture, Bioinspiration & Biomimetics,
2012 7(1).
iv R. Bruce Hoadley, Understanding wood: A craftsman’s guide to wood technology, Taunton Press, Newtown, 2000.v Oliver
David Krieg, Karola Dierichs, Steffen Reichert, Tobias Schwinn, and Achim Menges, Performative Architectural Morphology,
Proceedings of the 29th eCAADe Conference 2011, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2011, pp. 573-580.
vi Adolf Seilacher, Constructional Morphology of Sand Dollars, Paleobiology 5 (3), 1979, pp. 191–221.
vii Ture Wester, Nature Teaching Structures, International Journal of Space Structures, 17(2), 2002, pp. 135-147.
viii Jan Knippers, Markus Gabler, Riccardo La Magna, Frédéric Waimer, Achim Menges, Steffen Reichert and Tobias Schwinn
From Nature to Fabrication: Biomimetic Design Principles for the Production of Complex Spatial Structures. In Lars Hesselgren,
Shrikant Sharma, Johannes Wallner, Niccolo Baldassini, Philippe Bompas, P., and Jacques Raynaud, (Eds.), Advances in
Architectural Geometry, Springer Wien, 2012 pp. 107-122.
ix Achim Menges, Integrative Design Computation: Integrating material behaviour and robotic manufacturing processes in
computational design for performative wood constructions, in Proceedings of the 31th Annual Conference of the Association for
Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA). Banff (Alberta), 2011, pp. 72–81.
x Martin Bechthold, The Return of the Future: A Second Go at Robotic Construction, Architectural Design, 80(4), 2010, pp.
xi Sigrid Brell-Çokcan and Johannes Braumann, A New Parametric Design Tool for Robot Milling, n Proceedings of the 30th
Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA), 2010, pp. 357–363.
xii Tobias Schwinn, Oliver David Krieg and Achim Menges, Robotically Fabricated Wood Plate Morphologies – Robotic
Prefabrication of a Biomimetic, Geometrically Differentiated Lightweight Finger Joint Timber Plate Structure, in Sigrid Brell-Çokcan
and Johannes Braumann. (Eds.), Robotic Fabrication in Architecture, Art and Design, Proceedings of the Robots in Architecture
Conference 2012, TU Vienna, 2012, pp. 48-61.
xiii Achim Menges and Tobias Schwinn, Manufacturing Reciprocities, Architectural Design, 82(2), 2012 pp. 118-125.
3.8 Prototyping Biomimetic Structure for Architecture
... In this context, the bio-inspired implementation aims to reconnect architectural students with Nature`s intelligence through a multidisciplinary project-based workshop. observing animals, arthropods, and plants, and searching for solutions to architectural problems is an efficient tool for teaching biomimicry architecture at a bottom-up level of biomimicry design thinking [75]. It`s not only about grasping knowledge, but it also widens the imagining capabilities of students [76]. ...
... In addition, many exoskeleton and endoskeleton organisms have strong and flexible skeletons. One of these creatures is the boxfish with its hexagonal and pentagonal plates, the sea urchin and its interlocking plates [75], and the glass sponge with fiber smooth axial surfaces [103,104]. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The separation of architectural learning from bio-inspired design distances students from Nature and blocks them from the main source of inspiration. Such confusion regarding the creative problem-solving process of architectural learning has led to the disappearance of innovative ideas from the majority of architectural students` work. This study aims to improve the productivity of architectural studios by using bio-inspired design as guidance for inspiration and creative thinking throughout the integration of biomimetic structure systems with a conceptual design project for architectural freshmen. The aforementioned objective framed a methodology of two architectural studio experiments managed to outline the effects of mimicking Nature on students` cognition and architecture design productivity. The results showed the contrast between their architectural studio work before and after the integration articulates how much the simulation has enhanced their creative thinking and productivity level.
... Details of the process were first described in La. Magna et al. [6]. CFW may be regarded as a further development of the FRP fabrication process of Filament Winding that involves the wrapping of fibre bundles around a rotating mandril, a process well-used in industry due to consistency of achievable material properties and the speed of material placement. ...
... As outlined in [6], the use of a core-based fabricated method as Filament Winding has significant limitations for use in architecture (and the wider AEC industry), primarily because each required geometry must have its own core and therefore a unique part must have a unique core. ...
Full-text available
The ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2016/2017 is the most recent in the series of experimental building demonstrators developed by the Institute for Computational Design (ICD) and the Institute for Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE) at the University of Stuttgart. The completed structure is a 12 m long cantilevering lattice-composite shell that was wound in one piece by a multi-machine fabrication system using coreless filament winding. To realise such a structure through this fabrication process involved a negotiation between architectural design, structural requirements and fabrication constraints. The structural design process was divided into two steps. A shell model was used to evaluate possible geometries in the initial negotiation between architectural design and fabrication constraints. In order to approximate the highly anisotropic material behaviour of fibre reinforced polymers, substitute material properties had to be determined in physical tests. In the second step the actual fibre layup was analysed using a detailed beam-element model. The main load bearing fibre bundles were directly analysed in cross section and position. As-built and intended geometry were constantly compared and the feedback was used to refine the finite element analysis during fabrication. This paper covers the aspects mentioned and gives an outlook on further possibilities of this design and fabrication approach.
... Details of the process were first described in La. Magna et al. [6]. CFW is based on the FRP fabrication process of Filament Winding that involves the wrapping of fibre bundles around a rotating mandril, a process well-used in industry due to the speed of material placement. ...
... As outlined in [6], the use of a core-based fabricated method has significant limitations for use in architecture (and the wider AEC industry), primarily because each required geometry must have its own core and therefore a unique part must have a unique core. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper describes the design and fabrication of the ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2016/2017, the most recent in the series of experimental installations developed as an outcome of the design-and-build studio of the ITECH Masters Programme. The completed structure is a 12m long cantilevering lattice-composite shell that was wound in one piece by a multi-machine fabrication system using coreless filament winding. To realise such a structure through this fabrication process involved a negotiation between architectural design, structural requirements and fabrication constraints, details of which are found in this paper. Technical details of the multi-machine fabrication system were previously described in Felbrich et al. [1].
... The absence of a winding mandrel poses a challenge to assessing the material and process parameters. The potential of architectural and structural application of coreless filament winding has been researched at itke and the Institute for Computational Design and Construction, University of Stuttgart (ICD) since 2011 [14]. This line of research resulted in multiple demonstrators, ranging from component-based to monocoque structures. ...
The multi-stage filament winding (MSFW) method enables the sustainable production of lightweight fibre composites with complex geometries. Double curved components, even with undercuts, are analysed and concave areas which are not suitable for filament winding are replaced by convex temporary geometries. Permanent and temporary mandrel parts are combined for the stage-based fabrication method. The sand composites developed for MSFW mandrels can be washed out using water. The sand can be reused. This paper introduces the fabrication method, presents the status of the research, and focuses on the geometry generation algorithm of the integrative design process.
... A strong attraction to fiber-reinforced composites, as a material system, is their ability to be designed for any form, where the primary constraint is in fabricating the formwork, also referred to as the preform (Bechthold 2008). Robotically driven techniques for fiber-layup, in particular fiber-winding, minimize the need for the preform to be an exhaustively produced replica of the target composite surface, as shown in the ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2012 (Schwinn et al. 2013). Fiber placement and density are equal and critical factors to shaping the continuous structural form. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
A textile hybrid system is based upon a structural logic that generates form in the relationship between an elastic textile surface and the bending resistance of fiber-reinforced composite material. Such structures are always discretized as the materials are born of highly specialized manufacturing processes: weaving or knitting for manufacturing textiles and pultrusion for the production of the particular fiber-reinforced composite elements typically utilized in textile hybrid structures. The research described in this paper embeds properties of both elastic textile and bending-resistant composites within a single material structure. This is accomplished through a composite forming process which utilizes pre-stressed textiles integrated with isolated regions of stiffened material. The design of material behavior is utilized in both the forming process and the implementation of the material system itself. By calibrating curing time and the influence of the pre-stressed textile, complex 3D forms are generated without the use of complex 3D formwork (preforms). The resulting material systems have an inherent textile hybrid nature while also, as composites, offer high degrees of flexure. A series of studies depict the potential in forming complex 3D surface structures, and utilizing the ductile nature as reconfigurable material systems. Previous research in textile hybrid systems utilizing CNC knitted textiles (left) and multi-scalar applications of GFRP rods and textiles (right)
... This forms part of a generative rule set used by the parametric model. The generated model can provide not only the input needed for structural analysis, but also for mechanical manufacture using a numerical control system [7]. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper starts from the idea that anthropology, building physics and architecture are all contributing factors in the development of design domains. In the specific field of humanitarian relief, the search for more adaptable shelter systems has to be compatible with the rigid modularity of logistical and packaging devices, and in line with the short assembly time of standardized sheltering. Parametric tools usually use mathematical rules to develop and define geometry. Determining the best layout for a covering system can done with open source software that creates a continuous link between computer aided design, simulation, and the manufacturing process. This makes it possible to produce the collective perception of a roof in a specific country in a few steps involving folding parts in a pre-set pattern on the covering material. This is then followed by raising the membrane to form a familiar roof shape. Multiple roof elements can easily be connected together to increase the covered area and provide the template for the progressive improvement of the shelter. Comfort and habitability under the roof can be gradually increased, starting with the addition of other textile membranes and then with other components (beams, walls, platforms etc.) that can usually be made with local materials and that are often used in the local building sector.
... While this period produced a series of iconic structures based on physical formfinding principles such as soap films and pneus in-cluding the roof of the Olympic Stadium in Munich by Günther Behnisch and Frei Otto, architects and engineers at the time faced a number of challenges in their attempt to abstract principles from nature and transfer them to technical applications. Mainly, limitations imposed by the available modes of analysis and fabrication made it difficult to extrapolate the observed behaviours into the architectural scale ( Schwinn et al., 2013). ...
Das Interesse an freien Formen in der Architektur und im Industriedesign nimmt immer stärker zu. Für komplex geformte Strukturen sind faserbasierte Werkstoffe nahezu prädestiniert und bieten gegenüber klassischen Materialien im Bauwesen etliche Vorteile. Dennoch finden diese Materialien nur in seltenen Fällen Einzug in das Bauwesen. Die Abbildung von Geometrie und Materialität stellt dabei eine erhebliche Komplexität dar. Aus diesem Grund wurden von den Autoren neue bionische und multidisziplinäre Ansätze verfolgt, die es erlauben, das Potenzial des Materials für hocheffiziente Strukturen auszuschöpfen. Hierzu wurden ein angepasstes Verfahren zur Fertigung und neue Simulationswerkzeuge zur Planung für Architekten und Ingenieure entwickelt. Die entwickelten Methoden dienten als Grundlage eines im Sommer 2012 umgesetzten Versuchsbaus auf dem Campus der Universität Stuttgart und konnten dadurch erprobt und verifiziert werden. Die Strukturlogik des semitransparenten Pavillons wurde durch die räumliche Anordnung von Carbon- und Glasfasern definiert. Er hatte bei einer Spannweite von 8 m nur eine durchschnittliche Bauteildicke von 4, 6 mm und wog trotz seiner beachtlichen Größe weniger als 320 kg.
Full-text available
This paper will focus on how the emerging scientific discipline of biomimetics can bring new insights into the field of architecture. An analysis of both architectural and biological methodologies will show important aspects connecting these two. The foundation of this paper is a case study of convertible structures based on elastic plant movements.
Due to their relative affordability and ease of use industrial manipulators aka robots have become increasingly common in the field of architectural experimentation and research. Specifically for timber construction, their higher degrees of kinematic freedom and fabricational flexibility, compared to established and process-specific computer numerically controlled (CNC) wood working machines, allow for new design and fabrication strategies or else the reinterpretation and re-appropriation of existing techniques — both of which offer the potential for novel architectural systems. In the case study presented here an investigation into the transfer of morphological principles of a biological role model (Clypeasteroida) is initiated by the robotic implementation of a newly developed finger-joint fabrication process. In the subsequent biomimetic design process the principles are translated into a generative computational design tool incorporating structural constraints as well as those of robotic fabrication leading to a fullscale built prototype.
The introduction of computational design processes and particularly of computer-aided fabrication methods recast roles across the design team. As Jan Knippers, founding partner of Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineering and Head of the Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE) at the University of Stuttgart explains, it offers structural engineers a unique opportunity: the potential to break through the barriers of conventional model thinking (thinking in discrete typologies) and to embrace process design and new forms of interaction.
The last few years have witnessed a robotic revival with a reinvigoration of interest in what the robot can offer the construction industry. Martin Bechthold looks back at the first robotic boom during the 1980s and 1990s when millions of Japanese yen were invested in developing robots that could address the shortage of construction labour. Bechthold further explores the similarities and dissimilarities of the current and previous periods of activity, as supported by his research at Harvard's Graduate School of Design (GSD). Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
This paper proposes the use of parametric design software, which is generally used for real-time analysis and evaluation of architectural design variants, to create a new production immanent design tool for robot milling. Robotic constraints are integrated in the data flow of the parametric model for calculating, visualizing and simulating robot milling toolpaths. As a result of the design process, a physical model together with a milling robot control data file is generated.
Reimpresión en 1981, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990 Incluye bibliografía e índice
  • Ture Vii
  • Wester
vii Ture Wester, Nature Teaching Structures, International Journal of Space Structures, 17(2), 2002, pp. 135-147.
Steffen Reichert and Tobias Schwinn From Nature to Fabrication: Biomimetic Design Principles for the Production of Complex Spatial Structures
  • Jan Viii
  • Markus Knippers
  • Riccardo La Gabler
  • Frédéric Magna
  • Waimer
viii Jan Knippers, Markus Gabler, Riccardo La Magna, Frédéric Waimer, Achim Menges, Steffen Reichert and Tobias Schwinn From Nature to Fabrication: Biomimetic Design Principles for the Production of Complex Spatial Structures. In Lars Hesselgren, Shrikant Sharma, Johannes Wallner, Niccolo Baldassini, Philippe Bompas, P., and Jacques Raynaud, (Eds.), Advances in Architectural Geometry, Springer Wien, 2012 pp. 107-122.
  • Adolf Vi
  • Seilacher
vi Adolf Seilacher, Constructional Morphology of Sand Dollars, Paleobiology 5 (3), 1979, pp. 191-221.