Parametric morphogenesis, robotic fabrication & construction of novel stereotomic hypar morphologies: Hypar Gate, Hypar Wall and Hypar Vault

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The chapter explains the researches who the New Fundamentals Research Group is carrying out on the digital update of stereotomy. Between the various experiments, the chapter focuses on the group or prototypes designed by the geometry of the hyperbolic paraboloid, both at the macro (architectural organism) and micro scale (architectural elements). Several full scale prototypes have been designed and built, using specific parametric codes to define the geometrical morphogenesis properties of the built structural morphologies. Consequent theoretical reflections are fully explained.

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... Each parametric definition involved a set of rules to aggregate a pattern definition based on design intent of the vault segment. In a method similar to recent works by Barberio and Fallacara (2018), the workflow included tessellation scripts for segmentation of the vaults to modular ruled surface constructs so they can be robotically wire cut. Here the joint systems were also explored as well as their structural systems at a micro scale. ...
In a context of stereotomy, robotic subtractive cutting enables design-to-production processes that integrate craftsmanship with advanced manufacturing technology. This paper discusses empirical research into the fabrication of complex and custom-designed geometries by means of robotic subtractive cutting, with a specific focus on modular elements and joint typologies that form an essential condition for self-supporting stone structures. The paper presents research findings in two parts. In the first part, four case studies for jointing techniques and a cross-comparison between these are introduced to derive strategies for multiple criteria, including macro-and-micro geometries, modules and joints, structural performance, material variations, machine cutting methods and end-effectors, and robotic workspace. In the second part, the paper focuses on the structural performance of the joint geometry typologies, expanded towards material constraints and robotic fabrication process. The paper concludes with a discussion on these varied subtractive cutting methodologies and a resulting design-to-fabrication workflow, and indicates future research work. Highlights Demonstrates applications of stereotomic practice for robotic subtractive cutting. Reports on comparative case studies for four different module and joint structures. Discusses structural performance for Interlocking base block geometries. Provides a multi-criteria framework for structural, material/machine cutting methods. Develops a design-to-fabrication workflow in robotic subtractive cutting.
In the last decade, research interest in digital stereotomy has been renewed, with efficiency as a popular objective. However, along with a mainstream focus on full customization, comes a paradox of efficient design yet inefficient fabrication. Provoked by this situation, the potential of modular stereotomy is explored here. By utilizing a parametric design approach and rapid additive prototyping method, sequential experiments were executed to test seventy variations of units. As a result, a clear workflow and an optimized design were generated and used to form a modular stereotomy construction. Finally, efficiency was achieved from three standpoints: main material efficiency through complete modularity, supporting material efficiency through total elimination of shims and up to 91% reduction in falsework, and material use-value maximization through an easy assembly of form and a selection of up to six different constructional strategies to build arches with similar shape and volume.
The past 15 years have been characterised by constant technological and digital innovations, and, as a consequence, computer science has evolved past its academic and elitist status to become the common language adopted by professionals in many fields, revolutionising the methods and tools, and even creating new industries and markets. This shift permeated the architectural and construction industry, dramatically influencing the form and function of modern buildings. Stereotomy, one of the most fascinating and complex techniques in the history of pre-modern architecture, captures best the potential of being able to use digital design to integrate architectural form, structural integrity and environmental performance in a single multi-performative “skin”. The intention of the following text is to highlight some application of new digital technologies in real life projects that fundamentally have a close link to the traditional stereotomic principles of “solid cutting” (Fallacara and Barberio in Handbook of research on form and morphogenesis in modern architectural contexts. IGI Global, Hershey, 2017).
The event “Stereotomy 2.0 and Digital Construction Tools” was held in New York from April 16th to April 29th, 2018 at the School of Architecture and Design (SoAD) of the New York Institute of Technology. The event included a workshop and an exhibition of the students’ work, that was followed by a symposium with international academics and professional speakers. Finally, an exhibition held in the Par Excellence Gallery in New York has shown some of the state-of-the-art research on digital stereotomy through physical models, prototypes and posters.
Despite the evident advantages of combining masonry with prestress, their joint use has been poorly exploited during the last decades. This paper claims the high potential of masonry as a primary load-bearing material when combined with post-tensioning. This work deals with arch footbridges and antifunicular structures. With respect to the first, this research illustrates the introduction of external loads by internal post-tensioning to favourably increase the axial forces in a masonry arch, and consequently improving its structural behaviour. With respect to the second, this work shows how bending moments in a non-funicular 2D curved geometry can be eliminated through an external post-tensioning system. In summary, this research strongly expands the range of post-tensioned masonry structures that exhibit a bending-free (or quasi bending-free) behaviour and, de facto, opens up new possibilities for designs that combine structural efficient solutions with traditional materials.
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The examples in this book however let us project beyond those standard practices and common processes, and make the argument that there is a generation of younger architects that not only fully understand the potential of digital fabrication, but attempt to go deeper into the question of materiality, inscribing new forms into stone thus penetrating material with profound thought. ... Successively, the merit of each design lies in the ingenuity to develop a customized methodology, which joins cut stone blocks in an additive way such that the assembly of individual unit increases the overall structural stability by exploiting material strength through compression, typically known as stereotomic aggregates. ... It is in this respect that the designer Giuseppe Fallacara succeeds to devise methods that permit him to investigate a trajectory with each project, installation or prototype, and which open up new avenues in design by bringing stone to the edge of performance failure and exploit deliberately many current technologies. The projects are therefore also a great didactic example of advanced methods in architectural design with stone, which again shows the larger picture of architecture that is in continuous evolution enriched by the new means of digitization but more than ever affords a life-long apprenticeship instilled by passion.
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This paper addresses both the architectural, conceptual motivations and the tools and techniques necessary for the digital production of an architecture of volume. The robotic manufacturing techniques of shaping volumetric materials by hot wire and abrasive wire cutting are discussed through a number of recent projects. A comparative analysis between milling and hotwire cutting is presented and a number of case studies and tool development studies are considered. Finally, the specifics of toolpath generation for robotic wire cutting are introduced.
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Addressing both architects and engineers, this dissertation presents a new framework for the form finding and design of fabrication geometry of discrete, funicular structures in the early design phase. Motivated by ongoing debates about digital architecture and funicular shell form finding, it introduces a new methodology for structurally-informed design of curved surface architecture through the use of geometrical rather than analytical or numerical representations of the relation between form, forces and fabrication. Based on Thrust Network Analysis (TNA), new algorithms are presented that enable an interactive exploration of novel funicular shapes, enriching the known formal vocabulary of shell architecture. Using TNA, the framework adopts the same advantages of techniques like graphic statics, providing an intuitive and educational approach to structural design that ranges from simple explorations to geometry-based optimisation techniques. Complementary to this structurally-informed design process, the work reflects on the latest building technologies while also revisiting historic construction techniques for stereotomic stone masonry and prefabricated concrete shells to develop efficient fabrication design strategies for discrete funicular structures. Based on architectural, structural and fabrication requirements, several tessellation approaches for given thrust surfaces are developed for the design of informed discretisation layouts of any funicular shape. The flexibility and feasibility of the form-finding framework is demonstrated in several case studies employing the new structural design tool RhinoVAULT, which implements the developed form-finding methods. The use of fabrication design strategies is discussed in a comprehensive case study that shows project-specific tessellation design variations and first fabrication results for a complex stone masonry shell.
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The work of Gaudí embraces all the facets of architectural design. The present paper studies the analysis and design of masonry arches, vaults and buildings. It is well known that Gaudí used hanging models and graphical methods as design tools. These methods can be traced back to the end of the 17th Century. In addition, it was not original the use of equilibrated, catenarian forms. What was completely original was the idea of basing all the structural design in considerations of equilibrium. Gaudí also employed unusual geometrical forms for some of his vaults and ruled surfaces, showing a deep structural insight. Finally, he designed tree-forms of equilibrium for the supports of the vaults in the Sagrada Familia. In the present paper Gaudí's equilibrium methods are studied with some detail, stressing their validity within the frame of Limit Analysis.
L’obiettivo della ricerca è quello di definire le nuove frontiere dell’architettura in pietra. Tale obiettivo è perseguito secondo due modalità: una teorico-critica e una sperimentale/operativa. La tesi fornisce dunque un’ampia trattazione dei temi storico-critici connessi alla recente riscoperta dei materiali lapidei da parte del mondo della progettazione. Gli stessi temi sono alla base delle riflessioni concettuali e operative che hanno portato alla definizione di inedite strategie progettuali e costruttive volte alla realizzazione di alcuni prototipi sperimentali presentati nella tesi. Questi prototipi hanno il ruolo di dimostrare nuove possibili strade che possono portare in un prossimo futuro alla ridefinizione del ruolo dell’architettura in pietra all’interno della disciplina architettonica. Le nuove frontiere proposte presuppongono l’utilizzo dei più recenti strumenti di progettazione parametrico-computazionale, di fabbricazione digitale e robotica.
The aim of this study is to update the traditional construction of the domed space in cut stone, which constitutes an important architectural heritage, recognizing in the organic structural morphology of the stone dome, the consubstantiality of the form, structure and symbol. Starting with a comparative historical analysis of different bonds of hemispherical domes and a rigorous study of the geometric methods used to obtain a structural division of the sphere, this study presents innovative valid alternative solutions for bonding a hemispherical stereotomic dome in cut stone, that optimize its construction compared to traditional methods. This is achieved thanks to the particular five-fold structural geometry of the bond, one that reduces the number of invariant-ashlars to be produced in relation to maintaining their reduced dimensions and increasing the diameter of the dome they constitute, respecting static laws and improving aesthetic expressivity, and thanks to modern technologies for designing and cutting building elements, thus simplifying the production process. - This study was developed within the XXIX cycle (January 2014 – December 2016) of the PhD in Architecture: innovation and heritage established by Consorzio Argonauti (Politecnico di Bari - Università degli Studi Roma Tre) and is in continuity with research on the upgrading of traditional construction techniques with cut stone, which for many years have constituted the cultural identity of the Faculty of Architecture in Bari and, at a later time, of the DICAR, and which was conducted by its founder professor Claudio D'Amato Guerrieri, and by professor Giuseppe Fallacara. Static analysis through computer modelling was performed by engineer Daniele Malomo.
In this book, Heyman provides a thorough and intuitive understanding of masonry structures such as arch bridges, Greek temples, and Gothic cathedrals. Although the approach is firmly scientific, the author does not use complex mathematics. He introduces the basis of masonry analysis in the first two chapters, after which he considers individual structures--including piers, pinnacles, towers, vaults and domes--in more detail. This lucid and informative text will be of particular interest to structural engineers, practicing architects and others involved in the renovation and care of old stone buildings.
Conference Paper
The research proposed is based on the mechanical analysis of an innovative reinforced stone's structure, architecturally designed by Prof. Fallacara of the University of Bari (Italy): the headquarter's entrance portal of the offices of the French company SNBR (Sociète Nouvelle le Batiment Règional) located in Troyes (France), the realization of which is planned for October 2015. The shape characterizing the work is the hyperbolic paraboloid, well known for many structural applications related to reinforced concrete shells. The main idea of this lithic reinterpretation of the hypar is to replace the reinforced concrete with pre-compressed stone: the stone is a symbol of these places, so it has been possible to join tradition and structural experimentation.
Winner of the 1997 Alice Davis Hitchcock MedallionAnyone reviewing thehistory of architectural theory, Robin Evans observes, would have to conclude thatarchitects do not produce geometry, but rather consume it. In this long-awaitedbook, completed shortly before its author's death, Evans recasts the idea of therelationship between geometry and architecture, drawing on mathematics, engineering, art history, and aesthetics to uncover processes in the imagining and realizing ofarchitectural form. He shows that geometry does not always play a stolid and dormantrole but, in fact, may be an active agent in the links between thinking andimagination, imagination and drawing, drawing and building. He suggests a theory ofarchitecture that is based on the many transactions between architecture andgeometry as evidenced in individual buildings, largely in Europe, from the fifteenthto the twentieth century.From the Henry VII chapel at Westminster Abbey to LeCorbusier's Ronchamp, from Raphael's S. Eligio and the work of Piero della Francescaand Philibert Delorme to Guarino Guarini and the painters of cubism, Evans exploresthe geometries involved, asking whether they are in fact the stable underpinnings ofthe creative, intuitive, or rhetorical aspects of architecture. In particular heconcentrates on the history of architectural projection, the geometry of vision thathas become an internalized and pervasive pictorial method of construction and that, until now, has played only a small part in the development of architecturaltheory.Evans describes the ambivalent role that pictures play in architecture andurges resistance to the idea that pictures provide all that architects need, suggesting that there is much more within the scope of the architect's vision of aproject than what can be drawn. He defines the different fields of projectivetransmission that concern architecture, and investigates the ambiguities ofprojection and the interaction of imagination with projection and itsmetaphors.
Thin concrete and steel grid shells show elegantly how shell design is used for contemporary freeform architecture. Their natural beauty is coupled to an inherent efficiency due to minimal bending, result from their good structural form. Thanks to digital form finding tools, streamlined planning processes and automated fabrication, the technical and economic difficulties to design and build those structures, especially grid shells, decreased significantly [1].
In this work, we address the challenges in the realization of free-form architecture and complex shapes in general with the technical advantages of ruled surfaces. We propose a geometry processing framework to approximate (rationalize) a given shape by one or multiple strips of ruled surfaces. We discuss techniques to achieve an overall smooth surface and develop a parametric model for the generation of curvature continuous surfaces composed of ruled surface strips. We illustrate the usability of the proposed process at hand of several projects, where the pipeline has been applied to compute NC data for mould production and to rationalize large parts of free-form facades.
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