Truss Forming In Heliconias

Heliconia Bihai Study

Heliconias are found throughout the Neotropics and are actually quite common in the rainforest. This plant is often acquired in order to provide temporary protection to young cacao plants. Meanwhile in certain areas, the leaves are used in housing to create roofing, with the plant fibre being used to make paper.

Water collects in the bracts of the straight stems, which provides a habitat for many species of tiny aquatic organisms.

Truss Matrix

Having looked briefly at the plant and seen what geometry it takes especially on plan a technique was derived from the form ‘Michell Truss’ to critically compare different experiments. Options 01 and 02 gave a better result of the geometry as the space internally was reduced to a minimum.

Truss Formation – Iteration 1

Having explored the geometry of the plant, physical experiments were carried out to explore the potential for a truss forming. This particular iteration gave no depth to the curve forming as all the ply strips were cut out at the same length.

Analysis Of Depth – Iteration 2

In order to give depth to the geometry and to make it three dimensional experimenting with ply was key three different lengths of ply strips were cut out to give a varied result. Option 03 gave a better result as the larger depth caused from the strips allowed for a smaller surface area at the top with minimal space impact.

Truss Formation – Iteration 3
Experiments With Ply – Iteration 3

Having explored the geometry at small scale it was necessary to test it at a larger scale with ply as a main material. A 1000mm by 600mm ply sheet was used to form the truss geometry at a larger scale. Through the method of soaking the strips of ply in hot water I was able to get a better curve result allowing for more flexibility of the form.

Truss Formation – Iteration 4

After a series of single small and large scale truss forms, stitching the geometry gave a interesting result to the perspective of the truss allowing for a matrix to unfold.

Experiments With Ply – Iteration 4

Two leaf trusses were joined together at a 45 degree angle then joined with another set through the strips of ply in allowing for a flow of form. Through this method a stacking effect was to be achieved, reflecting upon the original geometry of the plant Heliconia.

Digital Experiments – Arraying form

The following arrangements show the bunching of the geometry resulting to form a circular tower as a potential proposal for design.

Digital Experiments – Sequencing

A set of sequences were explored in order to evaluate which pattern simulation would result in the least amount of internal space between the connecting truss forms.

Digital Experiments – Surface Tessellation

The command ‘Loft Curve’ was used to tessellate a single truss form in Grasshopper. The tool Brep shape was then added to give depth to the curve lines used to form the surface.