Fractals vs Digital Fabrication

Since the last post on the 23rd October our students have been exploring how to materialise their research into fractals (which they generated with Mandelbulb3D). The conflict between endless geometry and finite material world creates a creative tension that pushes innovation in digital design and fabrication. From parametric equations to parametric design, students have explored fractals as self-generating computer images and attempted to control them, first through changing their variables and then by extracting the most appealing fragments and recreating them using Grasshopper3D . From pure voxel-based images to NURBS or meshes and to 3D printing, laser-cutting, thermo-forming, casting..etc… students are confronted to the limitation of the computer’s memory and processing power as well as materials and numerical control (NC) programming language such as Gcode.

Navigating through fractals, exploring their recursive unpredictability to create more finite prototypes is like walking through the forest and noticing a beautiful flower to design your next building – it helps to let go of a fully top-down approach to architecture, it encourages a collaborations with your computer and a deep understanding of machines and materials. It anticipates a world in which the computers will have an intelligence of their own, where the architect will guide it onto a learning path instead of giving him instructions.  Using infinite fractals to inspire designs helps instill infinity within the finite world – bringing a spiritual dimension to our everyday life. 

Below is a selection of our students Brief01 journey so far:

Manveer Sembi's  Aexion Fractal imported from Mandelbulb3D to Rhino and 3D Printed
Manveer Sembi’s Aexion Fractal imported from Mandelbulb3D to Rhino and 3D Printed
Alexandra Goulds' MIXPINSKI4EX fractal
Alexandra Goulds’ MIXPINSKI4EX fractal
Michael Armfield's parametric exploration of the Amazing Surf Fractal
Michael Armfield’s parametric exploration of the Amazing Surf Fractal
20171102_184258.jpg
Michael Armfield’s parametric exploration of the Amazing Surf Fractal
Michael Armfield's parametric exploration of the Amazing Surf Fractal
Michael Armfield’s parametric exploration of the Amazing Surf Fractal
Henry McNeil's Fibreglass modelling of the Apollonian Gasket.
Henry McNeil’s Fibreglass modelling of the Apollonian Gasket.
Henry McNeil's 3D printed support for his fractal
Henry McNeil’s 3D printed support for his fractal
Henry McNeil's 3D printed fractal imported from Mandelbulb3d to Rhino
Henry McNeil’s 3D printed fractal imported from Mandelbulb3d to Rhino
Henry McNeil's Fibreglass prototype from Ping-Pong and tennis balls
Henry McNeil’s Fibreglass Fractal prototype from Ping-Pong and tennis balls
Ed Mack's laser-cut Fractal Dodecahedron.
Ed Mack’s laser-cut Fractal Dodecahedron.

 

Ben Street's auxetic double curved paper models
Ben Street’s auxetic double curved paper models
Ben Street's single curved paper models
Ben Street’s single curved paper models
Lewis Toghill's composite shells with Jesmonite, plaster, wax and fibre glass
Lewis Toghill’s composite shells with Jesmonite, plaster, wax and fibre glass

20171109_114548Alexandra Goulds' flexible timber node

Alexandra Goulds' flexible timber node
Alexandra Goulds’ flexible timber node
Manveer Sembi's paper cutting for double curved paper sphere
Manveer Sembi’s paper cutting for double curved paper sphere
James Marr's single curved wood node with rotational geometry for subdivided mesh geometry
James Marr’s single curved wood node with rotational geometry for subdivided mesh geometry
Nick Leung's 3D prints of the different recursive steps of a space-filling curve
Nick Leung’s 3D prints of the different recursive steps of a space-filling curve

 

Rebecca Cooper's Fractal truss study on parametric structural analysis tool Karamba3D
Rebecca Cooper’s Fractal truss study on parametric structural analysis tool Karamba3D
Manon Vajou's burnt polypropelene studies
Manon Vajou’s burnt polypropelene studies

20171026_154920

Thursday 19th October Pin-Up

Diploma Studio 10 is back with 21 talented architecture students from 4th and 5th year working on the Brief01:Fractals. Here is an overview of their experiments so far after 4 weeks of workshops.

Sara Malik’s Dodecahedron IFS Fractal (with Julia set) modelling with a handheld 3D printing pen.
Sara Malik’s matrix of fractals using Mandelbulb3D
Ola Wojciak’s beautiful collection of Mandelbulb3D experiments using the Msltoe_Sym Formula with the Koch Surface.
Ola Wojciak’s beautiful collection of Mandelbulb3D experiments using the Msltoe_Sym Formula with the Koch Surface.
Ola Wojciak’s beautiful collection of Mandelbulb3D experiments using the Msltoe_Sym Formula with the Koch Surface.
Ola Wojciak’s first physical model expressing her fractals using ropes cast in plaster
Beautiful twisting L-System from James Marr on Grasshopper3D using Anemone.
Matthew Chamberlain’s Strange Attractors Study using a combination of Blender and Grasshopper3D
Matthew Chamberlain’s Strange Attractors Study using a combination of Blender and Grasshopper3D
Matthew Chamberlain’s Strange Attractors Study using a combination of Blender and Grasshopper3D
Matthew Chamberlain’s Strange Attractors Study using a combination of Blender and Grasshopper3D
Manveer Sembi’s Aexion Fractal Matrix with Julia Set.
Michael Armfield’s Amazing Surf Fractal on Mandelbulb3d
Lewis Toghill’s Fractal Matrix using the cyripple , KalilinComb, sphereIFS, Isocahedron and genIFS fractals.

 

Deployable structures

A deployable structure includes an enclosed mechanical linkage capable of transformation between expanded and collapsed configurations while maintaining its shape.

These types of structures have the advantage of creating versatile, modulated spaces, with easy and fast assembly which generate benefits such as adaptability, flexibility and space transformation.

Charles Hoberman pioneered a type of deployable structure based on curved scissor pairs as seen in his Hoberman sphere. The unfolding structure resembles an expanding geodesic sphere which can reach a size up to five times larger than the initial one. It consists of six loop assemblies (or great circles), each made of 60 elements which fold and unfold in a scissor-like motion. Portfolio 2.jpg

Hoberman Sphere by Charles Hoberman

A loop assembly is formed of at least three scissors-pairs, at least two of the pairs comprising two identical rigid angulated strut elements, each having a central and two terminal pivot points with centres which do not lie in a straight line, each strut being pivotally joined to the other of its pair by their central pivot points. The terminal pivot points of each of the scissors-pairs are pivotally joined to the terminal pivot points of the adjacent pair such that both scissors-pairs lie essentially in the same plane.Portfolio 22

Regular curved scissor-pairs in motion

When this loop is folded and unfolded certain critical angles are constant and unchanging. These unchanging angles allow for the overall geometry of structure to remain constant as it expands or collapses.Portfolio 23

Regular and irregular curved scissor-pairs in motion

The above diagrams show a closed loop-assembly of irregular scissors pairs where each scissors-pair is pivotally joined by its two pairs of terminal pivot points to the terminal pivot points of its two adjacent scissors-pairs. This loop-assembly is an approximation of a polygon in the sense that the distances between adjacent central pivot points are equal to the corresponding lengths of the sides of the polygon. Further, the angles between the lines joining adjacent central pivot points with other similarly formed lines in the assembly are equal to the corresponding angles in the polygon.

The beams forming scissor-pairs can be of almost any shape, providing that the three connection points form a triangle. The angle of the apex would dictate the number of scissor-pairs that can be linked together to form a closed loop.Portfolio 28.jpg

Scissor-pairs of varying morphologies

My physical experiments started with materials that would allow a degree of bending and torsion in order to test the limits of the system. Using polypropylene for the angular beams and metal screws for the joints, I created these playful models that bend as they expand and contract.Portfolio 214.jpg

Later I started using MDF for the beams as well as joints and noticed that a degree of bending was present in the expanded state of the larger circle.Portfolio 215.jpg

After using curved scissor pairs of the same angle to form closed linkages, I decided to combine two types of scissors and vary the proportion between the elements to achieve a loop which would offer the highest ratio between the expanded and contracted state.Portfolio 216.jpg

900 curved scissors loops

Portfolio 217.jpg

900 curved scissors with linear scissors loops

The above diagrams show a combination of 900 curved scissors with linear (1800) scissors to form rectangles that expand and contract. The length of the 900 beam was gradually increased  and by measuring the diagonals  of the most expanded and most contracted forms, I obtained the following ratios for the three rectangles:

R1 = 0.87

R2 = 0.67

R3 = 0.64

By keeping the curved scissor with the best ratio, I created three more rectangles, this time by varying the length of the linear beam. The following ratios were obtained:

R1 = 0.64

R2 = 0.59

R3 = 0.67Portfolio 218.jpg

900 curved scissors with linear scissors loops

I then took the linkage with the best ratio of 0.59 and rotated it 900 to form a cube which expands and contracts.Portfolio 219.jpgPortfolio 220.jpg

Combined linkage cubes

The change of state from open to closed is visually attractive and could have the potential of creating spaces that are transitional.Portfolio 223If more linear scissors are placed between the 900 scissors, a better contraction ratio is obtained.Portfolio 222

Combined linkage cubes with two linear scissors

Happy Easter from WeWantToLearn.net :)

It is the end of the second term for the University of Westminster and what a term for DS10! Four projects almost completed at BuroHappold’s engineering headquarters, Three projects to build at the Burning Man festival this summer. We could not be more happy and proud of our students… And it is not finished: after having produced a timeline of the scientific discovery and science-fictional predictions, they have started designing a future city (Brief03) based on their Brief01 and Brief02 work. Here are some pictures showing the students and their current research. Happy Easter everyone!

DS10 in our studio space at the University of Westminster
DS10 in our studio space at the University of Westminster
Joe Leach working on the Falling Leaves, his installation for Buro Happold engineering
Joe Leach working on the Falling Leaves, his installation for Buro Happold engineering
Diana Raican finishing the Dissolving Cubes installation at the Nervi Room, BuroHappold
Diana Raican finishing the Dissolving Cubes installation at the Nervi Room, BuroHappold
Garis Iu completing the Meander, his curved Origami installation for BuroHappold
Garis Iu completing the Meander, his curved Origami installation for BuroHappold
Charlotte Yates' Jitterbug Prototype for Buro Happold Engineering. Client Meeting with Neil Billet, Andrew Best and  James Solly
Charlotte Yates’ Jitterbug Prototype for Buro Happold Engineering. Client Meeting with Neil Billet, Andrew Best and James Solly
Lorna Jackson showing one of the gifts for our Kickstarter Campaign
Lorna Jackson showing one of the gifts for our Kickstarter Campaign
John Konings showing his prototype for an Origami City on Water generating electricity from the waves in Holland.
John Konings showing his prototype for an Origami City on Water generating electricity from the waves in Holland.
Joe Leach showing his Burning Man proposal model  to  Mike Tonkin
Joe Leach showing his Burning Man proposal model to Mike Tonkin
Alex Berciu showing the environemental, structural and programatic rules for the growth of his vertical city
Alex Berciu showing the environemental, structural and programatic rules for the growth of his vertical city
Alex Berciu showing the environemental, structural and programatic rules for the growth of his vertical city
Alex Berciu showing the environemental, structural and programatic rules for the growth of his vertical city
Alex Berciu showing the environemental, structural and programatic rules for the growth of his vertical city
Alex Berciu showing the environemental, structural and programatic rules for the growth of his vertical city
Sarah Stell's African Rural and tribal mega-city
Sarah Stell’s African Rural and tribal mega-city
Ieva Ciocyte's Solar chimneys City made from a network of water purifying farms in a polluted land.
Ieva Ciocyte’s Solar chimneys City made from a network of water purifying farms in a polluted land.
Tom Jelley showing his Floating Solar Mirrors City.
Tom Jelley showing his Floating Solar Mirrors City.
Garis Iu's extruded plastic floating city based on curved origami.
Garis Iu’s extruded plastic floating city based on curved origami.
Joe Leach's Green Corridor City in the Amazonian Forest
Joe Leach’s Green Corridor City in the Amazonian Forest
Irina Ghuizan showing her City in the Sky
Irina Ghuizan showing her City in the Sky
Lorna Jackson showing her feminist city and her winning burning man project made from Spirohedron
Lorna Jackson showing her feminist city and her winning burning man project made from Spirohedron
Toby Plunkett showing his cymatic city generated from sound patterns
Toby Plunkett showing his cymatic city generated from sound patterns

17th January Pin-Up

Great to be back! Here are some pictures of our pin-up. Students have 5 more days to go before their interim portfolio submission and seven days before submitting their Burning Man and Wikihouse proposals. Then we will move on to brief03: Temple. Very excited about the projects! Thank you very much to Nick Ierodiaconou and Alastair Parvin  creators of the Wikihouse from 00:/ Architects for their very insightful comments.

130117_Pin-Up_15Above: Dan Dodds and Phil Hurrell swinging on a “collaborative” harmonograph.

130117_Pin-Up_20Above: Michael Clarke showing his reciprocal Wikihouse in frontof Nick and Alastair

130117_Pin-Up_1Above: Jessica Beagelman‘s loops taking shape.

130117_Pin-Up_2Above: Our mad unit space, filled with large models done at Grymsdyke farm.

29th November 2012 Cross-Crit

Some pictures of our last Cross-Crit. Thank you very much to our crit David Andreen, Jack Munro, Dusan Decermic and Anthony Boulanger.

Emma Whitehead's convection cell sectional models.Above: Emma Whitehead’s convection cells sectional models

Michael Clarke's parametric Abeille VaultAbove: Michael Clarke’s Parametric Abeille’s Vault

Luka Kreze's tensegrity experiements

Luka Kreze’s tensegrity tower experiments

Marilu Valente's Starch form finding experiments

Marilu Valente’s potato starch form finding experiements