The Corn-Crete House System

The main aspects of the Corn-Crete House system are the use of space, material efficiency and relationship to site. The way space is shaped influences human behaviour. According to a research paper done by KAYVAN MADANI NEJAD in 2007 the curvilinearity of interior design directly affects the way people feel inside them. It concluded that the more curvilinear a space is the more comfortable, safe, relaxed and friendly it feels. My project builds upon this argument. Research also shows that the concrete industry is a major environment pollutant. Cement is the most damaging ingredient. I am proposing a new system which will be using less concrete & less cement thanks to: 1) corn residues partially replacing aggregate making the structure lighter and more porous 2) casting around inflatables resulting in curvilinear architecture suitable for compression which requires less tensile strength.

Gum City Summary

Gum Arabic is a natural adhesive grown on the Senegalia Senegal tree. This tree grows in 6 years and only requires 100-200ml of water a year, this is a tree which has evolved to survive in the desert.

How can a third world country like Sudan can use a natural adhesive to act as a binder? How can we use the natural terrain as a framework for creating complex and controllable design?

Below the images illustrate how the construction process works. – Sucking Mechanism

I have designed a time-based construction programme. It begins with a setting out plan where string is used to determine where an industrial hoover (which usually transfers sand) sucks out sand and it is spewed out elsewhere. When my mix has been added to these cone shape voids the hoovering process is repeated but this time a thick layer of the Gum Arabic, Clay and Sand mix. The mixture is then lightly misted with salt water which causes the Gum Arabic to act as the binder. The Desert’s scorching sun then does the rest to solidify the material. Excavation around the land enables a structure which stands upright.

After exploring this method myself I discovered some interesting variations depending on whether I suck the sand first or pour it

I explored these forms digitally.

If you are wondering how I got to this point, well I will jump back to the beginning.

It started in Kew Gardens London, where I chose to study a plant and look into the early stages of bio-mimicry. I chose to study the Lotus Pod (Nelumbo Nucifera) found in Asia.

I wanted to find consistency between the holes of the flowers. Therefore I purchased 40 flower heads and begun experiments to study the arrangement of holes and the parameters within the plant. After experimenting I discovered that flower heads sized between 50-60mm have a gradient like effect where the largest hole is 3.5 times larger than the smallest. I therefore used Frei Ottos sand draining technique to explore what forms can be achieved with the arrangement of holes being that of the Lotus Pod.

After designing and building a smart box I began a matrix study.

I then Explored the parameters of each of these and found out that this sand grain drains at 30 degrees.

From this point I went on to look at how to solidify sand in its current form and that is when I discovered the properties of the Gum Arabic and began to explore. I had began to mix the mixture with sand and clay.

I then explored a site based on where Gum Arabic is produced and where sand and clay is in abundance. Therefore leaving me with Al-Fashir Sudan.

I then Explored the construction techniques using the gravity. Using the terrain as a natural formwork which can be moulded.

I then continued to design a construction process which requires less labour and would achieve high quality design attributes. Which is where I began with the hoovering process.

Bending Lattice System

My initial studies stemmed from researching into Stellation. This, in simple terms, is the process of extending  polygon in two dimensions, polyhedron in three dimensions, or, in general, a polytope in n dimensions, to form a new figure. Through researching the application of this process, I came across the sculptures created by George Hart, as he has experimented with stellated geometries to which are subdivided to create mathematical interweaving structures.Stellation 1

My Research into the method and calculations of George Hart’s Mathematical Sculpture’s focused on the sculpture ‘Frabjous’. Through rigorous testing and model making I have understood the rules behind the complex form. This is based on the form of a stellated icosahedron, whose shape is contained within a dodecahedron.grey card model

Lines are drawn from one point, to a point mirrored at one edge of the face of the dodecahedron form – as shown in the diagram. This creates intersecting lines at each face as you can see from the diagrams below. Each dividing line has two intersection points, with symmetry at the center of the line. The sculpture aims to avoid the intersections of these lines by introducing a sine curve with the domain 0 to 2*pi. As you can see, each component is exactly the same – for this model, 30 components are used.

george hart diagram 1george hart diagram 2george hart diagram 3

`To simplify the construction of the sculpture, I extracted a build-able section which uses ten components in total. Two of these sections are then weaved together and joined up by a further ten single components to form the entire sculpture.Diagram Sequence of Researched SculptureOne Component ImageryGeometry 2

Following this research, I extracted the concept of avoiding the intersection and subdivided a cube with lines from each corner of the cube. These lines were then weaved around eachother using a sine curve with a domain of 0 to pi. I then mirrored the curves and rotated them to create an intertwining form.Avoiding Self Intersection 2

Another test was created with the same process, however subdividing a cube using the midpoint of each face. – This creates an octahedral geometry.Avoiding Self Intersection octahedron

Using this interweaving geometry, I have created different three dimensional arrays to create a spatial form. The concept of avoiding intersections naturally cause a structure to fail. To form a structurally efficient version of this geometry, I introduced the idea of a reciprocal structure, and allowed the beams to self support by resting on eachother. This did not create a structure strong enough to stand on, however through adding a cube whose dimensions are equal to the width of the beams, the structure became very strong.

Avoiding Self Intersection octahedron 3

Testing the component at a small scale required the design of a joint which allowed me to assemble these components together through interlocking elements. Each beam element slots into the joint; When two joints and two beams are connected together the curves naturally stay in place due to the angle cut into the joint. Three of these connected elements together form the component.

Diagraming the Joint

As mentioned previously, avoiding intersections create inefficient structures – For this small scale experimentation, the concept of Tensegrity was implemented. Tensegrity is a structural principle based on using isolated compression components within a net of continuous tension, allowing the compression members to not need to touch each other. This model was constructed using 1.5mm plywood which has been laser cut; the modularity of the system ensures minimal material wastage.

Construction Sequence of ModelModel Photographs

The three dimensional array of this geometry creates many interesting shapes and patterns when viewed from different angles – this is visible in the following video:





Final Crit – Thursday 16th May

It was DS10’s Final crit yesterday which concludes our BRIEF03:TEMPLE. Wonderful day with a wide spectrum of temples showing the concerns and fascinations of a group of twenty-one architectural students in 2013. A myriad of political and spiritual statements on today’s society helped by parametric design tools and physical modelling. Here is the list of all the themes that emerged in the third term:

  • Temple to Love and Lust in Brighton, U.K. – by Georgia-Rose Collard-Watson
  • Temple to Revolution in Tahrir Square, Egypt – by Luka Kreze
  • Temple to Making in the City of London, U.K. – by Michael Clarke
  • Temple to Vibrations on Mount Neru, Tanzania – by Dhiren Pattel
  • Temple to Crowdfunding the City of London, U.K. – by Sarah Shuttleworth
  • Temple to Infinity in the Mojave Desert, U.S.A – by Andrei Jippa
  • Temple to Augmented Reality near Oxford Street, London, U.K. – by Mark Simpson
  • Temple to Gin, near Kings Cross, London, U.K. – by George Guest
  • Temple to Permaculture, in Totness, U.K. – by Philp Hurrel
  • Temple to Bees, in the Olympic Park, London, U.K. – by Jake Alsop
  • Temple against Electro-Magnetic Radiations, in Snowdonia National Park, U.K. – by Chris Ingram
  • Temple against Pre-Packaged Meat, in Smithfield Market, London, U.K. – by Alex Woolgar
  • Temple to Bio-Polymers , in Thelford, U.K. – by Marilu Valente
  • Temple against Consumerism, in Selfridges, London, U.K. – by Jessica Beagleman
  • Temple to Online Knowledge, in the Sillicon Roundabour, London, U.K. – by Tim Clare
  • Temple to the Awareness of Death, in Mexico – by Thanasis Korras
  • Temple of Illusion, in South Bank, London, U.K.- by Daniel Dodds
  • Temple to Water on the Thames, London, U.K. – by William Garforth-Bless
  • Temple to Atheism in Lower Lea Valley Park, London, U.K. – by Emma Whitehead
  • Temple to Light in Elephant and Castle, London, U.K. – by Josh Haywood
  • Temple to Sun Worship in the Wyndham Council Estate, Camberwell London, U.K. – by Natasha Coutts

Thank you very much to all our external critiques: William Firebrace, Jeanne Sillett, Harri Lewis and Jack Munro.  Two weeks more to go until the hand-in of portfolios (28th May). Here are couple pictures:

Luka Kreze's thorned tensegrity architecture against dictatorship on Tahrir Square and a manual for revolution.
Luka Kreze’s thorned tensegrity architecture against dictatorship on Tahrir Square – A manual to start a revolution.

Jake Alsop's wax-generated temple for Bees
Jake Alsop’s wax-generated temple for Bees

Chris Ingram's Slate Community, away from electro-magnetic radiation
Chris Ingram’s Slate Community, away from electro-magnetic radiation

Marilu Valente's Digital/Physical experiement on elastic bio-polymer
Marilu Valente’s Digital/Physical experiement on elastic bio-polymer

Marilu Valente's diagramming of the  bio-polymer stretch
Marilu Valente’s diagramming of the bio-polymer stretch

Emma's  'Agora' - temple agora / forum for Sunday assembly -atheist congregation and for tech startup groups /music network Sofar sounds
Emma’s ‘Agora’ – forum for Sunday assembly – atheist congregation

Sarah Shuttleworth's Temple to crowdfunding - Kickstarter HQ
Sarah Shuttleworth’s Temple to crowdfunding – Kickstarter HQ

Crowdfunded structure for Sarah Shuttleworth's roof
Crowdfunded structure for Sarah Shuttleworth’s roof

Jessica Beagleman's "Atelier" on the roof of Selfridges is made of sewed pieces of plywood/
Jessica Beagleman’s “Atelier” on the roof of Selfridges is made of sewed pieces of plywood/

William Garforth-Bless'Temple to Water using a thin fiber glass shell and floating components on the Thames
William Garforth-Bless’Temple to Water using a thin fiber glass shell and floating components on the Thames

Philip Hurrell's Temple to the Transition Movement in Totness, Devon
Philip Hurrell’s Temple to the Transition Movement in Totness, Devon

Daniel Dodds' abstract for the Temple of Illustion
Daniel Dodds’ abstract for the Temple of Illustion

Tim Clare's temple to online knowledge is an irregular gridshell following learning spaces
Tim Clare’s temple to online knowledge is an irregular gridshell following learning spaces

The story of a reciprocal structure and a temple to making by Michael Clarke
The story of a reciprocal structure and a temple to making by Michael Clarke