I have been researching Miura pattern origami as a structural solution for rapidly deployable structures. Miura ori are interesting as structures due to their ability to develop from a flat surface to a 3D form, and become fully rigid, with no degrees of freedom, once constrained at certain points. Physical and digital experiments with Miura Ori have taught me that certain topographies can be generated by developing a modified Miura pattern. With the help of Tomohiro Tachi’s excellent research on the subject of curved Miura ori, including his Freeform Origami simulator (http://www.tsg.ne.jp/TT/index.html) I have learned that Miura ori surfaces that curve in the X and Y axes can be generated by modifying the tessellating components, however these modifications require some flexibility in the material, or looseness of the hinges. As a system for a rapidly deployable structure, I am most interested in the potential for the modified Miura ori to work as a structure built with cheap, readily available sheet materials which are generally planar, so I will continue to develop this system as a rigid panel system with loose hinges that can be tightened after the structure is deployed. In order to test the crease pattern’s ability to form a curved surface, I have defined a component within the Miura pattern that can tessellate with itself. The radius of this component’s developed surface is measured as it is gradually altered.
With the objective being to develop a system for the construction of a rapidly deployable structure, I have also been interested in understanding the Miura ori’s characteristics as it is developed from flat. Physical and digital tests were performed to determine the system’s willingness to take on a curve as its crease angles decrease from flat sheet to fully developed. I found the tightest radius was achieved rapidly as the sheet was folded, with the radius angle reaching a plateau. This is interesting from the perspective of one with the desire to create a structure that has a predictable surface topography, as well as from a material optimisation standpoint; the target topography can be achieved without the wasteful deep creases of an almost fully developed Miura ori. With the learnings of the modified Miura ori tests in mind, a simple loose hinged cylinder is simulated. As the pattern returns on itself and is fastened, the degrees of freedom are removed and the structure is fully rigid. A physical model of the system was constructed with rigidly planar MDF panels and fabric hinges. The hinges were flexible enough to allow the hinge movement necessary in developing this particular modified Miura ori, however some of the panels’ corners peeled away from the fabric backing as the system was developed from flat. A subsequent test will seek to refine this hinge detail, with a view to creating a scalable construction detail that will allow sufficient flexibility during folding, as well as strength once in final position.
So easily can fun and playfulness be neglected within Architecture. My proposal stands as an embodiment of these aspects, creating an area of inclusive participation, a space that can be explored and is only complete when occupied.
Fallen from the sky and tied down in the middle of Black Rock City ‘The Cloud’ stands as a mirage for weary-eyed travellers from far and wide, a beacon of sanctuary that creates spaces that provide respite from the harsh conditions of the desert using permeable fabric to create a cool atmosphere diffusing light within daylight and emitting a soft glow from within in the evening.
Walking through the dessert after a long journey along the silk road ‘The Cloud’ emerges as a whimsical mirage. Mimicking the form of a cloud the easily recognisable form is transformed into Architecture; a sinuous billowing form allowing us to fulfil a childhood dream, walking on clouds.
The principle structure of the cloud is composed of hollow rolled steel tubes ,sandwiched between thick perforated fabric, strategically placed to withstand the extreme wind conditions as well as human interaction. Elevated from the floor these tubes are secured to the ground using the kandy kane re-bar method.
Keeping the form soft and playful so that not only is the installation safe but also malleable, responding to people climbing and walking it, bungee rope is securely looped over the steel tubes and threaded through the ‘ground’ fabric to hold it up, as illustrated in the accompanying drawing.
Interactivity is an integral part of the installation. Bringing to life the stranded cloud people are encouraged to explore the piece climbing in, over and around it, finding intricate crevasses that provide discreet hidden entrances to the inner cloud where an intimate social environment softly illuminated by the diffused daylight, providing an area of solace.
Below are two videos made from the exercises shown at the DS10/Inter9 Grasshopper class at the Architectural Association.
The first video shows the trail left by points constrained by springs, end points and gravity. The Arch moves up and to the side, leaving a beautiful trace which reminded me of the pictures of Edouard Muybridge. It was done with Grasshopper and the free Kangaroo plugin by Daniel Piker.
The second video is a very simple example of recursion using Hoopsnake byVolatile Prototype for Grasshopper: A line rotates on another line and this new line becomes the currrent one on which the rotation is done and so one and so forth. Depending on the angle of the rotation and its location on the curve, these amazing patterns get created.
It has almost been already a year that Toby and I started tutoring DS10 at Westminster. One of our main ambitions was to link physical and digital experiments so that one feeds the other.
Physical reality is much more than surfaces on a screen therefore students created complex parametric models working as systems linked to many forces (gravity, environment, structure…etc…) and not just finished objects. These very precise digital models allow students to implement what they learn from their physical models, to simulate even more design options and further understand the rules behind them.
To do so, they used Grasshopper and its numerous plugins provided by generous developers. Grasshopper is a graphical algorithm editor integrated with Rhinoceros 3D modelling tool and a 18,000 strong community exchanging ideas and helping each other on the Grasshopper3d.com forum.
Below are most of the printscreens that I used to help the students with their journey into parametric modelling which is based on help that I also received previously. I hope that this will help others to design amazing things! If you have any questions on one of the images, please do not hesitate to ask.
Below is my favourite image: packing balloons on a surface using Kangaroo (with Emma Whitehead)