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.

https://vimeo.com/414603649 – 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.

Update 3 on our work for the BM festival

– Help us finance the projects on Kickstarter

So that’s it we have finished the parametric models for Shipwreck and Fractal Cult and that’s how they look:

Shipwreck's parametric model on Grasshopper by Chris Ingram and Arthur Mamou-Mani
Shipwreck’s parametric model on Grasshopper by Chris Ingram and Arthur Mamou-Mani

Fractal Cult's parametric model on Grasshopper by Dan Dodds
Fractal Cult’s parametric model Grasshopper by Dan Dodds

So what do these weird drawings produce? Well have a look at the shipwreck – All of it can vary, from the amount of ribs to their depth – Last thing to do: unfold everything for fabrication.

Shipwreck's 3D model Close-up
Shipwreck’s 3D model Close-up

Shipwreck's 3D model Close-up
Shipwreck’s 3D model Close-up

Shipwreck's 3D model Back View
Shipwreck’s 3D model Back View

Shipwreck's 3D model Back View
Shipwreck’s 3D model Back View

Shipwreck's 3D model Side View
Shipwreck’s 3D model Side View

Shipwreck's 3D model Front View
Shipwreck’s 3D model Front View

And here is the Fractal Cult –

130627 Fractal Cult with thickness and bolt holes - internal
Interior View with the location of the bolts

130627 Fractal Cult with thickness and bolt holes x3
Different versions with different hinges

130627 Fractal Cult with thickness and bolt holes
Plan View with bolts

– Help us finance the projects on Kickstarter

Updates on our Burning Man projects

– Help us finance the projects on Kickstarter

After a long day of work with Chris Ingram, Dan Dodds and Thanasis Korras yesterday, we have nearly finished 3D modelling the two projects. The Fractal Cult was redrawn using rules defined by the hinge connection suggested by Ramboll. There are 5 different types of piece that make up each of the four fractal cults. Extracts from the rules as specified by Dan Dodds and Thanasis Korras:

  • The Acute angles on all triangles all have bolt holes with an offset of 32mm
  • The Obstuse angles all have bolt holes with an offset of 22mm

For each Fractal Cult pods:

  • 12x   Large AAO [Acute,Actute,Obtuse]       : Side length 1241mm
  • 18x   Medium AOO [Acute,Obtuse,Obtuse] : Side length 608mm
  • 9x     Medium AAO [Acute,Actute,Obtuse]   : Side length 591mm
  • 54x   Small AOO [Acute,Obtuse,Obtuse]      : Side length 283mm
  • 108x Small AAO [Acute,Actute,Obtuse]        : Side length 266mm

See iimages below:

View of the 3D model of Fractal Cult
View of the 3D model of Fractal Cult

Offset Ply Model on Grasshopper by Dan Dodds
Offset Ply Model on Grasshopper by Dan Dodds

CNC Layout for Quote - Fractal Cult - Dan Dodds
CNC Layout for Quote – Fractal Cult – Dan Dodds

Hinge specification defining the rules for the parametric model
Hinge specification defining the rules for the parametric model

The Module being repeated for the 3d model with hinges
The Module being repeated for the 3d model with hinges by Thanasis Korras

View of the hinges in the module
View of the hinges in the module by Thanasis Korras

Hinged model of triangle by Thanasis Korras
Hinged model of triangle by Thanasis Korras

Hinged model of triangle by Thanasis Korras
Hinged model of triangle by Thanasis Korras

The Shipwreck now has more support on the ground which will help with the cantilever. The supports being more pronounced, we used this as an opportunity to create a bench. We are planning to finish the fabrication files this afternoon. We are still missing some notches, thickness as well as labelling and unrolling all the pieces.

Shipwreck ribs and spines
Shipwreck ribs and spines

Shipwreck ribs and spines
Shipwreck ribs and spines

Shipwreck ribs and spines
Shipwreck ribs and spines

Shipwreck ribs and spines
Shipwreck ribs and spines

Shipwreck - Work in Progress - Aerial View - Showing the new bench
Shipwreck – Work in Progress – Aerial View – Showing the new bench

Shipwreck - Work in Progress - Side View
Shipwreck – Work in Progress – Side View

Shipwreck - Work in Progress - Front View
Shipwreck – Work in Progress – Front View

Shipwreck - Work in Progress - Back View
Shipwreck – Work in Progress – Back View

Shipwreck - Work in Progress - Back View
Shipwreck – Work in Progress – Back View

Updates on Burning Man – Fractal Cult and Shipwreck

Hello! Couple technical updates on our Burning Man Projects for the team, donators and potential collaborators:

  • We have developed the structure, geometry and details of the two projects with the help of Ramboll Computational Design (RCD). See drawings and analysis below.
  • We have signed the contract with Burning Man and received the first grant payment 20 of us are signed in to go.
  • We have sent our first fabrication files to get an initial quote on CNC milling all the pieces on 2440mm x 1220mm exterior grade plywood sheets of 9mm (for Fractal Cult) and 3mm (For Shipwreck). Our hope is to collect the pieces on the 19th August.
  • We will start small models to test the new structures
  • The Shipwreck now has a parametric model which outputs all the cutting profiles.

Please help us continue the work, even £10 helps – Donate Now

You can also comment on this page to make suggestions on the fabrication – We need more quotes for the CNC and/or Laser cutting job in the U.S. West Coast (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Sacramento, Fresno, Reno preferably) . We also need quotes for the scaffolding structure.

Stephen Melville of Ramboll RCD sketch for the Shipwreck structure
Stephen Melville of Ramboll RCD sketch for the Shipwreck structure

Shipwreck - Looking at different Versions with Parametric model
Shipwreck – Looking at different Versions with Parametric model

Shipwreck - Looking at different Versions with Parametric model
Shipwreck – Looking at different Versions with Parametric model

Shipwerck - Low View
Shipwerck – Low View

ShipWreck View from above
ShipWreck View from above

Current Profiles for Shipwreck
Current Profiles for Shipwreck

Current Laser cut Profiles for Fractal Cult
Current Laser cut Profiles for Fractal Cult

Hinged Connection for Fractal Cult by Thanasis Korras with Ramboll
Hinged Connection for Fractal Cult by Thanasis Korras with Ramboll

Ramboll's suggestion for Fractal Cult's Scafolding structure
Ramboll’s suggestion for Fractal Cult’s Scafolding structure

Fractal Cult Build Plan
Fractal Cult Build Plan

Fractal Cult Build Plan
Fractal Cult Build Plan

Ramboll Ground Reaction Wind Analysis
Ramboll Ground Reaction Wind Analysis