INFRAME: Art in elastic timber frameDesign, 2019
The INFRAME pavilion is a temporary timber elastic gridshell structure built on the MIT campus in September 2019 as part of Judyta Cichocka's CEE MEng thesis. The structure transforms the function of the public staircase between buildings E15 and E25 on the MIT campus into a performance area. A single layer gridshell becomes a real temporary outdoor stage for electronic music performances, a canvas for a video-mapping show, and has multiple imaginary roles invented by potential next owners. The ultimate goal of the project was to design an elastic timber gridshell, which can be constructed in real-life scenario, providing a functional space for experimental artistic performances and which endeavors to embody the principles of structural art: economy, efficiency and elegance. The challenge lied in development of the design strategy, which allows rapid construction by a small group of inexperienced builders at minimum cost while complying to the building code in Massachusetts (which was required by MIT).
The Arc Lamp workshop at AAG 2018: active bending and digital fabrication
Digital Structures' Caitlin Mueller, Paul Mayencourt and Pierre Cuvilliers were in Gothenburg, Sweden this September 2018, teaching a workshop on active bending at the Advances in Architectural Geometry conference hosted at Chalmers University. In this workshop, we explored the design of bending-active structures with variable cross-sections to fit a target design shape. Over the two days, the participants used computational form-finding tools for bending-active structures, and each designed and built an arc lamp. The participants learned state-of-the-art methods for simulating bending-active behavior and for the control and optimization of their equilibrium shapes. These methods could be applied to the design of large-scale bending-active structures such as elastic gridshells.
After a short introductory lecture on active bending structures, the workshop immediately got very practical, with the participants testing the plywood we would use to build the lamps, determining stiffness and resistance. With these values on hand, it was time to start trying out the design workflow on small-scale prototypes. Small teams formed, first design ideas emerged, and we started comparing the designs against their simulated shapes and against each other. The prototypes were laser-cut sheets of plywood, with rudimentary attachments; this made iterating on designs a lot easier.
This prototyping stage gave everyone a better sense of the design space we were exploring, and let us start exploring the limits of the software tools. For the next step, we designed lamps at a much larger scale: 2-to-4-meter strips of plywood, from 4-mm- and 6-mm-thick sheets. After finalizing the designs, it was time to start up the CNC router.
As soon as the cuts were ready, it was assembly time. We fabricated bases for the lamps in the beautiful wood workshop of Chalmers University, then moved to the conference space where the lamps would stay on display for 3 days.
Most lamps found their spot next to another bending-active structure, a wooden pavillion designed by Alexander Sehlström.
The rest was spread around the conference space, and all were very intriguing.
Some construction details:
All the lamps we built:
Overall, a great workshop. We all learned a lot in these two days!
Digital Structures offers a workshop on active bending simulation at AAG 20182018-04-25, Tags: computation fabrication design-tool form-finding bending-active shaping
The workshop will explore the design of bending-active structures with variable cross-sections to fit a target design shape. Over the two days, the participants will use computational form-finding tools for bending-active structures, and design and build an arc lamp. The participants will learn state-of-the-art methods for simulating bending-active behavior, and for the control and optimization of their equilibrium shapes. These methods can be applied to the design of large scale bending-active structures such as elastic gridshells. The workshop is appropriate for all levels of expertise with bending-active simulations; we will provide the participants with computational tools and workflows to successfully design their own sculptures.