March 21, 2009

Jenny Sabin: Chris Gassaway

In Fit Fabric: Versatility through redundancy and differentiation, it is suggested that the design of high-rise buildings needs to be rethought.  High-rise buildings,it argues, should be rethought as surface structures. 

Using surfaces solves two problems: stiffness and efficiency. A surface structure acts like a woven basket.  When one area of the weave is broken or acted upon the entire system acts to take the force, torque,etc and the system does not fail... this is in contrast to the central core concept (think world trade center).  Also the redundancy of parts in a surface structure help to streamline production and minimize materials thus increasing efficiency. 

Using structures with cylindrical morphologies is being studied on an architectural-scale by The Emergence and Design Group (Michael Weinstock, Achim Menges, Michael Hensel).  By using different morphologies with different load bearing capabilities a surface structure can be created with multiple load-path vectors.

The research of the Emergence and Design Group shows that a double helix shape with a narrowed waste handles forces well. By relaxing geometrical constraints differentiation occurred between the layers of helices.  These differentiations were used to create the shape of a panel which was tessellated over the entire form. Though the sizes were different the shape stayed the same.  The complex form was then made of only a few panel sizes.

This analysis led to the research of membrane skins. The same tessellated surfaces occur in custard apple fruits. 

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