Istitution: Architectural Association - School of Architecture, London (UK)
Research: Geometrical research about geometric Kaleidocycle and their architectural applications
Tutor: Studio Philippe Morel & José Sánchez | Year: 2012-2013
Team: Melika Aljukic, Margarita de Bruijn, Sreerag Palangat Veetil, Carles Sala, DOF Engineers

Within the brief of Reconsidering Elementarism, the researchers integrate different processes within architecture through computation. The aim is to develop a scalable, systemic and generative methodology, keeping the notion of universality intact. 

The relationship between man and machine become far more intertwined with the advances in neuroscience and communication, allowing faster and direct symbiotic coexistence. In this scenario, they aim to integrate positive aspects of technology within architectural design processes to create a prototypical system which could be seen as a prosthetic extension of the humane body to create architecture. 

Their interest is in precondition such a system, where they can integrate the user in the creation of individual shelters. Rapid fabrication of such shelters is perceived by means of the geometrical intelligence embedded in a particular kinematic geometry, called Kaleidocycle. The elemental properties of this spatial linkages with simple revolute joints is analyzed to develop a machinery to weave and create inhabitable architectural skins.

This modular robotic assembly sweeps three dimensional spaces with ruled surfaces of third order during its inversion, which in turn is investigated to be woven by a multiphase weaving mechanism implanted within the machine.  

The researchers saw neural interface as a new opportunity to make the user participant in the creation of ruled surfaces by controlling the spatial movement of the modular robotic assembly to be able to customize the individual shelters produced in real time.

Thus the project inherits the control over the conception, materiality, manufacturing, construction and consumption of inhabitable spaces in an entirely novel style. It robustly retorts to the socio-political and economic pressures in the global capitalist society today, experimenting with lightweight intelligent materials, affordable and rapid prototyping technologies, assimilated with the power of computation.


Composite Materials advantages:

1. Lightness with high mechanical properties.

2. Corrosion Resistance.

3. Termical and acoustic  insulation.

4. High damping capability.

5. Energy absorption capacity.

6. Design liberty.



Sections definition

The structure is simulated by frame elements of assigned section and shell elements with assigned Section Layer definition.

The “Section layer definition” allow to perform non Linear analysis where the real behavior of composite elements is perfectly modeled.

These analysis technique it is mandatory with composite elements, where each layer is made by a different material with great heterogeneity of properties.



Model definition

The structural model is composed by finite elements (shell and frame) placed accordingly with the architectural geometry. The loads assigned to the structure are: self-weight and wind internal pressure (0.2 kN/m2).          

Loads have been combined in two main combination: SLS (service state combination) and ULS (ultimate state combination). Boundary conditions have been set around the zone bearing on ground.


Results from the FEM analysis performed show acceptable displacements of the structure under service combination (typically 50 mm all over the flat areas) and ULS stresses far beyond the material limit (typically 100 MPa).

This behavior is typical in composite structure where the materials have very high stress capacity and for this reason the governing design situation is the serviceability (instead of collapse or failure).

It is relevant to underline that the geometric construction of this structure (ruled surfaces) produce performing “arch” surfaces where bending moments are relative small allowing for very light weight shells.

Images © Melika Aljukic, Margarita de Bruijn, Sreerag Palangat Veetil, Carles Sala, DOF Engineers

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