SE.1 – Elective Seminar
Overlaying controlling Loadpaths

Faculty: Manja van De Worp


Data informed structures, the second term experimental structures course links Karamba (digital structural analysis tool) and physical experimentation to produce your own structural feedback loops through consciously evolving structural designs.
Each week we will explore different ways to read and interpret the output form the analysis and how these are driven by factors as; geometry, material, connections, shell versus beam, fabrication etc. Feedback loops, on the level of geometry / component (grid) or connections, and on feedback loops based on material, and fabrication, link the results back into the design. The sequence of translating data, the choice of the drivers all influence the final structural design.
We utilise these tools to relate our output data (structural analysis results) to alter our design to become stronger, stiffer, quicker to build, but as equal we relate the structure and the choice of response to outputs back to the architectural design. Starting with simple tools in Karamba during the course we will extend & combine them to inform our own designed structures.
At the end of the course you will build prototypes that showcase how the structures have been adapted based on the data extracted from the analysis in various steps, as well as their final step in becoming closely linked to fabrication and material /element choice. The feedback loops over the course, will be both digital and physical.
It is this circular design process of structural feedback loops that relate to architectural expression we are interested in.  For example, I could use structural feedback of folding where there is no shell action in my geometry, or I could change the geometry where there is no shell action, as both are a reaction to there being bending in the shell.
(*shell action is where forces travel through the surface in compression and tension parallel to the surface, instead of like in a beam, where the forces are at the top and bottom of the surface – i.e. in bending )

In teams design your will design your own structure based on one of the topics below;
Each team is to set their ideas for input / choice / sequence of data feedback.

A] 1 system – multiple types of performance
Your structure should house multiple loading conditions.
An example from last year is the chair that can house 3 positions of seating.
Here load paths are collapsed.

MAA 2014-15 – DATA INFORMED STRUCTURES // Tutor: Manja van de Worp
CHAIR WITH BEHAVIOUR // J.Dias, M.Ewais, L.Salamanca, L.Bonilla

B] 1 system – 2 architecturally different variations based on loadpath.
An example is Oyler Wu, Bejing cube, which can be made based on trigger load to go through the structure in a certain way, like rain (Loads all equally distributed), or thunder (1 strong path).

Oyler Wu Collaborative – Beijing Cube 2013 – Game of loadpath drives force and aesthetic outcome

Your structures should embed & explore the links of geometry / grid / materiality / fabrication/ connections to drive structural DATA feedback loops.
At the end of the workshop you need to show two evolutions of the base design, that in their own unique way interpreting the analysis results / data. i.e. you present design iterations – DATA feedback loop – that changes the structural and aesthetic performance, from the original default model to the next.


Note each week there will be exercises to be submitted.

Mon, 9 January 2017, 13:00 – 16:00:
Intro Karamba – shells & Driving structural parameters.
We take inspiration from existing buildings that relate Structural design DATA to geometry, material, and grids as a starting point for the initial explorations. (See workshop poster).
Mon, 23 January 2017, 13:00 – 16:00:
Feedback loops 1: Geometry driven, Shell to beam (grid), Shell + ribs, openings versus utilisation, Folds, etc.
Mon, 6 February 2017, 13:00 – 16:00:
Feedback loops 2: Grids driven – direction, thickness, loadpaths, orientation, branching, etc.
Mon, 27 February 2017, 13:00 – 16:00:
Feedback loops 3: Fabrication driven – change material, connections, maximum length, etc.

STRUCTURAL DATA FEEDBACK LOOPS: Overlaying & controlling Loadpaths
Sat, 4 March 2017, 10:00 – 18:00 (workshop)
Sun, 5 March 2017, 10:00 – 18:00 (workshop)
Mon, 6 March 2017, 11:00 – 14:00 (Final presentations)

Sun, 19 March 2017 – DEADLINE for submission in the drive folder