THESIS STATEMENT

Tailored shelter investigates practical options for the integration of novel material research of microbial cellulose developed and implemented by multidisciplinary designers (and material scientists) into pneumatic structures by exploring biofabrication techniques practiced in soft robotics and in the industries of sustainable fashion/textile.

image credit: Elizaveta Veretilnaya

The main idea is to generate efficient digital fabrication method using microbial cellulose as a primary shaping material for light inflatable structures with robotically woven embedded threads (that act as a fabric reinforcement). This method could be applied for building specific components of a structure (biofabricated facade), serve as an independent living module (capsule) or provide non-structural area coverage (shelters).

FRAMEWORK

 

By rethinking the notion of ‘materiality’ and striving towards clearer understanding of its behavior and properties under various inputs/manipulations it is possible to upgrade material efficiency for the generation of more informed design methodologies, fabrication techniques and strategies for the initial production till end-of-life phases of construction.

STATE OF THE ART

FABRICATION APPROACHES

IMPORTANCE AND LEARNINGS

SCIENTIFIC INTEREST

The most performative properties of microbial cellulose (the interrelation between shrinkage and consecutive strength gain, flexibility, shape memory and self-healing) can be combined into one cohesive workflow (within a frame of robotic fabrication) to generate a novel construction method for inflatable (temporary) structures that is directly informed by these properties and operates within the limitations and possibilities of digital fabrication.

RESEARCH AIM AND OBJECTIVES

The aim if the research is to build a full scale temporary structure/part of the structure composed of inflated components with embedded threads that act as a reinforcement (spatial skeleton) and inflation pattern guides using microbial cellulose as a principal shaping material.

STAGE 01: MATERIAL COMPREHENSION

Points of investigation: growth speed, scoby thickness and texture

Experiment 1: Tea type (black/green) and Sugar content
Results: green tea based samples display better texture qualities; optimal sugar content – 7% of total liqud volume

Experiment 2: Growth accelerators
Set 1A: Starter culture Set 1B: Piece of scoby Set 2A: Starter culture + vinegar (apple cider) Set 2B: Piece of scoby + vinegar (apple cider) Results: Set 2A (culture+vinegar) displays fastest scoby growth

Experiment 3: Inflation
Investigation goals:
a) Test material’s fitness (texture, thickness) for pinpoint manual shape manipulation
b) Assess modified shape performace by factors:
• Airtightness
• Shrinkage
• Resilience
(resistance to external influence)

APPLICATION SUGGESTIONS

Tailored Shelter is a project of IAAC, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia developed in MAA02 2021/22 by Student : Elizaveta Veretilnaya. Thesis advisors: Marcos Cruz & Ricardo Mayor