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IAAC, Barcelona


Completed, Summer 2017

The summer school held at the IAAC (Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia) with GSS MSC (Global Summer School Moscow) in collaboration with Shukhov Lab of HSE Graduate School of Urbanism investigated the material properties of natural fibers in the assembly of a temporary pavilion. Karamba was utilized as a to optimize the shape of the overall geometry in which the weaved panels were integrated.

Text and Images by IAAC.

Understanding the city as a dynamic, constantly changing environment, the project investigates alternative local production methods for the generation of temporal spatial proposals through the definition of an urban collaborative system. The investigation process combines the micro scale of material research with the macro scale of urban connections. Proposing a use of sustainable organic materials for the network of urban elements, the project investigates the capabilities of natural fibres as a tensile material and bio-plastic as binding and compressing material.

According to the range of materials and fabrication methods available on site, a fibrous structure composed of cotton threads and gelatine bio-plastic mix was proposed. The final mixture consisted of one part gelatine, one part sugar, a tenth part glycerine and two parts water. Material tests show that after 3 days of drying this composite material can have structural abilities, a short lifespan and good load bearing properties.

Form Finding in Kangaroo © IAAC
Karamba analysis © IAAC
Material Distribution based on Structural Analysis © IAAC
Weaving Patterns © IAAC

A particle spring system was simulated digitally in the Grasshopper plugin Kangaroo allowing various forms to be investigated by adjusting forces, supports and physical properties. Combined with the results of the material tests, the entire structure was then further analysed for its structural behaviour in Karamba. The structure transmits forces through axial compression. Due to the limitations of the machine’s working area, the initial structure had to be divided into 45 variable triangle surfaces. Each panel acquired its unique pattern, which was written to a Kuka robot through the Kuka prc plug-in. As these materials are lightweight and have high tensile strength, a radically different approach to fabrication becomes possible.

Research on materials proved that the structure has a limited durability and that its decay can be programmed by its components and weather conditions of a specific region. This suggests that structure itself is not anymore a permanent object on site, but it can evolve into a new series of objects, learning by the experience and data, inherited from the previous generation. The lineage of the objects could create the whole database, recording the changes within the system and collecting information about the city around it.

Robotic Fabrication © IAAC

The final structure consists of two parts: a temporal part – bio-composite fibrous structure and a permanent part – an interface system for recording and representing information collected on site. The data could not only be collected, but shared with the user in real time by the means of an interactive system.  Interaction with light is divided into two parts, each with a LED strip connected to one Arduino. Proximity sensors are fixed to the bottom part of the structure, facing different directions. As the user enters the zone of one of the sensors, the saturation of light increases and the colour changes to warmer shades. The same code is applied to each system, so the warmest shade only occurs when two or more people come closer together. In this way the structure not only creates a point of attraction but a point of interaction for people to communicate with each other. Collected data is accumulated in the system to form the future generation of the structure, creating an open transparent interface for the user interaction.

Completed Structure © IAAC

This project explores how future construction scenarios may evolve to inclusive, distributed, collaborative and adaptive systems. This research showcases the potential of computational design and construction through the incorporation of structural capacities, material behavior, and fabrication logics.

Completed Structure © IAAC

Faculty: Maria Kuptsova, Elena Mitrofanova, Ivan Mitrofanov in collaboration with Alexander Lysov
Advisor: Vicente Guallart
Assitants: Roman Timashev, Vladimir Petrosian, Filipp Sevostianov
Students: Anastasia  Appalonova, Anastasia  Slavina, Alfiya Shakuryanova, Enrico Cacciapuoti, Jessica Nguyen, Irem  Kucukali, Irina Sorokina, Kirill Podobed, Ksenia  Gordeeva, Polina  Aleshchenko, Svetlana Vasilenko, Svetlana Shaporeva
IAAC Project Development Team: Maria Kuptsova (Project Development: Concept, Robotics, Computation), Rodrigo Aguirre (Computation), Kunaljit Singh Chadha (Robotics), Aldo Sollazzo (Head of IAAC Visiting Programs)
Special Thanks to: Abdullah Ibrahim, Eduard Haiman, Vadim Smakhtin, Katya Larina, Timofey Tavlintsev