Saturday, February 28, 2009

Two proposals.....What's best?!

In both cases the focus of the proposals do not really lie in the spatial quality of the pavilion, but, for this course, more in the structural beauty of a built object. The result will not be a fully designed pavilion. But rather a structural object testing if my hypothesis is correct. Stating that:
1) the in approximitely 600 milion years evoluated natural forms/structures are enough to achieve pure beauty in an architectural context.
2) these by nature evoluated structures are able, after adjusting them with respect to other force impacts, to function with the same level of efficiency in architectural circumstances.

Proposal One

- magnify the rad. web structure so that it would be big enough to become a pavilion.
- add additional support elements in order to keep the pavilion standing. (inspire the shape on other rad. skeleton types)
- Fix these additional support element(s) as a boundary condition.
- try optimizing the rad. tesselation in order to achieve a structural skin (gc diana loop)
- the topology of the structural skin would be the input from the radiolarian side of research, while the additional support would be one of the architectural inputs.


- build the main structure based on rad. in gc
- test loop with diana to adjust the structure for building environment
- then add the tesselation. and optimize on the field of: using the least amount of material.

Intention Midterm presentation

I'm planning to give my midterm presentation for next monday the following contents:

  1. Hypothesis - research questions - testing
  2. Input & output of research
  3. Architectural input
  4. Radiolarian input
  5. G.C. sketch
  6. Plan for the next weeks
After I spoke to Michela, Andrew/Elisa and Andre last thursday, I concluded after taking a little time to process their input, to keep the architectural image more in mind while proceding my research. I don't want to focus only on the tesselation of surfaces anymore, without having an architectural image of the output. But more on a complete spatial structure of a pavilion. I will keep in mind the possibilities of tesselating the surfaces and the knowledge I gathered on this specific subject. And apply them later on.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Exploring rules to be used in scripting

Set of rules:
  • At each junction meet 3 lines. sum of angles equals concequently 360 degrees.
  • lines are always perpendicular to main branch.
  • wire frame consists of pentagons and hexagons
  • all angles between all lines are < 180 degrees
  • scale of polygons can relatively vary with a ratio of 1:2
Optimizing tool:
  • use the least total distance of lines to cover the surface
  • achieve the optimal configuration of pentagons perpendicular to main branch, pentagons and hexagons in between the boundaries of the main branches.
  • the surface of polygons is always outlined by the main branches. these will be the independent variables in GC.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Principles occuring in radiolarian structures

Radiolarian structure analysis & basic principles:

the radiolarian structure (type: Litarachnium) I want to work with, can be abstacted in a basic set of a main skeleton structure, connected to a wireframe of hexagons and pentagons.
The first will be the input of the computational optimizing tool and the lather will be the output, reconfigurated by the computational optimizing tool.
Please take a look at the next image for more explaination.

basic principles of litharachnium_polyhydrons

The C60 molecular structure is based on the same principle of the combination of hexa- and pentagonal surface parts. Please take a look at the next illustrations.

Icosahedral global minimal structures

Process of transformation:

1. accept the fact that this structure functions optimal for this type of radiolarion in its own environment (to prove it in diana or GC (??) will cause a time problem).
2. Apply wind forces and dead weight on the same structure. analyse what the problem areas will be in the main structure. and re-define a new main structure to use as input.
3. create the model and the basic rules in GC. Implement the loop tool.
4. Re-arrrange and optimize the wireframe according to the new input (basic structure) with help of the finite elements loop tool. The loop tool will help to find the optimal configurations of the hexa- and pentagonal wireframe in combination with the new basic structure.

Possible future applications:

it will be able to import any basic shape of main skeleton into GC - loop tool. The tool will find the optimal configuation of the
hexa- and pentagonal wireframe of sub beams.

Final final final goal:

Designing/building a pavilion constructed out of silicon (glass) and some type of raisin.
Because, if my hypothesis* appears to be true, I would like to search for a way of building a structure in radiolarian style. And that would hypothetically be in a glass composite.

*Adjusted (has to be reformulated) Hypothesis:

It will be feasible to build a structure of a pavilion out of a glass-raisin composite (tested in Diana), if the basic principles of this specific type of radiolari are extracted, re-defined and optimized via a computational tool in GC.


note 1: I'm planning to contact Fred Veer in order to discuss the materialization of glass-raisin. For this course I want to test the optimal structure materialized in glass making use of a Diana simulation. In order to test my hypothesis!

note 2: I also did try to understand an algorithm used to solve an issue called the
Traveling salesman problem (TSP) using Simulated Annealing. This algorithm optimizes a travelling path.
Via the following link you can do a little game, using Simulated Annealing, to understand the principle.

I'm expecting that the loop tool in GC also applies a similar algorithm. is this right Michela?

note 3: today I visited Jaap Kaandorp, he is a professor in biology and works at the computational science department of the science faculty of the university of Amsterdam. He explained me quite some interesting principles concerning micro structures, like sponges and radiolaria. He helped me to get a little bit deeper into the subject and that made me able to extract some usefull principles to work on during this course.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Method of modelling

I've decided to start modelling using lines and points in G.C. (taking Ardrew's advise into account)

Logarithmic Spiral?!

Yesterday evening I've spoken to John Videler, a professor in maritime zoology (RUG). He pointed out that there are some interesting basis principles which are still not clarified by scientific research. One of them is:

I'm considering this as an option for further research. The principle could be parametrisized in G.C and try to find out why this form seems to be a general principle in nature. Is there a link to radiolaria? And does it have the same qualities applied in the field of architecture?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Proposal of type 2: Lampromitra (nassellaria)

Second proposal of a specific type to be further examined in my research

The last two days I'm trying to get in touch with an expert in this field (radiolaria). I've found some people doing research about topics like sponges, foraminifera or other protista. I will might visit Naturalis in Leiden next week, to see some real tests of protista and speak to an expert in sponges. I will revise my hypothesis in the weekend. From tomorrow 14:00 untill friday I will be in the faculty participating the 23-hours-workshop Built in Emotion.

Proposal of type 1: Pteroscenium (nassellaria)

First proposal of a specific type to be further examined in my research

IN GENERAL about radiolarians

Physiology of radiolarian

diagram of the relation between the soft parts within a radiolarian

I assume that there is a direct relationship between the soft- and the hard parts (skeleton) of the radiolarian. But I can not prove this yet. needs more research.

Orders, generations & family's of radiolarians
Within the extremely large number of existing radiolarian species, there are (at least) two major extant groups to be clearly distinguished.

Type I'm interested in

I have decided to base my research on either Spumellaria or Nassellaria. Those orders are the best known by geologists and in my opinion they have the most spatial qualities aswell. The Spumellaria could be used as a basis for an architectural roof construction while the Nassellaria could be translated into a complete pavilion.
I will specify myself more on this in a later post.

first 3 sketches are spumellaria & last 3 are nasselaria

Some other basic principles:
Radiolarians exist for 600 million years. There lifespan lies between a few days and 2 weeks. Radiolaria evolve rapidly, that's why they are really usefull biostratigraphic (study of the spatial and temporal distribution of fossil organisms) tools. Because they exist out of soft and hard parts, the fossils are never complete, this applied difficulties in research.

Structural principles of skeleton:

- skeletal elements do not meet at the center even if they are radial symmetrical.
- their are materialized out of minerals
- (i will get to the different types of radiolarians and zoom in for more info)

Growing principles of skeleton:

- Skeletal elements are covered with a layer of cytoplasm which is rapidly withdrawn if the organism is disturbed. It is suggested new material is formed within this sheath (cytokalyamma) and that it acts somehow like a dynamic mould.

- Almost nothing is known as to the hard parts of radiolaria, except that the vacuolated layer (see first diagram of this post) is able to secrete silica or other mineral substance.

- The evoluation of the skeleton of both Spumellaria and Nassillaria is described in the picture below.

evoluation process of Spumellaria (src: C. Moore, Treatise on Invertebrate Peleontology)

evoluation process of nassellaria (src: C. Moore, Treatise on Invertebrate Peleontology)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Starting the Research on radiolaria

Thank you a lot for all this input! Ofcourse I'm very enthousiastic about making use of Peters expertise and try to build a complete system. We can get more into details next thursday. For me it's important to know the details of the possibilities and the requirements in order to use it. Do I need to contact Andrew and Elisa aswell, concerning this topic?

I talked to Karel Vollers today, he seems to be excited about my topic of research. I gathered more books and more sources and tried to contact a radiolarianexpert (via VU Amsterdam, Naturalis Leiden, Leiden University). which turned out to be not that successfull yet. Tonight I want to focus on my gathered documents & books (on the bottom of this blog you can find a "book list" where I try to list all of them), and hope to extract some clear information about the skeletons and growing process. I will make a selection of 3 types of them very soon (hope tonight) and find out how their skeletons work.

I was wondering about the way how to abstract their skeletons. For now I have two options in mind. I can either try to draw them in GC in points and lines (as junctions and beams) or look at them as a tesselated surface or volume where I can manipulate the way of perforating the material.

I'm planning to process your very usefull comments on my hypothesis, after I've made some initial progress on the skeletons tonight.

Speak to you soon, mv

Monday, February 16, 2009

Final Research Proposal

Extracting the constructional basis (rules) out of radiolarian skeletons will benefit the architectural quality of a load bearing construction in architecture.

Research question:
How can I manipulate a micro structure of a radiolarian skeleton, in order to benefit a load bearing structure in architectural context?
  • Which type of radiolarian will I take as a subject within this research?
  • What are the constructional rules, this type of skeleton is based upon? And how will I apply those rules to architecture in the translation process.
  • For that, I have to ask: Which (main) rule of micro-construction will I use as a basic manipulation (parametrisation) tool in G.C.? I.e. density-, lenght-, position- or number of elements.
  • Did the translation process benefit the mechanical performance of the structure within architectural context? (Diana)
Methodology (plan):

  • Research on the mechanical features of skeletons of radiolarians. Consulting drawings, literature & professors in maritime biology.
  • Choose one type of radiolarian.
  • Model the radiolaria as it is in G.C. to get hold of the programm. & Try to find the most essential rule, which underlies in the mechanical quality of the micro skeletons of radiolarians
  • Test the radiolarian under is natural boundary conditions in Diana. Try to understand the logic of the construction. And try to find out the most essential RULE again.
  • Test the same radiolarian structure again, but then in an architectural context. What are the weak spots??
  • Model a tool in G.C . in order to translate the radiolarian structure into an architectural bearing structure (being aware of the basic principle(s) of the radiolarian skeletons!! use the RULE detected before)
  • Test results in Diana (make different G.C-Diana-loops if possible)
  • Evaluate results and link to hypothesis.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Research on radiolarians & GC sketching

Today I've decided on how to start my project. This concerns 1| deeper research on radiolarians and 2| practice modelling in Generative Components.

1| Research on radiolarians

I will be focussing on the growing process of radiolarians and the specific constructional aspects of their skeletons in order to decide on the input of my research.

  • Inventory of different radiolarians. Which type has the most potential to be transformed into a building structure?
  • Analysis of this specific structure. What is the exact shape? (modelling in G.C.)
  • How did this skeleton grow? (link to production process of the architectural construction)
  • What different functions do the features of the skeleton fulfil? (are these functions also to be applied on a building structure? what modifications have to be made?)
2| Studying G.C.
I will be trying to model a simple radiolarion structure in G.C. in order to get used to the software and get aware of the possibilities. Later on I will make a link to the structural capacities of the results with the help of Diana.

some other examples of radiolarians (art forms in nature (1898): E. Haeckel)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Comment of Andre

Comment of Andre via email:
"- are you interested in testing the translatability of specific radiolarian structures, or of categories/classes of radiolarians, or perhaps of some of their general characteristics?
- do you have a final scale and/or architectural role in mind for the translated structures? (e.g. single person/family dwelling, concert hall, airport terminal, etc.)"

- I thought of starting with one perticular radiolarian structure. And test how effictive the structure will work as a buiding structure in Diana (and also criticize the spatial qualities it can have).
Then try to make some sort of tool which "automatically" transforms the weak or not sufficients parts into well working structure which would be realistic to work for a building.
So, untill this point I am
interested in testing the translatability of specific radiolarian structures.
- I quess that the first testing of the structure will end up in more knowledge about the possibilities. That's why I feel that I cannot yet define the outcome yet. Altough I would love to design a concert hall or palace in this way!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Some more explaination about my topic

Okay, today is the day of the presentations, which i could't join because of the wedding of my little sister! It was a beautiful day.. but I regret that I couldn't get feed back on my proposal of course.

I will give some more explaination to my proposal here>>

I strarted to make a quick overview of what kind of structures we can find in nature and in architecture. I've tried to link the types of structures to each other in order to find the most interesting structures to be used as input and output in my research.

I've decided, based on this schedule, to use bone structures as a starting point to do research about. Because, according to my opinion, they are the most suitable and interesting natural structures to be used as a basis for the translation process into an architectural load bearing structure.

Of course there exist a wide range of bone structures, I wanted to specify my research to one kind of bone srructure. In my search for literature I bumped, among other things into: biological structures, bone structures, molecular cell biology and micro biology. The micro biology intrigued me! Looking further into that, I discovered microscopic prints of silicium bone structures of radiolarians. These ar one cell organisms with mineral skeletons to protect them selves. This is a, by the humans eye, invisible world of beautiful structures, created by evolution with an exeptional wide range of variety.

This is a picture of only a few SEM scans of radiolarians.

Using this subject as foundation for my research, I stated the following main research question:

Is it possible to design a tool to translate input retreived from the silicium bone structure of radiolarians into an architectural load bearing structure?

points of attention are:
  • What exactly are the differences between those two structures?
i.e. Architectural structures require resistancy against forces of gravity, wind loads, they need to be made out of an other material and we need some sort of components to be able to build it.
  • Do I need to simplify the input? And in which way?
3-d or 2-d, only the main structure? This part needs some more research about radiolarians!

  • HOW can I get a usefull input? and: HOW could I make a tool?? Which software would be suitable??
  • On which subjects will I criticize my output?
i.e. construction analysis, architectural/spatial quality, potential to apply it in a realistic way in architecture! Can it be build? What are the options and possibilities?

I also add a scheme I've made about te cicle of research I want to go on during this course.

This is an interesting reference project of P.L. Nervi. He based the design of the Palazetto dello Sport in Rome on a crustacean (schaaldier).

Presentation of Research Proposal

Dear Students and Teachers,

I posted my presentation about the following subject on blackboard at Groups - File exchange.

"Is it possible to translate a micro structure into an architectural (bearing) structure, using a designed tool"

I'm looking forward to a discussion about my topic later this week and am open to all suggestions or critics.
Tomorrow I will update this blog according to my presentation.

Maria Vera

Thursday, February 5, 2009

week 1

My focus of interest is:

The potential of natural structures within building design concepts and construction systems.

Research proposal:


1| literature research on natural structures (cell structures & flora phenomena)
2| analyze the structures and formulate (new) hypothesis
3| design scripts in GC to apply on digital units
4| build an architectural structure using the script
5| test the results according to the hypothesis
6| try another structure and repeat cycle from step 2.