ITKE/ICD Pavilion 2013-2014
ITKE Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design and ICD Institute for Computational Design, both headquartered in the University of Stuttgart, are two of the most progressive research architecture department in the world, along with IAAC, AA and a few others. These departments are headed by Ian Knippers and Achim Menges respectively. This pavilion was built almost one year ago, but it’s worth spending a few words on it and on the abovementioned departments.
The research pavilion was completed in March 2014, it’s scope being to investigate how nature optimize and shape efficient structures, subject nowadays investigated by Menges’ group. This is not the first pavilion produced, but each year a new one is built trying to answer new questions, as for instance the 2010 edition investigated timber bending properties.
Ian Knippers is also co-founder of Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineering, a growing practice especially known for its contribution in the field of free forms and advanced building engineering .
Force diagram in Encyclopedia Britannica 1911
One of the basic rules used in optimizing structural elements, is to eliminate bending moment. Bending moment produces an uneven distribution of stresses in cross sections which broadly speaking, must be designed according to the maximum design stress. This results in a lot of material ending up underutilized.
A very comprehensive book on form finding and optimization in architecture, it collects several works by emerging researchers in the field along with others. Sigrid Adriaenssens, Philippe Block and Chris Williams investigate well-known architectures such as the roofing for the inner courtyard of the Maritime Dutch Museum or the Queen Elizabeth II courtyard in the British Museum.
I’ve been playing with patterns on surfaces and this example shows best the possible situations. I’m creating holes in a generic surface, aligned to a certain direction which I change during the video. The holes also change diameter according to the local Gaussian curvature. Of course the holes are not circular, but circles mapped to the local uv-mapping, otherwise what fun is it? :)