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Workshop Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen

Generative Design with Topologically Optimized Structures (see blog http://www.aaet.dk/)

The 5 day workshop will investigate a generative formfinding method for the creation of minimum weight structures with maximized Stiffness. This methodology that is more common in mechanical engineering and aeronautical research projects should be investigated for a potential application in an architectural context. The contemporary awareness of these generative structural processes is growing within the field of architecture, yet their application is very sparse due to the evolving irregularities of the calculated surfaces and volumes and the dependant manufacturing-and economical constraints. Examples of an evolutionary structural optimization in the field of architecture can be seen in the formfinding of Sagrada Familia´s Passion Façade by Gaudí (Burry, et al. 2004) and for the 2007 competition proposal of the new Florence train station by Arata Isozaki and Mutsuro Sasaki  (Ito, Isozaki og Sasaki 2007).

These structural solvers can broaden the scope of potential design solutions that are conceptually entwined with emerging production facilities of

additive fabrication. The so created design solutions often generate biomorphic geometries that three-dimensionally negotiate the set structural boundary conditions as loads, supports and voids into a meshed geometry. The software extends historical formfinding methods that have been tested by Gaudí and Otto for the creation of a new typology of structural components that fully rely on purely digital processes.

Recent innovations in additive fabrication technologies as Enrico Dini´s Radiolaria Project, a 3D printing device for large scale stone sculptures, point to interesting manufacturing opportunities for complex geometries in the future. Additive fabrication technologies that can manufacture these biomorphic structures in larger build sizes enhance the architectural repertoire in a significant way. The outcome of the optimisation can then be negotiated with prior design intent.

The increasing opportunities that computational tools and additive fabrication processes have to offer require a new conceptualization process in the design field to take place. One objective of the workshop is also to investigate new design methods and evaluate their applicability for an architectural task. This process can be identified according to Christopher Frayling as a Research into Art and Design (Frayling 1993) since it introduces new material and structural possibilities into the architectural practice, that have to be conceptualized for a new generation of characteristic artifacts.


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