Biomimetic Shells

The research presented in this paper by Oliver David Krieg, Tobias Schwinn, Achim Menges, Jian-Min Li, Jan Knippers, Annette Schmitt and Volker Schwieger pursues the development and construction of a robotically fabricated, lightweight timber plate system through a biologically informed, integrative computational design method.

In the first part of the paper, the authors give an overview of their approach starting with the description of the biological role model and its technical abstraction, moving on to discuss the computational modelling approach that integrates relevant aspects of biomimetics, robotic fabrication and structural design. As part of the validation of the research, a full-scale, fully enclosed, insulated and waterproof building prototype has been developed and realized: The first building featuring a robotically fabricated primary structure made of beech plywood.

Subsequently, the methods and results of a geodetic evaluation of the fabrication process are presented. Finally, as the close collaboration between architects, structural and geodetic engineers, and timber fabricators is integral to the process, the architectural and structural potentials of such integrative design processes are discussed.

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