Repetitive Parameters

Design and Construction of Curved Support
Structures with Repetitive Parameters

Eike Schling
Chalmers University of Technology
Gothenburg, Sweden

The fabrication and construction of curved beams along freeform skins pose many challenges related to their individual and complex geometry. One strategy to simplify the fabrication process is using elastic deformation to construct curved beams from flat elements. Controlling the curvature of the design surface and beams has the additional potential to create repetitive building parts and a beneficial beam orientation.

In this paper, Eike Schling aims at strained gridshells built entirely from straight or circular lamellas of the same radius and with orthogonal nodes. The lamellas are aligned normal to a reference surface, enabling an elastic assembly via their weak axis and a local transfer of loads via their strong axis.

Author shows that the corresponding reference surfaces are of constant mean curvature and that the network of beams bisects principal curvature directions. He introduces a new discretization of these networks as quadrilateral meshes with spherical vertex stars and present a computational workflow for the design of such structures.

The geometric advantages of these networks were key for the fabrication and assembly of a prototype structure, the ‘Asymptotic Gridshell’. Author describes the complete process, from design to construction, presenting further insights on the symbiosis of geometry, fabrication and load-bearing behavior.

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