Spatial Nets

Spatial Nets: the Computational and
Material Study of Reticular Geometries

Ali Askarinejad, Architect
Master of Science in Architecture, Material systems, University of Michigan
Rizkallah Chaaraoui, Architect
Master of Science in Architecture, Material systems, University of Michigan

Reticular systems are in many aspects a distinct taxonomy of volumetric geometries. In comparison with the conventional embodiment of a ‘volume’ that encapsulates a certain quantity of space with a shell reticular geometries emerge from the accumulation of micro elements to define a gradient of space.

Observed in biological systems, such structures result from their material properties and formation processes as well as often ‘simple’ axioms that produce complex results. In micro or macro levels, from forest tree canopies to plant cell walls these porous volumes are not shaped to have a singular ‘solution’ for a purpose; they provide the fundamental geometric characteristics of a ‘line cloud’ that is simultaneously flexible in response to its environment, porous to other systems (light, air, liquids) and less susceptible to critical damage.

The porosity of such systems and their volumetric depth also result in kinetic spatial qualities in a 4D architectural space. Built upon a ‘weaving’ organization and the high performance material properties of carbon fiber composite, this research focuses on a formal grammar that initiates the complex system of a reticular volume.

A finite ‘lexical’ axiom is consisted of the basic characters of H, M and L responding to the anchor points on the highest, medium and lower levels of the extruding loom. The genome thus produces a string of data that in the second phase of programming are assigned to 624 points on the loom. The code aims to distribute the nodes across the flat line cloud and organize the sequence for the purpose of overlapping the tensioned strings.

The virtually infinite results are then assessed through an evolutionary solver for confining an array of favorable results that can be then selected from by the designer. This research focuses on an approximate control over the fundamental geometric characteristics of a reticular system such as node density and directionality. The proposal frames the favorable result of the weave to be three-dimensional and volumetric – avoiding distinctly linear or surface formations.

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