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id acadia17_522
authors Sarafian, Joseph; Culver, Ronald; Lewis, Trevor S.
year 2017
title Robotic Formwork in the MARS Pavilion: Towards The Creation Of Programmable Matter
source ACADIA 2017: DISCIPLINES & DISRUPTION [Proceedings of the 37th Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA) ISBN 978-0-692-96506-1] Cambridge, MA 2-4 November, 2017), pp. 522- 533
summary The proliferation of parametric tools has allowed for the design of previously impossible geometry, but the construction industry has failed to keep pace. We demonstrate the use of industrial robots to disrupt the ancient process of casting concrete and create an adjustable formwork capable of generating various cast components based on digital input, crafting a new approach to “programmable matter.” The resulting research delineates a novel methodology to facilitate otherwise cost-prohibitive, even impossible design. The MARS Pavilion employs this methodology in a building-sized proof of concept where manipulating fabric with industrial robots achieves previously unattainable precision while casting numerous connective concrete components to form a demountable lattice structure. The pavilion is the result of parametric form finding, in which a catenary structure ensures that the loads are acting primarily in compression. Every concrete component is unique, yet can be assembled together with a 1/16-inch tolerance. Expanding Culver & Sarafian’s previous investigations, industrial robot arms are sent coordinates to position fabric sleeves into which concrete is poured, facilitating a rapid digital-to-physical casting process. With this fabrication method, parametric variation in design is cost-competitive relative to other iterative casting techniques. This digital breakthrough necessitated analogue material studies of rapid-setting, high-strength concrete and flexible, integral reinforcing systems. The uniquely shaped components are coupled with uniform connectors designed to attach three limbs of concrete, forming a highly stable, compressive hex-grid shell structure. A finite element analysis (FEA) was a critical step in the structural engineering process to simulate various load scenarios on the pavilion and drive the shape of the connective elements to their optimal form.
keywords material and construction; fabrication; form finding
series ACADIA
email ron@culverarchitects.com
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100%; open Janssen, Bas (2011) Find in CUMINCAD Double Curved Precast Load Bearing Concrete Elements , Master's thesis, Delft University of Technology

100%; open Malagavelli, Venu and Neelakanteswara Rao Paturu (2012) Find in CUMINCAD Strength and Workability Characteristics of Concrete by Using Different Super Plasticizers , International Journal of Materials Engineering 2 (1): 7–11

100%; open Orr, J., A. Derby, T. Ibell, M. Evernden, and M. Otlet (2011) Find in CUMINCAD Concrete Structures Using Fabric Formwork , The Structural Engineer 89 (8): 20–26

100%; open Pinkerton, Luke, Kevin Fuller and Jeff Novak (2015) Find in CUMINCAD Twisted Steel Micro-Reinforcement: Proactive Micro-Composite Concrete Reinforcement , Proceedings of the 27th Biennial National Conference of the Concrete Institute of Australia in Conjunction with the 69th RILEM Week, 533–42. Melbourne: Concrete Institute of Australia

100%; open Sarafian, Joseph and Ron Culver (2016) Find in CUMINCAD Fabric-Formed Robotic Facades , Facade Tectonics World Congress Proceedings, vol. 1, edited by Douglas Noble, Karen Kensek, and Shreya Das, 25–36. Los Angeles: Facade Tectonics Institute

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