Dingwen ‘Nic’ Bao, Roland Snooks + Yimin ‘Mike’ Xie, RMIT University
This prototype explores the design and fabrication of intricate lattice structures through the application of 3D printed formwork strategies.
The Cast Bodies prototypes explore the design and fabrication of intricate lattice structures through the application of 3D printed formwork strategies. The two prototypes each use a different 3D printed material to act as either sacrificial or temporary formwork for fibre-reinforced cast concrete. The various printing constraints and opportunities will be encoded with a generative design process to create a family of similar forms, each exhibiting unique characteristics created by the bias of their fabrication approach.
The prototypes will utilise the following fabrication approaches:
1. Printed polymer sacrificial formwork, 2. Printed flexible polymer temporary formwork.
The lattice structures are designed through the interaction of generative multi-agent algorithms, which are conditioned by fabrication constraints, and BESO structural topology optimisation. The focus of this research is a design methodology that establishes a complementary relationship between topological optimisation, behavioural algorithms, robotic 3D printing and materiality. This methodology will be tested through the generative design and additive manufacture of architectural component prototypes to be exhibited at Future Prototyping Exhibition at the University of Melbourne. The methodological innovation of this research is the integration of topological optimisation method with multi-agent generative design algorithms. This approach attempts to negotiate between concerns of architectural design and structural engineering. This research demonstrates the process of integrating two algorithms which will establish a real-time feedback loop in the process of designing a complex form. This process of encoding rules of topological structural optimisation into multi-agent systems is developed to create complex geometry that embeds the necessary constraints of a 3D printing fabrication process.
The Architectural components presented in the exhibition is for a facade design. The prototype is used to test the new approach for a large-scale spatial structure. It describes a hybrid of architectural and structural behaviours through integrating topological optimisation and multi-agent algorithms and the closeness of their interaction.
Conceptually this strategy develops a relationship between structural-based form-finding methods and swarm systems, respectively for evaluation in algorithmic design and robotic fabrication.
These prototypes, while small in scale, attempt to explore the architectonic implications of the interaction of emerging computational design and robotic fabrication processes, and speculate on their future application to architecture.
Dingwen ‘Nic’ Bao_ is an Australian Registered Architect and PhD Candidate at RMIT where he received B.Arch, and he completed M.Arch at the University of Melbourne. www.nicbao.com
Roland Snooks_ is an Associate Professor at RMIT University. He directs the architecture practice Studio Roland Snooks, research lab Kokkugia and RMIT Architectural Robotics Lab. www.rolandsnooks.com
Yimin ‘Mike’ Xie_ is RMIT Distinguished Professor, Director of Centre for Innovative Structures & Materials, and Fellow of Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. www.xieym.com
Image: This prototype explores the design and fabrication of intricate lattice structures through the application of 3D printed formwork strategies.