Geometric design and fabrication strategies for masonry structures

Masonry has an important place in the history architecture and our cultural heritage. Even though many thousand years old the idea of stacking blocks in different configurations is still very much relevant, not only in architecture, but also in toys and games such as Lego® and Minecraft©. The intersection between historical and modern methods and theories creates interesting avenues for research and the reinvention of bricks and masonry structures in a modern context. We investigate geometrical patterns, production techniques and structural forms that can be integrated in new tools for form finding, analysis and fabrication of masonry structures.

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How can we increase the usage of timber structures by adding prestress?

Timber structures like gridshells and other kinds of complex 3d structures have a potential for increased load capacity or reduced material usage using prestress. However, lightweight structures come at a price, often expressed as instability problems. By prestressing the structure and creating a permanent state of stresses large enough to overcome fluctuation of stresses due to e.g. live loads, challenges can be overcome. In this project, we use prestress as a tool to elaborate on opportunities of timber structures.

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Material informed digital sculptural design

This project aims to investigate how to make better use of material properties in the sculptural aspects of digital design by exploring the mathematical representation of elasticity in relation to digital form representation and the process of artistic sculpting. The work builds on from existing form finding techniques that aim reduce material usage by optimising structural form under the influence of a gravitational field, but aims for a generalisation of the such a method so that it can be applied in a different context and under a different set of forces/force fields. The method development is targeted for application to structural joints with a high demand in terms of the geometrical and structural complexity.