Jens Olsson, Henrik Malm, Francis Aish, Martha Tsigari, Stamatis Psarras
in Proceedings of Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA), 2017

The modeling of the envelope and space frame for the new Mexico City Airport was a massive computational task, demanding the development of numerous new methods, tools and processes to deal with its complexity and scale. The shape of the envelope was created through form finding, leading to an all-encompassing lightweight shell with internal spans reaching 130 m. This paper will discuss the challenges faced and the methods used to develop a visually continuous and smooth space-frame model and envelope, while simultaneously complying with very strict spatial and programmatic constraints and structural optimisation criteria. It will further explain how dynamic relaxation was complemented with bespoke mechanisms for mesh manipulation, interfacing and mesh smoothing to fine-tune the final form.

Keywords: Form finding, dynami relaxation, mesh smoothing, space frame, structural optimisation