Monday, January 31, 2011

Progress Report 5

Image 1 - The large rings that form the spine of the bridge and the anchor rings that will guide the path of the steel cables.

Image 2 - Since the steel cables are twisting, both the large rings and anchor rings will require a high level of flexibility as to their rotation. Once the final rotation is set, the components can be bolted and welded in place with minimal welding.

Image 3 - One of the anchor ring components in an exploded detail.

Image 1

Image 2

Image 3

Grand Canyon

From what has been discussed in studio, it would appear that all students in the course will be in Las Vegas by Sunday, February 20th if not earlier.  This would allow the class to entertain the prospect of visiting sites within the state that would be worthwhile, most notably the Grand Canyon.  Though there are a range of ways to experience and arrive at the Grand Canyon from plane and helicopter from your hotel to simply driving half a day in the desert.  The trip costs are already accounted for and have been relatively consistent with the estimates of the course outline however they did not include visits to the Grand Canyon or the Hoover Dam.  Those interested may wish to bring the prospects of a visit in the next studio meeting.

The burr connection far

For biomimicry through structural steel, I have decided to formulate a connection based on the burr. Using a system in which "hook and loop" connections are cast, allows for a sustainable solution due to the fact that there is no need for on site welding. Bridge construction is rapid and requires minimal labour. Another benefit of the burr connection is the structures ability to be taken apart and reuse its components as is. To further enhance the sustainability and adaptability of this pedestrian bridge, all cables and cast pieces are delivered on site in a useable container which actually becomes part of the structure itself, leaving no waste material behind. 

Design Development Final Thoughts

The development at this point to create a platform that has multiple uses depending on the configuration has uncovered several interesting possiblities. Depending on the tide levels, the stairs can either be a cascading steps that flow into the water, or a amphitheatre with a stage on the non-moving platform. Modelling will begin to see how this will work in layers in 3D with a furthur progress report ready by tuesday.

These 2 were an earlier permutation on how the system would work mechanically and in no way is evident of how the final form will look like.
Both are meant to be passive kinetic structures

Sunday, January 30, 2011


This post is going to seem like it’s in the wrong place after what Dov just posted (thanks, Dov) but rest assured, progress is being made (finally…)

I spent most of last week contemplating and researching (and over-thinking) for new design ideas, only to return to my initial concept of a deployable structure (serving primarily as rain protection.)

Sea anemones continue to be a source of 'inspiration', though I've been exploring species beyond worms – ‘Cinnamon’ the Coco Worm was limiting my design rather than inspiring it. Some stunning images that I couldn't help but share:

Strawberry Anemone

Zebra Anemone

This one doesn't have a cool name.. Aggregating Anemone

My initial proposal aimed at designing a structure over the Molson Amphitheater to serve as rain protection for outdoor concerts and events – it made sense to have for the design to be deployable as the a permanent structure would have completely changed the dynamic of the space. Each version of the design became more complex than the last until eventually I had a completely overwhelming and unnecessary structure over the space. I was unhappy with what I envisioned the end product as being and decided to continue to pursue a similar design but at a smaller scale. In reconsidering the design, the criteria for the final product are the following: practical, easily expandable/retractable (using a passive system), versatile (can be used in various locations), durable – and most notably, it is important that the final product add value to the space without completely taking over it.

The final product will require a few more revisions, but I am confident in the direction it’s headed.

These sketches are somewhat inaccurate after a late-night 'eureka' moment...I will post again in the next couple of days to give you a better sense of where I'm at.

Progress Report 4

The spine of the bridge will consist of a series of ridged walkways that serve as the path across the bridge and as anchor supports. Below are two exploded renderings of these platforms, exploring their assembly and a possible presentation style for the final submission.

Image 1


Saturday, January 29, 2011

General Detailing - Bridge Continued

Bridge - Range of Motion and Ballast Placement. I was trying to determine the optimal range which would allow for the ballast to have the most effect.

Pin Connection. This is for the main arms of the bridges (there are four). The connection would allow them to rotate. Now that I think about it I may need to design a stop so the bridge doesnt fold up completely.

Cast Steel Shear Connection/Walkway. This connection allows for the walkway to fold up flush with itself which would not have been possible if the metal grate was placed on top of the connections.

Ballast Wheels - This is the device which would attach the ballasts to the arms and allow them to move as the water level rises and falls.

Ballast Structure. Preliminary attempts at designing the structure for the ballast and trying to reduce the overall weight by leaving only the load bearing portions of the members. I also was figuring out how the ballasts would be clad and where the seams would be.


Here is a look at some of my first permutations of form. Taking on the program of a band shell / pavilion one is immediately drawn to the generic “shell” formation. These initial ideas explore how I may be able to contain the program while defining a unique structure and maintaining a clear biomimetic link. The biggest challenge for me at this point is looking for a way to combine the structure and its performance into a curvilinear form to provide for its function when it in fact wants to be a more rigid / rectilinear form (not to mention much easier!)
Looking at both the form and structure, I have simultaneously been exploring the potential mechanics of the project, more specifically, how each of the steel members can come together to achieve the desired structure and response. In terms of the mechanics of the structure, I feel the most difficult part in regards to my design is finding the balance between static and dynamic components and how these two approaches can in fact work seamlessly together.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Spectacle of Red Rock?

one of the biggest challenges in this design is the envelope because of the range of articulations in the structure. traditionally glass has always been the material choice for green houses till the debut of ETFE in the Eden project. i explored ETFE as a potential alternative to glass and found that its plastic properties accommodate the movement of the structures.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Carrying on...

Still going strong with my concept of using the functional aspect of a nictitating membrane as the driving force to my design. In this case, a visual protection - privacy - from others while changing on a beach. In addition to this, a new part of the eye has been examined: the iris. This part of the human eye controls the light allowed to reach the retina. A mechanical iris (diaphragm) is often used in photography (as the aperture or sometimes the shutter) to let in certain amounts of light. In my design the same principle will be applied on the 'ceiling' of each changing stall. Opening and closing the door/'membrane' also opens and closes the ceiling/'iris'. A person is protected from the view of others but has light in order to change clothes.

Iris Mechanism I quickly modeled... just kidding.
My newest contestant is a “water strider”, also known as the “Jesus-bug”; fitting, since it’s a bug that floats on water. This insect relies on surface tension in order to walk on top of water. The legs on these insects are designed to keep afloat as well as guide themselves across rivers, ponds, and streams, using its middle legs to guide and its forelegs as rudders. Fun fact: Their legs are water resistant.
As for the design I’m still designing a bridge, but now, the bridge will be floating above water, much like the lily pad, but this design will focus mostly on the mechanics of how it will work. As of now, I’m trying to design hinges, that will allow for movement, depending on the water levels, tension from the link between each platform, pontoons to help keep it float above water, but most importantly the hinges (legs), which will be the core of all its mechanics as they will be adjustable and acts as the links.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

development stages.

Following the past couple days, I seem to have strayed from my previous paths of examining Mangrove ecosystems. This was partially due to my indecisiveness of what I actually wanted to achieve and the fact that, although I found Mangrove roots to be extremely interesting, there was no systematic approach to the way they grew and were rather arbitrary. That being said, Mangroves didn't seem to be very conducive to the performance of steel and I decided to explore other plant species.

One plant that I previously did have interest in but didn't really research in-depth was the Venus Fly Trap.

I initially didn't look much into this carnivorous plant because, the well-known concept of catching something and trapping prey seemed like such a very simple and redundant idea.

However; what did interest me the most about the Venus-Fly trap was the fact that the trapping mechanism is actually specialized in a certain way to avoid non-prey stimuli or prey that can easily escape from being too small and may not be beneficial towards the plant to digest. Two of the trigger hairs surrounding the lobe must be touched in succession within 20 seconds of each other or one hair must be touched twice in rapid succession, whereupon the lobes of the trap will snap shut in about 0.1 seconds. In the open, untripped state, the lobes of the plant are convex, but in the closed state, the lobes are concave due to the rapid flipping motion when closing the trap.

This then inspired an idea for a canopy that would act as a shading device during sunny days and could possibly collect rainwater. My initial idea was that this canopy could also have a water fountain, and when a certain amount of rainwater would be collected, the canopy would enclose and filter the water allowing it to be used for drinking water below and what not. This didn't seem to be a very successful idea as it would only be useful for when it rained (about only 10-15 days a month) and a certain volume also couldn't be controlled.
So the idea progressed into a structure that would still be a shading device during sunny days and transform into shelter/protection from the rain through a flipping mechanism in panels that would (when closed) be a protected canopy. The idea of sensitivity from the rain still has to be further developed but...

Here are some sketches ...still in the works

I feel more confident that I am finally moving in some sort of direction I should be because, it's ...eeks... almost the 3rd week of 2nd semester! (technically the 4th)

I have yet to watch the TED video Vince just posted on plant behaviour, but I have a feeling that I will no doubt gain some interesting insight from it.

More to come... time to sleep is now 2:45am...(did anyone else notice the time posting for this blog is completely wrong?)

Design Development

After researching the likes of both Omar Khan and Achim Menges in attempt to merge the two concepts I was looking at before-pine cones and their ability to change in response to the environment and the natural structure of insect wings-I found that I was beginning to look at biomimicry as merely a representation of shape and structure rather than taking performance and natural response into consideration. In saying that, I have reverted back to my original concept of the pine cone which has the ability to passively respond to the environment-a more accurate interpretation in terms of biomimicy!

Taking from the natural performance of the pine cone responding to humidity, I am beginning to look at how individual components of a structure can rotate or change their position (passively) in response to the weather -increasing or decreasing permeability.
As of right now my design is looking toward somehow collecting rainwater /the weight of rainwater acting as a means of initiating the change in form.

Death Star

First lights made from lasers and then...

Core Sunlight Systems

A few students were interested in finding out a bit more about the core sunlight system that was discussed in studio.  The inventor of the system, Lorne Whitehead, has been working on the project for quite a while now and his research work may be found on his UBC website

Take note that this may prove to be a useful precedent as you proceed into the development of the projects later on in the term that pertain to building envelope, performance, and biomimetic innovation.'

Plant Behaviour

I thought that it would be relevant to take a look at the behaviour of plants through the eyes of noted professor Stefano Mancuso. As a renowned researcher on plants, he gave a TED talk a while back which showcased several vegetation responses ranging from the various tropisms to communication and to even "play".

iterations and different ideas


Green house temperatures are regulated by conventional means such as forced air heating, radiators and radiant floor heating. Heat Balance in plants or animals is dependent on size and openings.I've been exploring two different approaches by changing the interior volume and no of openings. first i explored 3d Voronoi structures that morph and open based on the seasons. then i explored the mechanics of bone, ligaments and tendons mimicking the movement of my hand and the way it creates a space that changes in volume and openings.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Progress Report 3

Starting to work out some of the details for the central spine of the design.
The detail seen in image 1 is more rigid and as such, is less likely to twist due to moment. The detail in image 2 however is likely to be closer to the final design. This is due to the fact that the twisting of the steel cables will produce angles that will have to be dealt with by moving the anchor* rings in multiple directions.

* - I name these "anchor" rings since they anchor the spine to the steel cables. The resultant bridge is self supporting by virtue of the bunching and twisting of the cables, just as muscle tissue and plant cells are.

Image 1

Image 2