Author Archives: rewdesign

photon mapping – 2020

Advances in digital fabrication and additive manufacturing have enabled the creation of geometrically complex glass structures and building components, opening up new design opportunities across scales. Quantifying and evaluating their optical performance, however, remains a technical challenge. In order to accurately predict light behavior, common approaches of daylight modelling utilizing light-backward raytracers are insufficient. This research evaluates the use of the photon mapping approach within the Radiance render engine to simulate artificial and natural lighting conditions. 3D printed optically transparent glass components are used to benchmark the simulations. We present a workflow to gather geometric data of the glass objects and a series of validation experiments. Pairs of physical studies and digital simulations are compared to assess optical performance in the context of both indoor and outdoor lighting conditions. These experiments demonstrate that the photon mapping approach can reliably measure and predict caustic light patterns and indoor light levels with some limitations, specifically of glare and scattered light from the glass objects themselves.

Photon Mapping of Geometrically Complex Glass Structures: Methods and Experimental Evaluation.Ramon Weber, Christoph Reinhart, Neri Oxman. Building and Environment, 2020

robotic timber – 2019

The project explores the potential impact of creating a new architecture-specific robotic system for the creation of complex timber assemblies. The developed system is composed of multiple collaborative single axis robots, designed to utilize standardized timber beams as a building material and for its locomotion system. The material is therefore not only used in the final built structure but forms an integral part of the robotic system, minimizing its complexity. The minimalism, low cost, lightness in weight and robustness of the entire system contrasts current standards of pre-fabrication and pre-planned structures for timber-based architecture. When the proposed system is deployed on-site, one can imagine multiple robotic teams working quickly and in parallel to create structures with long spans or large heights that are reversible and through that adaptive to change. As such, a construction future is conceptualized where distributed robotics can build around the clock, higher, faster, stronger and quieter.

The project is currently exhibited as a large scale installation at the Ars Electronica Museum in Linz (Austria) and at Bureau Europa in Maastricht (Netherlands). It was awarded a Sonderpreis by the German Wood Council Deutscher Förderpreis Holzbau 2019

More information here

University of Stuttgart, ITECH MSc Thesis with Samuel Leder, 2019
Prof. Achim Menges, Prof. Jan Knippers, Dylan Wood, Oliver Bucklin

flying funnel – 2017

The Flying Funnel aims to maximize its lightness by reducing its building elements to the core needs. Nonetheless, the proposed design seeks not to purely optimize its structural performance (as its main design driver), but it also aspires to provide architecture on a human scale – by calibrating its building components to tangible dimensions for its user. By combining complex methods of form-finding and structural analysis with a conscient attention for the detail, the design strives to invite its visitors to experience the space in the spirit of Frei-Otto.

The systems force flow can be abstracted into two main components, namely the horizontal and the vertical equilibrium. The horizontal component of the cable forces (originated from prestress and external loads) are balanced by the compressive force at the compression ring, generating a self-constrained force flow, where the forces find its balanced on a closed loop. The vertical component of the cable forces are transmitted via compression-ring to the façade rods and consequently to the supports. The vertical forces and the rod structural properties are calibrated to enable and enhance the bending-active properties of the façade.

The cable net topology results from an iterative process where different configurations were tested according to its performance on the membrane stiffening. Although different solutions would provide satisfactory structural results, the ‘cauliflower’ diagrid distribution has proven to be a very stable solution in terms of cable forces – virtually independently from the direction of the external forces acting the structure, the proportionality of the forces on the grid is almost unchanged from its original prestressed shape.

The project was awarded the Frei Otto Award 2017 from the Architects and Engineering Federation of Stuttgart AIV

.Competition, Stuttgart, Germany in collaboration with Ayuna Mitupova and Tiago Carvalho, 2017

scala – 2018

The Project was a competition entry for a new apprentice school in Zurich, Switzerland. Located in an emerging education hub next to the zurich central station the building had to respond to various uses and functions. By separating school, library and sports facilities programmatically allowed for a maximum of flexibility and parallel uses. An exterior staircase opens up the back of the building to the courtyard and connects the learning landscape to the courtyard. The lamella facade responds to the sunpath and provides the interior with enough shade to avoid glare while allowing daylight to enter the classrooms.

.Competition, Zurich, Switzerland

design in collaboration with Sven Bauer and engineering with Tiago Carvalho, Werkstudio, 2018

voxelcrete – 2017

Adaptive formwork has allowed 21st century designers, architects and engineers to re-envision the way buildings are constructed and conceived. The project aims to transition from highly individualized and complex formworks that are created a new for each project to simple and regularized formworks that can be applied to a variety of designs. The truncated octahedron was chosen for development as its rough angular shape allows for notching of the voxels and thus it wouldn’t slip down the existing structure. As an “Infinite” assembly the system allows for continuous concrete forms that show how they are robotically produced. For the purpose of prototyping a styrodur voxel that was robotically cut was chosen. Magnets on the hexagonal sides of the voxels held the units together in order to create the specified pour area.

Voxelcrete – Distributed Voxelized Adaptive Formwork. Samuel Leder, Ramon Weber, Lauren Vasey, Maria Yablonina, Achim Menges. Proceedings of the 38th International Conference on Education and Research in Computer Aided Architectural Design in Europe. eCAADe, Berlin, Germany 2020

.University of Stuttgart, ITECH, with Samuel Leder, 2017
ICD Prof. Achim Menges, Lauren Vasey, Maria Yablonina, Long Nguyen

hybrid materiality – 2017

The project Hybrid Materiality explores the potential in implementing material gradients in plate structures using available manufacturing techniques. The compiled research aims to enable the fabrication of highly complex and differentiated three dimensional structures out of flat sheet materials. The system could be transported as a flat pack and through applying force onsite unfold itself into a final shape. The Research builds up on the current Investigations at ICD and ITKE into custom Robotic manufacturing processes and highly complex folding and fibre composite structures. Introducing material gradients and geometries inspired by curved folding structures the system has a lot of potential still left to be uncovered. To further investigate it is proposed to broaden the investigation into full scale real world material testing using automated manufacturing processes. Secondly, advanced computer simulation of bending stiffness of the plates informed by the material testing could be used to quickly iterate and advance the design system.

.University of Stuttgart, ITECH, with Brad Elsbury, Elaine Bonavia and Samuel Leder, 2017
ITKE Prof. Jan Knippers, Anja Mader, Evy Slabbinck / ICD Prof. Achim Menges, Lauren Vasey, Daniel Reist

de fragment – 2014

The Project was a competition entry for a new research and archive centre for the old roman city of Augusta Raurica in Basel, Switzerland. The storage and the office space of the building are currently spread all over the city of Augst. Similar to archaeologists, researching ancient roman culture from excavated pieces, we approached the highly complex brief. The building combines the fragments of the formerly scattered research clusters and archives into a new whole.

.Competition, Basel, Switzerland in collaboration with Gian Domenic Schmid, Masoud Akbarzadeh and Gianni Birindelli, 2014