Architectural Association (AA) Summer DLAB 2016 program culminated in Weave.X, a pavilion formed by three-dimensionally interwoven concrete structures. Research methods for the design and construction include the employment of computational design and robotic fabrication techniques that incorporate geometry rationalization and material constraints. The dimensions of the structure are 3 meters in width, 3 meters in length, and 2.4 meters in height.
The preliminary phase of the research involved using computational methods to generate a network of interwoven elements and developing an automated robotic fabrication process to bend steel reinforcement bars to custom shapes. Well established rod bending strategies in manufacturing industries were analysed to develop an approach that would reduce the mechanical parts necessary to control the bending process, ultimately arriving at a systematic coordination of a bending jig system and an intelligent robotic toolpath programmed with Python. The robotic bending protocols enabled more than 80 steel rods, 1500 mm long and 8 mm in diameter, to be bent within a short time frame.
The rebar configuration defined the form of the initial interwoven models, which were iteratively analysed via Finite Element Analysis and fed back to the computational algorithm until a final configuration was reached. The resulting triangulated mesh was CNC-milled from Polypropylene sheets, which were then folded to match the rebar skeleton. Finally, a mix of concrete and fiberglass additives was poured into the Polypropylene formwork supported by robotically bent reinforcement bars, and could be cast and cured within several hours. Polypropylene formwork was then removed, leaving the concrete with a reflective surface.
Weave.X illustrates the architectural possibilities of using concrete in a non-conventional way by creating strong associations between computational design methodologies and robotic fabrication processes. The pavilion is characterized by a continuous network of concrete branches that support each other while creating an amorphous spatial enclosure.
Credits Programme Directors: Elif Erdine, Alexandros Kallegias Tutors: Alexandros Kallegias, Elif Erdine, Angel Fernando Lara Moreira, Necdet Yagiz Ozkan, Suzan Ucmaklioglu Research Collaborator: Alican Sungur Robotics Collaborator: Pradeep Devadass Students: Artemis Psaltoglou, Anna Rizou, Irini Sapka, Stelios Andreou, Alexandra Marantidou, Melike Culcuoglu, Deniz Ipek Ayasli, Isui Rodriguez, Roger Flores, Reese Lewis, Shang-Fang Yu, Anthony Ip, Mauricio Velarde, Kentaro Fujimoto, Josue Davila, DanielaOrellana, Erik Hoffmann, Zheng Luo, Jeffrey Novak, Veronica Ruiz, Justine Poulin.