I was asked to work in collaboration with the Masters students in submitting an entry for the 2013 Solar Decathlon to be held in China. The concept was based on lightweight structural systems and materials in order to minimise material usage and transport costs. Using a similar script that I had developed earlier in the year, I began experimenting with different ways of generating a minimal surface that would serve to represent the overall form of the structure. The process required building a course mesh in Rhino around a series of fixed points, representing where the fabric would connect to the internal structure. This mesh could then be subdivided and exported in to Processing, where the geometry could be relaxed. This mesh was then exported back into Rhino where it was rendered and prepared for SLS fabrication.
Research into an exoskeleton system that will wrap the building and carry the vertical loads transferred from the outer edge of the floor spans. Because of the variation in levels and floor thicknesses through the tower, the exoskeleton should be able to respond to different stresses. This was achieved by creating a responsive system whereby the stresses within a test environment are are measured and then the size of the apertures and thickness of the members varied. The exoskeleton may also act as an environmental barrier, sheltering the farm the rain and wind.
Diagrams explaining the proposed construction process and a typical detail through a hydroponic level.