The Radiolaria Project
Structural Tesselation of Double Curved Surfaces
The Radiolaria Project aims to rethink architectural design and manufacturing techniques – it explores the filigree and beautiful skeletons of radiolarians, tiny marine organisms, with their striking hexagonal patterns, and transfers this concept to architectural scale and materialize it in a large scale structure.
The project involves research spanning from biology via geometry to applied building constructions, analogue panelisation experiments with CAD designed and CNC milled models, the development of a rigid parametric Node system, digital form finding techniques for the design of a large scale interior installation, tessellation of this form with especially developed grid generation tools, generative computation of individual structural node and beam elements, CNC manufacturing of these entities and the final assembly of the structure.
The finished installation displays as a continuously double curved shape, represented by a structural network of 3-legged nodes and beams with hexagonal cells.
“Final master surface design”
“The fully meshed surface with Voronoi diagram”
“Tessellation before(left) and after(right) several relaxation iterations”
Its form itself is considered as an active entity, shaped to support itself without the need of secondary elements, it transforms from a roof to a megacolumn or rolls up to horizontal beam, being both shape and structure at the same time.
“RSTAB screenshot – wooden structure, uz=53 mm”
“RSTAB screenshot – aluminium structure. uz=12 mm”
“Optimized aluminium structure. uz= 6 mm.”
The Radiolaria Installation is constructed from 1040 individual nodes and 1563 beams. It is more than 14 m long, 5 m wide and 4 m high at a weight of approximately 50 kg and was realized in only 10 days time by an international group of architecture students.
“Parametric node drawing”
“Closeup showing nodes, struts and dual triangulation”
“CNC milling of nodes – cutting border contours”
“Selection of struts, labelled and sorted by length”
Claudia Demeles, Negar Jahadi, Benjamin Koziol, Paul Kwant, Alexander Löhr, Virginia Marini, Carla Ottaviana, Tamas Ozvald, Niklas Rahmlow, Jan Weißenfeldt
Betreut durch: Dipl.-ing. Christian Troche & Dr. Gregor Zimmermann
Bilder: (c) Studio Blafield / www.blafield.de