Minimum Surface Presentation and Prof. Andrew Kudlass visit to our Class
Today, we introduced our second Grid Shell Model, produced entirely from our sessions on Grasshopper / Rhino, and made at the scale of ¾ inch = 1 foot, with double the materials.
We also presented to the class our journey from Minimum Surface illustrated by our Soap Film models, and later by our Grid shell digital studies.
We quickly reviewed how the minimum structures began, and we reminded everyone that it began very humbly as:
However, nowadays, tensile structures have become ubiquitous:
Because membrane structures are everywhere:
We made a direct comparison between tensile structures and soap. They both look and behave alike because they are both minimal surfaces. The soap film and the tent mold themselves to tension and compression. When the forces are in equilibrium – we have a stable and strong structure. This situation is qualified with the word iconoclastic.
Soap and Tents are relatively light, easy to transport, to fabricate, and to dismantle.
We also expressed how Frei Otto and Zhukov’s rotonda inspired us to make lots of soap model explorations.
We discussed the shape, characteristically, given to minimum surface structures:
The soap film usually displays a 120-degree angle – indicating physically that the bubble is at equilibrium with its lateral, tension and compression forces.
We also showed our earlier group of models, and how we evolved through craftsmanship into a cleaner form.
Our New Shapes
Early Model Making Materials
1. 6 oz. jar of Glycerin 24 oz. of Walgreen’s Orange Liquid Dish Soap 66 oz.
2. Walgreen’s Distilled Water
(As inspired by Frei Otto’s soap recipe.) (Nerdinger, page 19)
Second List of Model Making Materials
For our first gallery exhibit, would need about four times the amount of soap:
10. 1mm transparent elastic cord (Stretch Magic Brand)
11. 18 w to 30 w soldering device
12. Soldering Wire
13. A ruler
14. Masking tape
15. Scissors Model Materials (a new revised list)
Later, we changed the recipe for soap, skipping glycerin altogether. The glycerin had given us a spider web-like residue and we did not like it. So, this time we only used soap.
17. 256 oz. of HEB Orange or Lemon Liquid Dish Soap (it gave the water a nice pleasing color)
18. 7 gallons of Ozark’s Distilled Water
19. (Still inspired by Frei Otto’s soap recipe.) (Nerdinger, page 19)
20. 4 feet by 1-foot tank for our large model
21. 25 to 40 feet of 18-gauge Copper wire
22. 18 w to 30 w soldering device
23. Soldering Wire
24. A ruler
25. Masking tape
27. 4 feet by 1 feet wooden box
In this round, we built a soap tank; from wood – in it we were able to produce a soap substance of 7 gallons, deep enough for us to dip our entire 1-foot wide and 4 foot long model.
Our Last List of Materials
Tensile Structure normal Construction Materials
10. Concrete anchors to tie the cables at the end at angle of 120 degrees from the horizon.
Our Changes to our Project Objectives
Our last major soap film model had about 10 nodes linking parallelograms of every size at the beginning and some triangles. It showed or configured a path.
The parallelograms helped support the structure as masts.
Further Exploration leads to Further Physical models and Digital Models:
On our last major soap film model, we focused on our model at a larger scale. Our mode had plenty of nodes. These nodes were basically parallelograms. Some of the parallelograms began at the same size. Later, they gradually became smaller. But, they were symmetrical.
The symmetry, on the model, made room for four individual entries:
We also showed a lot of repetition, and some transformation.
Since we have four entries – this would translate into a four-path configuration. You can enter from either end and walk underneath this structure.
Its shape provides enough volume to visually guide people in one or 4 directions making it a perfect gathering place.
Our New Exploration — The grid shell structure
These week’s structures were be made of:
The Plexi glass did not work – So, we abandoned it, and we had a backup material such as jewelry bead wire, pre-cut basswood sticks and jewelry hooks.
Andres experimented with the bead wire and it was strong. But, Aleks suggestion for the rivets worked best.
Our Exploration using Grasshopper, or Parametric Software
(to view our video — click on the file and let it download it on your computer — then double click on the image and watch it play on your computer)
We still like the four point Grid Shell because it seems more stable, gives us 4 points of entry, four anchors hold it, and it seems like a nice gathering place.
We looked and talked about a grid with only 3 anchors, but we did not like it as much. We changed the supports by providing a double reinforced lattice wood.
We also researched on roof cladding, joinery, and anchors. However, there is a chance it may buckle – so we need to tighten the top more, by bringing closer the anchor points, creating a catenary curve on top, or by strengthening the layers of the wood that support the ceiling. We are also evaluating the skin pattern, and the join mechanisms.
Today, we visited the McNay and took pictures of the lot. It is a sloped lot, with a drain; however, we still have the steps to the museum where we can configure a path for our structure.
We are also thinking about cost.
Everyone has learned a lot in these four weeks, about soldering, about soap film, about carpentry, and especially Rhino, and Grasshopper. Everyone in the group was able to practice with the tutorials. We also learned we can speed up the process of moisture absorption of the wood if we add a little bit of ammonia. Thanks to Ms. Pemberton for such a recommendation.
Aleks Andres Troy
(Minimum Surface Group)
Edward Allen, Joseph Iano, Fundamentals of Building Construction: Materials and Methods (Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons Inc. 2004).
Francis D. K. Ching, Cassandra Adams, Building Construction Illustrated – Third Edition (New York: John Wiley and Sons Inc. 2001).