Title: ARCH-392 Catalyst I –Parametric Design and Digital Fabrication Workshop

Dates: 15th March – 18th March 2016, [ARC] University of Nicosia

Gridshells are efficient lightweight structures that are shaped to purely correspond to the forces of nature. Historic outcomes of such form-finding design processes are remarkable doubly curved shells, efficient and affordable to construct. Pioneer designers of grid shells, like Frei Otto and Shigeru Ban, used physical models of hanging nets as a means to conceptualize their forms. Today the availability of high-end digital design tools allows for precise simulation of the structural materiality and an exploration of a large range of different forms.

The proposed workshop was based on the expertise gained from precedents international competitions. Prototyping with both physical and virtual models guided the process, through real‐time visualization of forces in order to shape form-found designs and evaluate them against their structural efficiency. Participants experimented with the creation of digital models using Parametric Design tools (Grasshopper 3D and Kangaroo) implementing real‐time Physics engines in order to comprehend the notion of computer simulation of complex geometric problems. Physical experiments in the view of precedent grid shells were compared with computer generated ones and reproduced using digital fabrication methods. The successful design was taken further to construction, forming a continuous structure offering the participants the chance of experiencing a challenging assembly process and the logistics of realizing complex architectural forms. Such process involved a dialogue between digital fabrication techniques and physical testing. Light‐weight materials like PVC electrical conduit and plywood were used and materialized using the aforementioned digital fabrication methods.

By the end of the 4-day workshop, a full scale lightweight prototype with a footprint 11m x 5m was successfully erected in less than 6 hours by the 9 participants and the 2 faculty members without the assistance of any mechanical means or methods.

Tutors: Michail Georgiou, Odysseas Georgiou

Teaching and Fabrication Assistants: Alexis Postekkis, Rezan Hajramezan, Theodoros Zarkas

Participants: Rafael Abboud, Shahad Ali, Christina Christoforou, Panagiotis Hadjioannou, Konstantinos Karagiannis, Diana Kochegarova, Panagiotis-Rovertos Kontonis and Rasha Zeneddin

Documentation: Charis Solomou, Odysseas Georgiou and Michail Georgiou

Sponsoring and Support: Elysee Irrigation LTD and Spanias Hardware LTD

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