10 June 2009

Radiolarian Ceiling

Continuing my collaboration in the Radiolarian Walls project, I presented an alternative design for the ceilings, which served as the starting point for the continuation of that part of the project by other colleagues in the research line.

Also, I did some advice to these colleagues, suggested modeling strategies and developed some scripts to generate different patterns of holes for the roof.

Vertical Milling problem

In some moment in the Radiolarian Walls project, I came out with a zigzag joint solution to the continuity issue in the wall tessellation. That implies that we no longer leave the original boundaries of the provided material for the finished panels, but we had to mill in a vertical way to get our custom borders.

As part of planning for machining, I developed a series of simulations in which we could visualize a problem in this cases that require vertical cuts. The study showed that depending on the depth of cut, the head of the tool may collide with the material, breaking it. It also showed that in cases of milling a surface with a certain slope, the milling itself provided enough space for the movement of the tool head (that’s the reason why it hadn’t happened before). Thanks to this, we could foresee the purchase of a longer tool.

Radiolarian Walls project

This is a project conceived and directed by Alberto T. Estévez within the Genetic Architectures research line at ESARQ. Is an opportunity to get research ideas to the real world, addressing a client of Estévez who requested the interiors of a therapy and treatment office in Barcelona.

The project consists of a system of dry-walls and ceilings designed as an interpretation of radiolarians bone structures. This project develops a series of hexagonal cells that repeats as a tessellation throughout a plane and, following a bone structure logic, generates volumes that get thicker at nodes, forming spikes and leaving circular holes. From the modeling point of view, this is done from a grid of hexagons, each with a circle inscribed in its center. The size of the circles corresponds to another system for increasing diameters that define it.

My work began when, due to a rethink on the size of wall panels, I had to set another hexagonal grid, and therefore, recalculate the diameter of circles. After, I rebuild the methodology of modeling from the new circles and hexagons, so that they could contain spikes and holes in a single NURBS surface per cell. Once the new methodology was solved, I implemented it in RhinoScript, creating an automated tool for modeling complex surfaces that form each cell of that panel.

As part of the script, forms are generated oriented for machining a Polystyrene foam panel in the three-axis milling machine, one side at a time.