the_X Material Intelligence

University of California, Berkeley    Fall 2011

Design Team: Anthony Giannini & Pablo Zunzunegui

Instructor: Jordi Truco    HybridA & ADDA_Elisava


Natural structures are analyzed and understood as hierarchies of very simple components organized into constructs from the smallest arrangement of material, through successive subassemblies to the most complex – the whole organism or body. Properties and performances emerge that are more than the sum of their parts.  The aim of the project is to explore an integral design towards a multi-prerogative material system that will act as structure and skin at the same time. The development of these systems will originate from the definition of their simplest constituents integrating manufacturing constraints and assembly logics in parametric components.

The research process includes the experimentation and learning of material in order to find its “intelligent” behavior. This new knowledge will be applied in the design of a physical system (phenotype) capable of self organizing into various configurations.

Human occupancy, in particular proximity and time lapse, will be the parameters that will define multispatial requirements. These requirements transfer to the phenotype, described by software- controlled parameters.  Consequently, the system design also includes the development of a parametric digital system containing the limits, laws, and possibilities allowed by the physical system. Dialogue between the environment and system is necessary. Sensors will take the information to our controller to then use the code to define the reaction of the entire system to the sensed impulse.

“Traditional architecture starts from the premise that architectural structures are singular and fixed . . . Emergence requires that the opposite is true – that those structures are complex energy and material systems that have a lifespan, exist as part of an environment of other active systems, and develop in an evolutionary way.”

-Michael Weinstock

Phase 5 Mechatronics

PhotoCell Reactions_Firefly

First studies of producing dynamic local change on multiple components with integration of actuator.

First studies of producing deformations with real-time sensors.  As we vary the PhotoCell's illumination levels, the digital model reacts accordingly with the use of Grasshopper and Firefly.

Diagrams of Allometric Variation

By studying the physical component models, the x,y,z coordinates were gathered from a series of locations on the model during controlled deformations.  These points are then used to produce parametric models in Grasshopper: exact digital replicas of physical behaviors.

Diagrams of Deformation

Algorithmic Proliferation

Once the component deformations and their proliferated relationships are properly analyzed, we can start to control the exact global form by telling each individual component which local deformation to take on.  Each individual component has two main deformations:  overlapping distance and rotation angle.  These slight local changes can have dramatic effect on the overall form.  Perfect freedom, however, is not permitted in a proliferated component form as there are specific restrictions and abilities of the system.  Through a series of emperical and analytical studies, one must understand the behavioral characteristics of the system in order to capitalize on its unique abilities.

Digital Techtonics

Parametric scheme of two components producing local change.  By throroughly investigating the local deformations of each physical component, we create a series of x,y,z points which all correlate to it’s specific geometry.  Using these points found from the physical model, we integrate them into a parametric definition in Grasshopper.  This allows us to digitally represent the parametric relationships of an actual physical component.

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