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StructuralFelt

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escalante_felt_6

escalante_felt_7
Interior sketch

Explanation

The Studio focused on how the structural and organizational systems for a tall tower can be generated computationally and parametrically. Structural felt was the outcome of several months of research into structural phenotypes that could be generated both locally and globally within the tall tower.

In simple terms the project consisted of a system that first creates a point-field condition over a pre-defined surface according to specific conditions, the second step creates a series of fibres I relation to the points and also to the areas of primary loads pre determined in a Finite Element Analysis software. Each fibre is then considered in relation to local situations and is then modified to either work structurally or like cladding or to be completely absent.

The focus of the project became how to understand the potential for a structural system and how it can be modified to take very specific architectural spatial considerations.

One of the main concerns from the very beginning was the of the scripts dependency on a predefined surface. If the script was applied to a box the outcome would be a felt box where the felt is a kind of decorative structural element, without allowing for an opportunity to redefine a spatiality of felt.

To experiment with the spatial possibilities generated from felt we assumed that it was less dependent on the straight walls through redundancy as the traditional building systems where forced to be orthogonal. To capitalize on this realisation we set out to investigate what defines the program spaces surfaces if there is no limit to the way walls and ceilings can be non-orthogonal and can be leaning and curved.

We saw opportunities that allow for the boxes with specific program to be distributed apart from one and other in a similar way to felt, these boxes of program can scatter it self across the tower. Allowing the felt to grow in between and distort the planar surfaces of the box volume to promote connections.

Due to felt’s structure (or seemingly lack there of) of frictional entanglement and the difficulty in combining it with other typical structural or traditional building strategies felt as a logic only works when considered as a excess amount of fibres that together form not only a global structure but also secondary structural systems as well as cladding. Its not only the building block to sustain the tall tower, it is also the intricate fabric of the parts of the building that are not traditionally load bearing, thus allowing the felt to distribute the loads even to wardrobes, stairs and so on.
The different scripts where nested within a component allowing for different parts of a spatial pocket to be marked with a specific use, part of a wall needs to allow for outlook, whilst another part needs to protect from the western sun, other parts need to be very dense to allow for use as floors or to provide privacy, and other parts need to be structural, allowing for circulation connections as well as structural connections between spatial pockets. The different felt scripts where combined with different component types to allow for an additional level of control.

Context | Computational Media Studio, UTS M.Arch

Instructors | Anthony Burke, Ben Hewett

Media | Digital Prints, 3d Print Models

Software | Generative Components, Maya, Rhino, Adobe Photoshop

Team | Erik Escalante, Albert Quizon