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Tensegrity and cable-stay structures

​On the 10-11th of April  2017 a two-day joint workshop together with specialists in computational design from Buro Happold Engineering. Arranged as a part of the parametric modelling course Virtual tools in the material culture participants applied mathematical models with digital and physical tools to explore lightweight alternatives for stadium roof constructions.

Organisers:
Emil Adiels, Architecture and Engineering Research Group
Puria Asghari Hasaraki, Architecture and Engineering, MSc student

Al Fisher Buro Happold

Isak Näslund Buro Happold Engineering

Chris Williams,  Architecture and Engineering Research Group

​Inspired by the portfolio of Buro Happold, containing London Olympic Stadium and the 02 arena, the specific aim of the workshop was to explore light-weight structures with the use of tensegrity including post-tensioned cables and textiles. Through a mix of lectures, tutorials, assignments and teams based on diverse competence and experience participants quickly got up to speed with methods of design exploration.

The design methodology was based on an iterative design process applying concepts of form-finding through mathematical and digital modelling and evaluation through physical testing, continuously practising reflection in action and engineering analysis in combination. The workflow was based on integrating intelligent geometrical modelling and real-time analysis through generative algorithms using Rhinoceros3d and Grasshopper3d as digital platforms and programming environments.

Based on an ongoing project at Buro Happold, students got to design their own proposal for the stadium roof structure as a final project. The proposal was to include an integrated physical and digital model,
meaning that the design needed to include numerical analysis and a form-finding procedure as well as a realistic fabrication strategy based on the digital model. The result of the workshop was not only five diverse and exciting proposals but also ideas, conversations and networks made possible through interaction between students, academia and industry.

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