Tensegrity and cable stay desing workshop Digital and physical modelling of cable stay roof structures

​The 10-11th of April 2017 me and Puria Safari joined forces with Isak Näslund and Al Fisher to organize a workshop that focused on tensegrity and cable stay structures. The intention was that participants should apply mathematical models with digital and physical tools to explore light weight alternatives for stadium roof constructions. We arranged it as part of the parametric design course Virtual tools in the material culture which we where currently hosting, but open to master students and alumni.

​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 practicing 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 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 a numerical analysis and a form finding procedure as well as 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.

Organizers: Emil Adiels, Al Fisher, Isak Näslund and Puria Safari

Fotos and text: Emil Adiels

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