Friday, April 18, 2008


Latest announcement

Monday morning (21st april 2008) Alberto T. Estevez (Director of Genetic Architectures Masters program at Universitat International de Catalunya, Barcelona) came around to say CONGRAATULATIONS!!! to Genetic Architecture Masters team.


The Tensegrity Tower Project, a one week intensive workshop, is the final segment of a larger, intensive four week seminar, Digital Biomimetics, conducted by Dennis Dollens in Alberto T. Estevez's Biodigital Master program at ESARQ, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona. The choice of a tensegrity, modular form, expressing morphological properties may not, at first be apparent in that tensegrity's inherent and traditional engineered geometries and requirements for tension and compression seem far from natural systems. Yet, beyond pure metaphor, the tower's cellular nature, the subtle branching elements following phyllotaxic and other biological mathematics related to nature, as well as the classes unusual consideration and exploration of inner geometries and potential transformational relationships to skins, membranes, and monocoques begins to open what seems like a closed system toward the intended use of the project as a research matrix. In class we have informally discussed questions pairing tensegrity compression and tension with biological cellular growth and biomimetics, as well as how far, within a system seemingly requiring tight symmetry could irregularities -genetic-like variation -be incorporated; we have conducted some informal discussion revolving around the incorporation of sensor systems for environmental effects and monitoring; and we have looked to Ernst Haeckel's 19th century drawings of radiolarians for struts, connecting surfaces, parametric-like surfaces, and perforations, as well as forms nested within forms. The project was conducted under extreme time restraints with the original mast forms being decided by the students amongst themselves from a one-hour charrette. Work was then sectioned into groups, a test structure built with a hand saw as a proof-of-concept, and then finally developed in Rhino for milling on the school's 3-axis machine made possible with the guidance and teaching of Affonso Orciuoli. The entire material organization, manufacturing and construction took place in three very, very long days and nights. Time did not allow physical, inner-cellular detailing; for that we must look to the design documentation of materials as well as to photographic, prototypes, and drawing research panels. As constructed we see the tower as a physical expression of group ideas and collaboration physically realized in a 10 meter tower — an experimental stacking of balanced mechanical forms that have variation both in shape from bottom to top, as well as in the tower's asymmetrical twist.

Dennis Dollens

To continue reading, please click on one of the links below:
-- Monday 14th april 2008
-- Tuesday 15th april 2008
-- Wednesday 16th april 2008
-- The PROCESS of designing
-- Thursday 17th april 2008
-- Friday 18th april 2008 (UPDATED WITH FINAL RESULT)