Adaptive Structure

Adaptive Structure, 2011
In collaboration with Georg Ladurner
Architectural research at the Institute for Computational Design, Universität Stuttgart

Complex spatial phenomena necessitate adaptive architectural design solutions. Consequently, physical space should evolve in response to shifting programmatic requirements and environmental stimuli through a process of structural adaptation, rather than being an immutable permanent entity. The aim of the research presented is to utilise an algorithmic, self-organising system in order to generate emergent, adaptive structures composed of mass-producible modular building components.

Diffusion-limited Aggregation (DLA) is a model for natural morphogenesis which is capable of generating biomorphic aggregate structures. It is an emergent, self-organising process in which randomly moving particles attach to a continuously growing cluster of aggregates. Because the cluster has potential for infinite growth, its process can be started and stopped. Additionally, the cluster can be made subject to environmental complexity through manipulation of aggregation probability. The model of DLA thus presents one possible mode of thinking and production for an adaptive structural system.

The complex DLA based structure in this case study exploits design tools readily available in computational design, namely self-organisation and emergence as means to produce realisable constructions. Through this design process, the structure is able to adapt over time to a range of stimuli, and with the implementation of a modular material system, the design tool produces not only digital geometry but also offers the potential for production and assembly at the architectural scale. Perhaps most importantly, the module (which corresponds to the aggregate in the mathematical model of DLA) is repeated throughout the structure and can be mass produced as well as reused in subsequent constructions.

Research presented at the 14th Generative Art Conference in Rome, 2011.