Title: Repetitive Structures
Type: Conference Paper
Authors: Eike Schling, Rainer Barthel
Published in: Impact: Design With All Senses. Design Modelling Symposium Berlin 2019, Springer, pp. 360-375.
Editors: Christoph Gengnagel, Olivier Baverel, Jane Burry, Mette Ramsgaard Thomsen, Stefan Weinzierl
Office: Technische Universität München, Chair of Structural Design, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Rainer Barthel
The University of Hong Kong, Department of Architecture
This paper presents a theoretical framework of repetitive structures and illustrates its potential for the design and construction of strained gridshells.
Throughout the history of architecture, the use of repetitive building parts has been a key goal to simplify fabrication, ease construction, and save costs and time. This may be achieved by laying identical bricks or using identical ball joints, dividing a sphere into congruent triangles or rationalizing a curved façade to only use planar glass panels. In any case, using repetitive parts inevitably ef-fects the overall shape and layout of a structure.
In geometry the term “repetitive” is used to describe congruent elements, such as nodes, edges or faces, within a network, while an architectural structure aims at identical building parts to achieve repetition. These two perceptions do not always coincide: In practice, adjustable joints, tolerances or deformation allow the use of repetitive parts, even for geometrically variable elements.
The following paper combines insights from differential geometry and build-ing construction to create a holistic theory of “repetitive structures” considering both the geometric and constructive parameters. This theory offers more than an analysis of existing structures. Through computational design we can systemati-cally investigate the morphology of repetitive networks, define parametric rela-tionships, identify fundamental principles of form and deduce parameter combi-nations for future designs.
Keywords: Gridshells, Repetition, Construction-Aware Design.