@ENPC – March. 2016 – T. Gobin, V. Loing

Accompanying the growth of robotic technologies in the field of civil engineering, the ENPC hosted its first robotic workshop in March. The students were asked to revisit the classic notions of funicular arches and stereotomy in the light of digital conception and fabrication. Each group had to achieve a system of grid based on funicular arches where interfaces between elements allow the whole structure to be assembled with nothing but contact friction enhanced by specific geometry. They had to work in terms of constraint-based design and adapt their conception to the limitations of the robot arms and its tools.

Learning Objectives

Stereotomy and funicular arches are classic aspects of architecture but the digital revolution invites us to transfer this knowledge and to adapt it to contemporary digital conception and fabrication tools. The objective of this one-week workshop is to initiate the students through canonical architectural aspects to various numerical tools such as Rhinoceros and Grasshopper and robotic fabrication with the use of foam hot wire cutting. After a short presentation and training on the manufacturing processes, the structural systems and the inevitable geometry questions raised, the participants will have to design bricks and their connecting interfaces based on ruled surfaces. Each group will have to produce a discrete shell based on funicular arches network where interfaces between elements allow the whole structure to be assembled with nothing but contact friction. They will use the tools elaborated at Navier Lab and HAL Robotics to design the structure and control the robotic production.

Pavilions’ Program and Design Objectives

Design a discrete shell that will cover the maximum area allowed by the quantity of material. Only extruded polystyrene and polystyrene foam is available without any additional systems such as glue or screw. The use of the robot precision to produce the nodes is the key to produce large structure where beams between the nodes can be produced by hand.

Teaching Material

Numerical resources