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SUPPLE STRUCTURES / Pliant BODIEs

 

 
 

Overview

Professor: Michael Leighton Beaman

University of Virginia | School of Architecture

SARC 5555

Campbell Hall | Bishops Conference

W: 3:30pm - 6:00pm 

 

Supple Structures / Pliant Bodies is a faculty research seminar investigating resilient, materially co-mingled structural forms for architectural applications. Research includes a study of both material and computational methodologies, techniques and strategies for generating supple structures and pliant bodies. Supple Structures are material organizations that gain stability and load barring capacity through a collective intermingling and deformation of members. Pliant Bodies are structured volumes that have flexible qualities but stable topologies.  

This semester we are focused on simulating woven organizational systems, developing woven enclosure and structural systems, and prototyping woven building assemblies. Using a series of tutorials and assignments we will examine how woven and other co-mingled material systems might generate novel and innovative architectural forms, structures, and effects. Throughout this course we will utilize manual and automated processes, intuitive and computational methodologies, and both conventional and experimental techniques.

Our final output is two-fold, a research publication in conjunction with the META-field research group and a small-scale installation. Our research objectives will be divided into four domains:

 

SIMULATIONS

Simulations are the transfer of material behaviors, effects and performances; and their related formation and fabrication techniques into procedural models. Simulations gain operablity and functionality through its fidelity to it's generative origin. 

 

FORMS

Forms refer to the spatial and structural implications of Pliant Bodies and their formal definitions. Pliant Bodies are those volumetric enclosures that exhibit flexibility in their global shape, yet remain stable structurally.

 

ASSEMBLIES

Assemblies are the procedural and material techniques used to construct artifacts. Through out this course we will work with computational and material assemblies, developing and testing workflows that allow both to inform each other. Assemblies for us will include the constellation of human and nonhuman components that are needed to design and fabricate woven and other materially co-mingled structures.

 

DOCUMENTATION

Documentation includes recording and communicating the techniques studied, the processes explored, the contexts and conditions addressed, the procedures deployed, the prototypes fabricated and the final artifacts produced through out this course. 

 
 
 

grading

All work and participation is graded using a points systems. Points are determined using three criteria, and distributed by the stated percentages and/or points. Points translate to grades from A - D in  +/- increments.

DISTRIBUTION: 

Grading will be determined by how well each student performs in the following areas: 

PART 01 35 %

PART 02 65%

 

CRITERIA :

Grading will be determined by how well each student performs in the following areas: 

UNDERSTANDING + APPLICATION:
The understanding of the course/studio project at hand, combined with an appropriate process of inquiry & development of a consistent and rigorous analysis/design process with clearly articulated ideas.

CRAFT + EXECUTION:
The ability to accurately and precisely craft a digital and physical response to the analysis/design assignment.  This includes the ability to clearly and concisely communicate ideas, and produce well-formed digital and physical: models, diagrams, drawings, and images the project.

EFFORT + PARTICIPATION:
The ability to engage in the assignment with fellow students and your instructor & the ability to receive criticism and incorporate this into your project’s development. Your ability to work in groups, meet deadlines, and contribute to studio culture.

 

DEFINITIONS :

A | Excellent:  90 - 100 points  
Project / Course Work surpasses expectations in terms of inventiveness, appropriateness, verbal and visual presentation, conceptual rigor, craft, and personal development. Student pursues concepts and techniques above and beyond what is discussed in class. Project is complete on all levels.
    
B | Good: 80 - 90 points
Project / Course Work is thorough, well researched, diligently pursued, and successfully completed.  Student pursues ideas and suggestions presented in class and puts in effort to resolve required projects. Project is complete on all levels and demonstrates potential for excellence.
    
C | Acceptable: 70 - 80 points
Project / Course Work meets the minimum requirements. Suggestions made in class are not pursued with dedication or rigor. Project is incomplete in one or more areas.
    
D | Poor: 60 - 70 points
Project / Course Work is incomplete. Basic skills, technological competence, verbal clarity, and/or logic of presentation are not level-appropriate. Student does not demonstrate the required design skill and knowledge base. Work is incomplete.

 
 
 

Software & Hardware

This course focuses on manual and digital design and manufacturing processes & practices. You will be required to use the assigned hardware and software.

Each student is required to have a laptop or desktop with the following software installed on the first day of class, unless otherwise noted. 

Each student must complete any required training associated with the use of laser-cutters, CNC milling, and 3D printing at UVa. You will be expected to use this software and hardware throughout this course.  Training in VR software and hardware will be provided during the course

 

SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS:

Rhino 5 (latest service release)

Grasshopper (latest release) + Relevant Plug-ins - TBD

Auto CAD v.2016 or higher

Adobe CS Suite (Illustrator + Indesign)

Catalyst (available in Architecture School Computer Labs)

 

HARDWARE & TRAINING REQUIREMENTS:

Subtractive Manufacturing Techniques

Laser Cutting

CNC Milling/Routing (in class tutorial, if needed)

Kuka Robotic Arm (in class tutorial, if needed)

Additive Manufacturing Techniques

3D printer training

Kuka Robotic Arm (in class tutorial, if needed)

2D printing & plotting

 
 
 

Policies 

The following adhere to the University of Virginia polices and may impact your grade. Please read carefully.

PARTICIPATION :

Students are required to participate in all class activities. Participation includes completing assignments and group presentations, contributing to class discussions, and presenting work. Each student is expected to come to class prepared with questions and comments about assigned reading(s), and completed assignments.

 


ABSENCES :

Students who are 15 minutes late to class will be marked late. 3 late days = 1 unexcused absence. 4 unexcused absences will result in a lowering of one letter grade, and an additional letter grade for each unexcused absence thereafter. Regardless of tardy of absence, students are responsible to complete all assignments on time, unless alternative arrangements have been made with the instructor.

 


ACADEMIC HONESTY :

The University of Virginia is committed to the principles of intellectual honesty and integrity. Members of the UVa community are expected to maintain complete honesty in all academic work, presenting only that which is their own work in tests and assignments. This includes recognition and adherence to the UVa honor code.

 


STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES :

Any student who feels s/he may require accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the instructor privately at the beginning of the semester to discuss specific needs. In addition, please contact the Student Disability Access Center at the University of Virginia's Department of Student Health directly to coordinate reasonable accommodations prior to the start of any UVa course if you need to discuss or implement solutions to specific needs.

 

 
 
 

Documentation

Documenting your work is required for completion of this course. 

DOCUMENTING YOUR WORK : 

Documenting your work has two parts. The first is documentation for UVA's Archives, Publication (Web + Print) and Accreditation purposes. The second is my documentaion of your work for grading and future courses. The first is dictated by the School of architecture and will be sent to you during the semester. The second is outlined below.

 


DIGITAL DOCUMENTATION SUBMISSION :

Students are required to submit documentation of their work. Late submissions will be graded accordingly. Incomplete and/or failing grades will be given to any student who fails to submit both sets of work documentation

Documentation of all assignments and final project must be submitted to the instructor via Google Drive folder (link will be provided). This submission must include the following:

 1. Packaged InDesign file + PDF of final project board
 2. Photos of your final models, installations, prototypes, etc
 3. All files and requirements from previous assignments 

File naming convention for Individuals: 

For example: 2018_ARCH3020_Smith_A01_CirculationDiagram

File naming convention for Teams or Groups:

For example: 2018_ARCH3020_GroupA_A01_CirculationDiagram

 
 
 

CITATIONS & Credits

 

Citing and crediting the work of others used in your own work is an important part of being both an academic and professional. It is also  considered plagiarism when non-trivial portions of another's work is not credited or cited.

Failure to cite work used will effect your grade and may lead to an honor-code violation and/or university discipline. To avoid this, be rigorous in documenting what and where you get information and include proper credits and citations when you disseminate your work: Portfolios, Presentations, Websites, etc.

The School of Architecture Library has created a citation guide to assit you in determining how to cite work. For this course both Chicago Style and MLA are acceptable protocols. You may use either, but no both. 

 
 
 

SCHEDULE

This schedule is subject to change at anytime to accommodate changes in course content, as well as facility and equipment availability, review schedules or any unforeseen issues. 

 
 

PART 01


 

W01

01. 16. 2018

N/A

 

W02

01. 23. 2018

CLASS:

DISCUSS : Syllabus Review

TUTORIAL 01 : Grasshopper Plugins & Grasshopper Basics

 

ASSIGNMENT:

MATERIAL + SIMULATION PRECEDENCE

Research/Explore woven structures and techniques from multiple disciplines.  Select one structure or technique to investigate and simulate. The structure or technique must generate a 3-dimensional form.

Research projects, scripts/definitions, and plugins for Grasshopper that generate woven surfaces or forms.  Select one (or more) to download and utilize to create form.

 

W03 

01. 31. 2018

CLASS:

TUTORIAL 02 : Weaving Patterns

TUTORIAL 03 :  Weaving Structures

PRESENT : "Material + Simulation Precedence"

 

ASSIGNMENT:

RESEARCH PROPOSALS

Define an area of research and/or techniques within the purview of Supple Structures & Pliant Bodies that you want to invest in this semester. Research scripts and plugins that explore this area. Investigate how each of these operates, what variables they incorporate, and how they can be utilized. From this investigation propose a way of developing this research for the next 4 weeks, proposing benchmarks and products.

 

W04 

02. 07. 2018

CLASS:

PRESENT : "Research Proposals"

DISCUSS : Project Proposals & Goals

DEFINE :  Research Objects, Course Outputs, Individual Focus 

 

ASSIGNMENT:

COMPOUND SIMULATIONS

Select a partner (or partners) to combine research with. Take into account how what your interests and research proposal from assignment 03  compliment what theirs.  Combine research, and develop a workflow between all team members. Discuss how can your research be directed toward a one of the following areas:

 

A | STRUCTURAL FORMS:

- Formal / Spatial Definitions

- Physics Simulation using Kangaroo

- Geometric Articulation

 

B | WARP DEFINITIONS & ARTICULATION:

- Regulated Spacing

- Planarity

- Cross-Section Constraints

 

C | WEFT PATTERNING:

- Member Regularization

- Member Dimensional Constraints

- Warp Dimensional Incorporation

- Pattern Varients

 

W05 

02. 14. 2018

CLASS:

PRESENT : "Compound Simulations"

DISCUSS :  Research Findings & Group Progress

 

ASSIGNMENT:

DEFINITIONS + FORMS + PROGRAMS

Using the Supple Structures / Pliant Bodies premise as a basis to begin, design an initial solution to the design problem you identified in W04.  In designing this solution create a grasshopper script that allows for variation and accommodation of :

- program

- form

- material

- structure

- assembly / configuration

- site considerations

 

W06 

02. 21. 2018

CLASS:

PRESENT : Group Research

DISCUSS : Venues & Production

 

ASSIGNMENT:

STABLE SITES + PLIANT BODIES 01

Select a site on grounds for the installation of your group project. The site selection should comport with the structural typology you are investigation (Compressive, Tensile, Balanced Hybrid). Develop a project approach that allows you to investigate a discreet set of considerations: form, aggregations, patterns, etc.

Propose both a site and an approach to developing your project.

 

W07 

02. 28. 2018

CLASS:

PRESENT : Project Proposals

DISCUSS: Venues & Production

 

ASSIGNMENT:

STABLE SITES + PLIANT BODIES 02

As a class select a site on grounds for the installation of your group project. These should be from the set of sites selected in W06. Consider what formal and structural qualities from your individual work, might best be deployed and developed on this site.

Remaining in your respective groups, develop a design proposal for this site. Use your existing research, but adapt it to respond to the site's conditions and constraints. Within the framework of your project proposal, define what aspects of a supple structure/pliant body resonate with your research. 

Propose a new project for our common seminar installation site.

 

W08 

03. 07. 2018

Spring Break

 
 
 

PART 02


 

W09

03. 14. 2018

CLASS:

PRESENT : Project Proposals

DISCUSS: Venues & Production

TUTORIAL 04 : 2D & 3D Linework

 

ASSIGNMENT:

PROJECT DOCUMENTATION 01

Using your project proposals as a basis, document the formal, structural and procedural qualities of your group's project. Include the site/building context that it is in, how it will be attached, or rest in the selected space, and other contextual information. Consider the procedures and processes that you used. 

 

 

W10 

03. 21. 2018

CLASS:

ASSIGNMENT:

 

 

W11 

03. 28. 2018

CLASS: 

DISCUSS: Define Formal Variables

 

ASSIGNMENT:

PLIANT BODIES  01

Over the next 3 weeks you will be developing, refining and documenting your SSPB research through 3 design iterations. In each case you are asked to create a 3D print and a set of drawings and diagrams. 

In this first of three related assignments, you are tasked with completing a GH script that produces a series of 3d printable models. Your 3D print must be in the print queue by Tuesday @ 5pm. We will be producing 3 - 3D prints per team, over the next 3 weeks. 

 

 

W12

04. 04. 2018

CLASS:

PRESENT : Project 3D Print

DISCUSS: Drawing & Diagram Language

TUTORIAL 04 : 2D & 3D Linework

 

ASSIGNMENT:

PLIANT BODIES  02

In the second of three related assignments, you are ask to complete a set of drawings and diagrams that explain your research and 3 formal iterations within our project site. The drawings should include:

- Plan

- 2 Elevations (facing Campbell Hall)

- Exploded Isometric

- Isometric Form Diagram 

- Isometric Unit or Part to Whole Diagram

 

W13 

04. 11. 2018

CLASS:

PRESENT : Project Drawings & Diagrams

DISCUSS: Fabrication Techniques & Materials

 

ASSIGNMENT:

PLIANT BODIES  03

In the third of three related assignments, you are asked to complete a scaled model of 1 or your 3 iterations. The model should explain the part to whole relationship, and the assembly technique. The model should be at a minimum 1" to 1' scale. 

 

W14 

04. 18. 2018

CLASS:

ASSIGNMENT:

 

W15 

04. 25. 2018

CLASS:

ASSIGNMENT:

 

W16 

05. 01. 2018

FINAL REVIEWS

 

 

* tentative at best