An analysis of the project brief showed that the accumulation of tetrahedron modules resulted in irregular forms and an unstable structure. An additional octahedron module was utilised to resolve the problem and in combination with the tetrahedron modules, a regular and stable structure was generated.
Interaction and Automation.
With the introduction of tetrahedron and octahedron forms, the modules were able to reconfigure and connect in various ways. To facilitate the reconfiguration, the modules had to be automated, which will make its interaction with other modules uniform and compatible. The goal was to allow the modules to integrate seamlessly with any adjacent module surface.
A closer analysis of artist behaviour within their studios revealed an inefficient use of space and equipments. Most of the artists spend their time at the desk, yet rent additional space and purchase costly equipments. Ownership of the space and equipments were taken into consideration in order to determine both needs and requirements of the artists and designers.
Achieving a healthy workshop metabolism.
Through the evaluation, the spaces and equipments were categorised into ownership and shared, permanence and temporal. The outcome revealed that the costly equipments could be shared among other similar artists, reducing the purchase cost for individual artists while achieving higher usage of the equipments. Display areas and meeting spaces also showed the need for personalisation, yet could still be shared with others as these spaces were temporal.
Current site condition.
The existing site plan by Dynamo Architects showed a careful organisation of spaces. However, visitors who enter the 'artist city' do not follow the organisation and prefer to explore the space differently. Furthermore, visitors do not visit every studio within the Kunststad, but only those that appeals to them. This journey of discovery conflicts with the highly organised system and as a result, an organised plan for the new studios was not suitable.
Extending the atmosphere.
Entrances to the 'artist city' were extended into the new artist studios to integrate both. Additional emphasis were allocated to the less utilised entrances of the old Kunststad by placing a higher concentration of studios, attracting more visitors. The new plan for the studios was more directive and has lesser junctions, allowing visitors to explore each studio through their individual journey.
Fabricating the model.
A simple tetrahedron prototype was constructed to analyse the corner joints and surface angles. Through the analysis, extendable support (legs), which will be replaced with actuator motors in a 1:1 scale, were adopted to automate the structure. The extension capability allowed the model to contract and expand and subsequently, the order of the extension action of each individual leg allowed the model to automate and 'walk'. The same system was adopted for the octahedron prototype.
With 12 actuators allocated to a tetrahedron and 24 to an octahedron, the initial models created various deformation in their automation. Its ability to deform became an important aspect with the connection to its adjacent project, Modular Customisation. As Modular Customisation is a free-form project, the various iterations will move and reconfigure the design along side its users to generate different outcomes and spatial qualities.
The joints for the tetrahedron and octahedron prototype were redesigned to reduce the joint system and create a more aesthetic edge which will integrate with the facade. As the extendable support is only required to move in 2 axis at any given time, the primary support was anchored around a secondary corner structure. this allowed the primary support to rotate along the secondary corner structure. The secondary corner structure was also used to connect the corner plates, reducing the need for additional joints.
As the corner joint only utilised the interior volume, the surfaces were redesigned to create a uniform joint with Modular Customisation, strengthening the integration of both projects. As Modular Customisation was a free-form design, the support had to rotate in all axis. The primary support connection was again anchored to a secondary structure. However, the secondary structure had the ability to rotate within the surface of the corner joint, allowing the primary support to rotate in all axis.
Attractors and Repellers (Superseded)
An initial triangle grid was overlayed onto the site. These triangle represents the allocation of modules. A second layer was overlayed on top of the ground floor to determine the allocation of 1F modules.
Site attractors were identified and the modules will be attracted along the line. As time passes, site attractor value changes and new attractors may arise due to the implications of the module configuration. The modules will then populate the new axis.
Later exploration found the planning scheme for the existing Kunststad, which reflected the highly organised structure. As a study shown that visitors do not follow the strict organisation and prefer to explore and wander through the studios, the project plan layout changed from site attractors to the sense of discovery.
Folding Mechanism (Superseded)
By embedding joints within the facade plates, hinges can be removed, resulting in a flush surface facade. However, gaps between each plate needs to be carefully calculated in order to accommodate the facade plate thickness.
With 3 facade plates controlled by a rotary motor, they are pulled and stack on top of each other. this will create a hexagon opening in a facade of 9 trianglur plates. The rotary motor, when rotated clockwise, pulls the adjacent towards it, causing the 3rd plate to follow in motion. When rotated anti-clockwise, it pulls the 3rd plate away, causing the adjacent plate to unfold.
The resulting mechanised system, although simple with a facade of 9 triangular plates, created a aesthetically messy outcome when they are filled onto the actual facade. In addition, the maintenance of each plate becomes an inconvenience and will pose more problems than benefits. As such, liquid crystal film technology, which uses electrical currents to manipulate the glass facade opacity, replaced the mechanised folding system.
Prototype Phase II Presentation
The structural automaton accommodates a design studio space that relocates to different decentralised workshops within the kunststad. In addition, its dynamism can be used as temporary exhibition area, gathering to form a display space and dispersing after the area is not required. Lastly, it serves as an urban infrastructure, creating bridges to link different workshops together.
The facade mechanism.
Keywords in the user's social network updates will trigger the gears within the facade to rotate in sequence, producing an active facade system and visually displaying different iterations according to the activities of the user's social network.