Ruled Roofs & Pathways

In search of a more sophisticated system that reflects my early design agenda, I have experimented with ways of using a ruled roof surface in conjunction with a circulation pathway across the camp. Initial investigations show there are a variety ways this could implemented, creating either a single gesture or a more broken roofscape.

A more modular roof feels conceptually stronger when considering the infinite possible arrangements of the camp that can be generated from the script. After developing a system to implement this and dictate the way the roof surfaces are generated, below shows four examples derived from different locations, configurations, and possible pathways .

Architectural ‘fun’ can now be had with the exploring the way these structures are designed. What happens when the two systems, pathway and roof intersect? How is this resolved in construction?

Material > Sketch > System

This part of the project started out with a small investigation into the bending capabilities of kerfed wooden strips.

After trying to laser cut a prototype of a combined zip-kerf system (and failing because of the laser cutter being too imprecise), I decided that I would instead continue the investigation by making quick models and sketches based on the behavior of the kerfed wood.

Drawing inspiration from the previous part of the project, where the structure was literally based on the movement of the swarming agents, I tried to make sketches that combined the expression of frozen movement with the properties of the kerfed wood.

Up until this point, this project has mainly focused on the wooden ”backbone” of the structure, with one element, wood. However, my aim is to add another element to the structure.

In the beginning of the semester, I was interested in exploring participatory design. During this recent phase of the project, I have started to think about my summer camp as a scout camp, which could include elements of DIY building, problem-solving and learning by doing. My thought right now is that the second part of the structure will be filled in by the camp-goers, and that the wooden structure can serve as a canvas or backbone for the creativity of the users.

From now on, I will focus on exploring in detail what types of spaces can be created with these systems, as well as how these spaces can be combined on a larger scale.

Master thesis final submission

Compression-only based structures.
Discrete element assemblies, double curved surfaces, shell structures, mesh tessellation and digital production

This master thesis is a research based project which explores compression-only based structures, covering such subtitles as – discrete element assemblies, double curved surfaces, shell structures, mesh tessellation of symmetrical and asymmetrical geometry together with digital production used for testing structural behavior of masonry structures.
The background of the current research project was based on the works of Block Research Group. During this stage two different softwares were analyzed in comparison to each other (RhinoVault and Kangaroo2 for grasshopper) and the physical model of both structures was made. First experiments as compression-only based physical models were 3D printed from PLA and failed. Moving forward the further research methodology was developed – to start testing from simple structures – like arches and step by step by adding different variables explore the complex systems such as vaults, domes both single and double curved and finally – symmetry and asymmetry. This comprehensive analysis from the simplest element – arch to the most complicated sample – asymmetrical free form vault helped to deepen an understanding of behavior of such structures while testing the impact of thickness, curvature degree and curvature type, tessellation type and joints between the elements design.
Furthermore, project covers digital production and fast prototyping techniques – 3D modelling, parametric modelling and 3D printing together with all challenges which can occur during translation of digital model into the physical model.
Conclusions of the research project and implementation into the architectural field are proposed as analysis of adaptation to flat and uneven terrain, together with the analysis of different possible combinations of shell structures into the one whole system called mereology – in philosophy and mathematical logic, mereology is the study of parts and the wholes they form.


As we moved onto task 2, I started analysing forms of the linkages and combining two sets to test the spatial properties they exhibited.

The rotation of the linkages needed to exhibit some form or motion and resulting change that would offer a variation in form and surface and space, as in the previous study of the kaleidocycle.

The servo was mounted to a clear acrylic frame and I began to run tests of forms using the basic principle of the four bar linkage.

As observed from the tests above, the spatial study extended only to planar elements. I began incorporating rotation and folds to allow for movement in 3 dimensions and multiple axis for each linkage. Both sets of studies provide grounds for further exploration but I will need to be more intentional in the variation of parameters of the subject.

Ruled Roofs

I have begun exploring the potential application of ruled surfaces, the most obvious starting point being as roof or roofscape across the camp. The generated configuration that was reached by script is used as an example scenario to test ideas.

It is easy to see how an architectural conclusion can be reached, and could be resolved quickly from this point. However, I feel such a proposal does not yet fulfill the complexities of the project as intended, and I wish to explore a more sophisticated roof/circulation system using some of these ideas.

Ruled surfaces: curves from lines.

Given the orthogonal nature of the project so far, ruled surfaces seemed a natural place to begin an investigation into curved forms.

In 3D model and grasshopper, I investigated how varying surfaces can be created following different ‘stem’ lines on the faces of a cube.

In attempt to classify the resulting surfaces I sought a graphical way of analysing their curvature, that could be represented and compared between each. As shown in the diagrams below, the mid-point curve is generated in two directions across the surface. The resulting curves are laid flat in mirror of each other, and area of each calculated as a percentage of the overall polygon from endpoints. Because the ‘curvy-ness’ of the surface increases as the mid-point curve deviates from a straight line, the large the percentage area is deemed to represent a more curved surface (…maybe…).

String models of 6 example surfaces.


Project 04 saw a move to material prototyping and developing a methodology for building three dimensional forms. I looked into Frei Ottos fabric tensile structures as well as engineer Vladimir Shukhovs steel tensile structures as precedent.

Keeping the automated robotic theme running I also decided to incorporate a servo motor into my design process. This brought a moving element to the prototyping and prompted the research into the umbrella mechanism and three/ four point linkages.

I also explored the Kaleidocycle (flexagon) which are models of linked tetrahedra which turn through their centres. I wanted to incorporate these methods for materials that, through their connection, could change form and produce multiple spatial environments.

Converging-limited foldability

I tried to explore some of the possibilities from folding a piece of paper while constraining with various “levels of freedom”. The following diagrams explain the results from different limiting points and how they can be reproduced with one foldable element. By introducing the limiting plane the original constraining points are removed but the folding results are attained.

Zip, Kerf, Interlock – Wood Bending Tests

After working with swarming agents that produced linear curves in the first part of this project, I decided that I wanted to continue exploring linear shapes further in the fabrication part of the process.

One of the first things I tried during the week was make simplified interpretations of some of the shapes produced during the previous part of the project using strips of paper. However, since the thickness of paper is negligible, it has properties and a flexibility that no full-scale material can emulate. This led me to choose a more specific material to have in mind when continuing the testing. I chose to research wood, and different methods that can be used to make wood flexible.

In summary, I have explored three methods of working with wood to produce flexible, three-dimensional shapes. These methods are zipping (based on a concept by Schindlersalmerón), kerfing and interlocking.

Using the laser cutter and 4 mm thick poplar wood sheets, I have experimented with different operations that produce different kinds of flexible beam-like strips.

Next, I will look into combining the different processing methods to create a more complex system where the different possibilities and limitations of the three methods can support each other. I also have to narrow the investigation down from a system that can ”do anything” to a more specific part of the site and program.

Clustered results

Quite often architects are challenged with the need to analyze large sets of data in the design process. However, there is a lack of defined approaches and therefore in most cases detailed analyses are avoided. Through this project I tried to observe a fraction of what could be used as a valuable assessment tool in various projects. Clustering approaches are not uncommon in different fields when in need to observe data, but in architecture these have been poorly investigated. I have used the MATLAB programming language developed by MathWorks to investigate the potential for architectural use.

This is a brief description of the steps in the process:

1. Looking at the height maps as a set of pixels containing height data and clustering with kmeans. (This is an unsupervised learning technique that does the analysis without predefined criteria.) The results give groups of heights that share similar ‘intensity’.

2. A region of interest is selected with clustering division at k=5.

3. Radiation maps of the site are generated using Ladybug. (Different relevant maps or parameters can be used for evaluation depending on the requirements.)

4. k-means clustering is applied on a radiation map. The points that satisfy values above a defined threshold are selected and interpolated to the previously defined region of interest. This gives points that satisfy certain irradiation criteria within the specified height region.

5. New clusters are created in order to define optimal building areas and building shapes are defined at locations where the points satisfy certain density.

The results from the steps are shown in the following isometric drawing.

An experiment with varying k-number values in the kmeans clustering was performed and the results can be observed in the short animation. For values above 200 it is difficult to read the information from the resulting images, but lower k-numbers can give different levels of detail depending on the requirements of the user.