Parametric Design + Optimization + Digital Fabrication

Nexorade and Reciprocal Structures. The first UCL Bartlett robotic workshop, March 4-8, 2013

Nexorade and Reciprocal Structures
Workshop | March 4-8, 2013
Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

A workshop by Eng. Lucia Mondardini & Arch. Eng. Martina Presepi
With Thibault Schwartz & Tristan Gobin

RC5 (Research Cluster 5)
Professor: Philippe Morel
Tutor: Thibault Schwartz

RC5 is organizing a series of workshops and Masterclasses dedicated to Robotics, Mathematics & Computation as well as Structural Engineering. The series aims to bring to Bartlett students innovative and operative knowledge relevant for their own works and allowing them to address contemporary developments in technology and science for architecture. The third workshop, Nexorade and Reciprocal Structures, is aimed at GAD RC5 and MArch Dip. Unit 19 students. At first, stone vaults of a particular class will be presented, from the geometrical design to their mechanical behaviour - the considered vaults are bonded, following the XVII Century design for flat vaults. The first patent concerning this invention was given to Joseph Abeille but Amedée-Francois Frézier in his treatise on stereotomy drew an interesting parallel with the scheme proposed by Sebastiano Serlio in 1545. These inventions could also be seen as precursors of nexorade. In Abeille’s bonding two features come together: the catenary effect inherent with vaulted forms and the stacking timber effect proper to nexorades. A routine to define the shape and arrangement of stones, given the morphology of the vault and fit design parameters, will be presented, then the information will be processed to perform mechanical analyses, and finally a 3m diameter prototype dome will be assembled, using hot-wire robotic cutting of polystyrene ashlars.

Lucia Mondardini, who holds a Master of Science degree in Construction Engineering (University of Bologna, Italy, 2010), is currently a PhD candidate at the Laboratoire GSA - Géometrie Structure et Architecture (ENSAPM, Ecole nationale supérieure d’architecture Paris-Malaquais). Her thesis, entitled Contribution to the development of stone structures: modeling, optimization and design tools, focuses in particular on reciprocal structures, obtained by adapting historical interwoven of stone ashlars on double curvature surfaces. Lucia has presented her research work in conferences on geometrical and structural engineering (among which AAG), and her work is published in international reviews. Since 2010 she is also working as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at ENSAPM in Paris.

Martina Presepi holds a double Master of Science degree in Construction Engineering and Architecture (University of Bologna, Italy, 2011). She was a PhD student at the Laboratoire GSA - Géometrie Structure et Architecture (ENSAPM, Ecole nationale supérieure d’architecture Paris-Malaquais) – PhD now suspended - and she worked as temporary professor in courses and workshops at the ENSA Paris-Malaquais and at the Ecole des Ponts Paris-Tech. Martina is now attending a Master in Restoration of Historical Buildings at Politecnico of Milan.

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