Hybrid design concept for a freeform framework

SwayingStraws is a concept study on a possible realisation of a structural design of variably curved, single-layer façade and roof structures. It is characterised in particular by the fact, that the structure combines serially manufactured standard components with additive-automated manufactured elements. As a result, despite the curvature of the overall structure, all rods can retain the same length. The amorphous shape of the framework is carried out solely by compact, geometrically individual node connectors. Their precise manufacturing is based on a seamless digital design, planning and manufacturing process. The nodes were manufactured very efficiently and with essentially no waste using an automated additive manufacturing process.

Keywords: lightweight construction, double curvature, connection system, plug connection, additive manufacturing, 3Dprinting

Curvature and automation

Through the precise use of double curvature, it is possible to design architecturally sophisticated façade and roof structures. Using a load oriented design as well as securing it in place makes the creation of this material-efficient lightweight construction conceivable. Frequently, however, comparable concepts fail in practice due to economic boundary conditions. The cause of this issue can be traced back to the use of time and personell intensive manufacturing methods common to traditional craftsmanship in the construction industry.

The project related obstacle therefore consisted of generating and prototyping a consistently digital process chain from the design to the production of the geometrically individual nodes.

The greater objective of the research is to be able to build façade and roof structures in a significantly more resource-efficient manner by stringently establishing automated or automatable processes relating to component-oriented planning and prefabrication methods.

Structural design

Construed as a conceptual study, the test structure is 2.36 m high and has a diameter of 80 cm at the base. The mesh structure consists of 320 identical, straight rods with a circular cross section. 160 geometrically individual nodes built on the „ParaKnot3D“ principle connect four rods each and were brought about in a parametrically controlled, additive manufacturing process.

The nodes compose the constructivecreative core of the project. Their geometry is the product of a parametric definition. Based on the mesh structure's descriptive parameters, the shape of each individual node is automatically constructed through the utilisation of an algorithm. Subsequently, the geometry data is then transferred to additive manufacturing machines (3D printers), which can manufacture the nodes in their complexity. This results in a production chain of automated manufacturing methods, which is to introduce an exemplary development trajectory in the construction industry.

Presentation and exhibitions

Supporting program for the foundation institute "Digital Transformation", 19th June 2019, Leipzig

Trade fair „Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D“, 25-27th June 2019, Erfurt


processed by:

Fabian Eidner

Theodor Reinhardt

Ryan Hallahan, B.A.

Max Geer, B.A.

supervised by:

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Alexander Stahr

Martin Dembski, M.Sc.

Cristoph Dijoux, M.Sc.

Felix Schmidt-Kleespies, M.A.