Ceramic Systems – Environmental Design to Robotic Production Workflow

February 1, 2013 - 1:00pm

The current design practice for high performance, custom facade systems easily disconnects the initial façade design from the fabrication phase. The early design phases typically involve a series of iterative tests during which the environmental performance of different design variants is verified through simulations or physical measurements. After completing the environmental design, construction and fabrication constraints are incorporated. Time, budget constraints, and workflow incompatibilities are common obstacles that prevent design teams from verifying, through environmental analysis, that the final design still „works‟. The lecture presents an integrated environmental design and digital fabrication workflow for a custom ceramic shading system. Using the CAD environment Rhinoceros as a shared platform the process allows the design team to rapidly migrate between the environmental and the fabrication models. The DIVA plug-in for Rhinoceros allows for a seamless performance assessment of the facade in terms of daylight. Glare and annual energy use are addressed through connections to Radiance, Daysim and EnergyPlus simulations. A custom Grasshopper component and additional Rhino scripts were developed to link the environmentally optimized CAD file via Rapid code to a novel ceramic production process based on a 6-axis industrial robot. The resulting environmental design-to-manufacturing process was tested during the generation of a prototypical high performance ceramic shading system. In addition to this project the lecture will present an overview of research conducted by members of the Design Robotics Group at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

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