The annual SmartGeometry event took place in Barcelona from the 19th – 24th March 2010. The workshops and conferences are key events for discussing, learning and networking about the emerging practice of digital parametrics within the AEC community. This year, the workshop focused intently on the development of parametric systems to engage the design, fabrication, and installation of large-scale prototypes.

For SmartGeometry 2010, the ICD led the following workshop cluster:

Deep Surfaces: Articulation and Fabrication of Spatial Systems from Tensioned Fabric Elements

With the aid of efficient solvers for force-active structures, the design of tensile membrane systems can move towards the creation of complex multi-layered, interconnected assemblies defining both localized volumetric conditions, and global multi-dimensional deep surfaces. In this cluster, the intention was to design and fabricate such intricate spatial assemblies through the use of force-simulation algorithms in Processing, and deduction of fabrication information in Rhino and GC. To instrumentalize the use of tensioned fabrics in the making of complex forms, the flow of structural force was closely examined. In Processing, the design of the overall form occured through the constant editing and re-calibration of tension-force characteristics. A structural computational mesh served as a foundation for fabrication information of  into a series of stitched, pre-tensioned fabric patches. The force values, from the spring-based model in Processing, were read to provide the necessary structural information regarding the degree of pre-tensioning required for fabrication of the prototype. The prototyping process took advantage of automated methods for the marking and cutting of fabric elements. Analysis of variable stitching methods was done to determine the proper stiffness in the sewn edges between fabric patches. The assembled structure occupied a space of approximately 7m x 3xm x 3m, and consisted of approximately 40sqm. of fabric and 200m of 1mm and 2mm steel cable.