An important area of our research has been into breaking down complex surfaces into simple planar panels. These are then simple to fabricate from cheap materials without recourse to expensive double curved glass or costly bespoke fixings for example. By moving away from the conventional triangulation of double curved surfaces to a discretation into panels with a greater number of edges the number of connections can be reduced. A practical illustration is the Trada pavilion where we applied the work of Cutler and Whiting in their paper ‘Constrained Planar Re-meshing for Architecture to generate a tangent planar intersection (TPI) mesh and from that a network of flat six sided panels. This halved the number of connections.
Other techniques include simulated electrical repulsion to equalise panel size and the determination of principle curvature lines to set out simple orthogonal members on a complex curved form.
Our work on the Trada pavilion and the application of TPI meshing can be found here:
- Melville, S,. Harding, J., Lewis, H., 2013. TRADA Pavilion - Searching for Innovation and Elegance in Complex Forms Supported by Physical and Software Prototyping. In: Prototyping Architecture: The Conference Papers, Building Centre Trust, London, ISBN 10 – 0-901919-17-9, 2013