This project was born during a workshop dedicated to the software Generative Components, held by Lars Moth-Poulsen, Alessio Erioli, Ludovica Tramontin and Alessandro Uras. The theme is focused on the shelter, a kind of protective element which could be used in different contexts, being adaptable to different environmental conditions.

The work, developed during six days of strong cooperation together with Catia La Grotta and Paolo Dallara, started with a selection between two typologies suggested by the tutors: on one hand a simple covering structure and on the other hand the integral envelope, which defines a closed construction that totally encases people, a part from the entrance and exit. Our group focused its attention on this last building typology, aiming to diversify, during the design process, the construction of the building in order to don’t make it too serial and fuzzy in its different parts.

The second design choice was the definition of those parameters that, into a huge number of possibilities, better define the adaptation of this architectural organism. In this case we selected the gradient of the ground as variable directly connected to the morphology of our shelter, and the sun as second control element,  responsible for the constant variation of the components, that proliferates tessellation surfaces in an adaptive way.

Once we selected the direction of our inductive process, then we started to define a hypothetical terrain into Generative Components. One of the lines which describe the slope had been used as generative element of the envelope, so linked to a curve directly detected through the use of topographical instruments in a strongly objective way. Starting from this curve we extracted the vector product between the perpendicular to the tangent along a series of points and the vertical to the Cartesian plane defined in the origin. This value is directly responsible for the increase and reduction of the building transversal sections dimension, as the sketches show. After the definition of the vector product we generated a series of segments, linked each other through the so-called “sezione aurea” and forming two concentric rectangles. Then we generated two autonomous surfaces, based on those points: the subjacent one constitutes the floor of the shelter, while the upper part works as a covering. The first one is a monolithic element, similar to a sepia bone, while the second represents a lightweight structure, generated by the variation of a single component. This last, designed apart, is formed by a lightweight steel (or aluminum) frame and a quadrilateral panel, which has a mechanism that allows it to rotate around one of its diagonals. The adaptive logic which animates the component says that, the more vertical the sun is above the panel, the more closed will be the panel in order to protect from strong light and temperature. By contrast, the more grazing the rays are, the more open the panel will be in order to avail indirect lighting.

Once designed, the component has been applied to the upper surface of the shelter through an adaptive process, after the tessellation. Then, as fundamental operation, we linked the adaptive rotation of the components with the vector product between the vertical direction of each panel and the direction of an hypothetical sun (in this project its has been defined by a point which rotation is based on two circular arches, regulating the yearly excursion and the daily cycle of night and day). This kind of parametric model allows us to adapt the architectural organism to different terrains, both considering urban environments and extreme natural contexts. Moreover, the responsive behavior of the components in relation to the sun excursion allows us to obtain a regulation gradient of the internal environment, in order to preserve optimal lighting condition during the day.

For further information on the project a short Presentation (Pdf 2.486Kb) is available for download.

I would like to thanks Catia La Grotta and Paolo Dallara for this thrilling though short design experience, in which we developed a highly productive cooperation. I’ve been also pleased to pass these days with the group of tutors, which gave an important contribution to the workshop through their strong technical support and their interesting suggestions for the project. In the end is right to thanks Casartarc association and Arch. Andrea Graziano, which made a so important workshop possible.

Thank you everybody.

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