Cloud Arch: Application of an EPS composite to create an ultra-lightweight long-span
sustainable structure / S. Okuda, S. Bhagra

eCAADe 2013 ‘Computation and Performance’, Delft, the Netherlands

Expanded Polystyrene foam (EPS) is a chemically inert and 100% recyclable material that is lightweight and has a good compression strength per weight ratio; however, its current construction use is mostly limited to insulation or landfill. The key concept of this paper is to develop an EPS composite to create an ultra-lightweight long-span sustainable roofing structure by integrating the minimum necessary structural tension layer with a certified fire protection system. The authors present this concept in the following four steps, 1) EPS composite structural specimen test, 2) structural optimisation of the reversed displacement model, 3) discretisation with developable surfaces and 4) CNC hotwire rapid prototyping and assembly in scaled prototypes. The Cloud Arch is an economical, material-efficient, thermally insulated, quickly assembled ultra-lightweight construction that eliminates the need for formworks for long-span structures. It can be applied to many types of column-free spaces, such as in factories, gymnasiums, markets and cafeterias.

Equalizing Daylight Distribution

Equalizing daylight distribution / S. Okuda, X. Yang, S. K. Wittkopf

eCAADe 2012 ‘Digital Physicality | Physical digitality’, Prague, Czech Republic

The present paper explores the implementation of a light-duct in order to equalise daylight distribution in an office space. While the illuminance level near windows in a building tends to be higher than that necessary for the working environment, artificial lighting is often used to ensure that the workspace further away from the windows has the required level of illuminance. Equalising daylight distribution from the periphery to the inner part would thus provide significant advantages for energy-efficient lighting as well as the flexible and efficient use of office space. In order to achieve this goal, anti-glare devices in the perimeter zone such as louvers and daylight distribution devices such as light-ducts are required. In this paper, we focus on light-ducts in the first instance, with an emphasis on their two key components for controlling the direction of daylight, namely inner reflectors and bottom extractors.

Form follows performance

Form follows performance / S. Okuda, L. P. Chua

eCAADe 2011 ‘Respecting Fragile Places’, Ljubljana, Slovenia

The presented paper describes a series of studio-based research projects on structural optimisation and the cost-effectiveness of digital fabrication that aim to balance stress distribution across thick walls or a rib density of slabs. As a consequence of the structural optimisations, the results tend to be non-uniform shapes that are not ideal for cost-effective fabrication. This paper introduces a few simple models to balance structural optimisation and fabrication cost-effectiveness. It involves relatively simple structural simulations as the design inputs, and then converts the simulation results into various architectural forms using parametric 3D modelling tool (McNeel Rhinoceros v4, Grasshopper v0.8) before fabricating them using digital fabrication technologies. The major challenge of this study is how to translate simulation results into architectural components/overall building shapes and how to fabricate complex forms in a cost-effective manner.


Bio-Shell / S. Okuda, Z. Ou

CAADRIA 2010 ‘New Frontiers’, Hong Kong

This paper demonstrates how digitally fabricated vacuum formed components can provide a new type of efficient construction applicable to architecture. Vacuum forming has the advantage of rapid mass-production capability of 3-D curved forms. Recent digital fabrication technologies, such as 3-D CAD – CNC machining, have dramatically reduced the cost and time of making the mould. In combination with biodegradable plastic, such as PLA (Poly Lactic Acid) made of biopolymer, it could open up new type of sustainable construction system, which is applicable for temporal disaster housings or exhibition booths. Structural component geometry is optimized by FE structural analysis prior to fabrication and assembly testing.

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