A core question in the project is the ability to design for and with material performance. The project introduces three scales of design engagement by which to examine material performance: the structure, the element and the material. In order to succeed the project needed to answer, how to support feedback between different scales of design engagement moving from material design, across design, simulation and analysis to specification and fabrication.
‘Tower’ investigates knit as a structural membrane in which active bent GFRP rods are embedded into a knitted fabric, made with bespoke material properties and detailing. The relationship between skin and structure is a central question in the field of architectural textiles, positioning the textile membrane either as a cladding skin, or engaged in hybrid dependencies in which membrane and scaffold act as an integrated structural system. The latter requires a high degree of control and understanding of the membrane’s material behavior. The project developed the general structural and material system and a set of related computational tools to design and specify these material systems, starting from the global shape and its discretization into patches that can be produced on the knitting machine to the automated detailing and creation of the tower base.
The current approach in the production of textile architecture is to cut patches out of large rolls of fabric, to sew these and to apply details later on. This laborious and wasteful process is cut short by the developed processes in ‘Hybrid Tower’. Here all details are embedded in the material itself and the final shape is directly knitted in the CNC knitting machine. For this an interface between the design environment and the CNC production machines from Shima Seiki machines was developed by CITA and AFF. This enables the direct creation of the machine code defining the knitting beds, the yarn carries and holding patterns, and thereby controlled the formation of the knitted textile and provide a direct control of the structure, material and shape.
Material Used :
1. Textile Skins - Custom CNC - knitted textiles. Yarn material: High Tenacity polyester
2. Structure - Glass - Fibre - Reinforced Polymer Rods.
3. Plastic Joint Details - Custom CNC-milled HDPE (High Density Polyester)
4. Base - Construction Steel