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. 2019 Apr 29;4(2):34.
doi: 10.3390/biomimetics4020034.

Studio One: A New Teaching Model for Exploring Bio-Inspired Design and Fabrication

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Free PMC article

Studio One: A New Teaching Model for Exploring Bio-Inspired Design and Fabrication

Simon Schleicher et al. Biomimetics (Basel). .
Free PMC article

Abstract

The increasing specialization in architecture has clearly left its marks not only on the general profession but also on architectural education. Many universities around the world react to this development by offering primarily conventional and overly discipline-specific courses that often lack bold new concepts. To remedy this situation, the authors propose an alternative teaching model called Studio One, which seeks to facilitate new dynamic links between architecture and other disciplines based on the interplay between fundamental research, design exploration, and practical application. The goal is to develop an interdisciplinary, collaborative design training that encompasses the best that nature has to teach us, realized through the technology that humans have achieved. At the core of this class is the study of biological structures and the development of bio-inspired construction principles for architectural design. Both aspects are rich sources of innovation and can play an important role in the training of future architects and engineers. This paper seeks to provide a coherent progress report. After a brief introduction to the general objectives of Studio One, the authors will specify the methods and 21st century skills that students learned during this class. Relying on four student capstone projects as examples, the paper will then go into more detail on how natural structures can inspire a new design process, in which students abstract basic biomimetic principles and transfer them into the construction of architectural prototypes and pavilions. Finally, the authors conclude by discussing the particular successes and challenges facing this teaching model and identify the key improvements that may give this program an even bigger impact in the future.

Keywords: architectural education; bio-inspiration; biomimetics; fiber composites; parametric design; structural analysis; structures.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Students on a field trip to UC Berkeley’s Essig Museum of Entomology.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Students study the scientific collection of dried plants at the University and Jepson Herbaria.
Figure 3
Figure 3
At UC Berkeley’s Botanical Garden, students investigate the morphology of living plants.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Students learn about composite manufacturing at the workshop of Kreysler & Associates.
Figure 5
Figure 5
Outlining the vein network in dragonfly wings reveals the distinct variations and local differences in cell geometry and density between the forewing and hindwing of the insect.
Figure 6
Figure 6
The forewing of the dragonfly features a distinct stiffness distribution (a) with thicker veins and membranes shown in red and a sandwich micro-structure shown in cross-section (b).
Figure 7
Figure 7
Dragonfly-inspired structure that creates a sandwich effect by wrapping a 3D-printed core made from semi-flex TPU filament between two layers of PETG plastic sheets.
Figure 8
Figure 8
Single and double-layered PETG sandwich panels were fabricated to study the influence of different formwork parameters like materiality, height, and orientation of the mold.
Figure 9
Figure 9
Ten sandwich panels were (a) produced by using a sequential vacuum forming process and (b) assembled together to form an insect-inspired facade prototype.
Figure 10
Figure 10
The movable scales of (a) the Purple Cone Spruce inspired (b) a sensitivity analysis of pneumatically driven curved-line folding models. All models were made using Daniel Piker’s plugin Kangaroo Physics for Rhinoceros 3D by McNeel & Associates. When actuated with the same amount of pressure, models with a lower curvature in the fold responded quicker and showed a larger flapping motion, while models with a higher curvature in the fold were less responsive to actuation and moved significantly slower. (Photo on the left shown with the permission of Jessica Rosenkrantz).
Figure 11
Figure 11
The curved-line folding mechanism can be applied to various patterns and tessellations.
Figure 12
Figure 12
The students learned about the opportunities and limitations of different kinetic systems in various geometrical constellations through building functional models.
Figure 13
Figure 13
Morphological study of the Pitcher Plant (a) and bananas leaf stalks (b).
Figure 14
Figure 14
Rendering of the Studio One Research Pavilion 2017 in the courtyard of the College of Environmental Design (CED) at the University of California, Berkeley.
Figure 15
Figure 15
Form-finding of the shell using FE-simulations to ascertain the bent geometry and stresses.
Figure 16
Figure 16
Form-conversion into a multi-layered sandwich shell made from developable surfaces.
Figure 17
Figure 17
Analyzing (a) the deflections and (b) stress distribution of the shell informs (c) the design of the sandwich structure and affects parameters like the corrugation density and structural height.
Figure 18
Figure 18
The sandwich core is made from a thin layer of glass-fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP) and pressed into form using a Styrofoam mold that was custom-made on a 4-axis hotwire machine.
Figure 19
Figure 19
Students assemble the 8-m-long, curved sandwich strip of the pavilion in full scale.
Figure 20
Figure 20
Students study the dried cactus skeletons of the Buckhorn Cholla (a) and Prickly Pear (b).
Figure 21
Figure 21
Students explore the design space of lattice structures with a series of physical models.
Figure 22
Figure 22
Students use digital growth simulations (a) to build strip-based plywood models (b).
Figure 23
Figure 23
By using advanced FE-simulations the students determined the pavilion’s exact geometry (a) and analyzed the stresses in the elastically-bent carbon fiber reinforced strips (b).
Figure 24
Figure 24
Within two days, the students fabricated and built the 6 m-tall pavilion.
Figure 25
Figure 25
The pavilion as shown during the final exhibition at the end of the semester at UC Berkeley.

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