Author Archives: 05 Alexis Wilson

Individual Research: SolidThinking

SolidThinking: Inspire ǁ ALEXIS WILSON
SolidThinking’s Inspire is an optimaization driven design tool that uses technology to help lead designers to an efficient design solution that is both aesthetically stimulating and structurally sound. It allows you to rough out a design concept (or a number of them) and explore the structural limits of a particular form, given the environmental effects.
To use Inspire there are three fundamental steps you must complete, the first being to create a basic mass or form. Inspire’s interface provides you with the tools that allow you to sketch or construct a form or mass in a method similar to that of SketchUp. You also have the option of creating a form or mass in another program and importing it as an IGES or IGS file into Inspire. (I would caution though, grouped objects are imported as a single “part” or component and are edited as such.)
Once you’ve established a mass or form, the next step is to apply forces. You can apply torque, point loads, face loads, and edge loads based upon the directional loads that you expect to be at play within the actual environment. Examples of this may be wind, weight, gravity, seismic, etc. Forces may be applied normal to the surface or along a particular axis. The program requires you to adequately support the given mass and will inform you if the load/support system needs to be adjusted.
After you’ve applied all the forces you feel are necessary to inform the design, it must be optimized in order to evaluate how it will perform. The optimization menu gives you a dialogue box of fields to filter through. You may account for things like gravity, thickness control and percentage of design space to be used. You then click run and once it has finished analyzing the shape and forces, the program will deliver an ideal form, based upon the user input that responds to the structural needs of the original mass.
From there you can choose to stop and export the model into another modeling program or just sketch on top of it. Otherwise you may also choose to try a different combination of forces, loads and other optimization settings. Inspire will keep a running tab of each time you optimize the model so that may return to any of the previous runs for comparison.
In the following tutorial, I will sketch a basic form in Inspire and take you through the process of optimizing a model…

As I mentioned earlier, you also have the option of importing a model from another program into Inspire for evaluation. As many of us are more comfortable working in familiar programs like Rhinoceros, Maya, Revit and 3DS Max, this may be the more preferable route. As such, in the following tutorial, I’ve imported a model created in Rhinoceros that is more along the lines of what an architectural student might potentially use this program for:

3.2 Visualization of Stress and Load Group Research

3.2 Visualization of Stress and Load ǁ EMMY JENSEN, ALEXIS WILSON

For visualization of stress and load, we took a look at two programs at the forefront of this technology, SOLIDWORKS and SOLIDTHINKING. Under the Solidworks platform, we centered on their SIMULATION program and in SolidThinking we looked at their INSPIRE program. Both of these are 3-D modeling and simulation programs that allow product designers and architects alike to physically see and respond to the actual constraints that are expected to affect their design. They are tools for optimization driven design that help lead designers to optimal design solutions.

In an essay on Optimization driven design, it notes that, “As the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry is marching into the sustainable and low-carbon era, the performance of architecture has drawn more attention than ever. Simulation technology has made QUANTIFIED analysis of architectural performance possible and, therefore, directly enables architects and engineers to incorporate PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS into the DESIGN work flow. It is argued that performance-based and performance-DRIVEN architectural designs differ in that the latter involves computer-aided OPTIMIZATION technique so that the performance can be used as the criteria to truly “drive” the design…” In the field of architecture, the potential implications of these tools are quite substantial. These programs may very well assist in bridging the gap between designers and engineers, by helping architects to create more structurally sound designs on the front end and to better communicate their design intent to engineers.

There are two main thrusts that we intend to discuss regarding the visualization of stress and load. The first being Design Analysis, and the second being Design Response.

Design Analysis

In SOLIDWORKS Simulation designers are able to subject their designs to real world conditions. Using this program, they can test models against different environmental and structural parameters, enabling users to evaluate design performance prior to manufacture. They can actively measure factors such as durability, static and dynamic response, motion of assembly, heat transfer, fluid dynamics and plastics injection molding.

Design Response
In SOLIDTHINKING Inspire, both architects and design engineers are able to generate and explore structurally efficient concepts in the initial phases of the design process. The user inputs a given mass, package space, material properties and the loading requirements and the software generates the ideal shape for a design.
Through the optimization process, the program strips away what it concludes to be excess material enabling users to explore a range of form design options by revealing the limits of what the structure can be.

Implementation
As each program has its respective strengths, the ideal work flow might oscillate between the analysis and response to ensure the most informed design. Although design analysis can be performed on either platform, Solidworks has more elements and options to evaluate. Whereas, SolidThinking is more loaded on the design end, and applying the discovered properties to real-world form applications.
How It Works
So optimization modeling in these programs consists of three basic steps. The first is to create a basic mass or form. Next is to apply forces, and after that it must be optimized in order to evaluate how it will perform.
For example, in SolidThinking Inspire, you can use the tools to construct a form in a method similar to SketchUp, or you can create a model in another program and import it into Inspire as an IGS,IGES file. (I would caution though, grouped objects are imported as a single “part” or component and are edited as such.) Once you’ve established a mass or form, you have the option of applying forces. You may apply point loads, face loads, and edge loads based upon the directional loads that you expect to be at play within the actual environment. Examples of this may be wind, weight, gravity, seismic, etc. The program requires you to adequately support the given mass and will inform you if the load/support system needs to be adjusted. After you applied all the forces you feel should inform the design, the optimization menu gives you a dialogue box of fields to filter through. You may account for things like gravity, thickness control and percentage of design space to be used. You then click run and once it has finished analyzing the shape and forces, the program will deliver an ideal form, based upon the user input, that responds to the structural needs of the original mass.

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Parametric Acoustic Surfaces

This was a collaborative project by Brady Peters of the Royal Danish Academy and Martin Tamke of the Center for Information Technology and Architecture. The primary goals of this project were the creation of parametric models that adjust their geometry to effect acoustic performance, and the manufacture of acoustically active structures using digital fabrication techniques.

Through the assemblage of different types of acoustically modulating elements, they were able to create a labryinth of audio sensory environments. The project was designed as a wall dividing a space, on either side of which existed two different materials, and two different acoustic conditions. By modifying the geometry of the wall, a sound focusing element is created thus creating a zone of amplified sound intensity. The modulation of material properties of the surface from one condition to another creates a gradient of acoustic performance from one space to another.

This exploration in architectural acoustic engineering directly relates to the Neihoff Studio project in that it seeks to remedy multiple acoustic conditions within a single space. The technology is flexible and can be reconfigured to fit a variety f needs. Additionally, the design of the partitions proposed in this project introduces a dynamic thread that would integrate well with the functions of the space.