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Jared Younger DD

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Jared Younger P9: Building Skin

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Jared Younger | P7

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Cube Studies | Jared Younger

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TopOpt | JY

 

TopOpt is a Grasshopper tool and a research platform for the implementation of experimental topology optimization procedures targeted towards architectural design of structures. Through an optimization process, the plug-in analyzes a two dimensional geometry, in conjunction with a series of forces and supports, to give the user the most efficient use of material within the profile of the defined geometry.

The program uses a clear system to add forces that act upon the geometry. There are two components available for applying force. One component is a point force, allowing you to use vector components to dictate the shape and intensity of the force in which you are applying. The second options is a force line in which one force is arrayed along a path that you draw in rhino. This component is handy for applying a consistent load from one direction across a span.

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The response to the forces is the supports. Similarly, there are two components available for use. A point and a line component. The point components allow you to choose a specific location where the load can be carried to the ground. The line component simulates the idea of a colonnade where the load above is distributed to the ground through a series of members.

The program is most effective when the longest dimension of the original geometry is in the x direction, making the shape shorter in the y direction, therefore rectangular. Due to this, vertical structures can be rotated 90 degrees to sit on its side. It is also valuable to only calculate half of a desired geometry and then mirroring it to complete the form rather that calculating the optimization of the entire form at once. This cuts the forces and supports in half, which therefore minimizes the optimization time.

To model this idea, I chose to calculate the vertical bracing system of a high rise building. I took the tall vertical rectangle and cut it in half, before turning it on its side. I used the domain space component to apply to the rectangular geometry. I then applied a force line to the top of the geometry and directed the force downward, which actually was representative of the lateral loads on the vertical structure. This is consistent with the lateral loads that a bracing system would be resisting. These horizontal loads consist of seismic and wind loads, as well as adding stiffness to the primary vertical structure. That completes the forces acting on the structure. The supports consisted of two line components. One component was from where the bracing would meet the ground. The second support line came from the middle of the structure where the optimization would be mirrored and the bracing would meet eachother.

lateral forces TopOpt | JY supports

The optimization showed that the material gained thickness the closer it got to the ground. The top of the structure became more wirey and thin as it has less lateral load to handle. The most support must be placed at the bottom where the most force occurs. I would say that the optimization made a lot of sense and was quite accurate in terms of a general evaluation. The specificities are less convincing to me for a few reasons.

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For one, the thickness of the members and the amount of material used in operable by the user, meaning the user can modify the optimization based on aesthetic preference. This leads me to think that the optimization is not a concrete calculation of effectivity, although it can be a good basis of structural application. I enjoy the plug-in as a validation system, but I would not use it as a basis of my structure or form. Other negatives of the program is that there is no three dimensional optimizations, so even if one is working with a rather flat structural member in the z-axis, the thickness is not given. This is understood with a truss. The program will give you a two dimensional output which can then be further extruded, but structure is  not a two dimensional dilemma, but spacial.

 

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