The genesis of this project is rooted in an exploration of the possibilities for Computational Fluid Dynamics within an architectural paradigm. Essentially, this project questions our current perception of water/other Fluid substances and whether there is room for their application to an architectural problem. Fluids have many properties which make them a very interesting material to work with, properties such as its ability to retain volume, or the way it conforms to fit a vessel of any shape, so this became my primordial concern – how can the adaptive nature of a fluid manifest itself and transcend the way we presently think about buildings. form, and space?

So when the adaptive nature becomes our primary concern, a lot of other spin offs become possibilities. If a building could be made of liquid, this really begins to interrogate several things fundamental to our established ideas of architecture. Form is no longer permanent, in fact form is no longer an adequate way to describe the resulting state of matter. We are no longer bound to site, an adaptive building needs no fixed location – a fluid building could just as easily exist on land as it would in the water. The programme of the building as well is almost unnecessary, as any requirements for the building can be made on the fly.

So what this project is really creating is a system. A system of architecture which operates completely unlike anything we have ever seen before. So how does this system work? How do we garner any control over Fluids? In order to achieve this, we need to use a specific kind of Fluid, one which can be moulded indirectly, one which can respond to field conditions, the solution lies in a specific category known as Smart Fluids. Smart Fluids rely on a change in field strength (be it electric or magnetic) in order to create a form of sorts. A special kind of Fluid called Ferrofluid is a magnetically charged Fluid which can be shaped by a given magnetic field, so now the problem becomes how do we shape the magnetic field so as to control this system.

And herein lies the bulk of the proposition. My project suggests that people will be fitted with a suit, which, when activated, essentially turns their person into a node of a greater magnetic field.

As an individual tracks along, the Fluid will respond accordingly, creating a space or volume around them. However this becomes a lot more interesting when the magnetic fields of different individuals interact with each other, creating an interference pattern of sorts in a three dimensional space.

The different magnetic polarities and their relative proximities serve to define an entirely different experiential quality to the space. Furthermore, each individual will have control over the strength of their own magnetic field and poles via the wearable device attached to their palm.

Now of course, the magnetic field which has been created does exist indefinitely, in fact the magnetic field will hold for only brief amounts of time, relying on residual magnetism in the field to allow the particles to hold  until they are disturbed again or until the residual magnetism wears off. What this also entails is that when no one is occupying the building, the matter which creates it will slowly but surely reside into its ‘rest state’ until it is further re-agitated.

Some 3D Prints of the final model as well:

I’ve been setting up a few 3D Prints for testing purposes, to see what kind of definition can be obtained from the various 3D Printers, as well as how the different meshes will turn out. The first 3D print was done on an UP printer, the second on a Makerbot 2X, and the third on an industrial 3D printer. Here’s the results:

The first 3D print wasn’t a great success, definitely looked a lot better as a digital model than in print.

The second model turned out pretty good! Surprisingly, the Makerbot did pretty well on the resolution of the result.

The third 3D print turned out really really good! Well impressed with the result and fidelity of the mesh, but at the same time really scared to handle the result as it is incredibly delicate.

The last 3D print also turned out really great compared to a simple render of it:

I wanted to do one more 3D print before this semester came to a close seeing as it wasn’t looking likely that I would have a final model ready for design review/crit. By this point I’d settled on a particular region of the occurrences of reaction diffusion, but I changed the scale to create something extremely dense as compared to the previous one. Both models have an inherent beauty to them, but the intricacy in this one was far more exciting!

However because of the smaller scale, it did mean that the 3D print result wasn’t as clean as before. The printer I printed these on tends to work well with models of a thickness of around 2mm, and parts of this model I produced were approaching 0.8mm, but it still managed to print it just fine, it just made the clean up work a little tougher than it should have been.

I went back to an earlier method of reaction diffusion whereby the model is created in 3 Dimensions through a method of time based extrusion, which creates a model layer upon layer of the current reaction diffusion frame. I did this 3D print at a very fine scale, so the result came out super clean! What was also great about this 3D print is that it required no structure whatsoever in order to print, so it produced a very very clean model!

Today I did two 3D prints of some of the reaction diffusion models produced by the program ready (check out my earlier post here). Below is the raw result from the 3D print with all the structure still intact. The third image shows just how much structure there was to this that needed to be removed.

After I pulled out all the structure I was left with the two models I’d created. I absolutely love the result of this print, there’s something so captivating about these tiny models and the spaces they produce. While I’m not going to be doing a whole heck of a lot with these prints, they are great for understanding the process, and to also just see a reaction diffusion model in the flesh.

To be honest though, part of me prefers the rendered images of these (see below).

I took the model I’d done a while ago, and finally got around to 3D printing it as I’d hoped for some time, here’s the result (and compared to the original render).

I was pretty stoked with how the model turned out, but I did change some parameters of the original model such as the thickness, bend, and size so that it could be printed out. As this model was done with a filament based printer, there was also a lot of support that had to be pulled out. If part of a model overhangs the perimeter, the software calculates the support required to produce it, hence there was a lot of support structure both in and outside the final result.