Ramboll took home the Technology Champion award at the 2018 ACE Consultancy and Engineering Awards last week. This award is great recognition of our pioneering work embedding digital innovation at the heart of the way we design, on a variety of different applications from offsite manufacturing appraisals to our gantry design automation tools and RCD’s own Dynamic Masterplanning toolkit.
Paul Jeffries will be presenting at the 2018 Shape To Fabrication conference in Stratford, London on the 25th April, on the topic of ‘Computational Design at Scale’. To book tickets visit http://www.shapetofabrication.com/page/conference.
Salamander 3, a new structural modelling and interoperability tool developed by RCD lead Paul Jeffries, is now in open beta and available to download from Food4Rhino. The tool adds the ability to model structural elements such as beams, slabs, nodes etc. inside Rhino and for this data to be exchanged with analysis packages (at present, Autodesk Robot and Oasys GSA). Continue reading “Salamander 3 now in open beta”
On Tuesday 16th May Paul Jeffries will be delivering a public lecture at Imperial College London entitled ‘Emergence: The development and future of computational design’. The talk will be held in Room 201 of the Skempton Building and begins at 18:30. All are welcome to attend.
For the 2017 Ramboll Leadership Conference in Copenhagen, which took place on the 22nd and 23rd of January, RCD was involved in a collaboration between the Transport and Buildings departments to design and construct a ‘bridge’ installation between their respective stands. We had a little over a month to develop and manufacture the design so timescales were tight and we had several key criteria to consider – the bridge was to support a model train running between the two stands (in reference to the Holmestrand Mountain Station project), it needed to be light and easily demountable enough for us to carry from London to Copenhagen, build in an afternoon, break down in an hour and then return back to London (for later re-assembly in our home office). We also wanted it to form an interactive part of the conference rather than merely being a static display piece.
We approached the project the same way we would any other – pulling together a team with relevant expertise, brainstorming ideas, analysing and developing them. For the interactive element, we realised that business cards made an ideal impromptu craft material and were one of the few things we could rely on most of the attendees to be bringing with them. The decision was thus made to allow people at the conference to leave their business card, folded into a specific 3D form, as part of the bridge’s cladding. Continue reading “Ramboll Leadership Conference 2017 Bridge”
From January 2017, Imperial College London will be running an evening course on Parametric Engineering, co-taught by RCD lead Paul Jeffries. The course will cover the application of Rhino and Grasshopper for computational design within an engineering context and is open to anybody in full time education or academic employment. To apply contact Simply Rhino.
Building Structures Director Stephen Melville was recently invited to the Digital Design-themed Henderson Colloquium.
The aim of the annual event is to bring together a select group of industry experts to discuss a subject of topical importance with a view of making recommendations to the engineering and construction industry.
The invitation to attend the roundtable reflects the growing perception of Ramboll as digital design and thought leaders within this cutting-edge field. Other guests in attendance represented firms including Arup, Foster+Partners, Zaha Hadid Architects and Laing O’Rourke.
IABSE has held the two-day colloquium annually since it began in 1975. The event sees a specially invited group of invited guests taking part in a topical discussion of a structural engineering theme, with each participant making a presentation which is designed to stimulate a lively debate.
A summary of discussions and recommendations made for industry will be announced at the IABSE conference in Madrid this September. Whilst the recommendations are confidential until then, Ramboll’s involvement in the event (including a presentation on ‘Meta Parametric modelling’) and debates demonstrate that our focus on importance of design using digital tools and strong philosophical approach to the subject position us as leaders in the rapidly evolving and specialised discipline.
Kristjan Nielsen of the RCD team has recently returned from Hong Kong, where he helped run the SG2014 workshop cluster entitled: The Bearable Lightness of Being. The goal of the cluster was to design and construct a flexible, light-weight and optimised pavilion, through the use of grasshopper plug-ins Karamba and Octopus.
More information on the cluster can be found here.
The RCD team have recently had a paper accepted at the AAG Conference, held this year in London on 18th-22nd September. The paper describes the work done by RCD during the Ongreening Pavilion project, constructed in March this year. In the paper, the form-finding process of a bending active shell structure is described, as well as documenting how the assembly method was influenced by real-time structural analysis using Karamba (plug-in for Grasshopper).
More information about the conference can be found here.
RCD and Ramboll Italy have assisted in the geometric tiling of the Vanke Pavilion, by Libeskind Studio for Milan Expo 2015. The pavilion’s doubly curved exterior will be clad in bespoke ceramic tiles of identical size and shape. In order to achieve this, we developed an algorithm similar to the Chebyshev Net approach to generate the layout and minimise the amount of special tiles required.
RCD are currently working with KAAN Architecten on PLANTA, a new Art Museum to be situated in Lleida, Spain. The building is a reinforced concrete single storey structure, partially buried underground.
As part of the ongoing design, we produced an optimisation study for the 200x70m concrete waffle roof slab in order to improve its efficiency. A bending stress field informs both the subdivision of an orthogonal waffle layout and the varying of its depth to generate a suitable distribution of structural material.
The Ramboll UK Cambridge office have constructed a small timber shell for the Papworth Trust, a local charity that works with those who have learning disabilities.
RCD assisted by generating the plate shell geometry, using the planar remeshing method previously seen on the TRADA Pavilion. The method allows doubly curved shells to be constructed with planar elements, utilising the 3-plate principle to allow a hinged connection whilst maintaining the rigidity of the shell.
The shell will remain in place for 3 years.
RCD’s work on the intelligent modelling of voids in the stems and canopies of the Oxford Brookes School of Architecture Rain Pavilion has been accepted as a paper to the eCAADe 2014 conference in November. The paper Populating surfaces with holes using particle repulsion based on scalar fields will be presented at the annual gathering at the University of Northumbria and contributes to the overall theme of fusion; data integration at its best.
Details of the conference can be found here
The 2014 EcoBuild exhibition at London’s Excel centre opened this week and an egg-shaped plywood pavilion designed for OnGreening’s stand at the event is showcasing the work of Ramboll Computational Design (RCD).
OnGreening is a new web-based platform devoted to the research and profiling of green building technologies. The organisation required a pavilion and lecture theatre that would make them stand out from the crowd at the world’s largest event for sustainable design at the ExCel centre in London.
The look of the structure is intended to echo Ongreening’s goal of capturing and filtering the world’s knowledge of green data. The pavilion has already attracted a lot of attention.
The pavilion’s egg-like geometry was generated using form-finding techniques pioneered on previous RCD projects. The structure itself is unique in that it uses thin 6.5mm birch plywood timber laths which are bent into shape, creating a so-called ‘bending active’ structure which is incredibly stiff and acts like a monocoque, enabling the shell to carry most of the stresses.
The timber laths are aligned along geodesic lines between pre-seeded generation points set out using a parametric model. The primary geodesic members are restrained by secondary laths of the same narrow and thin profile of plywood with a simple bolted connection. This method allowed the use of straight and short length pieces of timber, making it more practical to purchase and build compared with other similar looking structures.
Further details about OnGreening and their work are available on their website.
Ramboll Computational Design has been appointed to provide structural and in addition to computational design services on a pavilion to be built in Milan for EXPO 2015. We will work with Studio Daniel Libeskind and VANKE, China’s largest residential developer, to design and build their Pavilion.
By using generative modelling and coding techniques, the computational design team (RCD) digitally sliced and analysed the pavilion’s structural design, as well as providing the panelling geometry for the pavilion’s exterior which will be covered in bespoke ceramic tiles. By digitally rationalising the façade surface, the complex pattern has been optimised to enable it to be realised from identically sized tiles.
The corporate pavilion will be three to four storeys tall. Containing a bamboo structure and Chinese artworks, the pavilion will be dismantled and rebuilt in China after the expo, echoing the sustainability theme of the Italian exposition. Construction will start in May this year ahead of the exposition.
Image: Courtesy of Expo Milano 2015
The KREOD Pavilion has won a coveted Structural Award at the prestigious ceremony at The Brewery in London. The awards are held annually by the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) to celebrate excellence in structural engineering both in the UK and internationally. The KREOD Pavilion won the Small Project award.
KREOD Pavilion is a sustainable, portable, demountable and multi-functional indoor or outdoor exhibition space that was launched at Peninsular Square near the O2 and Emirates Airline at North Greenwich in London in 2012. Pavilion Architecture led the project.
KREOD’s organic form is inspired by nature, closely resembling a seed. It sits on castors allowing the structure to be moved and rearranged into different forms. Ramboll’s Computational Design (RCD) team contributed to the conceptual design of the pavilion, helping to translate the concept into a rational and buildable form using high technology and imaginative engineering – a creative design led by constraints on cost and appearance.
The team developed digital design techniques to model and shape the pavilion leading to a more efficient and buildable form. They also made innovative use of a reciprocal jointing system that can be fully dismantled and flat packed. The project saw the first use of Kebony a structural element, which required the Computational Design team to embark on a programme of material testing at Cambridge University.
The judging panel praised the KREOD Pavilion for its pioneering approach to creating a functional and demountable enclosure in a striking yet sustainable way:
“Once in a while developing new techniques and processes, coupled with imaginative and perceptive engineering skills, allow the realisation of a design that previously would not have been feasible or financially viable. Though temporary by nature, the KREOD Pavilion is a seminal structure, demonstrating the possibilities of the exoskeletal approach to permanent habitable buildings of the future”.
As part of the Bartlett School of Architecture Plexus series of lectures John Harding of the Ramboll Computational Design team spoke about structural form-finding at RCD. The talk focussed on how computation can help to bridge the gap between architecture and engineering at the early stages of projects where there is most to be gained.
The Bartlett Plexus series is an initiative to bring together the creative talent of different disciplines to share techniques, solve problems and build networks of collaboration. The events will happen every other month inviting young designers, architects, engineers, programmers, game designers and visual artists.
For details see here
The client is a joint venture between a UK-based investor who specialises in funding female entrepreneurs throughout the developing world and NVH Technology, an award-winning entrepreneurial provider of sanitation services in India.
The client plans to expand their range of commercial products into toilet facilities for schools, and has appointed Ramboll to provide design services. The client approached Ramboll Computational Design after seeing RCD’s presentation on the Trada Pavilion, given at the Ecobuild exhibition in London’s Excel Centre earlier this year.
This is an exciting project for Ramboll as it broadens our product design expertise and capabilities in design for mass manufacture. It also provides an opportunity to create a significant beneficial impact on improved sanitation and achieving universal education through improving the standard of school facilities. The United Nations estimates that up to 2.5 billion people worldwide lack access to basic sanitation and reforming this situation is a United Nation’s Millennium Development Goal.
As a commercial venture, Ramboll have worked with the client to develop a unique fee structure which is partially based on royalties gained through the licensing of Ramboll’s intellectual property. Additionally, a custom scope for product design work was prepared and tailored to the client’s particular brief.
John Harding of the RCD team will be presenting our work on the Trada pavilion at the International Associate for Shell and Spatial Structures symposium in Wroclaw, Poland on the 23rd September 2013. The talk, simply titled The TRADA Pavilion – A Timber Plate Funicular Shell will be given as part of the session dedicated to Structural Morphology – Faceted and origami structures.
Burning Man is an annual event held in the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada. It takes place annually beginning on the last Monday in August, and ending on the first Monday in September to coincide with the Labor Day national holiday. The event takes its name from the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy on the Saturday evening and is described as an experiment in community, art, radical self-expression and radical self-reliance.
The week-long gathering of counter culture takes place in August, giving the team a very tight programme in which to design three climbable sculptures, two recursive ‘fractal’ forms, and a double curved and cantilevering timber shelter, and then help organise their digital fabrication.
In recognition of RCD’s recent experience of collaborative digital modelling of unusual forms, combined with the hands-on production of the Belvedere festival sculpture in New York and Trada Pavilion in the UK, our team were invited by tutors at the Westminster University School of Architecture to assist the student team that won the international design competition earlier this year.
More about the Burning Man Festival is available at the official website.
The KREOD Pavilion has secured a place on the 2013 Structural Awards shortlist. The Structural Awards are held annually by the IStructE to celebrate international excellence in structural engineering. KREOD has been shortlisted for the Small Projects award. The full shortlist can be found on the Structural Awards website.
Ramboll Computational Design have conceived and created a weave shell structure from strips of Perspex to transform the foyer of our London studio. The unique doubly-curved triaxial mesh shell installation explores how engineering, digital fabrication, and imagination can fill the boundaries of the space. It inherits the tradition of innovation and material exploration from our 2011 Foyer 1.0 timber principal curvature shell but extends the automatic form finding and associative modelling in new directions. The form has been generated using our self coded dynamic relaxation techniques and the cutting patterns for the flat perspex elements are automatically generated from the Grasshopper model.
The structure will built by early September in time to feature in the London Design Festival 2013.
For more details see here http://www.londondesignfestival.com/events/funnel-20
Ramboll engineers have conceived the Fitzrovia Chalkboard for the Great Titchfield Street Festival as part of London Festival of Architecture 2013. One of a number of events planned for the month long festival, the inaugural street project will promote positive change in the area, transforming Great Titchfield Street – from Mortimer Street up to Langham and Foley Street – into a pedestrianised haven for the day.
Fitzrovia Chalkboard is a temporary installation that creates a single point of display for collective messages in the local community – a structure that is a massive writing surface for all to contribute. It is inspired by how local, independent businesses rely on the traditional chalkboard as a means to advertise and mark their place on the street, in a time when technology offers many alternatives. Fitzrovia Chalkboard is designed using such recent advances and the public are invited inside the structure to view its innovative construction.
Inspired by Ramboll’s recent Trada Pavillion, the structure comprises of 47 birch plywood panels joined together by steel hinges. It is designed using the Tangent Plane Intersection (TPI) methods developed by Ramboll Computational Design to break down any double curved form into flat planar elements. Exact cutting patterns for digital fabrication are then automatically generated from the TPI mesh. All panels are numbered sequentially and this approach ensures that all panels fit together to create the form in a quick assembly process.
Our KREOD proejct has been shortlisted for the BCI (British Construction Industry) awards in the Product Design/Innovation category. We are extremely pleased and congratulations to our collaborators Pavilion Architecture without whose vision and tenacity the project would not have moved forward in the way it did. The awards are announced on the 9th October at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London.
Working in collaboration with the staff and students of Oxford Brookes School of Architecture we are prototyping the new Forum sculpture, a 4metres high by 25metres long installation which is to be built within the courtyard of the new Abercrombe building. The structure is to be a series of aluminium plate boxes following the lines of principal curvature along a looping form. By breaking down the surface in this way we are able to simplify the geometry into simple elements folded out of a flat planar shape. More development is needed, particularly of the joints, but we are encouraged by the behaviour so far. The Forum sculpture will be built early Autumn 2013.
Duncan Horswill and Mark Pniewski represented Ramboll Computational Design at the 4th Annual Building Envelopes Asia conference in Singapore on the 17th and 18th April.
The conference is in its fourth year and brings together 25 world class speakers to discuss cost efficient design as well as engineering and material technologies for high performance building envelopes.
Together Duncan and Mark used the work of the team to demonstrate the advantages of a computational approach to the design of complex glass envelopes. The presentation drew on our experience of working with complex architectural geometries on projects such as the Astana National Library in Kazakhstan and the National Holdings HQ building in Abu Dhabi to demonstrate the inherent issues with the application of traditional facade solutions to complex surfaces and how, with the help of computation, we can meet these challenges.
As well as the above case studies we will be presented our latest research which has been developed over the past four years in collaboration with the University of Bath, the EPSRC and AG5 Architects in Copenhagen to develop a digital design strategy which allows the designer to experiment with novel form whilst retaining an underlying engineering and construction logic. This work is at the cutting edge of its field and combines dynamic 3D modelling with genetic programming and analytical tools to create a virtual environment where building forms evolve from the bottom up as a result of the requirements of the designers, client and site.
Harri Lewis and Stephen Melville of the Ramboll Computational Design team presented their paper ‘ TRADA Pavilion – Searching for Innovation and Elegance in Complex Forms Supported by Physical and Software Prototyping’ (authors Harri Lewis, Stephen Melville and John Harding) at the the Prototyping Architecture conference at the Building Centre, London. An e-book of the conference papers can be downloaded here
The Surface Design Awards recognise progressive design and the use of innovative surfaces in design projects, both in the UK and internationally. The awards also highlight the wealth of creativity and innovation in the industry.
KREOD is a sustainable, portable, demountable and multi-functional indoor or outdoor exhibition space. The project was led by Pavilion Architecture with its organic form inspired by nature, resembling a seed.
The structure sits on castors, allowing the structure to be moved and rearranged into different forms and spaces to create a versatile event space with practical considerations for transportation, storage, disassembly and reassembly.
The structure is made up of three reciprocal timber gridshells that implement a number of geometrical optimisation and fabrication algorithms that have not been previously applied to a real structure. The form is a creative response to the need for a building that can be easily erected and subsequently demounted by hand, uses Kebony timber – a previously untried material – of a given size and limited thickness, and had to be delivered within a strict budget.
Using digital technology to its fullest, KREOD was delivered in a collaborative manner with each member of the design team understanding the innovative work and challenges of the other contributors and designed accordingly.
The awards were presented at the Surface Design Show, which took place at London’s Business Design Centre.
John Harding and Harri Lewis of the Ramboll Computational Design team recently gave a talk on ‘Finding Form: Embedding materiality in Computational Design’ at the Materials, Tectonics and Structures Colloquium at the University of Nottingham School of Architecture. The talk was well received and generated a lively debate.
Rambøll Computational Design (RCD) and artists Loop.ph have completed the design and erection of a 6m tall carbon fibre and perspex arch structure for Belvedere Vodka’s RED street party in New York, USA.
Taking over Manhattan’s Meatpacking district with a dramatic light show and music, the event was a one of a number of international celebrations in the run up to World AIDS Day on 1st December. World AIDS Day was first ever global health day, providing an opportunity to unite in the fight against HIV, show support for people living with it and commemorate those who have died from the disease.
Guests watched the area become illuminated in red against a backdrop of 20ft white neon trees to helpBelvedere Vodka and (RED)™ raise awareness of the campaign to eliminate the transmission of the HIV virus from mothers to their babies and achieve the first AIDS-free generation born by 2015.
The teams worked intensively for a month and collaborated on parametric 3d models in order to develop a form initially based on a flat pattern of 85 number, thin carbon fibre rods which was then warped and twisted to give the shape a natural stiffness. Perspex ribs linked the carbon rods together to ensure that the sculpture acts as coherent entity. The carbon fibre rods acted as natural conductors powering LED lights fixed in the corporate logo of Belvedere Vodka. Rambøll Computational Design provided structural engineering, 3d modelling, construction advice and practical assistance.
Just an hour before the production deadline, the Loop.ph and RCD teams finished assembling the structure and were able to pivot it into its final position. Shortly afterwards the New York public filled the square off Gansevoort and Hudson Street, milling around and under the arch, for a set by electro-funk DJs Chromeo to promote the cause.
Both the Trada and KREOD pavilions have been shortlisted for the Surface Design awards in the temporary structures category. The awards are announced on the 7th February 2013. Full details can be found here
A full size trial erection of one of the plywood timber legs of the Trada Expo pavilion will be exhibited at the Prototyping Architecture Exhibition in Nottingham starting 17th October.
The trial was undertaken to test the stiffness of the reciprocal support panels, the ease of erection, quality of finish and the effect of adding edge stiffeners upon the overall performance of the structure under accidental load. It proved an extremely useful exercise, validating the time and effort expended in ordering and building the test leg. It will be accompanied in the exhibition by a 1:10 scale model of the pavilion, built to assess the potential modes of failure.
Details of the exhibition can be found here
The creators of Trada’s pavilion structure for Expo 2012 will be speaking about the inspiration, design and modelling of the freeform planar mesh plywood shell on 25th/26th September.
Stephen Melville of Ramboll’s Computational Design team has been invited to speak at the Den Kloke Tegning (The Smart Drawing) in Oslo on 25th October 2012. Details are here: http://www.denkloketegning.no/
John Harding of the RCD team together with Sam Joyce, Paul Shepherd and Chris Williams of the University of Bath has been selected to present a paper on Thinking Topologically at Early Stage Parametric Design at the Advances in Architectural Geometry conference in Paris, September 27-30.
Our pavilion for Trada is progressing with a deadline of 11 weeks until it has to be built and ready to receive the public. The structure is proving to be incredibly complex for an installation of only 6m by 8m on plan and made even more challenging due to the decision to adopt a planar hexagonal mesh for the double curved surface rather than the conventional triangular mesh. A hexagonal mesh has the advantage of fewer connections and greater structural efficiency but has required coding from scratch and a great deal of research. The final design uses techniques from the computer game industry coupled with a great deal of engineering intuition.
The D_pod pavilion took a step closer to reality recently with the completion of the joint testing at Cambridge University. The pavilion has changed a great deal since the first iteration back in 2010. The mesh is hexagonal rather than quadrilateral meaning a different approach has been needed to the engineering of the joints in order to keep them cheap, to use the material on hand and to give them a ‘furniture like’ appearance. RCD specified a reciprocal joint fixed with hidden bolts, which because the Kebony timber was being used for the first time in a load-bearing structure had to be validated by testing. After several tweaks to the detailing we are glad to report that the connections performed as hoped and it’s straight into construction in time for the opening at the Greenwich Olympic site in June.
As part of his role as a part time Structural Engineering tutor at Oxford Brookes School of Architecture, Stephen Melville will be giving a lecture on Thursday 2nd February on the subject ‘Structuring Architecture’. This is a great opportunity to help convey the principles of collaboration and critical thought in the overlapping space of Architectural Design and Engineering Optimisation.
Stephen Melville recently gave a lecture to the Architectural faculty of the Technical University of Delft on Computational Design and the practical application of the RCD team’s on-going research to live projects and future directions such as urbanism. The lecture was at the invitation of the high rise unit of the school.