City Form Lab’s Grid Structures

Grid structure by Andres Sevtsuk and students in the City Form Lab, Gund Hall courtyard.

Grid structure by Andres Sevtsuk and students in the City Form Lab, Gund Hall courtyard.

The City Form Lab’s research on grid structures has developed a novel building technology solution, which enables prefabricated double-curvature structures to be built with non-specialized labor at a very low cost. This is made possible by using standardized flat-sheet materials, limiting all fabrication to only two-dimensional cutting and relying on structural folding to achieve desired geometric forms.

Grid structureConstraining all structural elements to strictly flat material sheets, using shape outlines that are cut only at a perpendicular angle, reduces fabrication costs and makes complex spatial structures available to a wider audience. A custom RhinoPython library was developed to automate the generation of double-walled flat-panel structures from a user-provided line network. The geometries of all structural elements are jointly controlled by adjusting the underlying line-network and associated material parameters. The RhinoPython library regenerates the geometric solution when the network is altered, complete with fabrication-ready unfolded panel drawings, marked with unique IDs on each element. The developed solution allows full-scale grid structures to be generated from freeform line networks using very flexible structural patterns, ranging from triangles, quads, pentagons, hexagons or any regular or irregular n-gons.