Parametric Precast

Parametric Precast Concrete Panel System leverages a digital toolset to engage information within a surrounding context for the purpose of creating a more intelligent pre-cast concrete panel system. The parametrically defined geometry utilizes three primary control factors: 1) Quantitative information related to sustainable issues like solar orientation and sound abatement; 2) Logistical factors such as transportation, material usage and installation; and 3) Qualitative information like non-standard panel variation and aesthetic composition.
As Antoine Picon suggests in his essay “Architecture and Technology: Two Centuries of Creative Tension,” it was at a moment that engineering, specifically civil engineering, split from the precepts of architecture in the mid 18th Century that the tension between technology and architecture arose. However, in the past decade there is a re-emergence of the architect taking objective performance criteria as impetus for initiating the design process and abandoning notions of style, and theory as progenitor. On one end of this spectrum is the wide embrace of green and sustainable building components and on the other is the exploration of digitally designed geometries capable of responding to a complex range of requirements. To place it in highly reductive terms – designers in a multitude of fields are now using information to navigate terrain that is more designed by the science of intricacy and precision than gesture and style. This move is allowing architects to arrive at more informed, intelligent, and efficient design solutions.
We believe this research proposal attempts to negotiate a middle ground of computation architecture and sustainability. It attempts to leverage the computational capacity of parametric software like Grasshopper to author highly explicit geometries for the purpose of generating more environmentally responsive architectural components. Specifically, this research attempts to use more expansive performance criteria for the purpose of evolving the precast panel. While there is significant development being made in the content of concrete and how we might make it more sustainable and efficient, this research intends to utilize those advancements while not necessarily charting new ground in this area. Rather, this research is more concentrated on the function of the panel and how it’s geometry plays an integral role in the sustainability capacity of the architecture as a result of this geometry. Ultimately this will produce the possibility for a more integrated thinking related to architecture if multi-layered systems can be combined into a single material system.
Because this first phase of research attempts to link environmental and aesthetic criteria to the geometric development of pre-cast formwork there is latitude to examine dual application opportunities. The two primary areas for programmatic exploration will be Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) panels and building façade panels. Both programmatic applications provide significant overlap.
The current research proposal originates from several years of seminar courses conducted at the University of Texas Arlington examining digitally fabricated repetitive cast systems. The project is a collaborative effort bringing together the expertise from the manufacturing industry, the architecture profession, a leading software development company and an academic institution. This collective represents the new emerging dialogue taking place in the field of architecture and exemplifies a new form of innovation within the advancement of how architecture will be taught and practiced going forward.
Project Team: TOPOCAST_ Brad Bell, Jacob Narvaez, Craig Gillam, Jeff Whatley, Amy Jarvis, Nick Richardson, Farid Pourabdollah, Dian Sutedjo, Joshua Hallet, with Joe Mejia, & Ronnie Schmidt, HKS_ Brian Cargrill, HNTB_ Ryan Bricker, and McNeel & Associates_ Rajaa Isaa

 

For more information on the above panel, CLICK HERE.

For more information on the above panel, CLICK HERE.

For more information on the above panel, CLICK HERE.